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Mission: Reconnaissance – Manchester, England.

Date: 30th March 1941

Time: 15.15 hours.

Unit: 1 Staffel./Fernaufklärungsgruppe 123

Type: Junkers Ju 88A


Coded: 4U + GH (Gustav)

Location: Eston Moor, Guisborough, South of Middlesborough, Cleveland, England.

Pilot: Leutnant Wolfgang Schlott. 69004/202 – Missing.
Born 06.02.1919 in Saarbrücken.

Observer: Leutnant. Otto Meinhold. 69004/201 – Missing.
Born 07.12.1914 in Waldenburg.

Radio/Op: Feldwebel. Wilhelm Schmigale. 53577/757 – Missing.
Born 22.01.1915 in Gollendorf/Frankenstein.

Gunner: Unteroffizier. Hans Steigerwald. 69004/51 – Killed. Born 17.09.1913 in Partenstein.


This aircraft was intercepted by and shot down from 24,000 feet by F/Lt Tony Lovell DFC in a Spitfire (X4683) of No.41 Squadron. The Junkers Ju 88, coded 4U + GH dived into the soft ground of Eston Moor and exploded on impact. Remains of at least two airmen scattered over a large area. The gunner, Uffz. Hans Steigerwald baled out wounded, tragically his parachute failed to open and he fell to his death. His body was later found doubled up in a stream, in wood’s off Flatts Lane, Normanby.

The following information was compiled from Air-Intelligence reports, R.A.F. Combat Reports, No. 41 Squadron Operational Record Book.

This particular reconnaissance unit has been based at Paris-Buc since mid-1940 under the command of Gruppenkommandeur Oberstleutnant. Gerhard Kopper and Staffelkapitän Oberleutnant. Armin Goebel. For the mission to Manchester, Leutnant Wolfgang Schlott (Pilot) Leutnant Otto Meinhold (Observer) Feldwebel Wilhelm Schmigale (Radio/Op) and (Gunner) Unteroffizier Hans Steigerwald were briefed at Paris-Buc for this operation, but the actual start of the mission would be made from Stavanger, Norway.

At 0902 hours B,S,T on the 27th March 1941, Lt. Schlott and his crew took off from Paris- Buc in their Junkers Ju 88, Werke Nr.0115 and proceeded flying by the beacon at Noordwijk on a course to Stavanger, after an uneventful flight Lt. Schlott landed without problems at 1228 hours. Two days later on the 29th, Junkers Ju 88 (4U + GH) made an unknown flight lasting just four hours!
On the 30th March 1941, the crew prepares for the mission to Manchester, Lt. Meinhold checking flight details with his comrade Lt. Schlott. The ground crews have also been very busy refuelling and re-arming the aircraft, also not forgetting the photographic department installing new film and lenses for the onboard cameras. At 13.05 hours, the 4U + GH left Stavanger en-route to Manchester! Little did the crew know that in two hours time their lives will be lost, but even more tragic is the fact that three of them would remain listed missing in action until this present day.

Combat Report

Extract from file Air 50/18 PRO Tony Lovell’s Form „F“

I was ordered to intercept an enemy raid with Blue 2. We climbed through 7,000 feet of cloud and came out into clear blue sky. We climbed fast on a vector of 010 degrees and at 17,000 feet saw smoke trails on the left about 7,000 feet above, going in the opposite direction.

We climbed flat out in a climbing turn and followed his smoke trail, which hid us very effectively. At 250 yards, I opened fire at fuselage and saw de Wilde (.303 ammo) hitting and bits came off. He dived steeply to the left, and I started firing again. On breaking away to the left, I saw right engine just ticking over and then one of the crew baled out, and then it started to dive and turn, apparantly out of control, and dissapeared into cloud. The parachute of the crew did not open.

Signed F/Lt. Lovell „B“ Flight

Note: During this combat F/Lt. Lovell fired 2,720 rounds at the enemy aircraft.

Eight months earlier, (28.07.40.) F/Lt Tony Lovell then F/O narrowly missed death when his Spitfire P9429 was involved in combat with Bf 109’s in the Channel off Dover. F/O Lovell managed to get his crippled aircraft back to base (No.41 Squadron), even though he himself was wounded in the thigh, his Spitfire was repaired and he was admitted to Margate hospital. Subsequent research reveals that F/O Lovell was attacked by the legendary Luftwaffe ace, Major. Werner Mölders of JG51.

Tragically, Wing Commander Anthony Desmond Joseph Lovell DSO & DFC was killed in a flying accident on the 17.08.1945, sadly he was only aged 26.

(1) Ju 88 (4u+GH) (Brownless)
The Junkers 88 4U + GH at Paris-Buc,1941 (Brownless)

(2) Meinhold & Schlottccc(3) Schlott & Meinhold
Otto Meinhold in conversation with his pilot Wolfgang Schlott, Paris-Buc, March 1941 (Brownless)

(4) Wilhelm Schmigaleccc(5) Hans Steigerwald
Feldwebel. Wilhelm Schmigale Unteroffizier. Hans Steigerwald

(6) 1st left Hans Steigerwald with another crew
Left, Hans Steigerwald with Gefr. Höfs, Müller & Uffz. Hellwig (Steigerwald)

(7) Ju 88 crash site via Bill Norman
Officers and men of No. 41 Squadron Catterick inspect the wreckage of the ill-fated Junkers Ju 88. The officer standing in centre of the photo could possibly be P/O. Archie Winskill, note that this officer is still wearing his flying boots. (Via Norman)


Ju 88. Crashed on 30.03.41 at 15.15 hours at BARNABY MOOR, near Guisborough, Yorks. Map ref. V.0738.

One plate from a component showed Junkers F.W. series 38836.09/10; date of manufacture November 1939.

The aircraft is said to have been engaged at high altitude by fighters and dived into the ground at great speed, the engine and most of the airframe being entirely buried. Traces of several MG 15’s were found and a few pieces of armour. A considerable quantity of developed film was found amongst the wreckage, although no trace of the actual cameras were found. The film has been sent to D.D. photo’s for examination.

Crew; probably four, one man baled out and the parachute opened but he was dead from bullet wounds when found, the remainder probably in crater.

(8) Remains of Jumo 211 engine
Remains of Junkers Jumo 211 engine recovered by Ken Ward in 1977 (Brownless)

Recovery 1977 and subsequent „finds“

During the summer of 1977, local aviation enthusiast Mr Ken Ward of Chopgate, together with the farmer Mr Ryder excavated the crash site using a mechanical digger. During this excavation the tail-wheel and much airframe aluminium came to light, together with two smashed Junkers Jumo 211 aero engines, undercarriage and two prop blades. One of these blades has a bullet strike, so we believe this was the right (starboard) engine, Tony Lovell mentions the wind-milling right engine after his attack.

The following extract is from a letter from Ken Ward to Melvin Brownless dated 11.09.01.

When we dug the Ju 88 back in 1977, I found insignia from two crew only. The gunner took to his chute, but this did not open! It is strange that I did not find anything from the third member of the crew, but a person who went to the crash said another member baled-out and fell into a deep nasty bog!

Her husband and friends managed to get the chute then run like hell away. They hid the chute for a while, then had it made up into underclothes for the ladies. The old lady still has some of this left today. She still worries that she might get done for stealing the chute!

This means that one crewman still lies on Eston Nab and was not blown to bits on impact. I have a yellow collar patch from the tunic of a Leutnant, there were two Leutnant’s on the plane so it could be either the pilot or observer that died at the crash site.

I also have the insignia from Feldwebel. Schmigale, so it appears that only two men were blown apart when the aircraft hit!

(9) Collar patches 1
Two collar patches that were found at the crash site during the excavation, Ken said that these items were found not deep in the hole but just under the surface! On the left is the insignia of a Leutnant and on the right that of a Feldwebel. (Brownless)


In 1999 Melvin made contact with the son of Hans Steigerwald. It just so happened that my letter addressed to the Bürgermeister of Partenstein ended up on the desk of Heinz Steigerwald, who was in fact the Bürgermeister!

Heinz was very pleased that contact had been made from England regarding the loss of his father and crew. From records held in the National Archive I was able to send Heinz a comprehensive report of his father’s loss. Heinz in turn sent us a photo of his father pictured with another crew of 1./(F)123.

After much correspondence with the Steigerwald family in 2005 it was decided that Heinz would come to England with his wife and daughter to visit Acklam Road Cemetery, Thornaby, to visit the last resting place of his father for the very first time. With the help of Bill Norman a date was arranged for the visit, 16th May. The Steigerwald’s will fly to Newcastle airport to be met by Bill Norman and myself….

Melvin pictured during his first visit to place flowers on the grave of Hans Steigerwald. June 2002. (Brownless)


The Steigerwald family arrive at Newcastle Airport from Partenstein, Germany to be met by Bill Norman (Aviation Historian) and Melvin Brownless (Aircrew Remembrance Society).

Melvin Brownless, Bill Norman in conversation with Dunja Steigerwald. (Steigerwald)

The Steigerwald's at the graveside. (Brownless)

Heinz leaves a plant from Germany at his father’s grave. (Brownless)

Dunja Steigerwald leaves flowers for her grandfather. Last resting place (Brownless)

From : Heinz Steigerwald

Date : 19 May 2005 15:32

To : Mayor of Waldenburg, Germany.

Re : Enquiry into Relatives of War Victims

Dear Colleague!

Last weekend, at the invitation of English historians, I travelled to Middlesbrough in north-east England, as my father was shot down there together with three comrades while doing air reconnaissance on 30.03.1941. As they did with my father, these historians would like to trace family members of other fallen soldiers. I would like to be of assistance to them in this regard, as the work that they do is exemplary. They also look after the graves. One such soldier - an Observer, Otto Meinhold (Leutnant), whose Ju88A was shot down on the 30.04.41 was born in Waldenburg on 07.12.1914. I would like to request you to check your documents to see if there are still any family members or whether they have all since moved away.

Without your assistance, all efforts would fail and it would really be a pity as the way these previous war opponents are looking after our fallen soldiers is really admiral.

I would be most grateful to hear from you.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless (Aircrew Remembrance Society) With special thanks to Bill Norman and the Steigerwald family, updated July 2013.