Heinkel He111 1H+JA

Kidlaw Hill, Gifford, E. Lothian













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 / 1H+JA



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 VI or Daimler-Benz 601A 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, and 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 Incident Details                      


Luftwaffe Heinkel He111 H-4, coded 1H+JA, had been briefed to carry out a reconnaissance mission over the Firth of Clyde, and then to continue homeward over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh. However, the aircraft was detected while en route to the Firth of Forth.


Fighters from 602 (City of Glasgow) and 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadrons formerly, Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) Squadrons1 based at RAF Drem were scrambled to intercept the bomber.


When the Heinkel pilot realised that he was being pursued, he began a turn to the south-east in an attempt to escape the RAF fighters. However, despite employing extensive evasive tactics, the Heinkel was hit numerous times by machine gun fire, sustaining serious damage.


(One of the RAF airmen involved was 25-year-old Flight Lieutenant Archie McKellar of 602 Squadron. Sadly, Archie McKellar was killed a few hours after the official end of the Battle of Britain.)


During the encounter the two air gunners in the rear of the Heinkel were killed, and the pilot was wounded.


The pilot managed to force land his aircraft in a nearby field, where—together with his navigator—he surrendered to a local policeman. The police officer was the first person to arrive at the crash scene.


Both the German pilot and the navigator spent the rest of the war in captivity. The two Luftwaffe air gunners who were killed were buried with  full military honours.



Footnote 1:


602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron.


On the 23rd of August 1939 orders were received that would embody 602 Squadron into the regular RAF. [Cited from 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Museum Association.]



NOTE: Although, previously, a Luftwaffe aircraft had been brought down over water, the Heinkel He111 on this page is reported as the first German aircraft to have been brought down over land.






Aircraft Crew Casualties / Survivors


Those who perished in this engagement were:

  • Cpl Bruno Reimann

  • Sgt Gottleb Kowalke

(Both airmen were buried at Cannock Chase)


[Above names kindly provided by Alan Leishman]



Those who survived were:

 Kurt Lehmkuhl, Pilot, Luftwaffe. (Sustained injuries.)

 Rolf Niehoff, Navigator, Luftwaffe. (Uninjured.)





Crash Site Photos

BELOW: Heinkel He111 H-4, coded 1H+JA.


This is the aircraft which crashed at Kidlaw Hill near Kidlaw / Longnewton Farms on the Lammermuir Hills. This aircraft was known locally as the 'Humbie Heinkel' due to its proximity to the village of that name.


(Newsreel video here (no sound)).


The Heinkel HeIII on the Lammermuir Hills


1939 Stock photo



BELOW: The wrecked cockpit of the crashed Heinkel bomber.


the wrecked cockpit of the crashed Heinkel


1939 Stock photo





















Crash Date / Site



Incident Date: 28 Oct 1939


Incident Site:

Kidlaw Hill

(In the vicinity of Kidlaw Farm and Long Newton Farm (PDF layout))


Region: East Lothian.


Nearest towns or villages: Gifford (N) or Humbie (W).


Nearest large towns: Haddington (N) or Tranent (NW).


Nearest city: Edinburgh. [Lothians area map (PDF)]


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref. N/A


Present Condition: Wreckage removed from crash site in 1939. No known remains onsite, but some parts of the wreckage can be seen at 602 Squadron Museum at 518 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: 1H+JA


Operator: Deutsche Luftwaffe (Geschwader Stab Kampfgeschwader 26 - Geschwader Stab KG26)


Operating Base: Westerland (detached from Schleswig)


Base Location: Westerland, island of Sylt.


Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport.


Current Airport Name: WesterlandSylt Airport. (GWT / EDXW)





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