Jope, Bernard, born 10-05-1914 in Leipzig,
studied aircraft engineering at the Technical University in Gdańsk.
Prior to joining the military service he had already almost completed his flight training at the Feutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule
(German Air Transport School) in 1935. At the beginning of the war, he belonged to the 2nd Squadron of the Kampfgeschwader 40
under command of Major Edgar Petersen
, Jope became a German World War II Luftwaffe
bomber pilot. Major Petersen survived the war and died 10-06-1986, in Andechs. Jope was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded by Hermann Goering
(did you know
) to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leader.
In support of the Kriegsmarine Jope flew the Fw 200 “Condor” on missions across the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. On 26-10-1940 he spotted the troop transport Empress of Britain
and severely damaged her with two 250 kg bombs. The Empress of Britain was subsequently sunk by U 32,
commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Hans Jenisch
, on 28-10-1940. Jenisch a U- boat ace, died at the age of 68, on 29-04-1982 in Kronshagen, near Kiel. During his time as Kampfgeschwader 100 (KG 100) Jope led an attack on 09-09-1943 on the Italian battle fleet that was sailing from La Spezia en route to Malta, to surrender to the Allies. Jope
led a formation of eleven Dornier 217s armed with the Fritz X radio controlled glide bomb
and in the ensuing action the 45.000 ton Italian battleship Roma was hit twice and sank
. Fritz X
was the most common name for a German guided anti-ship glide bomb used during World War II. Fritz X was the world’s first precision guided weapon deployed in combat and the first to sink a ship in combat. The Roma’s sister ship, Italia, was hit by a single Fritz, but was able to make it to Malta. In later action, Jope and Kampfgeschwader 100
with the Fritz on the British battleship Warspite and cruiser Uganda and the US cruiser Savannah. Jope received the German Cross in Gold
on 05-02-1942, the Iron Cross
in 1939, the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Knight’s Cross on 30-12-1940 as Oberleutnant and pilot in the 2./KG 42 and the 431st
Oak Leaves on 24-03-1944 as Major and Geschwaderkommodore of Kampgeschwader 100 .
Death and burial ground of Jope, Bernard.
After the war and subsequent captivity, Jope was again active as a pilot for Lufthansa until his retirement. Living in Königstein Bernhard Jope died at the age of 81, on 31-07-1995 and is buried on the Stadtfriedhof of Königstein in Taunus.