• World War II in Color

    Hess' Flight to Scotland



    Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s. On the eve of war with the Soviet Union, he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom, where he was arrested and became a prisoner of war.
    Hess was privately distressed by the war with the United Kingdom because he, influenced by his academic advisor and in line with earlier statements by Hitler, hoped that Britain would accept Germany as an ally. Hess may have hoped to score a diplomatic victory by sealing a peace between the Third Reich and Britain. 
    On 10 May 1941 at about 18:00, Hess took off from Augsburg in a Messerschmitt Bf 110D that he had equipped with drop tanks to increase its range. Goering ordered the General of the Fighter Arm to stop him but squadron leaders were ordered to scramble only one or two fighters, since Hess's particular aircraft could not be distinguished from others  and he was soon out of their range over the North Sea.
    Hess flew from Augsburg via Darmstadt and Bonn towards the the Shetland Islands.  At 22:08 Hess's aircraft was first detected by radar north of Newcastle upon Tyne, when he was 70 mi (110 km) off the coast, headed in a north-westerly direction towards the island of Lindisfarne. His flight was designated "Hostile Raid 42J".
    The Bf 110 dived to lose altitude after crossing the coast and was sighted by a post near Chatton in Northumberland (12.5 mi (20.1 km) inland) at 22:25, flying at only 50 ft (15 m).
    Hess parachuted from his airplane, and landed near the village of Eaglesham, injuring his ankle on landing.

    Cut from the wreckage of Hess' aircraft, which crashed on 10 May 1941



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