02 December 2013

Josef Jakobs landed by parachute near Ramsey, Huntingdonshire

On the night of January 31, 1941, Josef Jakobs descended by parachute just southeast of the sleepy village of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire.
Google map showing the location of Ramsey, Huntingdonshire
From Google Maps 2013 - "A" marks location of Ramsey Village
 His descent in the darkness was unnoticed. His capture the following morning was inevitable given that he had broken his ankle either departing the aircraft or upon landing in a potato field. He was discovered on the morning of February 1 by two farmers walking to work who heard the shots that Jakobs fired from his pistol.

Various documents and first-hand accounts from 1941 mention several geographical features marking Jakobs' landing site.
  • Ash Drain
  • Ramsey Hollow
  • Dovehouse Farm
  • Wistow Fen Farm
This information is all helpful for gleaning a general idea of where Jakobs landed. A map published on the RAF Upwood site shows the general location of Dovehouse Farm and the site of Jakobs' landing.

Location of Dovehouse Farm near Ramsey, Huntingdonshire where Josef Jakobs landed by parachute
(From RAF Upwood)
In 1976, Winston Ramsey of After the Battle Magazine, traced Josef's landing point to a specific location on Dovehouse Farm, probably with the assistance of locals who still remembered the memorable event.

The exact location of Jakobs' landing is also contained within MI5 files at the National Archives. According to one of the documents, Jakobs landed:

Grid bearing 135 degrees from Dovehouse Farm. Distance 500 yards. Map Reference 778031 - Sheet 75, 1"=1 mile

The map referred to is a military map and apparently very few remain in existence. The bearing and distance from Dovehouse Farm do however provide enough information to identify Jakobs landing point with a fair degree of certainty.

Google Map - satellite view - showing locations of Dovehouse Farm, Wistow Fen Farm and landing site of Josef Jakobs
(From Google Maps 2013 - comments added by author)

In January 2010, Winston Ramsey graciously took me on a tour to the village of Ramsey. I was able to visit the village and the surrounding countryside around the same time of year that Jakobs would have landed at Dovehouse Farm. Not much has changed in those 60 years between 1941 and 2010. Farmers still tilled their soil and planted crops.The cold wind still blew over open fen. It was a wonder that the Germans thought that any spy dressed in a business suit would have managed to blend into village life and succeed in his mission.
Landing site of Josef Jakobs at Dovehouse Farm, Ramsey, Huntingdonshire
(Photo copyright G.K. Jakobs 2010 - All Rights Reserved)

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