Memories of Stalag 8B

Shot down by the Luftwaffe, RAF Sergeant Pilot Herbert ‘Dave’ Denchfield’ recalls life as a POW.

Whil eescorting Blenheim bombers to St Omerin France on February 5, 1941 Sergeant Pilot Herbert ‘Dave’ Denchfield’s Spitfire Mk.Ia N3249 was shot down – he found out later – by Luftwaffe ace Major Walter ‘Gulle’ Oesau flying a Bf 109. 

Dave, as he always preferred to be known, baled out at 5,000 feet, landed in a field and was swiftly captured by the Germans. Just six months previously and then aged just 20 years old, he had also flown against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

 Many years later in a detailed logbook now belonging to his son Nigel and family, the wartime pilot recorded his life and explained the harrowing experiences he endured while being held captive by the Germans until May 1945.

 In his memoir the 610 Squadron pilot recalled: “At first I was taken to Dulag Luft – the reception enclosure for the RAF at Frankfurt. The Germans labelled me as ‘426’ – the latest in a total number of RAF personnel who were listed as a POW.

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