Of the three hundred and seventeen ships which were sunk in the Thames Estuary  none were sunk by conventional U-boats. (Although several were sunk by Midget submarines)

In the North Sea, of the many hundreds of ships sunk, only three were sunk by U-boats.

The U-boat war took place many hundreds of miles away in the North Atlantic. Closer to home, from the very first days of the war and often within sight of our shores, our shipping was being sunk, not by submarines but by mines.

Mines, dropped from the sky or laid by motor torpedo boats and other vessels, were our chief enemy.

Bombs, dropped from Heinkel He 111 and Junkers Ju 87, (the infamous Stuka Dive Bomber) also sank our ships. Stuka Dive-bombers were withdrawn due to heavy losses inflicted on them by the faster British Spitfires and Hurricanes.

AIRCRAFT CASUALTIES, THE THAMES ESTUARY AND SHEPPEY, 1939 TO 1945.
British and German aircraft which were shot down, crashed or crash-land on Sheppey or in the Thames Estuary during World War Two, 1939 to 1945.

The exact position of many of the planes which crashed in the Thames Estuary is not known. Often in the heat of battle the crash position is given simply as the Thames Estuary. Sometimes a more precise, but still not an exact position is given such as “off Sheerness”.

Sometimes a plane is attacked over the Thames estuary or Sheppey and the pilot parachutes to safety but the plane eventually crashes miles away.

There is a large cluster of "crashed" planes around RAF Eastchurch. Many of these were in combat over the Thames Estuary and sustained serious damage and often had wounded pilots. Unable to make it back to their own airfields they attempted to land at RAF Eastchurch where they crashed on landing.

There will appear to be more British planes lost than German. Not all German losses are known.

Abbreviations:  Mk, Mark.  Sqn, Squadron.   Number, one capital letter followed by four numbers (e.g., L9207 or P3806) is the aircraft identification number.  F/Lt, Flight Lieutenant.  F/O, Flight Officer, Sgt., Sergeant.  Bf 109, Messerschmitt 109 German fighter plane.  Do 17, Dornier 17 German bomber.  Me111, Messerschmitt 110 German long range escort fighter.
1940

1.     14th April 1940. Bristol Blenheim Mk. IV, L9207, a medium bomber of 40 squadron is thought to have crashed into the Thames Estuary on an unauthorized flight.

2.     4 June 1940. Bristol Blenheim a British light bomber crashed and burnt at Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey near Shurland Hall. The crew of three were killed.

Friday June 14th 1940 Germans marched into Paris.

3.     9th July 1940. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1, P3806, of 151 Squadron was on convoy patrol when it was shot down by a Bf 109. The aircraft was abandoned over the Thames Estuary.

10 July 1940. The date the British consider the Battle of Britain commenced. The Battle of Britain begins. The German Luftwaffe attack British supply convoys in the English Channel for the first time.

4.     10 July 40. 56 Sqn. Hurricane 1. F/O? Shot down 10 miles north of Herne Bay. Pilot spotted by a Lysander V9545 British plane and rescued by a fishing boat.

24th July 1940. Forty Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters attacked shipping in the Thames estuary, sinking the minesweeping trawler HMT Fleming killing 19. The combat above resulted in 9 Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and 2 Spitfire fighters being shot down.

13th August 1940 (The date the Germans consider the Battle of Britain commenced) “Eagle Day”. The German code name for the Luftwaffe offensive against Britain with the launched of 1,485 sorties. German Luftwaffe attack Fighter Command airfields and aircraft factories.

13th August 1940 RAF EASTCHURCH BOMBED.

5.     13 Aug 40. 74 Sqd.  Spitfire 1, N3091. F/Lt S Brzezina. Safe. Patrol. Bailed out after combat with Do17 over Thames Estuary when intercepting a large force of eighty-eight Dornier 17 bombers with a fighter escort of one hundred and ninety Messerschmitt 109’s fighters.

6.     13th August 1940. The Messerschmitt 110 a German long range escort fighter was shot down over the Thames Estuary by Flight Officer Weaver of 56 Squadron and crashed at Warden cliffs, (Warden Springs Holiday camp) the Pilot Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) Fuchs and the gunner Unteroffizier (Corporal) Ebben were both killed and were buried at Leysdown Cemetery.

7.     Aug 40. 74 Sqd.  Spitfire 1. F/Lt S Brzezina. N3091. Safe.  Bailed out after combat with Do17 over Thames Estuary.

8.     13th August 1940. SPITFIRE MK 1, Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1 was damaged in air raid at RAF Eastchurch.

9.     August 1940. Messerschmitt Me 110 (German) was shot down and crashed into the sea off Warden Bay. Both crew were killed.

10.     13 Aug. 40. 56 Sqd. Hurricane 1. F/O P. M. F. Davis. N2429 P. Safe. Bailed out after attack by Me 110 over Sheppey. Pilot badly burned.

11.     13 Aug. 40. 56 Sqd. Hurricane 1. Sgt. P. Hillwood. R4093 P. Bailed out after attack by Me 110 over Sheppey. Pilot swam ashore.

12.     13 Aug. 40. 56 Sqd. Hurricane 1. F/O R. E. P. Brooker. P3587. Safe. Forced landed at Hawkridge after combat with Me110’s over Sheppey.

13.     15 Aug 1940. Dornier Do17 (German) (Historic England Reference 5K+LP) of Squadron 6/KG3. It was on a mission to bomb the Thames Estuary when it was shot down by an aircraft from Number 1 (RCAF) Squadron. It crashed off Reculver at 3.30 p.m.

14.     15 Aug 40. 266 Sqd. Spitfire 1. P/O F. W. Cale. N3168. Shot down near Maidstone. Pilot bailed out into the river Medway estuary and drowned.

16th August 1940. German bombers attacked shipping in the Thames estuary.

15.     18 August 1940. Messerschmitt Bf 110 (German). having been damaged by Squadron Leader Manston of 56 Squadron over Clacton flew low over RAF Eastchurch. The 12th Anti-aircraft opened fire with Bofors and the Messerschmitt BF 110 crashed near Leysdown. The Radio Officer, T. Rutters survived the crash and was taken prisoner, the pilot, Heinz Jaeckel, only 19 years old was dead and later buried at in Leysdown Church Yard.

16.     18 Aug 40. Hurricane 1. Sgt. A. G, Girdwood. P3708. Wounded. Patrol Bailed out after combat with Me111 over Thames Estuary.

17.     18 Aug 40. Hurricane 1. P/O J. A. Hemingway. V7249. Safe. Patrol. Bailed out after combat with HE111 over Thames Estuary.

18.     18 Aug 40. 501 Sqd. Hurricane 1. F/Lt. G. E. B. Stoney. Killed. P2549. Patrol Shot down in combat over Thames Estuary.

19.     20 Aug 40. Spitfire 1. P/O K. G. Hart. R6818. Safe. Patrol. Written off after damage by Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

20th August 1940 RAF EASTCHURCH BOMBED.

20.     24 Aug 1940. Messerschmitt Bf 110 (German).  was shot down and crashed off Sheppey. Crew of three missing presumed dead.

21.     24 Aug 1940. Messerschmitt Me 109 (German) (Historic England Reference 8+1) of Squadron 9/JG3 was shot down two miles off Reculver.
22.     24 Aug 40. 54 Sqd. Spitfire 1. P/O C. Stewart. P9389. Safe. Patrol. Bailed out after combat with Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

23.     24 Aug 40. 56 Sqd. Hurricane 1. Sgt. G Smyth. P3473. Safe. Patrol. Forced landing at Foulness after combat with Me109.

24 Aug 40.264 Sqd.  Defient 1. F/Lt. A. J. Banham. Sgt. B. Baker. L6985 Safe. Patrol Shot down by Me 109 off Herne Bay and crashed into the sea.

25.     26 Aug 40. 264 Sqd.  Defient 1. F/Lt. I. R. Stephenson. Sgt. W. Maxwell. L7025. Injured. Patrol. Bailed out off Herne Bay after being shot down by Me109.

26th August 1940. Large formations of German aircraft flew up the Thames estuary, but most were turned back by British fighters.

26.     26 Aug 40. 615 Sqd. Hurricane 1. Spitfire 1. P/O.  J. A. P. McClintock. R4121. Safe Patrol Baled over Sheerness out after combat with Me109.

27.     26 Aug 1940. BATTLE LIGHT BOMBER. Fairey Battle a single-engine light bomber crashed while landing at night at RAF Eastchurch. 

28.     26 Aug 1940. DORNIER 17. (German). Dornier Do 17Z bomber was attacked and damaged over Essex and crashed landed two miles south west of Eastchurch, Sheppey.  One of the crew was killed and three were captured.

29.     26 Aug 1940. Boulton Paul Defiant1 (L6985) a British interceptor aircraft piloted by F/L A. J. Banham with gunner Sgt. B. Baker of No 264 Squadron were shot down on off Herne Bay at 12:30hrs and crashed into the sea Sgt. B. Baker was killed, F/L A. J. Banham survived.

30.     26 Aug 40. 85 Sqd. Hurricane 1. P/O J. A. Hemmingway. P3966. Safe. Patrol. Bailed out over Eastchurch following combat with Me109

31.     26 Aug 40. 615 Sqd. Hurricane 1. Spitfire 1. F/lt. L. M. Gaunce. R4111. Safe. Patrol.  Bailed out and rescued off Herne Bay after being shot down by Me109.

32.     26 Aug 40. 616 Sqd. Spitfire 1. F/O. E. F. St Aubin. R7018. Wounded. Burned after crash landing at Eastchurch after combat with Me109.

33.     26 Aug. 40. 616 Sqd. Spitfire 1. F/O G. E. Moberley. N3275. Killed.  Patrol. Shot down by Me 109 off Dungenness. Crashed at Eastchurch.

28th August 1940. Shortly after 0800 hours, German bomber formations were detected by radar above Calais, the incoming 33 bombers and 120 Bf 109 fighters would drop 100 bombs on RAF Eastchurch on Sheppey, but failed to disable the airfield.

34.     28th August 1940. Hurricane Mk.1 R4195 56 Sqn. P/O F. B. Sutton. Wounded. Shot down by “friendly fire” over the Thames Estuary, possibly by a Spitfire.

35.     28th August 1940. Hurricane Mk.1 R4116, 615 Sqn. P/O S. J. Malde. Pilot wounded in action over Thames Estuary and plane crash landed at RAF Eastchurch. 

36.     28th August 1940. Hurricane Mk.1 N2523, 249 Sqn.  Damaged in action over Thames Estuary and made a force landing at Scocles Farm, Lower Road, Minster, Sheppey.

37.     28 Aug. 40. 515 Sqd. Hurricane 1. P/O J. W. E. Alexander. L2005. Injured. Patrol. Bailed out and badly burnt during combat over Thames Estuary.

30th Aug 1940. In the late afternoon of the 30th August a large enemy force came streaming over Kent and the Thames Estuary. RAF Eastchurch Bombed.

38.     30th Aug 1940. HEINKEL HE111H-2 (German) (Historic England Reference 6818, A1+GP). Heinkel He111 of Squadron 6/KG53 on a mission to bomb Radlett aerodrome was attacked by Hurricanes from Number 151 Squadron. It ditched off the Isle of Sheppey at 4.30 p.m. The crew were captured.

39.     30 Aug 40. 222 Sqd. Spitfire 1. Sgt. S. Baxter, P9375. Safe. Forced landed at Eastchurch with damage after combat over Canterbury.

40.     30 Aug. 40. 222 Sqd. Spitfire 1. Sgt. A. W. P. Spears. P9323 “ZD-F” Safe. Bailed out after combat with Me 109 over Sheppey. Landedat South Lees farm, Minster, Sheppey.

41.     30 Aug 1940. Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1 (R7021) Sgt.  A. R. Sarre.  603 Squadron was in combat with a Bf 109 near West Malling, Kent. He was wounded and bailed out of his Spitfire over the Thames Estuary at 17:30hrs.

42.     0 Aug. 40. 151 Sqd. Hurricane 1. Sgt. F. Gmur. Killed. R4213. Patrol. Shot down over Thames Estuary. Plane crashed at Epping Green. Essex.

43.     30 Aug. 40. 222 Sqd. Spitfire 1. F/Lt. G. C. Matheson. P9443. Wounded. Plane written off and pilot seriously hurt after combat over Sittingbourne.

44.     31st August 1940. HURRICANE. Hurricane P3159 of 310 Squadron Duxford, piloted by P/O J. Sterbacek was shot down by Bf109’s while attacking a Do215 at 1330hrs. His Hurricane crashed into the Thames Estuary with the pilot listed as missing. (Killed)

45.     31 Aug. 40. Hurricane 1. 601 Sqd. F/O M. D. Doulton. R4215. Killed. Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

46.     31 Aug. 40. Spitfire 1.  19 Sqd. F/O F. N. Brinsden. R6958. Safe. Bailed out after combat above Thames estuary.

47.     31 Aug. 40. Hurricane 1. 601 Sqd. P/O H. T. Gilbert. V7260. Safe. Bailed out after combat with an Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

48.     31 Aug 1940. Messerschmitt Me109 (German) of Squadron 3/LG2 was on a lone patrol when it was attacked by fighters. It was damaged and ditched near the Nore lightship at 9.10 a.m.

49.     31 Aug 1940. SPITFIRE MK 1 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1. Damaged in combat and made force landing at RAF Eastchurch, Sheppey.

50.     31 Aug 1940. Hurricane (P3312) of No 151 Squadron piloted by P/O J. L. Ellacombe. At 13:30hrs he was badly burned when he was shot down near Southend by return fire from Ju 88's and his gravity fuel tank exploded as he was baling out. He did not return to operations until December. P/O J. L. Ellacombe was awarded a DFC on the 7th of April 1942 and was awarded Bar to DFC on the 29th of December 1944.

51.     31 Aug. 40. Hurricane 1. 310 Sqd. P/O M Kredba. P8814. Safe. Bailed out after combat with an Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

52.     31 Aug. 40. Hurricane 1.  151 Sqd. P/O F. Czajowski. P3301. Wounded. Shot down by Me 109 and forced landed at Foulness.

1st September 1940 RAF EASTCHURCH BOMBED.

53.     2nd September 1940. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1, P3875, 111 Sqn.  Sgt. W. L. Dymond was  killed  when his plane was shot down by Messerschmitt Bf 109s over the Thames Estuary.

2 Sep 1940. In the morning, German bombers attacked RAF Eastchurch destroying buildings and reducing it to only one runway.

54.     2 Sep 1940. MESSERSCHMITT ME110C-4 (German) (Historic England Reference 3536 3U+GN)
Messerschmitt Me110 of Squadron 5/ZG26 was escorting bombers over the Thames Estuary when it was attacked by Number 72 Squadron. With engines out of action it ditched off the Nore.

55.     2nd September 1940. German bomber crashed into the sea off Sheerness.

56.     2 Sep 40.  Hurricane 1. 111 sqn. Sgt. W. L. Dymond.P3875. Killed.  Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary and crashed at Capel Fleet, Harty. 

3rd September 1940. Fifty German Do 17 bombers escorted by 80 Bf 110 fighters and 40 Bf 109 fighters flew up the Thames Estuary.

57.     3rd September 1940. Hawker Hurricane (P3673) piloted by F/O D.H.W. Hanson of No 17 Squadron bailed out of his Hurricane after shooting down a Do 17. He struggled to get out of the cockpit and when he did, he was too low and his parachute failed to deploy. He hit the ground from around a hundred feet on Foulness Island.

4th September 1940. German bombers attacked RAF airfields at Eastchurch.

58.     2 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P3067. 46 Sqd. P/O J. C. L. D. Bailey. Killed. Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

59.     4th September 1940. Spitfire Mk. 1 N9316) of 66 squadron piloted by P/O A.R.N.L. Appleford was shot down over the Thames Estuary by Bf 109s at 09:50hrs. He bailed out but was slightly wounded.

60.     5th September 1940. Spitfire Mk.1 R6885 F/O A. D. J. Lovell was damaged by a Bf 109 and abandoned over the Thames Estuary. The pilot was safe.

61.     5th September 1940. Messerschmitt Me109, (German) escorting bombers on a raid to London was shot down and crashed near Leysdown. The pilot was missing presumed parachuted into the sea and lost.

62.     5th September 1940. Heinkel 111 (German). was damaged in raid on Thameshaven and crashed off the Nore. Four of the five crew were rescued by Royal Navy.

63.    5th September 1940. Spitfire Mk.1, N3060 piloted by F/O P. J. C. King from No 66 Squadron was killed over the Medway at 16:00hrs after combat with a Bf 109. He bailed out of his Spitfire but his parachute failed to open.

64.     5 Sep 40. Spitfire 1. X4021. 41 Sqn. P/0 R. W. Wallens. Wounded in leg after attack by Me 109 over Thames Estuary and crashed landed.

65.     5 Sep 40. Spitfire 1. P9422, 19 Sqn. S/Leader P. C. Pinkham. Killed. Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary plane crashed at Birlingham.

66.     5 Sep 40. Spitfire 1. R6885. 41 Sqn. F/O A. D. J. Lovell. Safe.  Bailed out after combat over the Thames Estuary.

67.     6 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P2875.  Sqn.111.  P/O H. W. Eliot. Wounded. Bailed out after combat over Thames Estuary.

68.     6 Sep 1940.1 Messerschmitt Me109  (German) of Squadron 3/JG27 was escorting bombers over the Thames Estuary when it was shot down by Spitfires. It crashed in the sea by the Thames Estuary Boom at 6.15 p.m. The pilot parachuted to safety and was captured.

69.     6 Sep 1940. Messerschmitt 109  (German). was attacked by Pilot Officer “Ben” Bennions of No 41 Squadron. The 109 exploded over the mouth of the River Medway killing its pilot Unteroffizier Hempel. It was the second 109 Pilot Officer “Ben” Bennions had shot down that day.

70.     6 Sep 1940. Messerschmitt Me109 (German) of Squadron 4/LG2. It was escorting bombers over the Thames Estuary when it was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed off the Nore at 6.15 p.m.

7 Sep 1940. The Blitz on London begins with 300 German bombers, escorted by 600 fighters, attacking the city. This is only the beginning of a nine-month long campaign against the London.

7 Sep 1940. Hurricanes and Spitfires of the Royal Air Force fought to defend London, with a major confrontation taking place over the Isle of Sheppey. On both sides of the Thames in London, enormous fires burnt out of control.

71.     7 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P3049 “D”.  257 Sqn F/Lt. H. R. A. Beresford. Killed. Shot down over Thames Estuary. Body located in 1979.

72.     7 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. V7254. 257 Sqn. F/O L. R. G. Mitchell. Killed. Shot down over Thames Estuary.

73.     7 Sep 40. Spitfire 1. P9467. 603 Sqn. Sgt. A. R. Sarre. Wounded. Bailed out over Thames Estuary after combat.

74.     7 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P2962. 242 Sqn. P/0 J. Benzie. Killed in combat with Me109 over Thames Estuary.

75.     7th September 1940. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1. piloted by Sg.t B. M. Bush of 504 Squadron Hendon was damaged in combat by Bf109’s over the Thames Estuary and forced landed at RAF Eastchurch at 1710hrs.

76.     7 Sep 40. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1. piloted by Sgt. J. White of 72 Squadron Croydon forced landed at RAF Eastchurch after combat over Thames Estuary.

77.     7th September 1940. Hurricane Mk. 1 P3890, of No 303 Squadron piloted by P/O J. Daszewski from Poland was shot down by a Bf 109 over the Thames Estuary and severely wounded at 17:00hrs. His Hurricane crashed near Loughton in Essex.

78.     7 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. V7437. 310 Sqn. Sgt. J. Koukal. Wounded. Bailed out and badly burnt following an air fight over Thames Estuary. Crashed at Harty Marshes, Sheppey. For more detailed information about Flight Lieutenant Josef Koukal and to see the cooling sleeves from the guns of his Hurricane's visit the Gatehouse Museum, Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

79.     7th September 1940. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 V6574. 249 Sqn. Sgt. R Smithson. Damaged by Me109 in combat over Maidstone and crash landed at RAF Eastchurch. The pilot was wounded.

80.     8 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P3201. 46 Sqn. Sub. Lt. (A) J. C. Carpenter. Killed. Shot down off Sheppey. Bailed out but killed. Buried at sea.

81.     8 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. V6632.  46 Sqn. F/Lt N. W. Burnett. Wounded Crashed after combat over Sheppey. Air craft written off.

82.     9th September 1940. Messerschmitt Bf 110, (German) was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed at Borden near Sittingbourne.

83.     9 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P3087. 242 Sqn. Sgt.  R. V. H. Lonsdale. Safe. Bailed out after an attack on a Do17 over Thames Estuary.

84.     11. Sep 40. Hurricane 1. V7232. 46 Sqn. Sgt. W. A. Peacock.  Killed. Shot down in combat over Thames Estuary.

85.     11. Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P2796. 73 Sqn. Sgt. H. G. Webster. Safe. Bailed out after combat with Me 110 over Sheppey.

15th September 1940. Acclaimed as 'Battle of Britain Day'. A day of fierce fighting with Fighter Command destroying 56 German aircraft. The Germans pilots had been told that the British were down to their last 150 fighter planes and it came as a complete surprise to be met with overwhelming force. This costly raid convinces the German High Command that the Luftwaffe cannot achieve air supremacy over Britain. The next day the Luftwaffe daylight attacks are replaced with night-time raids. Two days later Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of Britain. Effectively the Battle of Britain had been won but the fighting had not stopped.

86.     15 Sep 1940. Dornier Do17 (German) of Squadron 5/KG3 was on a mission to bomb London when it was attacked by fighters and crashed in the Thames Estuary at 3 p.m.

87.     15 Sep 1940. Dornier Do17 (German)  was part of Squadron 8/KG76 on a mission to bomb London docks and was attacked by fighters. It is believed to have been shot down by an aircraft from Number 253 Squadron 4 miles north west of Herne Bay at 12.20 p.m.

88.     15 Sep 1940. DORNIER DO17Z. (German) (Historic England Reference 3405 U5+FT) Dornier Do17 of Squadron 9/KG2 was on a mission to bomb St. Katherine Docks in London when it's starboard engine was damaged in an attack by an aircraft from Number 46 Squadron. It jettisoned its bomb load and crashed off Herne Bay at 3.15 p.m.

89.     15th September 1940. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1, P3577 of 303 Squadron, Northolt, piloted by Sgt. M. Brzezowski was shot down 1505hrs by Messerschmitt Bf 109s over Gravesend and crashed into the Thames Estuary. The pilot was listed as missing.

90.     15 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. R4085. 310 Sqn. F/O A Hess. Safe. Bailed out over Thames Estuary. Plane crashed Billericay, Essex.

91.     15 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. R4087. 310 Sqn. Sgt. J Hubaeck. Wounded.  Bailed after combat over Thames Estuary. Plane crashed at Pitsea. Essex.

92.      15 Sep 1940. Messerschmitt Me 109E4 (German). was shot down over Sheppey and crashed at Shellness. The pilot, Unteroffizier August Klick was wounded but parachuted to safety and was taken prisoner.

93.     18th Sep 40. Spitfire 1. R6925. 66 Sqn. P/0 J. R. Mather Safe. Bailed out after combat over Thames Estuary.

94.     8 Sep. 1940. Junkers Ju88 (German) (Historic England Reference 3162 3Z+FS) of Squadron 8/KG77 was on a mission to bomb Tilbury Docks when it was damaged by ant- aircraft fire and attacked by fighters. It crashed off the Nore at 5.30 p.m.

95.     18 Sep 1940. Junkers Ju88 (German) (Historic England Reference 5100 3Z+HS) of Squadron 8/KG77 on a mission to bomb Tilbury Docks when it was attacked by Spitfires from Number 92 Squadron and other fighters from Numbers 242, 66 and 249. It crashed into the Thames Estuary off Sheerness at 5.30 p.m.

96.     18 Sep 1940. Junkers Ju88  (German) (Historic England Reference 5098 3Z+KRA). of Squadron 7/KG77 was on a mission to bomb Tilbury Docks when it was attacked by fighters. After sustaining damaged it ditched in the sea 25 miles off Shoeburyness at 5.30 p.m.

97.     23rd September 1940. Hawker Hurricane Mk. 1, P3226. 73 Squadron. P/O D. S. Kinder. Shot down by Messerschmitt Bf 109s over the Thames Estuary. Pilot Officer D. S. Kinder was badly burned.

98.     23 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. P2962. 257 Sqn. Sgt. D. J. Aslin. Wounded. Bailed out and burnt after being shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

99.    23 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. L2036. 73 Sqn. P/0 N. C. Langham-Hobart. Wounded. Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary. Rescued from Estuary but badly burnt.

100.     3 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. V7445 “A”. 73 Sqn. Sgt. S. F. Perkin. Safe.  Bailed out after combat with Me 109 over Sheppey.

101.    27 Sep 40. Hurricane 1. V6645. 501 Sqn. P/O E. M. Gunter. Killed. Bailed out in combat over Sittingbourne but parachute failed.

102.    2nd October 1940. Messerschmitt Me 109E4 (German) was shot down over the Thames Estuary by F/Lt. Brian John George Carbury, who was born in Wellington, New Zealand.

103.    11 Oct 1940. Spitfire Mk.1, P9447. 41 Sqd. P/O J. G. Lecky, shot down by Messerschmitt Me 109s and crashed at Great Bells Farm, Eastchurch. The pilot bailed out, but was killed.

104.    11 Oct 1940. SPITFIRE MK 1, (British) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1, made a crash landing on Sheppey the pilot was uninjured.

105.    Saturday 12 Oct 1940. Messerschmitt Me109 (German) (Historic England Reference 5256) of Squadron 4/JG52 was shot down by fighters and crashed in the Thames Estuary off Sheerness. The pilot was killed.

106.     15 Oct 40. Hurricane 1. 46 Sqn. F/Sgt. E. E. Williams. Killed. Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary. Crashed near Gravesend.

107.    15 Oct 40. Hurricane 1. V6789. 46 Sqn. Sgt. A. T. Gooderham. Wounded. Bailed out after combat with Me 109 over Thames Estuary. Slightly burnt. Plane crashed near Gravesend.

108.    15 Oct 40. Spitfire 1. R6838. 92 Sqn. Sgt. K. B. Parker Killed. Shot down by Me 109 over Thames Estuary. Plane crashed in mud flats at All Hallows.

109.    15 Oct. 40. Spitfire 1. X4418. 92 Sqn. F/Lt. C. B. F. Kingscome. Wounded. Bailed out after combat with Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

31th October 1940 Last daylight raid by the German Luftwaffe over the UK. It is finally the end of the Battle of Britain. However night-time attacks continue throughout the winter of 1940-41 only ending when the Luftwaffe move east to attack the Soviet Union.

110.    1 Nov 1940. Junkers Ju87 (German) (Historic England Reference 5227 6G+KS) of Squadron 5/StG1 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from HMS Royal Eagle, from Sheerness which it attacked. It crashed into the Thames Estuary at 2.30 p.m.

111.    2 Nov. 40. Hurricane 1. L1842. 310 Sqn.  Sgt.  J. Kominek. Safe. Bailed out after aircraft caught fire over Sheppey, Kent. Plane crashed at Warden on the Isle of Sheppey and damaged a bungalow.

112.    5 Nov. 40. Hurricane 1. P2806. 242 Sqn. P/O N. Hart. Killed. Shot down by Me 109 off Sheerness, Thames Estuary.

113.    5 Nov. 40. Spitfire II. P7545. 19 Sqn. F/O F. Hradil. Killed. Shot down by Me 109 off Southend, Thames Estuary.

114.    5 Nov. 40. Hurricane 1. V6619. 310 Sqn. Sgt. R Puda. Safe. Bailed out after attack by Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

115.    5 Nov 40. Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 P2806, 242 Sqn. P/O N. Hart.  Shot down by Bf 109s off Sheerness, Kent.

116.     5 Nov. 40. Hurricane 1. 310 Sqn. Sgt. M. Jiroudek. Safe.  Shot down over Sittingbourne by British Anti-aircraft fire.

117.     11 Nov. 40. Hurricane 1. 17 Sqn. P/O D. H. Wissler. V7570. Shot down while attacking an Me 109 over Thames Estuary.

118.     15 Nov 1940. ME109E Messerschmitt Me109 (German) was shot down over the Thames Estuary. The pilot landed near Eastchurch and was taken prisoner.

119.     15 Nov 1940. Enemy fighter probably a Messerschmitt 109 Shot down over Sheerness and crashed in Thames Estuary.

120.     15 Nov 1940. Enemy fighter probably a Messerschmitt 109 Shot down and crashed on Sheppey.

121.     27 Nov 1940. Junkers Ju88 (German) was shot down and crashed into the sea off Sheerness.
1941

122.     1941 (exact date not known) JUNKERS JU88A-5 (Historic England Reference 6396 7T+ML) Junkers Ju88 of Squadron 3/KGr606 was shot down by a Beaufighter from Number 29 Squadron, exploded and crashed 6 miles north east of Sheerness Boom.

123.     5 Jan 1941. Airspeed Oxford, being flown by Amy Johnson from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington went off course, due to very poor weather conditions, run out of fuel and crashed into the Thames Estuary. Amy died.

124.     1 Feb 1941. Unidentified German aircraft crashed into the Thames Estuary about one-mile north Sheerness.

125.     3 Feb 1941. Heinkel He111 (Historic England Reference 5517 A1+ANA) of Squadron 5/KG53 was shot down by a cannon armed Spitfire V of Number 92 Squadron and crashed in the Thames Estuary near Southend at 3.50 p.m.

126.     13 Jun. 41. Havoc 1 (DB 7) AX848 “K” 85 Sqn. Sgt. T. C. E. Berkeley. Sgt. R. Carr. Both killed. Shot down while attacking He111 on a night sortie over Thames Estuary.

127.     28 June 1941. Enemy aircraft crashed in sea off Sheerness, two crew rescued.  

128.     07 July 1941. Enemy aircraft shot down and crashed in the Thames Estuary.

12 July 1941. The body of Lieutenant Franz Andreas, believed to be from the aircraft which crashed on the 7th July was bought by boat to Sheerness and taken to RAF Eastchurch. He was later buried in Halfway Grave Yard.

129.     28 July 1941. JUNKERS JU88A-5. Junkers Ju88 was shot down and crashed into the sea 8 miles east of Sheerness.  

130.     7 Aug. 41. Spitfire 1. P8591 222 Sqn. Sgt. Maskery. Safe.  While on Air Rescue Service escort duty Shot down by two Me 109. Crashed landed at Minster.

1942

131.     12 March 1942. SPITFIRE MK 1, (British) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1 made a force landing at Brambledown opposite the Greyhound Pub. The pilot went into the Greyhound for a well-deserved drink.

132.     26 March 1942. DEFIANT.  A Defiant aircraft crash landed and burnt at Harty on the Isle of Sheppey. Two of the crew were killed.

133.     1 March 1942. MANCHESTER BOMBER. Manchester bomber crashed on Sheppey, all crew were killed.

134.     2 May 42. Spitfire Vb. BL633 124 Sqn. F/Sgt. T. C. MacFarlane RCAF. Killed. Lost in cloud while on convoy patrol over Thames Estuary.

135.     2 June 42. Spitfire Vb. EN850. 403 Sqn. P/O R Wozniak. Safe.  Attacked by Fe 109’s over Thames Estuary and crash landed at Southend.

136.     7 July 1942. BEAU FIGHTER. (British) Bristol Type 156 Beau fighter (often referred to simply as the "Beau") a multi-role aircraft, crashed on RAF Bombing Range at Leysdown, Sheppey.

137.     16 Oct 42. BLACKBURN ROC MK 1 (Historic England Reference L3146). Blackburn Roc Mk.1 fighter, a version of the Skua fitted with a four-gun turret had its engine cut out and ditched in the Thames Estuary.

1943

138.     1943 (exact date unrecorded). JUNKERS JU88S-1 (Historic England Reference 140581 3E+US).
Junkers Ju88 of Squadron 8/KG6 was shot down by a Mosquito Mk XII from Number 85 Squadron and crashed into the Thames Estuary off Foulness at 8.38 p.m.

139.     27 Aug 1943. B17 FORTRESS (American) An American B17 Flying Fortress ditched into the Thames Estuary. It was beached at Marine Parade, Sheerness on the 31 Aug 1943. One of its fuel tanks exploded while it was being salvaged. 

1944

140.     1944 (exact date unrecorded). JUNKERS JU88A-4 (German) (Historic England Reference F1+AK)
Junkers Ju88 of Squadron 2/KG76 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the Thames Estuary

141.     1944 (exact date unrecorded). JUNKERS JU88A-4 (Historic England Reference 301346 B3+MP)
Junkers Ju88 that was part of Squadron 6/KG54. It was shot down by 3.7inch anti-aircraft guns and crashed one-mile north of Whitstable in the Thames Estuary.

142.     January 1944. B17 FORTRESS (American). B17 Flying Fortress Bomber nicknamed "Hang the Expense", piloted by Frank Valesh of the 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbot returning from a bombing raid on Frankfurt crash landed at RAF Eastchurch.  An 88mm shell from an anti-aircraft battery had hit the plane causing extensive damage including blowing off a large part of the rudder and the complete rear gunner's compartment. The rear gunner, Sgt. Roy Urich was missing presumed dead but was later to be found in a prisoner of war camp.

143.     9 March 44. Mustang III, FX 973. 65 Sqn. F/O P. Harrison. Killed. Crashed off Thames Estuary.

144.     29 April 44. Spitfire XIV, 91 Sqn.  RB187. F/O J. A. Collis. Killed. Patrol over Thames Estuary.

145.     01 Aug 1944. LIBERATOR. (American) B 24 Liberator, an American heavy bomber crashed on Sheerness rifle range and was completely wrecked. Three crew bailed out.

146.     11 Sep 1944. B17 FORTRESS (American) B17 Flying Fortress Bomber of 349th squadron 100th Bomber group, 8th US Air Force was hit by flack over Germany and crashed at Harty Ferry. The Pilot Capt. F. J. Herres and crew bailed out after crossing the English coast.

The Spitfire (Not a lot of difference in these two pictures between the Hurricane and the Spitfire, is there?)  The Spitfire had thinner wings than the Hurricane and was faster and more manoeuvrable. Note the bubble canopy.

Losses of pilots leading up to Dunkirk and on to the onset of the Battle of Britain meant experienced pilots were in short supply with less than half of the RAF pilots having any combat experience. Pilots from Commonwealth countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada were recruited into the RAF. Pilots from the countries of conquered Europe including Poles and Czechs also joined the RAF.

GERMAN PLANES (THE LUFTWAFFE)  IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN WERE:

Messerschmitt 109

Messerschmitt 109 was a German fighter plane with a top speed of between 292mph and 385 mph depending on model and was comparable to the Spitfire.  They were fitted with fuel injectors instead of carburettors and could dive without stalling, a tactic many would use to evade opponents in battle.

THE ENEMY ABOVE.

GERMAN BOMBERS OVER SHEPPEY


ENEMY PLANES OVER SHEPPEY.

PLANES SHOT DOWN OR CRASHED DURING WW2 1939-1945 ON SHEPPEY AND IN THE THAMES ESTUARY.

Between June and October 1940 the greatest air battle ever seen was fought in the skies above England. Known as the Battle of Britain, the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe waged a bitter struggle for air supremacy which lasted for almost four months. At the hands of the RAF the Third Riche would suffer its first defeat.

With the fall of Dunkirk, massed across the England Channel, waiting to invade England were two German Army Groups consisting of half a million men and 650 tanks. Britain had only 200 tanks to counter this invasion but they did have the Royal Air Force.

Phase one of Hitler’s plan to invade Great Britain was for the Royal Air Force to be destroyed.

Often criticised, leading up to the Battle of Britain, it was the policy of the RAF to respond to Luftwaffe (German Air Force) attacks with minimum force and by so doing preserving their Fighter Aircraft for the battle they knew was inevitable.

BRITISH PLANES (THE RAF) IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN WERE:
The Hurricane.

The Hurricane had a top speed of 328 mph, was fast to manufacture, damage resistant and quick to repair. It had armour between the pilot and engine and behind pilot. It also had a bullet proof windscreen. Two thirds of the British fighter in the battle of Britain were Hurricanes.

German top fighter the Messerschmitt Me 109.


Messerschmitt 110

The Messerschmitt 110 was a German long range escort fighter with a top speed of 349 mph. It had twin engine and was a two seater with a gunner facing the rear. It was too cumbersome to take on the Spitfire.

Planes shot down or crashed into the Thames Estuary or on Sheppey.


The Stuka Dive-bomber (Ju87)

And yes, shipping was lost to torpedoes, but not from submarines. They were torpedoed by Schnellboots , German Motor Torpedo boat. Know to the British as E (Enemy) Boats.


The German Stuka Dive Bomber, the Junkers Ju87.


Heinkel 111.

Heinkel 111 was a German bomber with a top speed of 247mph and carried a bomb loads of 4,410 pounds. 

The Hurricane had thicker wings than the Spitfire and a fabric fuselage behind the cockpit.

The Spitfire.

The Spitfire had a top speed of 362 mph and was faster than the Hurricane due to the thinner wings. It had the same armour as the Hurricane. The wings were difficult to make and production was slow. Its bubble canopy gave an excellent all round view, an invaluable attribute in a dog fight.

The German (Junkers) Ju 88.


LEAD UP TO THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN.

Prior to the Battle of Britain Germany had about 4500 aircraft. Of these 1600 were bombers and 1100 fighters, about 70 percent fit for battle.

A vital component of the Battle of Britain was the speedily repair of damaged aircraft and the manufacture of new ones.

In June of 1940 Germany had built fewer than 900 aircraft including only 140 single engine fighters.

The British had built three times as many in the same period.

On the 13th August 1940 British radar detected a huge build up of aircraft over occupied Belgium and France. Eighty-eight Dornier 17 bombers together with a huge fighter escort of one hundred and thirty 109’s backed up by another sixty 109’s from the crack 26th fighter wing flew a sweep over Kent and the Isle of Sheppey.

Thirty-nine British fighters were scrambled to intercept, but vastly outnumbered they could make little impact on such a powerful force. The bombers split into two groups bombing Rochester and RAF Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey.

Eastchurch was in the control of Coastal Command and not part of Fighter Command but evidently the Luftwaffe though it was. RAF Eastchurch received a great deal of bomb damage with many planes damaged beyond repair and twelve people were killed and twenty-six badly wounded and buildings damaged. The base’s operational room had taken a direct hit, which destroyed all communications.  

Eastchurch was bombed again on August 15th and August 20th. Most of the base’s personnel had moved off the base after the August 13th raid, so there were no casualties. However, the runway was once again badly damaged

 A further heavy attack on September 2nd killed four people and did major damage to the base when an ammunition magazine suffered a direct hit.

15 September 1940 is the turning point in the Battle of Britain. The Germans mounted a huge raid but Radar gave the British plenty of time to assemble their aircraft. The Germans pilots had been told that the British were down to their last 150 fighter planes and it came as a complete surprise to be met with overwhelming force. So furious was the British attack that many German bombers jettisoned their bombs at random and ran for the channel.  A second German raid was also met with numbers of British fighters which shocked the Germans.

In the two raids the Germans lost 56 aircraft destroyed, 12 crashed landed and many more severely damaged with dead and wounded crew.

RAF had lost 20 hurricanes and seven spitfires with seven more crash landing.

During the Battle of Britain 746 British fighters were lost and 520 pilots were killed.

On the German side 1733 aircraft of all types were lost and 2600 German airman killed.

Below are some of the numerous planes shot down over Sheppey and the Thames Estuary during WW2.

German Messerschmitt 110, long range escort fighter. 

Junkers 87.

The Junkers Ju87, the Stuka, was a German dive bomber with a top speed 232 mph. It carried a bomb load of 1100 pounds and its aim was accurate to within a hundred feet. It was fitted with sirens to strike terror into the enemy and had automatic dive brakes to pull it out of its steep attack. It main role was to support infantry action. 

The German bomber Heinkel 111.

Dornier 17.

The Dornier 17 was a German bomber with a top speed 265 mph and carried a bomb load of 2,200 pounds. It had no armour protection to protect the pilot or crew. It was manoeuvrable for a bomber and could bomb in a shallow dive.

Formation of Dornier 17 German Bombers over England.

Junkers 88.

The Junkers 88 was a German bomber with a top speed of 298 mph and carried a bomb load of 3,968 pounds. It was Germany’s most effective bomber and considered by the RAF to be the best war plane of its type anywhere.

THE ENEMY AT OUR DOOR

SCHNELLBOOT, German Motor Torpedo boat.

Called by the British the E-Boat, simply meaning Enemy Boat. The Royal Navy could never match the German E-boats and their own boats were inferior in almost every way except for the courage of their crews.

E-Boats were faster, bigger, more stable, more heavily armed and had a lower silhouette then our Motor Torpedo Boats. They also had a “quiet” engine when they needed to hide. They had a matt silver night camouflage. Armament:
Torpedo Tubes: 2 × 53.3 cm (21 inches) torpedo in tubes, with room for 2 more torpedoes (for reloading).
Guns: 1 × 20 mm gun, 1 × 40 mm gun.
Length: 34.9 m (114 feet 6 inches). Weight: up to 120 tons. Speed: 43.8 knots.
Engines: Three 20-cylinder 2000 h.p. Daimler-Benz MB501 diesels driving three shafts.

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