Heinkel 3911 coded IG+AL was returning to the French
airfield of Tours,home to 1/KG27 (27th Bomb Wing)
following a mission to the British Isles,when engine
trouble,sustained by AA fire from a RN vessel hastened
the pilot into finding the nearest safe haven to put
the aircraft down.Crossing the Bristol Channel off the
SW English coast, the Island of Lundy presented itself
to the stricken bomber crew, and at around 15.30 hours
the pilot made a wheels up crash-landing on the flattest
part of this tiny isle.
The bomber had crossed Pondbury Lake, over Quarter Wall,
and had slid along the heather moor eventually coming to
rest as it nosed
into a dry stone wall, all the crew who were unhurt,very
quickly vacated the Heinkel for fear of fire, but no fire
occurred and the bomber was relatively intact.
Just as all this was going on,the local lighthouse keeper
was on his way to the Isles hotel to collect the mail,
thinking it was a British plane he hurried across to the
scene, where he saw 5 men standing around the bomber talking,
he then noticed the German crosses and the swastika on the
tail,and at this point was noticed by a German airman who
drew his pistol and waived it in the air, this was in fact
a gesture by the crew to surrender themselves, but before
things went any further,the lighthouse keeper sped off in
search of the local Home Guardsman Felix Gade.
Mr Gade had already been warned of events by his daughter
who also saw the bomber crash, and he quickly grabbed his
rifle and went off to the scene, meanwhile, given more time
the German airmen, still confused by the actions of the
lighthouse keeper, set fire to the plane to destroy any
evidence of their mission, or equipment on board, and when
Mr Gade arrived it was a blazing wreck.
Fortunately when Mr Gade arrived one of the crew could speak
English and Gade asked him if he had dropped any bombs, to
which the German replied that they were just on a reconnaissance
flight when they had engine trouble, they spotted the tiny
Island and thought it was part of the Scilly Isles. Mr Gade
then marched the 5 airmen off back to the hotel, where he
informed a detachment of Naval ratings who were at the
lighthouse, the prisoners were later conveyed by HMS Leima
to Devon,where they were interogated and then dispatched to a
camp in Canada,where they would spend 4 long years, but at least
for these lucky airmen, the war would be over.
fw H. Scharrschurch.
Uffz E. Botcher.
fw H. Bongers.
fw H. Ludwig.
Gefr P. Timmerman.
The Navigator Uffz. Elmar Botcher passed away in 1994.
Credit to George T.Morley & Friedrich Braun for information
in this article and David Hanson for crew details on both
In a letter from Mrs Gisela Botcher, widow of the Navigator
and Bombardier, to Friedrich Braun, her late husband said
that the mission had been an attack on ships, and that they
attacked a big freighter and scored a hit with a 500 kg bomb
midships, and they were sure it was sunk, but were soon to
be fired upon by AA guns from another ship in escort, and
were hit in one engine, and the winscreen was shattered,but
fortunately nobody was injured. However, a good friend of
Uffz Botcher, Fred Rister, was killed in one of the other
attacking Heinkels, by a fatal wound to his abdomen, the
pilot made an emergency landing in Ireland and he and the
rest of the crew were interred, as the country was neutral.
When they crash landed, it was discussed amongst the crew
and the crew agreed an alibi that they had no bombs on
board and were recconnaisance, was thought up in case the
situation got angry with locals.
The crash is reported as being at 3.20pm local time.
Many Thanks again to Friedrich & Mrs Botcher for all the