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Mission: Reconnaissance.

Date: 14
th September 1943

Unit: 4 Staffel./Fernaufklaerungsgruppe 123

Type: Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4

Werke/Nr. 19194

Code: White + 12

Location: In the English Channel; 40 miles south of St. Catherine’s Point.

Pilot: Oberleutnant. Fritz “Eitel” Wittmer 67022/54 – Missing in Action. (Born 26.02.1916 in Erfurt).


This pilot was flying at 500 feet when intercepted by two Hawker Typhoon IB's of No. 197 Squadron P/O Ahrens flying Red 1 and F/Sgt Shelton Red 2. Hits were observed and the starboard wing blew up. The aircraft spun down in flames from 500 feet and immediately sank in the sea. There was no trace of the pilot.

Extracted from combat report of P/O Ahrens and F/Sgt Shelton No.157 Squadron.

Red Section led by P/O Ahrens with F/Sgt Shelton as his No.2 were scrambled at 18.45 hours. The section was given various vectors and when flying at deck level on bearing 230 degrees from base about 40 miles South of St. Catherine’s Point, Red 1 sighted an enemy aircraft 3 miles away at 2 o'clock which was flying at 500 feet. Typhoon's gained rapidly on enemy aircraft and after closing to 150 yards enemy aircraft was identified as an Me 109 F or G. Red 1 immediately opened fire from 150 yards astern and saw the hood and panels blown off enemy aircraft and its port wheel came down. Red 1 after closing in, overshot and broke to the left. Red 2 then attacked, opening fire at 50 yards closing to 20 yards. Many strikes were seen on enemy aircraft whose starboard wheel came down. Red 1 made two more full deflection attacks, strikes being seen in each case. Finally Res 2 closed in and gave a long burst from 20 yards in line astern.

The enemy aircrafts starboard tank blew up and large pieces blew off the cockpit as it spun down in flames from 500 feet and crashed into the sea. The Me 109 sank immediately and no trace of its pilot could be seen by P/O Ahrens or F/Sgt Shelton who circled once before returning to base landing at 19.05 hours. The Chief point of interest of this very easy victory was that the enemy pilot, probably surprised by the first attack, made no attempt at evasive action at any time during the combat.

1 Fritz Wittmer 16.09.1938ccFritz Wittmer 2
Fritz “Eitel” Wittmer. 16.09.1938 (Wittmer)
ccccccccccccccccc Later pictured as Oberleutnant. (Wittmer)

Burial detail: None. Missing in the English Channel.

3 the last sunset over the sea
In Memory-lost at sea.

Letter from Hans Wittmer (Erfurt) to Melvin & Udo 16.09.1998

My father has instructed me to send you any existing photos of his brother and to send you a short biography, which I have repeated here, word-for-word:

“My brother, Eitel-Fritz, was born in Erfurt on the 26
th February 1916. After 4 years of Grundschule [school], he went to the local Oberrealschule, leaving with his Abitur (Leaving Certificate]. He was a good athlete (100m and 200m sprinter), acknowledged as the Mid German ‘Meister’. Alongside this, he was occupied with glider piloting. Like all young German men, he did Reichs Labour Service, and had to work for 6 months in agriculture. After that, he was accepted into the Luftwaffe, and trained at the Fuerstenfeldbruck Military Flying School [?] in Munich, where he was probably trained as a pilot.

By 1942, he was on Operations in Russia, France and England.

In 1943, he met his ultimate fate.

I suspect that my Uncle Fritz did not particularly enjoy his war games – at least, he doesn’t look particularly happy in his pictures.

I get the impression that my father got on well with his brother, Fritz. In contrast with his elder, deceased brother, who annoyed people as a preacher in a sect. Some of Eitel-Fritz’s belongings were used in our family for a long time: for example, I remember an English (?) flier’s sleeping bag that was put to good use in these terribly hard times as a bed-cover, a genuine Junkers aircraft clock that stood for a long time on my father’s desk and which us kids broke playing with it. Also, at my brother Wolfgang’s place in Berlin, an original wooden propeller used as a lamp stand. These were well looked after and held in great respect. Then there probably also two further oil paintings. I think I also saw, in my youth, a pile of papers documenting his sporting achievements. In addition, I remember many pages of caricatures done by Uncle Fritz. He had great creative talents.

4 Fritz Wittmer pictured Summer 1943
Fritz “Eitel” Wittmer pictured relaxing on leave, Summer 1943 (Wittmer)

Page constructed by Melvin Brownless and the family Wittmer in memory of this missing airman. Special thanks to Eugen and Hans Wittmer, Udo van den Brock and Vicky Millard for translation of Hans Wittmer’s letter. (March 2015)
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