03.02.1940 4./KG 26 Heinkel He 111H-3 Wnr.2323 Uffz. Wilms. Location: Bannial Flat Farm, Sneaton, near Whitby, Yorkshire, England.
Mission: NE Coast of England.

Date: 3
rd February 1940

Time: 9.40 a.m.

Unit: 4 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 26

Type: Heinkel He 111H-3


Coded: 1H + FM

Location: Banial Flat Farm, Sneaton, near Whitby, Yorkshire, England.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Hermann Wilms 4./KG26/Nr.63 – Wounded. Born 09.09.1914 in Oberhausen.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Rudolf Leushacke 4./KG26/Nr.33 – Killed. Born 24.04.1913 in Hochlarmark.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Karl Missy 4./KG26/Nr.37 – Wounded (Foot amputated). Born 27.05.1912 in Rheydt.

Flt/Eng: Unteroffizier. Johann Meyer 4./KG26/Nr.36 – Killed. Born 08.10.1914 in Renherzhofen.


This aircraft took off from a meadow aerodrome near Schleswig on a reconnaissance flight over the North Sea and the British Coast, in conjunction with other aircraft, flying at between 150 and 600 ft. above the sea. The pilot admitted to attacking a small cargo boat and a fishing drifter off Scarborough. This aircraft was brought down by three Hurricanes of 43 Squadron, Acklington. The first attack put the port engine and intercom out of action and the undercarriage fell down, the third attack damaged the starboard engine and aileron controls, the pilot just managing to climb into cloud and escape his attackers. Coming out of the clouds about 6 miles from the shore, the pilot turned back and just managed to make landfall. Having just avoided a farmhouse, the aircraft crashed into a tree killing the observer who had already been wounded. The pilot tried to set fire to the aircraft but only slightly damaged it as he was prevented from doing so by civilians.

Markings: F in white. Shield; a side view of a sitting lion.
Armament: two 250 kg and three 50 kg bombs carried; the three 50 kg bombs being jettisoned during the first attack. Equipment: papers, maps, cameras and an optical bomb sight were recovered. The unit was identified from the crews identity discs.

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The virtually intact Heinkel of Uffz. Wilms pictured shortly after landing (net)

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The same spot in February 2014, pictured by Aircrew Remembrance Society researcher Mick Hegney when he visited the location. (Hegney)

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A view looking from the tail of the aircraft, the fuselage riddled with bullets (net)

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Mick kindly photographed the location in February 2014 (Hegney)

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Rudolf Leushacke lies in the snow, wounded in the attack then killed during the crash landing (Norman).

Shot down by F/Lt P. W. Townsend in a Hurricane of No.43 Squadron.

Note: Due to the extent of his injuries Karl Missy was returned to Germany in exchange for Allied prisoners of war in October 1943.

The Diary of one of the crew of 1H+FM; 4/KG 26. (Possibly Hermann Wilms)

21/8/39 Durchstossverfahren with Oblt. Wolf at Luneburg.
23/8/39 Stand-by for calling up.
24/8/39 Move off at 1.00 hrs. to Werneuchen with the whole Staffel.
25/8/39 Check up on machines.
26/8/39 Ditto. First War pay: R.M.12.
27/8/39 Move to Gabbert with Wilms. Post in Gabbert also stopped, can’t post any letter.
28/8/39 Stand by at 06.00 hrs. An aeroplane brought mail from Luneburg.
29/8/39 Still no post accepted. Load up aircraft.
30/8/39 Loading and unloading aircraft.
31/8/39 Ditto.
1/9/39 The whole army crosses Polish Frontier a 04.45 hrs. Made first War Flight to Posen in formation.
2/9/39 Just one attack. On return under strong fire from own flak.
3/9/39 One attack,110 mins. 605 kms. In formation, with incendiary bombs. Again “Flaked”.
4/9/39 One attack in afternoon against troops in reserve.
5/9/39 Afternoon attack. Flak and fighters at aeroplane, returned on one engine.
6/9/39 Attack in early morning. Three aircraft shot down by Polish fighters, twelve men lost. Another aircraft made a forced landing at Breslau.
7/9/39 Whole Gruppe moves to Wiederellgut (nr Annaberg on Czech Frontier, S of Chemnitz).
9/9/39 Whole Gruppe to Lubeck-Blankensee, landed and off again to Luneburg.
12/9/39 To Celle (alone) and back.
22/9/39 Move to Schwerin.
24/9/39 Stand by duty.
26/9/39 Staffel to Westerland.
9/10/39 Attack in formation on English Fleet in IH+GM at 09.08 hrs., returned 17.55 hrs., stayed with Kettenhund, two machines returned late, one made a forced landing at Neumunster, three apparently missing (Ju 88’s from 1/KG 30, also took part in this attack).
10/10/39 To Schwerin. Heard two aircraft landed 9/10/39 safely in Denmark
2/11/39 Move to Westerland.
3/11/39 War Flight over North Sea – six hours – no success.
9/11/39 To Schwerin.
10/11/39 Back to Westerland.
11/11/39 Bombing practice at Westerland.
13/11/39 Attack against Shetlands, 09.32 hrs. – 17.55 hrs. with only ¼ hours petrol left. Landed in dark, clouds 200 ft. and lights only seen from 1,500 ft.
15/11/39 Back to Schwerin.
20/11/39 Bombing practice.
21/11/39 To Neumunster.
22/11/39 Received E.K. (Iron Cross).
23/11/39 To Schwerin in Ju 52. Onto Diepholz, ZZ landing. Onto Luneburg in He 111,ZZ landing.
24/11/39 To Schwerin, Schwerin to Neumunster, ZZ landing.
27/11/39 To Schwerin.
29/11/39 To Neumunster.
30/11/39 To Schwerin.
2/12/39 To Luneburg, Ju 52. Luneburg to Schwerin. Test flight, He 111 H, IH+KM.
6/12/39 From Schwerin. Bombing practice with Target Ship “Hessen” on IH+GM in Baltic.
7/12/39 Ditto.
8/12/39 U.K.W. Blind flying on IH+GM from Schwerin. F.T.Flight.
12/12/39 Move to Neumunster.
14/12/39 Back to Schwerin.
20/12/39 Practice landings, 1H+DM.
21/12/39 To Westerland, IH+GM, 10.22 hrs.
24/12/39 In afternoon 30 English aircraft were turned away 100 kms from Coast by fighters.
27/12/39 Attack in IH+GM, start 07.00 hrs.
28/12/39 Staffel to Schwerin at 15.00 hrs., stayed behind – aircraft not ready.
29/12/39 To Schwerin in 1H+GM.
9/1/40 Transfer to Schleswig. Back in evening with crew, but with another aircraft to pick up our own which is ready at Schwerin.
10/1/40 Wanted to fly to Schleswig but the motor mechanic did not allow it. The Staffel made another attack and sank a merchantman.
11/1/40 At last we got away from Schwerin and Schleswig. The staffel made another attack, we could not go with them.
12/1/40 We wanted to go with them on a War Flight, but had to turn back because of oil feed trouble.
13/1/40 Nothing; bad weather.
14/1/40 Ditto.
15/1/40 Ditto.
16/1/40 News came through that Wolfgang Dietrich had walked into a propeller at Schwerin and was killed.
17/1/40 In the morning got the aircraft ready and went back to Schewrin at mid-day.
18/1/40 Technical lecture and introduction to new Gruppe Commander, Major Heselle.
24/1/40 Should have gone to Schleswig but QBI (bad weather).
29/1/40 Move to Westerland. No attacks.
30/1/40 Attack on English Coast. Two reporting ships not sunk.
31/1/40 Move to Schleswig for a rest until next week. Move to Seefliegerhorst.
1/2/40 No duty. At Seefliegerhorst.
2/2/40 No attack. History lecture.

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Joint grave; Block 3 Graves 417 – 418. (Brownless).

Burial detail: Those killed now rest in the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, England.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless with thanks to Nigel Parker, Mick Hegney and the late Bill Norman.
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