19th November 1940

A plane crashed on Crevichon

A German Heinkel He 111 aircraft crashed above Crevichon’s high tide mark on 19 November 1940. It had taken off from France, on a bombing mission over England.

The exact cause of the crash has never been ascertained, but what is known is that the aircraft was already losing height as it flew over Jethou. In an attempt to shed some weight, it apparently dropped the bomb that was destined for London. The weapon landed on Jethou’s Old Cottage, which was inevitably destroyed.

However, even this drastic evasive procedure would seem to have been in vain, as the aircraft continued its dive until it hit Jethou’s close neighbour. The crew was killed upon impact.

Why did it crash?

One theory is that the plane was damaged as early as the point of take-off and had been flying ever since with a fire in its engine. Another theory suggests that it was accidentally downed by “friendly” fire from German forces stationed on Brehon Tower.

Positioned off Guernsey’s east coast, occupying forces had installed a pair of 2cm anti-aircraft guns on Brehon’s roof from which they would be able to provide defensive cover for St Peter Port harbour.

A third theory is that there was an Allied – probably British – plane in the area, which had spotted and shot down the German aircraft without anyone seeing it.

Heinkel He 111 production

The Heinkel He 111 was a fast bomber that Germany had been producing since 1934. At that time, the kind of aircraft it could produce was still restricted in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which Germany had been forced to accept after the First World War. However, the He 111 had been designed to look like its intended use was as a civilian airliner. Only once war broke out for a second time did its real purpose become clear.

It remained in production for 10 years, with the last one rolling out of the factory in 1944.

Thumbnail image attached to this post: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-343-0694-21 / Schödl (e) / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons


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