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Mission: Mine-laying off Portsmouth, England.

Date: 16th May 1944

Time: 12.25 a.m.

Unit: 9 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 54

Type: Junkers Ju 88A-4


Coded: B3 + BT

Location: Medstead near Alton, Hampshire, England.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Karl Hansen 60024/219 - Killed. Born 12.02.1922 in Benefeld/Fallingbostel.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Heinrich Meyer 63642/148 - Killed. Born 16.02.1917 in Berlin.

Radio/Op: Obergefreiter. Heinrich Zimmer 63626/250 - Killed. Born 30.08.1922 in Marburg.

Gunner : Gefreiter. Herbert Steinbrecher 63626/262 - Killed. Born 01.08.1923 in Pilgrimshain.


This aircraft was caught by searchlights and shot down by F/O D. W. Arnold and F/O J. B. Stickley in a Mosquito NF XVII (HK297) of No.456 Squadron. The enemy aircraft crashed and exploded.

Extract from A.I.(k) Report No.219/194 states;

This aircraft was held by searchlights at a height of around 10,000 feet and was shot down by a night fighter. The bombs were jettisoned live and exploded, while the aircraft itself exploded on impact scattering fragments of wreckage and bodies over a wide area.

ID: 63626 & 60024, AW: grey, Gardelegen, 6/3/44, FP: L 30562 & L 31695.

Medstead, near Alton, Hampshire. Q.1057.

Held in searchlights whilst flying at a height of 10,000 ft. and appeared to be in difficulties, having been damaged by AA fire over Portsmouth. Also attacked by a night fighter, the bombs jettisoned live, it crashed almost vertically into a field and was completely destroyed.

Markings: D outlined in yellow.

1 Copy of Mysterious photo Ju 88 Medstead 001
The remains of the identity disc was found by the fence, a 2 Franc coin dated 1943 found in corner left hand side in photo. (Brownless)

Note: During the early1990's the crash site was found by Martin O' Brien, Melvin & Barry Brownless & Neil Lumley. During this visit the team found a German coin together with half a German stainless steel identification disc numbered 63642/148 laying on the surface near the crash site. On checking our records we discovered that this was formerly the identification disc of the observer Heinrich Meyer. From its condition it is quite sure to assume that the A.I.(k) report was 100 per cent correct with its findings as this crew appear to have been blown to pieces, hence their joint grave.

4 Copy of 88 dogtag

2 Copy of Barry Brownless with German coin found at crash site 001cc3 Copy of 88 coin
Barry Brownless found this 2 Franc coin dated 1943 near the hedge line (Brownless).

5 Copy of Martin O' Brien & Melvin Brownless visit crew graves 001
Martin O' Brien & Melvin Brownless pay their respects to the crew (Brownless).

After the discovery of the identity disc, Martin O'Brien set the wheels in motion to apply to the MOD for a Licence to excavate the crash site using mechanical equipment. In due course Martin was granted official permission. With the landowners consent the team excavated the last remains of this aircraft. The dig was very thorough, but Martin believes there are still many small fragments that litter the field and hedgerow. Parts found during the excavation included undercarriage leg and tail wheel assembly, at no point were any human remains found.

6 Copy of Ju 88 crash site
Recovery operation by Martin O'Brien and his team . Below; Tail wheel & Undercarriage (O' Brien)

7 Copy of Ju 88 crash site

8 Copy of scan0004
Assorted airframe wreckage together with a number of oxygen bottles. Below; Prop hub (O’ Brien)

9 Copy of scan0001

10 Copy of scan0007
A veteran of archaeological digs and Luftwaffe research, Steve Hall (left) with remains of smashed Junkers Jumo 211 engine (O’ Brien)

11 Copy of scan0001

12 Copy of Obgefr Heinrich Zimmer 001cc13 Copy of PIC_0103
ccHeinrich Zimmer from Marburg (Croft).cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc

14 Copy (2) of PIC_0103
The crew lay together in a joint grave at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, Surrey (King).
Plot 15 Row D Grave 1.

Researched & compiled by Melvin Brownless, with special thanks to Martin O' Brien, David King and Mike Croft. (Updated May 2014).