The Queen's Park Heinkel

The wreckage of the Heinkel He 111H-2, in the garden of 21 Manor Rd, Caterham, mistakenly identified as a Dornier in "War Illustrated."
The War Illustrated, 6th September, 1940

At 2.31am, on 27th August, 1940, a burning, crewless Heinkel He111 hit the ground, ploughed it’s way across Queen’s Park, Caterham, and into the rear garden of 21 Manor Avenue, where it exploded, partially destroying the bungalow, which belonged to a retired schoolmaster and his wife.

The Heinkel He 111H-2, (Werke/Nr.5367, coded V4+CD) of Stab III./Kampfgeschwader 1, had set off from an aerodrome near Montdidier at 23.40hrs to bomb factories in the Coventry area, under the command of Major Willibald Fansela.

From the early stages of the sortie, their starboard engine was running rough and over the target the port engine died, possibly due to anti-aircraft fire. Now reliant on the faltering starboard engine, the bomber began to lose height, and was caught in searchlights, so the crew dropped their load of 20 x 50kg bombs blindly and limped homeward.

Finally, over Surrey at 2300ft, Fansela ordered his crew to bale out, and the Heinkel fell, unguided, towards Queen’s Park…

Sgt. Longman of the 148th Anti-Aircraft Battery delivered the final blow,  though the aircraft was already damaged. (In my notes, I have them manning the 3″ guns at RAF Kenley, at this time).

All crew members of the Heinkel survived baling out and were taken Prisoner of War and interrogated.

They were:

  • Pilot: Feldwebel. F Meyer – Captured unhurt. POW
  • Observer: Major. Willibald Fanelsa (Gruppenkommandeur) – Captured unhurt. He was sent to Grizedale Hall, the only Officers’ PoW camp in Britain, where he and two others formed the ‘Altestenrat’, (a kind of council of elders which also acted as an escape committee).
  • Flight Engineer: Oberfeldwebel. A Vetter – Captured unhurt. POW.
  • Radio Operator: Oberfeldwebel. E Braunsburger Captured unhurt. POW.
  • Gunner: Gefreiter. G Zimpel Captured unhurt. POW.

One member of the crew who had baled out near Kenley airfield wandered into a house and then left rather quickly when he found RAF coats hanging in the hall! It was Grove House, in Salmons Lane, then requisitioned for WAAF’s quarters.

Another 17 year old crew member suffered a broken leg and was treated by Dr. Lewis who remarked that the lad was in a state of complete terror.

Surrey at War by Bob Ogley.

Comments about this page

  • Rod King says,

    “Family history suggests that the iconic Luftwaffe ‘B-uhr’ navigators’ watch, passed down through the family and now in my possession, may have been ‘surrendered’ by a member of this crew. Home Guard sergeant John Alderton always claimed to have acquired the watch from a captured German airman that he helped to guard overnight before their collection by ‘the authorities’, and I can’t think of another incident where it could have come from. John used the watch, which is a pre-1940 model, for many years after the war.”

    By Linda Duffield (15/01/2024)
  • There is as anti aircraft installation in Burntwood Lane that may have helped but gosh messing up the cricket pitch where we played later was not cricket.

    Opposite 21 Manor Avenue I did gardening and at RAF Kenley, sold papers and horse tips from the Epsom farrier.

    Also a PGS runner and cricketer who in young days played in the RAF air raid shelters that stank and areas where we were warned to notify authorities any object looking like an unexploded shell or ammo.

    By Kevin Horsey Hall (22/12/2023)
  • Most interesting , and I thank you for so much detail ,
    being 85 today I remember ww2 very well and all it’s frightening moments , thank you again .

    By Bernard Hemsley (28/08/2022)
  • Being ‘associated’ with this area since 1951 ~ as a pupil at the then Purley County Grammar School for Boys ~ and a permanent resident of Caterham since 1968, I find local history informative, educational and fascinating.

    Before I lapse into my ‘usual’ life history, as my friends keep reminding me, may I thank all concerned with the compilation of this site, which I am happy to join.

    GGG {Great Granddad Graham}

    By Graham S Smith (29/08/2021)
  • Thank you for your kind words, Graham. We hope you enjoy the website.

    By Linda Duffield (29/08/2021)
  • The people who lived in the bungalow, were Iwan Kriens and his wife, Jo. They survived.

    By Trudy van der Wees (09/03/2021)
  • Thank you Trudy.

    By Linda Duffield (09/03/2021)

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