So it Began.....Their Finest Hour

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Gage, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    10th July 1940

    The Battle of Britain begins
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    WEDNESDAY JULY 10th 1940
    ORDER OF BATTLE AT THIS TIME [ Document-22 ]
    Heavy cloud at 9/10ths covered most of Britain. Rain was widespread over most of the west, the midlands and the north. Showers were prevalent over the south and the south-east and over the Channel.
    The heavy clouds of the dawn along with the driving rain made most of the pilots turn over and take advantage of a 'lie-in'. In these conditions, the Germans made the most of the cloud cover and made photographic reconnaissance flights over possible and probable targets, but the Dornier 17s that usually made these flights often suffered heavy losses. But being as no 'scramble' calls were made during the early hours of this day by Fighter Command it was believed that the German Luftwaffe enjoyed the freedom of the skies although most kept out over the sea but keeping the distant English coastline in sight.
    0730hrs (7.30am): 66 Squadron (Spitfires, Coltishall) got a 'scramble' call and one section took off into the driving rain after the Chain Home radar station at West Beckham had picked up a blip on the radar. (RAF aircraft carried a sensor unit attached underneath the fuselage which would show up on the radar screens as a friendly aircraft). The section was led by Pilot Officer Charles Cook and soon as they climbed first through the driving rain, then through the thick [​IMG]cloud they broke out into brilliant sunshine at about 10,000 feet. P/O Cook was given a vector bearing that led them in the direction to where the enemy aircraft was last spotted. It was radar that gave the RAF the upper hand in the Battle of Britain, it was an early warning system that informed Fighter Command that not only were enemy aircraft approaching the English coast, but it also told them the exact location, direction and with the aid of the Observer Corps, type of aircraft and about how many. Very often in the early stages of the war, the Germans could not understand as to why, whenever they were on a mission, the RAF was always there to meet them before they could reach their targets.
    0815hrs (8.15am): 66 Squadron finally spots the enemy, a lone Dornier 17z of Kampfgeschwader 3 (KG3) possibly on one of those recon missions. As the Spitfires peeled off one by one, engines roaring, the crew of the Dornier spotted them and soon it was weaving and sliding in a desperate effort to evade the gunfire from the Spitfires. The gunners in the Dornier tried in vain in warding off the Spits but to no avail, the Spitfires continued to harass the bomber and in the melee P/O Cookes windscreen was hit and a hole developed in the canopy letting in extremely cold air. Then one of the Spitfires came up from underneath firing at the Dornier with all eight Browning's and went in close and the Dornier went into a banking glide bellowing smoke until it hit the sea between Yarmouth and Harwich. A couple of hours later, the three Spitfires of Pilot Officer C.A.Cooke, Pilot Officer J.A.P.Studd and Sgt F.N.Robertson landed back at Coltishall and rejoiced at their success.
    Prior to July 10th when the RAF was busy regrouping, London was preparing its barricades and defences and indeed a quiet time for all, the Germans as mentioned previously were busy probing the RAF by attacking small convoys and other shipping in the Channel hoping that they would lure the fighters into battle. But at about 1030hrs (10.30am): Weather was still inclement, wet and miserable with shallow visibility, a Dornier on a recon flight and with an escort of about 20+ Bf109s was picked up on both Dover CH and Foreness CHL radar stations. 74 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires), in conditions that now seemed to be improving, were directed to the location where the enemy had been spotted. But the damage had been done, the Dornier had spotted a very large convoy (The convoy was code named "Bread") in the Channel heading towards the Dover Straits.
    Immediately the German radio operator dispatched a message giving the location of the convoy, size and its present course. The Spitfires of 74 Squadron (Hornchurch) located the Dornier and the Bf109s and as was the usual course, headed for the slower Dornier first, but not before the highly maneuverable 109s turned and got the Spitfires in their sights. Two of the Spitfires were hit, but not bad enough to put them right out of action, but they kept their course and as they approached firing range of the Dornier opened fire. Immediacy the front cockpit of the bomber exploded in smoke and flame, there would have been little chance of survival of the pilot and any other member who was with him. (There is actually no account of this Dornier crashing in the sea, but Len Deighton in his book "Battle of Britain" states that the Dornier, although damaged got home safely). The Dornier went down low and the Spitfires weaved and turned and engaged in combat with the Messerschmitt escort. Two Spitfires that were hit and were forced to return to Hornchurch while the other four remained for a while where only one Bf109 was hit and received only minor damage. The enemy was reinforced by another group of about 12 aircraft later just as the Spitfires of 610 Squadron, (Gravesend) arrived and the remaining four Spitfires of 74 Squadron returned back to base. 610 Squadron scored no 'kills' but managed to stop the 109s and they headed back towards the French coast.
    In this combat, 74 Squadron Hornchurch had two of its Spitfires damaged during operations over the Channel while one Spitfire of 610 Squadron had to make a force landing at Hawkinge after being hit during the same combat.
    The transmission that the Dornier made at 1030hrs must have been received loud and clear, because at 1350hrs(1.50pm): British radar picks up a strong signal that indicated that a German formation had been detected coming across the French coast just west of Calais and heading in the general direction of Folkestone. It seemed obvious what they were after, this was the largest number of bombers ever seen coming across the Channel. The main force was 24 Dornier 17s spread in three groups, 30 escorting Bf110s and 20+ Bf109s. The 'scramble' order went out to Manston, Biggin Hill, Croydon, Hornchurch and Kenley. Manston dispatched the Hurricanes of 56 Squadron (North Weald) who had been operating there, Biggin Hill dispatched 32 Squadron (Hurricanes), Croydon dispatched 111 squadron (Hurricanes), Hornchurch dispatched the Spitfires of 74 Squadron while Kenley sent out six Spitfires of 64 Squadron towards the closing stages of the battle.
    The Dorniers turned and headed for the Channel convoy code named 'Bread' just as 74, 56, 32 and 111 Squadrons arrived on the scene. The Spitfires of 74 Squadron and the Hurricanes of 56 and 32 Squadrons engaged combat with the Bf109s and the Bf110s while the Hurricanes of 111 Squadron went straight in and attacked the Dorniers. The skies off the coast at Folkestone became a maze of vapour trails snaking in all directions. It was a tough dogfight with neither side gaining the upper hand, Flying Officer J Mungo-Park in a Spitfire swept past a Dornier and the resulting 'hit' saw the bomber drift down towards the waters of the Channel, another Spitfire of 74 Squadron scored a 'hit' on one of the Bf109s and saw it head in the general direction of France and safety. As the dogfight continued, the Dornier formation started to break up as many of the fighters began to harass them like dogs snapping at their tails, Flying Officer Tom Higgs of 111 Squadron took to a lone Dornier firing many rounds towards the weaving bomber that was desperately trying to evade the ensuing Hurricane, but Higgs went in closer than his firing range, and still with thumb on the firing button clipped the Dornier with his wing before spinning seawards out of control with one wing missing. The Dornier also spun out of control and hurtled to what seemed a watery grave. Both aircraft crashed into the Channel and a rescue launch that was soon on the scene picked up the pilot of the [​IMG]Dornier and another member of the crew, but there was no sign of the rest of the bombers crew or of Tom Higgs. This was the first major battle of the Battle of Britain, and considering the amount of aircraft that were in the air Higgs was the only British fatality, three Hurricanes were damaged as well as four Spitfires, two Dorniers were shot down and ten of the escort fighters. As far as the convoy "Bread" was concerned, only one ship was sunk the rest were not even attacked and continued their journey.

    ".......for this victory, we must thank the radar in which placed us in readiness and allowed us to send our fighter squadrons out to meet them. I think that the way that these brave pilots stopped the convoy being attacked shows the maturity attained since France"
    ACM Sir Hugh Dowding remarking on this encounter June 10th 1940

    Three sources of information indicate this battle in the Channel as a decisive victory for the RAF. Len Deighton's book claims that the RAF lost one aircraft and the Luftwaffe lost eight. Richard Bickers in his book claims that the RAF lost six while the Luftwaffe lost thirteen, although this figure could have included the losses in the battles in the west of England. Another source indicated that this battle in the Channel made the Luftwaffe take notice of the RAF because they had lost one Dornier, seven Bf109s to the RAF's only casualty, a Spitfire.
    Yet two personal stories come out of this painting a rather different picture. You compare these with the historical accounts above:

    "It is difficult to describe my feelings during the next few days. We had just lost three pilots in thirty-six hours, all of them in fights in which we had been hopelessly out- numbered, and I felt that there was now nothing left to care about, because obviously from the law of probability, one could not expect to survive many more encounters of a similar nature....."
    Pilot Officer D.M Crook 609 Squadron RAF

    From the Luftwaffe, comes this account:

    "The convoy had been sighted between Dover and Dungeness. Our briefing took only a few minutes and within half an hour of being airborne we had sighted the coast of Kent. The Channel was bathed in brilliant sunshine...A light haze hung over the English coast, and there far below us, was the convoy, like so many toy ships with wispy white wakes fanning out behind. As soon as we were observed, the ships of the convoy dispersed, the merchantmen maneuvering violently and the escorting warships moving out at full speed. Anti-aircraft shell peppered the sky. Our fighters now appeared. We made our first bomb run, and fountains leapt up around the ships....By now the fighter squadrons of the Royal Air Force had joined in, and the sky was a twisting, turning melee of fighters....My wing was in the air for three hours in all. We reported one heavy cruiser and four merchant ships sunk, one merchant ship damaged, and eleven British fighters shot down or damaged. We had lost two bombers, two twin engined fighters and three single engined fighters during the course of this engagement."
    Werner Kreipe III KG 2 Luftwaffe.

    1530hrs (3.30pm): But it was a different story in the west. Hugo Sperrle dispatched 60+ Ju88 bombers to attack the the targets of Swansea in Wales and Falmouth in Devon. 10 Group in the west at this stage had not been formed, so there really was no fighter protection in this part of England. But 92 Squadron from Pembury scrambled too late to avoid the bombing by the German bombers. An ammunitions factory was badly damaged at Swansea and Falmouth also suffered considerable damage. Shipping was also hit hard as was destruction to a power station.
    Writing for "The New York Times", Frank Kelley wrote of the battle:

    "Day long sallies by waves of German bombers against coastal objectives in England, Wales,and Scotland reached a grand climax yesterday in the greatest and fiercest battle in ten and a half months of war when seventy-five Nazi bombers, escorted by forty-five or more fighters roared across the English Channel in two formations and showered bombs on a strongly defended convoy bringing vital food and other supplies to these besieged islands."
    Richard Hough & Denis Richards Battle of Britain Hodder & Staughton 1989 p128

    THE CASUALTIES: (July 10th 1940)
    0700hrs.Hurricane P3359. 253 Sqn. Kirton-on-Lindsay. (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt I.C.C.Clenshaw. Killed. (Lost control in bad visibility)
    1300hrs. Hurricane P3671. 111 Sqn Croydon. (Aircraft destroyed)
    F/O T.P.K.Higgs. Killed. (Collided with Do17 off coast near Folkestone. Baled out but drowned. Body found in Norway 15.8.40)

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Finest Hour Speech was actually give to parliament by Churchill on the 18th June 1940, one week before France surrendered.
  4. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Extract covering the first two days (up to mid-day 11 July) of the Battle of Britain from an intelligence report re the first thumbnail. I attempted to OCR the pages but some are a little faded and will not copy successfully.

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    FRIDAY JULY 12th 1940
    Heavy rain periods in the north with 8/10ths cloud but clearing as the day wears on. In the south-east there was low cloud, occasional showers with thunderstorms but clearing by the afternoon, while in the west the early morning cloud cleared to give way to sunny periods.
    Most of the action took place off the Essex and Suffolk coastline. He111 and Do17 bombers were targeting some of the merchant shipping along one of Britain's busy trade routes. The Hurricanes of 85 Squadron (Martlesham Heath) were up early after enemy aircraft had been spotted off the coast near Harwich possibly attacking the merchant convoy code named "Booty". More Do17 and He111 bombers were detected and 151 Squadron (Hurricanes, North Weald) and 17 Squadron (Hurricanes, Debden) were scrambled.
    Combat just off the East Anglia coast lasted until almost midday with the Hurricanes having accounted for two He111s, Sgt D.Fopp claiming one at 0900hrs and Sgt G.Griffiths claiming one at 0940hrs. A He111 was detected over the North Sea just off the coast near Aberdeen in Scotland where bombers dropped a number of bombs killing 29 people and injuring 100 and was shot down by Spitfires of 603 Squadron and in the late afternoon. Ju88 bombers attacked Exeter and St Eval airfields with one Ju88 being shot down.
    THE CASUALTIES: (July 12th 1940)
    0850hrs. Off Felixstowe. Hurricane P2557. 85 Sqn Martlesham Heath. (Lost at sea)
    Sgt L.Jowitt Missing believed drowned. (Hit by gunfire from He111 from 11/KG53 off Felixstowe. Crashed into sea)
    0945hrs. Off Burnham (Essex). Hurricane P3275. 151 Sqn North Weald. (Lost at sea)
    F/O J.H.L.Allen. Missing believed drowned. (Hit in engine by gunfire from Do17 off Orfordness. Crashed into sea) 1545hrs. Off Portland. Hurricane P3084. 501 Sqn Middle Wallop. (Lost at sea)
    P/O D.A.Hewitt. Missing believed drowned. (Hit by gunfire while attacking Do17 off Portland. Crashed into sea)
    Time N/A. Biggin Hill. Spitfire P9502. 610 Sqn Biggin Hill. (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt S.Ireland. Killed. (Believed his aircraft went out of control during diving practice)
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    SATURDAY 13th JULY 1940
    Early fog covered much of southern England and restricted any flying operation until mid-morning. Then clearing conditions but low cloud persisted.
    Most commanders kept their squadrons "confined to quarters" because of the weather. There was very little activity, even by the Luftwaffe. As the conditions seemed to improve during the morning, a couple of attacks were made on the port of Dover. 43 Squadron Tangmere (Hurricanes) responded and engaged a force of He111 over the Channel. Early afternoon saw a couple of feint attacks on a convoy off the Essex coast near Harwich. Later in the afternoon, enemy aircraft were detected again in the Channel area and attacked the convoy "Bread" off the Dorset coast near Lyme Bay and 56 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes), 64 Squadron Kenley (Spitfires) and 238 Squadron (Hurricanes) were scrambled to intercept. One Do17 was shot down during the afternoon by 238 Squadron while another five were destroyed in mid-Channel.
    THE CASUALTIES: (July 13th 1940)
    1135hrs. Tatsfield (nr Biggin Hill). Spitfire R6807. 610 Squadron Biggin Hill. (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt P.J.Watson-Parker Killed. (Crashed. Reasons not recorded.)
    1520hrs. Southdown (Sussex). Hurricane P2950. 238 Squadron. (aircraft destroyed)
    F/Lt J.C.Kennedy Killed. (Believed injured by gunfire from Do17 [above] crashed on returning to base)
    1645hrs. Calais. Hurricane N2432. 56 Squadron North Weald. (aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt J.R.Cowsill Missing. (Last seen in combat with Bf109, believed ditched in Channel)
    1645hrs. Calais. Hurricane P2922. 56 Squadron North Weald. (aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt J.J.Whitfield Missing. (Hit by gunfire from Bf109 over Channel. Crashed into sea)
    1900hrs. Balsham (Cambs). Spitfire R6688 (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt R.R.G.Birch Killed. (Stalled while attempting steep turn during dogfight practice)
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery



    Flying Officer



    Service No:


    Date of Death:



    Royal Air Force

    218 Sqdn.

    Grave Reference:

    West of Tower.



    Additional Information:

    Son of Winstanley and Madeleine Newton; nephew of Mr. D. F. Warren, of St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

    Attached Files:

  8. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

  9. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    MONDAY JULY 15th 1940
    Low cloud persisted most of the day with occasional heavy rain.
    Not the most ideal weather conditions for flying, and neither side saw, or undertook much activity. The Luftwaffe made a few reconnaissance missions over the North Sea and the English Channel. The convoy "Pilot" was making its way through the Thames Estuary when spotted by the German reconnaissance aircraft and its position and course were radioed back to German HQ. By late-morning the weather had broken up enough for 15 Do17 bombers of KG2 to take off for an intended attack on the convoy.
    1130hrs (11.30am): A number of He111 bombers were attacking industrial and dock areas along the Scottish coast.
    603 Squadron Dyce (Spitfires) intercepted and avoided any major damage, although quite a number of bombs fell causing only minor damage. A He111 of 2/KG26 was shot down at 1212hrs which crashed into the sea.
    1350hrs (1.50pm): A number of German bombers made an attack on an aircraft works at Yeovil in Somerset in the west of England. One of the runways received slight damage, as did one of the hangars and a number of craters appeared, but damage was kept to a minimum. 213 Squadron Exeter (Hurricanes) intercepted and one Hurricane was shot down although the pilot baled out. Interception was also made by 92 Squadron Pembrey (Spitfires) in which the Luftwaffe lost one Ju88 and another damaged.
    1415hrs (2.15pm): Through broken cloud and rain squalls a Dornier formation arrived over the convoy "Pilot" but Fighter command had 'seen' them coming and scrambled 56 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes) and 151 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes) to meet them before the Dorniers had time to attack the convoy. Although some attempted an attack, they were turned around without causing any damage. Once the attack was aborted, the Hurricanes returned to base without scoring.
    Casualties were light on both sides, in fact the RAF suffered more aircraft damaged or lost in flying accidents than they did on operational sorties. Some were damaged in heavy landings, another crashed in inclement weather whilst attempting to land and another crashed into a accumulator trolley while taxiing into a hangar.
    THE CASUALTIES: (July 15th 1940)
    There were none recorded on this day.
  11. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Eastern Daily Press have gone for a different view on the B of B.

    The Battle of Britain was far more than a skyborne fight between the ‘Few’ and the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe. It was also, writes Steve Snelling, a struggle for the many on the ground forced to endure a trial by aerial bombardment 75 years ago.

    A good article, But a big error in the bomb disposal photo.
    The two chaps in the photo should be. On the left.
    Lt Evlyn Jolliffe Halstead-Hanby. GM.
    8 Bomb Disposal Section.
    4 Bomb Disposal Company.

    Posted in the London Gazette on the 22nd January 1941.Awarded for an incident at Theatre Street, Norwich, Norfolk on the 23 September 1940.After a raid on the night of 18/19 September, two large unexploded bombs were left in the city. These were in Theatre Street and Mousehold. On investigating the latter it exploded at 11.30 in the morning, all that was left was a thirty foot crater. Halstead - Hanby was uninjured. He then went to Theatre Street fully aware that this could also explode. He and his men commenced work on the 23rd at Theatre Street. The bomb was located at a depth of twenty feet. It was fitted with a new design clockwork fuze. He was able to remove the fuze enabling the centre of Norwich to return to normality, or as normal as wartime could be. Halstead - Halby was awarded the George Medal.
    on the right.

    Cpl Bertie McIntyre Lawson. GM.
    4 Bomb Disposal Company.
    8 Bomb Disposal Section.

    Posted in the London Gazette on the 22 January 1941.Awarded for action at Theatre Street, Norwich, Norfolk.No further details at this time.Possibly linked to the action of Lt Halstead-Hanby GM.
    CL1 likes this.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    The weather played an important part in activities during this time. One day it was heavy fog, not clearing until about midday, another day it was very dull with occasional heavy rain, then when things started to brighten up, the cloud rolled in again and rain became widespread.
    Operations were according to the weather pattern. On the 16th, late in the afternoon when clearing conditions prevailed, 601 Squadron (Spitfires) intercepted an enemy formation and a Ju88 was shot down over the Isle of Wight. Again the east coast of Scotland came under attack and bombing occurred at Fraserburgh and Peterhead and 603 Squadron Dyce (Spitfires) shot down one He111. Next day, on the 17th, Scotland's industrial east was bombed, as was the city of Bristol, but on the 18th, with improved flying conditions, a number of channel ports came under attack and things started to 'hot up' off the coast near Dover. What could be described as a major dog-fight off the coast at Beachy Head, fifteen Spitfires of 152 Squadron Warmwell and 610 Squadron Biggin Hill came into contact with about thirty Bf109s over the channel. 152 had two aircraft damaged, but 610 lost one Spitfire over Calais. 235 and 236 Squadrons lost six aircrew between them when three Blenheims were shot down over the French coast that ended a bad day for the RAF.
    The 19th was a disastrous day for the RAF. 141 Squadron Biggin Hill (Defiants) twelve of which had just recently arrived within 11 Group from Turnhouse and on this day had flown from West Malling to operate out of Hawkinge. They took off on routine patrol at 1232hrs, ordered to patrol a line just south of Folkestone at 5,000 feet. Three of the aircraft had aborted the patrol because of engine malfunctions. At 1300hrs, the nine Defiants were patrolling in the middle of the English Channel, it was obvious that they were unaware of 16 Bf109 flying "up sun" and were were unexpectedly jumped on without any warning by the Bf109s of JG51 led by Oberleutnant Hannes Trautloft. One by one the RAF fighters fell from the sky into the channel, being no match for the far superior Bf109 (the Defiant could only attack and defend itself from the sides and the rear, as it had no forward facing guns). Six Defiants were shot down in rapid succession while three just managed to make it back to Hawkinge, thanks to the intervention of 111 Squadron Northolt (Hurricanes) while one Bf109 was severely damaged and crashed on landing back at its base. Serious thought was now to be given as to the future of the Defiant in the role of a front line fighter.
    By the 20th, the Luftwaffe again continued attacks on coastal shipping and convoys in the channel. They were hoping that their efforts would draw RAF Fighter Command into combat over the open waters, but this was not to happen. Keith Park would not be a part of contemplating aerial warfare at great distances from the fighter bases. So, many convoys came under attack, and many dogfights took place over the channel and as close as possible to the English coast. 32 Squadron Biggin Hill (Hurricanes) were providing air cover for a channel convoy when attacked by Ju87s and Bf109s with the loss of two Hurricanes. 238 Squadron Middle Wallop (Hurricanes) were also busy over Swanage, 65 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) had also engaged the enemy off the French coast destroying a Bf109, while 56 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes) destroyed a Ju88 off the Essex coast. Up north, a Do17 was shot down by 603 Squadron (Spitfires) off the coast at Aberdeen.
    The 21st was again not much different to any other day, the attacks by the Luftwaffe at this time were following a constant pattern and with little variance. Again, Do17s attacked shipping off the Scottish coast with one from 1/606 destroyed. A Do17 on reconnaissance was shot down by Hurricanes of 238 Squadron Middle Wallop and the squadron also destroyed a Bf110, both in the Hampshire region, and at 1350hrs 238 Squadron also badly damaged a Me110 off Portland that eventually crashed in France.
    Although the weather improved on the 22nd, activity was light. Occasional attacks on Channel shipping occurred, but little damage was done. Two Hurricanes of 145 Squadron Tangmere attacked a lone Do17 off Selsey Bill and it crashed into the Channel after accurate firing from F/L A.H.Boyd and P/O A.N.C Weir.
    Tactics changed on the 23rd, as the Channel was almost free of all shipping movements. Dowding had earlier suggested that convoys use the east coast route, go around the top of Scotland and head out into the Atlantic from there. The reason was that convoys were becoming to easy a target for the Luftwaffe conveniently positioned all along the French coast. The other advantage of this, was that any attacking bombers would not have the luxury of fighter escort as the distance would be too great from any of their bases. Although a number of convoys did enter the Atlantic via the Shetlands, convoys still navigated the Channel.
    German bombing attacks took place at a number of British towns on the 24th. Houses were damaged in the usually quiet suburb of Walton-on-Thames, the aircraft factories at Weybridge were attacked as was Brooklands airfield by a Ju88 pretending to come into land. But the day will be remembered as the day that the seaside town of Margate had a grandstand view of the Battle of Britain. At 0755hrs, an enemy formation had been detected coming in from the German coast and heading towards a convoy in the Thames Estuary. Fighter Command scrambled 54 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) that was using Rochford at 0815hrs to make an interception. 64 Squadron Kenley (Spitfires) also intercepted. No German aircraft were shot down, but 54 Squadron had three Spitfires shot down by accurate gunfire from the Dorniers. At about 1100hrs, another enemy formation was detected heading for the Thames Estuary.
    Again, 54 Squadron Hornchurch was dispatched. On reaching the formation, F/L A.L.Deere leading one of the sections reported back to his sector controller that the formation consisted of about 18 Do17s and forty plus Bf109s and requested immediate assistance. 65 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) was scrambled to assist as was 610 Squadron Biggin Hill (Spitfires) that was based at Gravesend. The ensuing battle in the skies took place almost over the town of Margate. Dorniers diving low and pulling out at almost sea level attempting to avoid the Spitfires almost touched the rooftops of seaside hotels, Spitfires being chased by Bf109s weaved about in all directions in the sky above. A Bf109 was shot down by one of the Spitfires and its pilot baled out but his parachute failed to open and his pilotless aircraft smashed into a quiet avenue in residential Margate. Another Bf109 of III/JG26 was hit and had to make a forced landing just outside the town, the pilot, seriously injured was taken prisoner. A Spitfire of 54 Squadron was hit by gunfire from a Bf109 and nearly crashed into the town centre of Margate, but the pilot managed to regain a little height and clear the township, but crashed in a ball of flame at nearby Cliftonville. Two other Spitfires, both from 54 Squadron crashed after being hit by gunfire from enemy fighters.
    As the melee moved towards Dover, four Bf109s were shot down including Adolph Galland to conclude a disastrous period for the Luftwaffe. Four days earlier, Major Riegel Gruppe Kommandeur of I/JG 27 was killed, as was Staffelkapitaen Oblt Keidel of 8/JG 52, then Major Werner Molders was shot down, and severely wounded and was hospitalized for over a month.
    July 16th 1940
    0050hrs: Church Fenton. Hurricane P2995. 249 Sqn Church Fenton. (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt A.D.W.Main. Killed. (Engine cut out during take off from base airfield)
    July 17th 1940
    Time N/A: Location unknown. Spitfire K9916. (Aircraft lost)
    F/O C.D.Peel. Certified as missing. (Failed to return from an operational flight)
    July 18th 1940
    1000hrs: Off Essex coast. Blenheim N3541. 235 Sqn Bircham Newton. (Aircraft lost)
    P/O R.L.Patterson. Certified as missing. and
    Sgt R.Y.Tucker. Certified as missing. and
    Sgt L.H.M.Reece. Certified as missing. (Failed to return from operational flight)
    1000hrs: Off Calais. Spitfire P9452. 610 Sqn Biggin Hill. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O P.Litchfield Killed. (Shot down by Bf109 over Channel. Body never recovered)
    1215hrs: Le Havre. Blenheim L6779 236 Sqn Thorney Island. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O C.R.D.Thomas. Killed. and
    Sgt H.D.B.Elsdon. Killed. (Shot down during photo-recon mission over Le Havre France)
    1215hrs: Le Havre. Blenheim L6639 236 Sqn Thorney Island. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O R.H.Rigby. Killed. and
    Sgt D.D.Mackinnon. Killed. (Shot down by Bf109 during photo-recon mission over Le Havre France)
    July 19th 1940
    1245hrs: Dover. Defiant L7009. 141 Sqn Hawkinge. (Aircraft destroyed)
    F/Lt I.D.G.Donald. Killed.
    P/O A.C.Hamilton. Killed. (Shot down by Bf109 and crashed into residential street in Dover)
    1245hrs: Off Dover. Defiant L6974 141 Sqn Hawkinge. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    P/O J.R.Kemp. Certified as missing.
    Sgt R.Crombie. Certified as missing. (Crashed into Channel after being shot down by Bf109)
    1245hrs: Off Dover. Defiant L6995 141 Sqn Hawkinge. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    P/O R.A.Howley. Certified as missing.
    Sgt A.G.Curley. Certified as missing. (Crashed into Channel after being shot down by Bf109)
    1245hrs: Off Dover. Defiant L7015 141 Sqn Hawkinge. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    P/O R.Kidson. Certified as missing.
    Sgt F.P.J.Atkins. Killed. (Crashed into Channel after being shot down by Bf109)
    1245hrs: Off Dover. Defiant L7016 141 Sqn Hawkinge. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    P/O D.M.Slatter. Certified as missing. (Crashed into Channel after being shot down by Bf109) (Pilot wounded)
    1245hrs: Off Dover. Defiant L6983 141 Sqn Hawkinge. (Aircraft damaged)
    Sgt J.F.Wise. Certified as missing. (Damage sustained by Bf109. Sgt Wise baled out over Channel but pilot managed to get aircraft base) For some reason Sgt Wise is officially recorded as giving his life on Aug 19th.
    1715hrs: Off Selsey Bill. Hurricane 43 Sqn Tangmere. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    Sgt J.A.Buck. Drowned. (Hit by gunfire from Bf109, baled out over Channel)
    July 20th 1940
    1315hrs: Off Swanage. Hurricane P3766, 238 Sqn Middle Wallop. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    Sgt C.Parkinson. Died of Injuries 21.06.40 (Baled out after being shot down by Bf109. Rescued by ship)
    1630hrs: Lyme Bay (Dorset). Hurricane P3082, 501 Sqn Middle Wallop. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    P/O E.J.H.Sylvester. Certified as missing. (Damaged by Bf109 off Cherbourg, crashed approaching coast)
    1635hrs: Swanage. Spitfire K9880, 152 Sqn Warmwell. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    P/O N.H.Posener Certified as missing. (Crashed into Channel after being hit by gunfire from Bf109)
    1800hrs: Off Dover. Hurricane N2670, 32 Sqn Biggin Hill. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    Sub/Lt G.G.R.Bulmer. Certified as missing. (Hit by gunfire from Bf109 and crashed into Channel)
    1800hrs: Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3964, 43 Sqn Tangmere. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    F/O J.F.J.Haworth. Certified as missing. (Shot down while investigating E/A, baled out over Channel)
    1820hrs: Off Cherbourg. Blenheim L1300, 236 Sqn Thorney Island. (Aircraft lost at sea)
    Sgt W.E.Lockton. Certified as missing. and
    Sgt H.Corcoran. Certified as missing. (Shot down by Bf109 during escort mission. Crashed into Channel)
    Time N/A: Grangemouth. Hurricane P2917, 263 Sqn Grangemouth. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O A.R.Downer Died of Injuries 21.06.40 (Crashed while making a forced landing at base)
    July 21st 1940
    1515hrs: Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3973, 43 Sqn Tangmere. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O R.A.DeMancha Certified as missing. (Collided with Bf109 and crashed into Channel)
    July 22nd 1940
    1735hrs: Castle Camps. Hurricane P3895, 85 Sqn Martlesham Heath. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O J.L.Bickerdike Killed. (Crashed on approach to Castle Camps satellite airfield)
    July 24th 1940
    1230hrs: Margate. Spitfire R6812, 54 Sqn Rochford. (Aircraft destroyed)
    F/O J.L.Allen Killed. (Engine damaged in combat with Bf109, but losing height crashed in township)
    1410hrs: North Weald. Hurricane P3316, 151 Sqn North Weald. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O J.R.Hamar Killed. (Stalled aircraft at 500ft and crashed nose first on aerodrome)
  13. spidge


    Deleted - Posted in wrong thread.
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Wednesday 17 July 1940

    • Weather: Dull with occasional rain.
    • Day: Search for shipping off Scottish and east coasts.
    • Night: Targets attacked in south-west. Minelaying.
    Enemy action by day
    Weather hampered our fighters in their action against enemy air activity which was again on a reduced scale. Raids were plotted off the Scottish, East and South coasts, apparently searching for shipping. An attack was made on shipping off Dundee and trawlers were attcked off Beachy Head. One or two raids crossed the coast and bombs were dropped in Surrey, Kent, at Portland and in Ayrshire.

    South and South-West
    A number of raids apparently in search of shipping were plotted during the day and a vessel was reported attacked 13 miles from Dartmouth at 1540 hours. One raid, a Do17, crossed the coasts at 1136 hours and came inland as far as Kenley. It was intercepted and chased out to sea over Pevensey, being damaged by our fighters. This raid dropped bombs near Kenley. Two attacks were reported on trawlers off Beachy Head, and three aircraft plotted South East of this point at 1515 hours are reported to be responsible for the bombs which were dropped near Ashford and Lydd. At 1540 hours three Heinkels were reported over Portland and appeared to attack the Mere Oil Fuel Depot, dropping six bombs. Slight damage was done to a railway and cloud enabled the raiders to achieve surprise. Although our fighters encountered a Junkers 88, which they attacked, off the Isle of Wight. Two of our Hurricanes were damaged during the day and one Spitfire which was on patrol off Beachy Head is reported missing.

    East Coast
    Up to 2100 hours eight raids were plotted off the East Coast and a reconnaissance of a convoy was made although no subsequent attack on this convoy is reported. Two of the raids crossed the coast in the Humber area.

    Four raids were plotted off the Scottish Coast and Orkneys. One crossed from Peterhead to the west Coast and dropped bombs at Ardeer ICI factory doing little damage. Of the remainder two carried out a reconnaissance of the Orkneys at 0721 hours and were intercepted but without successful results.

    French Coast
    Tracks were frequently reported coming into or going out from the Cherbourg peninsular. These tracks were not seen any distance out to see. It seems probable that aircraft are going to and coming from an unknown destination in the west as the tracks frequently start or stop at short distances off the Cherbourg peninsular.

    By night
    At 2232 hours nine raids, which first of all proceeded towards Cherbourg, having come over the coasts of Northern France, Belgium and Holland, turned northwards heading towards south-west England. Some of the raids crossed the coast covering the Bristol Channel area. At 0026 hours a further number of raids approached South West England, some again crossing to the Bristol Channel area. Bombs are reported to have been dropped at Port Talbot, and near Swansea and near Radstock. Mine laying is suspected in the Bristol Channel and off the Plymouth coast. Between 2200 and 0235 hours some 19 raids were plotted off the east coast, of which probably seven were minelaying. None reported further north than the Wash. A few crossed the coast and bombs are reported to have been dropped at Queenborough near Rochester, Felixstowe, Harwich, Chatham, near Barking and at Gillingham. Not more than 40 in all enemy aircraft are estimated to have operated during the night.


    Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours, 17 July 1940
    • Blenheim - 67
    • Spitfire - 237
    • Hurricane - 331
    • Defiant - 20
    • Total - 659
    • Enemy: Fighters - nil; Bombers - 2 unconfirmed.
    • Own: 2 Hurricanes (Nos. 145 and 615 Squadrons), 1 Spitfire (No. 64 Squadron); category unknown, pilot wounded.
    • 70 patrols despatched involving 266 aircraft.
    • Flying 1166. Casualties 20.
    • Catterick unserviceable.
    • No 238 Squadron from Middle Wallop to Warmwell.
    • No 32 Squadron from Biggin Hill to Hawkinge
    • No 65 Squadron from Hornchurch to Manston.
    Air Intelligence Reports
    • None.
    Home Security Reports
    • 16th/17th July 1940
    • General Summary
    • During the 17th July there was little enemy activity. Slight bomb dropping was widely dispersed but no serious damage has been reported.
    • Detailed Summary
    • Further information on 3 HE dropped at Fraserburgh is that damage was done to a small naval store and contents. Casualties at Fraserburgh and Portsoy now number 26.
    • No reports have been received of bombs dropped on aerodromes during the 17th July.
    • Near Ashford (Kent) bombs dropped demolished three houses and damaged the railway track which was, however, quickly repaired.
    • Considerable damage was done to the ICI works at Ardeer (Ayrshire) but there is no serious interference with production.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    The 21st was again not much different to any other day, the attacks by the Luftwaffe at this time were following a constant pattern and with little variance. Again, Do17s attacked shipping off the Scottish coast with one from 1/606 destroyed. A Do17 on reconnaissance was shot down by Hurricanes of 238 Squadron Middle Wallop and the squadron also destroyed a Bf110, both in the Hampshire region, and at 1350hrs 238 Squadron also badly damaged a Me110 off Portland that eventually crashed in France.
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    HAMAR, JACK ROYSTON Rank: Pilot Officer Trade: Pilot Service No: 70898 Date of Death: 24/07/1940 Age: 25 Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force 151 Sqdn. Awards: D F C Grave Reference: Row K. Grave 9. Cemetery: KNIGHTON CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Arthur T. Hamer and Sarah A. Hamar, of Knighton.

    On July 24th 1940 Six Spitfires of 54 Squadron Rochford (Spitfires) attacked a number of Dorniers who were attacking a convoy in the Straits of Dover during the morning but the squadron had to break up to send a couple of flights to the Thames Estuary where another convoy was under attack, but they could claim no victories except to spoil the aim of the bombardiers on the Dorniers. This day was the last day for 54 Squadron at Rochford, they had been there for a month and had now been posted back to Hornchurch. The Operational Record Book of 54 Squadron states that July 24th was the biggest and most successful day of operations since Dunkirk. "B" Flight intercepted a formation of Do215s off Dover and Green Section under P/O Dorian Gribble managed to break up the formation forcing them to jettison their bombs and turn back across the Channel. An early morning raid on shipping in the Bristol Channel by Ju88s with a few ships damaged, but one Ju88 was shot down by 92 Squadron Pembrey (Spitfires). By 1100hrs, more Do17s returned to the Estuary to continue the attack on the shipping.
    On a number of previous occasions, pilots had reported that many German bombers, when under attack had started to throw things out of their aircraft, although nothing was actually comfirmed. But in the days Operational Record Book of 54Squadron, it was noted by "B" Flight that coils of wire, possibly about 50 feet in length were thrown out of enemy bombers that were coming under attack. This seems feasable, when we come to think of the British method of fighter attack. After lining up an enemy aircaft in his sights, then firing a burst of gunfire the pilot of a Hurricane of Spitfire would push his control stick forwards and bank to either port or starboard to go under the target aircaft. This would force the British fighter to either; a) attack at a greater range thus reducing his effectiveness and then diving to clear the cables. b)forcing the British aircraft to climb after an attack thus placing him at the mercy of the main gun armament of the enemy bomber. Because this action by German bomber crews had been officially recorded, Fighter Command HQ were notified and a memorandum was given out to all fighter squadrons and pilots.
    (Details of 54 Squadron ORB July 24th 1940 [Document 24 ])
    18 more Dorniers escorted by 40+ Bf109s were intercepted over the Thames Estuary by the Spitfires of 54 Squadron (Rochford) and 65 Squadron (Hornchurch). As the Dorniers turned and headed back towards home (No shipping was hit), 610 Squadron (Gravesend) was 'scrambled' to cut off their retreat. A hectic battle followed, the Bf109s trying desperately to cover the Dorniers, but over the Thames Estuary, the Bf109s had to keep an eye on their fuel. Three Dorniers were shot down over the Estuary, while the RAF lost just one Spitfire and fighter ace Flying Officer Johnny Allen of 54 Squadron. As the melee moved towards Dover, four Bf109s were shot down including Adolph Galland to conclude a disastrous period for the Luftwaffe. Four days earlier, Major Riegel Gruppe Kommandeur of I/JG 27 was killed, as was Staffelkapitaen Oblt Keidel of 8/JG 52, then Major Werner Molders was shot down, and severely wounded and was hospitalized for over a month.

    Attached Files:

  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    THURSDAY JULY 25th 1940
    Overnight rain periods expected to clear and give way to a fine day with only a thin layer of cloud. Still cool for the time of year but winds expected to be light. Heavier cloud was expected by evening with the possibility of rain periods.
    The weather had improved enough during the early morning for German Stuka and E-boat attacks on a convoy working its way through the Dover Straits. It was a disaster for the convoy as they were pounded by heavy guns from the French mainland as well. Eleven merchant coal ships of convoy CW8 out of twenty-one were sunk in the Straits as well as two Royal Navy destroyers. A new tactic was used by the Luftwaffe, the escorting Bf109's came in at sea level to be met by the Spitfires of 65 Squadron (Hornchurch) while the Ju87 Stuka's came out of the sky the dive bomb the convoy. 32 Squadron Biggin Hill (Hurricanes) and 615 Squadron Kenley (Hurricanes) came in to assist the sea level dogfight with fifty Bf109's. 54 Squadron Rochford (Spitfires) answered the call for assistance from the escorting naval vessels and engaged Bf109's that had arrived to assist the Ju87's. Like the previous day, 54 Squadron was to suffer badly, but with one Spitfire to every five Bf109's, they were lucky not to lose more than three aircraft.
    Gage likes this.
  18. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    SUNDAY JULY 28th 1940

    On July 28th 1940 the weather was a carbon copy of the previous day, and Fighter Command expected stronger attacks by the Luftwaffe. But the morning proved to quiet and allowed the pilots of 11 Group to take a breather. The people in the towns and villages took advantage of the fine Sunday morning and while many took to whatever beaches were accessible, other went to their morning church services. For a few hours at least, the war was a million miles away.

    1200hrs: Dover, Rye and Pevensey radar picked up a plot over Calais. A large formation was detected to the west of the town, and moments later another formation was picked up on the other side. But for some unknown reason the amalgamating formations seemed to hold their pattern, then when part way across the Channel turned back.

    1330hrs: The radar stations again detected a large build up in the vicinity of Calais and headed towards Dover. Fighter Command HQ and 11 Group HQ were put on alert. Slowly the German formation made its way towards the English coastline. As soon as the formation was detected, Park put many of his squadrons "at readiness" and watched the armada of hostile aircraft on the table below him. As the German bombers with their escort approached the Kent coast, the Observer Corps reported 60+ Heinkel's and 40+ Messerschmitts. Fighter Command release 41 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires), 74 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires), 111 Squadron Croydon (Hurricanes) and 257 Squadron Northolt (Hurricanes) to intercept.

    1400hrs: The formation is just about over the coast when 74 Squadron which was at Manston was first on the scene, the other squadrons arriving moments later. As was usual practice, the Hurricanes attacked the bombers while the Spitfires engaged combat with the Bf109 escort. 'Sailor' Malan the South African ace who was leading 74 Squadron took on first one, then another of the Messerschmitts, one of these was the German ace Major Werner Molders:
    Controversy will always abound when it comes to claims. I find no record of "Sailor" Malan making any claims in this combat. Mike Spick in "Battle of Britain" describing the height of the battle, claims that it was F/L John Webster of 41 Squadron Hornchurch who shot down Major Werner Molders, and this is backed up by the German records in "Battle of Britain - Then & Now Vol V" mentioning that Molders of Stab JG51 was hit and his Bf109 damaged by F/L J.T.Webster at 1500hrs, with Molders making a belly-landing near the French coast.

    "Sailor” Malan was leading twelve Spitfires of 74 Squadron from Manston. As they closed, Malan chose a victim in the leading flight, fired, and watched him go down. Molders was leading that formation; he turned and shot down a Spitfire. For Molders this was his 129th combat mission of the war and his twenty-sixth victory (not including the fourteen aircraft shot down in Spain). He came round again, looking for his twenty-seventh.
    Both Molders and Malan were fast, but Molders was split-seconds faster. Even as Malan was scoring his victory, Molders was already on his tail. Malan turned in towards the attack—the classic reaction of the fighter pilot—and kept turning tightly enough to bring Molders into his sights. His machine-gun bullets raked the Messerschmitt. Had Spitfires been armed with cannon, Molders would not have been able to nurse his badly damaged machine back to his base at Wissant. When he landed, his leg wounds were bad enough to put him into hospital. It was to be another month before Molders could claim victim number twenty-seven.

    Len Deighton Fighter 1977 Jonathon Cape pp141-142
    It turned out to be a disastrous day for the Luftwaffe. Their losses started at 0500hrs Ju88 of 3/KG51 on a mission to bomb Crewe in Lancashire lost its bearings and became hopelessly lost, then ran out of fuel and made a forced landing at Bexhill Sussex. Then at 0525hrs, 10 Group released a flight from 234 Squadron St Eval (Spitfires) to intercept Ju88's approaching the Devon coast south of Plymouth. F/L P.C.Hughes, P/O K.S.Horton and P/O P.W.Horton all contributed in shooting down one Ju88. In the combat off Dover, a total of five Me109's were shot down and as well as the Me109 of Major Werner Molders, F/L J.T.Webster was also successful in claiming another Bf109 at 1450hrs. P/O G.H.Bennions also of 41 Squadron damaged a Me109 at 1500hrs that successfully made it back to its base at Wissant.
    Because a number of German rescue and Red Cross planes [ Document-25 ] had been detected on observation, photographic and possibly other missions as well as carrying out their primary roll as search and rescue aircraft, the Air Ministry on July 14th 1940 gave instructions for them to be shot down if they were seen near to allied shipping or close to the English coast. One of these Heinkel 59 rescue planes was spotted by 111 Squadron Croydon (Hurricanes) and shot down. Whether they were in their rights to do so is a debatable question as they were about 10 miles to the east of Boulogne off the French coast. The time would have been at around 1500hrs as they had taken off at 1435hrs. As the crew of the He59 scrambled in the water another He59 made a landing closeby to rescue them and a Hurricane of 111 Squadron Croydon flown by F/O H.M.Ferris strafed the second He59 causing damage, but it managed to take off and make for safety. Another He59 was also shot down by 111 Squadron whilst on a search and rescue mission at approx 1530hrs.

    In all, a total of 18 German aircraft had been shot down, and the shooting down of He59 search and rescue planes caused Hitler to proclaim that the RAF in attacking unarmed aircraft with defenceless and injured personnel on board nothing but cold blooded murderers.
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  19. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    TUESDAY JULY 30th 1940
    On July 30th, after a number of possible invasion dates that had come under heated debate and discussion, Hitler now had made it quite clear that no invasion could take place before September 15th, although it is believed that he personally did not want an invasion until at least early 1941. All his Generals did not favour this, the waiting period was too long, it would also give Britain time to be better prepared and although at this stage the United States showed no signs of becoming involved with the war in Europe. But the question always remained, could Winston Churchill persuade Roosevelt to supply air and land forces to assist the British. If this happened, then Germany's chance at a successful invasion would be seriously hampered.

    It had been announced on German radio by Dr Joseph Goebbels who denounced the statement by the German Secretary of War that Britain would be overpowered in a short time and that British military forces would come under German control. "Britain" he said, "was already weakening, it cannot muster the number of planes required to conquer our glorious Luftwaffe, they are losing a battle that they are intent on prolonging." He went on to say that even the United States now have no intention on attempting to save Britain, and that soon, an invasion of Britain will be successful. Of course, Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda, was doing just that, trying to impress the German people that Germany was well under way in winning the war and that the German government would be taking up residence in Whitehall maybe by Christmas.

    Adolph Hitler had decided that before any such invasion take place, the British Royal Air Force must be eliminated both in the air and on the ground, and sent a message to Goering stating that he must have his forces in readiness to commence the great battle of the Luftwaffe against England within twelve hours notice.
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    THURSDAY AUGUST 1st 1940
    WEATHER: Although it was fine in the west and in the north, there was 8/10ths low cloud over the Channel and in the Thames Estuary regions during the morning, but this was to clear by afternoon and becoming warm.
    The morning period was exceptionally quiet, but thick overnight mist in low lying regions aborted most of the minelaying that the Luftwaffe usually carried out during the hours of darkness. But a Spitfire from one of the Photographic Reconnaissance Units, on patrol over the north of France notices heavy aircraft concentration at Cherbourg. He circles round capturing the airfield on film and heads back to base. Fighter Command are notified at once of the build up, and they decide that the German held airfield should be bombed before they are committed in any offence against Britain.
    1145hrs: The task is given to 59 Squadron (Coastal Command) based at Thorney Island using Blenheim IV bombers, and these would be escorted by 236 Squadron Thorney Island (Long range Blenheim fighters). Ground crews begin to load up the 13 Blenheim bombers with the required bomb loads while 10 Blenheim fighters are prepared and placed at readiness.
    1250hrs: Radar picked up enemy aircraft in the north when a formation was detected approaching two shipping convoys "Agent" and "Arena" just off of the Yorkshire coast. The sector controller at Church Fenton is alerted and dispatches 607 Squadron Usworth (Hurricanes) and 616 Squadron Leconfield (Spitfires) to be scrambled to intercept.
    1310hrs: Both squadrons take a little time in locating the enemy bombers but eventually visually sight a Junker's Ju88 and a Dornier Do17 out to sea just below cloud base. It is not known whether the two aircraft are alone, or a part of a larger formation using the cloud as cover. The RAF fighters are observed and the enemy bombers gained height and disappeared into the protection of the cloud after a short exchange of gunfire from both sides.
    Reports state that about this time a Junker's Ju88 of 9/KG4 crashed into the North Sea while on operational duties, but there are no records of 607 or 616 Squadrons claiming a Ju88 damaged in this combat. One Spitfire of 616 Squadron Leconfield is damaged by gunfire from the Ju88 but lands safely at base.
    1430hrs: Radar at Pevensey detects enemy aircraft over the Channel heading for the south coast. In clearing conditions, 145 Squadron Westhampnett (Hurricanes) is scrambled to intercept. This is done about eight miles off the coast from Hastings where Hurricanes engage a Henschel Hs126 shooting it down into the sea. Other Hurricanes engage a Ju88, and one of the Hurricanes that attacked the Hs126 was seen to crash into the Channel. The Junker's tried to make good his escape, but became damaged in doing so. It managed to land at its base, but Feldwebel Kohl was seriously injured and was to die two weeks later of these injuries.
    1500hrs: The Blenheim's of 236 Squadron (Thorney Island) that were being prepared earlier, were now taking off. The Blenheim bombers of 59 Squadron had taken off a little earlier and the Blenheim fighters were to rendezvous with them just prior to the French coast and strafe the Cherbourg aerodrome after the bombs are dropped by the bombers. The forecast given to the crews was that conditions would be fine with good visibility. The Blenheim fighter escort was to take off in three waves, with five minutes separating each wave and the last wave of four is to stay clear of the target area and stay off the French coast covering the withdrawal of the others. But all was not to go according to plan. The forecasters had got it all wrong as heavy low cloud covers the entire French coast around Cherbourg. The leading three Blenheim's led by F/Lt R.M.Power miss the Cherbourg Peninsular completely and unaware overtake the Blenheim's of 59 squadron and fly deeper into enemy territory before deciding to return to base.
    1540hrs: A break in the cloud appears just as the Blenheim's of 59 Squadron near the coast. They are on course and the aerodrome on the peninsula can be seen and they commence their bombing run. Not far behind are the second wave of three Blenheim fighters led by S/L P.E.Drew. 59 Squadron manage to drop their bombs successfully causing considerable damage amidst heavy AA and machine gun fire from aerodrome gun emplacements. S/L Drew leads with Australian P/O B.M.McDonough and Sgt R.C.Smith at about 50-70 feet strafing the airfield and gun batteries. Many of the batteries are hit, fires start to follow explosions as hangars and buildings are hit, aircraft in the open are either destroyed or damaged, for the RAF the mission seemed to be a success. But it was short lived.
    1715hrs: Some of the Blenheim bombers of 59 Squadron are hit as they pull out of their bombing run, Sgt Smith's aircraft receives a number of hits as his low level strafing run endows further damage to the aerodrome, he pulls out on completion, turns and heads back across the Channel losing contact with the others.
    Returning to Thorney Island, the crews are briefed about the mission, and it undergoes scrutiny. Itself, it was a success, considerable and severe damage had been done, but at a price. One of the Blenheim's of 59 Squadron fails to return, it was piloted by the squadron commanding officer Wing Commander Weld-Smith. Two Blenheim's of 236 Squadron also fail to return. A number of Bf109's of III/JG27 got into the air and could have been responsible for shooting down the Blenheim's of P/O McDonough and S/L Drew, or they may have been hit by gunfire from ground defences.
    1530hrs: While a number of combat actions were taking place up and down the Essex coast, 30 He 111 bombers approach the Norfolk coast and for some reason no RAF fighters were sent to intercept them. They continued on towards the city of Norwich where the attacked Norwich Railway Station inflicting minor damage, but doing far greater damage at the Boulton-Paul Aircraft Works on the outskirts of the city. Also receiving direct bomb hits were a timber yard, and a factory. A total of 6 people were killed and nearly 60 injured in this bombing raid.
    Two Dornier's were intercepted of the east coast near Harwich during the day. One was shot down while the other headed home trailing thick smoke. Two Spitfires got entangled with a small skirmish over the Channel just off the Sussex coast near Worthing. By night, mine laying continued in north east Scotland and near Scapa Flow and also in the Thames Estuary. German bombers dropped "Last Appeal to Reason" leaflets over many parts of southern England and South Wales. Some authors have made mention of the fact that most of the leaflets fell in the open pasturelands of Hampshire and Somerset, amongst grazing cattle and sheep. We know that English beef and lamb is amongst the finest, but it is going a bit far to expect them to be educated as well.
    1500hrs. Hastings. Hurricane P3155. 145 Squadron Westhampnett (Lost at sea)
    Sub/Lt I.H.Kestin. Missing. (Shot down by gunfire from Hs126 and crashed into Channel)
    1715hrs. Querqueville (France). Blenheim IV. N3601. 236 Squadron Thorney Island (Aircraft destroyed)
    S/L P.E.Drew. F/O B.Nokes-Cooper. Both killed. (Shot down on bomber escort by ground fire)
    1715hrs. Querqueville (France). Blenheim IV. R2774. 236 Squadron Thorney Island (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O B.M.McDonough. Sgt F.A.P.Head. Both killed. (Shot down on bomber escort by ground fire)

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