12/31/2010. Several Bf 109 E's were captured intact by the French shortly after the outbreak of war in September 1939. They were taken at once to the flight test center at Bricy near Orleans and were the subject of very thorough descriptive and brief performance by the French Aeronautical Service. At the conclusion of the French trials at least two Bf 109 E's, still in French markings, were sent to the A&AEE, by then at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, England, UK, having transferred there from Martlesham Heath, Suffolk upon the outbreak of the war.
The pictured aircraft was captured on November 22, 1939. After experiencing engine problems, Feldwebel (Sergeant) Karl Heir of I/JG76 belly-landed the Bf 109 E3 (marked White 1) near Wœrth, Elzas Bas-Rhin. It was handed over to the RAF on May 2, 1940, and arrived at Boscombe Down on the following day, escorted by a Husdon and three Blenheims. It was serialed AE479 and much of the subsequent evaluation was carried out by Flying Officer J.E. Pebody.
It is most likely the above photo was taken during a flight from Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England, UK, in 1941 after a new tail unit and a later-type canopy had been fitted, following an accident at the A&AEE at Boscombe Down on January 5, 1941. After extensive trials the aircraft was sent to the USA in April 1942, it was lost in a crash at Wright Field on Novmber 3, 1942. View also photo 3601.