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Mission: Attack on London, England.

Date: 18
th January 1943

Time: 04.30 hours.

Unit: 7 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 2:

Type: Dornier Do 217 E-4


Coded: U5 + MR

Location: Rear of Pilgrim House (Chalk pit) near Westerham, Kent, England.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Joachim Schnabel. 58214/198 – Killed. Born 05.06.1919 in Lauta.

Observer: Gefreiter. Willi Schaefer. 58214/197 – Killed. Born 19.01.1920 in Essen.

Radio/Op: Gefreiter. Erich Raab. 58214/194 – Killed. Born 03.02.1923 in München.

Gunner: Unteroffizier. Richard Hartenberger. 58214/191 – Killed. Born 07.03.1917 in Jägerndorf.


This aircraft was shot down over Westerham, Kent by W/Cmdr C. M. Wight-Boycott and F/O E. A. Sanders in a Beaufighter V8270 of No.29 Squadron.

A.I.(g) Report No. 7/28 states the following; This aircraft crashed at 04.30 hours on 18.01.43 near Pilgrim House, Westerham, Kent. It is believed to have been intercepted by a Beaufighter at almost 12,000 feet. It crashed at a steep angle into a chalk hillside and is almost entirely buried. A petrol tank exploded on impact and wreckage caught fire and was burning furiously 12 hours later. There is little to be reported on this crash. One MG 131, 13mm gun and one MG15, 7.9mm calibre were traced. Portions of kutonase cable cutter were seen and a few broken pieces of armour. One ESN 5 recognition cartridge was found which presumably was the colour of the day.

(1) Crash site
The aftermath of the crash, total destruction! (Net)

(2) Uffz Schnabel crew
Gefr. Schaefer, Gefr. Raab, Uffz. Schnabel and Uffz. Hartenberger killed in action (Heath via Stiefel).

(3) Schaefer
Observer, Gefr. Willi Schaefer (Heath via Stiefel).

(6) Luftwaffe issue pocket watch
A very poignant relic related to the crew, a Luftwaffe issue pocket watch. In private collection. (Brownless)

(4) Cylinder head
A piece of BMW 801 cylinder head together with a marked part. (Brownless).

(5) 13mm & MG part
A 13 mm round of ammunition together with an MG fragment. (Brownless).

(7) Cannock Chase
German Military Cemetery Cannock Chase. (Net)

Burial details:

Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof Cannock Chase, Staffs. Unteroffizier Schnabel and his crew all rest together in a joint grave. Block 9, Grave 57.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless. Special thanks to Tim Heath for supplying photos of the crew. January 2014.
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.