Heinkel He111 

Cairnsmore of Fleet, Dumfries













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: Flugzeug Heinkel He111.


(Frankreich.- Bomber Heinkel He 111 E (Kennung CH+NR) auf Feldflugplatz; KBK Lw 5)


a heinkel he111 on a grass parking area


Photo: Deutsches Bundesarchiv. Released by the German Federal Archive to the public domain under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany licensing arrangement.





Aircraft Type and Background


Deutsche Luftwaffe Heinkel He111 H-4 / Code unknown



Aircraft Type Nickname: "Pedro" (Condor Legion)


Originally designed as a civil airliner for Lufthansa, the Heinkel He111 was to become the Luftwaffe's main medium bomber. Early types were equipped with BMW or Daimler-Benz engines. Later, however, the He111 H-4 version was equipped with two 1,100hp (820kW) Junkers Jumo 211D engines. Later still, this was changed to type 211F —a 1,350hp liquid-cooled inverted V12 powerplant.


This aircraft could carry a crew of five: pilot, navigator/ bombadier, nose gunner, ventral gunner, & dorsal gunner.


The Heinkel He111 could carry 2,000kgs bombs internally, plus additional munitions in an external bomb rack. It had a top speed of 436km/h (271mph), although this reduced to 405km/h (251.5mph) when the aircraft was fully loaded.


Some of these aircraft were built under licence by the Spanish manufacturer, CASA (EADS-CASA). During the war, these aircraft were equipped with Junkers engines supplied from Germany. Post-war, however, the Spanish-built Heinkels (designated CASA 2.111) were fitted with Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-29 engines.



BELOW: A CASA 2.111 bomber (Spanish-built version of the Heinkel He111) on display. (Museum unknown).


A CASA (Spanish) built Heinkel He111 on display at museum


Photo: 2007 'Bzuk'. Released by the author to the public domain.





Aircraft Accident Details                      


Apparently, the Heinkel crew had been scheduled to lay mines in the Belfast coastal area. However, shortly before reaching the target area, the crew lost their bearings and were forced to abort their mission.


On attempting to return to their base, the still heavily laden Heinkel failed to clear the Solway hills, crashing on Cairnsmore of Fleet not far from Newton Stewart. The bombs / mines and other munitions on board exploded on impact, killing all crew members.





Aircraft Crew Casualties


Those who perished in this accident were:

  • Leutnant A. Zeiss (25),

  • Underoffizier G.T. Von Turckheim (31)

  • Underoffizier W. Hajesch (21)

  • Underoffizier W. Mechsner (23).

All crew were buried at Cannock Chase - German Military Cemetery, near Broadhurst Green, Staffordshire.


See also here.


Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery at Commonwealth War Graves Commission.





Crash Site Photos


Researcher's Notes (1970s) [From John Martindale's log].


    History of Aircraft


  • SJ + SH

  • 1/KG4

  • [Crashed] East of Eastman’s Cairn, Cairnsmore of Fleet

  • Two engines1 lie on the rocky slopes. One wing2 is nearby. About 400 yards to the north is the rear fuselage, tail unit.

  • Sortie from Soesterberg, written off 09/08/40


Footnote 1: One engine was recovered from the crash site in 1980 and is now on display at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum. (See photo, plaque and link below.)


Footnote 2: The wing section shown in the black and white photo immediately below was recovered in the 1970s and is now on display at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum. (See photo further down this page showing the wing section at the museum.)




BELOW: A wing section from the Heinkel He111 that crashed at Cairnsmore of Fleet.


(The wing section and an engine are now at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.)


A wing section from the Heinkel He111.


Photo: © 1970s-2015 William Stevenson



BELOW: One of the Junkers Jumo 211 D-1 engines from the Heinkel He111.


One of the Junkers Jumo 211 D-1 engines.  


Photo: © 1970s-2015 William Stevenson



BELOW: Inside the narrow fuselage of the Heinkel bomber.


Inside the narrow fuselage of the Heinkel bomber.  


Photo: © 1970s-2015 William Stevenson



(See also related journal article 'Heinkel Hunt' on Page 2.)






Other Photos



BELOW: Some of the wreckage from the Heinkel He111 at Cairnsmore of Fleet.


Appearing beside the wreckage (from left to right):  Ian Faulkner, Malcolm Carlisle, and John Roberts.

Wreckage of Heinkel He-111 at Cairnsmore of Fleet

Photo: © 1941-2010 Mellie

BELOW: A large burnt area with fragments of exploded cartridge cases, etc. are all that now remain of the wrecked Heinkel He111 bomber which crashed at Cairnsmore of Fleet in the 'Solway Hills'. The impact point is shown below (Ref. 83 / 497673).


photo showing all that remains of he111 impact point on cairnsmore of fleet


Photo: (©) 2008 Alan Leishman



BELOW: The Heinkel He111 wing section that was recovered from the crash site in the 1970s.


This wing section is now on display at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.


The Heinkel He111 wing section that was recovered from the crash site.


Photo: 2015 Steven Spink



BELOW: One of the Junkers Jumo 211 D-1 engines from the Heinkel He111 that crashed on Cairnsmore of Fleet.


This engine is now on display at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.


one of the jumo 211-d engines from the he111 at dumfries and galloway aviation museum


Photo: 2008 James Towill



BELOW: Plaque providing details of Heinkel He111 accident and Jumo engine recovery from Cairnsmore of Fleet.


plague providing details of he111 accident and  jumo engine recovery


Photo: 2008 James Towill



The above Plaque reads:


Junkers Jumo 211 D-1 Inverted V12 1200hp Engine
recovered from
Heinkel He111 crash site on Cairnsmore of Fleet


"This engine was recovered from Cairnsmore of Fleet, 9kms East of Newton Stewart. The engine originates from a Luftwaffe Heinkel He 111 aircraft which crashed on the evening of 8th August 1940. The He 111 was from 1 Gruppe of Kampfgeschwader 4 (1/KG4) based at Soesterberg, Holland. It is understood that the Lutfwaffe Bomber was on a mission to lay mines off Belfast when the crew became lost and collided with the summit of Cairnsmore.


"The Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Group decided to erect a memorial on Cairnsmore of Fleet to commemorate the twenty five lives (4 x Luftwaffe, 13 x RAF, 1 x RAAF, 4 x RCAF, 1 x RNZAF and 2 x USAF) lost in the eight aircraft crashes since 1940. The memorial was dedicated and put in place on 8 August 1980, 40th Anniversary of the Heinkel crash. The 2.5 Ton granite memorial was airlifted to the summit by Sikorsky HH-53C "Super Jolly Green Giant" 69-5796 from the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force, RAF Woodbridge. The engine was recovered by the 67th ARRS crew and the Museum members aboard the helicopter. The Museum is indebted to Colonel C E Wicker, 67th ARRS Commander and Captain Frank A Gray, the pilot who flew the mission.


"For the technically minded, this engine was designed with the crankshaft and sump uppermost, as was the BMW engine installed in the famous Messerschmitt Me 109. Both engines had the advanced (for that time) feature of fuel injection which gave these aircraft the ability to perform violent manoeuvres and fly inverted without losing power."









(S.W.A.I.G. Journal Article: 'Heinkel Hunt'.)



















Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 17 Jan 1941


Accident Site:

Cairnsmore of Fleet (711m / 2,333ft)
('Solway Hills')

Region: Dumfries and Galloway


Nearest town or village:

Newton Stewart


Nearest large towns:

Newton Stewart (W) or Gatehouse of Fleet (SE)


OS Grid Ref. NX 504671

83 / 497673 (impact point)


GPS Ref. N/A


Present Condition: Traces of the impact he impact point and tiny fragments of metal are all that remain onsite. The last remaining wreckage (the tail section) was removed from the site in 1979 for the North East Aircraft Museum (NEAM), in Newcastle-on-Tyne. The Junkers Jumo engine was recovered in 1980 and is now on display at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial:


Operator: Deutsche Luftwaffe


Operating Base: Soesterberg Air Base (NG1 Staffel auf Kampfgeschwader 4 (NG1 Squadron of Battle Wing 4 (a Bomber squadron))


Base Location: Huis ter Heide; 10km / 7miles from Utrecht, Holland.


Current Airport Status: Operational Military Airport (Royal Netherlands Air Force)


(Soesterberg Air Base was due for closure in 2007. However, this was postponed until 2009. Existing squadrons will be transferred to Gilze-Rijen Air Base)


Current Airport Name: (until 2009): Soesterberg Air Base (EHSB)


(Incorporated USAF Camp New Amsterdam until 27 September 1994)




Related Links


German Language Links


Flugzeugforum (German Aviation Forum)

Luftwaffe (Also in English)


Wettererkundungsstaffel 1 / O.b.d. Luftwaffe (Luftwaffe Weather Reconnaissance Detachments)


Museum Links

Heinkel He111 at RAF Museum, Hendon (Now, RAF Museum London, Battle of Britain Hall)

Luftwaffenmuseum (Luftwaffe Museum / German & English)

The Virtual Aviation Museum


RAF and Related Links

No. 3 (Fighter) Squadron Association

No. 3 Squadron RAF (modern)

No. 3 Squadron RAF at Wikipedia


Other Links

Heinkel He111 at Warbird Alley

Heinkel He111 engine on flickr (photographed at Duxford)

Heinkel He111 Specifications at History of War

The Luftwaffe at Wikipedia



Detailed colour photos of Heinkel He111 type at:

Frederick 2000 Airshow

Mark Bogard's website




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