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Mission: Night intruder sortie - Aerodromes in Lincolnshire, England.

Date: 14th June 1941

Time: 1.00 a.m.

Unit: 4 Staffel./Nachtjagdgeschwader 2

Type: Junkers Ju 88C-4

Werke Nr.0335

Coded: R4 + DM

Location: Wingland Marsh, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Helmut Baehner. 53576/1078 – Killed. Born 07.12.1912 in Niedersessmar.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Jakob Ried. 69023/14 – Killed. Born 14.05.1916 in Oberhoechstadt.

Gunner: Unteroffizier. Hans Schulz. 60941/2 – Killed. Born 23.10.1915 in Annaberg.


Took-off from Gilze-Rijen at 23.20 hrs. to patrol area C. This aircraft was shot down by a night fighter, caught fire in the air, crashed into mud flats and broke up. Markings: D in black, outlined in white. One victory stripe on the fin dated 9/4/41. Airframe was constructed by Junkers, Dessau in 10/40. Engines: Jumo 211 G-1. Port engine no. MMWG1/465 and starboard no. MZK G1/1149. Armament: two MG 15 found and eight 50 kg bombs with no. 25 fuses, seven being unexploded. The wireless operator baled out but his parachute only half opened. Rest of the crew unidentifiable.

On the night of the 13/14th June 1941, No. 25 Squadron (B) Flight was again active in the skies over the East Coast. P/O D. W. Thompson and P/O L. D. Britain took off from Wittering at 22.50 hours in a Beaufighter on routine patrol controlled by Digby. Meanwhile at Gilze-Rijen 4/NJG2 were also active, at 23.00 hours (German time) Uffz Helmut Baehner (Pilot) Uffz Jakob Ried (R/Op) and Uffz Heinz Schulz (Gunner) were preparing themselves for their mission to patrol RAF aerodromes in Lincolnshire, little did they know that this would be their last!

23 Uffz Baehner & Ju 88
Uffz Helmut Baehner with his Ju 88C R4 + EM, Gilze-Rijen, Netherlands 1941 (Rief)

From P/O Britain’s combat report the following is known;

After being on patrol controlled by Diby, we were handed over to Orby G.C.I. at 0030 hours and at 0045 hours we were vectoured on a curve into a stern chase and almost immediately I obtained a blip. We were at 10,000 feet and I instructed the pilot to climb in pursuit of the enemy, which I estimated to be ahead and about two miles away. After climbing to 14,000 feet I got a minimum range on the A.I and a few moments later the pilot reported that he had got a visual of an enemy aircraft about 300-400 feet away and 200 feet above and flying west at 140/150 m.p.h. P/O Thompson immediately slowed and started to follow the enemy aircraft which disappeared from view, I maintained A.I contact and a few minutes later the pilot reported that he had got a second visual which was lost, although four exhaust flames were plainly visable at one time.However, we tried again and minimum range was reached on the A.I and looking out to port I got a visual of the enemy a/c about 300 feet away, I told the pilot who at once crossed over so as to get a silhouette against the northern light and we identified the e/a as a He 111 (in fact it was Baehner’s Ju 88) which was still flying west and gradually climbing. At 0105 after a chase of about twenty minutes P/O Thompson closed right in and fired a short burst from the port quarter at about 100 feet range which immediately caused the enemy aircraft’s starboard engine to burst into flames.

Inside Baehner’s Ju 88 the crew were obviously in shock after being caught unaware by the guns of Thompson’s Beaufighter. Desperately, the twenty-five year old radio-operator Heinz Schulz tried to extricate himself from the aircraft as it dived to the ground but to no avail as his body was found in the harness of his unopened parachute. Neither Helmut Baehner nor his Gunner, Jakob Ried left the aircraft, tragically they were blown to pieces as it exploded on the mudflats of Wingland Marsh, near Terrington, Norfolk. A total of thirty-six 20mm cannon shells from four cannon guns were fired at this aircraft.

No return fire came from e/a which dived in flames and exploded on the ground near Terrington.Visability was fair, with some cloud, but no help from the moon. There were no technical failures and the A.I worked very well. We landed at Wittering at 0150 hours

21 Family Baehner
Letter written by Oberleutnant. Bohn to Mrs Baehner, dated 16th June 1941. (Brownless)
Oblt. Bohn was killed in action on the 26.06.1941, just ten days after he wrote this letter.

25 Uffz Schulz, Uffz Baehner, Uffz Ried + 14.06.41
The ill-fated crew of R4 + AM (Rief)

From L to R; Uffz Heinz Schulz, Uffz Helmut Baehner and Uffz Jakob Ried.

Sadly, the only identifiable body recovered at the crash site was that of the gunner, Uffz. Heinz Schulz, his remains were taken to Sutton Bridge and later on the 19.06.41 was laid to rest in the Sutton Bridge Churchyard. The body of the pilot, Uffz. Helmut Bähner has no known official grave, yet from the Minute Sheet, Air Ministry File No. LL35091/53 it states an unknown with Uffz. Schulz, identification disc number 53576/1078 (for either of these two men) yet this disc number is that of the pilot Baehner, one can only assume that the remains found were buried with Uffz. Schulz. The last crew member, Uffz. Jakob Ried was washed ashore on the Norfolk Coast on the 07.07.41, his grave incorrectly has this date for his date of death, he now lies in the cemetery at Great Bircham, Norfolk.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless May 2013 with special thanks to Roswith Rief, daughter of Helmut Baehner. September 1996.