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Mission: Free-lance fighter sweep over Tunbridge, Kent.

Date: 27th October 1940

Time: 9.40 a.m.

Unit: 7 Staffel/Jagdgeschwader 54

Type: Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1


Coded: 13 + (White, bordered black)

Location: Near Lydd water tower, Lydd, Kent.

Pilot: Unteroffizier Arno Zimmermann (51577/Nr.13) POW. Born 26.10.1919 in Duisburg.


Engine damaged in combat with No.605 Squadron Hurricanes during free-lance fighter sweep over Tunbridge Wells. Possibly that attacked by Sgt E. W. Wright. Aircraft belly landed on beach near Lydd water tower.

A.I.(k) Report No. 815/1940 states the following:

Started from Guines with the whole Gruppe at 08.35 hours, on free-lance patrol. The formation was flying at 23,000 feet on the return flight from London, when they saw a Squadron of Hurricanes below them. Some aircraft dived to the attack, but without success. As this aircraft was climbing again, a Hurricane got on to its tail and fired a burst through the engine. The pilot made for the coast, but the engine faltered badly, and the cockpitfilled with smoke, so he was obliged to make a forced landing.

At the outbreak of war, this pilot was in Fliegerausbildungsregiment 11 at Schönwalde, where he was attending the Flugzeugführerschule A/E. He was then a Gefreiter. On the 15.02.40 he obtained his pilot's certificate, and on the following day he was transferred to Jagd Fliegerschule 3 at Stolp-Reitz. On the 08.05.40 he was posted to 2/JG21, which later became 8/JG54. On 01.08.40 he was promoted to Unteroffizier, and on the 01.09.40 transferred to the 7th Staffel. A week later he was awarded the EK.II (Iron Cross 2nd Class) by Fliegerkorps II.

Arno Zimmermann had made many war flights during the French Campaign and had taken part in 34 raids on London. A mark on the tail of the aircraft indicated that he claimed one victory against British aircraft.

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Uffz. Arno Zimmermann pictured in flight gear. Arno’s Bf 109E on the beach. (A Saunders)

A.I.(g) Report detailing the damage sustained during forced landing. (NA)

Started from Guines with the whole Gruppe at 08.35 hours on a free-lance patrol over London. The formation was flying at 23,000 ft. on the return flight from London, when they saw a squadron of Hurricanes below them; some aircraft dived on them but without success. As this aircraft was climbing to rejoin the Gruppe, a Hurricane got on his tail and fired a burst into the engine. The pilot made for the coast but the engine failed and the cockpit filled with smoke, so he was compelled to make a forced landing. The engine appeared to have seized and had been hit by an incendiary cannon shell which had burnt all plug leads on port side of the engine and had punctured the water jacket. There were a few 303 strikes in port wing.

Markings: 13 in white, outlined in black, the 13 being placed on the fuselage in front of the windscreen and the + half way down the fuselage. Rudder and nose yellow, spinner white. Crest; a white Dutch clog, edged in black, with wings. Camouflage; The upper surface of the wings was darkish grey except for a triangle formed from wing root to trailing edge to a point half way along leading edge. This triangle towards fuselage was a dirty light blue. Fuselage was also dirty light blue dappled with grey. Airframe made by Arado, works no. 109/3576, delivered 14/11/39. Engine: DB 601 A, built by Niedersachsische Motoren Werke no. 20195.

Armament: four MG 17. No ammunition appears to have been expended. Armour; fuselage cross bulkhead and head protection, with curved head shield.

3 109 Lydd

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Armed sentry on guard to deter souvenir hunters!

Research and compiled by Melvin Brownless A.R.S. (2009). Special thanks to Andy Saunders for use of photographs. (Updated May 2015)
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