HERBERT SEHNERT 1920-1941
In July 2010 I was on holiday in North Norfolk when I bought "World War II RAF Airfields in Norfolk" by Martin Bowman (August 2007). An excellent book by the way, but whilst I was reading it I came across the statement that a Herbert Sehnert who lies buried in Scottow Cemetery, Norfolk (see note1) was there as a result of a raid on Sheffield on 9th May 1941.
I was unaware of the fact that any Luftwaffe planes had been lost as a result of raids on Sheffield, and I was certain that Sheffield did not experience any major raids on the night of 9th May 1941.
I checked a message forum and found that someone else was interested in the fate of Herbert Sehnert
"Herbert Sehnert lies in Scottow Cemetery, Norfolk with a death date of the
11.06.1941. I cannot find any Luftwaffe loss for this chap? Can anyone help with
any further details?
Uffz. Sehnert was the WOP of a He 111 H-5, 6./KG53, plane missing may 5th 1941 (sic), target was Sheffield. 4 man still missing, so believe Uffz. Sehnert was washed ashore. (source NVM)."
Another contributor added
"From QM's returns dated 10-5-41 there is He111 H-5 AI+DP w/n 7045 missing from raid on Sheffield on 9th May (8/9th) with crew Ff Fw Werner Scheer, B Uffz Rippert Lackner, Bf Ogef Herbert Wienert, Bm Fw Oskar Schneider, Bs Gef Harry Kurtz all missing. Amendment dated 26-7-41 says Ogef Sehnert nicht Wienert notified as dead,
The undertakers who "boxed up" Sehnert on 18(sic; 10?) June 1941 recorded an ID disk No: 62750/46. No idea where or how his body came to be recovered, but presumably off the NE Norfolk coast"
Herbert Sehnert's grave in Scottow Cemetery, Norfolk
But when I checked for details about the raid on Sheffield on May 9, 1941 I found that in the context of the Blitz overall it was a minor raid. Bombs fell on Little London (Stokes Works); Hastings Road; Cemetery Road, Sheffield killing 2, seriously injuring 11 with another 25 civilians suffering minor injuries. When I checked on the index West Yorkshire Index of the Civilian War Dead to confirm the details I found that they were indeed two fatalities who are listed below.
Bird Thomas 64 yrs 9 May 1941 Cemetery/Washington Rd
Name: BIRD, THOMAS Initials: T Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Civilian Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead Age: 64 Date of Death: 09/05/1941 Additional information: Air Raid Warden. Husband of Janet Bird, of 142 Cemetery Road, Sharrow. Died at junction of Cemetery Road and Washington Road. Casualty Type: Civilian War Dead Reporting Authority: Sheffield County Borough
Theaker Sam 52 yrs 9 May 1941 Summerfield Street.
THEAKER, SAM CLIFFORD Initials: S C Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Civilian Regiment/Service: Civilian War Dead Age: 52 Date of Death: 09/05/1941 Additional information: of 74 Summerfield Street. Son of Samuel Theaker, of 9 Rippon Road. Injured at Summerfield Street; died same day at Royal Hospital. Casualty Type: Civilian War Dead Reporting Authority: Sheffield County Borough (see note 2)
The main raid that occurred on the night of 8/9th May 1941 was against the city of Hull. In fact, Hull due to its proximity to Northern Europe was the most heavily bombed city in the United Kingdom. That night the raid was ferocious. According to one source, aircraft were diverted from attacking Sheffield.
"this raid assumed major proportions through the addition of aircraft diverted from another target, this time Sheffield. Between 00.00 and 03.40 - 120 enemy aircraft dropped 157 tonnes of HE and 19,467 IBs. The areas most affected were the King George, Alexandra and Victoria Docks, and east and north Hull. There was much domestic, industrial and railway damage and major fires in Hedon Road and in the timber on the docks. Casualties were once again, very heavy, and included 116 killed and 160 seriously injured."
I will never know whether or not Herbert's plane He 111 H-5, 6./KG53 attacked Sheffield or Hull that night, but it most certainly crashed off the coast of Norfolk killing all it's crew. I can find no evidence of it being attacked by a night-fighter, and so I can only assume that it had sustained damage during the raid that led to it crashing into the North Sea. By 1941, the Heinkel's that Herbert flew in, were becoming a lot more susceptible to damage by Britain's air defences. It was never designed as a heavy bomber, but the increasing bomb loads slowed the plane down, and it was this factor, coupled with marked improvements in most aspects of air defence that led to its obsolescence.
1. During the early months of the 1939-1945 War, ground on the northern side of the burial ground was set aside by the Scottow Parish Council for burials from Coltishall R.A.F. Station, which is very close to it, and this is now the War Graves Plot. It was used only until September 1943, when growing shortage of space and the great expansion of the R.A.F. Station made it necessary for the new cemetery at North Walsham to be used. After the war a Cross of Sacrifice was erected at the far end of the plot. There are now nearly 60, 1939-1945 war casualties commemorated in this site. One of these is unidentified.
2. Sam Theaker is buried in the family grave in Sheffield's City Road Cemetery, along with his parents and I assume his brother
THEAKER, Ben Fred (Labourer, age 20).
Died at 84 Wolsley Road; Buried on October 14, 1916 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 5239, Section C4 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
THEAKER, Clara (wife of Samuel, age 68).
Died at South Yorkshire Mental Hospital; Buried on June 17, 1929 in Consecrated ground;Grave Number 5239, Section C4 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield
THEAKER, Sam Clifford (Labourer (air raid casualty), age 52). Died at Royal Hospital; Buried on May 14, 1941 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 5239, Section C4 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
THEAKER, Samuel (Estate Labourer, age 79).
Died at 2 Herries Road; Buried on March 14, 1942 in Consecrated ground; Grave Number 5239, Section C4 of City Road Cemetery, Sheffield.
3. One of the most common variants (of the Heinkel) used was the He 111H-5. The modification here was that additional fuel tanks were installed where the wing bomb cells were, and this extended the normal range of the aircraft to 1,212 miles (1950 kms). Two external bomb racks were fitted with each one capable of holding a 2,205lb (1000kg) bomb. The all up weight of the He 111H-5 was now increased to 30,985 lbs (14055kg) and obviously was to slow the aircraft when under a full load, but these aircraft were filled to capacity during the night raids on London during the 'Blitz" and caused devastating results
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
West Yorkshire Index of the Civilian War Dead
North East Diary 1939-1945
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This page was last updated on 15/09/10 11:27