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Friesland Cemeteries      by Willem de Jong

Texel & Den Helder

 

 

D

Leeuwarden Airfield

Schiermonikoog

Harlingen & Harderwijk

Occupied Harlingen

German Radar

Ameland

Vlieland

Terschelling

St. Jacobparochie

Rottum Island

 

Lemmer

Lemmer

 

Lemmer, in the commune of Lemsterland, is a small port on the southern coast of Friesland. It lies 24 kilometres south of Sneek. This burial ground is on the northen outskirts of Lemmer in Staartweg, the road to Sneek. The Commonwealth war graves plot is in the north-western part of the cemetery.

This site contains the graves of 44 airmen. Of these, 7 of the airmen from the United Kingdom and one from Canada are not identified.

Lemmer is a small port on the southern coast of Friesland. It lies 24 kilometers south of Sneek. This burial ground is on the northern outskirts of Lemmer in Staartweg, the road to Sneek (A6). When coming from Heerenveen take the E22 to Joure and take exit Lemmer (A6) before that town. When coming from the south (Amsterdam), take the A1 from Amsterdam, the A6 to Almere, Lelystad and Joure. You will pass Lemmer. When near Lemmer, take the N359. The cemetery is at the corner of the Straatweg and the Rondweg, next to the police station.

Lemmer

Makkum

 

 

Makkum Makkum

 

Makkum Cemetery, administered by the commune of Wonseradeel, is on the eastern coast of the Ijsselmeer (Zuyder Zee) 13 kilometres south of Harlingen. The churchyard surrounds the church, which is on the northern outskirts of the village close to the dyke. The British plot is on the northern side of the church. 

Makkum Protestant Churchyard contains the graves of 35 Commonwealth war casualties

 

Terschelling

Vlieland

 

 

Terschelling

Terschelling

 

 

TERSCHELLING (WEST-TERSCHELLING) GENERAL CEMETERY

Terschelling, one of the Frisian Islands, lies off the north coast of Holland. West-Terschelling is the main village on the island. The cemetery is 2 kilometres north-west of the village. 

The Commonwealth graves occupy a full length row on the left of the main path as you enter, and a short row on the right of this path at the far end of the cemetery.

Please note that it is not possible to take vehicles to the island.

The General Cemetery in the Dutch island of Vlieland has about 50 wargraves from the Second World War, 38 of which are named; another 9 are not identified.

The island of Vlieland lies off the northwestern coast of Holland and can be reached by ferry from the mainland port of Harlingen. This lies 16 miles west of Leeuwarden and 70 miles north of Amsterdam. There is a regular service by buses and trains.

The cemetery lies next to the church, off the main village street (Dorpsstraat), behind the library and the Noordwester cultural centre.

It is not possible to take vehicles to Vlieland. 

Ferries and travel

Please add a link to dutch-frisian-islands.com on one of the pages, because some information about the ferries already in our pages, is not correct anymore. By the way, the photo on top of the page of this info site, is showing Terschelling Island, the "Seinpaal-dune", on which was standing  that German radar-pylon Wassermann S (cylinder type).   Willem

 

 

Vlieland Vlieland

 

 

 

It happened on Friday the thirteenth.… but there came a lucky Saturday the fourteenth afterwards!      by Willem de Jong

How Elsie Armstrong was visiting her father's grave on Vlieland Island, for the first time.

In the 60’s, the 70’s and the 80’s of the century before - in fact later too, as long as these people could travel by train, ferry, bus and / or car, in connection to their age and health - the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) was organizing “Poppy-tours” to local cemeteries in Holland, many times, for veterans and next of kin of those who were killed in action over there, during W.W. 2. 

In this manner such a tour was planned again for October 1978, when 38 persons would travel from the U.K. to Groesbeek village, in the Nijmegen region (South of Arnhem) with the help of the Dutch “sister organization” of the CWGC, the “Oorlogsgravenstichting”. 

One of these British visitors would be Miss Elsie Armstrong of Gravesend, Kent. 

But her destination was much more to the North of Holland…… Vlieland Island, in Friesland (!) There some consuls of the Dutch war graves commission should bring her by car to Harlingen city, to the ferry terminal, etc., so she could visit the island and the local cemetery in Oost-Vlieland for a couple of hours, where, 36 years before, her father was buried. She never had seen his last resting place over there ! But…. in the evening of the same day with the companionship a total group of 38 visitors.

 

For Elsie this memory tour to Vlieland should be the voyage of her life, because she was not a “globetrotter”, she never had left England before! Therefore she was looking forward with mixed feelings and in the first days of October she was quite nervous, and didn’t sleep very well. 

Finally the great day was starting and, it happened on Friday the thirteenth….. on the road to the ferry, there was a car accident.

Lucky for her, she was not involved herself, but, the road was blocked for a long time, and although she had left home in the early morning, she missed her boat to Rotterdam / Holland No mobile phones or twitter etc. in these days, so she could not call for help easily, could not try to contact the organizers in a simple / quick way. 

What to do now ? Employees in the ferry terminal later on, felt sorry for her and tried to make contact with “Holland”. And before she was broken down totally, they were giving her advice to take the next boat, the night ferry to Rotterdam; meanwhile they were trying and trying again…..

 

That night, while Elsie was trying to find some rest, and in the early morning of Saturday the fourteenth, a lot of telephone calls were made in Holland, even to the HQ of the KLu (the Dutch Royal Air Force) in The Hague. And when she arrived at the European mainland, a taxi was there, bringing her in the highest speed to Groesbeek.

A consul / guide of the Oorlogsgraven-comité, Mr. L.J. van Kampen (of St. Annaparochie / Friesland), and his wife too, were waiting there for her. These dedicated volunteers were bringing her to Leeuwarden / Friesland, to the NATO airfield by car, in about 2.5 hours. And she had never flown in her life ! 

An Alouette-chopper of the Search And Rescue squadron was “warming-up” already. 

This helicopter, flown by Adj. A. Keizer and Serg.-Maj. W.F. Horsmeier (pilot and engineer), was flying her, and also her guide Mr. Van Kampen, to the heliport of Vlieland Island (East of the habour and the village). And at last, a car was driving her to the churchyard, in the middle of the village (she could not walk for a long time). Mr. Van Kampen was guiding her the last meters to the grave, no. 52… her fathers’ grave… !!! 

 

We can only try to understand what was going on in her mind…..

After it all, back in Groesbeek, (car-helicopter-car), she was very tired and emotional, but, she was a very grateful person, thanking all the people who were helping her on this special day, Lucky Saturday the fourteenth!

Information about crew, plane and crash etc.:

 

Short Stirling Mk.I, W7500, MG-“B”  - No. 7 Sqdn. “Per diem, per noctem” ( “ By day and by night”) - RAF-Oakington - airborne 23.50 hrs. (02-06-1942).

Mission to Essen, Ruhrgebiet / Germany - shot down by Luftwaffe night-fighter, piloted by Maj. Günther “Fips” Radusch of II./NJG.2 - ditching in the North Sea off Hollands’ Northcoast, about 03.10 hrs. (03-06-1942). 

 

First Pilot - Pilot Officer George Frederick Sanderson - RCAF - J/5790 - age 22 - of Avonlea, Saskatchewan, Canada - Son of Herbert & Mary Sanderson - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 101 (in Canada / Saskatchewan, there is a “Lake Sanderson”, named after him)  

 

Second Pilot - Pilot Officer Leslie James Harcus - RAF(VR) - 111259 - age 29 (born in Leith, Edinburgh, Dec. 5, 1912) - of Orkney Island, U.K. (farmer there) - husband of Minnie Harcus and father of Ronald & Dorothy (and he had a brother at least) - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 69

 

Flight Engineer - Sgt. Sydney Walstead Precious - RAF - 569914 - age 21 - of Glengarnock, Ayrshire, U.K. - Son of William Clarence & Lilian Turner Precious - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 91

 

Navigator - Sgt. Wilfred Frank Morgan - RAF(VR) -  age 24 - of Cricklewood, Middlesex, U.K. - son of Percy O. & Marie E.W. Morgan - MIA - Runnymede Memorial -panel 90

 

Wireless Operator - Sgt. Ronald Albert Archer - RAF(VR) - 91 70 21 - age 24 - of Harrow, Middlesex, U.K. - son of Frederick Albert & Maud Archer, of Harrow too; husband of Dorothy C. Archer - KIA -buried in Amsterdam (Noord-Holland / the Netherlands), Nieuwe Ooster Be-graafplaats (New Eastern Cemetery), Plot 69, Row E, Grave 4

 

Air Gunner - Sgt. Richard Armstrong - Elsie's father - RAF(VR) - 1 37 88 39 - age 27 (born 1915) - of Burradon, Northumberland, U.K. - husband of Elsie Armstrong (his wife had the same name as his daughter) - KIA - buried Vlieland Island, Oost-Vlieland village (Friesland / the Netherlands), Grave 52

 

Air Gunner - Sgt. Basil Sydney Brown - RAF(VR) - 1 10 89 65 - age 20 - of Boston, Lincolnshire, U.K. - son of Sidney & Alice Brown, of Boston too; husband of Freda Brown - MIA - Runnymede Memorial- panel 79

 

Air Gunner - F/Sgt. Sydney Victor Harding - RAF - 56 68 66 - age 24 - of Lewisham, London, U.K. - son of Albert Samuel & Bertha Grace Harding - MIA - Runnymede Memorial - panel 74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Lost RAF bombers on 19/20th of February 1944

 

More details about the crashes / records of the facts and conclusions to the end:

 

1.) Noordzee / Texel (NH.) unknown Halifax LL184 77 Sqdn. Elvington

2.) Kallenkote (Overijssel) ±02.30 hrs. Halifax LW367 78 Sqdn. Breighton

3.) IJsselmeer / Andijk (NH.) 06.38 hrs. Halifax JD271 428 Sqdn. Middleton St.G.

4.) Waddenzee / Harlingen (Frl.) 05.08 hrs. Halifax LV781 466 Sqdn. Leconfield

5.) Elspeet (Gelderland) ±02.30 ? (later !) Lancaster JB609 12 Sqdn. Wickenby 

6.) Grev.-meer / Drieschor (Zl.) 05.40 hrs. Lancaster ND410 12 Sqdn. Wickenby 

7.) Kats / zeedijk (Zeeland) 05.45 hrs. Lancaster ND505 83 Sqdn. Wyton

8.) Tolbert (Groningen) 01.46 hrs. Lancaster DV267 101 Sqdn. Ludford Magna

9.) Eemnes / Zuidpolder (Ut.) 05.34 hrs. Lancaster JA921 156 Sqdn. Warboys

10.) Kropswolde (Groningen) ±02.00 hrs. Lancaster DS788 408 Sqdn. East Moor

11.) Valkenswaard (N-B.) ±05.45 hrs. Lancaster DS776 426 Sqdn. Linton-on-Ouse

12.) Noordzee / S’-oog (Frl.) 02.08 hrs. Lancaster ME589 626 Sqdn. Wickenby 

 

 

1.) North Sea - exact time and ditching location unknown (maybe much more into the west, in the direction of the British coast ?); probably shot down by a night-fighter, because nothing is known about a hit of the local Flak; in fact the only and one "relation" to this crash list of 12 is, that the death body of one of the crew, of Sgt. Garfield, was recovered near Texel,19th May 1944, and was buried there (reburied after the war in Bergen op Zoom).

2.) Kallenkote ("Raum ES"- 6400 m.) - shot down by nightfighter / Oblt. Hans-Heinz Augenstein of 7. / NJG.1, that’s for sure (he had one claim that night).

3.) IJsselmeer (15 km. E. of Medenblik) - shot down by nightfighter / Lt. Friedrich Potthast of 12. / NJG.1; 3 of the crew were buried on local cemeteries (Andijk, Enkhuizen etc.).

4.) Waddenzee ("HK 3-1" - 6000 m.) - as known already, shot down by nightfighter / Ofwb.Heinz Vinke of 11. / NJG. 1 (his claim no. 4 of that night); the local "luchtwachtdienst"(home guard), in their observing post on the rooftop of the town hall in the heart of the oldcity, was watching and reporting the crash, in southern direction; 2 airmen of this Halifax are still buried in Harlingen, Sgt. Brown and Sgt. Harper, while some personal belongingsof a 3rd crewmember, W/O. Moran, were found on the beach of Texel later (!); it was an imitation leather case, in which a crucifix and a small piece of copper-plate, with his name etc. on it, Sgt.-Pilot Moran J.F., and the name etc. of his Roman Catholic priest in Perth, Australia (information about accident / death must be sent to that name and address).

5.) Elspeet - also shot down by nightfighter; some sources of information are saying "piloted by Oblt. Hans-Heinz Augenstein", but I’m not sure, not 100% convinced (see further on,to the conclusions).

6.) Grevelingenmeer - shot down by nightfighter / Maj. Günther Radusch, 52 St. / NJG. 2

7.) Kats - indeed, Luftwaffe nightfighter again / Lt. Heinz Oloff, 2. / NJG. 1

8.) Tolbert - of course, nightfighter / and I’m believing "piloted by Obfw. Heinz Vinke" (!)

9.) Eemnes - this Lancaster was hit by Flak fire, over Germany already, and was returning /straggling behind because of the damage; so sorry, but the crew didn’t succeed in reducing further disaster….. the a/c. was seen burning over the IJsselmeer and flying return to the land; then it crashes suddenly; no survivers at all (most of them buried in the Amersfoort area).

10.) Kropswolde - shooting Messerschmitt Bf-110 again / like as No. 8 of the list, I believe this is another claim of Obfw. Heinz Vinke (!); see the conclusions further on.

11.) Valkenswaard - shot down by unknown German nightfighter (in the Eindhoven region).

12.) North Sea - like as the No. 1 of the list, ditching location unknown, but it must be in the Ameland and Schiermonnikoog area (reasons why already known via this website); and I still believe "shot down by a German nightfighter" ! (see following conclusions).

 

 

Conclusions (the final outcome, after all these years, but not for 100% of all crashes):

A.) Maybe the crew of this 626 Squadron aircraft, of Lancaster ME589, was not the most experienced RAF crew flying that night, but they didn’t fly simply straight into the search-lights and the possible Flak-barrier of the Germans over occupied Schiermonnikoog, without any reason; it should be suicide ! And why should they under such weather conditions: they saw the dark mainland already miles and miles before, and that chain of black islands laying in the wide and silver grey sea. 

Flying further and further into the east - their course was more deviating from the rest! - they passed these isles one after another and so they arrived- the German border almost, but still on a safe distance offshore (in peace time it should be a nice and overwhelming airtrip). For that reasons I still believe their a/c was surprised by a nightfighter too, like as the most in the list of 12 as we saw ("these damned blind and defenceless bomb-bay-bellies of the Halifaxes and the Lancasters").

B.) If my belief is true and this conclusion is correct, then the next question is of course, who shot down ME589 ? Which "lucky guy" of the Luftwaffe had the opportunity ? And that is exactly why I traced all these 12 crashes, trying to find that answer (!). By doing so, we can eliminate now the impossible elements / details of the whole history of that horrible winter's night; and we are able to separate now the claims of the other pilots, who were certainly not involved.

And, for more reasons, that "Abschussliste" of Obfw. Heinz Vinke is the most important piece of the puzzle, is the key to the final outcome, that’s for sure.

To no. 9: that’s a clear story / damaged by Flak; to no.’s 6 + 7: both far outside the "Area" in which Vinke was operating, and both claimed by other pilots (Radusch + Oloff). No. 3: although in the same "Raum" as Vinke, but claimed by Lt. Potthast; No. 2: same story (it is the "Abschuss" of Augenstein). No. 5, the next claim of Augenstein (?), can’t be correct in my opinion; there are 3 reasons for that. 

1st - he could not be shooting down two planes over different villages, far from each other, on the same time (±02.30 hrs.). 2nd - there is

only one claim in the records for him / that night. And 3rd - looking on the map, Elspeet is about 15 km. NW of Apeldoorn; this is Vinke’s 5th and last "Abschuss" of that night, so I’m thinking. No. 4: was already salved (see the website / addendum October 15th 2011).

No. 11: shot down by a nightfighter again, but also far outside Vinke’s "Raum" (maybe related to "Fliegerhorst" Venlo or any Luftwaffe airfield in Belgium ? / when we find the claim about this crash later on, then we will be convinced for 100% of course, but it’s certainly not on the account of Vinke. 

To the no.’s 8 + 10 / Tolbert + Kropswolde: although no one could tell me anything more, until today, about these locations "BM-77" and "BM-78" on the "Abschussliste" of Vinke, I found the answer to that / the final solution (!). 

Indeed, and the answer isn’t so "painful untraceable" as I thought before. These locations of course - like everyone can see and understand - are related to each other; thus, we are also talking about two crash sites close together, named in that list of 12 too, but not claimed byother Luftwaffe pilots, and laying in the "Raum"of Vinke.

Looking on the map of Holland, only two sites, just not so far from each other, were left, and inside Vinke’s "Raum"……in the Province of Groningen….. Yes !!! Thus, BM-77 is similar to Tolbert (SW of Groningen city) and BM-78 is corresponding to Kropswolde village (SE of Groningen city).

C.) To the first and to the last no.’s in the list of 12, North Sea, Texel + Schiermonnikoog: although the "unknowns" have the upper hand, to no. 1, I’m still believing now "shot down by a nightfighter too, but more into the west, and probably not by Vinke", because his

"Abschussliste" is showing us a "regular time-line" (01.46 - 01.57 - 02.13 hrs.), until the moment the last RAF planes were passed over on their way to the target; his claims 4+5 came later on that night, whilst the RAF bombers were returning home. For him it must be almost impossible to fly from Kropswolde to Texel, and even more west, and to follow the trail of the 3rd bomber for a while, etc. etc., in about 15 minutes (!)  

And by the way, why should he fly so far into the west, while that RAF bomber / his enemy was flying in the same time to the east, coming to him ? Thus, the no.12 in this crash-list of 19 / 20-02-1944, Lancaster ME589, should be the no. 3 claim of Vinke after all ? Yes, I really think so now, after scepticism at first (before the start of all this investigations). But, in that case, a final obstacle must be removed, because Vinke was claiming a Halifax as the no. 3, and not a Lancaster ! How about that ? 

He made already one mistake to his no. 4 claim, as we saw before (see addendum October 15th 2011): he was claiming a Lancaster, whilst it was a Halifax (LV781). Therefore also a second "blunder" ? No, I think this is the one and only mistake, made later on, at the de-briefing (evaluation), or in the "Schreibstube" / administration, and not for sure by himself: unfortunately they exchanged both names in his "Abschussliste", that’s all, because it was a "chaotic, bloody and busy war night" !

D.) Short "simulation" of Vinke’s flight: some minutes after the RAF bombers were airborne, Heinz Vinke and the other nightfighter pilots of the Luftwaffe were started already !

They were still hanging in the air, in "arranged areas", while Oboe-equipped Mosquitos bombed the German airfields in Holland, Venlo, Gilze Rijen, Deelen and Leeuwarden; too late of course (see the book "Geschichte der Deutschen Nachtjagd", by Gebhard Aders; read on page 233). After the mainstream of RAF bombers was crossing the Dutch coast-line, Heinz Vinke was called by the controllers of "Radarpeilstation" Löwe (= Lion) in Marum-Trimunt (Prov. of Groningen) for two intruders in this "Raum". And as we know now, he shot both down (1st claim - Tolbert / 01.46 hrs. and 2nd claim - Kropswolde / ca. 02.00 hrs.). After that he was called by the controllers of "Radarpeilstation" Schlei on Schiermonnikoog island, because of a "lonesome intruder / easy victim" flying north of them overseas to the east.

This should be his 3rd claim - North Sea / nearby S’- oog / 02.08 hrs. After that a "pitch stop" could be made, because the last "Kuriere" were passed over; they could refill fuel and reload ammunition, before the RAF was coming back, was returning

to the home bases in the U.K. He and his own "short range radar-companion" (on board the plane) were shooting down later that night the 2 other RAF bombers (controlled by "Radarpeilstation" Tiger on Terschelling island, station Eisbär (= Polar bear) in Sondel (southern Friesland) etc. etc. Results: claim no. 4 - Waddenzee / near Harlingen /05.08 hrs. and claim no. 5 - Elspeet / later as ±02.30 !! (plane was returning from Leipzigand it was Vinke’s last claim).

 

E.) But why was the German air defence so successful in that "night of the falling stars" ? (with the exception of the anti-aircraft-batteries on the coast of course, and around Harlingen, Franeker and Leeuwarden / "a lot of noise and flashings and no hits at all").

Were they simply anticipating to the constantly growing pressure of the Allied air forces at that moment, or we- re they expecting something like "Big Week" ?; had their secret services some information about it? The answer to that questions maybe we will never find, but coincidence or not, there was something going on in the air that night: the Luftwaffe was introducing a new method, was launching a new tactic ! Their nightfighters get company of a special equipped airplane, probably a Dornier Do-17 of "Fliegerhorst"Leeuwarden, with an aircontroller aboard and a radio-operator, who was continuously contacting the airbases, the radar stations and the Flak-batteries etc. etc.

They named this machine, with extra fuel tanks in the transformed bomb bay - so he could fly over more than 6 hrs. - a "Luftbeobachterflugzeug".

Gebhard Aders is writing about it, in his book "Geschichte der Deutschen Nachtjagd": "Der Kurs der Bomber wurde von der Insel Terschelling an durch ein Luftbeobachterflugzeug ferfolgt" (the bomber stream was followed from Terschelling island by that a/c.) ! This "Flugzeug" was intruding into the RAF formations, was flying in between the Halifaxes and Lancasters and was following their way to the target, whole the route to Leipzig !!!

All the Luftwaffe airfields were informed before and Leipzig was knowing what was coming…("Oh such glamorous boys on the Troelstraweg in Leeuwarden"; and our resistance, what could they do ? Nothing! ).

 

 

I did all this work with passion and to pay homage to the RAF crews involved. If someone is knowing better, about some details of the outcome, please let him speak !     Willem de Jong

 

 

Heinient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II.

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Vinke claimed 54 aerial victories, all of the them at night. 

That night, he and his companion, flying a radar-equipped Messerschmitt Bf 110 G - 4 nightfighter, shot down 5 RAF bombers in a couple of hours, most over Holland (it is till now believed that Lancaster ME589 was not among them).    * See Willem's conclusions.

 

Heinz Vinke and his crew went missing during a day-time recon mission flying the same aircraft  6 days later on the 26th February 1944, some 15 km north west of Dunkirk, after being shot down by two Typhoon's of 198 Squadron (Fl/Lt. Cheval L'Allemand and F/O. George Hardy)          See Heinz Vinke's Combat Claims

rk with passion and to pay homage to the RAF crews involved. If someone is knowing better, about some details of the outcome, please let him speak !     Willem de Jong

 

 

Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer

 

Already for weeks, since the start of all this research, I was wondering "why did Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (12./NJG.1) not fly that night of 19 / 20 February 1944" ? Why wasn't he operating in that "night of the falling stars" ? 

There must be a reason for that....; maybe "Urlaub in der Heimat"(vacation / holidays in his homeland), maybe visiting an important Luftwaffe meeting in Berlin or another location in Germany, maybe family-circumstances ? 

Why couldn't he fly, this top-ace, his Messerschmitt BF-110 ? Because of engine-trouble perhaps ? (seems implausible to me! ). Or "Hatte er Startferbot" ?  (forbidden to fly for some reason). Indeed, sometimes the Luftwaffe was trying to "protect" their aces by  giving them "instructions" not to fly in "high risk situations", like daylight combat actions against US-bombers and fighters. They were more experienced during moonlight operations and much more valuable for the "nightwork", against the RAF. 

 

Or was he flying in an other plane, maybe in that "Luftbeobachterflugzeug" ?

His last combat flight before 19 / 20 Febr. 1944 was only 4 nights earlier, when he was shooting down 3 RAF-bombers over Northern Holland. 

His victories 45, 46 and 47 (!). No. 45 - Lancaster Mk.III - ND363 - PM-"A" of No. 103 Sqdn., nearby Texel island (North Sea ?),  No. 46 - Lancaster Mk.II -LL689 - KO-"P" of No. 115 Sqdn., nearby Hoorn (N.-H.), No. 47 - Lancaster Mk.I - W4272 - GJ-"C" of 622 Sqdn. - over the Waddenzee.

Picture shows him pointing to his 47th victory bar. This vertical stabiliser (tail-fin) of his Messerschmitt Bf-110; is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum (IWM), in London.

And now the answer to that question, found in one of the books of author Ab A. Jansen. During this night (15-02-1944) he had pain in his stomach. A couple of hours later he had an appendix operation in hospital. 

Thus, dear Heinz-Wolfgang was recovering, maybe in the St. Bonifatius Hospital in Leeuwarden, a/d. Mr. P.J. Troelstraweg ? (nursing there by German nuns).        (Just as well Willem.   We had enough damn losses that night without his attendance!   Tom)

On 1 March 1944, 22 year old  Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of IV./NJG 1, based at Leeuwarden in Holland. 

On the 24th/25th of March 1944 he accounted for his 50th victory when shooting down 626 Squadron's HK539 piloted by their Squadron CO - Wing Commander Quentin Ross.

On the night of 24/25 May he recorded his 70th through to 74th victories. On 17 June, he shot down two RAF four-engine bombers to record his 79th and 80th victories. 

Schnaufer claimed four further RAF four-engine bombers shot down on the night of 21/22 June (81-84). 

He was awarded the Eichenlaub (Nr 507) on 24 June for 84 victories, and the Schwertern (Nr 84) on 30 July, with his victory total at 89. 

In September 1944  his unit IV./NJG 1 retreated back into Germany, being stationed temporarily at Dusseldorf and Dortmund. 

Schnaufer achieved his 100th victory on 9 October 1944. He was awarded the Brillanten by Adolf Hitler on 16 October. 

He was appointed Kommodore of NJG 4, based in Gutersloh, on 4 November 1944. 

At the end of the year, his victory total stood at 106.   

On the 1st of February 1945 he set up a new personal record with 9 air victories - all Lancaster bombers.

Although air fights took place at night, and only little information crossed the Channel, this successful night fighter became more and more known to the British and was already respectfully called the Night Ghost of St. Trond (St.Truiden). 

This attention had it's summit when in spring 1945,  British Bomber Command, showing fair admiration, congratulated the famous night fighter ace on his 23rd birthday via the Army broadcasting service at Calais.      Tom

 

 

 

 

A photo-copy of a well known painting of Schnaufer's Me. Bf -110

(could be situated over Northern Holland, in front of the Waddenzee / North Sea).   Willem

 


Along with most other German nightfighters, Schnaufer's aircraft was fitted with a deadly weapon that had decimated RAF bombers for nearly two years without being fully understood by Bomber Command, this was "Schrage Musik".  

This comprised two upward-firing 20mm cannons installed at the rear of the cockpit, inclined at an angle of 70 or 80° which were aimed through a Revi gun-sight above the pilot's head. Having spotted his target, the pilot manoeuvred into position underneath the bomber, effectively in its blind-spot.  

In 1944, a third of all German night-fighters now carried upward firing guns.

A few cannon shells aimed between the inner and outer engines, the area of the fuel tanks on the Lancaster, invariably was enough to cause the destruction of the bomber as the wings erupted on fire. 

In a post-war interview, Heinz Schnaufer said that he had attacked 20 to 30 bombers at a range of 80 yards with his Schrage Musik guns and of those only about 10% saw him approaching at a distance of 150 to 200 metres and tried to evade him by "corkscrewing" before he could open fire.

 

 

Scores of the top ten German Fighter Pilots

 

Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer 121 kills 

Lieutenant Colonel Helmut Lent 113 kills 

Major Prince Sayn-Wittgenstein 83 kills 

Colonel Werner Streib 68 kills 

Major Rudolf Schoenert 65 kills 

Captain Manfred Meurer 65 kills 

Colonel Gunther Radusch 65 kills 

Captain Heinz Rokker 65 kills 

Major Paul Zorner 59 kills 

Captain Martin Becker 58 kill
s

 

 

 

Willem's Introduction

14

Ameland in war-time

25

Wartime Texel  & Den Helder 

1

Friesland War-time Crashes

14b

Ameland,166 & 75 Squadron

26

Hindeloopen

2

Friesland Cemeteries

14c

Ameland Graves

27

Destroy the Scharnhorst!

3

Leeuwarden area

15

Terschelling

28

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 2

3a

Wirdum Remembers

15b

Terschelling 2

28a

Destroy the Scharnhorst! 3

4

Schiermonnikoog

16

Sage War Cemetery

29

12 Squadron in World War 2

4b

Schiermonnikoog  part 2

16b

RAF Topcliffe & 424 Squadron

30

The Runnymede Memorial

5

Harlingen

17

Vlieland Cemetery

31

Vuren at war

6

Kallenkote Cemetery

18

Jacobiparochie

32

Makkum Cemetery

7

Wartime Occupied Harlingen

19

Hampden AE 428, & Koudum

33

A fatal collision?

8

RCAF 428 Ghost Squadron

20

Willem's War-time photographs

34

Hudsons & Venturas

9

Zwolle's ' De Groene ' group

21

Shipdham Airfield & USAF 44th

35

101 Squadron

10

408 Squadron's Leipzig raid

21b

68th Squadron's Casualties

11

Friesland radar

22

Rottum Island or Rottumeroog

12

Lancasters DS776  & JA921

23

Bergen General Cemetery


 

 

 

 

 

 

 email-address:  w.jong1@upcmail.nl

 

 

uk - tom.bint2@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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