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Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    21st July 1940

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    Fine early on with cloud and thundery showers during the middle of the day, becoming fine again later on.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - marshalling yards at Hamm and Soest and aircraft factory at Kassel. 51 Sqn. Three aircraft to Hamm. One bombed - direct hits. Opposition heavy. 77 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Kassel. Nine bombed. Eight fighters sighted but none attacked. 78 Sqn. Five aircraft to Hamm and Soest. Four bombed, one failed to return 102 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Kassel. One returned early, nine bombed. Two fighters seen but none attacked.

    2 Group ( Blenheim). 107 Sqn. Bombing - Caen, Morlaix and Querqueville.

    RAF Fighter Command

    The main activity of the day was centred in the Channel and the Straits of Dover, convoys being the objectives. A few isolated raids penetrated inland. In the morning, the enemy carried out shipping reconnaissance in the Channel and shortly afterwards made two unsuccessful attacks on convoy "Peewit". At 1458 hours another large raid approached this convoy but retired when three squadrons were despatched to intercept. One Spitfire was reported lost whilst on convoy patrol at about 0930 hours.

    At 1520 hours, 9+ aircraft were approaching Portland; this formation turned 90° and attacked "Peewit". In the engagement one Bf109 was shot down certain and one Hurricane of the escorting flight is missing. Meanwhile, one flight of Hurricanes sent to Portland to intercept, chased and shot down 10 miles from the French coast 1 Bf110 confirmed, and 1 Bf110 unconfirmed. Several other large formations approached convoys but retired after our fighters had been sent up. Of the raids which penetrated inland, one Bf110, which shot down a Hector near Old Sarum, was shot down by Hurricanes near Goodwood. Hurricanes also shot down a Do17 near Blandford.

    There was little enemy activity off the North and East coasts. The enemy carried out reconnaissance work off Wick and East Anglia. Numerous patrols were maintained over the Calais - Dunkerque area, particularly over Calais. Enemy operations appear to have been on a smaller scale than usual, but cover a large area. Minelaying was suspected in Plymouth area, Thames Estuary and immediately north of it and in the Tyne area. Attacks on the West Country seem to have started mostly from Cherbourg district. Some 6 or 8 raids crossed the coast between 2330 and 0300 hours at various places.

    Two raids went as far as Barrow-in-Furness and returned via Liverpool and over Yorkshire. Other isolated raids went over Leeds, Church Fenton, Tyneside, over Norfolk and Wiltshire. Bombs are reported to have been dropped in Tyneside, near Derby, Driffield and Hornsea, but no serious damage has been so far reported. It is reported at 0520 hours that an unsuccessful attempt was made on a convoy off the Lincolnshire coast.

    Losses:

    Luftwaffe:

    Fighters - 3 confirmed, 1 unconfirmed; Bombers - 1 confirmed. Anti-Aircraft at Plymouth claims one aircraft (type unknown) unconfirmed.

    RAF

    43 Sqn (Tangmere) P/O R.A.DeMancha South of Isle of Wight at 1515hrs in Hurricane P3973, collided with a Bf109e of 4 7/Jg27.Both aircarft crashed in sea 5m South of the Needles DeMancha was certified as missing.

    54 Squadron (Hornchurch) P/O J.L.Kemp baled out of his Spitfire N3184 because of engine failure East of Clacton and was rescued by the Navy.

    archibaldmcindoe300.jpg

    Sir Archibald McIndoe achieved international fame during the war, for his pioneering work with plastic surgery on Battle of Britain fighter pilots. The skills developed by McIndoe and his team on members of the Guinea Pig Club set standards used on burns victims throughout the rest of the war and in years after. McIndoe set up the the burns unit at Queen Victoria's Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex. The Guinea Pigs were give this name simply because McIndoe had no choice but to try out his ideas on the men as he had no book to refer to or guide him.

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    The original intake of recovering pilots decided to set up a club and only men who had been patients at the burns unit could join. This decision was taken in July 1941. They chose the title of the club - a sign of the humour the men had as they knew full-well that reconstructive plastic surgery was in its infancy and that they were quite literally guinea pigs for the burns unit. This type of humour even worked its way into the club's committee selections.

    out.jpg

    Archibald McIndoe was the club's first president; the first secretary had had his fingers seriously burned so any notes of club meetings had to be short and were, therefore, easy to read. The first treasurer was a pilot with very badly burned legs - so he could not run away with the club's funds!

    The committee decided on three levels of membership:

    1) The Guinea Pigs - men who had been burned in a plane crash and had had plastic surgery at Queen Victoria's Hospital

    2) Honorary Members - scientists, doctors and surgeons who had worked at the burns unit at the Queen Victoria's Hospital.

    3) Friends of the Guinea Pig Club - someone who has contributed to the club either financially or in other ways.

    The club was meant to have been disbanded when the war ended but it did not. As the war progressed, the type of patient treated at the burns unit changed from fighter pilots to bomber crews. In the final year of the war, 80% of those treated at the burns unit were from bomber crews.

    By the end of the war, the total number of Guinea Pigs stood at 649; 57% were British; 27% were Canadian; 8% were New Zealanders; 8% were Australian.

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    22nd July 1940

    Rslp19400722.gif

    Dover Straits fair; Channel cloudy. Light westerly winds in both. Bright intervals between showers in the east.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - aircraft factory at Bremen and industrial targets Ruhr.

    10 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Bremen. All bombed.

    51 Sqn. Seven aircraft to the Ruhr. Three bombed.

    58 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Bremen. Two returned early, two bombed primary, three bombed alternative targets. One failed to return.

    2 Group ( Blenheim). 107 Sqn. Bombing - Creil - started a fire visible 40 miles away.

    RAF Fighter Command

    A quiet day except for a few south coast shipping attacks and some coastal reconnaissance. The first use during the Battle, of Gloster Sea Gladiators, from No 804 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm at Wick.

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    Thereafter some 14 raids were detected. These appear to have been mainly engaged in meteorological and shipping reconnaissance flights off the East and South coast; although convoys were approached, no resultant attacks were reported. Convoy and shipping protection patrols were flown by our fighters and possibly accounted for the apparent reluctance on the part of the enemy to attack by daylight. A few raids crossed our coasts; one was plotted between Bristol and the Sussex coast, flying very high. First 'kill' by an aircraft using airborne interception radar, when a Do 17-Z is shot down off Brighton by a Blenheim of the Fighter Interception Unit at Tangmere on the night of the 22/23 of July.

    That night considerable enemy activity again took place over a wide area. Shortly after 2100 hours, raids commencing down Channel from the Boulogne/Calais area turned north, north of Cherbourg towards Portland and Land's End, mine laying being suspected, and some crossing the coast. From 2200 hours until about 0200 hours, a number of raids approached the North-East, East and South-East Coasts. Another group, presumably from Norway, attacked objectives in Scotland. Mine laying throughout the whole of the East coast is suspected, particularly in the Thames Estuary, and to a lesser extent, in the Tees, off the Norfolk coast, Humber and Tyne areas. A number of raids came inland and bombs were reported to have been dropped in the following districts:- Thames Estuary, North Kent, near Manston, South Essex, Norfolk, Kidderminster, Welshpool, Brough, Edinburgh, near Drem and South Wales. At about 2347 hours, it is reported that a Do 17 was shot down off Selsey Bill. No reports of serious damage or casualties have been received.

    Losses:

    Luftwaffe 3

    RAF Fighter Command

    85 Sqn (Martlesham Heath) At 1735hrs. P/O J.L.Bickerdike in Hurricane P3895 was Killed as he crashed on approach to Castle Camps satellite airfield.

    Göring issues directive to seal off by mines, and attack, the ports of Dover, Plymouth, Portland and Portsmouth.

    It will come under the Labour MP Hugh Dalton, the Minister for Economic Warfare in the coalition government, who was asked to head the planned SOE on the 16th July. Both MI6, which has its own sabotage department and the army have expressed opposition to the formation of SOE because it intrudes into their territory, but Dalton is determined it will succeed. "Regular soldiers," he argues, "are not the men to stir up revolution, to create social chaos or to use all those un-gentlemanly means of winning the war which come so easily to the Nazis."

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

    When Henri-Philippe Petain signed an armistice with Germany on the 22nd June, 1940, the British government began to consider what it could do to help those French people who wanted to continue fighting. A meeting was held at the Foreign Office on 1st July and the following day Hugh Dalton, Minister of Economic Warfare, wrote to Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, suggesting "a new organization to co-ordinate, inspire, control and assist the nationals of the oppressed countries who must themselves be the direct participants." Lord Halifax passed the letter onto Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill and after much discussion it was decided to ask Hugh Dalton to implement the project

    The war cabinet approved a draft document signed 19th July by Neville Chamberlain, now the Lord President of the Council, creating a new secret organisation, it’s aim, in Churchill’s words, is to "set Europe alight." This new organisation became known as Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the staff were given an office at 64 Baker Street in London.

    Colonel Colin Gubbins was Director of Operations and Training at SOE. Those recruited usually had considerable experience of the country they were to be sent to help the local resistance. Recruits were sent for initial training to Wanborough Manor near Guildford. Later they would be toughened up for the field by attending a commando course in the Scottish highlands. They were taught how to use guns and explosives, sabotage, wireless telegraphy, and how to live secretly in occupied territories. They also needed to master the techniques of unarmed combat and silent killing

    specia2.jpg

    Some members of the armed forces were unhappy about this type of warfare. Air Chief Marshal Charles Portal, the chief of the air staff, wrote to a fellow officer: "I think that the dropping of men dressed in civilian clothes for the purpose of attempting to kill members of the opposing forces is not an operation with which the Royal Air Force should be associated. I think you will agree that there is a vast difference, in ethics, between the time honoured operation of the dropping of a spy from the air and this entirely new scheme for dropping what one can only call assassins."

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    Hugh Dalton was not a member of the War Cabinet which would have given him greater access to Churchill and initially, due to its lack of experience, SOE set its sights too high. One SOE plan, sent to the Chiefs-of-Staff, requested equipment for Europe's resistance movements that would have taken six months alone to transport by air.

    Dalton and SOE soon set themselves more realistic targets. The most obvious one was how to communicate with the resistance movements of Europe. Any form of radio communication was open to interception. There was communication with Polish and Czech movements but only on a small scale. Probably, the biggest problem SOE experienced, was that there was no blueprint to study. What Churchill had ordered had never been done before - there was no rule book to go by. Dalton and SOE had to make up the rules from the beginning. One further disadvantage SOE had was convincing those in the military hierarchy that what they planned to do was worth supporting. Acts of sabotage were difficult to verify - especially their success. Communication was invariably slow - so good news took time to arrive. There were many in the military who saw the SOE as a distraction from the 'proper' fighting that had to be done.

    SOE faced three major problems in Europe:

    1) Confirming that worthwhile resistance movements existed

    2) How to maintain contact with these movements once contact had been made

    3) How to help these movements actually fight against the Germans

    The only way that SOE could overcome these three problems was to get agents on the ground in occupied Europe. This provided SOE with its next problem - suitable candidates to be SOE agents. Once trained, the most common way of getting agents to mainland Europe was by plane. Parachute drops could be made by Whitley and Wellington bombers. However, these were obvious targets from the ground. SOE needed a smaller plane that was difficult to see but tough enough to land on crude runways. In the Lysander it got the perfect plane.

    Lysander%20edt%20Atlas%20page%203302.jpg

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    23rd July 1940

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    Slight haze in the Straits of Dover. Cloudy with occasional rain in other districts.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - road and rail communications at Osnabruck, Hamburg Docks and an aircraft factory at Kassel.

    77 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Kassel. Nine bombed. One hit by flak and landed at Bircham Newton

    78 Sqn. Three aircraft to Osnabruck. One returned early, one bombed primary, one bombed alternate.

    102 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Hamburg. Seven bombed.

    2 Group ( Blenheim). Three aircraft raided airfields around Wilhelmshaven.

    RAF Fighter Command

    Enemy activity appeared to have further decreased and those aircraft with few exceptions approaching the coast seemed to devote their attention to reconnaissance of shipping and to attacks when opposition was not immediately encountered but turned away when fighters were in the vicinity.

    While patrolling a convoy off Yarmouth in the early morning, Hurricanes shot down a Ju86[?] and it is a probable casualty. A 'help' message from a convoy some distance off Lowestoft was received at about 0809 hours but only one bomb is reported to have been dropped from a great height.

    Later, a raid penetrating inland as far as Kenley dropped bombs during the flight. It at once retraced its track on the approach of fighters. At 1120 a force of six aircraft approached North Foreland and bombed trawlers. Two fighter squadrons intercepted without conclusive results. During the morning, various other aircraft were detected around the coast from the North of Scotland southwards. No contact was made by fighters. During the afternoon activity was still further reduced but in a raid near Kinnaird's Head a Do215 was intercepted and is confirmed as having been shot down by Spitfires at 1540 hours.

    At 1530 hours a raid of nine aircraft appeared without being tracked in RDF 50 miles east of Harwich. A naval vessel is reported to have been bombed. Another raid appeared inland near Yarmouth at 1640 hours and re-crossed the coast near Bawdsey after dropping bombs at Pulham Market. It evaded fighters in the clouds. Fighters were sent up to a raid which appeared inland over North Scotland after 1800 hours but the enemy aircraft escaped east at great speed.Hostile tracks were plotted along the French coast and to mid-Channel but few approached nearer to our coasts. Enemy activity again was again at somewhat on a lesser scale and almost exclusively confined to coastal flights, presumably minelaying. The chief activity was along the east coast from Dover to the Tyne and Forth Estuary, with one or two raids as far north as Kinnaird's Head and considerably less concentration in the Thames Estuary and the South Coast.

    It is reported that one He111 was shot down for certain at 0040 hours by a Spitfire near Dunbar. About eight raids visited the West Country picking out Falmouth, Plymouth and Bristol and four raids were lost going north off the Welsh Coast., but were picked up in the Liverpool area where anti-aircraft guns were in action and they claim one enemy aircraft (type unknown) unconfirmed. At about 0043 hours a smoke screen about 100 yards long and thirty feet high was reported by the Observer Corps off Dover. From information received during the late evening it would appear that attempts were being made to intercept our bombers, an attack upon one having been reported. It was noticeable too that that throughout the night there were only two or three isolated raids which crossed the coast, one over Middlesborough proceeding south of Catterick and one over Cornwall and South Wales. The only report of any bombs having been dropped is near Hartlepool.

    Losses:

    Luftwaffe 6:

    RAF Fighter Command 0. - the first day of the Battle proper when no planes or pilots are lost.

    London: Dr. Eduard Benes, the Czech leader, has formed a provisional Czechoslovak government in London with the approval of the British government. It is probable that a British minister will be accredited to Dr Bene’s government. Mgr Sramek is appointed prime minister. Dr Benes, who becomes president, said today: "Our main effort will be the organisation of our forces on land and in the air so that our share in the defence of Britain and the defeat of Nazism will be as effective as possible.

    An emergency budget today ushered in tough new taxes, including 24% on luxuries such as furs, real silk stockings and cosmetics. "In the hard circumstances of the times we can do without them," said Sir Kingsley Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He also announced all-round tax increases, including an extra shilling on income tax. This will be 8/6 in the pound from next January. (42.5%) In future income tax will also be compulsorily deducted at source. People will "pay as they earn" instead of the present system with lump sums paid twice a year.

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    24th July 1940

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    Occasional thunderstorms. Straits of Dover cloudy clearing to bright intervals.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - naval and merchant shipping at Hamburg.10 Sqn. Eight aircraft. Weather bad. Two bombed. 58 Sqn. Five aircraft. Two returned early, one bombed

    RAF Fighter Command

    Over the Mersey Estuary, several He 111s were mining. Searchlight crews illuminate one which fires back upon their sites at New Brighton. That, or another He-111 was then illuminated again and held for three minutes. Coastguards at Hoylake and Formby Point independently claim that it crashed into the sea as a result of dazzle. A low-flying single He-111 drops HE and incendiaries onto Glasgow’s Hillington Industrial Estate, damaging a printing works, a sugar and oil cake factory and injuring 18 people. Soon after Welsh-based 92 Sqn. Spitfires (K9998, N3167, N3297) engage a Ju88 of KG51 over Porthcawl. The Junkers is later shot down by 87 Sqn. Pilot Officer R.P. Beamont near Lynton, Devon. Bombs fall for the first time on Renfrew, Samford, Waltham and Weybridge.

    Later in the morning 18 Do17s escorted by JG52 attempt to bomb a convoy in the Thames Estuary. Thus ensuing what 54 Sqn called ‘The Battle of the Thames Estuary’. A ship is forced to run for shallow water and 54 Sqn while protecting have their ‘biggest fight since Dunkirk.’ This day was the last day for 54 Sqn at Rochford, they had been there for a month and had now been posted back to Hornchurch. The Operational Record Book of 54 Sqn shows "B" Flight intercepted a formation of Do215s off Dover and Green Section under P/O Dorian Gribble managed to break up the formation forcing them to jettison their bombs and turn back across the Channel. An early morning raid on shipping in the Bristol Channel by Ju88s with a few ships damaged, but one Ju88 was shot down by 92 Sqn Pembrey (Spitfires). By 1100hrs, more Do17s returned to the Estuary to continue the attack on the shipping.

    Extract from the operational record book of 54 Sqn:

    125 hrs: The whole squadron took part in what they termed as "The Battle of the Thames Estuary" when a whole convoy was attacked by 18 Do215s, two squadrons of Bf109s and unknown number of He113s. The squadron accounts for 2 destroyed (confirmed) by P/O Colin Gray and Sgt George Collet, and four destroyed (unconfirmed) by F/Lt Alan Deere, F/O Desmond McMullen, P/O Edward Coleman and P/O Douglas Turley-George. Eight enemy aircraft were claimed as probably destroyed by F/O Desmond McMullen (2), P/O Dorian Gribble (2), P/O Colin Gray, F/Sgt Phillip Tew and P/O Douglas Turley-George. Two were damaged by P/O Edward Coleman and P/O Henry Matthews. Sadly, P/O John Allen DFC was lost in this encounter when he was attacked by a Bf109 off the coast near Margate and was seen coming down with the engine of his aircraft stopped, although it appeared that he seemed to be in full control. Suddenly his engine came to life and he appeared to be making for a landing at Manston, but the engine cut again and he appeared to turn the aircraft in the direction of Foulness. The aircraft stalled over the coast and the Spitfire went into an uncontrollable spin. P/O Allen did not bale out, and the aircraft crashed in flames near the Olde Charles Inn at Cliftonville near Margate.

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    Spitfires of 54 Squadron as depicted on the 24th

    On a number of previous occasions, pilots had reported that many German bombers, when under attack had started to throw things out of their aircraft, although nothing was actually comfirmed. But in the days Operational Record Book of 54 Sqn, it was noted by "B" Flight that coils of wire, possibly about 50 feet in length were thrown out of enemy bombers that were coming under attack. This seems feasable, when we come to think of the British method of fighter attack. After lining up an enemy aircaft in his sights, then firing a burst of gunfire the pilot of a Hurricane of Spitfire would push his control stick forwards and bank to either port or starboard to go under the target aircaft. This would force the British fighter to either; a) attack at a greater range thus reducing his effectiveness and then diving to clear the cables. b)forcing the British aircraft to climb after an attack thus placing him at the mercy of the main gun armament of the enemy bomber. Because this action by German bomber crews had been officially recorded, Fighter Command HQ were notified and a memorandum was given out to all fighter squadrons and pilots.

    Pilots_of_No_54_Squadron_RAF.jpg

    Pilots of 54 Sqn. On the wing sits their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader, R F Boyd, with the squadron mascot "Crash". Boyd had at this time destroyed 14 enemy aircraft.

    So furious and confused is the fight over Margate that ‘54’ claim 16 ‘109s. Luftwaffe records suggest two, possibly three. Pilot Officer Allen (R6812) engages a 109 near Margate, then his engine stops. When it comes to life again he attempts to reach RAF Manston, but instead his aircraft spun in and crashed on an electricity sub-station in Omer Road, Cliftonville. Sergeant G.R. Collett (N3192) chases a Bf109 for a considerable distance, only to run out of fuel and crash at Sizewell, Suffolk. 1 Bf109 comes down in Dane Valley Road and another in Byron Avenue, Margate, where the pilot became a prize for the local AFS men. As the Dorniers turned and headed back towards home (No shipping was hit), 610 Squadron (Gravesend) was 'scrambled' to cut off their retreat. A hectic battle followed, the Bf109s trying desperately to cover the Dorniers, but over the Thames Estuary, the Bf109s had to keep an eye on their fuel. Three Dorniers were shot down over the Estuary and as the melee moved towards Dover, four Bf109s were shot down including Adolph Galland to conclude a disastrous period for the Luftwaffe. Four days earlier, Major Riegel Gruppe Kommandeur of I/JG 27 was killed, as was Staffelkapitaen Oblt Keidel of 8/JG 52, then Major Werner Molders was shot down, and severely wounded and was hospitalized for over a month.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe:, 6 confirmed (of which five were Bf109s of JG26 and JG52) 10 unconfirmed; Bombers - 2 confirmed, 1 unconfirmed; Seaplanes -1 confirmed, 1 unconfirmed; Type unknown - 1 unconfirmed.

    54 Sqn (Rochford). At 1230hrs, F/O J.L.Allen was Killed in Spitfire R6812. His engine was damaged in combat with a Bf109, and losing height, he crashed into the town of Cilftonville near Margate (See above)

    151 Sqn (North Weald) At 1410hrs: P/O J.R.Hamar in Hurricane P3316, stalled his aircraft at 500ft and crashed nose first on aerodrome.

    66 Squadron Sgt A.D.Smith crashed in to the sea, the cause was unknown but he escaped injury.

    54 Sqn (Rochford). Sgt G.R.Collett destroyed a Bf 109 but was injured when he ran out of fuel chasing an enemy aircraft and had to force land on Dunwich Beach, Suffolk at 12:15hrs, in his Spitfire N3192

    83 Frenchmen lost their lives tonight when their ship was sunk by a German motor torpedo boat off the coast of Brittany. The Meknes left Southampton early today carrying 1,277 French naval officers and ratings who were being repatriated to France. She was showing all lights and had a searchlight trained on the French ensign when she was attacked at 10.30 pm. One officer said: "Why would they torpedo us when the war was over as far as we were concerned?"

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    Posted
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    25th July 1940

    Rslp19400725.gif

    Fine and fair early, clouding over during the morning. Fair in the evening.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - industrial targets Ruhr. 51 Sqn. Nine aircraft to Sterkrade - Holten. Five bombed. Opposition heavy. 77 Sqn. Ten aircraft to Bottrop. Opposition severe. One hit by flak and landed at Bircham Newton. 78 Sqn. Five aircraft to Ruhr. One returned early, four bombed. One fighter seen.

    RAF Fighter Command

    The weather had improved enough during the early morning for German Stuka and E-boat attacks on convoy "Peewit" working its way through the Dover Straits. Patrols covering shipping off Portland are attacked by Bf109s. Two German aircraft are destroyed. At 10:40 Ju87s of III/StG1 try to attack Portland. 152 Sqn destroys a Do17M west of Eastfleet and a JU87. Bf109s and several bombers approach Dover around noon. 65 Sqn intercepts. Flt. Sgt. Franklin by manoeuvring extremely low in N3164 caused a Bf109 to plunge into the sea. 32 Sqn Hurricanes joined 615 Sqn in another battle. P/O. V.G.Draw of 32 Sqn mixed with six Bf109s received leg wounds and force landed a badly damaged P3677.

    Convoy CW8 "Peewit" comprising small ships carrying coal, cement and general cargo sailed at 07:00 from Southend. By 14:30 it was off Dover while many British fighters were rearming, at which time JU87s dive-bombed the convoy, sinking 'SS Corhaven' (991t) travelling from Tyne to Portsmouth with a cargo of coal. 'SS Polgrange' (804t) - Blyth to Cowes with a cargo of coal, 'SS Leo' (1,140t) - Seaham to Portsmouth with a cargo of coal and off Sandgate, 'SS Portslade' (1,091t) travelliung from Sunderland to Shoreham with coal was also sunk by German Stuka dive-bomber

    Defence rested with AA gunners, Dover Site D1 claiming a JU87 before frantic calls brought along Spitfires of 54 Sqn and 65 Sqn upon which a hoard of Bf109s pounced. They destroyed two Spitfires including the 54 Sqn’s ‘B’ Flight Commander, Flt. Lt. BH Way, who was killed. 54 Sqn. call this ‘Black Thursday’. When eight Spitfires of 64 Sqn arrived they faced 30 Ju88s of III/KG 4 accompanied by more than 50 Bf109s. Three more 64 Sqn Spitfires arrived along with 12 Hurricanes of 111 Sqn. Despite engaging the bombers they could not prevent the sinking of two more ships. One Spitfire was lost.

    HMS_Boreas_H77-595x367.jpg

    HMS Boreas, bombed and seriously damaged on the 25th July 1940

    The tactic here was to meet the bombers head on at full throttle then as they dispersed they pulled upwards to meet the oncoming Bf109's. The tactic worked, and both fighters and bombers withdrew. With 64 Squadron and 111 Squadron returning to refuel, the German formation, strengthened by another staffel circled and returned to the convoy. Here they sank a further five merchantmen and seriously damaged four others. (Only 2 out of 21 ships were to reach their destination of Portland.) Keith Park was all in favour of attacking the bombers "head on". He maintained that they were very vulnerable from the front, very poorly armed, had very little armour protection and often flew in tight formations which meant that they had very little chance of maneuvering for fear of hitting another bomber. "Attack the ones in front" he urged, "If you shoot them down, the formation will break up in confusion, then you can take your pick." But such tactics could be dangerous. It called for accurate shooting and one must pull away sharply to avoid collision. ACM Hugh Dowding would not approve such tactics, it was too dangerous for our young pilots to adopt, but many brave and skillful pilots responded to Keith Parks instruction

    I will say, the old Hun certainly tried hard, but they did not like that head-on business. One could see the leader carrying on straight, but the followers wavering, drawing out sideways to the flanks, and in some cases just plain leaving the formation.

    F/L R.M.B.D.Duke-Wooley 253 & 23 Sqns

    At 16:21 Spitfires of 54 Sqn. patrolling off Dover spotted E-boats leaving Boulogne. Two destroyers, HMS Boreas and HMS Brilliant along with two motor torpedo boats, leave Dover and attack the E-boats. Ju87s dive-bomb the destroyers which are also the targets of shore-based artillery from the French coast. Boreas is hit and calls for smoke and tugs. Both damaged destroyers head back for Dover, whose No.4 LAA gunsite claimed a Stuka. More Spitfires of 54 and 64 Sqns tried to protect the warships, along with Hurricanes of 56 Sqn even though they were challenged by over 100 enemy aircraft. Just as the destroyers came under further attack 610 Sqns Spitfires arrived to bag two Bf109s and damage several more without loss.

    The 109s coming at us from above as we still struggled for height F/L B.H.(Wonky) Way being hit and falling away out of sight [he was dead]. I remember the 109 attacking me from the port side, my trying to turn in towards him, the loud bangs of his cannon-shells striking my Spitfire as he hit me from an almost full deflection angle; and even through the pounding fear that I felt, admiring his marksmanship. A few seconds later, with my aeroplane miraculously still answering apparently normally to the controls, finding myself behind two Me 109s, aligning my sight on one, pressing the gun button — and the guns failing to fire; then diving out of the fight to return to base.

    Report by Pilot Officer D.R.Turley-George of 54 Sqn

    Turley-George_DR_02_s.JPG

    After this days fighting, 54 Squadron Hornchurch was north for a brief rest. They had been constantly in action for the past three weeks, had flown in excess of 800 flying hours, had 506 operational sorties to their credit, had lost five experienced pilots and had twelve of their aircraft destroyed.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe: 16

    RAF Fighter Command:

    64 Sqn (Kenley) At 1455hrs over Dover, F/O A.J.O.Jeffrey in Spitfire P9451 was last seen crashing into the Channel, his body washed up on Dutch coast some time later (Lost at sea)

    54 Sqn (Rochford) F/Lt B.H."Wonky" Way. Was Shot down by Bf109 and crashed into Channel at 1500hrs off Dover in his Spitfire R6707.

    610 Sqn (Biggin Hill). S/L A.T.Smith crashed and burnt out at 1540hrs after stalling on landing at Hawkinge He was previously in combat with Bf109 in his Spitfire R6693

    64 Sqn (Kenley) Sub/Lt F.D.Paul was flying Spitfire L1035 when at 1745hrs, off Folkestone he was shot down by a Bf109, he was captured by Germans but passed away on 30th July

    54 Sqn (Rochford). P/O A.Finnie was flying Spitfire R6816 at 1810hrs near Dover when he was hit by gunfire from Bf109 and crashed at Kingsdown. He was killed

    234 Sqn St Eval P/O G.K.Gout was flying Spitfire P9493 when at 2345hrs he crashed just outside the town of Porthtowan Cornwall. Circumstances not known, pilot killed

    152 Sqn F/Lt E.Chritopher Deanesly in Spitfire K9901was slightly wounded in combat with a Ju 87. He was shot down 3 miles off Portland. After being rescued by a ship he spent some time in hospital before flying again.

    54 Squadron F/L D.R.Turley-George joined No 54 Squadron on the 15th of July 1940. He was hot down twice by Bf 109's during the Battle, the first time was on the 25th of July 1940 when he crash landed his Spitfire P9387 near Dover after combat with Bf 109's at 15:00hrs

    610 Sqn F/O F.T.Gardiner was wounded in the arm on the armin an encounter with a a Bf 109 over the Channel at 15:20 but he managed to land safely.

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    26th July 1940

    Rslp19400726.gif

    Dover Straits fair; Channel low cloud with heavy rain. Light westerly winds in both. Bright intervals between showers in the east.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - marshalling yards at Mannheim and Hamm.

    102 Sqn. Nine aircraft. One returned early, three bombed, one failed to return

    RAF Fighter Command

    The weather was disastrous. Low dark cloud and heavy rain all over Britain made any flying almost an impossibility, but still the Luftwaffe persisted with spasmodic bombing attacks by Fliegerkorps VIII. Their targets were channel shipping south of the Isle of Wight. Fighter Command alerted Tangmere to send a flight to meet the raiders. 601 Squadron Hurricanes responded and managed to shoot down two German bombers although one Hurricane was shot down and crashed into the Channel and another flown by F/O J.H.Riddle was damaged by gunfire but managed to return to base. A few attacks were made along the Channel coast at midday, and 238 Squadron Middle Wallop (Hurricanes) responded, one Hurricane was damaged just off the coast at Swanage but the pilot managed to return to base. German E Boats attacked shipping off Shoreham, sinking:- 'SS Lulonga' (821t) steamer, Humber to Shoreham. 'SS Broadhurst' (1,013t) cargo ship, travelling from Seaham to Shoreham. 'SS London Trader' (646t) steamer, sailing to Shoreham from the Tyne. 'SS Haytor' (1,189t) cargo ship, London to Blyth, sunk by a mine in North Sea.No. 1 Squadron replaces 43 Sqn. at Tangmere. Plt. Off. Goodman in a Hurricane downs a Bf109 of III/JG 27. 238 Sqn. tangles with JG27 and off Portland Flt. Lt. S.C. Walch destroys a Bf109.

    German night activity includes ten HEs dropped at Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, and attacks on houses in Chigwell, Bristol, Dagenham and Canvey Island. In Hastings s number of bombs were dropped and casualties were recorded. In Weymouth bombs fell in the vicinity, but no other details are known. In NE London an estimated 120 bombs fell as well as incendiaries, a few civilians were killed. Bombs intended for the ICI plant at Winnington, Cheshire instead fell among houses in Northwich but none exploded. Off Flatholme, Wales, a sand ship was blown up (possibly by mines) and eight crewmen were lost. The Admiralty issues an order prohibiting the passage of Dover by ships during daylight hours. Bombs fall for the first time on Brentwood, Essex.

    ‘A’ Flight were sent back to G1 rather late and a violent thunderstorm so darkened the sky that all six aircraft were forced to execute night landings at Duxford where the beacon was illuminated. R.T. reception was bad and orders to return to Coltishall were not received by F/Lt. Lane. The Flight proceeded to G1 the next morning.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe: 2

    RAF Fighter Command:

    601 Sqn (Tangmere) P/O P.Chalenor Lindsay was flying Hurricane P2753 when at 1000hrs, 2 miles off St Catherines Point when he was shot down by a Bf 109 of JG 27. He was buried at Wimereux France aged 20. A number of aircraft were damaged upon landing at various airfields in heavy rain. These included a Spitfire of 266 Sqn (Wittering), and a Hurricane of 601 Sqn. A Spitfire of 603 Sqn (Turnhouse) went nose first into mud upon landing. All aircraft were repairable. A Spitfire from 616 Sqn based at Leconfield airfield near Beverley, Yorkshire, made a heavy landing and wrecked the undercarriage following a dawn practice flight. P/O W.I.B. Walker was unhurt, the aircraft was repairable.

    150px-1_Squadron_RAF.jpg

    The first R.C.A.F. Squadron arrived in Britain equipped with Canadian built Hurricane's. At the outbreak of war, 115 Sqn of the R.C.A.F. Auxiliary was reinforced by some regulars of No 1 Sqn of the R.C.A.F. to form the new No 1 (R.C.A.F.) Sqn. These men arrived in England on 20 June and underwent six weeks training at Middle Wallop, during which time its Hurricanes were modified to U.K. standards. They then moved to Croydon and flew each day to Northolt for instruction by No 111 Sqn who had been the first R.A.F. Sqn to receive Hurricanes before becoming operational on the 17th August 1940 Uniquely, initially the squadron pilots were all officers.

    lacey.jpg

    Squadron Leader James Harry "Ginger" Lacey DFM & Bar was one of the most successful aces of the Battle of Britain in 1940 In fact, Lacey was in a very small elite group of triple aces – such was his success.

    Lacey was born on February 1st 1917. He attended King James Grammar School in Knaresborough. He left school in 1933 and for four years worked as an apprentice pharmacist. In 1937, as war clouds started to darken over Western Europe, Lacey joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He trained as an instructor and was called up when war was declared in September1939.

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    In May 1940, 501 Squadron transferred to France in an effort to support the BEF and the French Army in their efforts to stop the onslaught that was Blitzkrieg. Lacey scored his first kills on the afternoon of May 13th when he shot down a He-III, a Bf109 and a Bf110. Between this date and June 19th 1940 (when 501 Squadron returned to the UK) Lacey shot down two more He-III’s. For his work during the Battle of France, Lacey was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

    Throughout the Battle of Britain, Lacey remained with 501 Squadron. He was based primarily at Gravesend or Croydon fighter bases. Lacey made his first kill during the battle on July 20thwhen he shot down a Me-109. It was the first of many kills and on August 23rd he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. His success continued throughout September. On September 13th he found even more fame as he shot down one of the He-III’s that bombed Buckingham Palace.

    Ginger_Lacey.jpg

    However, Lacey did not always have things his own way. Between May 1940 and the end of the Battle of Britain, Lacey bailed out of a stricken aircraft or crash-landed one on nine occasions. On each occasion he sustained either no injuries or only minor ones. On November 26th 1940, Lacey was awarded a Bar to his DFM.

    In January 1941, after the end of the Battle of Britain, Lacey was given a commission and promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant in June. The intensity of combat flying in Western Europe changed after the Battle of Britain ended. The Blitz entailed mainly nighttime raids and, as yet, fighters in the RAF could not successfully fly at night. Lacey’s reputation as one of Britain’s top aces, meant that he was much in demand as an instructor. In 1942 he became a Tactics Officer and later in the year a Chief Instructor at No 1 Special Instructors School.

    ‘Ginger’ Lacey was one of a very select group of RAF pilots who could claim not only to be aces but also, in his case, to have been involved in World War Two from the day war was declared – September 1939 – to the day war ended – August 1945.m Lacey was awarded a permanent commission in 1948 and remained in the RAF until his retirement in March 1967. He then worked in the airfreight business. James ‘Ginger’ Lacey died on May 30th 1989.

    General Alan Brooke, Chief-in-Command, diary for 26th July records:

    In afternoon went to see Dill [Chief of the Imperial General Staff] at the War Office and from there on to the Chiefs of Staff meeting. Main subject of discussion was the priority of use of fighters in the event of invasion. I came away feeling less confident as to our powers of meeting an invasion. The attitude of representatives of the Naval Command brought [out] very clearly the fact that the navy now realizes fully that its position has been seriously undermined by the advent of aircraft. Sea supremacy is no longer what it was, and in the face of strong bomber forces can no longer ensure the safety of this island against invasion. This throws a much heavier task on the army.

    Sir-Alan-Brooke-595x355.jpg

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    27th July 1940

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    The summer of 1940 was as unpredictable as ever, as again by July 27th the weather partially cleared although the cloud base remained over the English Channel. It was fair and fine at first, with thunderstorms later.

    RAF Bomber Command

    No ops due to bad weather.

    RAF Fighter Command

    Enemy activity appeared to have further decreased and those aircraft with few exceptions approaching the coast seemed to devote their attention to reconnaissance of shipping and to attacks when opposition was not immediately encountered but turned away when fighters were in the vicinity. While patrolling a convoy off Yarmouth in the early morning, Hurricanes shot down a Ju86[?] and it is a probable casualty. A 'help' message from a convoy some distance off Lowestoft was received at about 0809 hours but only one bomb is reported to have been dropped from a great height. Later, a raid penetrating inland as far as Kenley dropped bombs during the flight. It at once retraced its track on the approach of fighters. At 1120 a force of six aircraft approached North Foreland and bombed trawlers. Two fighter squadrons intercepted without conclusive results. During the morning, various other aircraft were detected around the coast from the North of Scotland southwards. No contact was made by fighters.

    During the afternoon activity was still further reduced but in a raid near Kinnaird's Head a Do215 was intercepted and is confirmed as having been shot down by Spitfires at 1540 hours.At 1530 hours a raid of nine aircraft appeared without being tracked in RDF 50 miles east of Harwich. A naval vessel is reported to have been bombed. Another raid appeared inland near Yarmouth at 1640 hours and re-crossed the coast near Bawdsey after dropping bombs at Pulham Market. It evaded fighters in the clouds. Fighters were sent up to a raid which appeared inland over North Scotland after 1800 hours but the enemy aircraft escaped east at great speed.

    Hostile tracks were plotted along the French coast and to mid-Channel but few approached nearer to our coasts.

    Enemy activity again was again at somewhat on a lesser scale and almost exclusively confined to coastal flights, presumably minelaying. The chief activity was along the east coast from Dover to the Tyne and Forth Estuary, with one or two raids as far north as Kinnaird's Head and considerably less concentration in the Thames Estuary and the South Coast. It is reported that one He111 was shot down for certain at 0040 hours by a Spitfire near Dunbar. About eight raids visited the West Country picking out Falmouth, Plymouth and Bristol and four raids were lost going north off the Welsh Coast, but were picked up in the Liverpool area where anti-aircraft guns were in action and they claim one enemy aircraft (type unknown) unconfirmed. At about 0043 hours a smoke screen about 100 yards long and thirty feet high was reported by the Observer Corps off Dover. From information received during the late evening it would appear that attempts were being made to intercept our bombers, an attack upon one having been reported.

    It was noticeable too that that throughout the night there were only two or three isolated raids which crossed the coast, one over Middlesborough proceeding south of Catterick and one over Cornwall and South Wales. The only report of any bombs having been dropped is near Hartlepool

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 2

    RAF Fighter Command

    501 Sqn F/O P.A.N.Cox was on patrol in his Hurricane P3808 when he was shot down and killed by a Bf 109 off Dover at 17:45hrs.

    609 Sqn P/O J.R.Buchanan was shot down and killed in his Spitfire N3023 by a Bf 109 of I Gruppe of JG 27 flown by Oberleutnant Framm at 10:20hrs.

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    Destroyer HMS Wren (D 88) is bombed and lost off Aldeburgh on the east coast at 52 10N, 02 06E, as she gives AA cover to minesweepers. He-111s of Bomber Wing (Kampfgeschwader) 53 (KG 53) took the credit. Destroyer HMS Codrington D 65) is sunk in an air raid on the port of Dover. The ferocity of this attack (another destroyer and a sloop were also damaged) caused the Admiralty to abandon the use of Dover as an advanced base for destroyers and withdraw Navy vessels from Dover to Sheerness and Harwich, placing the onus of convoy protection even more heavily upon Fighter Command.

    Junkers 87

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    The Junkers 87 was better known as the Stuka dive-bomber. The Junkers 87 first saw action in the Blitzkrieg attack on Poland in September 1939. Against a poorly equipped enemy, the Junkers 87 did well with its pinpoint bombing accuracy. Against a more formidable opponent, such as the Spitfire and Hurricane during the Battle of Britain, it did not do as well.

    The Stuka got its nickname from the German word Sturzkampfflugzeug or dive-bomber. The idea for a dive-bomber first started in 1934. The first prototype was powered by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine but due to a design fault (a double rear fin), the plane crashed. The next prototypes had a Junkers Jumo 201A engine fitted. The first plane that would be recognised as a Stuka flew in 1936 and the plane was blooded in the Spanish Civil War. When war broke out on September 1st 1939, the Luftwaffe had 336 Stuka dive-bombers available. In the initial phases of the war, the Stuka proved to be extremely effective at pin point bombing of a target. By diving nearly directly onto its target, the Ju 87 could all but guarantee a direct hit and its tell-tale gull-wings gave it this ability to dive at such a steep angle. Straight wings would have been ripped off by the sheer force put on them. However, this shape, so effective in Poland and Western Europe, was to be its downfall as it hindered its speed when confronted with faster opponents.

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    In the Battle of Britain, the 255 mph (410 km/h) Stuka was no match for the Spitfire or Hurricane and suffered so many losses that it was withdrawn from campaigns in Western Europe for the rest of the war. It did make an initial impact on the radar bases right on the British southern coastline. But once it had to venture further inland, its lack of speed and manoeuvrability showed up and many were shot down.

    By the end of the war, more than 5,700 Stukas had been built.

    A scene from 1969 film Battle of Britain with Spitfires attacking Stuka’s

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    28th July 1940

    Rslp19400728.gif

    Fine all day with haze in the Channel.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - Dornier factory at Wismar. 77 Sqn. Ten aircraft, all bombed. Weather bad, opposition heavy. Flares dropped by enemy aircraft during bomb-runs. 78 Sqn. Four aircraft. One returned early, three bombed. Five fighters seen, but none attacked.

    RAF Fighter Command

    There was less enemy activity in the morning, and it was not until the afternoon that the major engagement of the day took place in the Straits, off Dover. RAF fighters shot down seven enemy aircraft at a cost of two Spitfires. Other raids approached shipping and ports on the south and west coasts, either doing no damage or retiring before our fighters could intercept. At 1029 hours, one aircraft was plotted 15 miles north-east of Montrose but a section of fighters sent to investigate did not make contact. At 1522 hours, a further raid was plotted in this area.

    At 0640 hours, a raid was plotted out of Cherbourg in the direction of Plymouth but our fighters failed to make contact. At 1110 hours, a raid of three aircraft was plotted from Baie de la Seine to Swanage, where sound plots were recorded overland. Fighters were despatched without effect and the raid eventually faded south in mid-Channel at 1250 hours. Another raid approached Portland with no results and no interception. At 1237 hours, three aircraft appeared 15 miles north of Cherbourg and approached Bournemouth. No contact was effected.

    At 1204 hours, a large number of aircraft assembled and circled over the Calais-Boulogne district and then set course for Dover. When the enemy aircraft had reached a position half way across the Straits they turned back to the French coast where they gradually dispersed. At 1335 hours, five raids involving approximately 100 aircraft, crossed the Straits and were engaged by four Squadrons of our fighters off Dover. P/O Freeborn and Flt. Lt. Kelly of 74 Sqn, each destroyed a 109. Another three were damaged, for the loss of two Spitfires and P/O. J.H.R. Young. During this operation Major Werner Mölders, Geschwader commander of JG 51 and one of the top three Luftwaffe pilots up to this time, is wounded in combat with Squadron-Leader 'Sailor' Malan, C/O of No 74 Sqn. No 41 Sqn shot down two Me109s (confirmed) and No 11 Squadron shot down two He59s. He59 seaplanes arrived to rescue German survivors only to find 111 Sqn, which destroyed one and seriously damaged another.

    At 1552 hours, one raid was plotted 40 miles south of Dungeness to within 30 miles of Selsey Bill where it turned south-east and faded in the Le Havre area at 1630 hours. At 1708 hours, two raids involving 9+ aircraft where plotted flying east from the direction of Portland. These raids turned north and approached Swanage, but retired on approach of our fighters. Another raid originated over Portsmouth and faded in Baie de la Seine without interception. At 1735 hours, a "help" signal was received by a convoy near Milford Haven; fighters were despatched without result.

    At 0620 hours, a hostile aircraft approached Cromer but was not intercepted. At 1424 hours, a possible meteorological flight was plotted sixty miles east of Haisboro flying north-west. At 1503 hours, another raid was plotted eighteen miles east of Bawdsey and faded over Foreness. At 1600 hours, a raid of 1+ was plotted fifty miles east of Mablethorpe, turned south and appeared to orbit in an area about fifty miles east of Cromer. A "help" signal was received from the naval unit which this raid had attacked.

    At 1853 hours, a hostile reconnaissance of 3+ aircraft started from Dunkirk and flew to within fifteen miles east of Lowestoft where it turned south on the approach of our fighters and faded inland of Gris Nez. The aircraft appeared to return to St Inglevert. At 1948 hours, seven raids assembled in the Gris Nez area and at one time one of these raids was plotted at not less than 40 aircraft on a ten-mile front at 30,000 feet. Six squadrons were detailed to meet this attack, which, however, did not materialise.

    There was considerable enemy activity in most areas. The main feature of the earlier part was the intense activity of the minelaying type from the Thames Estuary to the Humber, extending later as far north as Aberdeen. Inland raiding over the south and east coasts was very pronounced and nearly all areas of England, Scotland and Wales were involved. At 1145 hours, 2 high-explosive bombs were dropped on Longdown at Beachy Head Eastbourne. By 0130 hours, raids were mostly withdrawing and at 0145 hours the country was clear north and east of a line from Chester to London. By 0245, all inland raids had withdrawn to the coast.

    During the night about 150 hostile, or "X" tracks were plotted. Bombs were reported to have been dropped in the following places: - Edinburgh district, Perth, Rochford, Tyne, Thames Estuary, Crewe, Newcastle, Alnwick, Hungerford, Staplehurst, near Long Eaton, Holywell (Flintshire), Sealand, north of Gatwick aerodrome, Edenbridge, west of Beachy Head, north-east of Maldon (Essex), Glenkindie, near Sittingbourne, Seaford, near Neath, Brixham, Shaeftesbury, near Lydd, south of Colchester, Otmore (Vivinity), Lichfield, near Derby, Salford, near Swansea and other locations in South Wales.

    At Staplehurst a searchlight post was bombed and put out of action. Fighters were despatched in some instances but results are not reported.An enemy aircraft is reported to have crashed at Wooton Hill (4 miles south-west of Newbury) at 0200 hours. Occupants baled out and are still at large.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe

    RAF Fighter Command

    257 Sqn Sgt Ronald V.Forward was injured in his Hurricane I P322 which was badly damaged by some Bf 109's of JG 26 off Dover. He managed to land at Hawkinge but his aircraft was a write off due to the damage.41 41 Sqn Sqn F/O A.D.J.Lovell was shot down by a Bf 109 of JG 51 while on patrol over Dover at 14:35hrs in a Spitfire P9429. He was wounded and crash landed at Hornchurch.

    74 Sqn Sgt E.A.'Tony' Mould was shot down by a Bf 109 of JG 26 off Dover at 14:20 in his Spitfire P9336. He baled out and was wounded.

    74 Sqn P/O J.H.R.Young was shot down and killed near Goodwin Sands by Obrleutnant Münchenberg flying a Bf 109 from III Gruppe of JG 26 at 14:20 in his Spitfire P9547. He is buried at Pihen les Guines, France.

    92 Sqn P/O T.S.Wade baled out of his Spitfire 3287 over Exeter while on night patrol at Swansea Bay at 0350 hrs.

    image006.jpg

    John Mungo-Park and H M Stephen receive the congratulations of Sailor Malan on the occasion of their shooting down of Biggin Hill’s 600th enemy aircraft.

    "Sailor†Malan was leading twelve Spitfires of 74 Sqn from Manston. As they closed, Malan chose a victim in the leading flight, fired, and watched him go down. Mölders was leading that formation; he turned and shot down a Spitfire. For Mölders this was his 129th combat mission of the war and his twenty-sixth victory (not including the fourteen aircraft shot down in Spain). He came round again, looking for his twenty-seventh.

    Both Mölders and Malan were fast, but Mölders was split-seconds faster. Even as Malan was scoring his victory, Mölders was already on his tail. Malan turned in towards the attack—the classic reaction of the fighter pilot—and kept turning tightly enough to bring Mölders into his sights. His machine-gun bullets raked the Messerschmitt. Had Spitfires been armed with cannon, Mölders would not have been able to nurse his badly damaged machine back to his base at Wissant. When he landed, his leg wounds were bad enough to put him into hospital. It was to be another month before Mölders could claim victim number twenty-seven.

    Len Deighton from his book Fighter, 1977

    Major Werner "Vati" Mölders

    molders.jpg

    Werner "Vati" Mölders was born on 18 March 1913, at Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhrgebiet. He joined the army in 1931 and served as an officer cadet in the Infantry. In 1934, with the rebirth of the Luftwaffe as a result of Hitler coming to power, Mölders requested a transfer to become a pilot. At his first attempt to join the Luftwaffe, he was declared unfit for flying. He tried again and was accepted for flying training. He was badly afflicted by air sickness but overcame the problem through sheer willpower.

    He took over from Adolf Galland at the head of 3.J/88. During the Spanish conflict he showed considerable qualities not only as a pilot and marksman but also, and especially, as a tactician and organiser. Together with other airmen, in Spain he developed the technique known as the "finger four", or fan, which improved a flight's all-round vision and encouraged the pilots' initiative.

    He was shot down in combat on 5th June 1940, by French ace Sous Lieutenant René Pommier Layragues (6 victories) flying a D.520 of GC II/7 after having scored 25 victories during 128 missions and was taken prisoner. He was liberated two weeks later upon the armistice with France. He returned to Germany to be promoted to Major and given command of JG 51 as Kommodore. On 28th July 1940, during his first flight with his new unit, he succeeded in downing a Spitfire, but his aircraft was then hit by the enemy aircraft. Severely wounded in the legs, Mölders just managed to make an emergency landing at the airfield at Wissant in France. It was not until a month later that he was able to return to combat. He quickly brought his score up by downing 28 British fighters during the remainder of the Battle of Britain, including his 40th, a Spitfire over Dungeness, on 20th September, for which he was awarded the Oak Leaves (No. 2) the next day. On 22nd October he downed three RAF Hurricanes to become the first Luftwaffe pilot to reach a score of 50 aerial victories. By the end of the Battle of Britain he had a total of 54 victories, and he would add one more before the end of the year.

    molders2.jpg

    Major Werner Mölders and Oblt. Hartmann Grasser of the Stab flight of JG 51 after a mission over the British Isles during the Battle of Britain. Grasser was later assigned to JG 11 and would survive the war with 103 confirmed victories.

    malan2.jpg

    Squadron Leader (also Group Captain & Wing Commander) Adolph Gysbert “Sailor†Malan

    “Sailor†Malan was born on the 3rd of October 1910 in Wellington, South Africa. By the age of 14 he was a sea cadet on the training ship General Botha hence the name Sailor. In 1935, Malan had been accepted by the RAF on a short service commission and started flight training in early 1936.

    malan1.jpg

    In December of that same year he was posted to 74 Sqn at Hornchurch and became a Flight Commander one year later. After the outbreak of war, Malan went into action with 74 Sqn, with their newly equipped Spitfires, over the beaches of Dunkirk. On the 21st of May 1940 he scored his first victories just off the coast at Dunkirk destroying a Ju88, a He111 and damaged another Ju88. On the 22nd of May he shared the destruction of a Ju88, on the 24th he shared a Do17 and destroyed a He111. On the 27th of May during his last combat over Dunkirk he shot down a Bf109, shared a Do17 and damaged two more.

    malan.jpg

    It was during the start of the Battle Of Britain that Malan, famously, disregarded the “textbook†formations and tactics of aerial combat. He firstly ordered that the machine guns on his Spitfire be re-aligned to a shooting distance of 250 yards, instead of the recommended 400 yards. He abandoned the “3 aircraft Vic†formation for a more unconventional four aircraft in-line attack. Within his squadron, Malan issued his unofficial “Ten Commandments†of aerial fighting

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    Sailor Malan, Jack Charles and Alan Deere

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    S/Ldr H T Armstrong centre, left is S/L Slater and right G/Cpt Sailor Malan

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    29th July 1940

    Rslp19400729.gif

    Fine all day with haze in the Channel It was expected that more attacks would be made by the Luftwaffe as flying conditions were as perfect as one could get.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - marshalling yards at Hamm and oil plant at Dusseldorf. 58 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Hamm. Weather bad. One bombed primary, seven bombed alternative targets. 102 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Dusseldorf. Weather bad and opposition heavy. Five bombed.

    RAF Fighter Command

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    ‘B’ Flight 32 Sqn at Hawkinge 29th July 1940. L-R P/O RF Smythe, P/O K Gillam, P/O JE Proctor, F/lt PM Brothers, P/O DH Grice, P/O PM Gardner, and P/O AF Eckford

    Slow to make their presence felt, it was not until 0700hrs that the first enemy formations were detected coming in across the Channel towards "Hellfire Corner" Dover. The Observer Corps reported that the formation consisted of 30+ Ju 87 Stukas and 50 + Bf109s. Fighter Command sent up more squadrons than usual including 41 Sqn Hornchurch (Spitfires), who begin the proceedings with a 07:25 scramble to engage the enemy on his northern flank, leaving ten Hurricanes of 501 Sqn to race in from the sunward side. As they met the Luftwaffe they realised they were facing one of the largest formations yet of Bf109s escorting two waves of Stuka’s. 56 Sqn North Weald (Hurricanes) and 64 Sqn Kenley (Spitfires) and it is believed 43 Sqn Northolt (Hurricanes) were also on patrol, although there is no mention of attacking the Ju 87s over Dover - they were airborne at the time.

    The skies above the town became a swirling mass of weaving aircraft and vapour trails as an estimated number of 200 aircraft engaged in combat. Four Ju 87s were reported to have been shot down into the sea while Fighter Command received a number of damaged aircraft including five Spitfires from 41 Sqn. Two RAF pilots were lost.

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    During the afternoon, formations of He 111 and Do 17s were intercepted by 66 Sqn Coltishall (Spitfires), 17 Sqn Debden (Hurricanes) and 85 Sqn Martlesham (Hurricanes) off the Essex coast near Harwich and shot down two He 111's while 151 Sqn North Weald (Hurricanes) attacked a formation of Bf110s off the coast at Orfordness. Two Hurricanes were damaged by accurate gunfire from the Bf110s and both made forced landings at Martlesham and Rochford respectively.

    During the early hours of the morning, a He 111 en route to bomb the Bristol works at Filton was detected by searchlights and came under fire from AA gun batteries, which managed to hit and damage the bomber. A fire started to engulf one of the engines believed to be the port engine, and soon the other engine began to lose power and the crew decided to abandon the aircraft. All baled out and were eventually captured. Two of the crew were at large for some 48 hours, but one crew member, Fw J Markl, managed to evade capture for nine days, believed to be the longest period of time that a German airman was "at large" before being captured. (see below)

    Dogfight%20Over%20Dover.jpg

    Stuka's attacking Dover sink the previously damaged ‘SS Gronland' (1,264t) also starting a fire aboard a submarine depot ship. Destroyer HMS Delight is bombed and set on fire escorting a channel convoy off Portland. She manages to make it back to port, but sinks in Portland harbour the next morning. 'SS Clan Monro' (5,952t) steamer, Cochin, India to the Tees was sunk by a mine off Harwich. 'SS Moidart' (1,262t) steamer, London to Newcastle was also sunk by a mine off Harwich.

    1-Ju-87B-Target-Dover-Harbor-England-1940-01.jpg

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 13

    RAF Fighter Command

    41 Sqn F/O D.R.Gamblen was shot down and killed in his Spitfire N3038 at 07:45hrs. He had been in combat with the Ju 87's and Bf 109's off Dover.

    41 Sqn F/O W.J.Scott was flying Spitfire N3038 at 07:50hrs. He had also been in combat with the Ju 87's and Bf 109's off Dover and went to land, but his under-carriage collapsed when he touched down. He escaped the 'PRANG' and was not injured.

    41 Sqn P/O George Harman Bennions crashed his Spitfire N3113 at Manston due to battle damage. He was a veteran with a score of 11 destroyed and 5 probables.

    56 Sqn F/Sgt C.J.Cooney was killed at 07:45hrs. His Hurricane P3879 was shot down by a Bf 109 over the Channel, near Dover.

    66 Sqn P/O Leon W.Collingridge was injured when he crash landed his Spitfire N3042 on the beach at Orfordness at 14:40hrs. He had been in combat with a Heinkel He 111 - his aircraft was written off.

    302 Sqn P/O K. Lukaszewicz based at Leconfield, Yorkshire, was landing his Spitfire at the base in a crosswind on a first familiarisation flight, he damaged the aircraft but was unhurt, the aircraft was repairable.

    Secret Report of the SS Secret Service on German internal affairs, NO. 110 of 29th July 1940 (extract);

    The economy: The effects of night air raids on industrial production..

    ...Thus Dortmund reports a falling off in mining production there as a result of overfatigue and diminished resiliency. Many personnel say that they have a long way to go to get to the pits, and as a result they have only a short time to get to sleep at the end of the air raid alert. The consequence is that personnel frequently fall asleep, which is leading increasingly to short shifts. The alertness of personnel is also suffering, so that already additional accidents have occurred.

    Military Planning Conference at the Berghof, 29th July 1940

    nazi-germany-conquers-france-2.jpg

    Arguments continued within the Wehrmacht regarding an invasion of Britain and how best it could be implemented. The Luftwaffe were deciding on the best method of action and the targets that would best hit hard on the Royal Air Force. The German Army and the Navy shared great differences as to where the invasion landings should take place. The Navy stating that to tranship hundreds of barges, invasion craft and transport carrying craft the narrow area of the Dover Straits would be best suited for this purpose. But the Army disagreed wanting the wider fronts of a number of landing beaches between Dover in the east through to Lyme Regis and Portland in the west. Meanwhile Hitler was also considering the invasion of Russia.

    The following comments were made during an informal meeting of German military officers in the Special Command Train Atlas at the Bad Reichenall Station following the conference at the Berghof. The comments were made by General Alfred Jodl, the Chief of the Armed Forces Command Staff (Wehrmachtsführungsamt) in Armed Forces High Command - OKW. The comments were recorded by Jodl's subordinate, Colonel Walter Warlimont.

    Four of us (Lt. Col. von Lossberg, Capt. Junge, Major Freiherr von Falkenstein and myself) were present, sitting at individual tables in the restaurant car. Jodl went round ensuring that all doors and windows were closed and then, without any preamble, [he] disclosed to us that Hitler had decided to rid the world 'once and for all' of the danger of Bolshevism by a surprise attack on Soviet Russia to be carried out at the earliest possible moment, i.e. in May 1941..Jodl countered every question [we had] ... although he convinced none of us. He repeated Hitler's view and probably his own also that the collision with Bolshevism was bound to come and that it was better therefore to have this campaign now, when we were at the height of our military power, than to have to call the German people to arms once more in the years to come. Shortly after Jodl's disclosure, we happened to discover that Hitler had originally been determined to launch the attack in the late summer of 1940. The most urgent representations from Keitel and Jodl had been necessary to convince the Supreme Commander that the time and space factors alone, together with the weather conditions, rendered this plan totally impracticable

    The German airman who evaded capture for nine days

    We often read about German aircrew, both from bombers and fighters that were shot down during the Battle of Britain. We often hear that an x number of German aircrew were placed in internment camps or sent to overseas countries away from the war. But what was it like for these Germans, their aircraft shot up over England, to most of them, a strange country, an island country that meant that to get back to Germany it meant that they would have to cross the Channel undetected.

    Although we read about Allied pilots and aircrew being shot down over France and with the aid of the resistance manage to find their way back to Britain, in fact the first task at hand of a captured Allied airman was one of escape. But most of the German aircrew shot down gave themselves up immediately. A small number could speak good english, some could manage a few words that would help them to be understood, but most, could not speak the english language. Most of them, upon landing were prepared to give themselves up immediately, others asked to be taken to a military post where they could officially surrender to the Allies.

    One thought on this, was that many of the German aircrew were of the belief that the German invasion of England was very close and that they would only be held captive for a short period of time before being liberated back to their native Germany. It has even been said that some German aircrew purposely baled out over England to avoid taking any further participation of the war.

    Very few German aircrew were "on the run" or trying to evade capture. But one of these was an airman of 8 KG 55 who aircrew on a He 111 whose mission was to bomb the Bristol Works at Filton Aerodrome in the early hours on July 29th 1940. The mission had been completed causing minor damage to the Bristol Works, and the Heinkel was on the return leg of its operation, and for some reason, was flying due west instead of south to its base at Paris. Maybe this was because of the fact that German bombers often were instructed to land at a different airfield to the one that they had departed from.

    Heinkel-Profile-2.jpg

    The Heinkel was piloted by Feldwebel Theodore Metzner, the Observer was Feldwebel Josef Markl, the Flight Engineer was Gerfreiter Ernst Ostheimer, the Wireless Operator was Unteroffizier Kurt Backer and the Gunner was Gerfeiter Heinze Morgenthal. Somewhere in the region of Marlborough, the bomber was picked up by searchlights and hence it became the target for the AA batteries. Constant gunfire followed and the Heinkel was hit in the wing and port engine that caught fire. The aircraft started to behave erratically (it is not known whether the starboard engine was hit or whether it failed under additional pressure) and the crew decided to bale out. The Heinkel crashed in flames at Kingsclere, about halfway between Basingstoke and Newbury, while the crew parachuted to safety in the Newbury area.

    Woodhay-Heinkel-Kurt-Boker.jpg

    Radio operator Kurt Boker poses beside Heinkel G1+CS on 28th July, just hours before the plane's last mission.

    Theodor Metzner and Kurt Backer were the first to land and they were captured as soon as they had hit the ground, but Ernst Ostheimer and Heinze Morgenthal hid in nearby bushes deciding what would be the best thing to do and were eventually captured two days later. Inspection of the wrecked aircraft confirmed that there were no more aircrew in the aircraft although the authorities knew that the aircraft would be carrying a crew of five. This was later confirmed by the German crew that there were five members and that another member was still somewhere in the local area around Newbury. Police, Home Guard and other authorities in the area were ordered to keep a general lookout by searching fields, barns, trees and any other place that it would be possible for someone to hide. The missing crewman was Feldwebel Josef Markl.

    Heinkel-down-1940-pic.jpg

    30th July 1940 - a large group of people have gathered to see the remains of Heinkel G1+CS, which has completely blocked Fullers Lane, East Woodhay.

    One of the crew stated upon interrogation, that Josef Markl had caught his foot in cables prior to jumping from the aircraft, so it may be possible that he had sustained injuries. It was also stated that it had appeared that it took longer for his parachute to open than normal, this further indicated that he may have been carrying an injury. Eventually, Markl landed in trees entangled in R/T leads and his harness. After a while he managed to get himself free and fell to the ground. Here, he done as all aircrew were instructed to do, and that was to destroy all military and personal documents that he had on his person.

    It was dark, very quiet and there was nobody around so after I had buried my flying overalls and my helmet I made the decision to find the roadway and make for the nearest town and surrender myself.

    Statement made to RAF Interrogation upon his capture

    Heinkel-crew-J-Markl---Obse.jpg

    But Markl must have had a change of heart as he entered a town which turned out to be Newbury. It still in the early hours of the morning, but there were a few people about which rather than approach them, he kept himself obscured from them and decided to go back and find a quiet spot, hiding in the undergrowth about a quarter of a mile from the outskirts of the town. Seeing no-one for a couple of days, he decided to stay at this spot, but seeing a hill not far away, decided to make for this spot during the hours of darkness. Here he would have a better view of the surrounding area and he could make a decision as to what his future intentions might be.

    I could not see any point in staying on that hill, only to gather my thoughts. Already hunger and thirst was setting in and I could see no alternative but to go back and be close to the town.

    Statement made to RAF Interrogation upon his capture:

    He went back to the undergrowth just outside the town and stayed here for a number of days where he hoped for the opportunity of raiding a barn or house where he could gather some food or drink. His only source of nutrient was from edible roots and plants, and the moisture that fell on leaves during the night. Licking dew covered leaves during the early morning became a ritual, and even from his high vantage point on the hill, he must have been unaware that a river flowed through Newbury and followed the London to Bristol main road. But rather than search for more nutritious foods he stayed where he was, his hunger pains getting worse by the moment. He saw a number of people during the daytime, but done nothing to surrender himself, obviously he had still not made up his mind as to surrender or to continue evading capture. But despite a military search in progress for him, he saw no military personnel, and he was only a quarter of a mile from the town of Newbury. He did see a couple of men inspecting a hay field nearby, but he kept out of sight and remained quiet after realizing that he had not been seen. A close call came when a man who was on a pigeon shoot came close, but he climbed a tree to avoid being seen. The man's dog saw him and started to bark, but the man and his dog passed directly underneath him quite oblivious to the fact that the German airman was perched on a branch just above them.

    It was now seven days that Markl had been in hiding, and the weekend of August 4th was the August bank holiday which was celebrated even in wartime!!! and a number of couples came to the open area which was obviously treated as a local park. Later he was to make his way to a small shooters hut, but this was only as a means of shelter, there was no food inside. A short walk away, he found a small watercourse and managed the first quantity of water for many days. This must have been an immense relief to Markl, but the hunger pains persisted and he was now becoming weaker as each hour went by.

    At this time, I had no alternative but to surrender myself. I was in pain, I felt unclean and I could see no future in doing what I had been doing for the last number of days.

    Statement made to RAF Interrogation upon his capture

    He made his way to the main road that led to the town. At first, a man and girl on bicycles quickly hurried away upon seeing Markl who by now was in tattered clothes, unshaven and hair that looked as if it had never been combed. A few other people in cars looked at him, but did not stop until a lady in chauffeured driven car stopped and drove him to the police station.

    Imagine the look on an astonished police sergeant behind the desk who saw this very well spoken old lady guide this man who looked more like a tramp, but who possessed a revolver and a number of rounds of ammunition which had never been fired since landing in the tree nine days previously, and present him to the authorities. (the lady was the respected Lady Buckland who lived in the area)

    Josef Markl was immediately interrogated by Royal Air Force Intelligence and was later transferred to an internment camp. He later stated that he was surprised at the coolness of Lady Buckland, the friendliness of the police sergeant and the way that, as a prisoner of war, he was treated. Like many German prisoners they made friends, not only with other prisoners, but with the authorities that kept them there. Many German prisoners have mentioned about the conditions that they had to live under. Naturally there was a certain amount of regimentation, but they were treated fairly, had good food and plenty of freedom.

    http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/document-26.html

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    30th July 1940

    Rslp19400730.gif

    Heavy cloud with rain and poor visibility, unsettled

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). No ops due to bad weather.

    RAF Fighter Command

    Improving weather over the North Sea leads to shipping attacks in the afternoon off the east coast and nuisance raids over Scotland

    Enemy activity was on a much-reduced scale. Reconnaissances were made of shipping and the few raids which penetrated inland only inflicted minor damage. The chief feature was the lack of determination of the enemy to press home attacks. Several times, raids - whether small or large size up to 50 aircraft - turned away when 10-20 miles from the coast when our fighter squadrons were sent up. A meteorological flight took place in the early morning off the Orkneys. Of two other raids plotted, one crossed to Glasgow and dropped bombs near Kilmarnock.

    Two raids occurred off Orfordness, one of which successfully bombed a naval unit. Four other raids were in the Yarmouth-Cromer area flying at about 18,000 feet. One of these raids approached to within 20 miles of the coast and the others to about 50 miles. At about 0603 hrs, a single aircraft crossed the coast at Beachy Head and flew inland via Uckfield, Maidstone, Crowborough, Lingfield, Sevenoaks, East Grinstead and back to Hastings and Abbeville. Bombs were dropped at Mayfield and Hastings. Fighters failed to intercept.

    At about 0900 hours, three raids consisting of 21+ aircraft in all approached Swanage. In each case as the fighters were sent to intercept, the raiders turned away not less than 10 miles from the coast. At about 0945 hrs, No 601 Sqn when on patrol off the Isle of Wight, intercepted a formation and a Bfr109 is a probable casualty. One Hurricane is thought to fall into the sea and the pilot is lost (this is difficult to substantiate and records conflict on this event, no pilots are named that I can see). Between 1100 and 1300 hrs, twenty enemy aircraft approached Portland but turned back when some distance from the coast on the approach of our fighters. No 238 Sqn shot down one Bf109 (confirmed).

    At 1530 hours, eight raids consisting of fifty aircraft assembled in the Bay of Seine and flew towards the Isle of Wight. Three fighter squadrons ordered to patrol at heights between 10,000 - 20,000 feet turned the enemy force which split and flew to within 30 miles of the Isle of Wight whence it returned to its rendezvous area. One raid crossed the coast north of Dungeness and No 65 Sqn shot down one Bf109 (confirmed) off Dover. A force of 24+ aircraft (and probably considerably more) appeared in the Cherbourg area at 1848 hours. The formation was plotted on a 10-mile front, flying in layers at an average height of 16,000 feet. It turned west towards Portland and then broke into separate raids and returned direct to Cherbourg. Squadrons off Portland failed to sight the enemy.

    Two unidentified raids appeared off the Pembroke coast and at 1700 hrs, No 92 Sqn whilst on patrol off this coast, shot down one Ju88 (unconfirmed). Early in the day there were the normal enemy reconnaissances off the French coast bit later, a continuous patrol was kept up, but a few aircraft ventured out to sea. At 2128 hrs, an enemy aircraft was plotted from 12 miles south of Dunkirk to North Foreland, Shoeburyness, Kent and north over Hornchurch and to within 8 miles of North Weald, re-crossing the coast at Mersea Island. It crashed into the sea of Brightlingsea. This raid is reported to have dropped bombs in Kent and Essex. No definite report as to why this enemy aircraft crashed.

    At 2205 hrs, a hostile raid of one aircraft at 10,000 feet was plotted 50 miles east-north-east of Hazeburgh. This raid eventually faded without crossing the coast and was either a meteorological flight or hoping to intercept our out-going bombers. One raid of 2+ aircraft was plotted on patrol from east-north-east of North Foreland to south of Rye. No convoys were in this vicinity.

    Between 2230 and 0100 hrs, enemy aircraft were active over a widespread area. Thirteen raids approached and crossed the coast in the vicinity of Portland, flying north-north-east and some continued to the Bristol area. Bombs are reported to have been dropped without causing serious damage. Ten raids were plotted in the Thames Estuary between Deal and Harwich and the majority appeared to be mine laying. Three raids were plotted near the Tyne in the vicinity of two convoys and were probably mine laying. Seven raids appeared near Aberdeen of which the majority flew over convoys in the vicinity and some mine laying is suspected. Bombs are also reported to have been dropped at Rosehearty, south of Frazerburgh and on Dyce aerodrome, but no damage is reported. Peterhead is reported to have been machine-gunned by low-flying aircraft. Single tracks were also plotted over the coast between the Humber and Whitby and may also have been engaged in mine laying. Bombs fall for the first time on Merthyr Tydfil. Through penetrating cloud and drizzle a Dornier, at 06:04, released 15 HEs onto Norwich which causes considerable damage, killing 10 and injuring 16 residents.

    Additional to other cloud cover attacks over the east, south, Scotland and the Orkneys there was a follow-up anti-shipping foray off Suffolk by Bf110s of Erpro 210 during which one was shot down by 85 Sqn. In the early evening there was a raid on Esher's balloon sites, where the ARP post was hit and bombs were dropped at Chessington, Woldingham, Tolworth and Merstham. Night operations included mining of Liverpool Bay - partly by Fw 200s - and mining of Barry Docks in Wales. At Monmouth 13 HE’s fell and Heysham, Lancashire was another target. A Blenheim from No 219 Sqn based at Catterick airfield, Yorkshire suffered a damaged undercarriage on take-off, it force landed at base at 13.20. Sgts T. Birkett and E.R. Lacey were unhurt, the aircraft was repairable.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 7

    RAF Fighter Command 0

    Westminster: Britain is to extend the naval blockade of ships which may be carrying supplies to Germany to take in virtually all ships crossing the North Atlantic. The Minister for Economic Warfare, Hugh Dalton, told the Commons today that the steps were necessary now that Germany controlled the European coast from the North Cape to the Pyrenees. Neutral countries will be granted "Navicerts" to cover domestic needs, but not for re-export. France and all French Africa are to be designated enemy territory.

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

    goebels.jpg

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

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

    Messerschmitt Bf 110 ‘Zerstörer’ (destroyer)

    BF-110s.jpg

    The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was originally designed as a twin engined fighter. The Messerschmitt 110 first flew in May 1936 and by August 1939, the Luftwaffe had 159 110Cs available for the blitzkrieg attack on Poland.

    The Battle of Britain revealed the Bf 110's fatal weaknesses as a daylight fighter against single-engine aircraft. A relatively large aircraft, it lacked the agility of the Hurricane and Spitfire and was easily seen. The World War I era Bristol Fighter had done well with a rear gunner firing a rifle-calibre machine gun, but by World War II, this was insufficient to deter the eight-gun fighters facing the Bf 110. Its size and weight meant that it had high wing loading which limited its manoeuvrability. Furthermore, although it had a higher top speed than contemporary RAF Hurricanes, it had poor acceleration.

    Me-110-U8+BB.jpg

    However, it was unique at the time as a long-range bomber escort, and did not have the problems of restricted range that hampered the Bf 109E. Although outclassed, it was still formidable as a high escort for bombers using the tactic of diving upon an enemy, delivering a long-range burst from its powerful forward-facing armament, then breaking contact to run for it. But whereas the Bf109 was a match for the Spitfires and Hurricanes, the 110 was not. That lack of manoeuvrability against the two main RAF fighters was one thing, but it also presented a bigger target. With just one rear firing machine gun, it proved an easy pickings for a Spitfire or Hurricane attacking from the rear. 120 Messerschmitt 110’s were lost in August1940 alone. No longer viewed as a fighter after the Battle of Britain, other roles were found for the 110. It proved a success as a fighter-bomber, reconnaissance plane and a night fighter. In all, 6,050 Messerschmitt 110’s were built.

    messer7.jpg

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    31st July 1940

    Rslp19400731.gif

    Fair all over the country with temperatures slightly above average. Slight rain in the midlands and the North Sea. The day dawned as a typical summers day with clear skies and higher temperatures and even a number of people braved the consequences and a number of seaside resorts reported bathers on many of their beaches!

    RAF Bomber Command

    No Ops

    RAF Fighter Command

    Hazy conditions generate many lone aircraft operations but generally enemy activity was on a reduced scale in the morning; this may have been partly due to the lack of cloud cover when operations were attempted on the South Coast, but it was also noteworthy that enemy aircraft not infrequently turned away as soon as our fighters were sent to intercept.

    The first combat operation of the day was at Plymouth at 0855hrs when it not Fighter Command that were involved, but a Short Sunderland flying boat of the 10 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force based at Mount Batten. It was flying escort to the merchant cruiser Mooltan that was departing Plymouth after a refit. Three and a half hours out of Plymouth the Sunderland sights a Ju 88 and intercepts and providing the necessary cover for the Mooltan. The German bomber breaks off the engagement and departed the scene

    Other successful interceptions, were made, resulting in one Ju88 and one Do215 being regarded as probable casualties off Dungeness and the Isle of Wight respectively, and one Me109 being shot down near Dover. Reconnaissances of shipping took place off the Cornish coast eastwards to the Straits. A "special" convoy was particularly investigated, and, as an addition to the escort, two extra sections were detailed to reinforce, resulting in the Do215 being shot down (unconfirmed) by No 1 Sqn (Hurricanes). Later, a raid of fifteen aircraft approached Dover and in the subsequent combats No 74 Sqn shot down one Bf109, but the RAF lost two Spitfires. No 64 Sqn, also detailed to intercept, did not make contact.

    At 0635 hrs a raid appeared off Berck and made for Dungeness, it was intercepted by No 111 Sqn (Hurricanes). At 1700 hrs the Dover Balloon Barrage was attacked. Various other raids originating in the Calais-Gris Nez areas approached, but as in previous days, turned away on seeing our fighters. At no time did these aircraft come nearer than 5 to 10 miles off the English coast. At about 0615 hrs a raid approached a convoy off Harwich without attacking it but bombs are reported to have been dropped near four ships off Lowestoft and near a naval unit in Yarmouth Roads. Three sections despatched at various times failed to make contact. Activity in the North East was confined to three meteorological flights off the North Scottish coast. Numerous tracks were plotted off Cherbourg, Calais and Boulogne, but only a small proportion ventured far from the French Coast.

    Clear night conditions permitted mine laying from Berwick to the Thames Estuary and about fifty aircraft appear to have been involved. Enemy activity was generally on a heavier scale and raids occurred in most parts of the country south and east of a line Liverpool to Newcastle during the night. One enemy aircraft is reported shot down into the sea at about 0015 hrs by No 29 Sqn (Blenheims), between North Coates and Spurn Head. Many raids proceeded from the Channel Islands and Cherbourg, crossing the coast and proceeding north and west to the South Wales area. Bombs are reported at Monk Nash, south-east of Swansea. An unplotted raid appeared from the west over Milford Haven. A procession of raids, which appeared to emanate from Le Havre area, crossed the coast between Beachy Head and Shoreham, and proceeded to the Thames area. There are reports of bombing at north-east of Hornchurch near Shoeburyness, Southminster, near Southend, near Brentwood, Rochester, Croydon, Rochford, near Gravesend, near Ipswich, near Wattisham and near Martlesham. One hostile raid first appeared south of Liverpool as a sound plot and passed south via Bristol Channel over the coast in the Portland area. Another hostile raid was first plotted flying west of Liverpool Bay. Only a few plots were obtained of this raid.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 4 or 5 (depending on source)

    RAF Fighter Command

    Sgt W.W.Thompson of 234 Sqn crash landed his Spitfire P9365 at St Eval at 01:00hrs while on night patrol, he was unhurt.

    P/O R.S.Don of No 501 Sqn baled out and was injured at 19:00hrs in his Hurricane P3648. He had been in combat with a Bf 109 over Dover

    Sgt F.W.Eley of No 74 Sqn was shot down and killed over Folkestone at 16:00hrs in his Spitfire P9398. He had been in combat with a Bf 109 from IV Gruppe of JG 51.

    P/O H.R.Gunn of No 74 Sqn was shot down and killed over Folkestone at 16:00hrs in his Spitfire P9379. He had been in combat with a Bf 109 from IV Gruppe of JG 51. H.R.Gun is buried at Oostende New Communal Cemetery. He was aged 27.

    SUMMARY FOR JULY

    By the time that the Battle of Britain officially commenced, the embarrassment of the withdrawl of the B.E.F from France and the success of the subsequent evacuation from Dunkirk had almost been forgotten. Once Germany had marched into Paris and France had fallen, it was a case of which way would Hitler order his armies. Hitler had his eyes on Russia as well, this was his prime target even though Germany had earlier signed a non-aggression pact with them.

    Churchill was correct, Hitler decided that he would attempt to make an invasion of Britain, a country that he stated that he had no argument with. The month started rather quietly, with the Luftwaffe making numerous sorties along the southern and eastern coastlines mainly of reconnaissance value. The first major raid was on the naval base at Portland but this was just prior to July 10th. It was on this day that the Luftwaffe made their plan of attack known. They were going to attack all British shipping in the Channel and in doing so attempt to draw Fighter Command into the air and wage combat over the Channel.

    Throughout most of the month, it seemed that the Luftwaffe were content on attacking convoys in the Channel and an occasional town along the coast. Night activity seemed to be devoted to minelaying along the east coast, the south coast and even off the welsh coast. It was not until July 24th that the Luftwaffe got close to London when it attacked shipping in the Thames Estuary, but a single Ju88 did manage to get through and bomb the aircraft factory at Brooklands. Most of the attacks were spasmodic with the weather taking control on most days and determining many of the Luftwaffe raids.

    In general, the attacks on the Channel shipping would not only disrupt the food and raw materials that Britain relied upon, but Göring was hoping that Fighter Command would be drawn into combat over the Channel, but Keith Park could foresee this and would not be tempted. But the Luftwaffe was to sustain a high casualty rate even so. Where Göring thought that he could wipe out the Royal Air Force in a matter of weeks meant that he had to do more serious thinking. The figures below show that the Luftwaffe casualties were more than twice that of the R.A.F.

    CASUALTIES FOR JULY

    RAF Fighter Command

    Hurricane: 33 destroyed 17 damaged

    Pilots: 23 killed, 0 missing, 11 wounded

    Spitfire: 34 destroyed, 24 damaged

    Pilots: 25 killed, 0 missing, 9 wounded

    Blenheim: 4 destroyed, 1 damaged

    Crew: 9 killed, 0 missing, 1 wounded

    Defiant: 6 destroyed, 1 damaged

    Crew: 10 killed, 0 missing, 2 wounded

    TOTAL AIRCRAFT: 77 destroyed, 43 damaged

    TOTAL PERSONNEL: 67 killed, 0 missing, 23 wounded

    Luftwaffe

    Dornier Do 17: 39 destroyed, 13 damaged

    Personnel: 30 killed, 74 missing, 19 wounded

    Heinkel He 111: 32 destroyed, 3 damaged

    Personnel: 52 killed, 85 missing, 6 wounded

    Junkers Ju 88: 39 destroyed, 11 damaged

    Personnel: 52 killed, 67 missing, 11 wounded

    Junkers Ju 87: 13 destroyed, 11 damaged

    Personnel: 10 killed, 12 missing, 3 wounded

    Messerschmitt Bf 109: 48 destroyed, 14 damaged

    Personnel: 17 killed, 14 missing, 13 wounded

    Messerschmitt Bf 110: 18 destroyed, 4 damaged

    Personnel: 13 killed, 17 missing, 2 wounded

    Other: 27 destroyed, 1 damaged

    Personnel: 19 killed, 33 missing, 15 wounded

    TOTAL AIRCRAFT: 216 destroyed, 57 damaged

    TOTAL PERSONNEL: 193 killed, 302 missing, 69 wounded

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    The face of Britain is being transformed by the war as a massive effort gets under way to ensure that the country is not starved into submission. From rural hills to suburban gardens, "digging for victory" has become a patriotic duty. Barely one-third of the nation's was produced at home when the war began - and Hitler knows it, boasting that his U-boat blockade will bring Britain to its knees. Rationing should mean that less food is consumed, but equally important is the campaign to produce more food at home. Land traditionally used for grazing, such as the Downs in southern England, is now being ploughed up to produce cereal crops such as wheat or potatoes. Arable land is expected to increase by 14% this year.

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    Government money is being pumped into agriculture in order to guarantee prices and because the rural depression of the 1930s left most farmers with too little money to finance tractors, milking machines and fertilizers required to boost output quickly. Although farms form the frontline of this campaign, flowers are being replaced by vegetables in gardens, and allotments are appearing in commons and parks.

    British fighter production is 50% above the target figures. 1,200 aircraft have been produced since May 1st 1940. The gap with the Luftwaffe is closing.

    raf.jpg

    The Spitfire factory in Castle Bromwich.

    "We may therefore, be sure that there is a plan, perhaps built up over years for destroying Great Britain, which after all has the honour to be his main and foremost enemy."

    Winston Churchill July 1940

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    1st August 1940

    Rslp19400801.gif

    Low lying mist early in the day. Fair for the rest of the day, clouding over in the evening.

    General weather outlook for August 1940:

    Very dry with above average sunshine and slightly below normal temperatures.

    High pressure over, or to the west of, the British Isles, dominated the weather throughout the month. It was warm at first and the temperature exceeded 26°C. on the 4th. However, winds from the northwest or north gave many rather cool days with cloudy afternoons. Showers produced over 1mm of rain on the 10th, and at the end of the third week there were several cool, cloudy and breezy days with a little rain. On the 23rd, the afternoon temperature only reached 16.5°C.

    General operations outlook for August 1940

    During the first few days of August 1940 the pilots of both the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe were taking each day as it came, and one day was not that different as the day previous. Up until now it appears that Germany had no real plan of action, Goering, Raeder, Kesselring and Hitler all had their own ideas regarding the preparation of an invasion of England and likewise the time that it should take place.

    Not being stretched to any sort of limits the pilots had periods when they had time to themselves, pilots of Fighter Command usually having two days on duty and one day off, while those on standby saw only a few scattered operational combats, most of these were over the Channel with the Luftwaffe content on attacking the British convoys that were constantly plying the Channel route. Bomber Gruppes were quite content on mine laying duties along the eastern and southern coastline of Britain, while usually during the hours of darkness, the odd Heinkel or Junker's penetrated inland to bomb a factory or industrial target.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley) .Bombing - oil refinery at Dusseldorf. 58 Sqn. Seven aircraft. One returned early, four bombed primary, one bombed an alternative target. 102 Sqn. Eight aircraft. Five bombed primary, three bombed alternatives.

    RAF Fighter Command

    The morning period was exceptionally quiet, but thick overnight mist in low lying regions aborted most of the mine laying that the Luftwaffe usually carried out during the hours of darkness. But a Spitfire from one of the Photographic Reconnaissance Units, on patrol over the north of France notices heavy aircraft concentration at Cherbourg. He circles round capturing the airfield on film and heads back to base. Fighter Command are notified at once of the build up, and they decide that the German held airfield should be bombed before they are committed in any offence against Britain. It was not until the afternoon that the major engagement of the day took place in the Straits, off Dover. RAF fighters shot down seven enemy aircraft at a cost of two Spitfires. Other raids approached shipping and ports on the south and west coasts, either doing no damage or retiring before our fighters could intercept. At 1029 hours, one aircraft was plotted 15 miles north-east of Montrose but a section of fighters sent to investigate did not make contact. At 1522 hours, a further raid was plotted in this area.

    At 0640 hrs, a raid was plotted out of Cherbourg in the direction of Plymouth but our fighters failed to make contact. At 1110 hours, a raid of three aircraft was plotted from Baie de la Seine to Swanage, where sound plots were recorded overland. Fighters were despatched without effect and the raid eventually faded south in mid-Channel at 1250 hrs. Another raid approached Portland with no results and no interception. At 1237 hrs, three aircraft appeared 15 miles north of Cherbourg and approached Bournemouth. No contact was effected. At 1204 hrs, a large number of aircraft assembled and circled over the Calais-Boulogne district and then set course for Dover. When the enemy aircraft had reached a position half way across the Straits they turned back to the French coast where they gradually dispersed. At 1335 hrs, five raids involving approximately 100 aircraft, crossed the Straits and were engaged by four Squadrons of fighters off Dover. No 74 Sqn accounted for three Bf109s (confirmed) with the loss of two Spitfires. No 41 Sqn shot down two Bf109s (confirmed) and No 11 Sqn shot down two He59s (confirmed).

    At 1552 hrs, one raid was plotted 40 miles south of Dungeness to within 30 miles of Selsey Bill where it turned south-east and faded in the Le Havre area at 1630 hrs. At 1708 hrs, two raids involving 9+ aircraft where plotted flying east from the direction of Portland. These raids turned north and approached Swanage, but retired on approach of RAF fighters. Another raid originated over Portsmouth and faded in Baie de la Seine without interception. At 1735 hrs, a "help" signal was received by a convoy near Milford Haven; fighters were despatched without result.

    At 0620 hrs, a hostile aircraft approached Cromer but was not intercepted.At 1424 hrs, a possible meteorological flight was plotted sixty miles east of Haisboro flying north-west. At 1503 hrs, another raid was plotted eighteen miles east of Bawdsey and faded over Foreness. At 1600 hrs, a raid of 1+ was plotted fifty miles east of Mablethorpe, turned south and appeared to orbit in an area about fifty miles east of Cromer. A "help" signal was received from the naval unit which this raid had attacked. At 1853 hrs, a hostile reconnaissance of 3+ aircraft started from Dunkirk and flew to within fifteen miles east of Lowestoft where it turned south on the approach of our fighters and faded inland of Gris Nez. The aircraft appeared to return to St Inglevert. At 1948 hrs, seven raids assembled in the Gris Nez area and at one time one of these raids was plotted at not less than 40 aircraft on a ten-mile front at 30,000 feet. Six squadrons were detailed to meet this attack, which, however, did not materialise.

    The usual patrols were flown over the Calais-Boulogne area. There was considerable enemy activity in most areas. The main feature of the earlier part was the intense activity of the minelaying type from the Thames Estuary to the Humber, extending later as far north as Aberdeen. Inland raiding over the south and east coasts was very pronounced and nearly all areas of England, Scotland and Wales were involved. By 0130 hrs, raids were mostly withdrawing and at 0145 hrs the country was clear north and east of a line from Chester to London. By 0245, all inland raids had withdrawn to the coast.

    During the night about 150 hostile, or "X" tracks were plotted. Bombs were reported to have been dropped in the following places: - Edinburgh district, Perth, Rochford, Tyne, Thames Estuary, Crewe, Newcastle, Alnwick, Hungerford, Staplehurst, near Long Eaton, Holywell (Flintshire), Sealand, north of Gatwick aerodrome, Edenbridge, west of Beachy Head, north-east of Maldon (Essex), Glenkindie, near Sittingbourne, Seaford, near Neath, Brixham, Shaeftesbury, near Lydd, south of Colchester, Otmore (Vivinity), Lichfield, near Derby, Salford, near Swansea and other locations in South Wales. At Staplehurst a searchlight post was bombed and put out of action. Fighters were despatched in some instances but results are not reported. An enemy aircraft is reported to have crashed at Wooton Hill (4 miles south-west of Newbury) at 0200 hrs. Occupants baled out and were still at large

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 5 or 9 (depending on sources)

    RAF Fighter Command

    S/Lt I.H.Kestin of No 145 Sqn was shot down and killed at15:00hrs. He was on patrol in his Hurricane P3155 South of Hastings and was hit by return fire from a Heinkel Hs 126

    S/L P.E.Drew of No 236 Sqn (Thorney Island) was killed on the along with his gunner F/O B.Nokes-Cooper of the Blenheim N3601 during an attack on Querqueville, France at 17:15hrs.

    P/O B.M.McDonough was an Australian flying with No 236 Sqn (Thorney Island) in Blenheim's during the Battle of Britain. He was killed along with the gunner F.A.P.Head of the Blenheim IV R2774 during an attack on Querqueville at 17:15hrs.

    Blenheim Mk IV

    1939-5910-5-B-Blenheim-IV.jpg

    The Blenheim was a light/medium bomber remarkable for its speed. The maximum speed of the original Blenheim I was 285 m.p.h. which was quicker than the pre-war fighters. The Blenheim was an all-metal monoplane of stressed-skin structure, powered by two Bristol Mercury radial engines. The three-crew bomber was defended by armaments of one .303 Browning machine gun and a Vickers K gun sited in a half-revolvable dorsal turret. As a bomber it could carry up to 1,000 lb of weapons. The Blenheim I was modified for service as a night-fighter. An extra pack of four Browning machine guns were fitted beneath the bomb-bay position and an airborne interception radar was also added. The stub-nosed bomber helped defend against enemy night attacks following the Battle of Britain it flew not only from Britain, but also in the Western Desert. The Blenheim IV was built with more powerful engines Bristol Mercury XV radials of 920 h.p., compared to the Mercury VIII at 840 h.p. Altogether 1,930 Blenheim IVs were produced

    Crew of 3

    Span 56ft 4ins

    Length 42ft9ins

    Height 12ft 10 ins

    Engines Two 920 h.p. Bristol Mercury XVI radials

    Maximum speed 266mph. at 11,800 ft

    Armament Five .303 Browning machine guns

    1,000 lb bomb load

    Normal range 1,950 miles (maximum)

    Service ceiling 31,500

    Weight empty 9,8001b

    Weight loaded 14,400 lb

    114sqnblenheim4.gif

    Note:

    A very good friend of mine (now 87) was a navigator/gunner on the Blenheims IV’s of 114 Sqn during the war but did not take part at the time of The Battle Of Britain. He joined a little later in the WW2 being stationed at West Raynham, near Fakenham up until November 1942 when he was transferred. He was mainly engaged in night-intruder strikes against enemy airfields, making attacks on airfields at Bonn, Vechta, Twente, Ardorf and Leeuwarden in connection with the 1,000-bomber raids on Cologne, Essen and Bremen. Much of the inspiration for this part of the diary has come from his recollections

    Frustrated with Churchill's continued unwillingness to accommodate him, Hitler prepared to bend Britain to his will. An invasion necessitated the Luftwaffe achieving air superiority over the Channel and southeast England. After the French capitulation the Luftwaffe rushed to move into French airbases along the Channel and opened new fields. Führer Directive 17 issued on the 1st August 1940 ordered the Luftwaffe to "overpower the English air force with all the forces at its command in the shortest possible time" and he orders an intensification of the air war from 5th August. Luftwaffe chief Herman Göring flush with one spectacular victory after another was convinced that this could be accomplished in the timescale.

    The Luftwaffe was not a strategic, but a tactical force. This weakness would become apparent for the first times in the skies over Britain. Hitler was furious and the Reich Marshal disgraced. It would be the first German defeat of the War. Hitler dismissed its importance as his focus was already on the East. Although not apparent at the time, it was a defeat of epic proportions. The British would eventually open 1,000 air bases and the Americans build more than 400 additional fields. From these British bases, the Allied would methodically demolish German cities. The tonnage of bombs would dwarf what the Luftwaffe dropped on Britain. The Luftwaffe's failures forced Hitler to "postpone" Operation Sea Lion

    OKW issues Führer Directive #17:

    In order to establish the necessary conditions for the conquest of England, air and sea warfare will be intensified against the English homeland.

    (i) The Luftwaffe is to overpower the RAF with all the forces at its command. The attacks are to be directed primarily against flying units, their ground installations, and their supply organizations. The aircraft industry (including anti-aircraft production) should also be targeted.

    (ii) After local air superiority is won, the air war will continue against ports and stores of food and provisions. Damage to ports on the south coast must be minimized in view of our future operations.

    (iii) Attacks on enemy warships and shipping may be reduced in order to concentrate on above mentioned operations. Operations should be carried out such that air support can be called upon for urgent naval activity, or an invasion, at any time.

    (iv) The Führer reserves the right to order terror attacks as measures of reprisal.

    (v) Intensified air and sea operations should begin on or after 5th August, weather permitting.

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    Thanks PTFD. It's become a mission to get this stuff down as I didn't realise how much info is out there and how much there is to write for each day. Still a long way to go and it's becoming a poignant reminder to me, of young lives lost for the freedom we enjoy today.

    I'l give full acknowledgement to all the sources (web and book) at the end!

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    2nd August 1940

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    Similar to the previous day, fine in the north and west but low cloud persisting over the Channel with rain and mist in the Thames Estuary and Dover areas.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - oil refinery at Salzbergen.10 Sqn. Seven aircraft. Two returned early, five bombed primary. Weather bad, opposition severe. 51 Sqn. Eight aircraft. Seven bombed primary. Weather bad, opposition severe.

    RAF Fighter Command

    A generally quiet day, mostly because of very low cloud and drizzle over much of the southern part of the country but there were a few shipping convoys in the Channel and along the east coast that were attacked. One of these was on the east coast and one small ship was sunk. The Luftwaffe made scattered bombing attacks, but no serious damage was recorded. One attack was made on an area near to the Forth Bridge in Scotland. while Halton and Christchurch in Hampshire suffered small bombing raids. Mine laying and reconnaissance along the east coast continued and a number of German bombers failed to return from their missions, while most of the RAF casualties were non combat related. One Spitfire was destroyed as the pilot crashed on take off at Hornchurch, a Hurricane of 504 sqn (Castletown) came in too fast and it flipped over on landing. Then a Blenheim of 219 Sqn (Catterick) overshot the runway and needed minor repairs.

    The most interesting and unusual event of the day was the attack on the steamship Highlander. See the story below.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 4

    RAF

    SawyerHC.jpg

    Squadron Leader Henry Cecil 'Sam' Sawyer of No 65 Sqn was killed on taking off just before midnight for night patrol from Hornchurch, He was not very experienced at night flying in the and was probably blinded by the glare from the exhaust and climbed too steeply. He stalled and crashed his Spitfire R6799, which was burned out. He was only 25 and had been with the squadron for just a matter of weeks

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    Squadron Leader H C Sawyer is depicted here flying his 65 Sqn Spitfire R6799 (YT-D) in the skies above Kent on 31st July 1940. Chasing him is Major Hans Trubenbach of 1 Gruppe, Lehrgeschwader 2 in his Messerschmitt Vf109E-3 (Red 12). The encounter lasted eight minutes with both pilots surviving.

    The odd thing here is that in the official Spitfire production archives the plane is registered as N3128 - written off this day by Sawyer. In operational records for 610 Sqn, N3128 was still flying on the 12th August!!

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    219 Squadron (Catterick) A Blenheim overshot the runway at Leeming during practice landings without flaps at 1515hrs. The undercarriage was deliberately raised to avoid running into the Great North Road. P/O W.G.M. Lambie and Sgt R. Bell were unhurt, the aircraft was damaged but repairable.

    Southern England: German bombers drop leaflets detailing Hitler's August peace proposals.

    demsgun1.jpg

    Remains of a German Aircraft shot down by a DEMS Gunner, unloaded from the deck of the coastal steamer 'SS Highlander'

    British pluck combined with readiness for instant action has never been better illustrated than by the stirring narrative of the coastal steamer Highlander, of 1,220 tons. Incidentally, it set up two records, one of which is likely to stand unchallenged, for her master, bringing his vessel safely into port, brought with him all that remained of a German aircraft (Heinkel He-115) which was still lying where it fell on the ship’s stern. Captain William Giflord was the particular hero of the exploit.

    The Highlander was passing along the East Coast, about three and a half miles from land, just before mid night, when the sound of a ‘plane flying low was heard. This might have been British, as at first was thought, but the master was taking no chances. The ship’s two light guns were manned and speed increased. In a few minutes the ‘plane disclosed its nationality. Machine-gun bullets swept the steamer’s superstructure, riddling the funnel and deck fittings and piercing the side. There were no casualties. The ‘plane passed astern, circled, and then returned for a second attack, at still closer range. The Highlander opened fire upon the attacker as he came on, and probably a shot reached the pilot, for the ‘plane collided with the ship’s port lifeboat, twisted round after the contact, and crashed over her stern. A couple of cranes were demolished, a light gun smashed flat on to the deck, and the two seamen who manned it knocked out—neither, it happened, were seriously hurt. Shedding its port wing, most of which remained on the ship’s deck, the rest of the ‘plane went on for one hundred yards or so, then at great speed hit the water and disappeared. It was a good night’s work, but unfinished.

    The Highlander had started zig-zagging. Within ten minutes there came a second plane, (another He-115) burning her side lights and flying low. Again the Highlander was the target for machine-gun fire, which he returned with interest with her remaining gun. Her bullets were seen to hit the plane. A few moments later it dived into the North Sea with a great splash, a little distance astern. The bag was two enemy planes in ten minutes, a great feat for a small, lightly-armed coasting vessel. There were no survivors from either plane.

    The Highlander was the first merchantman to bring down a German plane with its Lewis guns. The ship was renamed in an attempt to avoid repercussions but it was later sunk by aerial torpedo off Aberdeen, going down with all hands.

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    3rd August 1940

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    There was widespread fog over most of Southern and Eastern England and in the Midlands during the morning. Once this cleared it gave way to heavy low cloud, which was down to 3,500ft in places with restricted visibility.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - oil refineries at Mannheim and Dusseldorf. 77 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Mannheim. All bombed primary. 78 Sqn. Three aircraft to Dusseldorf. One bombed primary, two bombed Mannheim as alternative. Two force land on return.

    RAF Fighter Command

    Activity in general was on a restricted scale, owing to weather conditions which must have made a welcome rest for the pilots of 11 Group. Nuisance sorties include one by a Ju88 which flew so low by Wembury Cliff searchlight site that gunners fired down upon it. RAF fighters made two successful interceptions, shooting down a He111 off Montrose and a Bf110 off Southwold. Attacks were reported on convoys off Orfordness, Clacton and Harwich. 85 Sqn shot down one Bf110, 10 miles east of Southwold at 1532 hrs. Five raids were plotted during the course of the day between Flamborough Head and the Orkneys, one of which was reported to be a meteorological flight. Another of these raids was identified as a He111 and was shot down by 603 Sqn off Montrose at 1212 hrs.

    The usual Calais-Boulogne-Cherbourg enemy patrols were maintained and there were several hostile flights in the direction of the Varne Light Vessel. There were no interception. Enemy activity was on a much reduced scale, no doubt owing to the weather. In the early part of the evening, a raid was plotted over Surrey. A balloon barrage was attacked and bombs were dropped at Esher, Chessington, Woldingham, Tolworth and Merstham. Later, raids originating in the Baie de la Seine, and Cherbourg were plotted in the Plymouth area making for Devon and Dorset coasts and thence inland to South Wales and the Midlands. One or two isolated plots travelled as far north as Colwyn Bay.

    Bombs were dropped at Heysham (five miles south of Lancaster) from a raid plotted as coming in from the west. Other reports of bombs were received from Barry Docks and near Cwm Bargoed, where a railway track was damaged.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 2

    RAF 0

    Josef_Frantisek.jpg

    Sergeant Josef František DFM was the third most successful RAF pilot in the Battle of Britain. A triple ace, Frantisek was credited with 17 kills before his death. Only Eric Lock and ‘Ginger’ Lacey shot down more aircraft during the battle. František, a Czech, fled to Poland when Czechoslovakia was overrun in March 1939. When in Poland, it is generally thought that František joined the Polish Air Force and fought the invading Germans. However, some sources have stated that František fought with other Czech pilots in a separate unit against Soviet forces invading Poland from the east.

    frantisek.gif

    When it became clear that Poland was going to fall, František went to France (via the Middle East and North Africa) and fought with the French Air Force during the invasion of Western Europe in the spring of 1940. He shot down 11 German aircraft and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. František was notorious for being AWOL and flying all types of French aircraft he could get his hands on.

    frantisek1.jpg

    When it became obvious that France was also going to fall to the onslaught of Blitzkrieg, Frantisek went to England. His history becomes confused as ‘Battle of Britain Then and Now’ states that he did not serve in the Polish Air Force in 1938-9 but that a Czech platoon was formed in Poland and he served in the East against invading Soviets. All Czechs who served in this unit and escaped from Poland to UK remained with the Poles since Czech authorities in exile maintained friendly relations with the Soviets. However, the exiled Czech government in London may not have approved of this, as because they were still favourable towards Stalin’s government in Moscow –the story that František may have attacked Soviet forces in late September 1939 would not have been well received. If there were any truth in this, joining 303 Sqn would have avoided any anger – if it ever existed.

    303early.jpg

    In the space of one month František shot down 17 confirmed kills including 9 Bf 109’s. However, his approach to combat caused huge problems for 303 Squadron. Once in combat, František did ‘his own thing’ and failed to fly according to normal squadron rules – observing for others and helping them when necessary. However, his success rate could not be argued with. František could not be grounded because of his success but he could also not be allowed to endanger others in the squadron. Therefore, another pilot took his place when the squadron was flying and František was allowed to fly as a ‘reserve’. Once the Luftwaffe was engaged, František was allowed to go his separate way.

    josef-frantisek-7.jpg

    frantis1.jpg

    From left: Second Lt. Witold 'Tolo' Lokuciewski, Lt. Witold Urbanowicz, Zygmunt Wodecki (squadron doctor - in dark uniform), Sgt. Josef František, F/Lt John Kent (British leader of flight "A") and Lt. Witold Paszkiewicz.

    In this way, 303 went into combat with a cohesive squadron unit but Frantisek was also allowed to continue flying and making kills. František flew where he knew German aircraft would be on their return to France. He was a maverick but his success was recognised when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). George VI presented this to him at Northolt.

    71863C82_F608_7641_F48C447728872656.gif

    Because he effectively flew by himself on one-man patrols, there is an element of mystery about the crash that killed František – even where exactly it took place. Some sources state that he crash-landed at Northolt a result of battle fatigue and physical exhaustion but others that he crashed in Ewell Surrey during a landing approach after a patrol. Reasons for the crash are not known, but according to some theories, he may have been making aerobatic figures to impress his girlfriend. No other pilot witnessed it so the crash was declared as a ‘cause unknown’ he was 27.

    He was posthumously awarded the Virtuti Militari 5th Class (Poland’s highest bravery award) and the Polish Cross of Valour. In 1945, František was posthumously awarded a commission with the rank of lieutenant. No 303 Polish Squadron clocked up the highest allied scores during the Battle of Britain

    30.jpg

    Frantisek’s Hurricane P3975 / RF-U

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    4th August 1940

    Rslp19400804.gif

    Showery in south-east England and Channel. Fine early on elsewhere, cloud was higher with sunny breaks.

    RAF Bomber Command

    4 Group (Whitley). Bombing - oil plant at Sterkrade. 58 Sqn. Five aircraft. All bombed primary. One fighter seen, but no attack.

    RAF Fighter Command

    During the day the main effort was concentrated in two attacks on shipping. At approximately 1100 hrs 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 hrs a large force of about 120 enemy aircraft collected behind Calais and approached a convoy between Dover and Dungeness. Fighter interception by 5 squadrons resulted in 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.

    Further enemy harassing raids took place along the West, South and East coasts. This was especially heavy in the West.

    NewtonAbBombPic1.gif

    15 people were killed on this raid on Newton Abbott, Devon

    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. 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 hrs, 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

    Luftwaffe 10

    RAF

    Sgt J.P.Walsh of 616 Squadron was killed as he spun in his Spitfire N3271 in to the ground from 5,000ft in a practice dogfight near Kirton in Lindsey. The exact cause of the crash is unknown, Walsh was 20 years old and is buried in Harrow Cemetery, Middlesex. The aircraft was a write-off.

    P/O (later Flight Lieutenant) Eric Stanley Lock DSO DFC & Bar

    eric_lock_spitfire_150_150x150.jpg

    Eric Lock was the most successful British-born RAF pilot during the Battle of Britain. By the time of his death in 1941 ‘Sawn Off Lockie’ Lock was a quadruple ace with 21 kills with the majority of these coming during the Battle of Britain. Lock joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1939 and trained as a fighter pilot. By the time that war was declared on September 3rd 1939, Lock was a Sergeant Pilot. Further training led to Lock being given a commission and he joined No. 41 Sqn as a Pilot Officer. He was posted to RAF Catterick in Yorkshire and flew Spitfires. RAF Catterick defended northern industrial towns from attack. These attacks were infrequent and by being based in the north, Lock missed out on the initial stages of the Battle of Britain. Lock gained his first ‘kil’l on August 15th 1940 when he shot down a Bf110 that was escorting a bomber formation.

    On September 3rd No. 41 Sqn was moved south to RAF Hornchurch in Essex. Just two days later on September 5th, Lock shot down two He-111’s as they flew over the Thames Estuary and a Me-109. The following day, Lock became an ace when he shot down a Ju-88. On September 9th, he shot down two Bf109’s and on September 11th a Bf110 and a Ju-88. In total, in one week Lock shot down eight German aircraft. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

    spitfire_mk1_stanley_lock.jpg

    Lock’s success against the Luftwaffe led to a bar being awarded to his DFC when he became a triple ace – just three weeks after receiving his first DFC. His second citation referred to his “great courage†and “coolness in combatâ€. In the same time span he had bailed out of three damaged Spitfires. By mid-October Lock was a quadruple ace – one of just a handful of pilots who achieved this. By the time the Battle of Britain officially ended, Lock was the highest scoring British-born fighter ace. He received a lot of media attention – something he disliked, as he was by nature a shy man.

    aug09battleb.jpg

    On November 17th 1940, Lock was seriously injured when he was shot down by a Bf109. German bullets and cannon shells smashed into the cockpit, injuring Lockie's right arm and both legs. A bullet also knocked the Spitfire's throttle wide open - something that may have saved the pilot's life as the aircraft leapt forward hurtled out of the dogfight at more than 400mph, leaving Eric's attacker standing. The bullet that forced open the throttle had also knocked the lever off, so Lock was alone at 20,000 feet, only able to use his left arm and with no way of slowing down the racing engine. Unable to bale out because of his injuries, he got down to 2,000 feet before cutting his engine and looking for a landing site - Lock crash-landed his Spitfire near RAF Martlesham Heath. Lying in the plane for some two hours, he was found by two patrolling British Army soldiers and carried two miles on an improvised stretcher made of their Enfield rifles and Army issue winter coats. By this point, Lock had lost so much blood that he was unconscious, and hence unable to feel the additional pain of being dropped three times.

    He spent three months in hospital and had fifteen operations to remove shrapnel from his body. During this time in hospital, Lock learned that he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on December 17th 1940. His citation read that Lock had “shown exceptional courage†and “magnificent fighting spiritâ€. It concluded with the point that Lock had acted in “the highest traditions of the serviceâ€. The only time he left hospital during this time was to go to Buckingham Palace to receive his DSO from George VI.

    In June 1941, Lock was promoted to Flying Officer and in the following month to Flight Lieutenant. He was posted to No. 611 Squadron. On August 3rd, 1941, Lock was killed during an attack on a German troop convoy in Pays-de-Calais. In total during World War Two, Lock shot down 26 German aircraft. Neither his body nor his Spitfire have ever been found despite thorough post-war searches of the area

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    5th August 1940

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    Fair in most districts with Straits and Channel overcast. Low cloud dispersing during the day. Warmer.

    RAF Bomber Command

    Bombing oil plant at Sterkrade and Dornier aircraft factory at Wismar. 10 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Wismar. Six bombed primary. Two damaged by Flak. 51 Sqn. Eight aircraft to Wismar. Six bombed primary, one damaged by Flak and force landed at Spurn Point (East Yorkshire) on return. 102 Sqn. Six aircraft to Sterkrade. Four bombed primary, one bombed an alternative target.

    RAF Fighter Command

    Quite a number of enemy aircraft were patrolling the Channel in search of British shipping yet despite the fact that there was ten convoys at sea off Britain during this 24 hours, no Luftwaffe activity was reported against them. It was thought that this was due Germany conserving its forces for the projected invasion of Britain

    65 Sqn (Hornchurch) engaged five Bf109's over the Channel off Dover during the early morning, as did 64 Sqn (Kenley) who were pounced upon by Bf109's over the Channel off the French coast. Trawlers south of Selsey Bill were attacked early in the morning small formations approached Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight, but turned away on the sighting of our fighters. Enemy reconnaissances in the Channel extended to North-West of Cornwall in the afternoon, 41 Sqn (Hornchurch) and 151 Sqn (North Weald) engaged 30+ enemy aircraft over the Channel looking for any shipping that may become targets of opportunity. Several raids of three plus aircraft flew towards Dungeness; one of these raids was intercepted at 1450 hrs by 145 Sqn and one Hs126 and one Ju88 (both unconfirmed) were shot down, the RAF lost one Hurricane.

    Off the East Coast four enemy reconnaissances for shipping were reported during the morning and three calls for help were received from convoys. Unfavourable weather prevented interceptions. In the afternoon following several reconnaissances, a convoy was attacked off Yarmouth and our fighters contacted the enemy successfully. No 242 Sqn shot down one Ju88 (confirmed) and one He111 (unconfirmed). At 1512 hrs bombs were dropped on Norwich by one aircraft. Some damage was done in a railway goods yard and two timber yards were set on fire. The usual tracks were plotted off the coast between Cherbourg and Boulogne.

    Activity has not been heavy, only sporadic raids being plotted. Raids have, however, been over more widespread areas than usual, many parts of the country having been either under red or purple warning at some time during the night. There appears to have been mine laying in the Thames Estuary and off the North-East and Scottish coasts. Some of the raids off the Scottish coast crossed inland and dropped bombs at or near Montrose, Dundee, Haddington, Armadale and Duns. Single raids crossed the East Anglian coast, bombs being dropped near Peterborough, Stradishall and Newmarket. [Enemy aircraft] reached the Midlands, bombs being dropped near Leeds, and penetrated to Sealand, Liverpool and Coventry. One raid, which appeared over Glasgow, passed south over Cumberland. Others passed in over Weymouth towards Bristol and Cardiff areas.

    Other bombs are reported at or near Brighton, Leighton Buzzard, Milford haven, Isle of Grain and Middlesborough. At 0010hrs in Northumberland. Eleven IBs exploded at Fisher Lane Road End (just off the old A.1 near the turn off to Cramlington). One house on fire, extinguished by a fire brigade unit from Gosforth UDC. Several HEs in a field at Seven Mile House Farm (One UXB).

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 6

    RAF

    Sgt. L.R.Isaac of 64 Sqn was shot down and killed in his Spitfire L1029 by a Bf 109 off Folkstone at 08:50hrs.

    Sgt W.H.Maitland-Walker of 65 Sqn wounded in Spitfire P9436 ‘Damaged Cat2 ops’ Cross referencing this one has thrown up the anomaly of Sgt Maitland-Walker who is claimed in some sources as the pilot of this aircraft at the time, but the aircraft, incident and pilot don’t tie up in all records.

    Adolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland

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    Adolf Galland became the commander of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force (General der Jagdflieger) in the war and was considered by men in RAF Fighter Command to have been a skilled and worthy opponent.

    Adolf Galland was born in Westphalia on March 19th, 1912. He developed an early childhood fascination with flight and this led to him building gliders that he flew near his home. At the start of World War Two in September 1939 with the attack on Poland, Galland flew fifty missions. In February 1940, he transferred to Jagdgeschwader 27. The attack on Western Europe once again gave Galland the opportunity to demonstrate his flying skills and he claimed fourteen kills by the time France surrendered.

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    During the Battle of Britain Galland flew 109’s. At the age of twenty-eight he had a reputation as a skilled and experienced combat pilot who was respected by men under his command. In mid-August 1940, Hermann Goering, angered by the lack of success of the fighting units of the Luftwaffe, dismissed the commanders of his Jagdgeschwader’s and replaced them with the younger high-fliers. Adolf Galland came into this category and he was assigned to JG26 Schlageter as Gruppenkommandeur of III/JG26. On September 25th, 1940, Galland recorded his fortieth kill.

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    The failure of the Luftwaffe to defeat Fighter Command ended the Battle of Britain. However, Galland continued to lead JG 26 against the attacks by both bombers and escorting fighters on Nazi targets in occupied Europe. On June 21st, 1941, he was shot down by a Spitfire and slightly wounded.

    In November 1941, now with ninety-four confirmed kills, Goering appointed Galland General der Jagdflieger – commander of the Luftwaffe’s fighter squadrons. This meant that he could no longer fly operationally but in 1942, he flew an early version of the jet-powered Messerschmitt 262 and quickly became a convert as to the plane’s potential.

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    Galland openly criticised Goering for the situation the Luftwaffe had found itself to be in. In January 1945, Galland was relieved of his command and placed under house arrest. He was replaced by Gordon Gollob.

    He was allowed to return to active service and in March 1945, he was given the task of setting up JV 44 – an elite group of fighter pilots. On April 26th1945, Galland was injured when he crash-landed his Me 262.

    Adolf Galland ended World War Two with 103 credited kills after flying 703 missions. Seven of these kills came about flying the Me 262. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross with diamonds, swords and oak leaves.

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    Galland was captured by the Allies on May 14th, 1945. He remained a POW until 1947. His first job once released was to lecture for the RAF on fighter tactics. Galland then worked as a consultant for the Argentine Air Force before returning to Germany in 1955 to establish his own aviation consultancy firm, he died on February 9th, 1996.

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    Galland in his Bf109 with the famous Mickey Mouse insignia he had painted on many of his aircraft.

    "Our method of attack would this time be in far greater numbers than before. We still did not want to engage in aerial combat over English soil because that would mean a shorter stay in actual combat, and we had to make sure that we had enough fuel to get back to our bases. By engaging combat in mid channel it meant that we could dogfight for more than twice the time and not only was it only a short distance back to base, but if we ditched, our rescue would be guaranteed.

    If we attacked in large numbers, then we know that the RAF would detect this and we would draw greater numbers of fighters from their bases, then we would bring in a second wave that would give us an absolute advantageâ€

    Adolph Galland speaking on the onslaught of the August 1940 attacks.

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    6th August 1940

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    Mainly fine in the north but cloudy in the east. Channel cloudy, drizzle in Dover Straits. There were strong winds, and generally fairly heavy low cloud such that even the Luftwaffe decided to stay at home!

    RAF Bomber Command

    No ops recorded

    RAF Fighter Command

    Still reasonably quiet. This day was almost a repeat performance of the previous day. There were some attacks against shipping but until 1630 hours only three tracks were plotted, of which one approached to within 5 miles of Dover. At 1630 hours two raids amalgamated and flew towards Clacton and over a convoy which was well out of its area 10 miles north of Herne Bay. The convoy was bombed but seems not to have been damaged. A fighter squadron did not intercept. Between 1827 and 1853 hours, seven raids concentrated in the Calais - Boulogne area and flew various courses in the Straits of Dover. Four squadrons were detailed but did not make contact. In the Humber, a convoy was reported on by enemy aircraft, but no attack developed. Two sections of our fighters failed to contact. In a raid off Haisborough a section of Spitfires armed with cannon attacked, but lost the enemy aircraft in cloud. This raid ineffectually bombed shipping off Yarmouth.

    Three raids were made in the early evening off the East Anglian coast but soon faded. Between 0700 and 0900 hours enemy patrols were very active in the Gris Nez area. This activity was renewed at about 1200 hours and continued spasmodically throughout the day Activity has not been heavy, although attacks have been widespread. The usual visits were paid to South Wales, coming in over the Weymouth area, and some of these raids penetrated up as far as Sealand, Liverpool and Lancashire. One continued across to Hartlepool, turned back and flew home via Liverpool, Wales and the south coast to Cherbourg, but originated from Baie Seine and Cherbourg itself.

    Several raids crossed in over East Anglia, (searchlight post north of Bury St Edmunds was reported machine-gunned) and penetrated to the Midlands generally. Bombs were reported at Ternhill but the nearest fell 4 miles away from the aerodrome. A raid which crossed in near Beachy Head came north to North Weald and circled the London Artillery Zone. This was later joined by a further raid which came in near the North Foreland, up the Estuary and also circled in the London Artillery Zone. Mine laying is suspected in the Thames Estuary, off East Anglia, Tees to St Abb's Head, Aberdeen and North East coasts. Some raids which flew in over Edinburgh passed over to Glasgow, turned south over Cumberland and flew out east. Several raids of some strength were plotted towards the Orkneys and Shetlands at about 2200 hours.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 1

    RAF

    P/O P.W.Horton a New Zealander of 234 Sqn crashed on landing after a night patrol at St Eval flying Spitfire P9366. He survived the crash.

    A Spitfire from 72 Sqn based at Acklington airfield in Northumberland, crash-landed following an uneventful patrol at 1240hrs. The pilot, Sgt R.C.J. Staples was unhurt but the aircraft was a write-off.

    A Blenheim from 219 Sqn based at Catterick airfield in Yorkshire, collided with HT cables and crashed into a river during a searchlight co-operation flight, Pilot Officer J.C. Carriere and Sgt C. Beveridge, both superficially injured, the aircraft was a write-off.

    The following three Spitfires from No 616 Sqn based, at Leconfield airfield near Beverley in Yorkshire, returned to base, damaged by return fire from the same Junkers Ju 88, engaged twenty miles NE of Flamborough Head at 1700 hrs. One was piloted by S/ L M. Robinson, the second by Sgt M. Ridley and the third by F/O R.O. Hellyer. The pilots were unhurt and the aircraft were repairable.

    The first contingent of airmen from Southern Rhodesia arrived in Britain on the 6th August to add its strength to the increasingly international air force, which is waging war on Germany. The men join not only British and Polish pilots but also airmen from Canada, Australia and New Zealand - not to mention volunteers from Ireland and the USA. Throughout the Empire, towns, islands, colonies and even tribes are donating money for individual planes to the mother country. Soon more airmen will arrive from the colonies to pilot the planes that their fellow countrymen have donated. Already Canada is training hundreds of fighter pilots. More generally, India has 500,000 men under arms; Australasia 225,000; Canada 200,000, and South Africa 80,000.

    Rhodesian airmen would continue to constitute an important part of the Royal Air-Force during the Second World War, supplying at least three Royal Air-Force Squadrons designated “Southern Rhodesianâ€, namely 44 (Bomber) Sqn, 237 (Fighter-Reconnaissance) Sqn and 266 (Fighter-Bomber) Sqn.

    Rhodesian’s who fought in the Battle of Britain

    At least three Southern Rhodesians and one Northern Rhodesian born airmen took part in the Battle of Britain, two were to pay the ultimate sacrifice for “King and Countryâ€.

    Squadron leader Caesar Barrand Hull, D.F.C.

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    Hull joined the Royal Air-Force in 1935. He served with no 43 (Fighting Cock’s) Squadron, and during the very early days of the Second World war, accounted for three He 111’s (one being shot down during the first German raid on Scapa Flow). He then transferred to no 263 Squadron and accompanied the squadron to Norway, flying Gloster Gladiators. Hull was to account for a further five German aircraft, before being wounded while gallantly defending the airstrip and docks at Bodo, which came under attack on the 25th May. Caesar seems to have fallen victim to the German air-ace, Helmut Lent, who would later become a renowned night-fighter pilot, and at the time of his death in 1944, was credited with 110 victories. Invalided back to England, Hull was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his endeavours over the skies of Norway.

    Acting Flight Lieutenant Caesar Barrand Hull, after having shot down an enemy aircraft on May 24th, 1940, two days later relieved the Bodo force form air attack by engaging five enemy aircraft singlehanded. He shot down four of the enemy aircraft and damaged the fifth. The next day, despite heavy air attack on the landing ground, he attacked enemy aircraft in greatly superior numbers until he was wounded and forced to retire.â€

    Upon recovery, Hull then transferred back to his old 43 (Fighting Cock’s) Sqn, as squadron commander, on the 1st September 1940. During the battle, 43 Sqn formed part of No 11 Group, under Air Vice Marshal Keith Park. Hull commanded the Squadron only for a week, and was credited with downing a Bf109 on the 6th September, before tragically succumbing the very next day. He had taken off with R. Reynell, a Hawker test pilot, and probably shot down two Do17s, before rushing headlong to assist Reynell, who was under heavy attack from his axis adversaries. Hull had however used up all his ammunition and, sadly, he and Reynell were both killed. It is difficult to say with certainty how many aircraft he may have shot down, but it is generally thought to have between five and ten aircraft. He was thus the first Rhodesian-born air-ace of the Second World War

    P/O John Allison George (J.A.G.) Chomley 84668

    Just over a month later, the next Rhodesian-born airman to lose his life was P/O John Allison George Chomley, who was killed on air operations while flying with 257 (Burma) Sqn. Chomley joined 257 Sqn on the 7th July 1940 and was shot down on the 12th August 1940, by a German fighter over Portsmouth – he was only twenty-years old at the time of his death.

    F/Lt (later Squadron Leader) J.B. Holderness, DFC..

    Lieutenant John Browning Holderness, who initially served with 1 Sqn, before transferring to 229 Sqn on the 17th October 1940 . Holderness is credited with a Do215, which he accounted for on the 7th September 1940 , the very day his fellow-compatriot, Squadron Leader Caesar Hull, was killed.

    P/O (later Air-Commodore) Lawrence W. Ellacombe, DFC & Bar

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    Lawrence Wemyss Ellacombe, joined the Royal Air-Force in 1939. Ellacombe served during the battle with no 151 Sqn, flying Hurricanes and was stationed at North Weald. Ellacombe accounted for two Heinkels during the battle, but was shot down and badly burnt. He recuperated at Southend General Hospital and St. luke’s Hospital, at Bradford, before re-joining his Squadron.

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    It was no 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron which was the first Bomber squadron to be equipped with Lancaster’s and it was this very selfsame squadron that would account for one of the most valiant and epic bombing missions of the war, the raid on Augsburg in April 1942, the squadron’s commander, South African-born Squadron Leader Nettleton, being awarded the Victoria Cross.

    ‘This officer is a keen and courageous fighter pilot. Although he was severely wounded in the Battle of Britain, Ellacombe immediately resumed operational flying upon recovery. He has carried out numerous flights by night in all weather conditions and he has destroyed 2 and probably destroyed a further 2 enemy aircraft’.
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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    7th August 1940

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    Mainly dull with bright patches. Cloud base 4,000ft. Visibility two to five miles, low cloud and poor visibility was prevalent up to midday

    RAF Bomber Command

    No ops recorded

    RAF Fighter Command

    Enemy activity was again confined to reconnaissances of shipping off the south and south east coast, and only a few raids approached near coasts; of these only two crossed inland. Interceptions were attempted but none were successful. Four raids approached the coast between Swanage and Land's End in the morning and one of these crossed the coast at St Alban's Head. It flew to Bristol and Cardiff by the usual route and returned on the same track. This aircraft is reported to have bombed a trawler, which claims to have shot it down off St Alban's Head. The type is unknown.

    One reconnaissance was made of the Isle of Wight; two tracks were reported south of Beachy Head, and in one case inshore coastal patrols are reported to have been bombed. One track was plotted over Wexford. Reconnaissances were made off Pevensey and Dover in the forenoon, and four raids of 15+ aircraft in all approached Dover at various times in the afternoon, fading before reaching the English Coast. Other indeterminate reconnaissances were made in the Straits, none of which came further than halfway across. Interception was not effected. The East Coast was approached at Harwich, Cromer and Orfordness where a convoy was inspected. Off the Tyne a meteorological flight took place in the early morning.

    Two meteorological flights took place between 1100 and 1600 hrs, one near the Orkneys and one off St Abb's Head. In the late evening a raid was detected 25 miles east of Aberdeen.mVarious tracks were plotted throughout the day mostly in the Baie de la Seine and Cherbourg areas. Although enemy raids were again widespread there does not appear to have been an exceptional number of enemy aircraft involved, since in several instances one aircraft was responsible for a succession of areas to go ‘red7’ At 2135 hrs a raid came in via Southend to North Weald, and a split off this raid turned towards Chelmsford. London Central was "purple" as a result.

    At 2245 hrs the usual activity developed along the East Anglian coast and some raids crossed inland. Similarly the usual raids crossed in over Weymouth area and proceeded to South Wales. As on the previous night some of theses passed on to Crewe, Liverpool, Manchester and Bradford areas. At about 0100 hrs a further raid was sound-tracked on the same course to Crewe and Liverpool. It then turned east to Leeds and flew a track over Digby, North Weald and out over Beachy Head towards a point between Dieppe and Le Havre. Heat fog was reported between the Thames and Duxford, which made interception difficult. Activity between Kinnaird's Head and the Forth was rather heavier than usual, and in addition to mine laying, many raids crossed inland. Other mine laying is suspected in the Thames Estuary, East Anglia and Humber to Berwick. Two raids appeared over the Pembroke area, but few plots were obtained.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe 6

    RAF

    P/O R.A.D.Smith of 616 Sqn was killed while night flying at Leconfield in his Spitfire

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    The quiet of the last few days was an uncanny quiet. Pilots roamed about their dispersal huts doing nothing in particular, reading papers and magazines or playing the odd game of chess or draughts. Occasionally they welcomed a new arrival, as the lull in combat operations allowed Fighter Command to stock squadrons with fresh aircraft and pilots.

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    Three new squadrons are formed, 302 and 303 which were Polish squadrons and 310, which was a Czech squadron and it is this lull in operations that allows Fighter Command to build up its strength. 720 fighter aircraft were now available to squadrons compared with 587 on July 30th and aircrew was now 1,465 compared with 1,200 on July 30th.

    In Germany, Goering was busy preparing for the planned air attacks on England. This could be the reason for limited activity, as more and more squadrons were moved closer to the French coastal airfields. Already on August 6th at Goering's Prussia mansion Karinhall, he had set out plans in the presence of his three Luftflotte commanders and Milch the inspector general of the Luftwaffe.

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    Goering explained that the main thrust would come from Kesselring's Luftflotte 2 operating from bases in north-eastern France, Belgium and Holland. The task of Luftflotte 2 was to concentrate the attacks on the eastern coast of England, the Estuary ports and the south coast. Sperle's Luftflotte 3 would concentrate its activities on an area west of Portsmouth and up into Bristol and South Wales. Goering knew that Fighter Command had bases in the north and in Scotland and that these should not be given any rest. Stumpff's Luftflotte 5 operating from Norwegian bases would attack targets in the north of England, Scotland and in and around the area of Scapa Flow. All Luftflotte's were to attack targets further inland during night operations.

    He explained to his commanders that the bombing of targets was only the second priority, the first priority was still to draw the RAF fighters out into combat and destroy them. "It is imperative that the RAF be destroyed" he told them, "the invasion of England cannot go ahead until England is without its air force, and for this reason, all fighter escorts will be doubled in number and will fly at staggering levels of height."Adlerangriff was beginning to take shape.

    Hermann Goering

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    Goering was born in 1893 and was one of the most senior politicians in Nazi Germany and a close confidante of Hitler. Wary of rivals, Goering did not have a harmonious relationship with the likes of Himmler, Hess and Goebbels who he saw as wanting to steal his power. The devastating impact of planes used during the attack on Poland in September 1939 strengthened his position within the Nazi Party. This continued when Blitzkrieg was launched on Western Europe. However, his power started to wane after the failure of the Luftwaffe to destroy Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. Goering had also publically stated that no enemy bombs would land on Berlin "or my name is not Hermann Goering". When this did happen, it dented his standing in the Nazi Party.

    From 1940 on he fought to keep his power from others. Rather than fight for the same common goal, Goering and his rivals were constantly thinking of ways to extend their power at the expense of others. To what extent this damaged Germany’s ability to fight the war is difficult to assess - but Albert Speer in "Inside the Third Reich" believed it did not do their cause any good.

    Speer also commented in this book that if Goering did not understand a scientific development, he would not give that development his support and reported accordingly to Hitler. Speer claimed that the V weapons could have been ready two years before they were first used in 1944 but for the lack of support from Goering. He also failed to fully understand radar and its implications. The radar base at Ventnor in the Isle of Wight was not attacked during the Battle of Britain simply because Goering did not order it. That one base gave Fighter Command vital reports throughout the Battle of Britain.

    Goering’s behaviour became increasingly bizarre as the war progressed. He was addicted to drugs such as morphine. He became increasingly lazy and fat. His lifestyle became very ostentatious which angered many Nazis who were at least aware that the average German was suffering hardships during the Allied bombing campaign.

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    8th August 1940

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    Fair to fine early. Cloudy with bright intervals at midday, clearing in the evening.

    RAF Bomber Command

    No ops recorded

    RAF Fighter Command

    The quiet of the last few days helped both Dowding and Keith Park as well as the pilots, it enabled the necessary repairs to be made to the many damaged aircraft sustained during the months of June and July. The aircrew enjoyed a more relaxed and enjoyable period of peace and tranquillity, no doubt either in the mess or down at the 'local'. Park told Dowding "it's too quiet, but at least I've managed to re-establish my airfields, but the blighters are up to something". A saying that Park often used.

    Across the Channel, the story was very much the same, as the German pilots rested and relished the quiet, almost balmy situation that precede the orders that were soon to come through from Luftwaffe HQ. Close to the Normandy coast, the Luftwaffe No.2 Wing of the 27th Fighter Group that was based at Crepon were soon to receive news that their peace and tranquillity of the last few days were over and that this day, August 8th the Wing was given orders that they would be placed on 24 hour standby.

    Only three raids were reported in the North and East Coast area during the day, two of which were probably Zenit flights. The third was plotted 50 miles east of Kinnaird's Head, approached to within 15 miles of the of the coast, and then turned back. One raid appeared off Whitby at 1446 hours, proceeded over Thornaby, re-crossed the coast over Flamborough Head, flew over a convoy and faded eastwards.Four raids, all of which faded on the east coast, were reported. Fighters were despatched, and on one occasion they reported seeing a raid but were unable to contact the enemy. Six reconnaissance flights were plotted across Cornwall to the Bristol Channel and South Wales area, and five reconnaissance flights were plotted in the Cornwall and Devon areas searching for shipping and giving weather reports. One unidentified aircraft was detected patrolling for an hour on various courses between seventy and one hundred miles north east of Dunkerry Head. Patrols were detected in the Calais and Dunkirk areas during the day.Widespread fog was reported. Less than half a dozen hostile raids were plotted.

    At about 2300 hours two raids crossed the coast near Immingham; Hull and Grimsby were under "red" warning. At the same time two raids crossed over Harwich, which went up through the Midlands as far as Derby, returned near London (purple), and passed out over the Kent coast having fired the correct signal. A further raid crossed in over East Anglia and appeared to attempt to locate aerodromes in the Cambridge area However, the largest action of the day (and for some time) was just about to start. The 70,000 ton convoy CW9 ‘Peewit’ departed Southend during the morning of 7th August 1940, it contained 20+ freighters and 9 naval escorts. This was to be the first time for two weeks that a merchant convoy was going to attempt passage through the English Channel. As it edged past Dover, hugging the shore slowly heading westwards, the daylight faded. But the German radar Freya had picked them up.

    Under the watchful eyes of the Germans, the large convoy had been seen from Cap Gris Nez and warning messages flashed to the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. At Boulogne, E-Boats were readied and left port in the early hours of the 8th to take up station off Beachy Head to watch and wait for the inevitable convoy. With horrendous suddenness the E-Boat Flotilla was amongst the convoy as it passed Newhaven. Like a pack of wolves into a flock of sheep, the German boats scattered the convoy and mayhem ensued until the E-Boats called off the attack in the gathering light. The rest would be left to the Luftwaffe.

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    RAF Fighter Command could see what was happening through the 'eyes of the defence system' - the radar. On the large table that lay before them, Dowding and Park could see that something was 'brewing', the number that the girl in WAAF uniform placed a large number next to the position in the channel off the French coast. It was a larger number than usual, "I wonder what the bastards are up to" came the remark, "Alert Kenley and Biggin" said Park with enthusiastic authority "we need at least four or five squadrons at least". So the nerve centre at Fighter Command became the height of activity and under the circumstances we shall disturb them no further. What ensued resulted in the heaviest losses witnessed in the war so far. This was followed by an all-out air assault by Luftflotte 3 with dive-bombers of Fliegerkorps VIII intent on destroying the convoy, protected by Bf109’s from JG 27/JG53, and Bf110’s from V/LG1 at Caen.

    Squadrons all along the South were scrambled to protect Convoy Peewit. 41 Sqn down in the south from Catterick, 64 Sqn (Kenley), 65 Sqn (Hornchurch) and 610 Sqn (Biggin Hill) all in Spitfires, scrambled immediately and headed for the Channel to intercept the German formation. Also scrambled were 152 Sqn who having been sent to defend the convoy, clashed with the attacking Bf109s, 110s and Ju 87s in a vicious battle over the channel

    P/O Warren of 152 Sqn’s logbook shows two convoy patrols that day, flying Spitfire P9432, each over 1 hour 50 minutes in the air, with no conclusive combats. However, 145 Sqn Hurricanes intercepted a formation of Ju 87s from StG 1 who lost two and two damaged. A second attack from 60 Ju 87s of I. StG 1, III./StG 2 and III./StG 3 resulted in the destruction of four merchant ships and damaged seven. In exchange three I./StG 3 Ju 87s were lost and another four damaged 145 Sqn claiming 21 definite (although the total was in fact less than half of that) but with 'B' Flight commander, Flt Lt Adrian Hope 'Ginger' Boyd shooting down 5 enemy aircraft. 'Ginger' Boyd was promoted to Squadron Leader when S/L John Peel was wounded on the 8th of August sand later became the first pilot to be made ‘ace in a day’.

    We climbed to 16,000 feet, and looking down, saw a large formation of Ju 87s approaching from the South with Bf 109S stepped up behind to 20,000 feet. We approached unobserved out of the sun and went in to attack the rear Ju 87s before the enemy fighters could interfere. I gave a five-second burst to one bomber and broke off to engage two Bf 109s. There was a dog fight. The enemy fighters, which were painted silver, were half rolling, diving and zooming in climbing turns. I fired two five-second bursts at one and saw it dive into the sea. Then I followed another up in a zoom and got him as he stalled.

    S/L J.R.A Peel 145 Sqn describing the action off the Isle of Wight

    The convoy was decimated, out of the 20 + ships ‘setting sail’, only four made it to Swanage. Sgt Robinson and P/O Beaumont from 152 Squadron being shot down (landing unhurt) by Bf109’s from II/JG53 during the tremendous dog-fighting involving over 150 Luftwaffe aircraft that day.

    The British sailors who died this day were the victims of two aspects of stupidity. Firstly, the coastal convoys, carrying domestic cargoes, were still being sent through the dangerous waters of the Channel (instead of the goods going by railway, as they did later). Secondly, the Admiralty, in spite of endless evidence, refused to allow for the fact that the Germans might have excellent radar.

    Len Deighton ‘Fighter’ 1977

    Everyone, from Hitler down to the Luftwaffe aircrew had their own opinion as to how long it would take to knock out the British and how soon it would be before we could see contingents of German personnel walking the country lanes of the English countryside. Germany had a swift and easy victory in France and it was felt that they would have a similar ambition and success in Britain.

    "For the first time in modern history the people of England are now to feel the full and direct impact of war on their own soil. Their morale is expected to deteriorate in consequence"

    Reich Marshal Herman Goering

    Goering spoke with his Chief of Air Staff Hans Jeschonnek, a forty-two year old who had a sarcastic and facetious attitude that infuriated Generals and officers alike in the Luftwaffe. Jeschonnek was confident of a victory against England and Goering asked him if in his opinion that all out attacks on Britain would be successful and how long he thought it would take to achieve victory. Jeschonnek replied that with the Luftwaffe proven air superiority, the immense strength of the German Panzer Divisions and the combined strength of the German armies that the he though that the air attacks would be successful and that it would only be a matter of about six or seven weeks to complete the invasion.

    Goering knew and understood the British, he knew of their courage and determination and he knew only too well that their strategy must not be underestimated. He replied to Jeschonnek that he very much doubted that they would be walking on English soil with six weeks.

    "You must understand, a German will fight on even if Berlin was totally destroyed, and an Englishman is not to be any easier than a German. No, he will fight on - even if London is destroyed. The British were not like the French who, when we marched into Paris and occupied their capital, simply gave up the struggle to fight for their country. An Englishman is like a wounded bull, he is most dangerous when he is injured"

    Reich Marshal Herman Goering to Luftwaffe Chief of Staff Hans Jeschonnek

    Losses were the worst of the Battle so far for both sides:

    Luftwaffe 16

    RAF

    23 Sqn in Blenheim L1448 C.F.Cardnell and C.Stephens

    43 Sqn in Hurricane P3781, J.Cruttenden and in Hurricane P3468,J.R.S.Oelofse

    64 Sqn in Spitfire P9369, J.W.C.Squier andSpitfire L1039, P.F.Kennard-Davis

    65 Sqn in Spitfire K9911, D.I.Kirton and in Spitfire K9905, N.T.Phillips

    145 Sqn in Hurricane P2955, L.A.Sears, in Hurricane IP2957, E.D.Baker, in Hurricane P3163, E.C.Wakeham and in Hurricane I P3545, F.A.Smith

    152 Sqn in Spitfire R6811, D.N.Robertson

    234 Sqn in Spitfire N3278, J.Szlagowski

    238 Sqn in Hurricane P3823, D.E.Turner, in Hurricane P3617, D.C.MacCaw, and in Hurricane P2947, H.A.Fenton

    257 Sqn in Hurricane P2981, N.M.Hall, in Hurricane I R4094, K.B.Smith, and in Hurricane P3058, B.W.J.D'Arcy-Irvine

    600 Sqn in Blenheim L8665, D.N.Grice, F.J.Keast and J.B.W.Warren

    A terrible day

    It was back on August 1st that Hitler had issued his Directive No.17 stating that the Luftwaffe shall use all its forces to destroy the British air force, the exact date being left to the Luftwaffe who shall take preparations and the weather into consideration. The word that was given to the operation of destroying the Royal Air Force was Adlerangriff meaning "Attack of the Eagles" and the day that the operation would commence was to be known as Adler Tag meaning "Eagle Day."

    As soon as Goering received word that he had been placed in charge of Adlerangriff all the necessary arrangements were made at once, meetings were called to plan operations, and more and more Bf 109's were moved closer to the Calais region. The final meeting of the Generals took place on August 6th where they were informed of Goering's plans, and it was on this day, August 8th 1940 that he issued the official order that the first phase of the invasion of Britain was about to begin. All our Gruppes are ready, all our attacking and defence forces are in place, "The Day of the Eagle" has come. The following order was issued to all commanders and officers.

    FROM REICHSMARSCHALL GOERING............... TO ALL UNITS OF LUFTFLOTTES 2, 3 & 5, OPERATION ADLER. WITHIN A SHORT PERIOD YOU WILL WIPE THE BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE FROM THE SKY..........HEIL HITLER.

    With most of the German messages and directives being intercepted with the use of 'enigma' it was not very long before the staff in the filter room at Fighter Command HQ were busy decoding the scrambled assortment of letters. Within the hour it was on Hugh Dowding's desk at Bletchley Park, at the offices of the Air Ministry and in the hands of Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the War Cabinet Rooms in Whitehall. The only question now was, how long was this short period to be.

    When Reichmarschall Goering delivered his message, the date of August 10th was in his mind. But for the following few days the natural enemy of both sides, the weather, was to delay any major assault on Britain until August 13th, but even then, no commencement could be made until midday when the weather cleared enough. It was not until August 15th that any major attack could be made, and Goering sends across the Channel the concentrated numbers of bombers and fighters that he wanted to open what was to be known as "Adler Tag" - Eagle Day.

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    Very few naval messages were read during this period due to the more rigerous methods used in naval cyphers. As far as the Army Airforce enigma traffic, Bletchly park was still using very user specific methods to break into cypher network traffic. At this time decrypting methods were trying to bring in new blood and thus many inexperienced operators were working in the signals intercepts. As a result few messages were being read in anything like 'near real time'. Delays were more likely measured in days, not hours...that would not happen until later in the war.

    Source "Battle for the code", Hugh Sebag-Montefiore.

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    9th August 1940

    Rslp19400809.gif

    Weather, cloud and rain. Bad weather caused the postponement of many planned operations on both sides.

    RAF Bomber Command

    Bombing - aluminium works at Ludwigshaven. 77 Sqn. Nine aircraft. Seven bombed primary. 78 Sqn. Five aircraft. Four bombed primary, one bombed an alternative. One damaged by Flak. One fighter seen but no attack.

    RAF Fighter Command

    In the Channel there was just the odd reconnaissance flight by both sides but as the days wore on it was decided that getting back to base and enjoying a few good ales would be more constructive. The Luftwaffe attacked east coast shipping and Dover balloons. Heavy raids on Bournemouth and Salisbury.

    Bombs fall for the first time on Birkenhead, Cheshire. In South Shields, one High Explosive bomb fell in a garden at the back of Lawe Road near Pearson Street. Four people in an Anderson Shelter 10 feet from the crater were uninjured. One Home Guard was killed by machine-gun fire. No casualties from the bomb.

    At 1140hrs in Sunderland, four people were killed and seventy-eight injured, when a shipyard (Laing's), a railway bridge, some residential property (in Bonners Field) and Monkwearmouth Station Hotel was hit when bombing took place over Sunderland at by a Heinkel He 111H of KG 26, dropping 14 bombs over shipbuilding and railway facilities, it then fell into the sea off Whitburn at 1152hrs after an fighter attack from 79 Sqn. The crew were picked by a RN patrol boat, two of the crew were injured and two were unhurt.A Heinkel He 111H was shot down by AA gunfire during operations near Flamborough Head. The aircraft and the crew, listed as missing. By dawn in total 190 HE’s had fallen in 24 hours, killing 7 and injuring 100

    Luftwaffe 5

    RAF

    F/L S.P.le Rougetel flew with 600 Sqn. That night his Blenheim suffered engine failure but to compound his problems, he came under fire from British AA fire. He and his radar operator/gunner Sgt E.C.Smith baled out of the Blenheim BQ-O L8679 over the Channel. They were both safe but Smith had to swim ashore at Westgate.

    Sgt.R.D.Ritchie of No 605 Sqn in his Hurricane L2103 died when he crashed into the sea 1 mile off Dunbar at 1645hrs after the aircraft had glycol leak. A boat picked him up but his neck was found to be broken. R.D.Richie was 24 years old.

    Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-401-0240-20%2C_Flugzeug_Heinkel_He_111.jpg

    The Henkel He 111 was one of the primary bombers used by the Germans during the Blitz. The Heinkel 111 first flew in 1936 as an airliner for Lufthansa, theHe111 prototype nevertheless had provision for three gun positions and a 2,200lb (1,000kg)-bomb load. Early versions featured a conventional 'stepped' cockpit and nose section and were used. The civilian variety was to be capable of carrying ten passengers throughout Western Europe. By 1937, the military version of the Heinkel 111 could carry 1700 kg of bombs, though later versions could carry over 2000 kg of bombs.

    britishshippinghe111.jpg

    In 1938, a new version of the He111, the He111P began to leave the production lines and featured a completely redesigned wing and nose with extensive glazing and off-set to improve pilot visibility and this was to become the trademark of the type for the remainder of its service As with so many new German planes, the 111 was tested out in the Spanish Civil War.

    In the initial stages of the Battle of Britain, Hurricanes and Spitfires found that the 111 was an easy target if they could get amongst a bomber formation - many German units were flying the He111H which suffered from inadequate firepower when attacked. Messerschmitt 109’s and 110’s were meant to give bomber formations protection, but if this shield was broken or if fighters low on fuel had to return to France, then the Heinkel 111 became a very vulnerable target.

    he111-3.jpg

    During the Blitz on London, the 111 was used as a night bomber to give it some protection against the RAF. After the losses experienced during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, the Heinkel 111 was used for other purposes. It developed more specialised roles such as a torpedo-carrier, a glider tug and a pathfinder. On the Russian front, the 111 was frequently used as a transport plane – especially in the Battle of Stalingrad. When the war ended, the 111 was being used almost exclusively as a transport plane.

    More than 7,000 Heinkel He 111’s were built.

    Facts:

    Maximum speed: 227 mph (365 km/h) at sea level.

    Ceiling: 21,980 feet (6,700 metres)

    Range: 1,212 miles (1950 km)

    Armament: 5 machine guns/cannon; 1000 kg of bombs.

    Humbie%20Heinkel%20L_tcm4-564472.jpg

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  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)
  • Location: Eastbourne, East Sussex (work in Mid Sussex)

    10th August 1940

    Rslp19400810.gif

    Generally cloudy with fairly strong winds. Cloud ceiling 3,000 - 5,000 ft. Elsewhere squally and thundery, some bright intervals

    RAF Bomber Command

    Bombing - industrial targets at Frankfurt-am-Main. 58 Sqn. Ten aircraft. Two returned early, four bombed primary, two bombed alternatives. One crashed at Hemswell on return.

    RAF Fighter Command

    There was little activity; spasmodic raids were made off the South West, South East and East Coasts searching for shipping and a trawler was attacked of Lowestoft. Fighters were sent to intercept several of these shipping reconnaissances but the weather was favourable for evasion and as far as is known, only in one case was contact made. In the early morning the RAF station at Llandow was bombed. An enemy aircraft reconnoitring shipping was shot down off Lowestoft. A number of individual raids were plotted along the South and East Coasts. Misty weather and cloud conditions made interceptions difficult. One enemy aircraft crossed the South Coast near Portland and flew to South Wales where it bombed the RAF station at Llandow. There was a ground fog in places and some haze - conditions that accounted for the failure to intercept. Damage caused to the station was slight and there were no casualties. Nine raids of single aircraft or small formations were plotted off the South Coast between Dungeness and Portland and in mid-Channel. Fighters sent up to intercept some of these raids failed to do so since cloud and mist favoured the enemy's tactics. At about 0630 hrs, 85 Sqn intercepted and claimed one Do17 (confirmed). This enemy aircraft had reported the position of a convoy east of Lowestoft. 72 Sqn intercepted one He111 off Blyth (Northumberland) and chased it out to sea. Individual raids were plotted off Harwich and the Humber. Fighters sighted one Ju88 off Flamborough Head which evaded combat in favourable cloud conditions.

    During the afternoon enemy patrols were plotted in the Calais area. Despite the fact that our own aircraft reported low haze and poor visibility in the south east, enemy activity has been exceptionally light overland.

    Bf110 pilots of Erpro 210 attempt a surprise evening strike on Norwich. A lone undetected Do 17 put 11 HEs close to RAF West Malling despite 501 Sqn's attempts to stop it. The usual raids developed off East Anglia, but few were plotted crossing inland. Mine laying or attempts to intercept our outgoing bombers is suspected. About twelve raids flew from the Cherbourg area to the West Country. Some appeared to lay mines off the Cornish coast. Serious damage was done to the Llandore GWR (Great Western Railway) viaduct near Swansea where a direct hit on a shelter killed four. Bombs fall for the first time on Abergavenny, Rochester and Wallasey along with heavy raids on Swansea and Weymouth Of the others, one was plotted as far as Liverpool Bay and back. A few raids were plotted from Norway towards North East Scotland, and two crossed inland in the Firth of Forth area. Other mine laying is suspected in the Thames Estuary and Beachy Head to Isle of Wight areas.

    Losses

    Luftwaffe – 1. Do17 confirmed by No 85 Sqn

    RAF – 0

    RAF Coastal Command: 608 Sqn. carries out its first operation with its new Blackburn Botha general reconnaissance aircraft.

    blackburn-botha-02.jpg

    Wingspan: 17.98 m

    Length 15.56 m

    Height 4.46M

    Engine 2 Bristol Perseus engines XA

    Total power 2 x 930 hp

    Armament: Three 7.7mm machine guns, a torpedo or 907 kg bombs

    Weight: 8376 kg

    Speed: 401 km / h

    Ceiling: 5335 m

    Range: 2044 km

    Crew: 4

    witold_urbanowicz.jpg

    Witold Urbanowicz was a Polish fighter ace in World War Two. During the Battle of Britain, Urbanowicz was credited with fifteen kills and he was one of just eight ‘triple aces’.

    Urbanowicz started flying in 1930 when he joined a cadet flying school in Deblin. He graduated from this school in 1932 and moved on to fly fighter aeroplanes. Urbanowicz first made a name for himself in 1936 when he shot down a Soviet reconnaissance aircraft that had crossed into Polish airspace. With the potential this had for a diplomatic incident, Urbanowicz was officially reprimanded. However, relations between Poland and the USSR were bad and Urbanowicz was quietly congratulated for this deed. He was moved to a Polish Air Force training base where his overall performance and demeanour led to him being nicknamed ‘Cobra’.

    On September 1st 1939 the Germans invaded Poland. The success of Blitzkrieg relied on a coordinated air and land attack. The developments in the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe were not matched by those in Poland. Polish fighters just about matched the speed of Luftwaffe bombers and were outclassed by the Bf109, which was not only much faster but also more heavily armed. Urbanowicz was ordered to go to Romania but quickly returned to Poland where he was captured by Soviet troops – the USSR having invaded Poland from the east as part of the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. Urbanowicz escaped from his Soviet captors on the same day of his capture. He went to Romania and from here to France. While in France Urbanowicz was invited to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). After a course to familiarise himself with the new Hurricane and Spitfire fighter aircraft, Urbanowicz joined 145 Sqn.

    urbano6.jpg

    Urbanowicz made his first operational flight on August 4th 1940 and on August 8th he made his first kill – a Bf109. On August 21st, Urbanowicz transferred to 303 Sqn – the famous Polish Squadron flying a Hurricane as ‘A’ Flight commander. On September 6th, he shot down another Bf 109. On September 7th, he became a squadron leader, after Zdzisław Krasnodębski was injured. On September 26th, he was officially credited with shooting down four aircraft: two Ju 88s, a Bf 109 and a Bf 110, and another four three days later: three Bf 109s and one Do 17. There can be little doubt that Urbanowicz was a highly skilled pilot who was almost certainly a very driven one as well – the Germans, after all, had forced him and his colleagues out of their own country. However, it was this drive that alienated Urbanowicz from other Polish pilots and on October 21st, just two months after joining the famous 303 Sqn, Urbanowicz (who was never popular at Polish headquarters) was forced to hand over the squadron command to Zdzisław Henneberg.. Regardless of this, Urbanowicz had made his mark in RAF history by becoming one of the most successful aces of the Battle of Britain – one of just 8 ‘triple aces’ and second only to Stanisław Skalski and in the top ten of Allied aces of the battle.

    Piloci_303.jpg

    Pilots of 303 "Kościuszko" Polish Sqn

    His flying career after the Battle of Britain was somewhat anticlimactic when compared to his achievements in that battle. Urbanowicz commanded the 1st Polish Fighter Wing from April 1941 to June 1941 before being moved to staff work. In 1943, Urbanowicz accepted an offer to fly for the USAAF and he joined the ‘Flying Tigers’ and was credited with a number of kills. In 1944, he was later to become an Air Attaché in the United States. In total, during World War Two Urbanowicz was credited with 28 kills. During the course of the war, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Order of Merit. The Polish government in exile awarded Urbanowicz the Order of Virtuti Militari – its highest award for valour.

    When World War Two ended, Urbanowicz returned to Poland but was arrested as a spy. Post-1945 Poland had a communist government and as Urbanowicz had been in Great Britain and the USA for five years, he was open to being accused of such activity. In fact, numerous exiles were similarly accused on trumped up charges. Urbanowicz was imprisoned but released and went to live in America. He worked for a number of airlines until his retirement in 1973.

    Urbanowicz only visited Poland, the land of his birth, in 1991 once the communist regime had fallen – as it had done in most of Eastern Europe. In 1995, Urbanowicz was promoted to general – an honorary title but one that recognised what he had achieved especially as a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain. Witold Urbanowicz died on August 17th 1996 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Manhattan, New York aged 88.

    303zumb2.jpg

    "Do not beg for freedom, for we are fighting for it"

    Witold Urbanowicz

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