Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Heinkel Down

On 30 August 1940 the Battle of Britain continued to rage on over the Channel and the South of England. During a morning patrol with No.253 Squadron, nineteen year old John Greenwood engaged a formation of Bf 110s in a head-on attack near Kenley. He fired a quick burst of ammunition at one of the twin-engined fighters and then dived down to avoid a collision. He then noticed a Heinkel 111 bomber (that had carried out an attack on Farnborough's aerodrome) flying at about 12,000 feet. Greenwood attacked the enemy aircraft from the rear and fired all the remaining ammunition he had left in his Hurricane fighter. Greenwood recalls that he 'pounced on him from the port quarter and knocked both engines out. I followed him down and watched him make a good forced landing on the North Downs. Circling low down about 200 feet, I saw the crew of five leave their aircraft; one I saw covered in blood and lifted out by his comrades. Many years after the war, I discovered he died and another of the crew were wounded but lived. They were made POWS.' (Quote from 'A Dream Realised' by C Yeoman, Fighting High Volume 2)

The He 111 Greenwood downed on Haxted Farm, Lingfield
Pilot Officer John Greenwood

John Greenwood today with his portrait
painted by David Pritchard

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