This Messerschmitt Bf109E-3, 1190, saw combat with the fighter unit JG 26 in the Battles of France and Britain.
It is believed to have been previously flown by Gruppen Kommandeur Hauptmann Karl Ebbighausen of 11/JG26 who used it to shoot down five Allied aircraft. On 30 September 1940 the aircraft crash landed in a field near East Dean, Sussex after combat with Hurricanes (IWM), although other reports say Spitfires, over Beachy Head. There were no bullet holes in the aircraft so it is assumed that its engine failed. The pilot, Unteroffizier Horst Perez, was shot, wounded and captured as he tried to get out of his aircraft.
The aircraft was not badly damaged and was sent on a ‘Bundles for Britain’ fund raising tour of North America. People who made a contribution towards clothing for Britain could view the aircraft and later on, scratch their name in the paintwork, where they can still be seen.
The aircraft toured the US and Canada for the whole of the war. Afterwards it was forgotten until it was rescued from a scrap yard in the 1960s. The Imperial War Museum acquired in in 1998 with the support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The aircraft is displayed in a diorama that recreates an original photograph of the crash site.
The Bf 109E’s wing has been conserved and presented as a record of the aircraft’s history from the Battle of Britain through to its recovery from the scrap yard.