John Hornsby writes:

Does anyone know the fate of the German Bomber and Crew which flew very low over Billesley, Kings Heath and Cotteridge in 1943?

The undercarriage of the plane was of clear perspex type material and all who saw the plane could see the crew clearly. I remember the crew in light khaki looking down, one holding a clip board type document holder: obviously a flight plan of sorts.

The main raids had finished by then and the Luftwaffe were rarely seen over Britain by then. This plane came in without cover (it sent a few bursts of ammo up Stirchley High St) and it could not help to be intercepted. Some say it was brought down over Yorkshire. A suicidal sortie really. I saw the plan from the back steps of a house in Billesley.

Leave a comment below or email us if you have any further information.


10 Responses to “Luftwaffe bomber”

  • Cliff:

    Cliff Fleetwood has e-mailed in response to John’s message.
    Maybe Cotteridge was on the ‘wanted’ list of the Luftwaffe…? Besides this incident there were the bombs which landing on houses in Grange Hill Rd (see the memory below). Then the night time raid in Nov 1942, which resulted in several incendiary bombs landing in Francis Rd, Breedon Rd, with the explosive part taking out the canal bridge (so draining the canal) in Bournville Lane. John’s incident can be confirmed by my wife who was 14/15 years of age at the time and was on the receiving end of the machine gun fire, but it was on Bristol Rd?

  • David Turner:

    I remember my mother relating this tale. I was a babe in arms at the time. She sad you could clearly see the pilot in the cockpit and the aircraft was following the railway lines. The thought at the time was that it was looking for the Austin Works (which incidentally were never bombed). Anyway, it got as far as the railway sidings at Kings Norton and dropped its bombs there. What happened to it after that I don’t know.

  • John Hornsby:

    Further to my memories of the German bomber over Cotteridge (seen minutes earlier from my garden in Billesley):

    The Birmingham Mail published a feature in the 60s related to locals’ memories of the bomber and a picture of a corner house (near the present day Fitness Centre in Pershore Road) still then with bullet holes in the brickwork.

    I have recently spoken to then Cotteridge schoolchildren who confirmed the rooftop flight and seeing members of the crew quire clearly. (The fuselage at the front of the Junkers 88 was of perspex construction).

    I am now tracing the official records which would provide the outcome of the plane. Did it reach safety or shot down over Yorkshire?

    Others say it shot up a bus shelter in Pershore Road High St and also the hill near the Bredon Canal Bridge as workers were leaving the factories.

    Some say it also it fired its guns on the Bristol Road near the Austin (Longbridge). It could have killed many. But there are no confirmed reports of casualties. As though the gunner(s) had no serious intent to hit civilians.

    Cliff’s mother remembers it unloaded bombs on the railway route it was taking. Quite suicidal for a recon quick in and out flight months after the main raids had ceased.

    This circuitous route may suggest there was more than one such aircraft?. Somewhere in the official archives here and in Germany would be the answers. All very strange.

  • Terry:

    I grew up in Shirley and Northfield. I distinctly remember a lone German plane – said later to have been a Dornier – that flew over the Rover factory near Shirley. It was shot down by massed rifle and machine-gun fire and crashed in Earlswood Lake. The crew members were buried with honours in Alton Road churchyard in Shirley.

  • Stuart:

    I remember my nan and grandad telling this story. My grandad was a machine operator at Longbridge, on nights at the time. There were a few families standing outside in Callowbrook Lane Rubery watching the bomber looking for the Longbridge works when it turned and machine gunned everybody watching. They all scattered but they remembered that they could clearly see the crew who were wearing khaki.

  • John Hurlston:

    There were several people killed by a bomb while sheltering in the tunnel that links The Worthings with Allens Croft Road which would be about a quarter of a mile from the Breedon Cross I believe about 7 or 8 people killed.

  • Audrey J Baker:

    I remember the German plane quite well. I was in the garden with my sisters in Walton Grove in Parsons Hill Kings Norton. We remember seeing the pilot and the fact that he seemed to be smiling. My mother was really frightened. She was coming home from work and running up the hill. She said she could hear the machine gunning and thought she was going to geth shot. We all thought we had a narrow escape but he didn’t shoot at us children.

  • Robert:

    My grandparents moved into Rissington Ave.(off Cherrington Rd) when those house’s were built in 1939 one house about half way up the Ave was destroyed, with a stick of bombs coming across from warwards lane.
    I also remember my Gran telling me about the German bomber that came over low,she was just coming out of the Three Horse Shoes on the Pershore Rd. heard the drone of the engines,she said she looked up and froze ,she couldn’t move , said it was that low you could almost touch it with great big black crosses on it and that you could clearly see the crew,so she obviously didn’t make it up….

  • Stuart Hedley:

    The crash in Earlswood happened in 1941, the dead crew were originally buried in Robin Hood Cemetery in Shirley, but after the creation of a German Cemetery on Cannock Chase were exhumed and required. More info can be found here, including a picture of the aircraft’s tail.

  • John Moore:

    re; my family told me about the loss of life at the Allens Croft tunnel. My grandfather was an ARP warden at the time and attended the scene.

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