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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 212959
Last updated: 1 December 2021
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Date:26-AUG-1940
Time:06:34 LT
Type:Handley Page Hampden Mk I
Owner/operator:50 Squadron Royal Air Force (50 Sqn RAF)
Registration: P2070
MSN: VN-X
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:Lautersheim, Donnersbergkreis district, Rhineland-Palatinate -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Lindholme, North Yorkshire
Destination airport:RAF Lindholme, North Yorkshire
Narrative:
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I P2070 (VN-X) of 50 Squadron, RAF Waddington. Target: Berlin. Force landed on the morning of 26/8/1940 near Lautersheim, Donnersbergkreis district, in Rhineland-Palatinate, near Mannheim in Southern Germany (at approximate Coordinates: 49°35′13″N 08°05′53″E) due to engine failure after running out of fuel. A German radio broadcast was picked up on 26/8/40 and translated. It revealed a slight error in the navigation on the part of Sgt J Scholfield in P2070.

The broadcast described how the inhabitants of Osthofen and Worms heard the drone of an aircraft flying at a low height, with anti-aircraft batteries firing. Shortly afterwards the twin-engine Hampden landed at Lautersheim. To the astonishment of the local people who surrounded the aircraft, the aircrew calmly alighted and the pilot, Pilot Officer Wawn addressed the crowd in Oxbridge English! Several German officers immediately arrived on the scene, Wawn announced that he thought they'd landed in Scotland and the people were speaking a Celtic dialect...

When asked if they were not surprised at being shot at by AA guns, he replied, 'Oh, no. We're used to that sort of thing in England". The Hampden's carrier pigeons, were still in there baskets: 'Well if we'd released them they'd have had a long flight home!' replied Scholfield. According to the 50 Squadron diary (ORB - Air Ministry Form 540) for the period:

"25/ 26 August- BERLIN
Five aircraft took off at around 21.50 hours to attack an electricity power station at Berlin. Low cloud hampered an effective mission. All aircraft are thought to have reached their target, but two casualties were suffered due to intensive flak defences.

Hampden P2070 (VN-X) was lost without trace after requesting permission for, and acknowledging receipt of, fixes from HESTON around 04.40 hours. Finally QDM’s were requested from base at 05.55 hours, which also were acknowledged; the aircraft had now been airborne for 8 hours. This was the last contact. The aircraft’s approximate position at this time was calculated as around BRUSSELS. Searches were not carried out due to the vast area of a possible crash site (from Suffolk to Brussels). Crew were:
Pilot Officer Wawn (pilot),
Sgt. J. Scholfield (navigator)
Sgt. R. Smith (WOP/AG) and
Sgt. Bushel (AG)

It is believed to have force landed, intact, near Lautersheim, near Mannheim Southern Germany, at around 06.34, and crew were all taken as POW. This location is around 400 miles off-track for the return trip, a huge error. High probability that the aircraft ran out of fuel. The aircraft was captured intact by the Germans

Sources:

1. http://www.no-50-and-no-61-squadrons-association.co.uk/app/download/5802508903/50+SQUADRON+ORB+1939+1943+Revision+1.pdf
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lautersheim
3. http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=41823
4. http://aircrewremembered.com/wawn-robert.html
5. https://www.berlinluftterror.com/blog/page/5
6. https://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?128809-Battle-of-Britain-Images&p=2122970#post2122970


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
06-Jul-2018 21:29 Dr. John Smith Added
06-Jul-2018 21:29 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
12-Nov-2018 19:08 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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