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Mission: Attack on Bristol, England.

Date: 29
th July 1940

Time: 02.00 hours.

Unit: 8 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 55

Type: Heinkel He 111P

Werke/Nr. (not known)

Coded: G1 + CS

Location: Fullers Lane, East Woodhay, SW of Newbury, Berkshire, England.

Pilot: Feldwebel. Theodor Metzner 58246/222 – Captured POW.

Observer: Feldwebel. Josef Markl 58246/221 – Surrendered POW.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Kurt Böker 58246/241 – Captured POW.

Flt/Eng: Gefreiter. Ernst Ostheimer 58246/270 – Captured POW.

Gunner: Gefreiter. Heinz Morgenthal 58246/223 – Captured POW.


This aircraft was hit by AA fire during a mission to attack Bristol, possibly the Bristol Aircraft Company factory at Filton. All crew bailed out of the stricken aircraft. The Observer, Josef Markl holds the distinction of staying on the run longer than any other Luftwaffe airman in Britain. On July 29
th 1940, he was the observer aboard G1 + CS during an attack on Bristol. Anti aircraft fire damaged the flying controls, port wing and engine, forcing the crew to bale out before the Heinkel crashed in Fullers Lane, near Newbury.

Metzner and Böker were first to be captured, Ostheimer and Morgenthal stayed at large for 48 hours, but of Josef Markl there was no trace. He landed in trees and, after extracting himself, destroying his papers and hiding his flying gear, he set out to give himself up in Newbury. After wandering around the town Markl considered he would rather be captured than surrender himself, so he settled down in an area of nettles and bracken some 500 yards out of town. Here he stayed, eating crops from the fields and drinking a little water. He even made some forays around his neighbourhood, but eventually on Bank Holiday Monday, 5
th August, he decided to give himself up.

Weak from hunger, Markl walked in the rain to Newbury where a man and a girl on bicycles saw him – but rode away at speed. One car passed him by, but a second stopped and reversed back along the road to him. In the car was Lady Buckland, who instructed her chauffeur, Mr Nicholls, to drive to the police station. Josef Markl surrendered his pistol and 16 rounds of ammunition before being taken into custody for the duration. He later remarked he had been “Agreeably surprised” at the way he had been treated.

Fw. Theodore Metzner
nd from left is Theodor Metzner, the ill-fated pilot of the Newbury Heinkel (Hall)

29.07.40 He 111 Uffz Kurt BîkercccKurt Bîker x2
Radio operator Kurt Böker (Brownless)

He 111 crash Newbury
The wreck of Metzner’s Heinkel He 111P in Fullers Lane, Newbury. (Hall)

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless with special thanks to Steve Hall (1990), updated August 2013.