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Feldwebel (sergeant) Helmut F Brinkman (* 13 June 1920) who was shot down with his Me-109 by the tail gunner of A/C 42-3436 Dominic C Lepore. Brinkman went missing after he crashed in a field near Chevremont (NL) on 14-10-1943.

Near or over Eygelshoven there were 3 German fighter planes involved of which one was probably shot down by tail gunner Dominic Lepore: the Me-109G-6 / White 12 ‘Werknummer’ # 15389 of ‘Feldwebel’ (sergeant) Helmut F. Brinkmann. He crashed in a field in ‘de Vink’ (between Kerkrade-Chevremont and Eygelshoven) killing him. He belonged to the 7th ‘Staffel’ (III. Gruppe) of Jagdgeschwader 1 then flying from Eelde? His body was not recovered. These details are mentioned by Mr. Ron Pütz in a letter to Mr. Linrud of November 27, 1988 and in a ‘Proces verbaal’ of the police of 14 October 1943 in Mr Pütz’ book ‘Duel in de wolken‘.

Eye witnesses
Ger van Megen (*1928) was on his way back to the MULO school in Kerkrade after his mid day meal at home at Op de Kamp in Eygelshoven on 14 October 1943. Halfway between the hamlets De Vink and Chevremont he witnessed the German and American fighters shooting at each other. ‘They flew that low, they flew in between the houses.’ He realized that being that close was dangerous and ducked for cover. At a certain moment he heard a big bang to the right of him and looking up he saw a cloud of dust and the tail part of an airplane sticking out of the ground. About 1,5 meter of the grey green tail was visible. ‘And there was hair on the top of that tail. Must have been hair from the pilot.’
Ger van Megen thinks the crash location was some 10 meters from the road. He tried to get closer to have a better look but he was sent away by the police.
He also went to see the tail part of the B-17 near the rowing pond in Eygelshoven. He thinks the tail was some 4 to 5 meters away from that pond.

Mr Sjir Handels (*1937) saw the aerial battle above the village of Eygelshoven from the backyard of his parental home in the Koningin Emmastraat (now Eiswinkel) where he stood watching this fight together with his father.
‘I heard the machine guns rattle both from the 3 German planes and from the B-17 crew. The German planes circled around the B-17 trying to shoot it down. But he B-17 crew fought back because at one moment we saw that a German Me-109 was hit and passed over us with a smoke trail in the direction of Chevremont. My dad said: "Richtig zoe" (All right). That was the Me-109 of Brinkmann.'

Helmut F. Brinkmann was born in Stade-Camp (G) on 13-6-1920 and declared dead on 31-12-1945 by the ‘Amstgericht’ in Stade on 31-8-1959. Helmut Brinkmann moved to Klein-Fredenbeck in 1928. There his name is mentioned on the ‘Gefallenendenkmal’ - a memorial for all victims of the war from and in Fredenbeck.

Brinkmann must have been a new pilot in his Staffel because in the document of I got from WASt in Berlin he is still noted as being part of the 1. Kompanie Flieger-Ausbildungs-Regiment 61 in Heiligenbeil (now Russia-Kaliningrad).
His dogtags indicate that he was first an infantry soldier of Inf.Reg. 47.

On April 1. 1943 the III. group of JG 1 was newly established on Deelen airfield. Part of the staff came from the flyings schools and Helmut Brinkmann was probably one of them. They were ready to fly on 10. June 1943 and flew with Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6. In September they moved from Deelen to Eelde - near Groningen. From there Brinkmann made his last flight.
He was one of the 37 dead or missing pilots of this group in 1943; 28 were due to actions of allied forces.
The III. group lost 76 planes that year; 53 were shot down by allied forces. They shot down 49 allied planes in 1943.

Source: Lexikon der Wehrmacht.

In a message I got from Dennis Lepore - son of tail gunner - in February 2017 he said his father told him he shot down one German airplane. Most probably it was Brinkmann’s Me-109. This was confirmed by local people who spoke to Ron Pütz before November 1988 and written down in his letter to Arthur Linrud mentioned above.

More on Feldwebel Helmut F Brinkmann - in German - see



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Date Contributor Update
24 April 2018 04:47:55 wimhm.slangen Changes to caption and place associations

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2018 20:11:41 wimhm.slangen Changes to caption

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2018 20:06:22 wimhm.slangen Changes to place associations

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2018 20:02:04 wimhm.slangen Changes to caption and place associations

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
23 April 2018 19:33:55 wimhm.slangen Created entry with caption, person associations, aircraft associations and mission associations

Wim Slangen; photo thanks to Mrs. Sabine Schild - Drochtersen (G)