Luftwaffe over the North


(Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword Books, 1997). 208 pages.
100+ photographs and illustrations. Softback.
ISBN 0-85052-529-2. Price. £9.95

Extract from Luftwaffe over the North

over1Following his initial foray against the bombers, George Bennions [Yellow 1] turned astern of the Heinkels. As he did so, an Me.110 slid on to his tail. Jinking first to port and then to starboard, he escaped his pursuer and found himself 300 yards astern of another. He fired and saw his shells striking home. The 110 immediately dived for the clouds with Bennions in hot pursuit: he managed one last burst before his quarry disappeared.

When George emerged from the cloud he was over Barnard Castle: the Messerschmitt had crash-landed nearby. George was credited with the victory, but there is a suggestion that Ted Shipman may have initially disabled the 110 in an attack that had shut down its starboard engine. The pilot of the German fighter was Oberleutnant Hans Kettling, who explained:

"I heard Obergefreiter Volk, my radio-operator and rear gunner, fire his machine-guns and on looking back I stared into the flaming guns of four Spitfires in splendid formation. The plane was hit—not severely but the right-hand motor was dead, had lost its coolant and the oil temperature was rising rapidly. I had to shut off the ignition and bring the prop blades into the gliding position. I then tried to reach the protection of the bombers that were overhead, but without success. Over the radio, I heard the boys in the bombers talking about my aircraft so as the Spitfires came in for the kill I sent out my Mayday. This time the RAF fighters got the left-hand motor and knocked out the rear gunner (who was wounded in the knee) and the front screen. The bullets missed my head by inches."

With both engines dead, Kettling crash-landed alongside Streatlam Camp, close to Bromielow railway
[Extract from the victory of P/O George Bennions (No.41 Sqdn, Catterick) over Oblt. Hans Kettling (1/ZG76) in an incident over the Co. Durham coast, 15 August, 1940]


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