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Old 5th August 2023, 22:06
CornwallPhil CornwallPhil is offline
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Plea for help from the Channel Islands

I have been contacted by a family from Jersey trying to confirm their father's wartime memory of a dogfight over St Helier, Jersey, on or just before VE Day, 8th May 1945. The father, who is still alive, was a 13 year old lad, stood near the Commercial Buildings (near where the tunnel is now) on St Helier Harbour when he witnessed a dogfight over St Aubin's Bay between a ME109 and a Spitfire. He recalls German plane billowing black smoke rolled out of sight towards St Peter's airport chased by the Spitfire. The British plane returned a few moments later, performed a victory roll over the bay before heading back towards England. I would be grateful if anyone knows of any document or published account that could confirm this memory. I know the Luftwaffe continued to engage in combat even on the 8th May stating the war didn't finish until midnight although those combats tended to be on the Eastern Front, such as Hartman's, for example. Any assistance gratefully received.
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Old 5th August 2023, 23:17
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

It can't have been right at the end of the war. There were no Bf 109s within range of the Channel Islands after about the third week of August 1944 because of the German collapse following the Allied breakout from Normandy. Luftwaffe fighters were withdrawn in great haste to (e.g.) bases in Belgium and Western Germany. Night time supply flights did continue to the islands until shortly before VE Day, mostly by He 111s.

Your combat must have been in 1944 at the latest.
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Old 6th August 2023, 09:56
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

Sounds more like the 257 Sqn Typhoon which shot down the Fw 190 of IV./SKG 10 in May 1943?
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Old 6th August 2023, 14:09
Brian Bines Brian Bines is offline
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

Any chance this was just before D-Day ?
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Old 6th August 2023, 14:28
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

...and don't forget memories play tricks. One I was involved in was a Bf 109 which crashed in 1940 but turned out to be a Typhoon in 1944!
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Old 6th August 2023, 18:55
VtwinVince VtwinVince is offline
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

This anecdote sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie.
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Old 6th August 2023, 21:25
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

Perhaps the gentleman can match any of the WW 2 crashes on this website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...hannel_Islands with what he has recollected?

Regards,
Leendert
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Old 6th August 2023, 22:41
CornwallPhil CornwallPhil is offline
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

Thanks for your comments which I will pass back to the family.
Whilst I am fully aware of the problems with this kind of oral testimony, his other descriptions of aerial activity in the week leading up to VE Day - solo Spits flying over the island and the arrival of the RAF on the 9th - tie in with known or published accounts of those sightings so I have no reason at this stage to doubt his account (other than your comments above). Like many boys of the war identifying aircraft was something of a hobby taken seriously. He was with a friend who saw what he saw, so this appears to be no solo memory distorted through the mists of time.

What German aircraft were at St Peter's, Jersey in May 1945?
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Old 7th August 2023, 00:55
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by CornwallPhil View Post
What German aircraft were at St Peter's, Jersey in May 1945?
I’m pretty confident that the answer is none. As I said, there had been supply flights in the period August 1944–April 1945 but they always headed back to Germany the same night or within a couple of days. The Channel Islands were hundreds of kilometres from German lines once France was liberated and they did not base air units there or in the other Atlantic Fortresses.
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Old 7th August 2023, 08:47
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Re: Plea for help from the Channel Islands

Furthermore, how could they have maintained or armed combat aircraft when they had effectively been cut off for 11 months? Any combat aircraft would have been a potential threat to Allied operations so would have had to be neutralised in June-July 1944
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