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Mission: Reconnaissance - Between the Isle of Wight and Brighton, England.

Date: 17
th December 1942

Time: 16.20 hours.

Unit: 4 Staffel./Fernaufklärungsgruppe 123

Type: Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4


Coded: 1 + (White)

Location: 3 – 6 miles SE of St.Catherines Point, English Channel.

Pilot: Oberleutnant. Karl “Charly” Rueck. 69004/14 – Missing. Born 04.05.1913 in Onolzheim/Crailsheim.


This aircraft was from the newly formed 4th Staffel, (nicknamed the “Rüeck Geschwader”)

This pilot together with Lt. Karl Raucheisen were flying at zero feet over the English Channel when intercepted by F/Sgt. Murphy (Red 1) and Sgt. Taylor-Cannon (Red 2) in two Hawker Typhoon IB’s of No. 486 N.Z. Squadron. Both Messerschmitt’s were shot down into the sea, sadly there were no survivors.

R.A.F. Combat Report F/Sgt Murphy and Sgt Taylor-Cannon of No.486 (NZ) Squadron;

F/Sgt Murphy, Red 1 and Sgt Taylor-Cannon, Red 2 (both New Zealand pilots). Airborne 15.35 – 16.30 hours. On Coastal Patrol Selsey – St.Catherines Point, (controlled by Tangmere F/Lt Sears, Black Gang Controller, S/Ldr Clarke, section under Black Gang Control at time if interception), were given a vector of 260 degrees when a few miles South of the Nab Tower, flying approximately SSW at 1,000 feet in line astern. Two aircraft were sighted flying NE at zero feet about 1,500 yards away when our section was about 3 miles off St.Catherines Point. At first the aircraft did not appear to see Red section which turned to port on to 060 degrees and gave chase, they then turned South East and closing to about 300 yards clearly recognized them as two Me 109F’s and opened fire with several short bursts of cannon closing still further, very rapidly (A.S.I. 350) to 100 yards in line abreast. (Enemy aircraft speed estimated 330). By this time all aircraft were right down “on the deck” with the enemy aircraft adopting a spiral weave type of evasive action crossing over several times, as Red section attacked with the result that both Red 1 and 2 engaged each aircraft, strikes being observed on fuselage and engine of both enemy aircraft. They soon abandoned the spiral weave action, straightened out and flew parallel courses, apparently “flat out”.

The plane subsequently destroyed by Red 2 jettisoned its hood and with pieces breaking from it climbed to about 800 feet made a diving turn to starboard and went straight into the sea. The other destroyed by Red 1, with smoke pouring from its tanks, lowered its flaps, raised its nose slightly, burst into flames and dived into the water. Red section then returned to base.

pictured shortly after joining the Luftwaffe.
cccccccccccc Ofw. Rueck after receiving Iron Cross 2 Class

Karl at the controls of a Dornier Do 17 (Knoedler)

Oberleutnant. Karl Rueck (Knoedler)


Crew of Oblt. Berndt, Oblt. Rüeck, Obfw. Reiche and Uffz. Reiser returned after completing the Staffel’s 500 war flight!
The Kommandeur, Major. Kopper greeted the men on return.


Major. Kopper the Gruppenkommandeur of 1./(F)123 congratultes Karl Rueck on his return from his 100
th war flight.


Karl is congratulated by Oblt. Waldemar Felgenhauer of 2./(F)123 (Knoedler)


Karl Rueck is prepared for his next mission by his ground crew (Knoedler)


Charly Rueck in the cockpit of his Bf 109

Oblt Rueck with a Bf 109F prepares for take-off (Rabeder)

19 Sunset over English Channel
Sunset over the English Channel (Sanders)

20 German lost at sea memorial
German “Lost at sea” memorial dedicated to all those lost at sea.

Burial detail: Lost in the English Channel.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless with special thanks to the Kneodler family, Harry Rabeder, Armin Goebel and Fritz Schlichting for their help in constructing this page, August 2013.
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.