Date: 13th August 1940
Time: 06.30 hours
Unit: Stab I/Kampfgeschwader 54
Type: Junkers Ju 88A-1
Werke/Nr. (Not recorded).
Code: B3 + DB
Location: Phillis Wood, Treyford, Sussex.
Pilot: Oberleutnant. Josef Oestermann 60029/5 Killed/Missing.
Observer: Unteroffizier. Franz Roesler 71105/17 PoW.
Radio/Op: Obergefreiter. Kurt Brieger 188/Ln.Ausb.Kp.D.L.w.Flotten Nachrsch/1 PoW.
Gunner: Unteroffizier. Kurt Seitz 60023/4 PoW.
REASON FOR LOSS:
(Source A.I.(k) & The Blitz then & now Vol.1
This aircraft took off from Guetersloh fitted with extra fuel tanks at 03.00 hours. Met formation at the coast, and flew ahead as reconnaissance aircraft. Intercepted by Hurricanes of Nos. 43 and 601 Squadrons. Believed that claimed by P/O H. C. Mayers of No.601 Sqdn but possibly also attacked by Sgt. H. J. L. Hallowes of No.43 Sqdn.
From Siegfried Radke's book KG54 A CHRONICLE ACCORDING TO WAR DIARIES, DOCUMENTS AND REPORTS 1935 – 1945 the following;
The I. Group attacked the Farnborough airfield with 20 Ju88, the II. Group attacked the Odiham airfield with 18 Ju 88’s. Despite fighter cover the first attacks from British fighters started after flying over the south coast of Britain and more were deployed to take-off.
Two Ju 88’s were shot down from the staff of I. Group, the crews: Aircraft Commander (FF) First Lieutenant Erdmann killed in action, radio operator (BF) First Lieutenant Meyer, navigator (BO) and gunner (BS) missing in action. B3 + DB with the crew of First Lieutenant Oestermann were attacked and shot on fire by Hurricanes in the Farnborough area. The Aircraft Commander (FF) tried to keep the aircraft in the air to enable his crew to jump. They were captured unharmed. Help arrived too late for First Lieutenant Oestermann. The Ju 88 exploded in the air over Phillis Wood/Treyford, First Lieutenant Oestermann remained missing in action. (In the summer of 1988, a British Aviation Association unveiled a memorial stone at this location).
B3 + FL from 3. Squadron, Aircraft Commander (FF) lieutenant Ganslmayr managed an emergency landing (60%) in a field in Dieppe with two wounded officers on board after coming under heavy fighter fire. Gunner (BS) non-commissioned officer Freese reported: “… We as newcomers formed the end of the chain at the far left of the formation. We were greeted by the first English fighter shortly after flying over the British coast. As our fighter coverwas busy ahead of us, we had to rely on ourselves. Our baptism of fire was soon thereafter, the bitter gravity of the war became a reality for us. The English fighters flew attack after attack and always targeted the last chain of our group. They flew attacks under the cover of our fuselage, in the blind spot between our machine gun salvos. So, we reached our target, the Farnborough airfield. The first two squadrons had already destroyed the barracks and hit the runway and airfield.
Our 3. Squadron also dropped its bombs on the airfield. We were not heading home to Evreux. Our Ju 88 had already taken numerous hits. The English fighter attacks intensified on the return flight. Despite our defensive movements and our machine gun defence, our B3+FL 198 had taken hits, we found out later. Bullet-proof glass and armour plating had not been fitted at that time. radio operator (BF) Klein was shot in the crown of the head shortly after the change of course, which was fortunate as the shot would have been fatal if it had been 1 cm lower. Another attack was coming in on us from below. I chased out several machine gun salvos, as my machine gun had suddenly been hit which rendered it inactive. I was defenceless. I then saw a bullet-hole, shards of glass and felt blood spraying on my face and that is when I lost consciousness. Klein was bandaged by the navigator (BO). He had given up on me, as I was lying in the floor pan as if I were dead. I took the first-aid dressing from the instrument panel and gave it to navigator (BO) Schlösser who bandaged me. I can still see his initially horror-stricken, but then joyful face upon my awakening.
In the meantime we had flown over the coast. We could no longer reach Evreux with the paralysed Ju 88. Lieutenant Ganslmayr decided on a belly landing in a field in Dieppe…” Another Ju88 from the 3. Squadron took a hit from an anti-aircraft gun in Guildford, whereby the BF was wounded. Many aircraft from the I./54 returned with bullet damage, of which two had to make belly landings in Evreux (40% and 50%), the crews remained unharmed. The deployment of II./54 to Odiham also claimed its victims. The Ju 88 with the crew of First Lieutenant Rose and Staff Captain of 5./54, Captain Strauch, as navigator was shot down by Hurricanes when taking off and crashed into Swanbourne Lake in Arundel. Only First Lieutenant Rose and the gunner (BS) survived the parachute jump. The BF was found dead after the jump and Captain Strauch as navigator was recovered from a tree in Worthing having suffered serious injuries. He succumbed to his serious injuries two days later in a British military hospital. The crew of Aircraft Commander (FF) First Lieutenant Fredebeul of 6./54, with a bullet-ridden aircraft, reached the French coast, but had to go down at sea. The navigator (BO) was recovered with serious injuries, but died in the military hospital, the Aircraft Commander (FF) and gunner (BS) were later found dead in the sea, the gunner (BS) remains missing in action. Another Ju 88 from the 6 Squadron with Aircraft Commander (FF) First Lieutenant Schmidt also had to go down at the coast with bullet damage and engine failure, while the Aircraft Commander (FF) and navigator (BO) remained uninjured, radio operator (BF) and gunner (BS) were found dead.
Both engines of the B3 + TP from 6 Squadron with FF Lieutenant Fischer failed over the Isle of Wight, in a panic the gunner (BS) jumped with his parachute and was captured in Tangmere. Both engines started up again during the nosedive and Lieutenant Fischer managed a belly landing (40%) in Evreux with the bullet-ridden Ju 88. A radio operator (BF) from the 5./54 was also wounded by artillery fire. Another aircraft from the II./54 made a belly landing (40%) with bullet damage in Evreux, the crew remained uninjured. Bombs dropped on Farnborough: 64 SD50 (some with long-term fuses), 4 SC250 and 2 Flambo 250; on Odiham: 35 SC250, 4 Flambo 250 und 52 SC50 (some with long-term fuses).
RAF (Air-Intelligence) A.I.(k) Report No.257/1940 (NA)
Josef Oestermann pictured here as a Leutnant.(Sharples)
Promotion document, from Leutnant to Oberleutnant.(Sharples)
Josef later pictured as Oberleutnant.(Sharples)
Aftermath of the crash, young children attend the scene in the hope of enquiring a souvenir! (Hall/Saunders)
Josef's memorial in Phillis Wood. (Ellis)
Burial details: None: Oblt. Oestermann is still listed as missing in action.
Researched by Melvin Brownless A R Society 2011. Thanks to Steve Hall and Andy Saunders, Clive Ellis and Clive Sharples for helping us preserve the memory of Josef Oestermann with this page of remembrance. (Updated May 2013)