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Archive Report: Axis Forces
1914-1918   1935-1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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Jadgegschwader 51 Crest
29.07.1940 Stab I/Jagdgeschwader 51 Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 Hptm. Aichele

Operation: Combat - English Channel

Date: 29th July 1940 (Monday)

Unit: Stab I/Jagdgeschwader 51

Type: Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4

Werke/Nr. Unknown

Code: Unknown

Location: Near Wissant, France.

Pilot: Hptm. Erwin Aichele Age 39. Killed


His Bf 109E-4 was damaged during aerial combat over the English Channel on 29 July, 1940. As he attempted to make the emergency landing at Audembert/Wissant airfield his aircraft overturned, caught and he was killed. One of the oldest serving German fighter pilots at the age of 39.

Propeller blades and hub mark the spot where Hptm. Erwin Aichele lost his life.

Rare picture of Erwin Aichele taken in 1933 standing by Focke-Wulf C-19 autogyro. Left - Right: Aviatrix Fel Gudrun Pagge, Walter Hagen (Oberst., Ritterkreuz), Erwin Aichele, Theodor Osterkamp (Generalmajor, Ritterkreuz, Order Pour La Mérite). Image courtesy Bundesarchiv, Germany.

With thanks to Tom Kracker - his great research spanning some 20 years. Honoured to host his extensive Luftwaffe Archive with Aircrew Remembered. Also to Michel Beckers for photographs.

KTY 2015-o4-20

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Wer vor der Vergangenheit die Augen verschließt, wird blind für die Gegenwart. Richard von Weizsäcker
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Last Modified: 09 June 2015, 10:55

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