The Last Heinkel – Britain’s Only Remaining WW2 German Plane Wreck

The Last Heinkel – Britain’s Only Remaining WW2 German Plane Wreck | Frontline Videos

YouTube / Mark Felton Productions


The only WWII plane wrecks that remain are to be found in the mountains regions of Britain, where recovery was hampered by terrain and weather – but these are not German aircraft, but rather British and American planes lost during the war.

Last One Left?

The most complete WWII German plane wreck still in Britain today is in Fair Isle, the most remote and inhabited island in Britain, which sits halfway between the Shetlands and the Orkney Islands.

Back in WWII, the Royal Air Force constructed a radar station on top of a hill. German aircraft would frequently come into the area to accumulate weather reports for bombing and U-boat operations.

As a result, RAF aircraft patrolled the area with the No. 3 Squadron, and their Hawker Hurricanes were based on the southern tip of the Shetlands.

Luftwaffe Attacks

On January 17, 1941, a Heinkel 111 was on a weather reconnaissance mission when it was pounced on by the nearby Hurricanes. It was badly shot up, resulting in the crew crash landing in an empty field.

Those who survived were arrested by the citizens of the island.

Picked Off

On September 19, a lifeboat was sent to retrieve the Germans to take them to Shetland. The RAF picked over the Heinkel for anything interesting and then partially scrapped the aircraft. Surprisingly, a fair amount of the plane remains today, 80 years after it crashed.

Both engines remain, the wings scrapped, but a large section of the rear fuselage and tail remain on the grass. 

So far, there have only been two examples of Heinkels on display today in Britain, one at the RAF Museum in London and the other slowly restored at the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge.


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