The Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Drew5233, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. Versias8245

    Versias8245 Member

    Thanks Peter.
     
  2. Versias8245

    Versias8245 Member

    I think you know what to do.

    F/O David Arthur E Jones DFC of 3 squadron
    Sgt Kenneth H Jones DFC of 85
    P/O William R Jones AFC of 266
    P/O Norman C, Langham-Hobart of 73
    S/L James E McComb of 611
    Sgt Alexander S MacDonald of 601
    and
    F/Lt Wilfred H Maitland-Walker of 65

    again I appreciate what you guys are doing.
     
  3. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I think you know what to do.

    F/O David Arthur E Jones DFC of 3 squadron
    Sgt Kenneth H Jones DFC of 85
    P/O William R Jones AFC of 266
    P/O Norman C, Langham-Hobart of 73
    S/L James E McComb of 611
    Sgt Alexander S MacDonald of 601
    and
    F/Lt Wilfred H Maitland-Walker of 65

    again I appreciate what you guys are doing.

    Denys Allan Evan Jones
    Kenneth Harold Jones
    William Ross Jones
    Neville Charles Langham-Hobart
    James Ellis McComb
    Alexander Stewart MacDonald
    Wilford Hugh Maitland-Walker
     
  4. Versias8245

    Versias8245 Member

    And these chaps?
    Sgt James W Mathers of 29 Squadron
    F/Lt Robert R Miller of 3
    Sgt Peter G Ottwill GM of 43
    LAC James T Pickford DFM of 604
    Sgt William George V Puxley of 236
    P/O Ian S Ritchie of 603
    and
    P/O Robert A L Robb of 236
     
  5. Versias8245

    Versias8245 Member

    If you guys have any concerns or questions about my asking you guys about the details of all the BoB airmen, please let me know.
     
  6. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    And these chaps?
    Sgt James W Mathers of 29 Squadron
    F/Lt Robert R Miller of 3
    Sgt Peter G Ottwill GM of 43
    LAC James T Pickford DFM of 604
    Sgt William George V Puxley of 236
    P/O Ian S Ritchie of 603
    and
    P/O Robert A L Robb of 236

    James W Mathers (can't find middle name)
    Robert Miller (no middle name)
    Can't find Ottwill
    James Thomas Pickford
    William George Vernon Puxley
    Ian Small Ritchie
    Robert Andrew Lindsay Robb
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From War Diary:

    On only his second bombing mission in a Junkers Ju 88 over England in 1940 was shot down by a RAF fighter near Lewes in Sussex on his way to bomb a target.

    In early September 1940, my unit was transferred from Denmark to Chievre, near Ath in Belgium, in order to concentrate bomber groups for bigger raids on England. It was my second mission of this kind when on September 9th we took off from Chievre to meet about 200 bombers at 5,000 metres over Cap Gris-Nez.

    After a wide swing eastwards, we headed for London, escorted by hundreds of German fighters. The targets were the docks and shipping in the Thames, and could already be seen, when we were suddenly hit by a very short burst of fire from the machine guns of the RAF fighter that had evidently approached from below and behind, unseen by the escorting fighters and our rear gunner Unteroffizier Diebler.

    Our plane was badly damaged and the situation was grim - the control column didn't work any more, as a bullet must of severed the elevator cables, and both engines were hit, the right losing gasoline, the left oil.

    Then, the observer, Unteroffizier Rolf, reported that Diebler was lying dead in a pool of blood, a bullet having pierced the artery of his neck. I gave the order to shed the cockpit roof in order to bail out, but then I found that I could just about control the aeroplane by the trimming wheel, which to some extent replaced the elevator. Thinking of our dead gunner, I decided to stay in the plane and make for the Channel. If our engines kept going long enough, we could get down on the water and maybe get back to France in the rubber dinghy which was carried on board. So I turned to the south for the shortest route and jettisoned our bombs. However, we now had no guns to defend ourselves against further attack, as these had gone with the roof, so I dived for cover in the clouds 3,000 metres below.

    Unfortunately, in the clouds the engines stopped and didn't want to start again. By now we were too low to bale out, so had no choice but to make a very difficult landing with no use of the control column. I couldn't even let out the flaps, because the electrical system had failed!

    I was very lucky to make a good landing as another problem was that all the fields being covered in all sorts of poles and obstacles like old cars - as a defence against a possible landing by assault gliders in an invasion.

    However I got us down in one piece and after we had lifted out the dead gunner, we set fire to our aeroplane and gave ourselves up to the Police and Soldiers.
     
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  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Finishing the war a Group Captain but at the time of the fall of France he was based at Northolt with 1 Squadron as a Flying Officer. Having served in France from the start of the war, the battle he was about to take part in came as no surprise.

    We came back on June 18, three days after the French packed up. We left everything behind - I left my golf clubs, saxophone, some marvellous records, a gramaphone - all for the Germans to find. We were called out so often that we slept under the wings of our aircraft.

    I was flying Hurricanes - there were more Hurricanes than Spits in Fighter Command at the time. We'd get to bed just after dark and try to get a few hours sleep - then up again. We spent a lot of time waiting for the phone to ring.

    We were all pretty scared, really. The waiting was the worst part -we'd sit about playing poker, with that tension in the pit of our stomachs - it was almost a relief when we heard the phone ring to scramble us.

    In a day we might be scrambled three, four or even five times - then you were probably in the air for half an hour of 45 minutes. It's amazing that time went so fast. I suppose we all stood up to it because we were young.

    I remember one attack we made on a big formation - we went in head-on. We wanted to get higher and avoid any fighters and shoot down the bombers from that position, but we couldn't gain the height in the time. So, we made a head-on attack on a bunch of 110's - we were very successful and must have shot down three or four.

    Our Hurricanes weren't as fast as the Germans, but we were more manoeuvrable, if slower in climbing. Those Hurricanes took a hell of a lot of punishment - you could get badly shot up and still be safe.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Pilot Officer Barclay was based at North Weald in September 1940. During the Battle of Britain he kept a diary and some excerpts from 15th September are as follows.

    I followed three of our Hurricanes climbing up on the left of the bombers for a head-on attack -but lost patience and turned to do a beam attack on the leader. At the same time, the leading Hurricane turned to do a head-on attack and we almost collided above the bomber.

    I remember diving earthwards in the middle of the bomber formation. I opened fire with more than full deflection and let the Do fly into the bullets like a Partridge.

    The Me 109's escorting the bombers were far above and behind and did not trouble us - I believe due to Spitfires engaging them. Owing to lack of fighter opposition, there was no need to break right away downwards, so I came back and did a short quarter attack. The Do 215 then broke away from the formation, and I saw that the engines were just idling as it glided down.

    We were scrambled again later - and very shortly after reaching our height of 16,000 feet, we sighted fighters above us and about 20 Do 215's, for once at the same height as ourselves. The squadron went into the attack on the beam, except one, who went into some Heinekel III's he saw coming up behind the Do 215's.

    As we attacked, I noted the cannon fire from the top rear gun positions of the Do's - little spurts of white smoke flicking back past the twin rudders in the slipstream, like intermittent squirts from a hose pipe.

    After my attack, the Do 215 dropped behind the formation a bit and one parachute came out underneath. I then noticed all the Do's Jettisoning their bombs. The Do's had broken up on our first attack and some dived for the clouds, but stayed just skimming the clouds and did not go right into them and instrument fly home. Inexperienced?
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Formal reports on 18th August 1940 cite the following incident:

    Spitfire N3040. Abandoned over Horsmonden, damaged by return fire from Junkers Ju 88 2.15pm. Crashed by Tucks cottages, near Park Farm. Flt. Lt. Robert Stamford Tuck baled out and was slightly injured in heavy landing. Aircraft a write-off.

    Flt. Lt. Stamford Tuck gives his own account of what happened:

    Spotted two Ju 88's that had passed over me at 15,000ft, heading SSW or S. I turned on them and gave chase. As there was no cloud, the two E/A put down their noses and went straight onto the surface of the water.

    I flew straight ahead of them as fast as possible and then turned head-on and fired at the No.2 E/A. After passing close over the top of the E/A and pulling straight up, I observed that he had gone straight into the water with a terrific splash and disappeared. Up until this time I had only been hit in the wings and through the left side of the perspex on the windscreen.

    I then flew straight ahead again to attack the E/A that was left. Just when I had opened fire on this head-on attack, I saw a large greeny bluish flash from the nose of the Ju 88. Immediately following this, there was a loud crash on the underneath front of my aircraft. This seemed to tip my tail up and I thought I should hit the water. However, I pulled straight up and left the Ju 88 heading off on the same course, leaving a trail of oil on the water. I was now approximately 35-40 miles off Beachy Head at 4,000ft. My aircraft must have been badly damaged, as there was excessive engine vibration and glycol and oil temperatures were very high.

    I managed to reach the coast, but dense fumes were coming from the engine and under the dashboard. I could feel myself being overcome by these fumes, so I decided to abandon my aircraft. Jumped clear at 800ft. Could not say whether my aircraft was straight and level or not, as fumes had blinded me. My aircraft landed 1/2 mile away from me in a wood and did no damage.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Kadow was escorting Stuka bombers over England when he was shot down and handed the unenvious title of the 'First German Taken Prisoner on British Soil'.

    On 11 July, I flew Me 110, number 2N + EP, with my wireless operator and air gunner, Gefreiter Helmut Scholtz. My squadron was stationed at Laval, and we flew from here to Dinard for refuelling and from Dinard to England at about 12.00 noon.

    My squadron, together with two others, had orders to protect Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers, which would attack targets on the south coast of England in the vicinity of Portland.

    Before we started, our commander, Major Grabmann, told us that it was vital that no Stuka be lost. This meant a considerable risk to our lives.

    At the English coast I counted some twenty dark spots in the distance, somewhat higher than we were. I was certain they were RAF fighters, but couldn't recognise whether they were Hurricanes or Spitfires - but we knew our twin-engined machines were no match for these single-engined fighters.

    However, it was our duty to protect the Stukas, so that they could bomb unhindered. The main strength of the Me 110 was the two 20mm canons and four machine-guns in it's nose. I pressed the firing buttons and bullets flew like water out of a watering can towards the enemy. The closing speed was high, and at the last minute both I and my attacker had to break away to avoid a head-on collision. Whether I scored any hits or not, I do not know.

    The next moment two fighters were on my tail and had opened fire. Almost immediately both of my engines stopped and a return to the Continent was clearly impossible. The enemy saw his success and stopped shooting, but watched me from behind.

    I flung off my cabin roof for a quick escape and hoped it would hit them. I ordered Helmut Scholz to do the same. He radioed that the mechanism to ditch his cabin roof would not operate as a result of bullet damage.

    I couldn't bale out and leave Scholz to his fate, and for the same reason a ditching in the sea seemed unwise. The only alternative was a crash landing on British soil.

    After we had landed I found I could not leave my cockpit - a high-explosive bullet had hit my seat, causing a big hole. The torn aluminium 'Fangs' around the hole had nailed themselves through my parachute pack and tunic and on to my flesh.

    I pulled myself forward, and suddenly was free. I left the aircraft and smashed the cabin roof of my gunner so that he could get out. He was hurt only by shell splinters. The first thing to do was destroy the aircraft. We didn't have a self-destruct charge, so opened the fuel caps and tried to ignite petrol with the muzzle flash of my pistol.

    I fired eight shots , but had no success. In hindsight, this was aswell, otherwise the aircraft would have exploded and killed us.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Retired a Air Commodore with CBE, DSO, DFC. Brothers made the RAF his career and was at the heart of the Battle of Britain in 1940.

    The philosophy of taking on German bombers and fighters was based on the fact that the Hurricanes should attack the bomber formations and the Spitfires the fighter cover. Of course it never worked out like that. Either you weren't together with the Spitfires when the raid happened or, by the time the first flight went in to attack the bombers, the fighters were already coming down - so one of you had to play rear guard action and take on the fighters. This usually fell to my lot, although I did get mixed up with bombers on occasions.

    If you had time and the height, you got into a favourable position up-sun - but again that didn't usually work out, because one was always scrambled on the late side. This was because, until the controllers were certain that it was a raid and not a spoof to draw you into the air, there was no point in launching you. If it was a spoof, by the time you were refuelling, the main raid would come - and this was what the controllers were trying to avoid.

    As a result, it was rather late when we got the word 'GO'. That usually ment you were at a disadvantage heightwise, so you'd have to take the bombers head-on. That, we discovered, was one of the best ways. They didn't like that, as they didn't have forward firing guns - or very few of them did.

    You could break up a formation and, once you scattered it, you had a good opportunity of shooting down individual aircraft without being involved in crossfire from the rest of the formation. Also, by the time the fighters got as far as London, they were at the limit of their range.

    The Germans had one formation where they were not in close cover with the bombers - this was with the fighters stacked up above, giving them a very favourable position. Once you were attcking the bombers, they would build up speed diving down to attack you. The 109's could dive much faster than we could. If they carried on their dive you hadn't a hope of catching them.

    109's had fuel injection, with the result that they could take inverted load without the engine cutting. Whereas, if we pushed the stick forwards and went into a steep dive, we got a momentary cut in the engine - which didn't help build up speed. The only thing to do was a half roll, so the engine didn't cut, then an aileron turn down straight after them. On occasions we'd catch them like that, but that was usually because the chap was inexperienced.

    Life was much simpler afterwards, when we were doing sweeps over France - you planned those. During the Battle of Britain, there was a lot of time for sitting around and waiting - and then there was the panic of scramble.

    The game was, you was shooting aeroplanes down - the only time I felt positively sick was when I hit a chap straight in the cockpit. I thought, 'I didn't mean that - I only ment to hit a wing off'. That was the game side of it - we all rather hoped the chap would jump out and be taken prisoner of war rather than be killed.

    One got very tired. When we were operating, we were at readiness half an hour before first light at about half past three in the morning, and we'd finish about half an hour after last light - say 10.30 at night.

    By the time you'd gone over to the mess and had a meal (and I often used to go back and take a crate of beer for the ground crew, and had a chat with them to thank them) and were in bed, it was around midnight. Then you were back down at the aircraft by 3.30, with time for breakfast beforehand.
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Waiting on the airfield while his plane is rearmed and refueled, Sgt. Beard (Soon to be Pilot Officer) receives word of a large German attack force making its way up the Thames River towards London. The afternoon sun illuminates a cloudless blue sky as Beard and his fellow pilots lift their planes off the grass airstrip and climb to meet the enemy. The defenders level off at 15,000 feet and wait for the attackers to appear.


    Minutes went by. Green fields and roads were now beneath us. I scanned the sky and the horizon for the first glimpse of the Germans. A new vector came through on the R.T. and we swung round with the sun behind us. Swift on the heels of this I heard Yellow flight leader call through the earphones. I looked quickly toward Yellow's position, and there they were!
    It was really a terrific sight and quite beautiful. First they seemed just a cloud of light as the sun caught the many glistening chromium parts of their engines, their windshields, and the spin of their airscrew discs. Then, as our squadron hurtled nearer, the details stood out. I could see the bright-yellow noses of Messerschmitt fighters sandwiching the bombers, and could even pick out some of the types. The sky seemed full of them, packed in layers thousands of feet deep. They came on steadily, wavering up and down along the horizon. 'Oh, golly,' I thought, 'golly, golly . . .'

    And then any tension I had felt on the way suddenly left me. I was elated but very calm. I leaned over and switched on my reflector sight, flicked the catch on the gun button from 'Safe' to 'Fire,' and lowered my seat till the circle and dot on the reflector sight shone darkly red in front of my eyes.

    The squadron leader's voice came through the earphones, giving tactical orders. We swung round in a great circle to attack on their beam-into the thick of them. Then, on the order, down we went. I took my hand from the throttle lever so as to get both hands on the stick, and my thumb played neatly across the gun button. You have to steady a fighter just as you have to steady a rifle before you fire it.

    My Merlin screamed as I went down in a steeply banked dive on to the tail of a forward line of Heinkels. I knew the air was full of aircraft flinging themselves about in all directions, but, hunched and snuggled down behind my sight, I was conscious only of the Heinkel I had picked out. As the angle of my dive increased, the enemy machine loomed larger in the sight field, heaved toward the red dot, and then he was there!

    I had an instant's flash of amazement at the Heinkel proceeding so regularly on its way with a fighter on its tail. 'Why doesn't the fool move?' I thought, and actually caught myself flexing my muscles into the action I would have taken had I been he.

    When he was square across the sight I pressed the button. There was a smooth trembling of my Hurricane as the eight-gun squirt shot out. I gave him a two-second burst and then another. Cordite fumes blew back into the cockpit, making an acrid mixture with the smell of hot oil and the air-compressors.

    I saw my first burst go in and, just as I was on top of him and turning away, I noticed a red glow inside the bomber. I turned tightly into position again and now saw several short tongues of flame lick out along the fuselage. Then he went down in a spin, blanketed with smoke and with pieces flying off.


    I left him plummeting down and, horsing back on my stick, climbed up again for more. The sky was clearing, but ahead toward London I saw a small, tight formation of bombers completely encircled by a ring of Messerschmitt’s. They were still heading north. As I raced forward, three flights of Spitfires came zooming up from beneath them in a sort of Prince-of-Wales's-feathers manoeuvre. They burst through upward and outward, their guns going all the time. They must have each got one, for an instant later I saw the most extraordinary sight of eight German bombers and fighters diving earthward together in flames.

    I turned away again and streaked after some distant specks ahead. Diving down, I noticed that the running progress of the battle had brought me over London again. I could see the network of streets with the green space of Kensington Gardens, and I had an instant's glimpse of the Round Pond, where I sailed boats when I was a child. In that moment and as I was rapidly overhauling the Germans ahead, a Dornier 17 sped right across my line of flight, closely pursued by a Hurricane. And behind the Hurricane came two Messerschmitt’s. He was too intent to have seen them and they had not seen me! They were coming slightly toward me. It was perfect. A kick at the rudder and I swung in toward them, thumbed the gun button, and let them have it. The first burst was placed just the right distance ahead of the leading Messerschmitt. He ran slap into it and he simply came to pieces in the air. His companion, with one of the speediest and most brilliant 'get-outs' I have ever seen, went right away in a half Immelmann turn. I missed him completely. He must almost have been hit by the pieces of the leader but he got away. I hand it to him.

    At that moment some instinct made me glance up at my rear-view mirror and spot two Messerschmitt’s closing in on my tail. Instantly I hauled back on the stick and streaked upward. And just in time. For as I flicked into the climb, I saw, the tracer streaks pass beneath me. As I turned I had a quick look round the "office". My fuel reserve was running out and I had only about a second's supply of ammunition left. I was certainly in no condition to take on two Messerschrnitts. But they seemed no more eager than I was. Perhaps they were in the same position, for they turned away for home. I put my nose down and did likewise.
     
  14. ambray

    ambray Junior Member

    Finishing the war a Group Captain but at the time of the fall of France he was based at Northolt with 1 Squadron as a Flying Officer. Having served in France from the start of the war, the battle he was about to take part in came as no surprise.

    Hello

    I realize this thread is quite old, but I came across your post regarding F/O Peter Matthews and wondered if the diary entry you quoted was written by him? If so could you tell me where you found it please?

    Thanks

    Ambray
     
  15. Meryl

    Meryl Junior Member

    Hi already answered but - DS Wallen is Dennis Stanley Wallen, my first cousin once removed. Any information about him would be gratefully appreciated.
     

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