Two downed heroes

In the Battle of Britain, 204 Messerschmitt Bf 109 pilots achieved five or more victories by October 31, 1940. A number of those would lose their lives afterwards and here, Chris Goss tells the stories of two such aces, who died on the same day...

Born on September 15, 1915, Oblt Georg ‘Schorsch’ (affectionate term for George) Claus was a member of 1./ JG 53 at the start of the war – this taffel being led by the famed Hptm Werner Mölders and based at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim. Claus and his colleagues must have been involved in combat right from the onset, with the first victory for both 1 Staffel and the whole Geschwader falling to Obfw Walter Grimmling on September 9, 1939 when he claimed a ‘Blenheim’ near Saarbrücken, Germany, which was actually a French Bloch 131 of Groupe Aérien de Reconnaissance 14. The following day, I./JG 53 claimed three Mureaux 115 reconnaissance aircraft, with a fourth claim by Claus not being confirmed. One aircraft from Groupe Aérien d'Observation (GAO) 1/506 and two from GAO 1/520 were shot down.

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