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Mission: Birkenhead Docks, Liverpool, England.

Date: 22nd October 1941

Time: 10.16 p.m.

Unit: 1 Staffel./Küstenfliegergruppe 606

Type: Junkers Ju 88A-4

Werke Nr.1376

Coded: 7T + CH (C in white)

Location: Woore, Shropshire, England.

Pilot: Oberfeldwebel. Herbert Datzert 73711/17 - Killed.

Observer: Gefreiter. Karl Hennemann - POW.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Josef Kolar - POW.

Gunner: Feldwebel. Erich Neukirchen 73711/81 - Killed.


Extract from Blitz 3 "Then and Now."

Shot down by Fl/Lt. Coleman and Fl/Sgt Smith in a Defiant of No. 256 Squadron. Credit shared with P/O. R. P. Stevens D.F.C. and Bar in a Hurricane MKIIC of No.151 Squadron.

Extract from A.I.(k) Intelligence Report No.502/1941;

This aircraft started from Amsterdam/Schipol at 19.00 hours detailed to attack Birkenhead Docks carrying two 500 and two 250 kilo bombs. It is stated that twelve aircraft, the whole of 1./606 took part in the raid.

The 7T + CH flew at 10,000 feet to make landfall at Hull, and then climb to 11,800 feet over Liverpool, from which height the bombs were released. It was thought that those that missed fell into the water. Shortly after releasing the bombs, while still in the target area and flying at 8,200 feet, the aircraft received two direct hits from Anti-Aircraft fire. The first put the starboard engine out of action, and the second shell passed straight through the fuselage. The crew started to bale out, The R/Op leaving first followed by the Observer. Both these men landed safely, but the Pilot and Gunner remained in the aircraft and were killed when it crashed.

The crew of the aircraft, with the exception of the Observer were very experienced. The pilot, in addition to having the EKI and II, had the Gold War Flights Badge and had made 140 war flights. The R/Op had the EK I and II, 4 years service medal and the Silver (60) War Flights Badge. He had in fact, made 92 war flights, and claims to have been over three years with the same Staffel. The Gunner, who had the Bronze (20) War Flights Badge, had in fact completed 35. The Observer joined the G.A.F. on 01.02.1940, was posted to I./606 two months earlier and was making his first war flight.

Woore Ju 88 crash report
Copy of Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report A.I.2(g) 6/86 (National Archive)

Martin & Mel
Sunday, 4th February 1990, Martin O'Brien and Melvin Brownless, together with the then Phillipa Hodgkiss search for the crash site. Unfortunately nothing was found on this visit. (Brownless)

Woore Ju 88 crash site
Damage to railings in field where the Junkers 88 crashed. (Brownless)

Datzert grave
Last resting place for the pilot Herbert Datzert. (Brownless

Burial detail:

Both those that were killed now rest in the Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof Cannock Chase, Staffs.

Herbert Datzert Block 5. Grave 344.

Erich Neukirchen Block 5. Grave 345.

NOTE: If anyone visits, or is located near to this cemetery at Cannock Chase, would you kindly photograph the grave of Erich Neukirchen? You will of course be credited on this page of remembrance.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless A.R.Society, with thanks to Martin O'Brien and Phillipa Hodgkiss (now Wheeler). March 2012, updated August 2013.