13th August 1940      

At about 4:00pm on Tuesday 13th August 1940 (Adler Tag – Eagle Day), a Junkers ju 87B plane of the Luftwaffe 5 Staffle StG2 wing was shot down by a Royal Air Force Spitfire. The Stuka crashed and burned near Grimstone Viaduct.

The pilot, Oberfeldwebel 62792-5 (OR 14) Erich Hugo Haack and Gunner, Uttz. Heinrich Haselmayer were both killed.

Erich Hugo Harri Haack was born in Lippusch, West-Preussen, Germany on 1st March 1914. Heinrich Haselmayer was born on 17th June 1915 at Oberhausen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Oberfeldwebel is the second lowest non-commissioned rank in the Luftwaffe. The British equivalent is Flight Sergeant. Uttz is the abbreviation of Unteroffizier and its British equivalent is Corporal.

1940 Stratton resident, E. G. Read told author Rodney Legg in1981 that he and his neighbours had watched an aerial battle overhead and that machine gun clips had fluttered down around them. They heard a "bloodcurdling banshee wail" and saw black smoke pouring from the German plane. Later they learnt that the Stuka had crashed behind Grimstone viaduct. Straight away they went there on their bicycles and found a sentry on guard with a fixed bayonet. They saw two bodies under white parachutes. The sentry had gone the next day. The bodies of the German airmen were buried "in a green unploughed curve at the side of the field". Later two carved, inscribed wooden crosses marked the burial site. The bodies remained there until sometime in the late 1960's when they were re-interred at Brookwood Military Cemetery near Woking, Surrey.

Haack and Haselmayer are buried side-by-side in Plot 15, Row A, Graves 5 & 6 respectively. Their graves are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Further cemetery information is available · HERE ·

Aftermath of the crash in a field near Viaduct Cottage

RAF Flight Lieutenant Derek Pierre Aumale Boitel-Gill of 152 Squadron operating from RAF Warmwell claimed the hit.

Information about F/Lt. Boitel-Gill can be read

Details of 152 Squadron can be found · HERE ·

Junkers ju 87B were known as Stuka’s from the German word Sturzkampfflugzeug meaning ‘dive bomber‘. A general description of the aircraft, diving procedures, technical details, engine variants, armaments and a range of other specifications can be seen · HERE ·

The Luftwaffe Staffle StG2 ‘Immelmann’ Dive Bomber wing was named after Max Immelmann on 1st May 1939. The wing was divided into three groups: I. Gruppe in Cottbus; II. Gruppe in Stolp-Reitt; III. Gruppe in Langensalza. The wing was originally formed as Fliegergruppe Schwerin in 1934 and was the first Stuka wing of its type. For most of its service II/StG2 was detached from the main Geshwader (British equivalent - Squadron) and operated as an independent formation. In August 1940 II/StG2 was stationed at Lannion in Brittany, north western France. Further information about the Luftwaffe StG2 wing can be found · HERE ·

Part of the Stuka shot down at Grimstone was spotted at an antiques fair in Kempton, Surrey by Stratton resident Rich Tigwell. He now owns the cooling sleeve from the plane's rear gun, and the item is back in Stratton.

Cooling Sleeve from the Stuka Rear Gun

E. G. Read also explained that in 1964 he found the airmen's wooden crosses in a shed in Frampton churchyard but by 1981 they and the shed had disappeared.

Rodney Legg's book 'Dorset's War 1939-45' was published in 1985 by Wincanton Press (ISBN 0 948699 02 7)