Cobber Kain’s Dornier


A Dornier Do17P.

Dornier Do17P
Oberfeldwebel Georg Stühler (Pilot)
Oberleutnant Hans Kutter (Observer)
Obergefreiter Heinrich Schneidmüller (Gunner)


Shot down by F/O E J Kain in a Hurricane of 73 Squadron

Crashed 8 November 1939
Lubey, France

It was hoped that at least one aircraft from the Battle of France period could be found for the series ‘Dig 1940′. Paris based researcher Jean-Michel Goyat arranged with the authorities of the small town of Lubey to investigate the possibility that parts of one of the first aircraft German aircraft to be brought down in WW2 might be buried – under the main street through the village! Peter Ayerst, a fellow 73 Squadron Hurricane pilot who had flown with ‘Cobber’ Kain, had visited this very crash and was able to make the return trip 70 years later.

The reconnaissance Do17 had been widely reported in British press, these photos would be the only way to locate the site beneath the tarmac. It proved surprisingly difficult to line-up the photographs with the buildings in the background – even though they had changed little. Fortunately the authorities were more than accommodating and provided a huge excavator that smashed through the road surface; then the pavement and the drains! This time luck deserted the team and little could be found; it had been removed post-war when modern sewage and drainage was laid in the road.

Lubey Do17

The scene in Lubey High Street on 8 November 1939.

The Dornier plunged vertically into the main street of Lubey village, but remarkably missed the houses that only suffered ‘blast’ damage, even though only metres away.







Lubey today

The scene today – little changed it seems.

The same view today is little changed – so it should be easy to line-up the picture!









'Cobber Kain' in Lubey

‘Cobber Kain’ visited Lubey to see ‘his’ Dornier.

‘Cobber’ Kain visits the crash site of the Do17 at Lubey. Several photographers and the British Pathe newsreel recorded the incident; this rare piece of silent film was taken at Lubey just after the crash.




The crew

The unfortunate crew of the Dornier.

The unfortunate crew L-R .Obergefreiter Heinrich Schneidmüller (Gunner). Oberleutnant Hans Kutter (Observer). Oberfeldwebel Georg Stühler (Pilot).
For more details and Kain’s combat report follow this link





Lubey today

All quiet in Lubey early one October morning.

The French authorities could not have been more helpful, the police organising traffic diversions and the local authority contractors the heavy machinery.
So if we dig here …




Lubey today

The digger begins to smash-up the road.

Some time later – or it might be here.

Decision made and the digger driver uses a giant tooth to break-up the road surface. In 1939 the road was not surfaced with tarmac.



Jules Hudson

Presenter Jules Hudson takes a moment to pose.

Jules Hudson takes a break for a bit of posing.







Lubey today

The hole gets bigger – and bigger!

OK, so it wasn’t there – let’s make the hole bigger.
But a Dornier was a big ‘plane and the engines some metres apart.





Lubey today

Finally – the impact point of one of the engines was located.

Finally the main impact point for one engine was identified much closer to the houses than anyone could have judged from the photos. Unfortunately the bulk of the wreckage had been removed when mains drainage was installed in the 1960s.




Peter Ayerst

Battle of France pilot Peter Ayerst meets the children of Lubey.

Hurricane pilot Peter Ayerst, who flew with Kain during the Battle of France with the children of the local school only metres from the crash site.






The Dig 1940 team

The Dig 1940 team ‘diggers’ after the roadworks.

Most of the team had been together for all four digs in this series and gather for an end of filming meal. L-R Jean-Michel, Philippa, Ian, Peter Ayerst, Simon, Gareth, Jeff and Big Phil. No idea where Steve went to ..





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