Monday 30 September 1940 saw the last of the great aerial combats over southern England. The Battle of Britain was not officially over for another month, but this was the last time in daylight that the German Luftwaffe sent hordes of bombers across the English Channel escorted by Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. They were confronted by the defending RAF Hurricanes and Spitfires. By day’s end broken attacking aircraft were strewn across the landscape.
This picture is an imaginative retelling of one such incident in Kent featuring Bf 109 number 5175 of 7/JG53, based at Le Touquet-Etaples airfield, piloted by Unteroffizier Ernst Poschenrieder. His aircraft was hit, probably by a Spitfire of 92 Squadron.
As he came down he was also fired on by anti-aircraft guns over Chatham dockyard. His forced landing at Broom Hill, Strood, was so severe that his plane broke in the middle and he sustained serious back injuries. He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner – though the details of ‘what happened next’ are a story in their own right.
Colour version also available.