Luftwaffe Raid on Southampton - 26 September 1940
Luftwaffe Bombing Raids on the Supermarine Factories in Southampton in 1940
26 September 1940
The attack on Southampton was of major importance - enemy formations totalled about 100 aircraft and the main objectives was the Supermarine Aviation Works. The factory sirens began just after 4pm and on this occasion, gave the workers ample time to evacuate. The raid was escorted by 60 Me 110 fighters of ZG26 which was protecting the 60 Heinkel 111s of KG55 which attacked in two waves along the North-South axis in block formation. Approximately 200 bombs or 70 tons was dropped but most of them due to the formation shape completely missed the intended targets, only 7 bombs hit the Woolston factory and one hit the Itchen works. Unfortunately, a large number of bombs hit residential areas and the factory shelters again causing significant number of casualties. Production is suspended at both works but the raid only destroyed 3 near complete Spitfires and 20 damaged but did end the development of R.J. Mitchell’s heavy bomber prototypes. Casualties: Southampton: 36 killed; 60 seriously injured.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4 (3028). Hit by AA fire during bomber escort sortie over Southampton and port engine stopped. Then attacked and further damaged by Pilot Officer J.R. Urwin-Mann of No 238 Squadron and starboard engine hit. Made a high speed forced landing on Bleak Down Hill, Newport, Isle of Wight 4.30pm. Fw H. Rohde captured wounded. Fw. E. Feder captured unhurt. Aircraft U8+HH a write off.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4 (3094). Shot down by Pilot Officer J.S. Wigglesworth of No 238 Squadron during escort sortie over Southampton. Dived vertically into the ground at Tapnall Farm near Freshwater, Isle of Wight, 4.30pm. Lt. K.A. Konopka and Uffz. R. Ekberg killed. Aircraft 3U+AR a write off. The rank of the gunner in this aircraft, Rudolf Ekberg, is shown as 'Lieutenant' in the records of the Soldatenfriedhof, Cannock Chase. Presumably he was promoted subsequent to his death. Major recovery by Steve Vizard, John Ellis and Simon Parry in 1982. Both Daimler-Benz DB 601 engines and engine badges recovered, together with undercarriage, 20mm cannon and parachute. Propeller blade presented to the landowner.
Henkel He 111H (5314). Failed to return from bombing sortie over the south coast of England. Shot down by fighters off the Isle of Wight. Obit. Graf Schweinitz, Uffz. Widmann, Uffz. Schob, Gefr. Helfer and Gefr. Wastian all missing. Aircraft G1+BL lost.
Henkel He 111P (3098). Forced landed at Dreux following operational sortie over the Channel and attacked by fighters. Oblt. Karbe and Lt. Wilser injured. Aircraft 40% damaged.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4 (3028). Shot down by AA fire and fighters during escort sortie over Southampton. Forced landed on Bleak Down, Newport, Isle of Wight, 4.30pm Fw. Rohde and Fw. Feder captured. Aircraft U8+HH a write off.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4 (3094). Crashed on Tapnall Farm, near Freshwater, Isle of Wight 4.30pm, following fighter attack, Lt Konopka and Uffz. Eiberg both killed. Aircraft 3U+AR a write off.
152 Squadron, RAF Warmwell
Spitfire K9982. Crashed into the Channel twelve miles south of the Needles following combat with Bf 109s 4.40pm. Flying Officer E.C. Deanesley baled out wounded and rescued by RN launch landing at Swanage. Aircraft lost.
Spitfire K9882. Shot down by Bf 109s in combat over the Channel off Swanage 4.50pm. Crashed into the sea. Sergeant J.M. Christie picked up dead. Aircraft lost.
229 Squadron, RAF Northolt
Hurricane V6745. Forced landed at Hambledon after combat with Bf 110s over Southampton 4.30pm. Sergeant S.W. Merryweather wounded and slightly burned. Aircraft RE-Y a write off.
238 Squadron, RAF Middle Wallop
Hurricane P2983. Forced landed at Lee-on-Solent following combat with Bf 110s over the Isle of Wight 4.30pm. Squadron Leader H. Fenton unhurt. Aircraft repairable.
Hurricane P3464. Returned to base damaged in combat with Bf 110 over the Isle of Wight 4.30pm. Sergeant J.V. Kucera believed unhurt. Aircraft damaged but repairable.
Hurricane P3098. Shot down in combat with Bf 110s over the Solent 4.30pm. Presumed crashed in the sea. Sergeant V. Horsky missing. Aircraft lost.
Hurricane P3830. Shot down by Bf 110 in combat over the Isle of Wight west of Newport 4.35pm. Pilot Officer R.A. Kings baled out unhurt. Aircraft a write off
Hurricane L1998. Returned to base severely damaged in combat with Bf 110s over the Isle of Wight 4.35pm. Sergeant J. Jeka unhurt. Aircraft damaged but repairable.
303 Squadron, RAF Northolt
Hurricane V6673. Force landed at Biggin Hill damaged in action over Southampton 4.30pm. Sergeant M. Belch unhurt. Aircraft damaged but repairable.
Hurricane V7465. Returned to base minus port wing tip following combat over Southampton 4.30pm. Flight Lieutenant A.S. Forbes unhurt. Aircraft damaged but repairable.
Hurricane P3544. Damaged in combat over Southampton. Force landed between Charity and Wyton Farms near Fareham 5.45pm. Flying Officer W. Januszewicz unhurt. Aircraft RF-H damaged but repairable.
602 Squadron, RAF Westhampnett
Spitfire X4411. Returned to base with radiator damage following attack on He 111 over the Solent 4.40pm. Pilot Officer A.L. Edi unhurt. Aircraft repairable.
Hurricane P5205. Shot down in engagement with enemy aircraft over the Isle of Wight 4.20pm. Flight Lieutenant C.E. Bowen baled out unhurt over Kaylthorpe. Aircraft a write off.
Spitfire N3288. Mainspar severely damaged by return fire from He 111 engaged over Christchurch 4.35pm. Returned to base. Pilot Officer A.K. Oglvie unhurt. Aircraft damaged but repairable.
Spitfire R6979. Returned to base starboard wing and ailerons damaged by 20mm cannon fire during combat over Christchurch 4.40pm. Squadron Leader H.S. Darley unhurt. Aircraft repairable.