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Mission: Thorney Island aerodrome, Sussex.

Date: 8th October 1940

Time: 7.30 p.m.

Unit: 8 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 55

Type: Heinkel He 111P-2


Code: G1 + MS

Location: Stanstead Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire.

Pilot: Feldwebel. Ernst Ens 58246/237 - Killed.

Observer: Leutnant. Ulrich Flügge 58246/212 - Killed.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Johannes Ehrensberger 58246/211 - Killed.

Fl/Eng: Unteroffizier. Ernst Herber 58246/214 - Killed.

Gunner: Gefreiter. Hans Pawlik 58246/271 - Killed.


This aircraft was shot down by ground fire and exploded on impact with the ground killing all onboard.

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RAF Intelligence A.I.(k) & A.I.(g) reported the following;

8/10/40 19.30 hrs. He 111 P-2 Wnr.1715 (G1+MS) 8/KG 55

Stanstead House Park, Stoughton, Rowlands Castle, Sussex. Q.1930.

Aircraft crossed the coast at Shoreham and made towards Bognor and Wittering at 500 ft., machine gunning civilians. The aircraft then made off towards Portsmouth, where it was engaged and shot down by machine gun fire from a searchlight post at Lee crashing in flames, with crew on board and exploded on impact, scattering wreckage over several acres. One 50 kg bomb found near wreckage. Markings: Red spinners. On the rudder a yellow shield with three red fishes. Aircraft made by Norddeutsche Dornier werke, reception date September 1939. Engines: DB 601.

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Fritz Pons (via S. Hall)

Report from Ofw. Fritz Pons who was flying as gunner in the G1 + LS remembers the day well;

My C.O. Oberleutnant Jürgen Bartens said to me that as it was my birthday we would go on a raid to England to celebrate. Three aircraft were detailed for this mission, the G1 + LS, G1 + MS and G1 + BS. The gunner of the G1 + MS, Gefreiter Pawlik was a special friend of mine. I was like a father to Pawlik, who was a happy and cheerful type, who before the war had been a barrow-boy selling fruit and vegetables in a German village. On this day I remember that Pawlik was very gloomy and told me that he would rather not go on the mission. Right up until the time of the take-off he remained with me and I tried to reassure him.

Just before dusk the three machines took-off from Villacoublay and set course for England, flying very low to escape detection by radar. On crossing the English coast we were surprised to see a Wellington aircraft taking off from an airfield directly ahead, it flew towards us and passed about 50 metres above. I recall plainly that there was nobody in the rear turret. The pilot of the Wellington had not seen our three He 111's. I asked my C.O. if I could open fire, but was told that it was not our duty on this mission and that we had something else to do. So we went on to bomb England and the British plane went out to bomb Germany.

We flew low over a town and looked down a long straight road seeing the surprised faces of people looking up at us. A short time afterwards we were fired on by some A.A. guns hidden in some trees on our left hand side. I opened fire immediatly with my twin MG15 machine guns. As soon as I opened fire the ground fire ceased. I was however, aware of an explosion on my right hand side. There was a huge mushroom cloud of smoke and fire coming from the trees below and there was only one aircraft following. My pilot, Oberfeldwebel Franz Vonier, shouted over the radio to ask me what had happened. I replied that it must have been Ens. There could be no survivors. After the crash of Ens we went on to drop our bombs and then returned home.

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Ulrich Flügge pictured here as Feldwebel (via Hall) Pilot, Ernst Ens. (via Hall)

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Ernst Herber (via Hall) Hans Pawlik (via Hall)

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Burial details: Note: The body of Feldwebel Ens was the only one of the four crew that could be identified and he was laid to rest at St. Nicholas Churchyard, West Thorney.

We cannot find any burial details regarding the other four crew members, does anyone have further details?

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless with special thanks to Steve Hall for use of his personal KG55 photographs and Clive Ellis for his contribution. (May 2013).