Ju88A-14 144354 / 3E+BH of I/KG6 crashed on Linhope Rigg in the Cheviot Hills on the 25th March 1943
|Karl Klein||Oberfeldwebel||Radio Operator||Killed|
On the night of the 24th/25th March 1943 a number of aircraft left air stations in France and Holland to carry out a raid against Edinburgh. Shortly after midnight on the 25th Sector Operations in the North East & Scotland received warning of approaching contacts and alerted their night fighter Squadrons with a number of aircraft taking off to intercept the contacts. Catterick reported that there were as many as twenty five enemy contacts.
Over the next fifty five minutes seven Ju88s and Do217s crashed in northern England and southern Scotland some after being attacked by night fighters and others flying at low level flew into the high ground of the borders. These included Ju88 144357 on Hare Hill near Edinburgh and Do217 1182 at Steel Rigg near Haltwhistle.
Ju88 3E+BH was, according to the times on RAF Air Intelligence reports, the last of the aircraft to crash. It had taken off from Beauvais in the Picardy region of northern France and flown to Deelen in the Netherlands. The route it was to use to attack Edinburgh was the same as other aircraft used that night, which was from Deelen to a point 90 miles east of Berwick before taking a direct track towards Edinburgh.
At around 01:00 on the 25th the aircraft was heard to pass over Alnwick and then Callaly it was then reported to have made three orbits above Powburn a few miles to the north. At around this time the sound of another aircraft and cannon fire was heard. Shortly afterwards the aircraft flew up the Breamish valley to the west and while heading in a more north westerly direction struck the ground a short way below the summit of Linhope Rigg.
On impact the aircraft overturned and broke up over a relatively small area killing the four crew. After the crash it fell to RAF Acklington and No.83 Maintenance Unit from near Newcastle to carry out the recovery of the crew and the wrecked aircraft. The crew were buried alongside other German servicemen who had been killed in the region at Chevington cemetery close to Acklington.
As with all crashes involving enemy aircraft in the UK the site was attended by RAF Air Intelligence, in the case of this aircraft it was a USAAF Officer who was seconded to the RAF. It was discovered from the maps and documents found at all of the crash sites from the 24th/25th March that aircraft had been tasked from various bases on the continent to come together in the Netherlands for this attack, and others on preceding nights where aircraft returned to airfields there before returning to their home airfields later. The crew of this aircraft had taken part in raids against Norwich and Hartlepool in the week before their ill-fated sortie. Until the beginning of March they had been attached to KG51 on the eastern front, having left for France on the 9th March. It was not established if the crew had always operated together, but by the time of arriving in France the Observer/Navigator had flown over 150 sorties, mostly on the eastern front according to the record discovered in his logbook.