"It might also be assumed that all German crews who were in aircraft brought down during the Battle were permanently lost to the Luftwaffe because the fighting took place on our side of the Channel. Such an assumption would not be literally true, because the Germans succeeded in rescuing a proportion of their crews from the sea by means of rescue boats, floats and aircraft which will be later described."
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh C. T. Dowding, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.M.G., A.D.C., Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Fighter Command, Royal Air Force. September, 1946.
"While the Luftwaffe at the very least would have twenty and more generally fifty or a hundred miles to fly before becoming to grips with its enemy, Fighter Command could engage as soon as its aircraft reached operational height. That conserved not only fuel – crucial when a Messerschmitt 109's operational range was a mere 125 miles – but also ensured that the pilots of damaged aircraft could bale out over friendly soil or, on occasion, bring them to earth. The Luftwaffe's parachuting pilots or crash-landed aircraft would, by contrast, be lost for good; many German pilots, parachuting into the Channel, would be doomed to drown."
Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan O.B.E., F.R.S.L. 1989.
Battle of Britain thread