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Ernst Specht - Radio operator, Ju88 8/Kampfgeschader 54

Sadly Ernst Specht passed away peacefully on Sunday 5th April 2015


Ernst Specht born 16.05.1923 in Gladbeck. Died 05.04..2015.

Called up to Luftwaffe in 1942 aged 18. Basic training completed at Stendal, near Berlin. At the end of basic training we were given the option to train for flying, or not.  I volunteered for flying and the longer training period it involved. 

Two years of flight training e.g. Copenhagen (blind flying), night flying (Parndorf near Vienna), low flying over the Alps, bomb sighting and dropping on forests near Delmenhorst. At Parndorf we were put into crews that would fly together from now on. 

I was assigned as a Bordfunker (Radio operator). November 1943 transferred to 3rd Group, 8th Stafffel of KG54 which was re-equipping after service in Africa/Sicily and Italy at Manchingen, near Ingolstat.

First mission set for 18th April 1944. Targets London, Bristol and Hull. Loss of engine power on takeoff.  Bounced once - bombs came away. 

Second bounce - lost the wings. Total wreck, but crew were OK. Shaken, but uninjured. 5 days leave to recover. 

Missions to Hull Portsmouth, Plymouth and Torbay followed. Normandy on D-day our first mission was flying onto landing craft - only daylight raid ever. Individual bomb releases onto landing craft and ships. From now on two missions most nights when flying - transferred to Eindhoven and used various French airfields for refuel/rearm. 

Awarded Eiserne Kreuz 1 Klasse (First Class Iron Cross) on 22nd July 1944 and Frontflug Spange in Bronze on 25th July 1944. Shot down by light anti-aircraft fire 15kms south of St Lo at 00.15 hrs at Le Mesnil-Herman. I was the only survivor. Taken prisoner by American troops.

Taken to USA and spent time in PoW camps Opelika and Aitken before being returned to the UK. Worked in agriculture. September 1949 PoW status was lifted and final demob took place in September 1949, first time home since 1943.

Ernst has just finished a flight in this ultralight with a friend. It's powered by a ‘Smart’ car engine. It was taken at Baden-Baden airfield where he was visiting gliding friends in May 2008. Ernst has flown over 2500 hours in gliders (UK, Australia, France, Austria, Germany) since he started in 1968. 

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon

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Last Modified: 07 April 2015, 20:19