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Mission: Attack on industrial target in Penzance, Cornwall, England.

Date: 26
th September 1942

Time: 02.00 hours.

Unit: 1 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 2

Type: Dornier Do 217E-4


Code: U5 + IH

Location: Chapel Road, St Just, Cornwall, England.

Pilot: Feldwebel. Ferdinand Handel. 53576/? – Killed.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Erwin Kupsch. 53576/? – Killed.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Friedrich Schütte. 53576/? – Killed.

Flt/Eng: Feldwebel. Kurt Vierke. 53576/? – Captured wounded.

(1) A Dornier Do 217 awaiting its crew
A Dornier Do 217E awaiting its crew.


Started from Evreux at 12.30 hrs. with twenty five aircraft of I and III./KG 2 to attack a factory in Penzance. This aircraft flew on an erratic course at 5,000 ft. and having just sighted the coast through the clouds there was a big bang which was a shot from a Beaufighter and the aircraft started to spiral down out of control. The bordmechaniker (flight engineer) then baled out while the aircraft crashed into some small houses in the middle of the village, bursting into flames and breaking up completely. About ten .303 bullet strikes found in the cone at the end of the fuselage.


BMW 801 manufactured by Flugmotorenbau GMBH. Armament: 20 mm, 13 mm, and 7.9 mm ammo found along with one MG 15. A 1,000 kg bomb and three 50 kg explosive incendiary bombs found. The survivor had been flying in Russia for three months before being grounded due to stomach problems and this was his first flight for a number of months after having being asked if he would fill the vacant position of bordmechaniker, although he was trained as an observer.

This aircraft was shot down by Squadron Leader D. C. Furse and Pilot Officer J. H. Downes in a Beaufighter of No. 406 Squadron.

(2) Shauney Strick
Local Cornish historian Shauney Strick locates the crash site of the Dornier in Chapel Street. (Strick)

Damage to the Sunday school roof made by one of the BMW engines is still evident today. (Strick)

(4) Handel crew grave (Forscher)

Burial details:

Those who lost their lives now rest in the Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof Cannock Chase, Staffs, England.

Block 9 Row 3 Grave 14.

Researched by Shauney Strick, compiled by Melvin Brownless. Special thanks to Nigel Parker and Forscher for use of the grave photo. December 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.