By Pierre Kosmidis
Information and photos by Adrian Matthes
Additional contributions by AceSfakia
Hans Schneider is a 100 year old veteran of the Luftwaffe, who fought during World War 2 and was stationed with Lehrgeschwader1 in Crete. He was involved in a notable event, back in 1942, which may lead to the discovery of a fully intact Ju88, which landed at sea 2 to 3 miles off shore in the north of Crete.
According to Mr. Adrian Matthes who is working on a book on Mr. Schnaider, in the late summer of 1942, his Ju 88, piloted by Leutnant Fargarc, developed engine problems shortly after take off and an effort to bring the aircraft back to its base, in Heraklion, failed, so they had to ditch their aircraft at sea, on the northern shores of Crete.
The crew, consisting of Fargarc, Pfannhuber (slightly injured), Schneider and Peschke, all survived.
The aircraft was fully intact and remained at the surface long enough to allow the crew to abandon it and swim back to shore, not an easy task, as it took them hours to overcome the currents.
As Mr. Schneider said to Mr. Matthes, “the last time I saw my Ju88 was when it started sinking in a perpendicular way, as the front part of the aircraft was very heavy”.
Once ashore, the locals helped the airmen and delivered them to the airport the next day.
Mr. Schneider received several decorations until he was shot down and taken prisoner in North Africa, spending the rest of WW2 and until 1947 as a POW in Canada.
According to leading expert and internationally acknowledged author Michael Balss, the Ju88 was shot down by fighters and crash landed in Derna area, Libya, 2 December 1942. The Ju 88 A-4/Trop W.Nr. 140332 “L1+DL” had a crew consisting of Lt. Benno Farkac (FF), Uffz. Josef Peschke (B.), Gefr. Johannes Schneider (Bf) and Uffz. Otto Schaaf (Bs) all POW.
Mr. Schneider wishes to find out more about his aircraft.
Was it ever located?
Did anyone salvage any items from it?
Is it still there, 2-3 miles off Stavros in Crete?
What would the depth be in that area?
Any knowledgeable person wishing to assist this research, may contact us!
According to a local Cretan, acclaimed researcher AceSfakia, the aircraft ditched close to Cape Stavros in Iraklio and the crew was assisted by a local Greek Orthodox priest, Nikolaos Andrea Stamatakis and another Cretan, Ioannis Pediotis.