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Mission: Attack on London, England.

Date: 15
th September 1940

Time: 11.50 hours.

Unit: 1 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 76

Type: Dornier Do 17Z

Werk Nr.2361

Coded: F1 + FH

Location: Corner of Wilton Road and Victoria Railway Station Yard, London, SW1, England.

Pilot: Oberleutnant. Robert Zehbe. - Severely wounded, died 16.09.1940.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Hans Goschenhofer. – Killed.

Radio/Op: Obergefreiter. Ludwig Armbruster. – Captured POW.

Flt/Eng: Unteroffizier. Leo Hammermeister. – Wounded POW.

Gunner: Unteroffizier. Gustav Hubel. – Killed.


Started from just south of Beauvais at 10.50 hrs. for Central London, via Cap Griz Nez, Dungeness. The aircraft came over at 15,000 ft. with many others and during the journey they were under moderate A.A. fire, one engine was pulling badly, which caused the aircraft to lag 500 yards behind the main formation. The aircraft is reported to have broken up in mid air following fighter attacks, one engine falling at the corner of Victoria Station and part of a wing about ¼ mile away. Parts and pieces were distributed over a wide area bounded by Putney on one side and Horticultural Hall on the other.

The rear gunner and his part of the aircraft landed at Fulham and the tail unit ended up on a house in Vauxhall Bridge Road. The pilot bailed out and came down at Kennington, where he was fiercely attacked by the crowds, who tore his parachute and harness to shreds. The wireless operator bailed out and landed in Sydnham Wells Park. The bordmechaniker bailed out and landed at Dulwich. Various papers fell out and were found over the whole of South East London.

Post war research revealed that this aircraft was attacked by several pilots which included Sergeants Hubacek, Kaucky, Puda and Flight Lieutenant Jeffries of No.310 Squadron together with Sergeant Holmes of No.504 Squadron and Flying Officer Ogilvie of No.609 Squadron. The Combat Report of Sergeant Holmes reads as follows;

In the attack made by No.504 Squadron I attacked the right flank machine from quarter to astern. Pieces flew from the wings and a flame appeared in the port wing but went out again. After breaking away I climbed up to a single Do 215 and made two quarter attacks. Pieces flew off, my windscreen was now slashed with black oil. I attacked a third time and a member of the crew bailed out. On my fourth attack from the port beam a jar shook my starboard wing as I passed over the e/a and I went into an uncontrollable spin. I think the e/a must have exploded beneath me. I bailed out and as I landed I saw the Dornier hit the ground by Victoria Station, half a mile away. Holme’s Hurricane P2725 crashed in the Buckingham Palace Road, Holmes landed in Hugh Street. Note: This Hurricane was the subject of a major recovery by Mark Kirby and his team.

1 The fuselage of a Dornier Do 17Z
The last moments of the Dornier as it falls towards Victoria Station.

2 Do 17 London
Two views of the remains of the tail unit which landed on a roof in the Vauxhall Bridge Road (Fox Photo)

3 The tail of the Dornier Do17

engine partly embedded (Fox Photo) Last resting place of Robert Zehbe

Burial detail: Robert Zehbe rests in the Military section of Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, England.

Hans Goschenhofer and Gustav Hubel rest in the Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof Cannock Chase, Staffs, England. Graves Block 5/333 and Block 1/132

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless June 2013.