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Mission: Attack on industrial target in Birmingham, England.

Date: 20
th November 1940

Time: 00.35 hours.

Unit: 3 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 54

Type: Junkers Ju 88A-5

Werke Nr.2189

Code: B3 + YL

Location: Stocks Lane, East Wittering, Chichester, Sussex. Q.2417.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Franz Sondermeier.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Heinrich Liebermann. – Killed.

Radio/Op: Obergefreiter. Georg Seuss.

Flt/Eng: Flieger. Peter May. – Killed.


Started from Evreux at 22.44 hrs. to bomb an aircraft factory in Birmingham. Four 50 kg bombs in fuselage and two 250 kg bombs on wings. The course taken by this aircraft was Evreux - Cherbourg, landfall west of the Isle of Wight on a direct course to Birmingham at 15,000 ft. En route the aircraft was caught by searchlights and fired at by AA, just before reaching Birmingham they were attacked by a night fighter from behind, the starboard engine being hit, they jettisoned the bombs and turned for home. Nearing the coast and loosing height the starboard engine caught fire, so the crew baled out. Aircraft dived into the ground and was completely burnt out. A few .303 strikes were found in the wing spar.

Markings: Y in yellow. Shield; Death's Head in White. One plate shows airframe or component made by Henschel F.W., licence Junkers.

Damaged by F/Lt J. Cunningham and Sgt J. Phillipson in a Beaufighter (R2098) of No. 604 Squadron over the Midlands and flew on to crash at Stocks Lane. Recorded as the first “kill” by an A1 equipped Beaufighter. Uffz. Sondermeier and Gefr. G. Seuss baled out and taken prisoner. Uffz. Liebermann and Flg. May killed.

1 John Cunningham
Combat report of John “Cats eyes” Cunningham

2 Combat Report

3 Combat Report 2

4 Young boy close up to wreckage
A very young boy studies the smashed wreckage of the Junkers. (Pat Burgess Collection)

5 Close inspection of wreckage
With crowds still coming from all around all interest was with the Junkers. (Pat Burgess Collection)

6 Young boy with tail wheel
Another young boy looks at the Junkers tail wheel. (Pat Burgess Collection

7 Overall view of crash site
Overall view looking at the crash site, the impact area being in the foreground. (Pat Burgess Collection)

Items recovered by the Wealden Aviation Archaeological Group in October 1977 included propeller blades now in the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum.

8 Wealden dig
The team carefully remove the turf before digging commences. (Pat Burgess Collection)

9 Wealden dig
Assorted aircraft wreckage is discovered still buried. (Pat Burgess Collection)

10 Prop blade Wealden dig

11 Prop blade Wealden digcc12 Jumo engine Wealden dig
The surviving Propeller blade and remains of Junkers Jumo 211 motor. (Pat Burgess Collection)

13 Access panel with label Wealden dig
An access panel with instruction label (Achtung). (Pat Burgess Collection)

14 Makers plates Wealden dig

15 Makers plate Wealden dig
Small makers labels found on the dig. (Pat Burgess Collection)

Burial detail: Peter May West Thorney, Sussex.

16 Cannock Chase Cemetery

Heinrich Liebermann Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof Cannock Chase, Staffs, England. Block 1 Grave 74.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless. Special thanks to the late Pat Burgess for material from his archive and not forgetting Nigel Parker. March 2015

The British Library is preserving this site for the future in the UK Web Archive at All Aircrew Remembered on our Remembrance pages, are therefor not just remembered here, but also subsequently remembered and recorded as part of our nation’s history
and heritage at The British Library.