Hans Hahn (1919-1941)
Hans Hahn was born on 9 February 1919 at Rheydt in Rheinland.
He trained as a bomber pilot and was assigned to a Kampfgeschwader in January 1940. In May, he sank a 4,000 BRT freighter off Dunkirk.
Shortly afterwards Hahn transferred to the Nachtjagd. He was posted to NJG 2 on its formation in September 1940. Feldwebel Hahn was assigned to 3./NJG 2.
He gained his first victory on the night of 24 October 1940 on an intruder mission over England shooting down a RAF Whitley twin-engined bomber as it took-off from Linton-on-Ouse.
Hahn was the pilot who unsuccessfully attacked a Beaufighter landing at Wellingore airfield in April. The Beaufighter pilot was Sqd Ldr Guy Gibson who later led the Dam Busters raid.
He enjoyed considerable success operating over England in the intruder role being awarded the Ritterkreuz on 9 July 1941 for 11 victories, the first night-fighter pilot to receive this decoration. His success did not come without cost.
On four occasions he returned to his base at Gilze-Rijen with his Ju 88 operating on one engine only. On one occasion he returned with a British balloon cable wrapped around one wing.
Leutnant Hahn was slightly injured on 31 July 1941 when his aircraft crashed on take-off from Gilze-Rijen.
He shot down a RAF Wellington twin-engined bomber over Scunthorpe on the night of 16 August 1941 but debris from the bomber hit his aircraft putting one engine out action. Once again he had to bring his aircraft back to base on one engine.
On the night of 11 October 1941 TWO RAF pilots and the three-man crew of a
Hahn’s Luftwaffe Junkers Ju-88 were killed when their two planes collided over Harlaxton.
Inspector Tom Graham from Glasgow, and his pupil Cpl Edwards, of Doncaster, were circling the town in their Oxford trainer. They had taken off from RAF Spitalgate.
According to eye witnesses, there was a burst of cannon fire before the two aircraft crashed into each other.
Police Sergeant Hempstead, who was on duty, recalled: “I heard a burst of cannon fire and dashed outside. I saw an aircraft on fire heading towards Nottingham.
“It then turned towards the town before crashing into a cornfield at the bend of Barrowby Low Road. There was a violent explosion.”
Police searching the area found the body of a man in a flying suit with a parachute attached. He was wearing a Luftwaffe uniform.
He was later identified as Lt Hans Hahn. The charred remains of two others were found in the wreckage. It is believed that Hahn had put out his navigation lights to mingle with the encircling British trainers, awaiting the chance to shoot one down at point-blank range.
Hans Hahn was credited with 12 victories. All his victories were scored on night intruder missions over the Bristish Isles.
Leutnant Hahn was recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the iron cross (Ritterkreuz) awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery. Helmut Scheidt, flight engineer and Ernst-Wilhelm Meissler wireless operator, are all buried at Cannock Chase Cemetery.
Compiled with assistance from Vaughan Hardy