History[edit | edit source]
Serving with II/ZG76 in Iraq, 4035 was one of the last two serviceable machines. Dispatched against Habbaniyah on Z5 May 1941, 4035 made a successful wheels-up landing not far from the target, and was recovered by the RAF, Raised hack up on its mainwheels by block and tackle. the Bf 110's tail was lashed to a lorry and it was slowly towed back to Habbaniyah - the searing desert sun necessitating frequent stops to pour water on the aircraft's overheating tyres.
Using spare parts salvaged from wreckage found at Mosul, the Bf 110 was restored to airworthiness and test flown, both at Habbaniyah by Sqn Ldr Al Bocking of No 11 Squadron and, later, at RAF Heliopolis. near Cairo in Egypt. By now the otherwise anonymous aircraft, which had been adopted as a unit ‘hack’ by RAF No. 267 Squadron, was given the name THE BELLE OF BERLIN, and allocated RAF serial HK846. After a through examination at Heliopolis the Bf 110, which had reportedly been transferred to 89 Squadron in March 1942, was to be flown to South Africa, to familiarise aircrew under training there with enemy equipment. Sadly the BELLE never made it, for a second belly landing en route, this time in Northern Sudan, proved too much for her.