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The Battle Of Britain Weather Diary

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Looking forward to that John!

7th July 1940

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RAF Bomber Command:

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - Ludwigshaven. Marshalling yards at Hamm.

58 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Ludwigshaven. Only two bombed, two more bombed alternative targets.

Nine Wellingtons attacked objectives at Bremen and Emden, the Brunsbuttel entrance to the Kiel Canal, and the seaplane base at Norderney. The War Diary of the Upjever Luftwaffe Base it states that this Wellington did a low level attack at 0220 7th July 1940. Down as low as 150 ft the aircraft was hit my machine gun and 2cm AA fire.

77 Sqn. Four aircraft to Hamm. Three bombed, one iced up and returned early.

RAF Fighter Command:

British fighters were scrambled in force today to intercept Luftwaffe reconnaissance planes and Bf 109 fighters.

602 Sqn. F/Lt. R. F. Boyd shared in the destruction of a Ju 88 over Scotland.

Otherwise, there was little chance of engaging the enemy as many of the planes fled when confronted by the Hurricanes. Some Spitfires from 54 Squadron however, were ‘bounced’ (attacked from above) by a number of Bf 109s near Manston airfield. They were all damaged but managed to land safely.

During the evening shipping was disrupted in the English Channel by German bombers. Three Spitfires that engaged the enemy were shot down. None of the enemy fighters were badly damaged.

At about 2100 hours Squadron Leader John Joslin of 79 Sqn from Hawkinge led Pilot Officer Parker and Pilot Officer Stones on a convoy patrol, during which they were attacked from behind by fighters. Parker and Stones broke formation and turned towards the attackers, which they recognised as Spitfires. Joslin's Hurricane, however, was going down in flames and crashed near Folkestone. Joslin, aged 24, was killed and Flight Lieutenant Haysom took temporary command of the Squadron.

Overall the R.A.F. lost six fighters today and the Luftwaffe five aircraft

The first casualties caused by a bombing raid on Eastbourne happened on the 7th July 1940.

Time 11.03 am

Location Whitley Road

Deaths 2

Casualties 22

Damage 9 houses destroyed & 60 damaged

Cause 7 HE bombs

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The Hawker Hurricane

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A hero of the Battle of Britain, the Hawker Hurricane saw service in most theatres of war in a number of different roles. The Hurricane also saw service with a number of different countries, and wasn't phased out of RAF service until after the end of the Second World War.

The Hurricane was developed by Sidney Camm. As a fighter plane, the Hawker Hurricane was to revolutionise all future fighter plane design. It was to play a vital role in the Battle of Britain and eventually in many other theatres of World War Two.

The Hurricane first made its mark in February 1938. In this month, a Hurricane piloted by Squadron Leader J W Gillan, commanding officer of 111 Squadron, had flown from Scotland to Northholt, a distance of 327 miles, in 48 minutes at an average speed of 409 mph (admittedly with a tail wind!).

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The history of the Hurricane went back to 1933 when Sidney Camm discussed with the Air Ministry the possibilities of producing a monoplane fighter. At this time, the Air Ministry was not keen on a monoplane despite the fact that a monoplane had established a world speed record of 423 mph (an Italian Macchi MC.72) in April 1933.

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The first prototype Hurricane flew on November 6th 1935. It had been based on the design of the Fury plane built by Hawker and was powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. In February 1936, the Hurricane exceeded all of the demands placed on it and on June 3rd 1936, the Air Ministry placed an order for 600 Hurricane fighter planes. On October 12th, 1937, the first flight of a production Hurricane took place. By the end of 1938, 200 Hurricanes had been delivered to the RAF’s Fighter Command.

In September 1939, 19 RAF squadrons had been equipped with Hurricanes. A Hurricane was the first RAF plane to destroy a Luftwaffe plane in October 1939 when Pilot Officer Mould shot down a Dornier Do-17 over France. It was to prove a short-term success. In the German attack on France in the Spring of 1940, 25% of all Hurricanes were destroyed by the Luftwaffe (some 200 planes).

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In was in the Battle of Britain that the Hurricane made its mark. The battle is frequently associated with Reginald Mitchell's Spitfire, but the Hurricane played a major role in this battle. On August 8th, 1940, the RAF could call on 32 squadrons of Hurricanes and 19 of Spitfires. Therefore, the Hurricane was the dominant British plane in this battle.

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Though slower than the Spitfire, the Hurricane developed a reputation as a plane that could take more than a few hits from the Germans and continue to fly. To some the Spitfire was a thoroughbred horse; superb until it was damaged. The Hurricane, though less graceful and slower than the Spitfire, was more a shire horse; incredibly strong and capable of taking many hits before it was taken out. One advantage it had was it's guns were in 2 concentrated batteries of 4, not spead out like on the Spitfire. This plus converging the fire cone instead of shotgun style like the early Spitfires. Thus it's task of tackling the Luftwaffe bombers while leaving the escort for the faster Spitfires made sense.

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The Hurricane, in various guises, saw combat in most areas of World War Two – the jungles of the Far East, the deserts of North Africa etc. Almost 3000 Hurricanes were delivered to Russia during the war. In total, more than 14,000 Hurricanes fought in World War Two in all theatres of war – a remarkable achievement for a remarkable plane.

Crew: 1

Maximum speed: 328 mph (550 km/h) at 22,000 feet (6705 meters)

Ceiling: 36,500 feet (11,125 metres)

Range: 480 miles (772 km)

Armament: 8 x 0.303 machine guns (later versions had cannon)

Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.2 m)

Length: 32 ft 2 in (9.8 m)

Height: 13 ft 1 in (4.0 m)

Wing area: 258.33 sq ft (24.0 m2)

"It was a delightful aeroplane - not as agile as a Spitfire, but it had a very good gun platform. It was very steady and took a tremendous amount of battle damage without appearing to worry too much."

Pilot officer R G A Barclay

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I'm not sure if this is going to work but I'll try page 1, you will need to enlarge it, C can you let me know if its worth doing the other pages please?

page 1

nope it is being disallowed for whatever reason

the complete file is over 5mb and the NW allowance is 2MB, quite why it will not upload one page I don't know.

Shame as the article gives lots of information about each day, which airfields, and the weather on each day.

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Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding GCB, GCVO, CMG ("Stuffy")

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Hugh Dowding is considered one of the masterminds behind the victory in the Battle of Britain. Dowding is seen as one of the more important military commanders of the war.

Dowding was born in Scotland in April 1882 and educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Dowding served in Ceylon, Gibraltar, Honk Kong and then for six years in India. When he returned to Britain from this tour of duty, Dowding took up flying and received his flying license in 1913. Following this, he joined the newly created Royal Flying Corps and fought in World War One where he commanded 16 Squadron. During this war, he clashed with the head of the Royal Flying Corps - General Hugh Trenchard - over the issue of rest for pilots exhausted by constant flying sorties. As a result, Dowding was sent back to Britain. He was promoted to brigadier-general, but took no more active part in the war itself.

After the war, Dowding joined the newly established Royal Air Force becoming a vice-marshal in 1929. In 1933, he was promoted to air marshal and in 1934.

It was in the 1930's that Dowding made his real mark. He was a believer in research and development and pushed hard for this aspect of the RAF to be adequately funded. He knew that the days of the bi-plane were numbered and pushed for a fast fighter. The led to a competition that ended with the construction of the legendary Supermarine Spitfire.

By 1937/38, Dowding became convinced that a war with Nazi Germany was a real possibility and the Nazis had done little to disguise the growth of the Luftwaffe. In April 1937, the Luftwaffe had demonstrated its ability to destroy an undefended city with the bombing of Guernica in Spain. For this very reason, Dowding believed that Britain had to be in a position to defend itself from German bombers - hence his part in pushing for the development and manufacture of both the Spitfire and Hurricane. Dowding also pushed for the development of the radar - to give the British an adequate warning of an enemy attack.

In 1938, Dowding believed that Britain was not able to adequately protect itself against the Luftwaffe. For this reason, he advised Neville Chamberlain to pursue a policy of appeasement at Munich. Whereas Chamberlain has been criticised for 'giving in' to Hitler and not making a firm enough stand against him, Dowding believed that he needed more time to develop Fighter Command to enable Britain to defend itself. Due to retire in June 1939, he was asked to stay on until March 1940 due to the tense international situation. He was again grudgingly permitted to continue, first until July and finally until October 1940. Thus, he fought the Battle of Britain under the shadow of retirement.

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Dowding talking to Douglas Bader

Dowding played his part in providing what fighter cover he could give to the men being evacuated at Dunkirk. However, both he and Winston Churchill believed that any full use of what resources Dowding had would be reckless, especially for what many considered to be a lost cause. In this, Dowding proved to be correct.

Dowding's resources as head of Fighter Command were about to be given a massive test - one which they could not fail. In the Battle of Britain, the men of Fighter Command were pushed to the limit. As in World War One, Dowding clashed with other senior officers in the RAF over tactics. Men like Air Vice Marshal Douglas and Air Vice Marshal Leigh-Mallory wanted the pilots of Fighter Command to engage the Luftwaffe before they crossed the English coastline. Dowding rejected this approach as he believed that any British/Allied pilot that parachuted out over the English Channel was more liable to be drowned. Any combat over the mainland that led to a pilot parachuting out, meant that the pilot had a greater chance of survival. Dowding knew that Fighter Command was not short of fighter planes. But it was short of experienced pilots and he resolved that Fighter Command could not lose any more. Hence why he engaged the Luftwaffe on 'home' soil.

He pushed for all weather runways at fighter stations, which he did not get them for all of them. He pushed for operations rooms at all of the sector stations stating that these would relieve the pressure on the group operations rooms which in turn relieve the pressure on command operations rooms. He wanted more financial aid to the Observer Corps stating that they are so important to the defence system that the war could be lost without them. With very few important friends at the Air Ministry, Hugh Dowding's suggestions and decisions never went unobserved or ignored.

The victory in the Battle of Britain ended any hope of Hitler launching "Operation Sealion". In recent years, some historians have re-assessed the importance of the battle, claiming that Hitler's heart was not in an invasion of Britain and that he was fully focused on the an attack on Russia. However, no-one in Britain would have known this in August/September 1940 and no chance could be taken that the barges on the French and Belgium northern coastline were there only as a threat.

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Dowding has been given the credit for the victory in September 1940 - along with the "few". For this he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross. However, his career did not end in the glory many feel it should have done. Air Chief Marshal Portal, the chief of air staff, did not agree that Dowding had used the right tactics and in November 1941, the man who had masterminded the victory that was the Battle of Britain, was forced to retire from the position as head of Fighter Command. Age was not an issue as Dowding was only 59. Dowding was replaced as head of Fighter Command by one of his chief critics - Air Vice Marshal Douglas.

Dowding was given 'special duties' to do in America involving aircraft production. However, he retired from the Royal Air Force in July 1942 and was awarded the title Baron Dowding of Bentley Priory in 1943.

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Curiously he was interested in spiritualism and claimed to have communicated with airmen who had been killed in action. Dowding became a vegetarian, based on his beliefs as a theosophist and spiritualist. Although he personally was a vegetarian, he realised that "animals will be killed to satisfy human needs for many a long day to come", and he made several appeals in the House of Lords for the humane killing of animals intended for food. He was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society and of the Ghost Club.

Although he knew that people considered him a crank for his belief in fairies, Dowding believed that fairies "are essential to the growth of plants and the welfare of the vegetable kingdom.

Dowding died at is home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent on February 15th, 1970

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Shame as the article gives lots of information about each day, which airfields, and the weather on each day.

I'm much indebted to John Holmes for his contacts at the MetO and for forwarding the article he received from them, which is probably the most pertinent and interesting one that will be posted in this thread. Thank you John for the following article from 'Meteorological Magazine' issue 119 released in 1990:

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You may want to save these .jpgs to your local drive and read them, I have the article in original .pdf format if you want it - please PM me and I can e-mail it on!

Hazy blue skies with many condensation trails are enduring folk memories of the Battle of Britain, but the records show a very mixed bag of weather; there were

certainly some fine warm days, but equally others that were dull, cool, wet and much more typical of mid autumn. Weather factors played a part on the operations of both sides, but in several ways the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) was affected more than

the RAF.

From the article above

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my pleasure mate-what a clever little lad you are copying them-buggered if I could do it on my Epson DX7400, other than so minute it was barely readable-but thanks again Robin

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8th July 1940

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It was a beautiful, clear day all day.

The Germans sent reconnaissance aircraft over the English Channel at first light. Two of these were shot down. More Luftwaffe aircraft arrived in the afternoon and were intercepted by 610 Squadron. One Spitfire was lost but the formation of enemy bombers was broken up and failed to sink a single ship in the convoy that it was sent to attack. At 23.15 in County Durham, 4 HE bombs dropped on waste land at Saltholme Farm, Port Clarence. House windows broken, and telephone lines to nearby gun position damaged. Four sheep killed and five injured.

RAF Bomber Command:

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - Dockyards at Kiel. Evere airfield.

10 Sqn. Five aircraft to Kiel. Two bombed, one damaged by Flak. One FTR.

58 Sqn. Two aircraft to Kiel. Both bombed and started fires.

51 Sqn. One aircraft to Kiel. Four aircraft to Evere. All bombed, one hit by Flak. Opposition severe.

2 Group. ( Blenheim).

107 Sqn. 12 aircraft attack ships in a Fjord at Aalborg, Denmark. 1 ship hit.

RAF Fighter Command:

Hurricanes from 79 Squadron engaged the enemy, but were prevented from intercepting a bombing raid by a number of Bf109s.

234 Squadron intercepted a number of aircraft (Ju88s) off Dover, but did not manage to shoot any down.

Losses

79 Sqn P/O J E R Wood Scrambled at 1515 Shot down by Bf 109 off Dover; rescued but died of wounds

610 Sqn P/O A. L. B Raven (91089) killed off Dover - victim of return fire from Do17.

A Junkers Ju 88A was shot down in flames during a sortie to Sunderland, it crashed at Hornsea in Yorkshire at 11.42. Three of the crew were captured and one was killed.

249 Sqn. Green section of B flight operating from Church Fenton in Yorkshire shot down a Junkers Ju 88 at 11.30. 15 miles N of Flamborough Head. They had only been operational for 24 hours at that airfield.

Overall the R.A.F. lost four aircraft today and the Luftwaffe seven.

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In the eight weeks since Anthony Eden’s appeal, 1,060,000 men have signed on with the Local Defence Volunteers. However, they still have no uniforms, no ranks, and few weapons apart from rifles borrowed from museums and even from London’s Drury Lane theatre.

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The LDV average age is high, and some units include several generals of the last war now in the ranks. In two days time the first course begins at the LDV training school set up at Osterley Park, near London. It is run by Tom Wintringham, the former commander of the British volunteers in Spain, whose articles in Picture Post on guerrilla fighting inspired its publisher, Edward Hulton, to set up the "guerrilla" school. The LDV may soon see a change of name. Churchill recently suggested to Eden that they be given the shorter title "Home Guard".

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Tea, margarine and cooking fats rationing begins, the allowance is 2oz. per week for each item, a complete ban is put on the making or selling of iced cakes.

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Orders of the Commandant of the German Forces in Occupation of the Bailiwick of Jersey. Dated the 8th day of July, 1940.

1. The German Commandant is in close touch with the Civil Authorities and acknowledges their loyal co-operation.

2. The Civil Government and Courts of the Island will continue to function as heretofore, save that all Laws, Ordinances, Regulations and Orders will be submitted to the German Commandant before being enacted.

3. Such legislation as, in the past, required the Sanction of His Britannic Majesty in Council for its validity, shall henceforth be valid on being approved by the German Commandant, and thereafter sanctioned by the Bailiff of Jersey.

4. The Orders of the German Commandant, heretofore, now, and hereafter issued, shall in due course be registered in the records of the Island of Jersey, in order that no person may plead ignorance thereof. Offences against the same, saving those punishable under German Military Law, shall be punishable by the Civil Courts, who shall enact suitable penalties in respect of such offences, with the approval of the German Commandant.

5. Assemblies in Churches and Chapels for the purpose of Divine Worship are permitted. Prayers for the British Royal Family and for the welfare of the British Empire may be said. Church Bells may ring ten minutes before Service. Such Assemblies shall not be made the medium for any propaganda, or utterances against the honour or interests of, or offensive to, the German Government or Forces.

6. Cinemas, Concerts, and other Entertainments are permitted, subject to the conditions set out in Order No. 5 above.

7. Prices must not be increased or decreased. Any shopkeeper offending against this order is liable to have his shop closed, and also to pay any fine that may be imposed by the Competent Authorities.

8. The sale and consumption of wines, beer, and cider is permitted in such premises as are licensed by the Civil Authorities.

9. Holders of Licences for the sale of such intoxicating liquors (wines, beer, or cider) shall take the most rigid precautions for the prevention of drunkenness. If drunkenness takes place on such licensed premises, then without prejudice to any other civil penalty the Island Police shall and are hereby empowered to close the premises.

10. All traffic between Jersey and Guernsey is prohibited, whether direct or indirect, for the time being (other Regulations will follow).

11. The Rate of Exchange between the Reichsmark and the Pound had been fixed at Eight Marks to the Pound.

12. The Continuance of the privileges granted to the civilian population is dependent upon their good behaviour.

Military necessity, however, may from time to time, require the Orders now in force to be made more stringent

For and on behalf of the German Commandant of the Channel Islands

[signed] Gussek, Hauptmann, Commandant, Jersey.

.

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The 40,000 inhabitants who remained on Jersey gradually became used to the conditions under the Germans. One of the greatest hardships was the lack of news from the mainland after the Germans had outlawed the use of crystal sets. A few individuals risked imprisonment by making their own sets and spreading the news from the front.

Horse drawn traffic became an increasingly regular sight as petrol shortages became severe, and many vehicles were converted to use gas. The price of bicycles rose to £30, and their use was restricted by the States to those connected to essential services. Shopping hours were reduced to 10 am – 12.30 pm, and 2 pm – 4 pm, as goods became scarce. Textile shops were open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They received limited supplies from France, the Summerland factory in Rouge Bouillon, and from local residents. Textile factories were re-opened to provide employment for local women, as well as supplying much needed raw materials.

Food shortages on Jersey were finally relieved by the arrival of the Red Cross ship SS Vega, bringing parcels of food to hungry islanders. Before then, substitutes had been used to replace everyday foods, with seawater replacing salt, for instance, and a mixture of parsnip and sugar beet replacing tea.

The Germans issued special currency for use in occupied countries called the Reichskredit, and consisted of coins of 1,2, 5, and 10 Reichspfennigs, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Reichskredits.

The cinema, local amateur dramatics companies, and dances provided entertainment. Jersey was the only place occupied by the Germans where dancing was permitted.

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another fascinating post mate-where do you get all this from?

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another fascinating post mate-where do you get all this from?

I have a good selection of books on the subject and trawling the net for applicable information day-to-day. Sad eh??!!! :)

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not really

I'm enjoying the read each day-read some bits I never knew before so keep up the good work lad

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9th July 1940

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RAF Bomber Command:

4 Group (Whitley). Operations cancelled due to weather conditions.

2 Group ( Blenheim). 21 Sqn and 57 Sqn. 12 aircraft bombed Stavanger/Sola airfield in Norway. 7 aircraft lost to fighters.

RAF Fighter Command:

Bailed out

43 Sqn S/Ldr G C Lott, Shot down by a Bf 110in his Hurricane. Bailed out over Fontwell Racecourse and lost an eye

43 Sqn P/O J Cruttenden engine caught fire following combat with Do 17 Bailed out near Beachy Head

54 Sdn P/O A.C.’Al’ Deere Spitfire N3183, KL-B.Pilot safe:

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"I soon found another target. About 3,000 yards ahead of me, and at the same level, a Hun was just completing a turn preparatory to re-entering the fray. He saw me almost immediately and rolled out of his turn towards me so that a head-on attack became inevitable. Using both hands on the control column to steady the aircraft and thus keep my aim steady, I peered through the reflector sight at the rapidly closing aircraft. We opened fire together, and immediately a hail of lead thudded into my Spitfire. One moment the Messerschmitt was a clearly defined shape, its wingspan nicely enclosed within the circle of my reflector sight, and the next it was on top of me, a terrifying blur which came out of the sky ahead. Then we hit."

P/O. Deere, stationed at Biggin Hill commenting on his head-on collision with a Bf-109 of II/JG51 during a dogfight with the fighter escort for a He-59 of Seenotflugkommando 1 during the evening.

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Alan Deere, possibly the best known of all the New Zealand fighter pilots was the first Spitfire pilot to have an officially confirmed victory over the Messerschmitt 109 and destroyed seven more enemy fighters and one bomber during the Battle of Britain. He was awarded a Bar to the DFC and in January 1941he went on to become an Operations Room Controller.

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Losses

54 Sqn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. P/O Evershed (80810) Shot down in his Spitfire in combat with Bf109 off Dover

54 Sqn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve P/O Garton Shot down in his Spitfire R6705 by Bf109 near Manston

609 Sqn F/O Drummond-Hay Shot down by Bf109 of Portland

Spitfire K9853 of 19 Sqn at the hands of Flight Sergeant George Unwin, was damaged in a taxiing collision with Spitfire K9799 at Duxford.

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At 20.00 hours, a Heinkel HE59B-2 ‘search and rescue’ seaplane D-ASUO of Seenotflug.Kdo.1 was forced down near the South Goodwin Lightvessel by a Spitfire of 54 squadron RAF flown by Pilot Officer J. L. Allen. The German airmen Fw. G. Maywald, Uffz. H. Bartmann, Uffz. W. Anders, and Uffz. E. Schiele were captured and taken on board Vincia, which then took the damaged seaplane in tow and made for Ramsgate.

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When shallow water was reached the tow was handed over to the Walmer lifeboat and the seaplane was subsequently beached. The seaplane was believed to be searching for the crews of five other German aircraft missing in the same area that day. It had been suspected for some time that this type of aircraft had also been patrolling the English coast looking for possible invasion landing beaches, and only a few days later Churchill's war Cabinet authorised their shooting down, claiming that they were not in fact protected by the Geneva Convention. Perhaps a strange decision, as they carried Red Cross markings and rescued ditched British pilots as well, but Dowding was insistent that they were fair game as the rescued German pilots could live to fight another day.

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It would be apparent and obvious that German aircraft would be shot down over both the North Sea and the English Channel and the Luftwaffe were quite within their rights to provide a search and rescue service to assist downed aircrew that had been shot down over water and were in need of rescue and be taken back to Germany.

This rescue service was inaugurated during the early part of the war and the Luftwaffe used Heinkel He59 and Dornier Do18 float planes for this purpose. The operated from bases in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and all along the French coast. According to RAF intelligence, these aircraft, painted white with numerous red crosses painted on them, often carried armament and were observed shadowing or being used for the purpose of observation in guiding formations of bombers to shipping targets. On a number of occasions these search and rescue aircraft were observed circling above a number of British convoys for no apparent reason. The RAF was forced to issue the following communiqué:

Enemy aircraft bearing civil markings and marked with the Red Cross have recently flown over British ships at sea and in the vicinity of the British coast, and they are being employed for purposes which His Majesty's Government cannot regard as being consistent with the privileges generally accorded to the Red Cross.

His Majesty's Government desire to accord to ambulance aircraft reasonable facilities for the transportation of the sick and wounded, in accordance with the Red Cross Convention, and aircraft engaged in the direct evacuation of the sick and wounded will be respected, provided that they comply with the relevant provisions of the Convention.

His Majesty's Government are unable, however, to grant immunity to such aircraft flying over areas in which operations are in progress on land or at sea, or approaching British or Allied territory, or territory in British occupation, or British or Allied ships. Ambulance aircraft which do not comply with the above requirements will do so at their own risk and peril.

Communiqué issued by the Royal Air Force July 14th 1940

Coaster ‘Empire Daffodil’ damaged by enemy aircraft bombing - taken to Portland Dorset. . Norwich had its first air raid, the Boulton & Paul aircraft factory was the target.

Britain is alive with reports of parachute landings, which were officially denied today. In the invasion of Holland, some parachutists were disguised as clergymen. Some rumours say that they have been disguised as nuns in Scotland. Other rumours of "fifth column" activity include secret rays in operation, which stop car engines dead, and spy messages concealed in the personal column of The Times. It is now an offence to spread rumours - a man was fined £25 today for saying that 20 parachutists had landed in Kent. The Ministry of Information has asked people to join the "Silent Column" and to report defeatist talk.

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Air Vice Marshal Keith "Skipper" Park

Keith Park, as a senior officer in the Royal Air Force, played a key role in the Battle of Britain. Park commanding No. 11 Fighter Group – the group responsible for the southeast and the approaches to London within this region. No. 11 had an extremely important job and their regional responsibility meant that they were at the heart of the battle – as was their commander Keith Park.

Park was born in Thames, New Zealand, on June 15th 1892. When World War One was declared he volunteered to join the New Zealand Army. Park was commissioned and fought at the ANZAC disaster at Gallipoli. He survived the slaughter at Gallipoli but he was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. As a result of his wounds, he was sent back to England. He was based at barracks in Woolwich, London, where he trained to be an artillery instructor.

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In 1917, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. He showed such bravery in the air that he was awarded the Military Cross in the same year. Park quickly gained a reputation and he was given the command of the 48th Squadron. In 1918, he joined the newly established Royal Air Force. In 1939, Hugh Dowding appointed Park as commander of No.11 Fighter Group. The group’s first real task was to give air cover to the evacuations from the beaches of Dunkirk. It was during this evacuation that No.11 gained a reputation of being at least equal to the Luftwaffe – though many saw the pilots in it as superior, primarily because they had far fewer fighter planes to call on – just 200 were air combat ready.

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Promoted to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, Park took command of No. 11 Group RAF, responsible for the fighter defence of London and southeast England, in April 1940. He organized fighter patrols over France during the Dunkirk evacuation and in the Battle of Britain his command took the brunt of the Luftwaffe's air attacks. Flying his personalised Hawker Hurricane around his fighter airfields during the battle, Park gained a reputation as a shrewd tactician with an astute grasp of strategic issues and as a popular "hands-on" commander. Park had a conservative attitude to aerial combat – he knew that any fighter plane lost – or more important a lost pilot – could prove extremely costly. Therefore, No. 11 gained a reputation for conservative tactics. However, he became embroiled in an acrimonious dispute with Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory, commander of 12 Group who believed that Fighter Commands should fly out to meet the Luftwaffe as it approached the coast of southern England. Park believed that this increased the risk to pilots and argued for his tactic of fighting the Luftwaffe over the southeast corner.

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Leigh Mallory, already envious of Park for leading the key 11 Group while 12 Group was left to defend airfields, repeatedly failed to support 11 Group and his Big Wing (led by Douglas Bader) often ran amok through 11 Group airspace confusing the UK's defences. 10 Group in the South West successfully supported 11 Group when required despite having far more arduous defensive duties in its own area than 12 Group. Park's subsequent objection to Leigh-Mallory's behaviour during the Big Wing controversy contributed to his and Dowding's removal from command at the end of the battle. Park was to be bitter on this matter for the rest of his life. After the Battle of Britain ended he was sent to Training Command and then, in 1941, to Egypt where he took charge of the air force that was based there. In 1942, Park was moved to Malta where he co-ordinated the aerial defence of the island against German attack.

In January 1944, Park became the Supreme Commander of Air in the Middle East. In 1945, he was moved to Burma. After the war ended, Air Vice Marshall Park retired to New Zealand. He died in 1975.

“If ever any one man won the Battle of Britain, he did. I don't believe it is recognised how much this one man, with his leadership, his calm judgement and his skill, did to save not only this country, but the world"

Sir Arthur Tedder - Royal Air Force - Chief of Air staff

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I'll put up the next two days now, as tomorrow marks the official start of the Battle of Britain:

10th July 1940 - The beginning of the Battle

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Overcast with thunder and rain generally, clearing later with showers in the South-East and Channel. Continuous rain elsewhere.

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In the previous month, in a speech to The House Of Commons on the 11th June 1940, Winston Churchill concluded his oratory with the following, now famous, words:

The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization… The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war… Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'

RAF Bomber Command

First light on the 10th July 1940 revealed a typical dirty English Summers day with intermittent driving rain from the North West: ‘Harry clampers’ to the fighter pilots of 11 Group, many of whom drunk their early morning cup of tea or turned over in bed for a lie in. Early in the day and despite of the weather, RAF Blenheim Squadrons were briefed for attacks on Luftwaffe airfields at Amiens and St Omar. The crews of 107 Sqd were confident the attacks would be cancelled – they were not. That afternoon only one out of six aircraft returned.

RAF Fighter Command

At first light, almost every day, the Germans had been sending out weather and recognisance flights to photograph the previous days targets, possible future targets and to report on the weather. Do 17s, Do 215s or Ju 88s were usually used for this task, which included attacks on convoys if conditions allowed. They took advantage of cloud cover wherever possible and were often difficult to pick out on the radar sets. In the previous few days casualties amongst these flights had been high. No 603 Sqd, with section at three Scottish airfields, had acquitted itself particularly well

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At Coltishall in Mid Norfolk, ‘A’ flight Spitfires of 66 Sqn were on dawn readiness, the pilots still confident that there was going to be no troubles. In spite of the ‘Harry clampers’, the phone rang soon after 7.30 am ordering a section to scramble after a bandit was spotted off the coast by the CH station at West Beckham. 66 Sqn, led by Squadron Leader Rupert Less, had been only the second squadron to convert to Spitfires and scored their first success back in January of that year.

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66 Sqn pilots

P/O Charles Cooke led the section, climbing up through thick cloud in tight formation, breaking into the Summer sun - Cooke finally caught site of the enemy at 8.15 am – it was a Do17. Oberleutnant Bott, who had taken off from Antwerp on the recce flight at dawn fought hard to survive, manoeuvring the aircraft to give his three gunners repeated opportunities to knock out the two attacking Spitfires, but the eight guns of the second aircraft soon overwhelmed the Dornier, killing Bott and his second in command, Leutnant Schroeder. The aircraft tumbled into the sea off Yarmouth, killing the other two aircrew.

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The weather started to improve soon after 66 Sqn pilots had landed, the scuddering clouds thinning to reveal rapidly growing patches of blue. The first phase of the Luftwaffe’s attack on the British Isles began with an attempt to block the English Channel to Allied shipping. A force of bombers from KG 2 and two Stuka-Gruppen are placed under the command of the Geschwader-Kommodore of KG 2, Oberst Johannes Fink, who is appointed Kanalkampffuhrer.

Further enemy harassing raids took place along the West, South and East coasts. This was especially heavy in the West. Towards the evening, owing probably to bad weather, activity decreased. 1 Ju88 was shot down by AA fire. In the east, casual shipping was attacked and a few localities bombed including Raynham Aerodrome. During the course of these attacks 1 Do17 and 1 He111 were shot down and 1 Do17 and 1 He111 are probable casualties. No. 242 Sqn took part and accounted for one certain and one unconfirmed (included in the above). A few sporadic raids took place over the Scottish coast, none of these were intercepted.

At approximately 1100 hours a convoy was attacked off Manston by 1 Dornier escorted by 10 Me109s but in consequence of timely action by two of our fighter squadrons, the enemy aircraft were driven off. They suffered losses of 1 Bf109 confirmed and 4 Bf109s probable. At 1325 hours a large force of enemy aircraft collected behind Calais and a heavy afternoon battle ensued over a convoy (codenamed ‘Bread’ but actually shipping aggregate and ballast to South Coast ports) off Dover by 20 Do 17Z-2s. .Bf 110's of ZG 26 were engaged by Spitfires and Hurricane's from Biggin Hill, Croydon and Manston. Over 100 aircraft engaged.

The Spitfires and Hurricanes, warned by RDF tore into the Germans and a tremendous dogfight started. Machine-gun fire could be clearly heard in coastal towns. The fury of the RAF attack drove off the attackers who succeed in hitting only one ship in the convoy, a Hurricane of 111 Sqn (see below) crashed into the Channel after colliding with a Do17 which also crashed. This part of the country is becoming known as Hellfire corner There were serious raids on Falmouth and Swansea by Ju 88's from Luftflotte 3. There were lighter attacks elsewhere along South and East Coast.

Night: Raids on Thames Valley, Home Counties, East Coast and Western Scotland. Between 2130 and 0530 hours, 12 raids were plotted between Firth of Tay and Beachy Head. Owing to adverse weather, none of our fighters were up. Bombs were dropped on Guisborough, Canewdon, Hertford, Isle of Grain, Tobermory (Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland), Colchester, Welwyn and Ely

Losses:

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Luftwaffe:

6 Bf110s, 1 Bf109, 1 Do17 and 1 Do215 being confirmed as having been shot down, and 2 Bf110s, 5 Bf109s and 4 Do215s as probable casualties.

RAF Fighter Command

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56 Sqn F/Lt Edward J. 'Jumbo' Gracie in a Hurricane which was damaged in combat with some Bf 110's - he crash landed with a seized engine at Manston. 'Jumbo' was unhurt

111 Sqn, 23 year old P/O Thomes Higgs, 36165, was on patrol in a Hurricane (P3671) off Folkestone when he collided with a Dornier Do17 at 13:00hrs. Higgs baled out but was drowned, he was buried at Voordwilk, The Netherlands.

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The final moments of P/O Higgs Hurricane

253 Sqn Sgt Ian.C.Clenshaw was in Hurricane P3359 on a dawn patrol in bad weather from Kirton in Lindsay. He crashed at Irby-on-Humber, Lincolnshire and lost his life.

2 other Hurricanes crashed on landing but the pilots were unharmed

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The first Czech Squadron was formed on this day. 310 Sqn was quickly established. It became operational on 17th August and its Hurricanes fought throughout the Battle of Britain. The squadron’s English motto was ‘We fight to rebuild’. No 310 Squadron flew with No 242 Squadron and No 19 Squadron as part of the Duxford Wing.

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The outbreak of the Second World War reduced support for the British Union of Fascists. On 22nd May 1940 the British government announced the imposition of Defence Regulation 18B. This legislation gave the Home Secretary the right to imprison without trial anybody he believed likely to "endanger the safety of the realm". The following day, Mosley was arrested. Over the next few days other prominent figures in the BUF were imprisoned. On the 30th May the BUF was dissolved and its publications were banned. Mosley and his wife received privileged treatment while in prison. Winston Churchill granted permission for the couple to live in a small house inside Holloway Prison. They were given a small garden where they could sunbathe and grow their own vegetables. They were even allowed to employ fellow prisoners as servants.

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A reliable source in a neutral country reports a marked change in highly placed Germans in that country during the last ten days, from one of extreme optimism to one of hesitation. Ten days ago the Germans were confident that England would be invaded almost at once and that we should quickly be compelled to seek and Armistice. However, they are now doubtful when invasion will take place and are becoming increasingly doubtful whether, if attempted, the operation would succeed. They stated our constant air attacks [by Bomber Command] were making it difficult to assemble troops and stores.

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As the Battle proper gets underway, more information about sorties, encounters and the weather conditions becomes available for this diary.

11th July 1940

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Weather: Generally overcast, but bright with showery weather in Central and Northern areas. Cloud base 5,000ft, Visibility fair but down to 200yds on the Norfolk coast where the cloud base was just 600 ft - drizzle and mist covered most of the sky. Thunderstorms and bright intervals in the Midlands

In contrast to the events of the previous day, the next few days were very much similar to those of the days leading up to the 10th, that was, spasmodic attacks on coastal shipping in the Channel, recon flights along the English coast, and occasions where the fighters went up and generally engaged air combat on a one-to-one basis. The weather was clearer in the west during the morning, and this is where the Germans had to decided to strike, and for many, it was the first time that they had seen the role played by the Ju87 Stuka dive bomber. There were many recognisance sorties over Portland and Portsmouth, a convoy was bombed off the Isle of Wight and at 0741 hours a raid of six aircraft appeared in the Cherbourg area. Three sections of fighters were ordered to patrol Poole and on the approach of the enemy were reinforced by a further squadron. A fight ensued and 604 Squadron shot down a Ju87 confirmed and possibly a Ju87 unconfirmed

Skirmishes continued all along the Channel coast Between 0600 and 0900 hours - a number of raids by single aircraft were carried out between Yarmouth and Flamborough Head and inland. Bombs were dropped at several places including the Royal Engineer Headquarters at Melbourne in Derbyshire, and at Bridlington where a truck containing ammunition was blown up.

Although weather conditions were not good, a Do17 was intercepted by fighters and shot down off Cromer by Squadron Leader Douglas Bader of No. 242 Sqn. One Hurricane was shot down during the combat but the pilot was reported safe.

Between 0900-1100 hours, there was little enemy activity, probably due to bad weather. Of four raids, however, one, a Do17, was intercepted by No 601 Sqn and shot down off Selsey Bill. Another raid bombed Swansea and carried out a shipping reconnaissance of Milford Haven. In the afternoon several attacks on convoys off Suffolk were reported. Continuous fighter patrols were maintained over these convoys and no reports of damage were received. One enemy aircraft carried out a reconnaissance over Aldershot, Upper Heyford and out over Norfolk. Cloudy conditions returned over the West of England. After 1100 hours there was considerable activity with an attack on Portland and a convoy off the coast, some fifty enemy aircraft from Luftflotte 3. RAF fighters break up the raids on Portland (Ju 87's from Stukageschwader 2 and 77, escorted by Bf 110's from ZG 76, and other aircraft from Luftflotte 3) and Portsmouth (He 111's ).

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These aircraft were plotted from Cap Hague and Jersey. Five of our squadrons intercepted and succeeded in shooting down 8 Bf 110s for certain and 8 Bf 110s and 1 Ju87 probable. In addition, one Hurricane which attacked one of our sections and which bore red and blue checked markings on the wings was shot down. The AA at Portland shot down three enemy aircraft, one He111, 1 Ju88 confirmed and one unidentified enemy aircraft unconfirmed. As a result of this engagement, a Bf110 landed near Weymouth practically undamaged and the occupants arrested before they could destroy the aircraft.

At 1744 hours, a raid of some fifty aircraft attacked Portsmouth. Guided by accurate AA fire, two of our squadrons intercepted the enemy and in the ensuing combat, No 601 Sqn shot down 4 He111s of KG 55 and 1 Bf 110's of ZG 76 for certain and 4 He111s probable. No 145 Sqn shot down 1 Bf110 and 3 He111s for certain and lost one hurricane (pilot safe). Bombs fell on Portsmouth setting fire to the gas works and causing some casualties. Pilots report that during this engagement, enemy bombers threw out various objects which appeared to be metal turnings, plates and wire, in great quantity. One raid was plotted North of Glasgow at 1913 hours and was tracked east over the Firth of Forth and out to sea. This is considered significant in view of a raid which was plotted at about 2330 hours on the night of 10/11th July going westwards with no trace of its return.

After 2100 hours several raids penetrated into the West Country and bombs were dropped in South Wales, Somerset, Bristol, Portland, Dorchester and Plymouth areas. A few raids also crossed the East coast and bombs were dropped in the Hull, Ipswich, Harrogate, Doncaster, Colchester and Harwich areas. No serious damage is reported. Reports of bombs which exploded in the air were received. British fighters carried out 32 sorties during the night but no interceptions were reported.

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Hurricanes of 601 sqn

Killed or bailed out:

145 Sqn Hurricane P3400. J.R.A.Peell

501 Sqn Hurricane N2485. Sgt F.P.J.Dixon at 18.10 off Portland Bill He unfortunately drowned.

601 Sqn Hurricane P3681. A.W.Woolley

609 Sqn Spitfire L1095. G.T.M.Mitchell

609 Sqn Spitfire L1069. F/Lt Philip Henry Barran was shot down by Bf109 of JG27 off Portland Bill, he died later that day from his injuries

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85 Sqn Hurricane P2716 P.W. Townsend

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S/Ldr (later Group Captain) Peter.Townsend was at the controls of his Hurricane VY-K (P2716) on the 11th July when he intercepted Dornier Do 17M from Kanalkampffuhrer Fink's Geschwader, H/KG 2, the 'Holzhammer' Gruppe. P.Townsend was a peace time pilot, a flyer of great skill and experience. His eight Browning machine guns raked the bomber. Townsend had put 220 bullets into the Dornier but it got home to Arras, and all the crew lived to count the bullet holes. Townsend's machine-gun bullets failed to shoot down the Dornier but one of its machine guns hit his Hurricane's coolant system. The engine stopped when still twenty miles from the English coast. Townsend baled out and was fished out of the sea by a trawler off Harwich. He was mentioned in dispatches that day and was flying again in the evening.

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Later in life, it was Peter Townsend's misfortune in becoming emotionally involved with Princess Margaret - in Coronation Year. He was thereafter inextricably linked in the public mind with royal scandal. It was unfortunate for two reasons: far from behaving in a scandalous manner himself Townsend displayed, throughout the drama, impeccable decorum; and, besides, he deserved to be remembered as first and foremost a hero of the Second World War. Flying initially in a Hurricane (later in a Spitfire), he brought down the first German bomber to crash in England since the First World War, and eventually won the DSO and two DFCs.

Losses: Luftwaffe 21: Fighter Command 6.

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"We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes, Blenheims and Wellingtons"

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Lord Beaverbrook (William Maxwell Aitken) the son of a Presbyterian minister was born in Maple, Ontario, in 1879. Aitken moved to Britain and the followed year became the Conservative member for Ashton-under-Lyne. In the House of Commons Aitken became private secretary to the Colonial Secretary, Andrew Bonar Law. During the first world war Beaverbrook acquired a controlling interest in the Daily Express, Beaverbrook also founded the Sunday Express (1921) and in 1929 purchased the Evening Standard. In the Second World War, Winston Churchill recruited Beaverbrook into his Cabinet where he served as Minister for Aircraft Production (1940-41), Minister of Supply (1941-2), Minister of War Production (1942), and Lord Privy Seal (1943-45). William Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, died in 1964.

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On the 11th July 1940, Lord Beaverbrook appealed for housewives to hand over aluminium artefacts for the war effort; Lady Reading, the head of the Women’s Voluntary Service, will handle the collection of donations. The lightweight Spitfire frame was made from aluminium - in those days in ready supply in most kitchens - so as well as asking for cash Beaverbrook called on the nation to donate its pots and pans for recycling. The response was incredible. Money poured in and mountains of pots, pans and aluminium in various shapes and forms appeared all over the UK.

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This picture, taken in 1940, shows Aldermen Sellars (left) and Cuthbert collecting on Glossop's Market Ground for the Spitfire Fund.

Spitfire funds were common across British towns from the outset of World War II onwards. Based on a much older tradition of presenting warriors with weapons and armour, the idea of donating aircraft and tanks was promoted by Beaverbrook. Individuals, organisations or towns could present the cost of an airframe. This was set at £5,000 for a Spitfire, although the real cost was closer to £12,000 - still remarkably cheap compared to today's £1billion fighter jets.

Aircraft would be allocated to bear the name of the donor in letters on the fuselage. Many towns and organisations had 'Spitfire funds' and went to great lengths to raise the money required.

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Women, keen to help the RAF pilots who are defending them, have rushed to the depots set up by the Women’s Voluntary Service to hand over some of their cooking utensils. A typical response to the Minister of Aircraft Production’s appeal was that of a woman aged about 80 who walked a mile and a half to donate a saucepan. "It is very useful," she said, "but I give it gladly to the country."

Hundreds of tons have already been collected although the appeal is only a couple of days old. In one town so much was collected that a steam roller was used to flatten the utensils in order to make more room. As well as pots and pans, tennis racket presses and cigarette cases, an artificial leg and a racing car with an aluminium body are among the possessions that their owners hope will be turned into fighters and bombers.

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this is such a great read Coast. thanks for keeping it updated

thought i could just add this link to it... BBC coverage of Veterans Service to mark the 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain.

there will also be a fly past over Whitehall on the 20th august

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/10587343.stm

The fly-past will be held on 20 August after Winston Churchill's speech referring to "the few" is played.

The speech in which Churchill said: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few",

will be played outside the Churchill War Rooms at 1552 BST, at the precise time it was delivered.

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12th July 1940

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Mainly cloudy with heavy rain periods in the north and 8/10ths cloud clearing as the day wears on. In the south-east there was early-morning fog in the Channel and 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.

By contrast with the previous two days action, the following days saw only simmering activity, although all the defence forces were increasingly conscious that when the time suited the enemy, the onslaught would be renewed on much greater scales; no doubt as a preliminary to the invasion of Britain. There were three reasons for this relative quiet.

First the weather was unfavourable for mass bombing attacks, with much fog, low, heavy cloud and intermittent summer rain and driving winds.

Second, the initial plan was to seek out the RAF by making the occasional attack on the Channel convoys hoping to tempt the British fighters to leave their bases and come out to the Channel and dogfight closer to home. This way, it would give the Luftwaffe a fairly accurate idea as to how quickly the RAF could respond to an attack and how many fighters they would send up with each attack. In other words, the Germans were probing; they were trying to find out the weaknesses of the RAF. This is backed up by the fact that only in the west of England where 10 Group had not yet been formed where the German bombers confident in crossing the English coast, whereas no German bombers crossed the south or south-eastern coasts in the early stages where 11 Group had them covered.

The third reason did not become clear for a number of years. Where Goering and Raeder still wanted an invasion of England, it was thought Hitler was still having reservations It was also thought that his plan to give the British a taste of what was to come by trying to win the air war over the Channel then requesting again the terms of a settlement. The fact was that Hitler, Goering and the German High Command had not yet worked out any strategic policy to deal with the recalcitrant British who were in their eyes’ ‘dead but would not lie down’.

RAF Bomber Command:

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - Krupps Works, Kiel and fuel targets at Emden.

10 Sqn. Six aircraft. Bad weather. One returned early, two bombed.

51 Sqn. Six aircraft. Bad weather. Two bombed.

102 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Emden. All bombed. Opposition heavy. One hit by Flak and ditched 38 miles from Cromer, crew rescued.

RAF Fighter Command:

The day's Luftwaffe operations consisted chiefly of attacks on shipping and one raid on Aberdeen.

From 0600-0900 hours, sporadic raids occurred principally in the Portland area, in one of which a combat took place at 10,000 feet in a thick haze, but with no known result. At 1515 hours, 1 Do17 appeared off Portland and was attacked by 501 Squadron. The result was inconclusive. One Hurricane dived into the sea, but the pilot was picked up by a naval unit. At 1555 hours, bombs were dropped between the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, and at Southampton, a He111 was shot down by 43 Sqn. This aircraft was grounded damaged, with a heavy load of bombs. Five raids were off Cornwall and Devon, Weymouth, Falmouth and St Eval were bombed at about 1640 hours. A Ju88 involved was attacked by 243 Sqn. It was last seen with black smoke coming from the port engine.

The Hurricanes of 85 Sqn (Martlesham Heath) were up early after enemy aircraft had been spotted off the coast near Harwich attacking a merchant convoy codenamed "Booty". P/O John Bickerdyke a New Zealander shot down a bomber whilst protecting the convoy off Orford Ness.

More Do17 and He111 bombers were detected and 151 Sqn (Hurricanes, North Weald) and 17 Sqn (Hurricanes, Debden) were scrambled. Between 0900 hours and 1300 hours, raids took place off Aberdeen and in the course of one of these a shipyard was bombed. No damage was sustained by HM ships building, or under repair. The raider, a He111 was shot down by 603 Squadron.

During the forenoon and early afternoon, reconnaissances were made of the Thames Estuary and Norfolk coast. At 1642 hours, a trawler off the Essex coast sent out a SOS as it was being attacked by a He111 of 4./KG53 flown by Uffz Rudolf Franke. The aircraft was shot down and was a shared claim of F/Lt A. G “sailorâ€. Malan, P/O P. C. Fasken and Sgt E. A. Mould of 74 Sqn. Between 2240 hours and 0102 hours in the west, 7 raids crossed the coast in the Portland area and made for South Wales and Bristol. Bombs were dropped at Newport and at Highbridge (Somerset). Off the East Coast between 2334 hours and 0117 hours a few raids approached Northumberland and Yorkshire and some were plotted inland. Bombs were dropped at Billingham and Thornaby. Off the Scottish Coast between 2332 hours and 0017 hours 14 tracks were plotted. These crossed the Fife and Aberdeen coast and bombs were dropped on Cupar, Dunfermline and Helensburgh. No reports of damage have been received. Weather prevented fighter action and enemy activity was also restricted on this account. St Eval Aerodrome suffered minor damage from HE bombs. Traffic was delayed on the main GWR line between Newport and Cardiff on account of a reported unexploded bomb which was subsequently reported to have exploded. Electric cables were damaged at Greatham, approximately 4 miles North-west of Billingham

Losses

Luftwaffe

17 Sqn claimed 2 He 111s off Aldeburgh 0900 hrs; 74 Sqn claimed a He 111 15 miles NE Margate 1630 hrs; 85 Sqn damaged a He 111 10 miles east of Aldeburgh 0910 hrs

RAF

85 Sqn Sgt. Leonard 'Joey' Jowitt in Hurricane P2557 was flying patrol on the 12th of July. He crashed into the sea off Felixstowe at 08:50 after attacking a Heinkel He 111 of II Gruppe of KG 53 and was killed. His body was never recovered.

145 Sqn Sub-Lt F.A.Smith of the Fleet Air Arm in Hurricane N2703. At 12:30hrs he force landed his Hurricane (N2703) near Ringwood. The aeroplane overturned and Smith was slightly hurt

151 Sqn F/O J.H.L.Allen a New Zealander was K.I.A. (killed in action) when he flew convoy patrol in Hurricane P3275. He ditched into the sea after combat with a Dornier Do 17 of II Gruppe of KG 2 at 09:45hrs off Orford Ness

501 Sqn PO Duncan A.Hewitt in Hurricane P3084. Hewitt a Canadian was shot down and killed on the 12th while attacking a Dornier Do 17 off Portland at 15:45hrs.

610 Sqd Sgt S.Ireland Killed, it’s believed his aircraft went out of control during diving practice

Air Intelligence Reports

A Ju87 operating against shipping the in English Channel was seen to have an extra fuel tank under each wing. These tanks could increase the range of the Ju87 to 900 miles with corresponding reduction in its bomb load.

The Ten Rules of Fighting were displayed for all Battle of Britain pilots to see. Inexperienced pilots were potentially easy prey to experienced Luftwaffe pilots and tips such as the ones below were designed to preserve life as a fighter pilot could only gain vital experience by fighting - when he was at his most vulnerable. The more hours a pilot clocked in the air in combat, the greater his chance of survival.

1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of 1 to 2 seconds only when your sights are definitely ‘ON’.

2. Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body, have both hands on the stick, concentrate on your ring sight.

3. Always keep a sharp lookout. “Keep your finger out.â€

4. Height gives you the initiative.

5. Always turn and face the attack.

6. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.

7. Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.

8. When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as top guard.

9. Initiative, aggression, air discipline and teamwork are words that MEAN something in air fighting.

10. Go in quickly – punch hard – get out!

Issued to pilots by 81 Group Tactics

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"Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945" reports that on 2nd july , Swordfish from 812 squadron attack invasion barges at Rotterdam.

On July 4 1940 in the English Channel Stukas from StG2 sunk 4 freighers plus an auxiliary AA ship and severely damaged 9 others totaling 40,236 tons. Meanwhile Schnellboot sunk a freighter, while two other ships are also torpedoed by other Schnellboot.

Peter Smith in "Hold the Narrow Sea" expands upon the attack and its importance. Two Gruppe of Stuka attacked the convoy that was escorted only by a pair of destroyers , but no air cover. Then the Gruppes attacked Portland harbor and sank another ship and damaged the others mentioned above.

Churchill ordered all subsquent convoys to be escorted by a six plane squadron when in danger zones.

One of the key corner stones of the British Anti invasion strategy hinged on operating from forward ports to interdict German invasion armadas but the Portland attack would lead to the Dover pounding some weeks later that showed the Luftwaffe could shut down what ever ports they selected and their was little the RAF could do to prevent them. The Chain Home radar net work was designed to give enough time to mount counter attacks against bomber streams heading inland but not along the coast line.

Later in July the Admiralty would attempt to get around the German interdiction efforts by redirecting convoys into creeping from port to port on overnight leaps, in an attempt to evade the Luftwaffe. But the Kreigsmarine Radar controled gun batteries plotted the coarses and ambushs were excuted overnight to scatter such convoys enough for them to be still at sea at dawn bringing further attacks from Stuka squadrons. The only bright side to this was such predictable attacks , gave the RAF time to assemble large enough fighter groups so that in one attack they were able to shoot down 30 stukas at the lost of 20 RAF fighters in the pitch battle.

Edited by seeker

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13th July 1940

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Early fog covered much of southern England and restricted any flying operation until mid-morning. From mid morning onwards it started clearing, but low cloud persisted in places.

RAF Bomber Command:

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - Industrial targets at Mannheim, Leverkusen and Gravensbruk.

10 Sqn. Three aircraft to Mannheim. All bombed.

51 Sqn. Three aircraft to Mannheim. Two bombed. One hit by flak, landed Honington.

58 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Leverkusen and Gravensbruk. Eight bombed.

77 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Mannheim. Six bombed, two hit by flak. One landed at Martlesham Heath and one at Duxford.

RAF Fighter Command:

During the day the enemy focussed its attention primarily on shipping and many bombs were dropped on convoys but no hits are reported. Most commanders kept their squadrons "confined to quarters" because of the weather. During the early morning 2 raids approached the Isle of Wight crossing the Hampshire and Dorset coasts. In spite of heavy clouds 501 Squadron (Hurricanes) shot down a Do17 west of Southampton. At 1114 hours an He111 which appeared over Spithead was shot down by 43 Squadron (Hurricanes)

There was otherwise very little activity, even by the Luftwaffe. As the conditions improved during the morning, a couple of attacks were made on the port of Dover. 43 Sqn Tangmere (Hurricanes) responded and engaged a force of He111's 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 again attacked the convoy "Bread" off the Dorset coast near Lyme Bay - 56 Sqn North Weald (Hurricanes), 64 Sqn Kenley (Spitfires) and 238 Sqn (Hurricanes) were scrambled to intercept. One Do17 was shot down during the afternoon by 238 Sqn while another five were destroyed about 15 miles off Calais at 1800 hours.At 1420 hours 20 enemy aircraft attacked shipping off Portland. No 238 Squadron (Hurricanes) and No 609 Squadron (Spitfires) intercepted and shot down 3 Me110s and one Do17 confirmed and one Me110 and one Do17 unconfirmed. Our casualties - one Hurricane.

At about 1730 hours a mixed formation of Ju87s and Me109s again attacked Dover Harbour and the convoy south of Dover. 64 Sqn (Spitfires) intercepted and shot down 2 Me109s unconfirmed. One Spitfire was slightly damaged by AA fire but landed safely. AA guns claim one Ju87 which was later seen to fall into the sea. This was not confirmed.

At about 1800 hours, 56 Squadron (Hurricanes) intercepted a mixed force of 6 Ju87s and 12 Me113s about 15 miles off Dover. In the ensuing encounter, 3 Ju87s and 2 He113s were shot down for certain and one Ju87 probable. Our casualties - 2 Hurricanes. Between 0038-0138 in Co Durham a large number of IBs dropped on railway lines leading to Seaton Snooks, others on west side of Brenda Road, West Hartlepool. No damage. IBs also fell near Graythorp Village. Co Durham.. Shotley Bridge district.. Many IBs dropped in region of Bridgehill near Consett. A cow was killed, a house was slightly damaged by fire. Bombs were dropped in the following areas: - Dundee, Warmwell, 4 miles NE Lulworth Cove. Fighters were despatched to intercept a few enemy raids but no interceptions were effected. There was little enemy activity. Mine laying is suspected in the Thames Estuary and between Middlesborough and The Wash.

Losses

Enemy: Fighters - 6 confirmed 3 unconfirmed

Bombers - 6 confirmed, 2 unconfirmed

615 Sqn. P/O Michael Robert Mudie on convoy patrol off Dover in Hurricane L1584G, was shot down by Bf 109 of JG51 at 1530. He died the next day

610 Sqn. Sgt P.J.Watson-Parker flying Spitfire R6807 based at Biggin Hill. Aat 1135hrs. crashed at Tatsfield (nr Biggin Hill - reasons not recorded. Watson-Parker was killed

238 Sqn F/Lt J.C.Kennedy Killed. Believed injured by gunfire from Do17 over Calais in Hurricane P2950 at 1520hrs. Crashed on returning to base at North Weald at 1645hrs. and died the next day.

56 Sqn Sgt J.R.Cowsill Missing. in a Hurricane (N2432) was shot down and killed over Calais by a Bf 109 of JG 51 at 16:45hrs.

56 Sqn. Sgt J.J.Whitfield stationed at Balsham (Cambs). Hit by gunfire from another Bf109 of JG51 over Channel. Crashed into sea at1900hrs. Spitfire R6688 destroyed

19 Sqn Sgt R.R.G.Birch Stalled while attempting steep turn during dogfight practice, he was 23.when he died

Berlin: Hitler’s Directive no. 15 orders the Luftwaffe to destroy the RAF in preparationn for Operation Sealion - the invasion of Britain.

While Hitler still hopes that Britain will make peace, he has already set in train preparations for invasion. On 2nd July he had ordered a study of the idea, and today he has issued a military directive to the effect that Germany must gain air superiority over the RAF before an invasion can take place. Hitler tells his generals that Britain is only fighting because of hope that Russian assistance. He goes further in confiding that it may become necessary to invade Russia. Today Grand Admiral Erich Raeder the German naval commander stated that invasion should be regarded as a last resort to make Britain sue for peace. He believes, however, that Britain can be brought to her knees more effectively by throttling its maritime trade and bombing its cities. Hitler writes to Mussolini declining his offer of Italian troops and aircraft for the invasion of Britain. Hitler has said that the invasion will begin on August 5th.

Air Chief Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory

Trafford Leigh-Mallory served in both World War One and World War Two. Leigh-Mallory, with the rank of Air Chief Marshal, was the most senior British officer killed in World War Two.

Leigh-Mallory was born on July 11th, 1892, in Cheshire. His father was a vicar and his elder brother was the mountaineer George Leigh-Mallory. Leigh-Mallory was educated at Haileybury and after this went to Magdalene College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, Leigh-Mallory met Arthur Tedder, the future Marshal of the RAF. Leigh-Mallory gained a degree in Law and planned to be a barrister. The outbreak of World War One was to change this plan. Leigh-Mallory joined the army (the King's (Liverpool Regiment) as a private but he was soon commissioned into the Lancashire Fusiliers. In the spring of 1915, Leigh-Mallory arrived at the frontline. He was wounded in the Battle of Ypres and recovered from his wounds in England. During this time he met Doris Sawyer whom he married.

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After recovering from his wounds, Leigh-Mallory joined the Royal Flying Corps early in 1916. By the summer his training was over and he flew bombing and reconnaissance missions during the Battle of the Somme. He gained his first combat command (No. 8 Sqn) in November 1917 and during the Battle of Cambrai No. 8 Sqn was involved in directly artillery fire and tank movement. Leigh-Mallory gained a reputation for efficiency and he remained in the newly formed Royal Air Force after the war had ended. He was rapidly promoted and passed through the RAF Staff College and commanded the Army School of Cooperation. Leigh-Mallory was eventually posted to the Army Staff College at Camberley. By the end of the 1920's he was seen as an expert on how the Army and RAF could work together in warfare.

In 1931, Leigh-Mallory was appointed the deputy director of staff studies in the Air Ministry and he was in the British delegation that attended the League of Nation's inspired Disarmament Conference in Geneva. After the failure of this conference, Leigh-Mallory attended the Imperial Defence College. In 1935, he was posted to Iraq where he served as a senior staff officer. In 1937, Leigh-Mallory was given charge of No. 12 Group, Fighter Command. He made up for his lack of experience with fighter planes with enthusiasm and efficiency. He was never necessarily liked by his men but he was respected. In November 1938, Leigh-Mallory was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal.

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During the Battle of Britain the different tactics employed by different Fighter Command groups came into the open. The commander of No. 11 Group, Keith Park, had charge of all of Southern England, ranging from Ipswich to Dover to Portland. Park wanted No. 12 Group to protect No. 11's air bases while crews from No. 11 were airborne. As already highlighted in this diary, Leigh-Mallory did not agree with this. No. 12 Group covered an area that included Hull, Liverpool, Birmingham, Norwich and Mid-Wales. He saw no reason why his men should not hunt for German planes - as opposed to guarding No. 11's air bases. Park held the view that German planes should be allowed to cross the Channel before being attacked whereas Leigh-Mallory believed that Fighter Command should actively meet the Luftwaffe as it approached Southern England. Park, supported by Hugh Dowding, believed that their way would result in fewer pilots being lost - Fighter Command could just about afford to lose planes - it could not afford to lose a single pilot.

One of Leigh-Mallory's squadron commanders was Douglas Bader and both he and Leigh-Mallory were firm believers of the 'Big Wing' (also known as a Balbo) where fighters could attack in large formations, in fact the 'Big Wing' theory was developed by Bader, but Dowding was not in favour if this, believing that too many aircraft would take too long to disperse and large formations of fighters would get in each others way.

But it was not until towards the end of the battle where Dowding agreed, and the 'Big Wing' theory was responsible for many of the enemy aircraft shot down over London. Dowding would remember this when 12 Group was called upon to assist and protect the northern fighter bases of 11 Group, Leigh-Mallory employed the 'Big Wing' theory and it proved to be a failure. The general view with hindsight is that the Big Wing's combat effectiveness was inflated by Leigh-Mallory and Bader and that Park's tactics were correct for the conditions he had to fight under. However, there's no doubt the ‘Big Wing’ had a morale impact on the German aircrews, who were often told by their superiors how the RAF was down to its "last fifty Spitfires". The repeated appearance of the Bader wing soon put paid to that lie.

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The new Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Charles Portal, supported the views of Leigh-Mallory and after the Battle of Britain, removed both Park and Dowding from their posts. Leigh-Mallory took over from Park as commander of 11 Group and Sholto Douglas became head of Fighter Command.. As a beneficiary of the change in command, Leigh-Mallory has been accused of forming a plot to overthrow Dowding.

Trafford Leigh Mallory holds the tragic distinction of being the highest ranking Royal Air Force commander to be killed during the Second World War when his aircraft crashed in the French Alps on November 14th, 1944 en route to the Far East where he would have taken up his position as Air Commander-in-Chief of South East Asia Command (SEAC).

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14th July 1940

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Fair, with high cloud, deteriorating later in the day.

RAF Bomber Command

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - aircraft parks at Paderborn and Diepholz.

10 Sqn. Four aircraft to Diepholz. All bombed. Opposition severe.

51 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Diepholz. All bombed. Opposition severe.

102 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Paderborn. One returned early, nine bombed.

RAF Fighter Command

During the day the main effort was concentrated in two attacks on shipping. At approximately 1100 hours a convoy was attacked off Manston by 1 Dornier escorted by 10 Bf109s but in consequence of timely action by two of our fighter squadrons, the enemy aircraft were driven off. They suffered losses of 1 Bf109 confirmed and 4 Bf109s probable. At 1325 hours a large force of about 120 enemy aircraft collected behind Calais to attack shiping convoy "Bread" which had continued its journey in the Channel - most bombs missed the merchant ships. 74 Sqn Hornchurch (Spitfires), 111 Sqn Croydon (Hurricanes) and 615 Sqn Kenley (Hurricanes) intercepted. 'SS Island Queen' (779t) a cargo ship, travelling form Blyth to Cowes with coal was sunk just off Dover. A description of the air combat was verbally captured by the BBC's Charles Gardner and broadcast to the nation (see below)

Further enemy harassing raids took place along the West, South and East coasts. This was especially heavy in the West. Towards the evening, owing probably to worsening weather, activity then decreased. 1 Ju88 was shot down by AA fire. In the east, casual shipping was attacked and a few localities bombed including Raynham Aerodrome. During the course of these attacks 1 Do17 and 1 He111 were shot down and 1 Do17 and 1 He111 are probable casualties. No. 242 Sqn took part and accounted for one certain and one unconfirmed (included in the above). A few sporadic raids took place over the Scottish coast, none of these were intercepted.

Between 2130 and 0530 hours, 12 raids were plotted between Firth of Tay and Beachy Head: the Eastbourne raid by IV/LG 1 (Ju 87), escorted by Bf 109's of III Gruppe from JG 3. Very little activity was reported off the East Coast. A few isolated enemy reconnaissances were made off Cromer, Skegness and Lowestoft areas, and over a convoy east of Harwich. Owing to adverse weather, none of our fighters were up. Bombs were dropped on Guisborough, Canewdon, Hertford, Isle of Grain, Tobermory (Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland), Colchester, Welwyn and Ely. At 2256 hours bombs were dropped at Avonmouth causing damage to the railway line and docks line; also a signal box was wrecked. Later, a second raid was carried out when bombs dropped on wasteland within the National Smelting Works.

Losses:

Luftwaffe:

Fighters - 8 confirmed, 11 unconfirmed; Bombers - 4 confirmed, 6 unconfirmed

RAF

615 Sqn P/O Michael.Robert.Mudie flying a Hurricane (L1584) was shot down by a Bf 109 from JG 53 at 15:30hrs. He baled out badly injured and was rescued by Navy, but died the next day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6KkEw53tqA

Full text of Charles Gardner's BBC Broadcast. Dover - July 14th 1940

The Germans are dive-bombing a convoy out at sea; there are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven German dive-bombers, Junkers 87s. There’s one going down on its target now — Bomb! No! he missed the ships, it hasn’t hit a single ship — there are about ten ships in the convoy, but he hasn’t hit a single one and — There, you can hear our anti-aircraft going at them now. There are one, two, three, four, five, six — there are about ten German machines dive-bombing the British convoy, which is just out to sea in the Channel. I can’t see anything. No! We thought he had got a German one at the top then, but now the British fighters are coming up. Here they come. The Germans are coming in an absolute steep dive, and you can see their bombs actually leave the machines and come into the water. You can hear our guns going like anything now. I am looking round now. I can hear machine gunfire, but I can’t see our Spitfires. They must be somewhere there.

Oh! Here’s one coming down. There’s one going down in flames. Somebody’s hit a German and he’s coming down with a long streak — coming down completely out of control — a long streak of smoke — and now a man’s baled out by parachute. The pilot’s baled out by parachute. He’s a Junkers 87, and he’s going slap into the sea — and there he goes. SMASH! A terrific column of water and there was a Junkers 87. Only one man got out by parachute, so presumably there was only a crew of one in it. (This Ju87 that Charles Gardner described was in fact a Hurricane and the pilot baling out was actually Pilot Officer M Mudie)Now, then, oh, there’s a terrific mix-up over the Channel !! It’s impossible to tell which are our machines and which are Germans. There was one definitely down in this battle and there’s a fight going on. There’s a fight going on, and you can hear the little rattles of machine gun bullets. Grump! That was a bomb, as you may imagine. Here comes one Spitfire. There’s a little burst. There’s another bomb dropping. Yes. It has dropped. It has missed the convoy. You know, they haven’t hit the convoy in all this. The sky is absolutely patterned with bursts of anti-aircraft fire, and the sea is covered with smoke where the bombs have burst, but as far as I can see there is not one single ship hit, and there is definitely one German machine down. And I am looking across the sea now. I can see the little white dot of parachute as the German pilot is floating down towards the spot where his machine crashed with such a big fountain of water about two minutes ago.

Well, now, everything is peaceful again for the moment. The Germans, who came over in about twenty or twenty-five dive-bombers, delivered their attack on the convoy, and I think they made off as quickly as they came. Oh yes, I can see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten Germans haring back towards France now for all they can go — and here are our Spitfires coming after them. There’s going to be a big fight, I think, out there, but it will be too far away for us to see. Of course, there are a lot more German machines up there. [Can you see, Cyril?’] Yes, there are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven on the top layer, one, two, three — there’s two layers of German machines. They are all, I think, I could not swear to it, but they were all Junkers 87’s.

[There are two more parachutists?

No, I think they are seagulls.]

You can hear the anti-aircraft bursts still going. Well, that was a really hot little engagement while it lasted.

No damage done, except to the Germans, who lost one machine and the German pilot, who is still on the end of his parachute, though appreciably nearer the sea than he was. I can see no boat going out to pick him up, so he’ll probably have a long swim ashore. Well, that was a very unsuccessful attack on the convoy, I must say. Oh, there’s another fight going on, away up, now — I think about 20, 25, or even 30,000 feet above our heads, and I can’t see a thing of it. The anti-aircraft guns have put up one, two, three, four, five, six bursts, but I can’t see the aeroplanes.

There we go again — [What?]. Oh, we have just hit a Messerschmitt. Oh, that was beautiful! He’s coming right down. I think it was definitely that burst got him. Yes, he’s come down. You hear those crowds? He’s finished! Oh, he’s coming down like a rocket now. An absolutely steep dive. Let us move round so we can watch him a bit more. Here he comes, down in a steep dive — the Messerschmitt. [Looking for a parachute?] No, no, the pilots not getting out of that one. He’s being followed down. What, there are two more Messerschmitts up there? I think they are all right. No — that man’s finished. He’s going down from about 10,000, oh, 20,000 to about 2,000 feet, and he’s going straight down — he’s not stopping. I think that’s another German machine that’s definitely put paid to. I don’t think we shall actually see him crash, because he’s going into a bank of cloud. He’s smoking now. I can see smoke, although we cannot count that a definite victory because I did not see him crash. He’s gone behind a hill. He looked certainly out of control.

Now we are looking up to the anti-aircraft guns. There’s another! There’s another Messerschmitt. I don’t know whether he’s down or whether he’s trying to get out of the anti-aircraft fire, which is giving him a very hot time. There’s a Spitfire! Oh, there’s about four fighters up there, and I don’t know what they are doing. One, two, three, four, five fighters fighting right over our heads. Now there’s one coming right down on the tail of what I think is a Messerschmitt and I think it’s a Spitfire behind him. Oh, darn! They’ve turned away and I can’t see. I can’t see. Where’s one crashing? No, I think he’s pulled out.

You can’t watch these fights very coherently for long. You just see about four twirling machines, you just hear little bursts of machine-gunning, and by the time you’ve picked up the machines they’ve gone. Hullo, there are one, two, three; and look, there’s a dog fight going on up there — there are four, five, six machines wheeling and turning around. Now — hark at the machine guns going! Hark! one, two, three, four, five, six; now there’s something coming right down on the tail of another. Here they come; yes, they are being chased home — and how they are being chased home! There are three Spitfires chasing three Messerschmitts now. Oh, boy! Look at them going! Oh, look how the Messerschmitts! — Oh boy! that was really grand! There’s a Spitfire behind the first two. He will get them. Oh, yes. Oh, boy! I’ve never seen anything so good as this. The R.A.F. fighters have really got these boys taped. Our machine is catching up the Messerschmitt now. He’s catching it up! He’s got the legs of it, you know. Now right in the sights.

Go on, George! You’ve got him! Bomb — bomb. No, no, the distance is a bit deceptive from here. You can’t tell, but I think something definitely is going to happen to that first Messerschmitt. Oh yes — just a moment — I think I wouldn’t like to be in that first Messerschmitt. I think he’s got him. Yes? Machine guns are going like anything. No, there’s another fight going on. No, they’ve chased him right out to sea. I can’t see, but I think the odds would be certainly on that first Messerschmitt catching it. [Oh, look!] Where? Where? I can’t see them at all.

Just on the left of those black shots. See it? Oh, yes, oh yes, I see it. Yes, they’ve got him down, too. I can’t see. Yes, he’s pulled away from him. Yes, I think that first Messerschmitt has been crashed on the coast of France all right.

CHARLES GARDNER, JULY 14th 1940

London: General de Gaulle’s Free French volunteers celebrated Bastille Day on foreign soil in London today.

In the morning General de Gaulle, accompanied by Vice-Admiral Muselier, the head of his naval force, and M Labarth, the director of technical services, laid a wreath at the Cenotaph. He shouted "Vive l’Angleterre!" and then "Vive la France!" and the crowd took up his cry. Later, units of the Free French forces marched to the statue of Marshal Foch at Victoria, and 2,000 of de Gaulle’s men attended a film show. Mr. Churchill sent a message saying he looked forward to the time, "not far distant", when they would celebrate 14 July in France.

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15th July 1940

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Overcast with low cloud which persisted most of the day with occasional heavy rain.

RAF Bomber Command

No 4 Group. No ops due to bad weather. This lasts until the 18th.

RAF Fighter Command

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.. The R.A.F. breaks up various raids in the West Country and South Wales. LG 1 bombed the Westland Aircraft works and the runway at Yeovil. St Athan R.A.F. Station was attacked and the airfield cratered. The railway lines near Avonmouth were also damaged. 1130hrs: 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. The first raid on Brighton came on 15th July when Kemp Town was bombed, and was followed by several others that month, mainly over Whitehawk and Kemp Town.

A He111 of 2/KG26 was shot down at 1212hrs which crashed into the sea.1350hrs: 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: 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. A Hurricane from 249 Squadron based at Church Fenton crashed on landing at Acklington airfield in Northumberland. Sgt H.J. Davidson the pilot was unhurt, the aircraft was damaged but repairable. Night mine laying in various waters.

Losses:

Luftwaffe:

5

RAF

17 Squadron F/O P.L.Dawburn was on patrol in a Hurricane P3482 He crashed near Elsenham, Essex the aeroplane was a write off but he survived.

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Hurricane P3482 just before being removed by the recovery team

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213 Sqn Sub/Lt Henry George Kenelm.Bramah flying a Hurricane N2541 was on patrol. He baled out after attacking a Do 17 over Portland at 13:20hrs. His aircraft crashed off Dartmouth, Devon - Bramah escaped with a badly wounded arm, he was rescued by HMS Scimitar

Plymouth: Britain’s latest commando raid ended in farce. A team of untrained men designated as special forces was to raid Guernsey airport. The reconnaissance operation was divided into two phases.

Hubert Nicolle was at the heart of the first two, bracingly titled Anger, while the name Ambassador was given to the third and most ambitious. Petit Port was the focal point of the landing of 140 men of the No. 3 Commando and No. 11 Independent Company. They were brought to Guernsey by two destroyers, the Saladin and the Saracen, and were transferred to seven air-sea rescue launches off the south coast.

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The plan was for three separate landings, all to be made as Anson aircraft flew overhead to drown out the noise of the landing craft. One party was destined for the airport via Point de la Moye to destroy planes on the ground, petrol stores and aerodrome installations. A second was earmarked to land at Le Jaonnet Bay to intercept any German troops and the other deployed at Petit Port to attack a machine gun post and German billets.It was pretty much an unmitigated disaster.

Already postponed for 48 hours due to bad weather, when Ambassador was finally given the green light the tidal conditions were far from perfect. In short, the party of 11 heading for Le Jaonnet were taken to Sark and did not land. The group bound for La Moye and the airport encountered a series of boat problems. The Petit Port team did get ashore but they failed to find any of the island’s 469-man German garrison. Patrols were sent out, even a road block set up and the Jerbourg peninsula was thoroughly searched. But the Germans were nowhere to be seen. What is more, the commandos’ exit proved more hazardous than anyone could have planned. As they withdrew, their commanding officer slipped and fired his revolver, alerting the enemy. Ordered to re-embark, disaster struck as a launch was badly damaged and a naval rating made several trips into the bay to claim three at a time. On his fifth trip, the dinghy overturned in heavy breakers and a soldier was swept away, presumed drowned. The few men left on the beach were ordered to swim, but three non-swimmers could not make it and were stuck, left for another day.

Spilsby, Lincolnshire: The rector of Old Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire, was sentenced to four weeks’ jail today for ringing his church bell. He claimed that he did not know of the order prohibiting the ringing of church bells except as warning of an airborne invasion. It came into force a month ago, on 14 June. PC Peck said that he found the rector in his belfry pulling the bell rope on 16 June. The rector, the Rev Robert Grant Colvin Graham, insisted that he was a loyal citizen. He had not then read the letter from his bishop banning bell-ringing.

The SS Heworth (2,855t) a steamer bound from London to Sunderland, was sunk by German aircraft near Aldeburgh Lightvessel.

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16th July 1940

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Widespread fog, followed by very thick overcast in France, the Channel straits and South East England.

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.

RAF Fighter Command

A quiet day little activity due to bad weather. The few hostile raids that were plotted up to 1600 hours were probably meteorological reconnaissance and searching for shipping. In the early morning a raid appeared in the Bristol area, crossed the coast near Swanage and headed out to sea. Fighters attempted interception but were unsuccessful. It is reported that this aircraft sent out weather reports of the Aylesbury and Selsey districts. Between 1100 and 1300 hours raids were plotted off the Lizard and Start Point, probably searching for shipping. At 1430 hours a Heinkel was seen over Cardiff; fighters went up but were unable to contact.

Between 1300 and 1600 hours one raid was plotted about 100 miles east of Montrose and another 10 miles east of Arbroath flying north-west, and at 1600 hours another raid originated near Kinnaird's Head. Peterhead and Fraserburgh were bombed, no serious damage is reported. One He111 was shot down by No 603 Squadron 25 miles Northeast of Kinnaird's Head, and two survivors were seen to take to a rubber raft. A few isolated raids were plotted off the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk, probably searching for shipping, but bad weather made recognition very difficult. Off the South and South West coasts activity remained slight, but at about 1700 hours No. 601 Squadron shot down two Ju88s which appeared off the Isle of Wight but crashed into the sea.

Losses:

Luftwaffe 5

RAF

None

Operation Sealion

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Berlin, 16th July 1940: Hitler issues his directive no 16, "On the Preparation of a Landing Operation against England (Sealion)"

He talks of invading England with 20 divisions, landingt 160,000 German soldiers along the South coast between Ramsgate and Lyme Regis Within a few weeks the Germans had assembled a large armada of vessels, including 2,000 barges in German, Belgian and French harbours. Hitler says that the aim is to "eliminate the English mother country as a base from which the war against Germany can be continued."

General Alfred Jodl says that the invasion should be seen as a river crossing on a broad front, and in place of bridging operations the navy would keep the sea lanes secure against British attacks. The Luftwaffe would knock out the RAF. Operation Sealion will be ready in nine weeks.

But the admirals in the Kriegsmarine are unhappy. In the absence of purpose-built landing craft, they say that they cannot guarantee to protect hundreds of river barges being towed slowly across the Channel, Among other things, the Wehrmacht’s famed mechanised army uses several thousand horses to pull its guns. How, ask the admirals, do you propose to get horses across the Channel under fire?

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The Ober Kommando der Wehrmacht (the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces) issues Führer Directive number 16. Plans for Operation Sealion.

Despite Englands hopeless military situation, she shows no sign of being ready to come to an understanding, therefore we must prepare a landing operation against England, and if necessary carry it out. The aim of the operation is to eliminate the English homeland as a base for the prosecution of the war against Germany and if necessary occupy it completely.

(i) The landing will be in the form of a surprise crossing on a wide front. Units of the Luftwaffe will act as artillery and units of the Kriegsmarine as engineers. Possible advantages of other limited operations (e.g. Isle of Wight or Cornwall) should be considered. Preparations should be completed by the middle of August.

(ii) Preparations should create such conditions as to make the landing possible; the RAF must be reduced morally and physically to impotence, mine-free channels must be created, the Straits of Dover must be sealed off with minefields on both flanks, strong coastal artillery forces must protect the forward coastal area, the Royal Navy must be tied down shortly before the crossing, both in the North and Mediterranean Seas. Air attacks against home-based enemy naval forces should begin immediately.

(iii) Under the Führer's overriding command, the Commanders-in-Chief will command the branches of the Wehrmacht for which they are responsible. One Army Group will be detailed to carry out the invasion. The Army will draw up the operational and crossing plans for the first wave of the invasion, and will lay down methods by which the invasion is to be carried out, forces involved, and selection and protection of points of embarkation and disembarkation. The Kriegsmarine will procure the means for invasion in accordance with the wishes of the Army, use will be made of captured shipping wherever possible. In addition the Kriegsmarine is responsible for coastal artillery, and in conjunction with the Luftwaffe,, the defence of the crossing of the Channel on both flanks. The Luftwaffe will be tasked with preventing interference by enemy airforces, the destruction of enemy coastal fortresses, breaking the first resistance of enemy land forces, and the dispersal of enemy reserves on their way to the front. Opportunities for use of airborne troops should be investigated.

(iv) Preparations for ensuring necessary communications between France and England will be handled by Chief, Wehrmacht Signals. Possible use of remaining length of the East Prussia cable should be examined.

(v) Plans from all services should be submitted as soon as possible.

Although plans for an invasion of Britain were drawn up Adolf Hitler, he was never very enthusiastic about them and they were eventually abandoned on October 12th 1940.

Whilst returning to Scapa Flow in thick fog, Destroyer HMS Imogen collides with the cruiser HMS Glasgow off Duncansby Head at 58 34N 02 54W. Imogen catches fire and is abandoned. No 232 Hurricane Squadron was formed on this day.

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more great reads there C and the BoB newsreels are brilliant

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17th July 1940

Rslp19400717.gif

Dull with occasional rain.

RAF Bomber Command

2 Group ( Blenheim). 1 aircraft of 15 Sqn used for the first night intruder raid with an attack on Caen airfield.

RAF Fighter Command

During the 17th July there was little enemy activity. Slight bomb dropping was widely dispersed but no serious damage was been reported. Weather hampered our fighters in their action against enemy air activity. 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.

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 RAF 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.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.

Losses:

Luftwaffe:

Fighters – 0, Bombers - 2 unconfirmed.

RAF

603 Sqn F/O Charles David Peel was flying a Spitfire (K9916) and was not seen again after took off from Turnhouse - details of which are not known (Failed to return from an operational flight).

2 Hurricanes (Nos. 145 and 615 Sqns), 1 Spitfire (No. 64 Sqn); category unknown, pilost wounded.

Mooring vessel HMS Steady mined and sunk off Newhaven

The Messerschmitt 109

Werra.gif

The Messerschmitt Bf109 was Nazi Germany’s primary fighter plane in the Battle of Britain. The Messerschmitt 109 was a worthy adversary to the Spitfire and Hurricane but fought in the Battle of Britain with one major disadvantage.

In the mid-1930’s, Willy Messerschmitt was well advanced in his plan for a monoplane fighter. His award winning 108 developed into the 109. The first trials of the 109 took place in October 1935 and led to the Luftwaffe placing orders for ten prototypes of the 109 and its rival, the Heinkel He 112. In an interesting piece of irony, the first 109 prototypes were powered by British Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines!

The 109 entered service with the Luftwaffe in spring of 1937. The plane was used in the Spanish Civil War but this was not publicised by the Germans at the time. Instead, the Germans attempted to impress the aviation world with displays of the 109 at international air shows where the plane won many awards. Numerous variants of the 109 were built prior to the war and in 1939 alone, 1,400 Messerschmitt 109’s were built. At the start of the war, the Luftwaffe had 1,000 Bf 109’s available for the Blitzkrieg attack on Poland.

By the time of the Battle of Britain, the Bf 109 that faced Fighter Command had one major advantage over its rivals. Its engine had a fuel injection system that allowed a constant fuel flow even in conditions of negative-g. This meant that a pilot could dive away at a much faster pace than his opponents could do and escape trouble.

However, it also had one major disadvantage. The 109 had a limited range (see below) and it could not spend too much time over Britain protecting bombers that carried more fuel than they did. As such, their fighting time was limited. Whereas Spitfires and Hurricanes could land and re-fuel, such an option was not open to a 109. The various strengths and shortcomings of the Messerschmitt, the Hurricane, and the Spitfire largely cancelled out in combat. The Hurricane's comparative weakness in acceleration was offset by its extreme strength and ruggedness. There was little to choose between the Spitfire and the Me109 between 12,000 and 17,000 feet, but above 20,000 feet the Messerschmitt was undoubtedly the better machine. It dived faster than its opponents, but required much more physical effort to fly. The weak, narrow undercarriage caused many accidents, but despite this and the cramped cockpit, the aircraft was popular with its pilots.

Some variants of the 109 had a cannon placed in the hollowed out nose cone. However, vibrations caused from its firing meant that the idea was dropped from the early 109’s but it was taken up in later ones when the vibration issue had been sorted out. Most 109’s were fitted with two wing-mounted cannon and two machine guns mounted on the top of the nose cone that fired through the propeller arc.

Facts:

Powerplant: One 1,150 hp Daimler Benz DB601 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine

Span: 32ft 4½in (9.87m)

Length: 28ft 8in (8.74m)

Max Speed: 357 mph (575km/h) at 12,300 ft (3,749m)

Ceiling: 37,895 feet (11550 metres)

Range: 373 miles (600 km)

Armament: Two 7.9mm machine guns mounted on the engine crankcase firing through upper nose decking and two 20mm cannon in wings.

post-6667-003147200 1279263433_thumb.jpg

Messerschmitt Bf109 E3 ‘White 4’ which crashed in East Dean, Sussex on the evening of 30th September 1940 The E-3 (serial number 1190) was based at Marquise-Est and belonged to 4/JG 26 during the Battle of Britian. The pilot, Horst Perez, managed to belly-land his plane and survived. It is now on display at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

IWM-Bf109-6066-2.jpg

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more great reading Coast, thanks.

just to add to my previous post, i now work in the OAB which was used extensively during the BoB as a main Comms centre. the staff would virtually live here during ops and with walls 3 feet thick, no windows or any sound from the outside it was like been in a tomb. (still is) the only contact with the outside world (and more importantly, Met Office) was by telephone.

thankfully, i only have to be here for 12.5 hours a day/night so get to see the day and breath fresh air.

courtesy of wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_citadels_under_London

Admiralty Citadel220px-Admiralty_Citadel2008.jpg magnify-clip.pngThe Admiralty Citadel in 2008The Admiralty Citadel, London's most visible military citadel, is located just behind the Admiralty building on Horse Guards Parade. It was constructed in 1940-1941 as a bomb-proof operations centre for the Admiralty, with foundations 30 feet (nine metres) deep and a concrete roof 20 feet (six metres) thick.

Sir Winston Churchill described it in his memoirs as a "vast monstrosity which weighs upon the Horse Guards Parade" - and ivy has been encouraged to cover it in an apparent attempt to soften its harsh appearance. Its brutal functionality speaks of a very practical purpose; in the event of a German invasion, it was intended that the building would become a fortress, with loopholed firing positions provided to fend off attackers.

The Admiralty Citadel is still used today by the Ministry of Defence.

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Great stuff MAF!

I'm going to add a few days in advance as I am not about until next week, so excuse these next few being early!

18th July 1940

Rslp19400718.gif

Mainly overcast with occasional rain in southern districts. Straits of Dover cloudy. Generally cool.

RAF Bomber Command

The Dortmund-Ems canal is bombed successfully.

RAF Fighter Command

Less activity centred on attacks on shipping but at 0930 hours a force of some 30 aircraft assembled behind Calais and flew towards Deal. An attack on a convoy did not develop. One fighter squadron was operating off Deal and two other squadrons were patrolling nearby as reserves. Interception took place under cloudy conditions. No enemy aircraft was brought down, but a Spitfire of No. 610 Squadron is missing. Enemy aircraft sank the East Goodwin Light Vessel and bombs were dropped on the Coastguard Station at St Margaret's Bay, Kent. Major engagements with 28 Bf 109's by 15 Spitfire's of No 610 Sqn. Twelve Hurricane's of No 43 Sqn intercepted twenty-eight Ju 87's forming up to attack the radar station at Poling.

Between 0740 and 0830 hours, 4 raids crossed the coast between Portland Bill and Bournemouth, penetrating inland to railway junctions at Castle Cary and Bruton (Somerset), Netheravon, Upavon, Abingdon and Upper Heyford. Two of these raids returned via Ventnor and Shoreham. No bombs were dropped.

At about 1145 hours a Ju88 penetrated to Bristol and Cardiff and Penarth was bombed. The aircraft was intercepted and the rear gunner is believed to have been killed. The aircraft escaped across the south coast.

At 1240 hours raids appeared off Selsey Bill and at about 1300 hours No 145 Squadron shot down a He111. Off the Isle of Wight at about 1300 hours No. 609 Squadron intercepted enemy aircraft and two Spitfires are reported as casualties, but the pilots are safe. Further raids were plotted, of which one crossed the coast towards Bristol at about 1715 hours. Bombs were dropped at Alverstoke (Gosport) and near Ringwood and Newport, but no damage was caused. At St Atham's [?] Aerodrome, however, minor damage and casualties occurred, also at Burnham-on-Sea and Axbridge. At St Atham's [?] one fatal, three serious and several minor casualties took place.

A Heinkel 111 was reported to be brought down near Christchurch, but the report so far lacks confirmation.No. 111 Squadron probably brought down one Henschel 126 over the Channel at about 1520 hours. Shipping reconnaissance took place off the East Coast and fifteen enemy aircraft were reported east of Bawdsey at about 1500 hours. There unconfirmed reports of dive-bombing on trawlers.

At 0942 hours a Heinkel 111 bombed Montrose Aerodrome, diving as low as 500 feet. Some aircraft received slight splinter damage and five casualties, two fatal, were suffered by RAF personnel. Montrose was bombed at 1030 hours. Between 1300 and 1800 hours four raids appeared off north-east Scottish coasts while activity was increase up to 2100 hours. A convoy was continuously attacked and minelaying in its vicinity is suspected. No reports have been received of damage to convoy, but Anstruther RDF Station was bombed and the nearby coastal town of Crail (South of Fifeness). No interceptions were made.

That night enemy activity began at about 2350 hours and was directed mainly North of a line Humber to Liverpool. Ten to twelve raids at least were plotted in this area. Several crossed the coast proceeding westward and fading off the West coast. Minelaying is suspected off Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire as far south as Liverpool. Several of the raids were picked up returning eastwards.

Belfast was given the Yellow warning on account of one raid traced across from the East coast to the West to St Abb's Head where it faded but was later picked up off West Belfast Lough at about 0105 hours proceeding north-west, and again picked up in about the same position flying south-east at about 0130 hours. Some raids did not cross the coast and minelaying is suspected off the Yorkshire coast and Southwards. There was some activity at about 0030 hours in the Straits of Dover and along the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk, one raid going inland as far as Kings Lynn. Very little activity was reported from the South Coast and no reports have been received.

Losses:

Luftwaffe:

Fighters - 0 Bombers - 1 confirmed, 2 unconfirmed.

RAF

235 Sqn in Blenheim N3541 P/O R.L.Patterson, from Fife was 26 when was flying on convoy patrol with R.Y.Tucker and L.H.M.Reece when they failed to return.

236 Sqn in Blenheim L6779 C.R.D.Thomas and H.D.B.Esldon were shot down and killed over Le Harve by a Bf 109 from JG 2 at 12:15hrs, They were on a photo reconnaissance mission.

236 Sqn in Blenheim L6639 R.H.Rigby and D.D.Mackinnon both shot down and killed over Le Harve by a Bf 109 from JG 2 at 12:15hrs

23.jpg

609 Sqn F/Lt Frank J Howell in Spitfire R6634 was on patrol in near Poole in Dorset when at 15:15hrs he was in combat with a Ju 88, he baled out and was picked up by the Navy.

610 Sqn P/O P.Litchfield in Spitfire P9452 was on patrol when shot down by a Bf 109 from Gruppe II of JG 51 flown by Haupman H.Tietzen North of Calias at 10:00hrs. He was killed

A Spitfire from 616 Sqn based at Leconfield airfield near Beverley, Yorkshire, collided with an obstruction on the base during night flying practice at 05.00. Sq Ldr M. Robinson was unhurt and the aircraft was repairable.

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19th July 1940

Rslp19400719.gif

Showery with bright intervals in most places. Channel winds light - fair.

RAF Bomber Command

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - industrial targets and Bremen and the Ruhr. 51 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Gelsenkirchen. One failed to return 77 Sqn. Nine aircraft to Kassel. Two returned early, six bombed. One hit by flak and landed at Duxford.78 Sqn. Sqn’s first raid of the war. Four aircraft to Ruhr. All bombed. Opposition severe. One attacked by a fighter but not damaged. 102 Sqn. Nine aircraft to oil plant at Bremen. All bombed. Opposition severe, one hit by flak and landed at Bircham Newton.

.

RAF Fighter Command

At 0703 hours a Do17 which had carried out a reconnaissance over Croydon, Northolt and Brooklands was shot down by a Hurricane off Shoreham. At 1431 hours Hurricanes encountered 12 Me109s off Selsey Bill and one Bf109 was shot down (unconfirmed). One Hurricane is missing. At about 1735 hours one Hurricane landed in flames at West Grinstead following enemy action. It was a total loss but the pilot is safe. At 1803 hours a Heinkel 111 which had penetrated inland was shot down off Shoreham.

Other raids were reported in the Bristol Channel, Portsmouth and Swanage areas during the day and minesweepers were attacked off the Isle of Wight. It is noticeable that approximately six raids of some strength approached our coasts chiefly in the Channel and North Eastern area but when fighters were sent up they turned away before contact as established.

About 30 enemy aircraft assembled behind Cap Gris Nez and approached Dover at 1215 hours. A squadron of Defiants (No. 141), one of Hurricanes and one of Spitfires took off to intercept. No. 141 Squadron was ordered to a position over Cap Gris Nez where it was attacked by 12 Bf109s. Three Defiants were shot down immediately and another three crashed while returning to Hawkinge. (4 pilots killed, 2 injured; 5 air gunners missing). One Bf109 was shot down by the Defiants. The Hurricanes shot down 2 Bf109s (confirmed) and one Bf109 (unconfirmed) and Anti-aircraft at Dover shot down one Do215. The Spitfires apparently failed to make contact with the enemy.

At 1600 hours about 36 enemy bombers and fighters again approached Dover. One squadron of Hurricanes and two of Spitfires were sent up. 6 Bf109s and one Ju87 were shot down (unconfirmed). In addition one section of Spitfires shot down 2 enemy seaplanes (unconfirmed) near Calais. One Hurricane crashed (pilot safe). The enemy maintained 15 patrols over the Calais/Dunkerque area. Meteorological reconnaissance was carried out over the North Sea. A raid attacked some naval units 40 miles off Clacton and several reconnaissances were reported. One raid of two Do17s crossed the coast north of Aberdeen and bombed Glasgow at 1013 hours. 42 people were injured.

Considerable enemy activity from 2330 until 0230 hours. 33 raids were directed against the coast west of the Isle of Wight as far as Plymouth, 5 or 6 of which crossed to the Bristol Channel. Minelaying is suspected. There were about 15 raids in the Thames Estuary - Harwich area, many of which are suspected of minelaying. One raid made an attack on Manston Aerodrome in the vicinity of which bombs were dropped, but no serious damage has been reported. everal raids appeared north of Harwich as far as Aberdeen and minelaying is suspected at various places along the coast including the Hull area, Firth of Forth and a number of aircraft crossed to the Firth of Clyde, presumably minelaying. Bombs are reported dropped north west of Kilmarnock and Abbotsinch. At about 0030 hours, Blenheims on patrol encountered and shot down an enemy seaplane at 0107 hours (confirmed). It was seen to fall into the sea in flames near Harwich.

Losses:

Luftwaffe:

RAF

1 Sqn D.O.M.Browne in Hurricane P3471 was on patrol when his aircraft was set on fire in an attack on a He 111. He crash landed at 18:15hrs but was unhurt.

32 Sqn F/Sgt G.Turner in Hurricane P3144 was in combat with a Bf 109 over Dover at 16:25hrs. He baled out but was badly burned. The aircraft crashed at Hougham.

43 Sqn F/Lt J.W.C.Simpson in Hurricane P3140 was on patrol when was shot down by a Bf 109 of JG 27. He baled out near Selsey at 17:15hrs slightly wounded.

43 Sqn J.A.Buck in Hurricane P3531 was shot down by a Bf 109 he baled out wounded, but drowned near Selsey .

A terrible day for 141 Sqn and their Defiants, which were not ideally suited to the warfare they were involved in.

boulton-paul-defiant-02.jpg

141 Sqn Defiant L7009 - I.D.G.Donald and A.C.Hamilton. Defiant L6995 - R.A.Howley and A.G.Curley. Defiant L7015 - R.Kidson and F.P.J.Atkins. Defiant L7016 - J.R.Gardner and D.M.Slatter. Defiant L6974 J.R.Kemp and R.Crombie. Defiant L7001 - M.J.Louden (crash landed at Hawkinge, wounded after the combat) and E.Farnes (baled out over the Channel and was rescued) and finally Defiant L6983 - I.N.MacDougall and J.F.Wise (aircraft damaged and the gunner bailed out. MacDougall crash landed the aircraft and was safe. The gunner Sgt Wise was killed)

All were on convoy patrol when they attacked off Dover and they were either killed or injured by several Bf 109 of JG 51 at approximately 12:45hrs.

141sqndefiant.gif

No 141 Squadron was re-formed on the 4th of October 1939 and started to receive Boulton Paul Defiant's in the April of 1940 and was operational by the 3rd of June 1940 The first operational patrol was flown on 29 June before moving to RAF West Malling in July. Following the devastating encounter with the enemy on the 19th July, the squadron changed from a day- to night-fighter role, more suited to the Defiant. The Squadron motto Caedimus noctu (Latin: "We slay by night") derives from this period. Stations served during the Battle of Britain included: Turnhouse, RAF West Malling, RAF Prestwick, RAF Dyce and RAF Montrose, RAF Biggin Hill, RAF Gatwick, and RAF Drem

The first prototype cavity magnetron is delivered to TRE -- the British radar research centre -- near Swanage, on the south-west coast

General Alan Brooke is appointed Commander in Chief Home Forces, replacing Field Marshal Sir Edmund Ironside who retires, promoted to Field Marshal.

Hitler gave his 'last appeal to reason' speech to the Reichstag and announces the promotion of Göring to Reichsmarschall. Göring was in conference with the commanders of Luftflotten 2 & 3. He remarked that "Fighting alone all these weeks on the Channel front, Jagdgeschwader 51 has already shot down 150 of the enemy's aircraft, quite enough to weaken him seriously Think now of all the bombers we can parade in the English sky. The few R.A.F. fighters will not be able to cope"

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20th July 1940

Rslp19400720.gif

Occasional thunderstorms. Straits of Dover cloudy clearing to bright intervals. Elsewhere - fair all day.

RAF Bomber Command

4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - industrial plant at Dusseldorf and Dornier factory at Wismar. 10 Sqn. Nine aircraft to Dusseldorf. Eight bombed. Opposition severe. One hit by flak. 51 Sqn. Three aircraft to Wismar. All bombed. Opposition severe. 58 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Wismar. Six got off, one returned early, four bombed primary, one bombed alternate. Two hit by flak. 78 Sqn. One aircraft to Wismar. Bombed, but hit by flak.

RAF Fighter Command

Fighter engagements with the enemy were on a smaller scale due to a reduction of enemy activity near British coasts. What activity there was, however, was almost entirely directed towards attacks on shipping. Bombs damaged convoys off Dover and a naval unit was bombed off Swanage - nNo damage reported. A convoy off the Norfolk Coast was also reconnoitred, and one raid approached the coast of Montrose. Patrols were maintained over convoys at periods during the day; one enemy aircraft in reporting the position of a convoy, mentioned our fighter escort and no attack resulted.

From 0600 to 0900 hours very little activity occurred. One raid went through the Straits and disappeared north of Boulogne. An intercepting attempt was unsuccessful. One raid near Poole went inland and back over the sea again sections, and at 0900 hours no reports of bombs dropped or interceptions had been made. Between 0900 and 1100 hours five raids were plotted over the Channel from Start Point to Dungeness. Shortly after 1100 hours two raids approached Swanage and a naval unit reported having been bombed. No reports were received regarding any damage. Hostile aircraft were tracked intermittently between Start Point and Land's End searching for shipping, but no convoys were in the area. Between 1300 and 1400 hours several raids were whilst escorting Channel convoy CW7, Destroyer HMS Brazen is attacked by a large force of German bombers off Dover at 51 01N 01 17E. She is taken in tow, but later sinks. Our fighters were on escort duty and the raiders eventually turned back.

At about 1500 hours, a number of raids were plotted, assembling behind Calais. In consequence, 3 fighter squadrons proceeded to investigate and intercepted an enemy force of 40 Ju87s, escorted by a number of Me109s over Dover and the Channel. Our aircraft shot down 3 Ju87s, 3 Me109s, and probably destroyed 1 Ju87 and 1 Me109. Our loss was one Hurricane. During this combat, a Hurricane, which failed to answer a challenge, was attacked by RAF fighters, whereupon it dived towards sea level and flew off towards France. Two merchant vessels were attacked and a naval unit hit during this engagement.

Very little activity was reported off the East Coast. A few isolated enemy reconnaissances were made off Cromer, Skegness and Lowestoft areas, and over a convoy east of Harwich. Two squadrons were sent to investigate, but no contact was made. One raid approached the coast near Montrose at 4,000ft and was reported to be a Dornier. This did not cross the coast but disappeared in a south-easterly direction. Several raids were reported over the country from 2200 hours. Bombs were dropped in the Bristol area, north- northwest of the Isle of Wight, Kent and Suffolk. Some 18 raids appeared off the Thames Estuary and Harwich and are suspected of mine laying.

1/KG40 Focke-Wulf FW200C. Brought down by AA fire during a minelaying sortie and crashed into the North Sea between Hartlepool and Sunderland 23.55. Fw H. Kulken and Fw K. Nicolai both captured unhurt. Fw W. Meyer killed. Hptmn R. Stesszyn (Staffelkapitän), Gefr S. Zaunig and Gefr J. Perl all missing believed killed. Aircraft F8+EH lost. The body of Willy Meyer was later washed ashore on the Yorkshire coast and originally buried at Driffield. Newcastle: A flare container came through roof of 1356 Walker Road. (Flare dropped from aeroplane in conjunction with the smoke screen test). At 02.15.Four HEs in field east of town wall Berwick upon Tweed [NT9854]. One hit and demolished an empty army air-raid shelter, no casualties. First enemy bomb on Sunderland, in a field at Witherwack Farm, Southwick. No damage or casualties.

Losses:

Luftwaffe:

Fighters - 6 confirmed, 10 unconfirmed; Bombers - 2 confirmed, 1 unconfirmed; Seaplanes -1 confirmed, 1 unconfirmed.

RAF

238 Sqn (Middle Wallop) Sgt C.Parkinson off Swanage in Hurricane P3766, at 1315 hrs. He died of Injuries on the 21st July.40 (Baled out after being shot down by Bf109. Rescued by ship)

501 Sqn (Middle Wallop) P/O E.J.H.Sylvester in Hurricane P3082 at 1630hrs over Lyme Bay, Dorset. Certified as missing, aircraft lost at sea. (Damaged by Bf109 off Cherbourg, crashed approaching coast)

152 Sqn (Warmwell) P/O N.H.Posener Spitfire K9880 at 1635hrs over Swanage, Posener crashed into the Channel after being hit by gunfire from Bf109. Aircraft lost at sea, pilot certified as missing.

32 Sqn (Biggin Hill) Sub/Lt G.G.R.Bulmer was off Dover at 1800hrs in Hurricane N2670, when he was hit by gunfire from Bf109 and crashed into Channel. Aircraft lost at sea, pilot certified as missing.

43 Sqn (Tangmere) F/O J.F.J.Haworth. was flying Hurricane P3964 at around 1800hrs south of the Isle of Wight.. Haworth was shot down while investigating E/A, and baled out over Channel. The aircraft was reported lost at sea and F/O Haworth certified as missing.

236 Sqn (Thorney Island) Sgt W.E.Lockton was pilot of Blenheim L1300 with Sgt H.Corcoran, when at 1820hrs off Cherbourg when thier aircraft was sot down by Bf109 during an escort mission. It crashed into Channel with the aircraft officially lost at sea and both occupants certified as missing.

263 Sqn Grangemouth P/O A.R.Downer died of Injuries on the 21st July when his Hurricane P2917 crashed while making a forced landing at base Grangemouth.

610 Sqn P/O G Keighley had to carry out his second bale out (first on 31st May 1940) while in combat with a Bf109 of JG51, at 1830hrs in Spitfire, N3201. He was wounded as he landed at Wootton, Kent

The buying and selling of new cars is banned.

Now that the so-called "phoney war" is over, women all over Britain were expecting to be asked to play a larger part in the war effort - whether they wanted to or not. For many, work in a munitions factory, even on a part-time basis, seems out of the question. Caring for children and elderly relatives, just keeping a home together, takes even more time and energy then, than in peacetime. There are long queues for essential provisions; little economies around the home to make things last longer and go further all take time. Many are also taking the full responsibility of raising families alone with their husbands away.

Munitions%20factory%20worker1_5394458_tcm11-18087.jpg

The reluctance felt by many women about taking jobs outside the home is reinforced by their men-folk’s disapproval. There have been public outcries over every new opening, however small, for women that the war has created. The Land Girls have been seen as a threat to agricultural training programmes and moral standards, the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary have been accused of taking the jobs not "for the sake of doing something for the country but for the sake of publicity." Add these popular beliefs to the very real burdens of caring for a family in war time, and it’s no wonder that many women prefered to remain at home.

landgirlsDM2801_468x395.jpg

By March 1940, agriculture in England and Wales had lost over thirty thousand men to the British Army. Another 15,000 had left the land to join other occupations. The main reason for this was the low wages paid to agricultural labourers. In the summer of 1940 Ernest Bevin, the minister of labour, under pressure from the National Union of Agricultural Workers, forced the Agricultural Wages Board to institute a minimum wage of 48s. This was increased to 60s in November 1941 and 65s In June 1943. The severe shortage of labour persuaded the government to reform the organization and by 1944 there were 80,000 women volunteers working on the land. The majority already lived in the countryside but around a third came from Britain's industrial cities.

Women in the Land Army wore green jerseys, brown breeches and brown felt slouch hats. They did a variety of jobs and a quarter were involved in milking and general farmwork. Others cut down trees, worked in sawmills and over a thousand women were employed as rat-catchers.

1LandGirlsPA_800x529.jpg

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