Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    




To this day 603 and 602 Squadron argue about who's kill this German bomber is. However officially it is credited jointly to 603 City of Edinburgh Squadron,602 City of Glasgow Squadron and the Army.


A Heinkel He 111 attempting reconnaissance in the Firth of Forth on 28 October 1939 was intercepted by Spitfires of 602 Squadron (City of Glasgow) based at Drem and pursued inland. The intercept was led by Archie Mckellar. McKellar sprayed the Heinkel with bullets but it continued to fly, it's flightpath taking it towards Midlothian around Dalkeith. At this stage the Heinkel was bounced by a flight of Spitfires of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron and they continued the pursuit southwards towards the Lammermuir Hills and the small village of Humbie descending ever lower.



The Heinkel was flown with great skill by it's pilot Kurt Lehmkuhl, but it was obvious from the state of the aircraft, and the lack of return fire, that that it would never make it home. With three Spitfires attacking like sharks, Lehmkuhl decided to make a forced landing on the moors.It came down on a hillside outside Humbie, but Lehmkuhl would not give up.He tried to get the machine into the air again, and ran along the ground for about half a mile before he hit a dry stane dyke causing extensive damage to his aircraft writing it off . The struggle was finished, and the first enemy aircraft to be brought down on British soil was left sitting forlorn on the slopes of the Lammermuirs.


Credit for the kill was officially split between 603, 602 Squadron and the Army ack ack units all of whom had hit the Heinkel. In fairness McKellar probably done the bulk of the damage and pieces of the Heinkel were take by 602 as trophies. McKellar was shot down and killed just after the Battle of Britain, as a result he does not appear on the Battle of Britain Memorial.


A fine picture of 602 Squadron Archie McKellar is in the back row, 3rd from right.

With the aircraft at a standstill Lehmkuhl and his navigator Rolf Niehoff exited, Lehmkuhl was sporting injuries from the combat and forced landing, his navigator was uninjured. The gunners in the mid section were dead however, having succumbed to gunfire, probably from McKellar although this cannot be confirmed. First on the scene was a local police officer,who approached the Heinkel and was met ny Lehmkuhl who addressed him in perfect English, " We surrender as prisoners of war, please attend to my crew." Lehmkuhl and Niehoff spent the rest of the war in captivity. His gunners were  buried with full military honours. The pictures below show the recovery of the bullet ridden HE111.

Images from the scene of the crash.