THAMESIDE AVIATION MUSEUM

THE EXCAVATION OF A JUNKERS JU88S-1

 

 

1/KG26, Emblem

On 13th February 1944 at 20.50hrs,Junkers JU88S-1 RF2MV from 1/KG66, was on a Pathfinder mission when it was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, this was one of only two S-1's shot down over the Britain during the war, the other came down over Coventry.

The Crew

Pilot; Herbert Ehling, ( killed )

Observer; Josef Weikert, ( killed )

Radio opp; Helmet Neidack, ( Safe P.o.W)

Helmet Neidack and his wife attended the dig in 1986.

13th February 1944

JU88S-1, CRASHED:HAVERING-ATTE-BOWER, ESSEX.

On a cold dark February night a lone Ju88s-1 of 1/KG66 was at a hight of 9000' (2700mtr) over East London when it was caught under fire from the anti-aircraft batteries, the crew were quite confidant that they would not be hit as the aircraft was fitted with the latest BMW 801 engines, making them very much faster than the older Jumo 211 engined 88s, but the aircraft took a direct hit and it started to head towards the ground now out of control.

Hemet Neidack as he looked in 1944Helmet Neidack the wireless operator made his escape onto his parachute and landed in a garden in Havering Essex, [unbeknown to him the other two crew members did not escape and were killed in the aircraft.] As he landed he was promptly arrested by a local called Len Butcher, Len was worried that the German would be carrying a Gun, and so he decided to remove his flying helmet and Mae-west just in case it was secreted inside, this done and no gun found Len marched this Luftwaffe Airman with his arm up his back,through the blacked out lanes the local First-aid post,all the time the young airman kept on saying "doctor doctor", once in the light of the First-aid post, the reason for the comment was that Helmet Neidack's arm had infact been broken. He was then taken to Oldchurch Hospital, Romford, Essex. where he was treated for his injuries. The remainder of Helmet Neidacks war was spent as a P.o.W.


August 1986, 42 YEARS LATER

Helmet Neidack reunited with his flying kit in 1986

In August 1986, two week's before the excavation Roger Pickett flew over the site in a Tiger Moth flown by our good friend George French, as they circled the Havering -atte-Bower field Roger spotted the location of the crash site, it showed as a more of a chalky stain on the soil,

Once located with the metal detector, the dig began with Helmet Neidack in attendance. A large hole was soon being excavated but no major parts of the "88" were left only the fragments which the british intellegence had left behind,which included the shortwave radio which Herr Neidack was useing that night.

 

The dig was very interesting even though we did not find a lot of the aircraft, with Helmet Neidack being present and Len Butcher returning his flying kit to him it was all worth while.

You can see the parts including the radio on display at the museum.

BELOW LEFT; Helmet Niedack with Frank Butcher's

{ his capture } daughter and son in law

BELOW RIGHT; Roger Pickett (right) in discussion with Herr NeidackHelmet Neidack, "left", talks with Roger Pickett , at the excavation, about the events in 1944

Helmet Niedack left

 

 

 

 

 

A view of the excavation

ABOVE; a view of the excavation

Above; from left to right, Elfriede Niedack(wife) Julia Niedack (Grandaughter) Helmet Niedak on holiday at Gromitz on the Baltic sea summer 2001. H Niedack

INDEX PAGE

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TAM 11/99