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#4501509 - 12/25/19 06:45 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!'  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,418
Blade_Meister Online biggrin
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Blade_Meister  Online Biggrin
Member

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,418
Atlanta, GA, USA
'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!'

Hello to all here in the WOTR Community! This is a new thread that I would like to introduce for a project which I began back in the middle of March 2019. To Mark and Mark, the creators of WOTR at OBD, and to Robert for many of the excellent skins in WOTR, I say thanks as I have been captivated and engrossed in Wings Over The Reich since shortly after its release. Sometime back I was Blessed to be allowed to be a Tester for WOTR and try to give a little back to the guys that do the truly amazing programming at OBD by, you guessed it, testing the NEW STUFF. It is amazing to see first hand how much these two gents care about WOTR and how quickly and efficiently they take feedback and implement it, when possible, into WOTR. This Diary/story is another instance to give a little back to OBD and the WOTR Community. Anyway, this is a shout out to both Marks for the amazing production which they have created and brought to the WWII Flight Simming Community, and to Robert for all of the skins which up the immersion level that much more. Thank you each VERY MUCH!

I unknowingly at first began this little project by flying the 'BOB Phase 5 London Night Raid' in WOTR's Quick Scenario missions. After being completely enthralled with the look of the mission at night and a few pictures which I took during that sortie, the thought came to mind to make an AAR from it. So, I searched a bit on the net for information about night time fighter intercepts in the BOB to see if this really happened. I found virtually nothing as the in plane RDF(radar) was still in its infancy. So, I just decided to write a fictional non historical AAR. After about 2 weeks of re flying that mission and taking what I thought were some really good night mission pictures I started writing an AAR. Shortly after that I PMed 33lima to ask about Steel Fury 1942, as I like tank sims also. I noticed he is from Norn Iron(Northern Ireland for those South of the Mason Dixon line) so I approached him through another PM to see if he would be interested in critiquing my AAR and he graciously accepted. Now this project started out to be a simple 3,4 or 5 part Night Raid AAR, but as I revealed these initial episodes to Ivor(33lima), I began to talk about maybe creating one Episode about the main characters life and how he reached the position he was in during the night missions. Well Ivor said if you do that Drew, you are going to have to include the whole enlistment and training regiment to bridge the story. Well from there it took off and through much research and many many correspondences back and forth, this thing became a real monster of a project. It became a Diary/story of the main characters life. And now here we are, posting Episode one. Through this collaboration I have found Ivor to have a very in depth knowledge of the Battle of Britain and to be an unselfish, honest and truly a helpful mentor whom has irreversibly peaked my desire to learn more about how important The Battle of Britain really was in the course of history. Through our correspondence I would say we have developed a friendship and mutually admire and respect the effort put forth by the whole of Britain in The Battle of Britain to defeat the German's attempt to conquer their island home and Empire. We have gone so far as to trade favorite BOB books and other resources that add to the WOTR and BOB experience. Some of his critiquing and literary suggestions have been directly written into this Diary/story and all which he has contributed has GREATLY added to what I started out to accomplish. Ivor, thank you for all of your time, wisdom, input and encouragement to help make this Diary/story the best that I could ever hope for it to be. I am indebted to you Mucker! S!

The characters and actions of this Diary/story are not historical. The time frame and context of being in the correct geographical places in the WOTR world are correct, and I have attempted, and heavily relied on Ivor's knowledge and my own research, to help keep this Diary/story as 1940s 'period' and technically factual as much as possible. Also I asked Ivor to help me keep the dialogue as 1940s 'period' British as possible and not let me inject any 'Americanisms' into the dialogue. Some of the Training Mission Episodes have been technically embellished a bit here and there to fit the story, but I have really really tried to keep this to a minimum. There is a very very small amount of photo editing that is not actually visually available in WOTR.

So, the format will work like this. I will make this initial post and also post Episode I immediately below it. I will post another 25 'placeholder' posts immediately after these initial 2 posts. I am not sure of the actual total of Episodes, but there are 16 as of now so I am hoping to conclude this in 25 or less Episodes(Mark Andrews, I know, I am long winded and I apologize in advance). I will use these 'placeholders' to post each Episode in the coming weeks until the Diary/story is complete. I will attempt to be as punctual as possible and post one Episode per week on Wednesday. If there is any pertinent information or fun little outtakes, I will share them under my signature IN THIS INITIAL POST, numbered to correspond to the current Episode and dated. So remember to look here before reading the new Episode so you will be up to date on the creation of that Episode.

This is an open thread for those that might want to create there own 'WOTR: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!'. The only thing I ask is that if you decide to create a 'Story' to post here, that you contact Polovski to run it by him and make sure he wants it posted. If he doesn't have time to deal with this then other arrangements will be made to approve any further 'Storys' submitted. There is no certain length or format for creating a submission here as long as it is in some type of story form.
This is not a thread for daily AARs from ongoing Careers. We already have a separate completely awesome 'Sticky' thread that I highly recommend checking out here in the WOTR main section(GO Ivor!). Thanks for your compliance in advance. S!
Comments are welcome and please if you enjoy this 'WOTR: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!', feel free to share the thread link with anyone you feel might enjoy it and be interested. Who knows, this might even drum up some new customers to purchase Wings Over The Reich and discover this gem of a WWII Battle of Britain combat flight sim.

Well, after my long winded(sorry again Mark Andrews) introduction, without further adieu,......

I hope you all enjoy this 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!'


Merry Christmas! CT
S!Blade<>< AKA Drew


Episode One: Outtakes. 12/25/2019
All of the pictures are generic and copied from the internet except Mr. Francis Edward Foley whom was an actual person of interesting character. Do a little research and check him out.
My apologies as to there only being one screenshot in Episode one, but it was impossible to produce what I wanted from WOTR. Don't worry, the Screenshots are a plenty in Episode two and beyond!
Do remember that any of the the dialogue outside of the Diary Entries, is coming from the Grandson, Paton Christopher Wednsforth, as he is the narrator.
If there are any 'grammar Nazis' out there, please pm me with corrections if you like. Proper grammar is not my forte, but I do appreciate proper grammar and am willing to correct any blaring mistakes.

Episode Two: Outtakes 01/01/2020
The Link Simulator was most likely not used during the 1940 months of the BOB to train fighter pilots. I fictionalized this to fit the story. The Link Simulator was in use for bomber pilot training from before WWII officially started on September 1, 1939. The Link Simulator was modified later in 1941 as best I can tell to train fighter pilots in the way described in the story. The description of how The Link Simulator was used in training is based on fact for both the early Link and the The Edmondes upgrade.
The screenshots have had some minor photo editing applied to them. Anyone see what was done? I had to edit the pilot out of the cockpit and add the unbroken gun tape.
This is the last Episode which will have generic photos used unless possibly one more Episode much further down the line which I may need to use some in. So, from here on out all pictures will be screenshots from WOTR.
Ivor really helped keep me straight with the dialogue here and few of his lines were used directly. Thanks Ivor.

Episode Three: Outtakes 01/08/2020
Just some very minor photo editing. Added the unbroken gun tape since this is a training flight. This is just a Free Flight Mission with the skins arranged to fit the story.

Episode Four: Outtakes 01/14/2020
Ivor's namesake makes a cameo in Episode 4. I couldn't help but to write him in the story after all that he has done to help and encourage me. yep
Again the unbroken gun tape is the only photo editing. From here on out every mission used for pictures was flown by me either in the Quick Scenarios missions or from one of my 238 Squadron Campaign missions.
I simply took pictures when I wanted to and then wrote the story to match what happened in the mission along my main thought train of the overall story plot. Simple right? winkngrin
This was my first attempt to crop together multiple pictures. An interesting process in and of itself.

Episode Five: Outtakes 01/22/2020
It is funny how things work out. While taking pictures of this mission which I had organized especially for these 'Training Memoirs', WOTR presented me with a little opportunity that most other sims do not. Thanks goes to OBD for correcting the Squadron aircraft numbers so that I could portray the Sections of aircraft properly for each of these 'Training Memoirs'. Upon the return trip to Tangmere while in free camera I just happened to notice Blue 3 was nosing down for no obvious reason. I was like, what the heck is going on? We had not been in any combat and fuel was not that low. Well I went with it and continued to take pics while slowly letting the mission advance a little at a time between pauses. When it was all said and done I started thinking about it and after questioning Mark(Pol), he confirmed that there is provision in the code for random failures. Even for the AI NPC aircraft. So as I was working on this Episode I just went with it as part of the story. Obviously I performed photo editing to insert the steam in the cockpit, the ground impact with the tiny pilot parachutist and the final picture with the smoke in the distance. These are very crude attempts at photo editing I know, but I was only using Infranview and my imagination, so there you go. I think it came out pretty nice and am pleased with the final results. It is just one of the many small things that WOTR does so well in helping the player feel a deeper immersion while flying in this sim. There is one glaring mistake that I just realized today, and is to late to correct, but I will leave that for any of you to figure out, or not. winkngrin

Episode Six: Outtakes 01/28/2020
First I want to acknowledge ChiefWH for the original Formation spacing mod. Second for the camouflaged hangars mod which are displayed in this Episode. When I first started taking pics for these Formation Episodes the spacing was just to far apart and so I inquired of ChiefWH as to the possibility of closing up the ranks in the formations in WOTR. Within 1 week he shared his original Formation mod with me and it was just what I wanted. With his instruction I tinkered with the spacing more and came up with what you see here. This spacing is not really practical for in game and sometimes causes collisions. After this OBD took up the challenge and introduced the options we now have in game and they work very well. OBD also went on to produce their own camouflaged hangars. No photo editing in these pics. As usual Ivor helped me keep on track with the locations and the vectors of the pictures around London and some of the sites seen. It is not easy trying to getting so many Hurricanes in a good pic, so I am quite pleased with how these training missions came out. So far so good, but will we ever see any combat???? sigh

Episode Seven: Outtakes 02/04/2020
There is not much to say this week. This is just the straight forward goodness of what you get when you fly WOTR Phase One: Convoy Battles. The clouds are the best in the business and with a little imagination you can just see the shipping convoys moving below. They are really there, and you know that you have to stay above the mix and protect those sailors as they bring the resources of war and provision to your Island Home. I am sorry if the R/T chatter is rather Formal and lengthy. Even Ivor thinks I might shorten some up or cut some down and out of the story, but this is the way R/T Comms were with the RAF pre 'the official beginning of the Battle Of Britain.' The proper English Language and slow deliberate enunciation with that heavy British accent. You have to Love it, it is so proper and fitting. Spot on Mate! winkngrin It just wouldn't read right if I used my native Southern Drawl. hahaha Remember we are only up to July 2nd and things are just starting to heat up. Anyway, I LOVE IT, and I am writing the story, hahaha so sorry Ivor and anyone else whom might think it slow or annoying, you have my apology. I promise when things get really sticky the boys will cut to the gist of the matters at hand in their R/T comms when they have their hands full with the Luftwaffe.I am trying a new multi picture approach with a desktop picture format as the background and the the smaller pics working around that background. Exciting isn't it! biggrin
Edit: I want to mention that the two pictures with the in Sim maps are using CheifWH's map mod. He put many many hours into this map and it is a must have IMHO. Thanks CheifWH if you are still lurking about Sir. thumbsup

Episode Eight: Outtakes 02/11/2020
Well it is Wednesday in Australia and I have to work late this evening and open early in the morning tomorrow, so, here is the Episode Eight posting a little earlier than usual. FIANALLY we come to some combat! Just some minor photo editing where I covered over one of the two parachutists that always appear in the WOTR bomber bailout sequence. An interesting note is, once Ivor saw these pics he immediately noted that the top gunners glass windscreen was to large, stood to tall and one of the engine intakes was on the wrong side of the engine nodule. This did not match the actual look of the real He 111. After Ivor brought these concerns to OBD's attention, Mark(Pol) made the graphical corrections and as a result we now have the corrected version in WOTR. This is just one more example of how OBD looks after WOTR and attempts to refine this Sim in all possible ways as issues surface.

Episode Nine: Outtakes 02/19/2020
Nothing really to gab on about with this Episode. These last 3 Episodes were from one actual mission from one of my many 238 Squadron Campaigns. There was only one parachutist in the picture I used, I did not photo edit the other one out. I don't know where he went? Maybe OBD programmed in random chute failures? It wouldn't surprise me if they did! hahaha The Battle of Britain is warming up!

Episode Ten: Outtakes 02/26/2020
Thanks to OBD the bomb load of the Ju 87 was corrected to the display the actual configuration used by the Stukas in the BOB. A double edge sword for me as I had to go back and re-shoot pictures for my intro to the Episode. OBD also changed the ships explosion graphics which are used in the initial ship bombing pics, with the latter pics representing the older explosion graphics. Both are very nice renditions. I like tying in happenings that were going on in the background of what the RAF was doing in the air war, hence the actual pics and side info. No photo editing was used in this Episode.

Episode Eleven: Outtakes 03/04/2020
This was a real mission in one of my No. 238 Squadron Campaigns. The story pretty much tells what really happened. Payne, VK-A, disappeared early in the mission. I don't know what happened to him, but he was alive in the next mission, so who knows. The AI Stukas actually did drop many of their eggs and not one of them made an attack on any of the ships. I performed some photo editing, adding the starboard wing strikes on Chris's Hurricane. What will happen to Chris? Will he make it to his Island home?? Will he have to bail out, destroying his much loved VK-B? Will he get his feet wet??? Will he have to land his beloved VK-B wheels up and destroy her? Or will the Tooth Fairy bring him home safely? Tune in next week, same time, same channel, to see what will happen to Christopher Patrick Wednsforth II !!! winkngrin

Episode Twelve: Outtakes 03/11/2020
SPOILER ALERT: YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THE EPISODE FIRST AND THEN COME BACK AND READ THIS!
Hmm, where to start. The last picture in Episode XI is actually the last picture I took from that real Campaign mission. So actually there was no pictorial ending to the situation at hand. Having figured out how to manipulate the missions in WOTR, I set out to create an ending. I used one of OBD's Quick Scenario Coastal Raid missions and then Frankensteined it into 9 Do17s and Chris's VK-B pursuing closely behind them poised to intercept near Folkestone. Fights On! yep I flew right up in the middle of them, firing all the way as I approached. Stirring the hornets nest as they say! I started to get clobbered and once I saw blood on the windscreen and was told my cooling system was compromised I high tailed it out of the line of fire. I honestly was right off the coast near Hythe. Well the rest is what you see in this Episode. I barely made it to Lympne, as you can tell by the look of the prop in the pics, my girl was hurting and wanted to set down badly. nope The blood in the pictures, both in the cockpit and externally are completely OBD's fine graphical work. The Hydraulics were actually out, I had to manually pump the gear down and only one locked, for real, no joke. Oh man, I didn't know what was going to happen when I pancaked. Was this the end of Chris's story? I set her down nice and easy and actually did not have brakes?(Pol, is this modeled? maybe that was just in my head?) This I do know, I actually started to veer to the left as I steadily increased the right rudder. If you look in one of the pics towards the end of the Episode I am actually about to run off the left side of the runway. As I came to a stop and was paused and taking pics I finally saw what happened. OBD has modeled flat tire capability and VK-B had an honest to God flat on the left side. The final picture in this Episode shows it clearly. THAT IS NOT PHOTO EDITED IN ANY WAY. Another testament to the boys at OBD for their attention to detail and immersion. winkngrin I did preform a good bit of Photo editing on several of the pics. The first pic, all the wing strikes and the vapor trail. Most of the pics showing the in game vapor/smoke trail were blurred on top of the in game effect to make it look more realistic. Some of the pics I had to cover over the planes in front of the hangars, as Lympne was not supposed to be occupied when Chris landed. The blood on Chris's flying helmet was photo edited in by me. This was definitely one of my favorite Episodes to fly and take screenshots of. I was a nervous wreck from the time I pulled out of the hornets nest until the time I finally completed the mission and had all of the pics. Until I started to review the pictures to select the ones I wanted, I had no idea a lot of this stuff actually happened real time in sim. Even though I set this mission up, don't be fooled as this has happened in actual Campaign missions as well. If you are careless and rush in, the Huns will eat you alive and spit you out the other end for sure! Thanks OBD! thumbsup

Episode Thirteen: Outtakes 03/18/2020
All of the information about No. 604 Squadron and the Blenheims operation and armament is as researched and factual as I can find. As far as ACM Park being involved with night fighter actions at Gravesend, that is fictional and is being used to form the foundation of later Episodes. All of the locations of Squadrons, Aerodromes, Towns mentioned and Chain Home Low references are all factual and with a bit of study and correspondence with Ivor have been verified to the best of our ability. I am sure some are saying to themselves, " what does it matter, this is a fictional story?" My goal is to learn as much as possible about the Battle of Britain and then use the factual information to give authenticity to the actions of what happens in my fictional story line. It is very interesting to me to learn so much that I never knew about the Historical happenings and sacrifices made during The Battle of Britain and then try to respectfully use that information to enhance and lead the story I write. The whole process is very enjoyable to me. This is a Quick Scenario mission which I altered to use the 3 DO17s, only 2 Hurricanes including the un-lettered Hurricane Chris fly's. A big shout out to Robert Wiggins for making me 6 custom skins to use in this and future missions. A big shout out to Ivor for his patience, shared wisdom and encouragement to keep cracking away at the creation of this story. Of Course OBD are the ones who have made this possible for me to work on, from creating and continually improving WOTR itself, to allowing me to make the thread and post this the way I always envisioned it. Thanks Mark & Mark! There is very very little photo editing in this episode. I think we might be half way there, but that just depends on where this thing goes as it seems to have a life of its own. We will get to the end when that time comes I suppose. We are closing in on 5,000 views! winkngrin
Thanks to all who are keeping up and are reading 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' salute

Episode Fourteen: Outtakes 03/25/2020
First and most important, for all those whom have lost Loved ones and are being affected by Covid 19, my Prayers go out to each of you. I am Praying each day that we all will keep our thoughts positive, our hearts in the right place to help one another and that we most importantly hold on to Hope that this to will pass. Remaining positive, helping others where we can and remaining respectful of each other is most important during this time of crisis.
The events from last weeks and this weeks Episodes are from a real Quick Scenario mission. The locations are real and any industrial factory in Hurn could have well produced equipment for The Royal Navy seeing as the former had a large Naval base nearby on the coast at Portland. Very minimal photo editing used. The smoke behind the Do17 in picture 8 and the rear gunners tracer being fired in pic 6 and that is all. Other than that this was a really fun mission flown for the expressed reason of writing this story. Thanks again to Robert Wiggins for the skins he supplied me. Enjoy!

Episode Fifteen: Outtakes 04/2/2020


April Fools!

Thank you Adger and Buckeyebob for the kind sentiments. My apologies to both of you, but me being the Ass I am sometimes could not resist playing the 'April Fools' gag(does the rest of the world acknowledge April Fools Day?) since April 1st occured on my normal posting day. Anyway, please pardon my sometimes off sense of humor, as it only seems to exist to make me chuckle a bit. But that is ok, if you can't laugh with or at yourself, then one needs to lighten up a some! Maybe someone got a laugh from my Homer AAR anyway, as that was one from a ways back which I had a lot of fun creating and got quite a few laughs from even if it wasn't funny! neaner

Ok, now that we understand that I am not a comedian, please also understand that I am also not a Poet. So if the poem I wrote for the beginning of this Episode 'sucks', please let Ivor(33lima) hear about it because he said it was good. If he hadn't said it was good, I never would have used it, as I think it 'Sucks'!!! Just kidding Ivor, thanks for your kind words. The opening three sentences to introduce my poem were basically Ivor's reaction to when I asked him to critique it. So credit goes to him for basically writing the 'Forward' to my effort. Thank you Ivor. I am not really sure where this idea spontaneously at the moment came from, why I wrote it or how these pictures inspired the words, but it seems to me to come from learning more and more of the Unbreakable Faith that the people of The British Empire had of their Certain Victory in this War. Love it, hate it or indifferent to it, these words just seemed to come to me when I was viewing these screenshots during my last hour of work one night. All of my work was done and we had had an extremely successful day, so I did not feel bad about jotting this down while we prepared to close. It is very 'cliche', but the words just seemed to write themselves. All told I have about two hours invested and honestly, I am quite pleased with the outcome. I hope you all like it, because I doubt this will happen again for a long, long time. Much to some of your relief I expect! winkngrin

This is a special series of Episodes to me as this represents just one day of Air Combat in The Battle of Britain. I may have mentioned but I purchased a 7 book series(also one additional edition for Dunkirk) of Battle of Britain Combat Archives written by Simon W Parry and distributed by WingLeader Aviation Books & Collectables(link below). Each Book is an account of each day's complete combat actions for the RAF beginning with July 10th and currently ending with August 29th. As I understand it, not positive of this, there are more editions in the works which will take these Archives through September 15. Each days account has fabulous pictures, some general maps, and personal accounts from the Squadron actions of the intercepts. Positively Historically fantastic to read, but not a Novel/Drama. Anyhow, I have used this source to chronicle all RAF actions this day interspersed in a chronological order to accompany Chris's Diary submission of No. 238's actions. No. 238 fictional mission is based loosely on a factual mission that occurred at 1100-1115 hours in the Portland shipping lanes. I had to tone it down a bit but 7 Hurris of No. 87 SQN, 12 Spits of No.152 Sqn Intercepted 1 DO 17, 18 JU87s & 12 Me 109s. Remember I said loosely. I have 12 Hurris, No 238 Sqn vs. 8 Me 109s & 30 Ju88s. It was a mess for about 30 seconds there and all pics from these 4 Episodes are from that one mission. Anyway, all of the historical pictures and the accounts I have submitted are based on the actual events of this day. The names are the actual names of the RAF Pilots involved and all of my writing of their Bravery and Sacrifice is created and submitted in the upmost respect to their Legacies. I am not trying to sensationalize my fictional story, but I am merely trying to give a glimpse into all that transpired on the 25th of July 1940. Many gave up their lives that day and I have nothing but The Utmost Respect for their unselfish Loyalty and Complete Dedication to Living in Freedom within The British Empire which they Loved.

A Shameless Plug For -----> WingLeader Books & Collectables

A quick funny side note about the source photos(Well... sorry Mark Andrews, actually nothing is quick or short with me writing). Ivor is my production critic and of course I run all of these Episodes by him well before I post them so he can use his wealth of BOB knowledge and well.. critique. This way he can make sure I am not making any 'Yank' blunders with photos or massacring my feeble attempts at writing this Story in an acceptable 1940 English dialect. Well, I started submitting photos and Holly SCHEISSER! Good Lord! This one was post BOB, see the white band in front of the tail, OK Ivor. That one is a late model Spit, see the six individual exhaust pipes per side, Ok Ivor. That one is pre BOB, see the small Roundels, OK IVOR! That one has 4 20 mike mike cannons, no good, OK IIVVOORR!!! cuss And that one...... Good Lord, this man knows his BOB, there is no doubt and he did not cut me any slack what so ever, but,.... I Loved it, I went back to my searches and was looking deeply to find pics, looking at manifold, looking at paint schemes, looking at armaments and Roundels, and well satisfaction comes from success. I finally managed to meet all of his stringent requirements(or he cut me a minute amount of slack & did not tell me????) and as a result these Episodes are much richer and Historically accurate. Thanks Ivor,...... I think?

Anyhow, here is my quoted feeble attempt at an "April Fools" gag as it is being replaced with the Proper Episode for this week. Again all thanks to you Adger and Buckeyebob for the kind sentiments.
Originally Posted by Blade_Meister
I regret to say that I have experienced writers block so severely that I will not be able to continue Chris's story any further. After weeks of attempting to free up my mind, this is all I could come up with. This is not up to par with my previous efforts and I have decided to end my AAR Story writing efforts. It has been fun up until now.
My apologies to all at OBD that it had to end this way.
Have a nice day.
I tried, I really tried, but to no avail!
S!Blade<><


Thanks to All who are still reading this story. We topped 5,000 views, WAHOOOOO!!!

S! Drew <><

Last edited by Blade_Meister; 04/03/20 01:34 AM.
#4501510 - 12/25/19 06:46 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,418
Blade_Meister Online biggrin
Member
Blade_Meister  Online Biggrin
Member

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,418
Atlanta, GA, USA

[Linked Image]


Episode I

Memoirs


Memoirs of Chris Wednsforth II, recounted by his Grandson Paton Christopher Wednsforth. By the time of my Grandfather's death in 2002, some 60 odd years had passed since he voluntarily applied to be trained as an RAF Pilot. As our family went through the painful process of sorting his personal belongings in his home in Bishopston, Llandeilo Ferwallt, I came across my Grandfather's diary. A very special diary. A very secretive diary! Upon sitting down and reading his diary I discovered a secret in an epoch within a devastating struggle that I knew almost nothing about. His diary intrigued me to personally research and investigate exactly how my Grandfather had become an instrumental part in 'The Battle of Britain'. I have spent the last 17 years putting together the pieces of the puzzle which my Grandfather's Diary inspired me to explore so I might quench my own desire to understand what he and his fellow pilots actually experienced. My grandfather was one of the few known as 'Blitz Buster!' He was one of a daring group of very young RAF pilots whom volunteered to carry the fight to the Luftwaffe pilots in a most unexpected way in spite of the inherent dangers to their own lives .
[Linked Image]


You see my Grandfather was born on the Twenty Third of September in the year Nineteen Hundred and Twenty One to my great Grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Adison Wednsforth. To the sorrowful lose of Chris Sr. , Mrs. Alison Chamberland Wednsforth perished during childbirth. Christopher Patrick Wednsforth II, my Grandfather, would never know his mother except through this one photograph which his Father kept on his desk always.
Mr. Christopher Adison Wednsforth[Linked Image][Linked Image]Mrs. Alison Chamberland Wednsforth


The child of a member of Parliament, young Chris grew up in the know of world events. From 1933, at the age of 12, Chris began his Diary. For the most part he chronicled the experiences of a youthful boy caught up in exploring the peaceful world of Swansea, South Wales. He was faithful in his journal entries and reveled in chronicling all that he discovered as a young boy. In November of 1937, just a couple of months after his sixteenth birthday, young Chris wrote of his father teaching him the proper handling and discharge of a firearm. He chronicled a trip which his father took him on to hunt pheasant on the Isle Illaunmore on Lough Derg in Whitegate Ireland. Young Chris noted the excitement of beaters, dogs working and the resulting flush of fowl which he and his father attempted to bring down as the birds flew past the point where both were pegged and awaiting. Young Chris wrote, “results on my first day of hunting were somewhat nil, with only one pheasant taken over many shots. On the second day, with the coaching of my father, I felled six pheasant, taking only eight shots that day. My heart was racing, hands shaking, excitement coursing through my body as I found myself to be a hunter on that day.” There were several more hunting trips over the next few months resulting in young Chris apprenticing into a fine shot whom rarely had his prey evade him. These were obviously golden days for young Chris as he loved his Father dearly and strove to earn his respect and exhibit his skills as a true sportsman. In the early months of 1938 he took note of his father's grave concern with a new and seemingly dangerous powerful political figure in Germany. Young Chris recognized, and chronicled, his father's great uneasiness when discussing this Adolf Hitler. Chris Sr. spent much of his time in London attending to his duties in Parliament and upon his homecoming on various weekends, he spoke of a second world war and the need of critical preparations that the British Empire must endeavor upon with haste. Young Chris made special note of his fathers journey to Germany in June of the year 1938 to visit his lifelong friend Frank Foley in Berlin. Young Chris wanted to accompany his father to Germany rather badly, but his father assured him that he had no time to attend to the needs of a young man nor take him sightseeing. He confided in young Chris that this journey was of the utmost importance and every minute of his time would be occupied traveling throughout Germany, hosting interviews and conducting research to gather vital information.
Mr. Francis Edward Foley

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When his father returned home from Berlin, three weeks had passed and he seemed quite agitated by the information which he had gathered while in Germany. Young Chris noted that his father spoke of vast numbers of combat aeroplanes, military equipment and large numbers of military personnel which he had witnessed and photgrahed personally. Chris Senior was most distressed that Adolf Hitler was to all appearances leading the German people down a road to extreme nationalism. The Nazi Party's first declaration in Herr Hitler's 25 point program was written to state publicly, “We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.” This was in direct conflict with the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty stripped Germany of 25,000 square miles of territory and 7 million people. It was comprehensive and complex as to the restrictions imposed upon the post-war German armed forces and was intended to make the Reichswehr incapable of offensive action and too encourage international disarmament. Chris senior was quite positive that Hitler's Germany was not poised for national defense as the Treaty of Versailles allowed, but rather Adolf Hitler was breeding Germany for war in a most nationalistic militarily strengthened fervor. Young Chris had never witnessed his father in such a distressed, provocative and speculative manner before. Chris Senior seemed as though he was peering into the future as it was unfolding quite clearly within his mind's eye, and he did not like the image of the coming storm which he was foreseeing.
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Young Chris was intrigued by exactly how his Father had been able to photograph and ascertain the statistical information which he now saw spread all over the dinning room table. He noted in his writing, “ is my father a spy, possibly in league with MI6? Who is this Mr. Frank Foley whom my father has known for so long?” Whatever the connection his father had with Mr. Foley it was easy to see, even for a sixteen year old young man, that the information they had compiled was of great value and great concern to both of them and to the well being of the British Empire. This importance was only exemplified by the hasty manner with which Chris Sr. left Bishopston to travel to London where Parliament was convening a special session. Through my years of research I came to find the truth about Mr. Francis Edward Foley, and his history would make for a very interesting story in and of itself.

It seems as though young Chris was caught up by his youthful exuberance as his Diary went fairly quiet between the end of 1938 and April of 1939. He wrote of his interest with his studies and his excellent marks as he progressed through the year at Swansea Grammar School. Oddly enough, during the “three nights blitz” of February 1941 the old Swansea Grammar School would be badly damaged, but that is for another story. He noted briefly, in only one writing, of an innocent budding romance with a young girl from his school, as she was the first girl he had ever kissed. Mostly he wrote sporadically of the daily life of a seventeen year old young man, until one Saturday, the 20th of May 1939, when it all changed for young Chris. He wrote of the day that his father took him to a flying display of Empire Air Day at RAF Carew Cheriton. On that day he saw, among many others, twelve fighter style aeroplanes flying in several different formations, performing aerobatics and he wrote this , “today my eyes were opened to a whole new world which I know nothing about.” Young Chris wrote of how the speed and precision formation flying completely fascinated him. “How could a man control an aeroplane with such grace, and precision?” he noted. His imagination ran wild putting himself into the cockpit of one of the fighters and at the controls of such a magnificent machine. He knew from that instant that he wanted to be that man, an RAF pilot, the one controlling that powerful machine soaring through the sky!
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Just past mid 1939 , August the 28th to be exact, Chris's Father called him into his study and sat young Chris down opposite him at his desk. “Chris” he said, “War is coming son, I am quite certain of it. Britain will need every fit young man she has to defend her Empire. You will be called up Chris,....... being the son of a Parliament member will hold no sway for you.” Young Chris noted the unflinching seriousness of his Father's demeanor and expression as he conveyed these words. He could feel a real sense of concern. “Chris, even in your youth, please consider this quite seriously son, for it would be much wiser for you to sign on early, study diligently and train hard in preparation for what will surely come. Your Eighteenth Birthday is approaching rather quickly and you must choose son, ....... or they will choose for you.” This made an indelible impression upon Young Chris. He contemplated what his father had said to him over the next few weeks.

“On Twenty Four September Nineteen Hundred and Thirty Nine, I Chris Patrick Wednsforth II was accepted for flying training as an Acting Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force”, wrote young Chris . The Training schedule looked like a mad dash considering that Germany had invaded Poland on the 1st of September 1939. The coming storm which Chris Sr. had so aptly foreseen, was now beginning to unfold before the world, and before young Chris's eyes. With Germany now in a non aggression pack with Russia, and Russia attacking and occupying half of Poland, the storm which had now stricken Poland was surely to move Westward. Adolf Hitler's wrath would now be unleashed upon Western Europe with an eye for Britain in the not so distant future. The British Empire had precious little time to prepare for the German onslaught now known as 'Blitzkrieg!'
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Two weeks at Uxbridge filled with square bashing, foot drills, physical training and other parade ground instruction was just the beginning. “High and tight you know and in step to the cadence and the likes mate!” wrote Chris. There was some classroom basic training as to addressing rank, personal hygiene and conduct conducive to an RAF Pilot. Upon completing basic, the cadets were whisked away for pictures in front of the Coniston Hotel, all was grand as each cadet wanted eagerly to serve their island home of Britain. During Chris's Initial Training Syllabus at No.10 Elementary Flying Training School at Yatesbury, the hours of study and instruction were long and rigorous, unrelenting and demanding with almost nil tolerance for failure. “Educating ourselves in the applied science of aeroplanes and rudimentary physics of actually flying a machine, a fighter aeroplane, was exhausting, even in my youth. The classes, and classes,.... and more classes, drilled the basics of flying and its requirements into our brains until we could recite the principles and practicalities of the No.10 Initial EFTS Syllabus without hesitation.” Do to the urgent need for RAF Pilots, this Initial EFTS phase of training was shortened from 8 to 6 weeks and led immediately into the second stage of training which was the Elementary Flying Training School Syllabus. Now all of the classroom studies and aeroplane mechanical internship would be put into practical application in the first trainer plane the cadets had been issued.
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During the first few weeks of the EFTS the cadets were introduced to The De Havilland Tiger Moth. Each cadet was instructed on operation and complete mechanical upkeep. Chris was assigned Tiger Moth 39, number N9503, and she was a beginning pilots dream. She flew smoothly, had good power and her stall, sometimes as low as 25 knots, was gentle and easily recovered to controlled flight. Many a beginner pilot had learned the ways of taking off, proper climbing, navigation and of course the hardest and most important part of flying, the landing. She was perfect for beginning to get the feeling of flight, and the Cadets had extensive time in them to learn to strap the Tiger Moth on and become one with her. There were aerobatic barrel rolls, Immelmanns, dives, loops, stalls and inversion reversals to learn and each cadet was expected to become proficient in all areas of flight technique and aerobatics. The cadets were tested on their conclusive knowledge in each area concerning the De Havilland Tiger Moth's operation and upkeep, and each cadet had to pass all areas of testing for any hope of progressing forward to the next phase of the syllabus.
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With just 3 weeks left in the EFTS there was only one true test remaining for each of the cadets. Soloing! It was a cold morning on the 7th of January 1940 when Chris's Flight instructor, Flt Lt Richard Collinsworth, gave him final instructions on his initial solo flight. “Wedns old boy, mind your training, treat her like a proper lady for two rotations of the pattern about the Aerodrome and set her down nice and easy minding the windsock old chap.” Upon turning to walk away Collinsworth paused,.. cocked his head to the side and said, “Oh and Wednsforth,... ....do try not to cock it up and get yourself killed mate!” Chris made a perfect solo flight and had the confidence of a true aviator after his initial lone flight. There was only one problem with the De Havilland Tiger Moth which Chris had come to realize,..... she was slow and under powered. The average cruising speeds were between 95 and 110 knots. She was nimble and fully acrobatic, but even at that, one was not to exceed 140 knots or risk chancing structural failure. All of the cadets wanted more power, just as any young man would desire from any machine of propulsion. To learn more aggressive maneuvers and to achieve their end goal of flying a Hawker Hurricane or possibly one of the few Supermarine Spitfires, they knew they needed an aeroplane with a stronger engine, greater strength and a mono wing design. Ten weeks had been trimmed to eight weeks for EFTS training as Fighter Command knew that Hitler's pride would not allow him to stop at the Western European shores of France.
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 01/31/20 08:35 PM.
#4501511 - 12/25/19 06:47 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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II

Memoirs


Three more weeks of daily and sometimes twice daily solos, navigating the English countryside and touch and go landings in the Tiger Moth facilitated a move to No. 2 SFTS based at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. The elementary phase of training had come to an end for the cadets, whom like Chris, had passed their exams and the final flying test. On the 30th of January 1940 , Chris began his next phase of training, Service Flying Training School. With the move came new classes and familiarization with the cadet's new trainer,... .. the North American Harvard Mk I. She was a two seat low wing cantilever aluminum-alloy stressed skin monoplane trainer. She had a 550-hp Pratt and Whitney 'Wasp' S3H1 nine-cylinder radial air cooled engine that would pull her along at 206 mph at 5,000 ft. altitude. She could dive at 226 mph! She was the next step in Chris's dream to becoming an RAF Pilot! The downside was that the Harvard was not known for its docile handling characteristics. Stalls were abrupt, ground loops are not uncommon for the unwary and even taxiing can present challenges for the inexperienced pilot. This presented each cadet with a challenge to master the Harvard in lieu of a proper fighter such as the Hawker Hurricane. Harvard was certainly an appropriate title for this plane of higher flight learning. Chris noted that he came to love the Harvard even with her tricky handling manners. During one check out flight Chris's instructor informed him that he was the top of his group in mastery of the Harvard and that his aeroplane handling knowledge and skills were spot on among the best he had ever experienced as an instructor.
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About half way through SFTS Chris was given the chance to test one of only three new Harvard BC-2 air frames, FX-352. The main revisions were new outer wing panels with a swept forward leading edge, removal of the previous leading edge wing slats design and the redesigned triangular tail and rudder. These new design changes helped the Harvard BC-2 perform much better with improved roll rate and a much improved high speed and low speed stall characteristic. Chris could outmaneuver any cadet or Instructor in the BC-2 model of the Harvard! The training continued and Chris had almost 98 hours of flight time in late March of 1940.
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During this time of training each cadet used a rather primitive training device. The Fitters and Riggers Training School had reclaimed a Hawker Hurricane Cockpit section and provided it to the SFTS. The Hurricane had been rather roughly belly landed and was slated to be scrapped. Chris noted, “it was a scrap fuselage from a Hurricane wreck which each cadet would sit in to receive instruction. The cockpit was intact, the controls and instruments did nothing, but we had to memorize the position and function of each instrument so that we could lay hands on it blindfolded, recite the instruments proper name and operating details.” Chris also wrote of a new experimental training mechanism which sounded quite odd yet quite futuristic for the times of 1940 . It was originally primarily used for bomber pilot training but was now being introduced into the fighter pilot training syllabus also. “The Link Simulator was the first to fit instruments inside of a trainer to teach pilots too trust the essential readings of instruments while flying. Designed by Edwin Link, it used pneumatic bellows to control pitch and roll and a small motor-driven device to produce disturbances as the pilots navigational skills were recorded by a mechanized drawing arm onto a map located on top of the instructors desk.” It looked rather like an automated Ouija Board to me but also appeared quite helpful in learning to trust and rely upon the gauge readouts and navigation readings during poor visual conditions. Chris later wrote, “The Edmondes simulator was newly introduced to instruct a fighter pilot in deflection shooting combined with aircraft recognition and range judgment. Using a modified Link trainer the Edmondes was fitted with a reflector sight and a spotlight triggered by a firing a button on the control column. At the required distance from the Link, a scale model aircraft was positioned 6.5 ft from the ground and mounted on a castored trolley.” Chris noted, “the trainee flew the Link to simulate attacking the model which then moved to mimic an aircraft under attack. When the pilot considered he was in range and had the correct deflection, he pressed his trigger in short bursts and the beam of light from the spotlight registered on the graph. On the floor in front of the simulator were painted a number of arcs which represented ranges from 150 yds to 600 yds. The Instructor was in communication with the pilot through a mic and headphones. After the Instructor read the range from the arcs on the floor and the results showed on the graph, he would quickly formulate a solution and then radio his observations to correct the trainee's aim throughout the simulation until the pilot could make the correct range and deflection adjustments himself.” It was all quite advanced for the times and Chris excelled in this simulated piloting.
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The training went on at a roiled pace and the cadets could not quite understand why as Germany seemed quite content to occupy Poland and the Sudetenland through the winter of 1939 and early into 1940. Within just a few months it would become clear that the Nazis aim was to conquer all of Europe. In April 1940 the Nazis invaded Denmark and Norway. By May 10th the Nazis had invaded the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. On this same day Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of the British people. By the 15th of May Holland surrendered to Germany and on the 26th of May Churchill ordered Operation Dynamo, the Maritime evacuation of the British Troops from Dunkirk. Three Hundred and Seventy Eight thousand British Troops were trapped within the Dunkirk perimeter and all but Forty One thousand French and British Troops would be evacuated using a massive flotilla of British Naval, commercial and even personal ships, boats and yachts . Tragically many of the Forty One thousand left behind would be taken as prisoners of war over the next few days. On the 28th of May 1940 Belguim surrendered. As Chris continued to train he saw Hitler's War inching closer to Britain day by day.
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The standards for becoming an RAF Pilot were determination, persistence and the pinnacle of excellence in all forms of powered flight! In the study halls, in the simulators and in the trainers one must prove his mastery of the theories and physics of aerial flight. The RAF's arduous study of Fighting Area Attacks would enable the pilots of the new generation of fast 8-gun monoplane fighters to ensure that the bomber would not always get through.
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The end goal, earn the patch, the wings of the RAF Pilot. On the 30th of May Nineteen Hundred and Forty, Chris Patrick Wednsforth II completed his provisional training and received his Wings as an RAF Pilot Officer. The very next day Chris was posted to No. 238 Squadron, Fighter Command, Tangmere, England. Chris notes that he will be flying a Hawker Hurricane out of Tangmere Aerodrome. Not a week later he found out that RAF No. 238 flew Supermarine Spitfires up until just three days prior to his being posted to No. 238 Squadron. It was every cadet's dream to fly the Supermarine Spitfire and Chris had just missed out on this opportunity. By this time at the end of May the majority of the Fighter Command's Squadrons were fitted with Hurricanes as the Spitfire production was ramping up. Chris wrote, “Bugger, just missed the Spitfire here at Tangmere, the Hawker Hurricane it will be! Tally Ho!” The task at hand, defend Britain from the most probable assault of Goering's Lufwaffe, defend the pursuit of Liberty and the right to live in Freedom! “At last it feels official”, Chris wrote.

Diary entry Sunday, June 2nd, 1940, The train travel to Chichester, West Sussex, which is just over 200 miles from my home in Swansea, was uneventful, but it left me with a 3 mile walk to RAF Tangmere Aerodrome on a blistering hot day which was unusual this early in June. After arriving and being shown to my quarters, I stowed my gear. I along with another brand new Plt Off, Archie Braxton Lacey, looked over the Aerodrome. We met the CO and the Adjutant at 1200 hours and were at once posted to 'A' Flight, Red Section. We were then introduced to our new Flight Leader and Sqaudron Commander, Flt Lt Colin Alexander Payne, who seemed a fine fellow and had fought with No. 73 Squadron in France. Payne detailed us for a familiarization flight at sparrow chirp tomorrow. He wants to see what we're made of, no doubt, as well as show us the lie of the land here in West Sussex. Payne whom seemed a rather quiet chap at first meeting, showed out to be a stickler for observance of regulation. One button on my shirt sleeve was of a different shade, as I had replaced it for a lost one, from the standard issue buttons. He let me have it in no uncertain terms that I was to repair the situation post haste! Payne asked me, “how many hours have you in a Hawker Hurricane Wednsforth?” I stood there at attention dumbfounded and unable to answer as I gazed straight ahead not knowing what to say. “Well Wednsforth, answer the question? Hurry man!” said Payne. “Sir,.... ..... I have only ever seen one Hawker Hurricane at No. 2 SFTS and it was in disrepair Sir.” “Well Pilot Officers Wednsforth and Lacey, I suggest you boys hustle over to the flight line and have a look at your new mounts. Wednsforth you will fly Hurricane VK-B, and Lacey you will be in VK-G. Dismissed Pilot Officers!” said Payne. Archie and I came to attention, saluted, and turned about face and left for the flight line to make our first walk around of the Hawker Hurricanes each of us would be flying. “This was the defining moment in my enlistment so far. All of my study, training, struggle and all of the time spent had landed me here in 238 Squadron at Tangmere Aerodrome. It seems surreal to me as I have not even turned Nineteen yet.”
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As we walked out of Flt Lt Payne's office we were met by Alfred Harold Pippard, the fitter for Hurricane VK-B of No. 238 Squadron. Pippard offered to drive Archie and I over to the flight line and we accepted. As we pulled up, there was Hurricane VK-B sitting in front of an open hanger. As I got out of the Bedford I was quite excited, somewhat filled with wonderment and a little scared.
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As I slowly walked up to the Hurricane I thought to myself, what a beautiful lass to conceal such murderous weapons. I wondered if I could tame this beast and make Goering's Luftwaffe dread her.
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As I got closer I could see the masterful engineering which was used to construct her. She was sleek and exuded speed and her weaponry elicited respect. In the hands of the right RAF Pilot, she would be the terror of the skies.
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As I sat in Hawker Hurricane VK-B for the first time, I knew I was home. I strapped myself into her and wondered where she would take me and how long our relationship would last. I quietly said to her, “take good care of me Lass as I am a part of you now.” As I looked up Flt Lt Payne was climbing up on the wing. Payne went though the taps and drills of the Hurricane controls and procedures with me. As he stepped off the wing to go find Lacey and run through the drill with him, I was very thankful for the dummy cockpit training I had received at SFTS. Long after Payne left, I stayed and went over every gauge, control and procedure to reassure myself that I was prepared to make my first flight tomorrow morning.
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/27/20 02:39 AM.
#4501512 - 12/25/19 06:47 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
Joined: Apr 2013
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III

Memoirs

This is Chris's account of Flight one as an RAF Fighter pilot for No. 238 Squadron Tangmere:
Diary entry Monday, June 3rd 1940, 0455 hours:
Flt Lt Payne briefed Lacey and myself of our planned flight route, times and expected radio procedures during our checkout mission in A Flight, Red Section. We were to keep the chatter to an absolute minimum barring an emergency. This was to keep the one operational voice radio frequency open for other more important Squadron chatter than our training mission. Payne told us to stay alert with our attention focused on him because he was going to use hand signals as much as possible to communicate with Lacey and I. As Payne and I took off from Tangmere we heard Plt Off Archie Lacey's call come over the blower. “Hello Red Leader, Red Two calling, I am having a spot of trouble with my fuel pressure. My fitter is on it and says he will have me off in a hurry. Permission to catch up and rejoin once I am sorted, over to you.” “Hello Red Two, this is Red Leader answering, received and understood , we will hold on heading one-eight-zero angels one saunter for twelve minutes. We will then come starboard to heading two-eight-three saunter until you rejoin Red Section. Carry on and tell your fitter to ratchet it up! over to you.” Lacey's call came, “Hello Red Leader, Red Two answering, received and understood, listening out.” So much for no radio chatter.
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The roar of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, the resounding feel of power and the integrity of the Hawker Hurricane's sturdy construction were all bound together to give one the utmost feeling of championing the world. All of these sensations along with the beauty of the English sunrise here in West Sussex permanently cemented the first moments of my RAF piloting career into the strongholds of my minds most treasured memories. As I looked to my starboard I was pulled back to reality as I realized I was overtaking Flt Lt Payne upon climbing out of Tangmere and I eased my throttle off to fall back into my assumed position as number three in our section.
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I quickly positioned my Hurricane as I should have in the first place.
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As we hurtled across the English countryside, upon looking closer, I noticed Payne feverishly waving me closer into a tighter formation position. As I closed in I thought I could read his lips as saying, “tighten up man!!!” Regardless if this was what he was saying, he looked none too happy with my performance so far.
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I slid over closer to Payne and set myself at ease with the setting of the throttle in my Hurricane while trying to trim her out for a ten degree climb.
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As we made the coast Payne eased us into a starboard turn to vector us onto a West-Northwest heading of two-eight-three. Lacey called on the RT, “Hello Red Leader, Red Two calling, I can see you now, permission to join section formation, over to you.” “Hello Red Two, Red Leader answering, received and understood, go ahead and rejoin formation now, over.” “Hello Red Leader, Red Two answering, received and understood, out.”
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As Payne straightened out our course Lacey rejoined and overshot our flight moving into the wrong position between my Hurricane and Payne's. As I looked starboard I could see Payne moving right and throttling back as Lacey must have rattled a nerve with him. “Hello Red Two, Red Leader calling,...what in the Bloody Hell are you doing? I should rip your patch for that cock up! Get back in bloody formation Red Two! over.” “Hello Red Leader, Red Two answering, received and understood, out.”
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Lacey came low under my nose from my starboard to my port side and began throttling back to maneuver into what he thought was the correct section position. Lacey seemed a bit unnerved at the moment and was completely arsing it up. I tried to hand signal Lacey to move to the correct position when Payne came on the R/T again, “Hello Red Two, Red Leader calling, your correct position is to my starboard wing! What in the bloody hell are you doing Red Two? Get in position NOW! over to you.” “Hello Red Leader, Red Two answering, received and understood, listening out.”
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Payne began to throttle up and move back into the number one position and put us on a heading to return to the 'drome'. I think Flt Lt Payne had just about seen enough of our inexperience and undisciplined formation flying for one morning.
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The rest of the flight was uneventful and as we came back into sight of Tangmere I began to be concerned for my landing. I had not considered it before but there is a stand of trees running the length of the base leg of Tangmere's runway. Of course procedure was that I would land first, Red two second and Red Leader would land last. As Red Section nearly completed the downwind leg I concluded the brief assessment of how I needed to approach this landing and I turned onto base leg. As I came across I slowly turned onto final and descended over the trees.
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One had to cross that tree line and then chop the throttle and descend quickly to level and then flare to perform a three point touch down in the Hawker Hurricane. Luckily with the Hurricane in proper landing configuration, full flaps down and trimmed correctly, she flew beautifully at 85 mph and was a dream to pancake.
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I set her down on the first third of the runway and had her slowed by it's end and headed back to where I could see my fitter Pippard waving me over to a hangar. Later Pipps would scold me for not raising the flaps on his Hurricane once my landing was complete. It seems leaving the flaps down while taxing back to the revetment can lead to stones or other debris being thrown up and damaging them, or worse jamming the flaps in the down position. Pipps assured me that it was nil a small task to clear the landing flaps of trash when a pilot bollocks them up while taxiing all about without lifting them!
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Engine and brakes off, my trusty rigger and fitter grabbed a wingtip each and guided me into the hangar, where VK-B was due some attention she couldn't receive at dispersal. Thus my first flight as an RAF Hawker Hurricane pilot of Fighter Command's No. 238 Squadron concluded.... Spectacular!
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/27/20 02:56 AM.
#4501513 - 12/25/19 06:48 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
Joined: Apr 2013
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IV


Formation Training

Diary Entry: Tuesday, June 4th 1940, 1440 hours:
I knew it was coming,.. I knew it as we returned to Tangmere yesterday from our initial checkout flight as Red Section with Flt Lt Payne, …. it was just a matter of when. The reason I was sure of it is thanks to our debriefing. It went something along this account on June 3rd. After each of the three of us finished the required paperwork for our fitters and riggers, Payne walked to the Squadron's Intelligence Officer's office followed by Lacey and myself. As he entered, Payne preceded to ask Sgt Hughes if he knew the proper lay out for 'A' flight Red Section's aircraft when in the air? Hughes affirmed that he did. Payne turned his glance to Lacey and I and said, “SIT!” He inquired if Hughes possessed the training pictures for the different formations which were standard for all RAF Fighter Squadrons training syllabuses. Hughes pulled out a rather large picture of 'A' Flight with each section in 'Vic' Formation. “Would this be the one you are looking for Sir?” asked Sgt Hughes with a subtle amount of sarcasm about his tone. Payne nodded affirmatively and snatched the large picture rather briskly and taped it to the grand sized chalkboard which the Sargent used for debriefings. He then asked Hughes , “would you care to label 'A' flight Red Section with our names beneath the appropriate planes depicted in the picture Sgt. Hughes.” As Sgt Hughes went about writing each of our names under the proper crate using a grease pencil, Lacey and I looked at one another as each of us knew we were about to receive a rather stern barking at. As Hughes accomplished the task, Payne said, “that will be all Sargent, would you lend me your office for the next few minutes?” “Of course Sir,” Hughes countered. As he stepped out quietly he gave Lacey and I a notice of sympathy while closing the door behind himself. Hughes also perceived what was looming, and I am quite positive he and the Adjutant were enjoying quite a chuckle just about now. Payne stepped up to the chalkboard and drew three large 'X's over the aircraft in Yellow Section. “Forget Yellow Section! They don't exist,.... yet! Do You Blokes Understand?” We both responded affirmatively. “Good!” Payne said. He then proceeded to bark at us,...... “Learn It!,.... Memorize It!,...... DO NOT FORGET IT!” Then he wrote on the picture, Learn it or I will send you to fly for the Huns! He marked heavily over each letter several times in the name 'Huns' to cause each of them to appear bold and then underlined the word to emphasize his message to us. “Do You Blokes Understand That?” Payne said. Again Lacey and I both acknowledged affirmatively. “Good,.... Because If I Ever Again See Either Of You Fly As Poorly Or As Dangerously As You Did Today,..... IT'S OFF TO FRANCE WITH YOU BOTH! Formation Training at sparrow chirp tomorrow!!! Remove yourselves from my sight and be at the ready in the morning!” Lacey and I stood to our feet at attention, saluted, turned about face together and proceeded to paraded out of the office. As we did, neither Sgt Hughes nor the Adjutant would look us in the eye and each appeared to be attempting to cover their smirks, but this was a serious matter for Lacey and I! I found positively nil humor regarding this state of affairs!
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June 4th, 0500 hours! Red Section Formation Training initialized for Lacey and I under the Squadron Leader, Flt Lt Payne. Our fitters had each of our Hurricanes on the end of the runway Line Abreast. As dawn broke over Tangmere we each started our engines and fire and smoke rolled over the noses of our aircraft and confused our sight through the canopy glass for a few moments. Roll out was at ten second intervals, throttle at full power, with my Hurricane VK-B presenting everything she could muster to climb and chase down Lacey and Payne.
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Once Lacey caught up to Payne, it was my turn to catch up to both of them. We assumed our positions in the 'Vic', and it was jolly hard to hold my distance from Payne and keep an eye on Lacey. Payne cued the R/T, “Red Section this is Red Leader calling, each of you, eyes on me only, hold your distance and maintain altitude accordingly, listening out.” Payne had us practice staying with him and gradually he had us close up the distance from our Hurricanes to his as Lacey and I started to feel a bit less uneasy about the whole business. The sun rising over West Sussex was rather stunning.
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Over the coming days during this week Lacey and I found our confidence in flying the tight 'Vic'. Mostly through Payne's insistence and constant R/T instruction were each us to learn that Red Leader was our focus. Nothing Else! Our complete Squadron depended on tight 'Vic' formations to survive. Otherwise each of us might end up some Hun's breakfast! Those stunning sunrises became a dangerous distraction and Payne flew Red Section directly into them purposely on each session to train us to engage the blinding glare and fight through it to do our job. “Hold the 'Vic'! out”, as Payne would bellow over the R/T. Payne confided that while fighting over France he had come to realize that the Huns loved to attack from out of the sun. It was imperative that Lacey and I must remain vigilant to this Jerry tactic as this situation would assuredly present itself as a threat to our very survival as RAF pilots in the near future.
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We had our moments, for instance when Lacey found himself flying directly on top of Payne's position. Honestly it was a rather gusty day and we each had a great deal of difficulty with movement in accordance with that wind. As Payne led us into a rather sharp starboard turn, Lacey had lost sight of both of us under his port wing and I had drifted much to far to the port side of the formation. Payne broke in on the Blower, “Hello Red Two, Red Leader calling,............. Why am I looking at the bottom of Hurricane VK-G, which is positioned merely twenty feet above me? Pilot Officer, get in formation, ...NOW! Red Three tighten up your position, out.” All in all I would venture to say we were getting the feel of it, and a majority of the time our 'Vic' was as tight as one could expect. Payne acknowledged as much but counseled us with, “never take your eyes off of your Section Leader as he is your life chaps!”
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As Red Section had been dogging on to perfect the 'Vic', so had Yellow Section under Flt Lt Lenny Alsford Marshall. Marshall's number two was Flg Off Arthur Chandler Chamberlain and his number three was, Plt Off Lloyd Billingsworth Clough. Marshall had flown a Hurricane in No. 1 Squadron in France during the 'Phony War' and was shot down but safely belly landed near Vassincourt. Payne had decided it was time to marry both Red Section with Yellow Section to fly as 'A' Flight. As we fired our engines Payne cut in on the Blower, “Hello Red Section this is Red leader calling, Yellow Section now exists. Keep your focus soley on me Red Section and let Yellow Section handle their own business! Listening Out.” It was a stormy day, but later in the flight as we climbed out towards the Channel the sky cleared off somewhat and all of 'A' Flight joined together and we each flew with great precision. It was all beginning to come together.
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It was rather startling to have Yellow Section directly off my Port wing. Yellow section flew quite a tight 'Vic' giving reason for Lacey and I to tighten our positions even more. This took a while to adapt to, but we adjusted soon enough. We flew a fair amount of training over the wetlands of Bosham, Thorney Island and also Hayling Island. We were not allowed to train over Portsmouth and had not ventured down to The Isle of Wight as of yet. Our formation was commencing to aspire each pilot to a high level of confidence in our abilities as RAF Fighter Pilots, yet many of us had not seen any action as of the present day.
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Our Training moved to the end of our second week and we were operating efficiently now, moving as a Flight and anticipating each movement of our respective Section Leaders. As formation maneuvers became second nature to my abilities as a pilot I began to realize and take in the beauty of West Sussex and the Southern English coast. The unspoiled wetlands of the islands, the waterways and the sunrises and cloud formations. These were some of the Blessings of the British Island, that which we would fight to preserve and deliver from the plans of invasion that Adolf Hitler looked to recklessly commit the German Military to.
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The beauty was astounding, but for England to be on the brink of such a tragedy as war, was unconscionable. We must defend our British Island home at all costs. And that we would with no regret!
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/27/20 12:49 PM.
#4501514 - 12/25/19 06:50 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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V


Formation Training

Diary entry for Friday, June 14th, 0510 hours
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I quickly looked to my right, while still closing my canopy, to see Plt Off Lacey waving his gloved hand briskly for me to release my brake and let my Hurricane roll.
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I freed my brake and my Hurricane powered down the runway chasing Payne's. Lacey did not wait the accepted ten seconds but immediately charged off beside me. With little crosswind, holding my lane so that Lacey and I would not collide was routine. Payne's Hurricane was leaving the runway, undercarriage folding away and he was off leaving me behind. As I raced down the runway I trimmed nose down two degrees and not so gently shoved my hand against the throttle again to make sure it was through the gate. Lacey was right beside me tearing along the runway knowing we had to catch Payne or he would soon be on the blower giving us a severe barking. Behind Lacey and I, Marshall, Chamberlain, and Clogh were now rolling. The next line back of Coburn, Thayer and Pierce were surely at high rpm and champing at the bit to ease off their brakes and let their Hurricanes loose.
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Once off the runway and climbing away with Lacey closely behind me I shuttered my radiator looking to gain every bit of speed which I could muster. I then began to trim for a climb to match Payne's. As my Hurricane stabilized into a power climb, I quickly look back to see the last man, Plt Off Pierce, was rolling middle way along the strip. As each Hurricane leapt off the runway, Lacey and I were already beginning to overhaul Payne. As Payne had not briefed any of the pilots as to where this mission was heading, we relied on our initial rule of formation flying,when in difficulty, ones watch is solely on ones section leader. We would have followed Payne into the ground should he have led us there. As he broke port side and we started to gather him in, I opened my radiator by half and glanced back to see that everyone had made it into the air and each of the boys was feverishly chasing the rabbit. Once Payne had loosely circled Tangmere he vectored us South towards Portsmouth. He popped on the blower, “Hello Rupert Sections, Red Leader calling, maintain radio silence until further notice, listening out” All pilots acknowledged Red Leader, starting with mysellf by effecting two clicks of the mic until each pilot had silently acknowledged the order.
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As we gathered in Payne, A Flight and Blue Section were forming up to display 3 rather tight Vics. It took a spot of time to gather all the boys in and as we did the early morning sun rose above the Channel behind us. Payne was not vectoring us directly into the sun, as was his usual custom, for some unknown reason. Maybe returning the past day from 48 hours leave had something to do with it. We made Portsmouth in little time and then came port side to head East on towards Brighton and finally up the southern coast to Dungeness.
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I always rather fancied flying over the Channel at this time of day. The early morning sun bristling off the water like a million jewels had been strewn down upon it to pave a highway. A perfect day for flying, lazy clouds, a very light wind and one could see ten miles in any direction. We displayed an exceptional formation this Friday morning, all the boys high an tight just like we were taught back at Uxbridge while square bashing on the Parade Grounds. Payne made Dungeness and brought us port side again to make the turn and head back for Tangmere. Now the sun was at our eleven o'clock nevertheless we had it more manageable than we often do. As we came back into the Portsmouth's vicinity, Payne lead off to a starboard swing as we commenced our trek inland to cascade into the pattern at Tangmere before pancaking.
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Once headed inland the whole formation was moving along nicely when Plt Off Lloyd Clough broke in on the R/T, “Hello Red Leader, Yellow Three calling,I have steam filling my cockpit, lower legs burning, sorry,... I am afraid I should bailout! over to you.” “Hello Yellow Three, Red Leader answering, received and understood, get out of there Pilot Officer!!! listening out.” Our Flight had descended to 600 feet of altitude and this was not an acceptable height to bail out from so Clough pulled up at a 45 degree angle and gained the loftiness he needed, popped his belts, rolled back his canopy, pushed up slightly and was sucked out of his failing Hurricane like a cork from a champagne bottle!
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Payne initiated an easy port side turn and while I should not have, I looked quickly and saw Clough's chute open. His Hurricane was inverted and hastily rushing down.
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I observed the steam bellowing out of the cockpit as the Hurricane drew away and approached the countryside.
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As Clough's Hurricane clashed with the landscape there was a great flash of fire, then billowing smoke and steam. It seamed unreal, like a toy exploding, while viewing it from 600 feet. I saw Clough floating down on his cream colored parachute into a forested area. I said a short Prayer for his safe keeping upon landing.
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Once Payne was contented Clough would make it down in relative safety, he rounded us one more time and vectored us for Tangmere as our Petrol was dipping rather low at this point.
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Later that evening, Lloyd told us about his experience upon landing in his parachute. As he was floating down within two hundred feet of the countryside he said he heard a pop. Looking around he couldn't see anything and he knew in mere seconds he was going to land in a tall wooded section of the forest. As he spun around and floated downward in his parachute he heard another pop but with a deeper resonance and a whoosh sounding by him this time. He now saw what looked like a very old abandoned two story building that might have been from the Great War times. Clough saw a horse and a couple of cows about. As he came within 50 feet of the trees he saw two men and a young chap scurrying to the area where he was soon to come down. He saw what looked to be one of the men aiming a gun at him to attempt to shoot him. Lloyd now knew they had already taken two shots at him. This time nothing fired from the old man's gun and as he lowered it Lloyd came down and his chute snagged in the tallest tree around right on the edge of the woods. The whole of England being on edge for the expected Jerry invasion, this was nil a time for Clough's present quandary. He was spinning back and forth from his parachute cords, but Lloyd dare not to release the harness as he was 40 feet up in the air. As he spun around he could hear the two men yell heatedly at him as they ran over to where he was hanging. “Are you a Hun pilot? Is this the first of the invasion?” One man sent the young chap running off. He could see the other man reloading a double barrel over and under shotgun and Lloyd said he began to yell at the top of his lungs, “don't shoot I am RAF, a pilot of 238 Squadron Tangmere, I fly a Hawker Hurricane! Don't shoot, God Save The King!!!,... God Save The King!!!” At first they did not believe him and asked him who the King of England is, all the while they pointed their shotguns at him. Lloyd yelled, “King George the VI! ,.....King George the VI! Stop pointing those blimey shotguns at me and bloody help me get down!” It was just then that he looked up and noticed the smoke from his Hurricane off in the distance. He said he remembered hoping it had not hit some poor sod's home. Lloyd yelled at the men, “did you already bloody fire off at me twice?” The young chap came running back carrying a rope and managed to cinch a fair size rock to it. After striking Lloyd in the leg with the rock and rope on the first throw, eliciting a few choice words from him, the young lad managed to toss it over a limb nearby him. One of the men answered Lloyd, “of course laddy, we thought you were a Jerry!” “ Possibly first of the invasion mate”, the other said. By swinging a bit, Lloyd managed to grab the rope. Then he tied it to his harness and while the farmers hoisted him up a mite, he released himself from his parachute and they lowered him down. All the while the young lad had retrieved one of the shotguns and held it aimed at Lloyd until all were satisfied he was not a Hun. “You old buggars nearly killed me!”, said Lloyd. “Right 'o, if not for dreadful sight we would have mate!” said one of the old men. The other then said, “The Good Lord must be watching over you this day 'mucker'.” Lloyd shook his head and asked where was the nearest Tele. “Have to walk 2 miles that direction to the nearest farm house that has one Sir”, said the young lad. Lloyd started on his way not to sure if he should be thankful to these blokes or ring their necks before leaving. He surmised the former was more prudent considering they still possessed the shotguns. Shortly after 1000 hours that morning, the call came in from Plt Off Clough to the Duty Hut, hence Payne dispersed one of the Riggers to fetch him up in a Bedford. Back at the Officers Mess in the evening I bought a round of Irish Whiskey for each of our pilots. All of us were thankful for the first successful bail out of what was surely to become a war with Jerry. The dangerous business at hand of being an RAF pilot was felt far to close to home on this day!
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/27/20 01:05 PM.
#4501515 - 12/25/19 06:50 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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VI


Formation Training

Diary entry for Tuesday, June 18th, 0800 hours:
Late last Friday, after all of the ballyhoo of Lloyd 's bailout and before we lit up the Officer's Mess, Payne conveyed a directive he had just received. The word came straight from the top to the CO at Tangmere Aerodrome, “paint those hangars and support buildings with camouflage at once.” The CO said, “while I distaste doing it, all weekend leave for any fitter, rigger or armorer is canceled until the painting is finished.” Upon hearing this Flt Lt Payne asked for volunteers to help them master the task at hand. Luckily for Plt Off Fletcher, he was already on 48 hours leave, but the rest of us pilots threw our lot in to help out. These boys charged with this task, our fitters, riggers and armorers, they keep our kites in the air and in tip top shape. How could we refuse to pitch in and help? As camouflage paint colors were in short supply, our Procurement Officer managed to scrounge 120 gallons of earthen tone paints in Tangmere at a supply warehouse. For the next four days we painted,...and painted, ….... and......PAINTED! I am not sure if we managed to get more paint on ourselves, or on the sheds and buildings. It was not pretty but it was a sight better than the tin sheds we had prior to this assignment. I hope above all hopes that I never see another bucket of paint or a paint brush again!!! Plt Off Lacey managed to fall off a ladder and break his leg rather badly. A couple of the boys placed him in a Bedford and they carted him off to the medical shack. The Doc applied a splint to Lacey's leg and sent him off to the Hospital in Tangmere for proper traction. Payne will have to perform a quick shuffle of pilots to fill Lacey's spot in Red Section.
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Diary entry for Thursday, June 20th, 0445 hours:
As we entered our 4th week of formation training, Flt Lt Payne determinately brought our Squadron together collectively. Red and Yellow Sections of A Flight, together with Blue and Green Sections of B Flight, which comprise RAF 238 Fighter Squadron Tangmere. Another stellar morning at Tangmere Aerodrome, but this morning is painted with a brush of steel, fire and raw man made power. The sights, sounds and smells of twelve Hawker Hurricanes overshadowed the prevailing natural beauty of the Southern English countryside. This morning, that supremacy of nature over all things yielded to the dominant machinery of the day for just a few hours after which she again will overwhelm with her superiority when mans machines must rest.
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The power and beauty of theses machines we take wing on is hard to reconcile with the destructive strength which they were designed to make profit of. Pitting one man against another in these beautiful machines in a duel to the death seems such a paradox. The frightful truth,..... this paradox will truly inhabit our future until we collide with that revelation head on. This coming of violence is destined to occur and each of the Squadrons over this Empire are charged with fulfilling their principle character in the Salvation of Britain. Each pilot must play his supporting role, fore written in this theatrical script of conflict, relinquishing the opportunity to step aside from this horrifying drama. He must take up his cross and carry it, portraying excellence in his performance until this undertaking is finished. We as the British Empire must stand alone and fight the good fight! Plt Off Lacey would be nil cheerful if he knew reserve pilot Sargent Terry Patrick Stapleton was flying his Hurricane, VK-G, today as Red 3 in his stead. Terry was from a very affluent aristocratic family and he never let that be forgotten. The whispers were that his Father had bought his way into the RAF Reserves to keep him from serving in the infantry. He is rather fond of himself and is under the assumption that he should lead the Squadron, yet there is not one chap in 238 Squadron that would agree with this pretentiousness nor follow him into combat should he have his way.
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As the smoke began to clear from the runway and our Squadron Leader commenced his takeoff roll, I could only think back to just a few months ago,... to when I was taking my first Solo flight in my Tiger Moth at EFTS. Flt Lt Richard Collinsworth said to me, "Oh and Wednsforth,... ....do try not to cock it up and get yourself killed mate!" My resolve has been just that ever since, and I think I shall carry that resolve into this Battle For Britain. When it arrives, I will make good on all of the training I have completed and exude the excellence ingrained in me. I will dole out to the Huns what they have served up to our European Allies, even to our boys over France, and then I will mete out a wee extra just for good allowance!
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While I was feeling particularly chivalrous and patriotic this morning and most optimistic, I was not quite certain that the peoples of Tangmere felt so adoring as we climbed twelve Hurricanes off the runway directly over their homes. After all, it was 5 A.M., surely they could not be pleased. I can only think to myself, but we will truly see how pleased they are if the Luftwaffe do come to England for a battle in these skies.
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As I cleared Tangmere the sun cracked the horizon and another day was spinning its' toil. I was excited to see how RAF 238 would operate as a Squadron. We had endured much labor in practicing for this day and I anticipated good results and tight Vics. During these weeks each Section had also been learning and practicing the RAF Fighting Area Attacks and these tight vics were the keystone to our flights winning in the encounters surely to come. Each pilot in each Section, in each Flight and in our entire Squadron depended on the next pilot, as each of those pilots depended on him! Not one of us wanted to let the others down and thus we strove for excellence in all which we did.
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Always a tradition on our departure from Tangmere, which most of us see as a Blessing, is immediately upon crossing the Tangmere Church we offered up a short Prayer, asking The Man Upstairs to deliver us through this day.
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As we began to gather, each pilot discovered his position and soon we were on the wing as a complete Squadron. A dozen Hawker Hurricanes flying in complete unison. We shouldered the firepower of untold destruction, and only time will tell if we will meet the Luftwaffe in these skies to decide Britain's, and the world's fate.
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Payne showed the way North and we began approaching the Western edge of London in a short while.
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Our Squadron took wing at 200mph, but as I peered straightforward through the canopy it scarcely seemed we were advancing in the least. We roared along in a pleasantly steady formation as we crossed over an immense reservoir. This is the Queen Mary Reservoir, a mainstay of fresh water for North Western London.
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Payne vectored 238 Squadron North of London and then came starboard to shadow the Northern outskirts of London proper.
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Payne again vectored us starboard and we came to a heading of due South as 238 Squadron prepared to display its' precision formation to all those Londoners whom were on guard at the crack of dawn.
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As we came across the Western side of London we could see the docks of the Isle of Dogs in the outlying distance. The mighty Thames River divided London into separate measures with her bristling flow of water.
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It was a great display of our flying skills and Britain’s great air power as we stormed across London and came out the South boundary. We traveled across the English countryside on course for Tangmere once again.
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We prepared to sort ourselves to enter the pattern at Tangmere, but first the welcome site of Tangmere Church and a Prayer answered. Thank you Lord for safe returns! Soon we would be rotating in a single column forming the landing pattern while two at a time broke off to find their way onto final and pancake at our Tangmere home.
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 02/18/20 04:46 AM.
#4501516 - 12/25/19 06:51 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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VII


Early RAF Career


18 June 1940.

“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say,
This was their finest hour.”

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On the 24th of May, 1940, Directive No. 13 was issued by Adolf Hitler.
3. Tasks Of The Air Force.
(a) Apart from operations in France, the Air Force is authorized to attack the English homeland in the fullest manner, as soon as sufficient forces are available. This attack will be opened by an annihilating reprisal for English attacks on the Ruhr Basin.

By June 25th Göring began 'Störangriffe', or harassing attacks. From Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the Commanding Air Officers to every Group of Fighter Command all the way down to the COs at every RAF Squadron at each Aerodrome, every soul knew that the full force attacks of the Luftwaffe would quite certainly commence rather soon. Probing raids of small groups of Luftwaffe aircraft were testing Britain's defenses, trying to strike her Chain Home stations, Aerodromes, or dropping mines near British ports. While these incursions were sporadic and mostly nil effective, they none the less were the precursors of the coming storm to which Chris Adison Wednsforth had pointed just two years earlier. These were the opening acts of what would soon be affectionately know as 'The Battle of Britain!'

On June 27th 238 Squadron moved from Tangmere Aerodrome to Middle Wallop Aerodrome.
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Diary entry, Tuesday July 1st 1940.
The boys moved from Fighter Command's 11 Group to 10 Group, Sector 'Y'. Middle Wallop is still a Sector HQ, but 238 Squadron will be removed a few miles North West of Tangmere and a piece further from the mounting brawl. The fitters, riggers and armorers had to work some rather ungainly hours to maintain their Kites here at Tangmere, and then put in more punishing hours each day after riding 54 miles in Bedfords loaded with everything they could carry to Middle Wallop. Once finished they traveled back to Tangmere in the middle of the night. It was a tricky balance for them to keep Tangmere operational while preparing to receive the Squadron at their new facility. The Pilots had the elementary task of solely flying their crates over on the 27th. Our new Controller call sign 'Starlight' was a bit of a miff for sometime as we had all been so accustomed to 'Shortjack'.
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Diary entry, Tuesday July 2nd 1940.
We have become fairly well suited at Middle Wallop. Yellow Section flew out on Patrol at 0745 hours this morning but did not crossed Jerry during their mission. Upon their safe arrival back to Middle Wallop at 1030 hours, Red Section was now at 'Readiness State'. The phone rang in the Dispersal hut at 1043 hours, and we were ordered to 'Standby' which meant we were to be in our crates, engines warmed, and ready to take off. Pips, my fitter, helped strap me in and assured me his VK-B was ready to fight! “Treat her like a proper lady Sir and she will serve you well. God Speed Sir”, he said. I said a quick Prayer just as I heard the phone ringing again. The duty erk shouted, “Red Section, Scramble! Vector one-five-zero, Angels ten!” We had not even fired off our Merlins yet! This was our first Operational Mission. Red Section was comprised of Flt Lt Colin Payne, Red One, our Squadron and Section Leader, myself, Plt Off Chris Wednsforth II, Red Two and Plt Off Lenny Marshall, Red Three. I had been bumped to Red 2 as Lacey was still at the Hospital in Tangmere mending his broken leg. Marshall had been moved up to Red 3 and Plt Off Lloyd Clough had replaced him at Yellow 1 Section Leader. Sgt Stapleton moved to Yellow 3 and Plt Off Arthur Chandler Chamberlain had joined our ranks at Yellow 2 position as a transfer from 111 Squadron Northolt. Treble One had joined 253 Squadron to form one of three composite squadrons formed in an attempt to reinforce the RAF in France. These units were based in Britain, but one half of each Squadron would operate from a French airfield for half of each day while the other half of each operated from Britain. Chamberlain's A Flight Yellow Section was at Lille/ Marcq and he claimed a Bf 110 and a Dornier Do 17 on the 17th of May before returning to Britain that evening. Others in his Flight accounted for three more Bf 110s and another Do 17. All claims were approved and 111 Squadron was known for its' bravery in the face of overwhelming odds against the Luftwaffe. I felt sure Chamberlain would be moved to a Section or Flight Leader position soon, but for now Payne was not willing to stir up the Squadron anymore. As 'Pipps' stepped off the wing we each started our Merlin engines in our lasses. 'A' Flight Red Section was airborne into the patchy low lying clouds off Hampshire just minutes later. It was a beautiful day with big white scattered clouds all about, with heavy thunderheads South in the direction of Lymington.
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The Controller came on the blower, “Hello Rupert Leader, Starlight calling. Vector one-five-zero, Angels ten, Buster, patrol the line Bembridge to Dover at Angels Ten. Bandits reported in mid-Channel off Brighton, course three-five-zero. Shipping off Beachy Head and may be the target, listening out.” Betraying no sign of nerves, Payne replied coolly “Hello Starlight, Rupert Leader answering, received and understood, out.” “Hello Red Section, Red Leader calling, Vector one-five-zero, Angels ten, Buster, stay on me chaps, over.” Both Marshall and I acknowledged Payne's message.
The distance was a little over one hundred Seventy two miles from Middle Wallop to Bembridge to the Strait of Dover. Just recently Fl Off Coburn and I had discussed this as he had led Blue Section on two Patrols on this line earlier in the week. This was a first for Red section to ever venture out to the Strait. We had flown to Dungeness with the Squadron on formation training, but never through the Strait. I quite missed Plt Off Lacey in Red two position. Come to find out he had a compound fracture from his fall at Tangmere. I have visited him twice but do not expect we will see him return any time soon. Marshall and I were both excited with great hopes of encountering Jerry along the way. This was quite improbable, but alas he and I were young and full of vinegar and reckoned on coming across a tussle. Payne was much more subdued as he had tasted aerial combat over France against the Huns and he knew quite well that it was a tricky business. He had downed one Ju87 Stuka while flying in 73 Squadron against the opening Luftwaffe attacks on Northern France.
As we plowed through the low lying clouds it was touch and go trying to form up. Normally Payne would have addressed us both for not flying in tight formation, but I think he knew that we might both have a case of the nerves and the patchy clouds were hindering the situation on our first operational mission. As we each pulled free of an enormous cloud I saw that I had drifted far out of position and just like clockwork Payne came on the blower, “Hello Red Two, Red Leader calling, do you care to join us Red Two?...... Get in position! over to you.” “Hello Red Leader, Red Two answering, received and understood, out.”
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I eased over towards Payne as we prepared to enter the next cloud set. We flew through these clouds and came out the other side in about seven minutes. Marshall was now on my right. This was in particularly bad form for either of us and we both knew it. We managed to arrange our Hurricanes in proper form and soon we began to catch glimpses of the Isle of Wight about 10 miles out in front of our section, just off the starboard nose of my Hurricane.

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Our Section approached The Isle of Wight and as we reached Bembridge Payne came on the R/T, “Hello Red Section, Red Leader calling I am coming port wing to Vector zero-seven-five, Angels ten, Liner, out.” We were now entering the massive thunderheads which we had seen upon our departure from Middle Wallop. Payne keyed the R/T again, “Hello Red Section, Red Leader calling we will fly a wide Vic formation until we pass these thunderheads boys, out.” He seemed to know that the wall of clouds we were entering could be treacherous for any section to fly through in a tight Vic. Payne told us to hold fast to Vector zero-seven-five, Angels ten until we broke out the other side. Our controller came on the Blower and directed us, “ Hello Rupert Leader, Starlight calling, maintain Vector zero-seven-five, over.” Payne rang up the controller, “Hello, Starlight, Red Leader answering, received and understood. Starlight, we are entering heavy weather conditions, with limited visibility, over to you.” Starlight confirmed Payne's transmission. The turbulence was incredible. It was all I could do to muddle through holding the control column of my Hurricane steady. For as heavy and powerful as the Hawker Hurricane is,... she was no match for the power of the winds which this storm was wielding. We could see neither the coast nor the Channel below us.
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I was being tossed about like a trawler in a Northern Irish Autumn swell. I struggled to retain reasonable command of my fighter! We could have flown above it, alas Payne was strictly maintaining angels ten as our controller had ordered. I prayed that each of us would carry through to the other side of this squall all in one piece and satisfied to not collect one another somewhere within it!
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We broke into another brief clearing and somehow I ended up on Payne's left side. After flying for 23 minutes through these large thunderheads we briefly saw Beachy Head, but we were not able to see any shipping convoys nor the Channel to any degree. This state of affairs was ever becoming highly dangerous! Marshall was absent and Payne used the blower, “Hello Red Three, Red Leader calling, are you still with us Red Three? Maintain Vector zero-seven-five, over to you.” Marshall answered moments later, “Hello Read Leader, Red Three answering, received and understood, Vector zero-seven-five, out.”
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Our controller came on the Blower, “ Hello Rupert Leader, Starlight calling, Vector zero-seven-five, climb to Angels fifteen, Buster, Bandits 12 o'clock reported in your sector, over.” “Hello Starlight, Red Leader answering, received and understood, out.” “Hello Red Section, Red Leader calling, maintain heading zero seven five, climb to Angels fifteen, Buster, Bandits 12 o'clock in our sector, over.” Marshall and I both confirmed Payne's order and began climbing. As we continued our flight I maneuvered back into my correct position and gave plenty of space as we entered another wall of thunderheads and climbed steeply. After ten minutes of blind climbing,........
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We finally broke through the front at angels14. I did not believe what I saw,............. I shook my head to regain my senses. As a result of my rattled nerves from flying through those thunderheads, I undoubtedly was observing unnatural sights! Payne broke in on the R/T, “Hello Starlight, this is Rupert Leader calling, Tally Ho! Three bombers with a few Snappers ahead. Red Section - attacking now - stick with me! listening out.” And as of that moment, Red section was stalking Jerries in God only knows where over the Strait Of Dover. This would be a turkey shoot, or so I thought,......
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I am quite sure not one of the Huns had noticed us as we observed every one of the four Messerschmitt escorts, who were barely visible, rolling off to our starboard wing in the direction of France. I would only speculate that they must have been low on petrol and heading for home.
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/17/20 08:31 PM.
#4501517 - 12/25/19 06:51 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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VIII


Early RAF Career

A furtherance of my Diary entry, Tuesday July 2nd 1940.
As our section closed the distance on the Heinkels, Marshall plunged down from above my Hurricane with superior speed resulting in nearly 2oo yards lead to my twelve o'clock. Conceding each of our presently uncoordinated Vic formation positions, Payne extemporaneously forged ahead with an accommodating tatic. He cut in on the R/T, “Hello Red Section, Red Leader calling, I will attack the Heinkel to the starboard - Red three, attack the Hun to your twelve o'clock - Red two, look after our six's – Go! over.” Marshall and I acknowledged Red Leader's instruction. As a rule, Payne normally would have ordered Red section into a column formation for an initial attack run, but in this instance, these Jerries were presenting themselves properly for a staggered line abreast assault. He recognized a gainful profit in attacking individually, and we proceeded to do so. With our enemy's ignorance to our presence, we possessed the trump hand. This was our cardinal combat intercept and we were barreling in to extend the Huns quite a momentous British reception! “Allow me to bestow upon you a King's ovation with a sampling of my heralded gifts, beginning with my .303 Brownings' extending a short burst for popping by! Welcome to Jolly Ole' England Jerry!” I said aloud to myself. How dare these Huns encroach upon our Island, arrogantly and aggressively endangering the English people, I thought to myself. I was intensely bothered by this vulgar display of discourtesy! For the moment I would have to abide in my assignment to look after Payne's and Marshall's defense, but soon enough I would extend my introductory greeting. Neither Marshall nor I had combat incidence prior to this hour in our RAF careers, nevertheless, heretofore, no longer would this be of any distinction concerning either of us.
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Curiously, I think the Heinkel's rearward gunners reasoned that we were the Escorts, or they were asleep, as not one round was discharged as we approached. Marshall was positioned almost 300 yards in the lead of Payne and more than 200 yards to his port. I withdrew to 400 yards astern Marshall's port wing and was searching the blue for any snappers about.
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As Marshall approached 150 yards astern the center Heinkel, he let loose a long burst of possibly five seconds, which lead to the port engine of the bomber beginning to smoke and display a trace of flames! The Heinkel was falling away unbridled as a single crew member withdrew from the burning bomber, his silk canvasing the sky over The Strait of Dover. This opening assault mangled the gun tape of Marshal's wing and blood was in the water.
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As the Heinkel pressed on toward the Strait, the port engine and wing erupted into flames!!! Marshall had just scored his first victory. “I've got him!” Marshall cried excitedly over the blower.
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As Payne now sighted the Heinkel to his twelve o'clock, his betrothed target jinked to the port side, and the rearward gunner began discharging defensive rounds.
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Next the Heinkel jinked to the starboard attempting to elude Payne's .303s. The rearward gunner surely sustained a jam as the tracers ceased to discharge from his gun.
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Payne collared the Hun on the next maneuver, sent a long burst and straightaway the port engine was smoking. Marshall was sliding over to defend Payne's tail as he attacked the Heinkel. I guarded my pursuit of the third Heinkel, which was 500 yards to my twelve o'clock, as I continued to search for any snappers in the area.
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Payne was now in harmony with the Heinkel and his consequent burst caught the port engine ablaze.
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Payne eased off to the starboard side of the Heinkel as we each watched two crew members hit the silk as the Jerry bomber slowly dropped down through the woolpack into the drink. I rather painfully fancied Payne ordering me to quickly attack the remaining Heinkel as I was now 400 yards astern the last Hun and closing rather quickly.......
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/17/20 08:32 PM.
#4501518 - 12/25/19 06:51 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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Early RAF Career

The conclusion of my Diary entry, Tuesday July 2nd 1940.
“Hello Red Two, Red Leader calling, take that bloody Hun down mate! I have your six Wedns, over.” “Hello Red Leader, Red Two answering, received and understood! listening out.” As I initiated my attack upon the Jerry bomber the rearward gunner lit up the sky with rounds. I witnessed numerous hits on the Hun as I made this intercepting run.
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My Hurricane took some hits as I was almost on top of the Heinkel now. The return fire ceased and I withdrew my throttle a measure to stay on Jerry's tail. I hammered on my eight .303s scoring countless punishing hits on the bomber.
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I must have damaged the elevator controls as the Jerry bomber nosed over and fell away to my starboard side. Glycol and fuel appeared to vent from both the port and starboard wings as the Heinkel took leave in its' descending spiral.
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The Huns careened downward in an almost vertical plummet.
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There would be no recovery from this free fall as the engines screamed onward pulling the Heinkel faster toward The Strait of Dover. Something caught my eye off of to my starboard side. It was one of the Huns whom had bailed out from the Heinkel which Payne had just shot down, yet we had seen two hit the silk just minutes before. I thought of the fate of the poor Jerry whom must have struggled with a failed chute, thus plunging to his death in the Strait! A horrible state in which to perish.
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Finally the port wing and engine were engulfed in flames and the Heinkel was doomed to incinerate all along its' nosedive into the brisk waters of The Strait!
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The mounting speed of the falling Heinkel subdued the flames as it had only seconds until it would spectacularly impact the water.
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Once the bomber was in the drink I began to survey about in an attempt to spot my section. I observed Payne and Marshall to my starboard and rang up the R/T, “Hello Red Leader, Red Two calling, there is one less Jerry bomber to travel home today! over.” Payne keyed the Blower, “Hello Red Two, Red Leader answering, received and understood, good show old chap! out.”
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Payne reported in to our Controller, “Hello Starlight, Rupert Leader calling, we have three Heinkel 111s which we have dispatched into the Strait of Dover! Over to you.” “Hello Rupert Leader, Starlight calling, Smashing Good Show Rupert Leader!!! Jolly Good Show Men!!! Come to Vector two-eight-seven, Angels eight, Liner and we will bring you home Rupert Leader, over.” Payne acknowledged the call and I eased back into my flight position just off Payne's starboard wing and we flew on for Middle Wallop. I believe each of us was asking ourselves in our own minds, had that intercept actually happened? Was I dreaming? I pinched myself to make sure, and then I noticed it rather clearly,.... my hands were shaking, heart racing and my mind was on it's keenest edge. Not from fear, but from pure excitement, pure animalistic instinct of having just stalked and been victorious over my prey. It is the same feeling, which I remember vividly, from hunting Pheasant in early November as a sixteen year old on the Isle of Illaunmore on Lough Derg in Whitegate. That primal instinct of survival of the fittest!
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Once landed and shut down at Middle Wallop , Pips jumped up on the wing and helped me unhook my harness asking, “what happened Sir? Your gun tape, it is shredded! Did you bag a Hun? Looks like someone took target practice on your roundel! They almost made a bulls eye! Don't worry Sir, I will have her patched up in no time!,” he said with a chuckle. Pip's questions were rapid fired at me as fast as my 303s had clobbered that Heinkel,.... I was simply without words. Pips would have not believed me if I had told him of all that had come to pass. No,.....he could not have been convinced, so I waited until Flt Lt Payne recounted the events of our mission at our debriefing, knowing that he would be received seriously. As we entered the Intelligence Officer's office in the CO's shack we each knew that we faced a lengthy debriefing. I imagine each of us actually would rather have not attended but instead taken a brisk walk straight to the Officers' Mess for a whiskey first. We did celebrate our victories that evening and all seemed calm again in Britain. Little did we know what was coming,......
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 02/20/20 02:13 AM.
#4501519 - 12/25/19 06:52 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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The Battle of Britain

Footnotes from Paton Wednsforth: April 16, 2018
Through these many years I have researched the Battle of Britain along the lines of Chris's journey, the more evident it is that this undertaking was massive. Churchill's War Ministry was attempting to leverage every possible angle to bolster the war effort and further the advantage of RAF Fighter Command's defense of the island.
For instance, it seems by March of 1940 Fighter Command had created a unique unit, Y Service, for listening to R/T traffic on the 40 megacycle radio band. England did not manufacture suitable radios for this purpose so Hallicrafter 510s were purchased from the United States of America. In May of 1940 they constructed a trial facility which was situated in Hawkinge. Early on a message transmitted by a Luftwaffe pilot was intercepted in the German language. This was celebrated by Y Service personnel, yet there was a stumper, no one in the unit spoke German! A German speaking soldier was rather expeditiously found, and subsequently a makeshift translation report of a reconnaissance flight over North Foreland's coast was haphazardly complied. The intercept was transmitted to RAF Fighter Command 11 Group, and a section of Hurricanes was scrambled but the boys never spotted the Hun. Within the next weeks Fighter Command searched for service members whom had resided in Germany and possessed a command of the common German language and its' idioms. On June 15th Six WAAF airwoman were recruited and posted to the new listening site at Fairlight near Hastings. Experienced RAF R/T operators searched for radio transmissions, once intercepted the WAAF soldiers translated the German Luftwaffe R/T calls to English and the message was sent along hastily to Fighter Command's appropriate Group HQ. The WAAF airwomen were quite adept at this work and demonstrated clearly higher caliber returns in achievements from performing this task then men did. This resulted in women interpreters, almost exclusively, at each Y Service Unit. The information Y Services deciphered proved to be invaluable and augmented the knowledge of coming attacks greatly. Tying together the information coming from the Chain Home RDF stations, Chain Home Low RDF stations, Y Service and the Observer Corps led to a tightly knit Air Defense Operation. This helped Fighter Command and the pilots themselves considerably by not only knowing their adversaries better, but also by helping them to anticipate their tactics more intelligently and counteract them.


Diary entry for Tuesday July 16th 1940:
The war has absolutely warmed to a boiling point, one might say. After two weeks, following our first encounter with Jerry, 238 Squadron had been scrambled a bakers dozen worth of intercepts. We had never once again seen a Hun whilst patrolling over coastal convoys or on the occasional scramble against Bandits whom never bothered to show up. Chiefly we were working the shipping lanes and general area West of The Isle of Wight. The raids were happening more frequently but 238 Squadron was not fortunate enough to intercept any as of late. The last six days have been rather bustling for Fighter Command. Sorties nearing 600 per day, and some Squadrons in 11 Group are sending up four and five flights a day. Operations generally commenced around 0445 hours and could possibly run at times until 2230 hours, with Sections, Flights or whole Squadrons landing only to refuel, rearm and climb right back up and into the fight. With some pilots taking only 4 hours of sleep before awakening to undertake the next day, the pressure was beginning to heighten. The main spot of fighting being reported was out over the more Easterly region of The Channel or in The Strait, with the Jerries always attacking the shipping or the harbors at best. The Huns rarely dared to attack inland as of yet. Now it appears we are beginning to realize the full extent of Göring's boldness to force the RAF to its knees. We will have nil of it!

“Always Patrolling Convoys, why won't HQ let us carry the fight to the Huns across The Channel?”.....I thought to myself. The Sector Operations Room set aside each Section of 238 Squadron in an 'Available' state throughout the day. In this way our controller, Starlight, can ring up a Section, a Flight or a whole Squadron as required. It was all becoming rather mundane, except for the matter of being clobbered if you did not keep your head about you whilst up there. Yellow Section had already been scrambled at 0645 hours with the menace of bandits about, but with nil Jerries lerking, the boys were patrolling over several shipping convoys in the area of Dover Port Docks. This was the first action of any measure for 238 Squadron in this area since July 2nd. It seems Plt Off Chamberlain of Yellow Section had a fuel gauge go on the blink and had to return to Middle Wallop prematurely. Flt Lt Marshall, Yellow Leader and Sg Stapleton, Yellow 3, continued on their Patrol over the Dover area. A second message of Bandits in the area had been reported by Starlight, but Yellow section had not found them. The overcast weather in the area made it difficult for Yellow section to hunt the reported Jerries. Later that morning, around 0820 hours as I recall, Starlight ordered Red Section to scramble and patrol the line from Bembridge through The Strait of Dover. Fighter Command had spotted a raid starting across The Straight vectored toward the Dover area. We had not patrolled this line since our initial combat with the Huns and I was hopeful we would deliver the Luftwaffe another blow today. As Yellow Section headed home, Red Section was on the way from Middle Wallop and Starlight vectored us to zero-nine-five, Angels fifteen, Buster. Payne winged us up to Angels fifteen and off we soared trying to spot Convoy Zulu as she was sailing North East through The Strait and moving towards The Thames Estuary. The weather looked to again make it rather difficult to spot ships for our Section. All seemed quiet thus far today,.....
But,....... Jerry was out early this morning!
As we later came to learn, the first attacking group of Huns had already accomplished their deadly work involving Convoy Topaz as she was just outside of Dover's port docks. Sargent Hughes later allowed me to study this days Naval reports which are shared with Fighter Command and all RAF Squadron COs in order that we may better understand Royal Naval tactics and operations. This cooperation is exercised in the hopes of preforming better RAF aerial protection for Naval Convoys. I am entering this additional information to my original July 16th entries on, July 23rd, 1940.
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As the Luftwaffe attack group, a Staffel plus an additional Kette, left France the weather was fair but overcast and cloudy. By all appearances the Luftwaffe pilots would have an easy run at one of the convoys nearing Dover. This would only be true if the S-boat accounts of spotting the Convoy was accurate. The German S-boots, standing for Schnellboot, or E-boat, E for enemy as was the English designation, were used heavily in The English Channel, The Strait of Dover and in limited capacity within the Southern reaches of The North Sea. The German S-100 was 35m long and 5.1m wide. They were heavily armed, including torpedo tubes, and could sustain speeds up to 43.5 knots with a range of 700 nmi. E-boats were responsible for claiming several Merchant vessels and sinking 1 destroyer. The Kriegsmarine Schnellboots were also a highly successful asset used to patrol The Channel and intercept shipping convoy headings, which the Luftwaffe could use to direct aerial attacks against these convoys.
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Crossing The Strait, the Staffel encountered foul weather, and only by luck did the group happen upon convoy Topaz. This was now a risky affair for the Luftwaffe pilots this morning with the weather as sorted and unsure as it was shaping up to be. The Stuka pilots always flew past their target, turned, and lined themselves up so they could dive bomb the ship then pull out with a head of speed as they were already heading in the correct vector for home.
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The dive bombers lumbered along at 190 mph or slower, usually carrying one 250kg bomb center line of the fuselage and four 50kg bombs, two under each wing mounting. The Ju 87 also included two internal wing mounted 7.9mm machine guns and one rearward facing 7.9mm machine gun operated by the rear facing gunner. She was a rugged crate and could take a load of punishment, but her slow speed meant she was plum pudding for any RAF pilot worth his salt. She was a devastating dive bomber and delivered a punishing blow to anyone unfortunate enough to be her target! Her sirens instilled fear and panic in anyone's heart which had heard them screaming down in approach.
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We knew all about how the Stukas approached their business from a briefing we had received from Officer Hughes, our Squadron Intelligence liaison. The Jerry pilot would have his floor window cover slid open so he could look down through his floor panel, line up the target and then begin the attack ritual. Initially he engaged the dive brakes manually which lowered the dive trim tab automatically, reduced the throttle, closed the coolant louvers and finally switched on the sirens.
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Now roll over, or more commonly push the nose down, dive at 500kmh, sirens screaming, line up their target, release their bombs at 600m and initiate the automatic pullout button on the column. The pressure on the Stuka pilot upon pullout from his dive was enough to possibly force his uncontrollable blackout. Engaging the system on the column would then allow the Ju 87 to perform an automatic pullout in case of blackout. Increasingly the AA boys came to recognize this pattern, and soon became much more adept at aiming their low level 20 and 40mm Bofors. This caused many Luftwaffe pilots to disconnect their automatic pullout mechanism. By making this disconnection the pilot, as long as he didn't blackout, could vary his pullout and thus increase his chances of a safe escape back to France.
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Bombs released, now all depended on how well this pilot had lined up the Merchant Marine vessel, The Port Slade, on his approach run. Normally the Stuka pilot would line up from stern to bow, but then again the pilot usually took into account which direction France was for their escape dash as it seemed Fighter Command did not take very kindly to the Huns destroying the Royal Navy Convoy ships. A Stuka pilot's chances of survival were a crap shoot for each mission he was assigned to. A role of the bones, a little luck and one might make it home for a hearty serving of Sauerbraten!
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The Lead Ju 87 dove to commence the attack on the The Port Slade but never made the pullout and hit The Channel very closely missing the ship. Had this Stuka hit the deck it would have been deadly for any Merchant Marines top side. Aircraft petrol burns profusely and at a very high temperature, engulfing anything it comes in contact with in flames! The boys on board knew they had dodged a bullet on this round, but thus far they did not know that the worst had yet to arrive.
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All but one of the 50 kg bombs from the unlucky lead Stuka pilot missed the mark. The second Ju 87 made his release, the pullout and was now headed for France. Several of his eggs hit the Port Slade. She took at least four bombs to the central controlling tower of the ship, with the third Ju 87 of the Kette presenting nil help by delivering all of his eggs into The Strait.
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What looked to be minimal damage from top side was actually a largely uncontainable raging fire several decks below. Within one hour the controlling tower would be consumed with fire and render The Port Slade unmanageable.
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After two hours all of the crew had abandoned ship, been rescued and then The Port Slade slid to the bottom of The Dover Strait.
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The bombs did the dirty work. In the attack on Convoy Topaz, two of the dive bombers ganged up on another unfortunate Merchant Marine ship, The New Minster, at the rear of the convoy. The pair of Stukas made their run in while diving in a column attack against the Merchant Marine vessel. As the lead Stuka made his release, all of his eggs narrowly missed astern the ship. Even at this, if the bombs detonated, they could still cause immense damage to the rudder or propellers rendering the ship uncontrollable.
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The second Stuka pilot composed a deadlier aim and the next group of eggs were a direct hit on the ship's stern. The impact of the explosion rocked The New Minster and the ship was in trouble. The two Stuka pilots had pulled out and were already heading for France as the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds for a time. A lone Hurricane, which was separated from his Section and was returning home from a fruitless intercept, witnessed the explosion. With not one round expended from his Browning's, nor a Hun in sight, he felt helpless. He knew the poor blokes on board were done for, so he did what he could and offered up a prayer to The Man Upstairs for the lost sailors' safe journey beyond.
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Initially she was on fire, but was still limping along, then a flash......
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A huge explosion and debris was flying all about.
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The New Minster was sinking behind the enormous fireball never to be seen again as two of her sister ships sailed on in the distance.
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These Merchant ships played a deadly match of cat and mouse with the Luftwaffe almost daily. The heavy weather was a welcome sight as it ordinarily meant relative impunity from the dive bombers. Today it was not enough as another of the sister ships sank below the Channel waves taking almost fifty of our boys with her. Before the morning attack was complete, The New Minster was taken from Convoy Topaz and would not make it into Dover Docks.
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The devastation was unforgettable. The sailors on the next ship could only look on in horror as the Channel claimed another ship.
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The sailors on the remaining ships knew the fate of The New Minster could happen to them as well. They knew the cargo holds were full of munitions. They carried sea mines and artillery shells for the coastal guns of Britain. For Winnie, and Pooh which were finish fitted in March and now able to bombard targets in The Strait of Dover. These 14 inch barrels were taken from spares manufactured for the battleship HMS King George V. Massive pivoting mounts were constructed and the big guns sat on the hills outside of Dover behind St Margret’s. They were Britain's answer to Hitler's big rail guns being readied in France. Once these massive artillery pieces were completed, the Royal Marine Siege Regiment could hurl shells almost 18 miles! These British coastal guns would be the first to lob shells on to the Continent later in August, but that is getting ahead of things at hand.

Footnote: Paton Wednsforth: April 16, 2018
To clarify, these three photos were stuck in Chris's diary between these two pages and I, Chris's grandson, am surmising he visited these two Coastal Guns in early 1941. The handwriting in grease pencil on the photos was fading away, but it matches his journal handwriting so I know Chris wrote these captions. I can only imagine the thunderous noise produced when a round was set off.
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The final two ships of Convoy Topaz were steaming along ready to enter the relative safety of Dover Harbor within the hour.
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Footnote: Paton Wednsforth: April 16, 2018
Chris chronicled the correspondence below from a leave in London which he took during the weekend of August 3-4, 1940. He referred to the events of this date, July 16th 1940. I thought it pertinent to match this dialogue with the events of this day.

“I heard this story later on August 3rd, from a Merchant Marine Officer and a couple more deck hands from two ships in Convoy Topaz, while in a Pub on leave in London. The Officer on the Jolly Knights said he turned his attention overhead to the struggle happening high up in the sky off the Starboard side of their Merchant vessel,............Just minutes after The New Minster sinking it seems a single patrolling Hurricane made a low dead six pass against one of the fleeing Stukas, unleashing a long burst until his ammunition seemed to be expended entirely! Noting a plethora of hits the Officer said he felt some adulation as the RAF pilot took some retribution for the sinking of The New Minster. The two deck hands on board the last ship in the Convoy, the Arctic Pioneer, jumped in the air, cheered and yelled at the top of their lungs for the hurricane pilot. One wing of the Stuka was blown off and the fuselage was cut in half near the tail section. The Hurricane then immediately turned for England while only two of this Kette of Ju 87s headed home for France as the Huns observed their comrades fall to a watery grave.”

“The Hurricane pilot was later confirmed as 238 Squadron's own Flt Lt Lenny Marshall flying VK-D. 'Len' had been shifted back to Yellow Leader after Lloyd Clough was transferred to another Squadron. It was his second victory, and the celebration in the Officers Mess for his triumph that evening was quite heavy.”
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/17/20 08:34 PM.
#4501521 - 12/25/19 06:52 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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The Battle of Britain

Diary entry for Tuesday July 16th 1940, 0820 hours:
As the devastation in my previous Diary entry occurred far below and to the East of us, in our unbeknownst ignorance, we flew on patrolling the line to The Strait of Dover. Flt Lt Payne led Red Section to just off of Eastbourne when he experienced a problem. “Hello Starlight, Rupert Leader calling, I have a malfunction with my oxygen system, request vector to nearest aerodrome, over to you.” “Hello Rupert Leader, Starlight calling, received and understood, make vector two-seven-two, ninety miles for an emergency pancake. I will advise Shortjack of your situation to prepare a familiar airstrip, over.” “Hello Starlight, Rupert Leader calling, received and understood. Starlight, Red Two will assume Section Lead with Red Three as concomitant to complete Red Section's task, over.” “Hello Rupert Leader Starlight calling, received and understood, out.” As Payne rolled out to our port side he dove down to lower his altitude and hit up the R/T, “Red two this is Red Leader calling, take the Section Lead Wedns, make me proud, you know what to do old bean. God Speed!, over.” I acknowledged Payne's call. An oxygen system leakage could be a deadly quandary in the wrong circumstance. Pure oxygen leaking into the cockpit could be ignited by a single spark from any one of the multitude of electronic switches or gauges. I quickly said a prayer for Payne's safe return to Tangmere, as I knew the vector and distance indicated the fore mentioned. He would be able to visit with the boys of 43 Squadron whom were still conducting the battle from our old Aerodrome. My rigger Pip's cousin is also a rigger for 43 Squadron at Tangmere, and he would take good care of Payne's lass before shipping him home to Middle Wallop.
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As we approached The Straight, just West of Hastings, it still had not impressed upon me that I was the acting Red Section Leader. Myself and Red Three, Flt Lt Samuel Eric Monroe, a keen but inexperienced recent arrival from a Fairey Battle Squadron, would carry on with the original mission. Monroe had served in No. 98 Squadron from April through June of 1940 and was based at Nantes, France. No. 98 Squadron did not engage in any combat missions and was evacuated back to England during the Battle of France. The Squadron lost ninety of its personnel when the RMS Lancastria was bombed and sunk off Saint Nazaier on 17 June 1940. Monroe was picked up by another returning vessel which rendered assistance to the sinking RMS Lancastria. I had become quite well acquainted with Monroe over the last few weeks since his arrival to 238 Squadron, and he seemed to be a good bloke.
“Hello Rupert Leader Starlight calling, maintain heading zero seven five, descend to Angels ten, Gate, bandits in your sector, over.” My mind was still aimlessly processing my changed status concerning Flight Lead and R/T procedures and I faltered to answer Starlight. A spot of nerves I am afraid. After quite a few seconds Payne jumped on the blower, “Rupert Leader this is Red Leader calling, bloody hell Rupert Leader, respond to Starlight you sod! Listening out!” As soon as I heard Payne's rather annoyed voice on the R/T I snapped out of my confusion and broke in on the blower, “Hello Starlight, Rupert Leader calling, received and understood, out.” “Red Three this is Red Leader calling, descending to angels ten, stay on me Sammy! Over.” Monroe acknowledged my call and we descended to angels ten just off the coast at Dungeness as we traveled East at around two hundred forty miles per hour. As I and next Monroe pulled free of a cloud, I sighted them. “Starlight this is Rupert Leader calling, Tally Ho, multiple dive bombers, attacking now! Out.” “Red Three this is Red Leader calling, line astern, GO!. At 300 yards split port side and we will try to scatter them, over.” Monroe confirmed. We could not engage each of the Ju87s, so we would try to induce panic and hope these Stuka pilots would drop their eggs and head for France.
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As I approached the gaggle of Stukas I attempted to line up the two on the starboard side at the rear of the Hun's formation. I saw Red Three split off to my port as instructed. I overshot the first Stuka and was lining up on his leader when he suddenly pulled up in a violent maneuver to slip away.
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It seems we caught the Huns napping, as only this one pilot reacted to my incursion within their formation. I lined up another to assail as I pulled my throttle out of gate. At 220 miles per hour I could only push on through and try to place a burst on the ensuing Stuka. Had I endeavored to pull into the vertical with the current Jerry at this close range, the likelihood we would have collided was rather considerable.
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Surely the gunner was screaming wildly to jink as he looked certain death in the eye. I had waited until to late to open fire, but the sheer speed of our attack was beginning to offer the desired reaction. The formation was coming apart and eggs were dropping in my vicinity as the Huns most certainly soiled there flight suits.
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As I let loose my first long burst I would never know how close I had come to having my starboard wing blown off by the rear gunner as I overtook this Stuka. The Hun's sluggish reaction along with the added force of that crushing pull, initiated by the pilot, saved me from collecting many more rounds which the gunner unleashed within the proximity of my Hurricane. One Stuka had already doubled back for France and was running for home, tail tucked betwixt his legs.
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My Hurricane did absorb some of the Jerry's rounds. I could feel a slight vibration and my oil pressure gauge was flickering wildly. Our Merlin engines were quite tough and could endure a lot of punishment. A number of the rearward gunners had awakened and were firing recklessly as I flew through their formation.
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I hit the Stuka in front of me and was now passing over it and lining up the leader as my next target. I never saw Flt Lt Monroe again during this attacking pass.
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I had taken more hits as I pressed my gun button to fire another long burst at the leader! As my Brownings unloaded there was a huge splash off my starboard wing which caught my eye, but what it's origination was I had nil understanding. I was bloody on the deck now, no more than 100 feet above The Strait and barreling ahead at 200 mph!
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My Hurricane commenced running in quite disheveled fashion at this juncture. She was was shaking violently and I could feel the disturbance through the seat on my pants. The Hun before me jinked to the starboard direction provoking my rounds to miscarry.
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I quickly pulled the control column to line up one more shot as I closed rapidly to within 50 yards of the Ju 87. My Hurricane was notably damaged now as she was slowing rather alarmingly. I found dark heavy smoke in the rear viewing mirror, which I observed as a bad foreshadowing of the looming decline of my Merlin engine.
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I lined up the Hun exquisitely in my reflector sight and again pressed my gun button to fire, and...........
nothing,..... my rounds were exhausted! At that express moment the most deafening clatter which I had ever heard left me in shock. The ringing in my ears was slowing my reaction to what was happening! I noticed a faint blur of red as I hurriedly pulled the control column full back.
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I had taken a hard burst from the Jerry gunner, and as I pulled up I noted the rpms fluctuated violently as I climbed. I needed adequate altitude to securely bail out of my now crippled Hurricane. I made Angels two rather quickly and scouted my surroundings with urgency, hoping to find my island home for a dry pancaking. The carpenter residing within my engine was fiercely knocking to warn me that internally my Merlin engine was going to pieces rather hastily! There was nil salvaging my old lass this time as it seemed she would be going down for the final time quite soon. I mumbled a quick Prayer asking The Man Upstairs to help deliver me from this position of dyer need. As VK-B slowed to 190 mph, I was a wee bit over Angels two and had to make a decision expeditiously!.................................
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Footnotes from Paton Wednsforth: August 27, 2018.
Through some extensive research, I discovered that Flt Lt Monroe had completed his mission and returned to Middle Wallop, not knowing what had happened to Chris. Monroe had witnessed one victory which Chris had scored as he saw it splash into The Strait. He last saw Chris barreling through the middle of at least six Ju87s, firing wildly as if a madman. It appeared as if Chris and Sammy had driven off all twelve of the Stukas, halting them from completing their intended bombing runs on Convoy Zulu. Monroe scored countless hits on three separate Ju 87s, claiming one probable, and he had witnessed several of the Stukas cast off their eggs in a panic as the Jerry pilots turned for home.
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All of the Merchant ships of Convoy Zulu entered The Thames Estuary and made their journey up The River Thames to the Docklands. Under the cover of barrage balloons, off loading of the sorely needed supplies commenced immediately. The Channel, The Dover Strait and The North Sea approach to The Strait were life lines for British shipping. At all costs these lanes had to be protected and remain viable to sustain The Island’s demand for war materials and provisions for the people of Southern England. Though Dowding and Fighter Command were somewhat reserved to be drawn to far out over The Channel or The Strait, between the efforts of the Royal Navy and the RAF these shipping routes were kept operational. The waterways were not without their own dangers or loss, but none the less, enough of the ships were accomplishing the mission in spite of the threat.
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/09/20 04:52 PM.
#4501522 - 12/25/19 06:53 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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XII


The Battle of Britain

Completion of my Diary entry from Tuesday July 16th 1940, 0948 hours:
Having pulled up and over the Hun who had ravaged my lass, I maintained Angels two. The R/T was undone and I had nil reckoning of Sammy's state of affairs. Unable to ring Starlight up, I pulled port wing and fortuitously sighted Hythe straightaway through a clearing in the clouds. Having come around, I had to remain particularly mindful of my altitude and pace, as my Merlin was in distress. To compound the matters at hand, petrol and glycol were venting directly from my starboard wing. My rubber band was coming unwound and I had little occasion, nor petrol in all reasonableness, to prolong my flight.
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I knew the grassy field at Lympne Aerodrome was scarcely any distance due East beyond Hythe. It was no longer HQ of 51 Wing, but the airfield was still kept in quite accessible condition. Subsequently, Lympne had not been home to any RAF Squadrons since June 8th but was used as a forward staging base and satellite airfield for the stations of 11 Group. Provided my lass was accommodating, I was hoping to pancake her at Lympne!
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Either a Jerry round or a bit of shrapnel had wounded me upstairs in a rather ghastly fashion, or so it seemed, bleeding as it was. It reminded me of the time I tripped and took a tumble as a child opening my thinker in what appeared to be an unhealthy manner. After my Father attended to it with a soaked rag, the damage was actually quite minor. I am given to the impression that one simply bleeds from the crown as a stuck pig would, sacked at the hand of Cavalrymen. Scads of blood vessels up there I suppose. Aiming to clear my view, I only managed to dash blood from here till Sunday it seemed.
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The Hun gunner had clobbered my hydraulics, thus my landing gear was inoperable, so the only alternative I had was to manually pump the emergency gear release in order to lower my landing gear. Only her starboard wheel fastened in the acceptable position. It gave me a green lamp confirming the locked condition, however the port side gear was not exhibiting the lamp, indicating the gear would not lock down correctly. While again attempting to clear my vision, I simply managed to sully the mess on my goggles even more. This in nil way helped my vision as I was nearing the approach to the airstrip. I spoke another Prayer to The Man Upstairs that He and my lass might deliver me less for bother from this plight. If my port gear foundered upon pancaking, it would be the horrific end. VK-B and myself would cartwheel down the airstrip and most assuredly end up a ball of twisted metal and fire. Bloody well not the way this RAF pilot cared to step off!
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I had not pancaked on a grassy airstrip in some weeks, but luckily Lympne Aerodrome had quite an unimpeded approach except for a small stand of trees just prior to the outset of the strip. This would be rather simple compared to Tangmere. I made a splendid treble wheel set down and was quite found of myself as this was a greatly under powered, almost gliding, pancake.
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There was only one particular left to cap off this disheveled mission. I gripped the column tightly by the all aluminum AH2040 Dunlop Spade grip with both hands, pulled full back firmly and squeezed the bicycle style binder lever to slow my lass down, but there was merely one hitch involved,...........
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I had no Binders!!! BOLLOCKS!!!!! BOLLOCKS!!!!! BOLLOCKS!!!!!!
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As I ripped across the airfield at Lympne, the sole option for me was to hold straight using the rudder of my Hurricane as best I could. I sensed a bit more starboard rudder was prescribed than on my previous pancakes. Possibly my lass had her posterior partially shot away?
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Once again, a singular Prayer to The Man Upstairs. Please! Please! Please! Stop this crate before I end off the airstrip and am implicated in something rather unsavory.
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I fathomed the Jerry gunner had hit me hard, but as of yet I could not know how bothered my old VK-B was.
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My Merlin was operating highly irregularly and I could still see steam spewing out from the rear of my old girl.
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As I rolled out with less and less airstrip remaining, I felt a significant port side pull now.
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I countered with right rudder and my girl began to slow, I could feel this pull in an even more pronounced manner as I approached the far end of the airstrip.
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I drifted port side quite far on the grass runway, almost bearing off the left border. My Hurricane slowed rather quickly now with this dragging acting as a brake. I was approaching the perimeter road at the end of the airstrip and had to hope I would stop before crossing over into the softer unprepared field just beyond it.
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As I came to a stop I shut down old VK-B not knowing if I would ever hear her run again. Upon exiting my lass I was shocked at the damage which I discovered. Besides the smashed hydraulics, I counted over 60 holes where Jerry rounds had struck my Hurricane. One of my prop blades was shot up. A portion of the front right lower engine cover had been blown off, and that dragging I had felt? Well that was a flat tire caused by the landing gear not being properly locked in the lowered position. This rugged old Hurricane had just saved my arse! She had taken all the comeuppance that the Huns could mete out and still she delivered me to Lympne! From this moment on I would be inclined to never want for a Spitfire once more! It is a Hurricane solely for me! Yes indeed Sir!!!
After a quick walk over to the CO's shack, I found there was not a telephone to be had. It seems when No. 26 Squadron left last month the CO had commandeered the telephone. I feel rather certain he was not fond of the thought of any invading Fallschirmjägers ringing up The Queen at all hours of the night to inform her of their arrival! So, I began my brief stroll to find a telephone. I marched southeast one half a mile right up onto a ridge. From the top of the rise I saw a Steeple not far off and I headed directly for it.
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/25/20 04:04 PM.
#4501523 - 12/25/19 06:53 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
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XIII


The Battle of Britain

Diary entry July 18th, 0800hours:
The former two days have been the most eventful, noteworthy and compelling days of my RAF career thus far. After such harrowing combat on July 16th with the Hun dive bombers, subsequently rendering my Hurricane inoperable, I secured VK-B, and off I trotted on a short stroll to what I would soon discover was the town of West Hythe. In search of medical assistance and a telephone, I promptly came upon a local Church. The Padre, Father O'Brien, whom was originally from The Isle of Mann, was quite hospitable and concerned over the gash on my head. After cleaning my wound and applying a crude bandage, he rang the telephone to Gravesend Aerodrome. He held the telephone half cocked so I could hear the conversation along with him. Once connected, with a slight chuckle and in a rather urgent heavy Irish accent, Father O'Brien vigorously asked the CO if he was admitting wayward orphaned RAF pilots for the night. All the while the Padre was grinning as we both knew the CO was struggling to make clear what he had just been asked. After quite a few seconds of befuddlement, the CO sternly inquired as to what in the blazes Father O'Brien was jabbering on about. Once the Padre unhurriedly related my state of affairs, all was sorted and the CO sent a staff car to gather me up. Within the hour I was offering my thanks to Father O'Brien for his reception of me and the care of my wound. He suddenly offered a Prayer of Blessings over me and over my Squadron, and then sent me on my way with the chap from Gravesend. Once I arrived at Gravesend, Wing Commander Evans, placed a call to my CO at Middle Wallop and informed him that one of his Hurricanes was stranded at Lympne and that he was in possession of its pilot. He spoke quite loudly now looking directly at me, in jest I suppose, “names Wednsforth, ring a bell? It might be a rather lengthy walk back to Middle Wallop for him Sir, would it be to much of a bother to send a man round tomorrow to gather him up?” I had to grin to myself at Wing Commander Evans evident good spirited character, but in the end arrangements were confirmed regarding my repatriation to Middle Wallop the following day.

Footnotes from Paton Wednsforth: August 16th, 2018.
In the beginning months of the war, Fighter Command's RAF No. 604 Squadron operated originally from North Weald Aerodrome and later from Northolt Aerodrome as they oversaw defensive patrols in these respective areas. Also during this time period No. 604 Squadron was tapped for conducting experiments with early Airborne Interception Radio Direction Finding, or AI for short. Soon the situation changed when the Germans invaded the Low Countries of France in May 1940. No. 604 Squadron moved to Manston Aerodrome as a result, and in early May the squadron was tasked to fly night patrols over the Pas de Calais. In June 604 Squadron began to fly night patrols over German occupied Aerodromes in France, in the hope of intercepting returning German bombers. The Squadron then transferred to and is presently operating from Gravesend Aerodrome. They presently fly the Bristol Blenheim night fighter at this juncture in the Air War.

Continuation of Chris's Diary entry from July 18th concerning the events dated July 16th & 17th:
I arrived at Gravesend just in time for the Doc on station to sew me up in the medical tent. He managed to close my wound with only five stitches and made the estimation that I was one lucky chap. “One inch to the left and you might not be among us old boy!” he said. I had not even pondered the notion that I might have been killed during that combat. After thanking the Doc, I then headed off for a spot of tea and regalement in the Officers Mess. The pilots were a jolly bunch and after our meal they showed me the Blenheims which they flew, and a few of the pilots discussed with me the operational procedures used during night missions. I observed that the four .303 Brownings incorporated into the self contained gun pack was quite impressive. This unit was designed to fit into the bomb bay of the Blenheim with very little engineering modification. All four Brownings were tightly grouped together and mounted on the center line of the Blenheim's fuselage. If under the cover of night one of these Blenheims moved onto a Hun's close quarter six o'clock position, this gun pack would bring that Jerry bomber down rather quickly I surmised.
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Upon my surprise, I spotted whom I certainly presumed was Air Chief Marshal Keith Park. One of the 604 pilots confirmed my suspicion, and as a result I was a bit uneasy as his stature loomed large in Fighter Command as compared to us pilots. He inquired of me as he noted I was not one of No. 604 Squadron's pilots, and promptly thereafter we were introduced to one another. He sought to hear the particulars of my combat from this morning and of the past few weeks. I told him of my ordeal this morning with the Ju87s and of my previous exchanges with the Huns since the onset of the War. He was a very polite gentlemen and set me at ease as he conveyed the feeling of genuine interest in my combat experiences. A short while later I asked one of the fellows what Park's visit to Gravesend was regarding, and I was advised that he had personally taken charge of the night intercept flights of No. 604 Squadron. ACM Park made it known that he had a suspicion that in the coming months Göring's Luftwaffe would institute nightly bombings of London and other major southern English cities. He made it clear that Fighter Command's 11 Group must be in a state of readiness to defend and combat any night time assaults which the Luftwaffe might wage against England.
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After frittering about with the other pilots for the afternoon, and learning all I could of the Blenheim's operation, we strolled to the Officers Mess and partook in the dinner fare. When our meal was complete I decided to look in on the briefing for that night’s training mission. As I understood it the Blenheims were sent up in pairs and would take off near dusk. Just as all of the pilots were filing out of the briefing room I ended up walking out directly behind Air Chief Marshal Park. Upon clearing the door, Park quickly turned cornering me in the doorway and said, “Pilot Officer Wednsforth, would you fancy a ride in one of these chaps Blenheim Mk IVFs this evening? Would you like to experience firsthand the difficulties my crews endure to fight in the pitch dark? It is a totally different challenge than what you do in the broad daylight son!” The night fighter version did not require a bombardier, so I could easily be accommodated. I had never really considered flying an intercept mission at night, so I accepted ACM Park's challenging invitation. I will have to detail this night training mission in a later Diary entry as this has been a long day for me. Later in the evening, upon returning from the night flight, the pilot from our flight prepared a rack for me. I lauded his gesture and upon laying my head on the pillow I was, as they say, out like a light.

In the morning following breakfast I was invited to sit in on the debriefing from the previous night's Training Mission. It was interesting to witness how contrasting No. 604's Night Fighting Tactics were compared to daylight Fighting Area Tactics. I thanked Air Chief Marshal Park for the experience and then spent the rest of the day observing the boys of No. 604 practicing scrambles, takeoffs, touch and gos and landings in their Blenheims. The rigger which Payne had dispatched from Middle Wallop to collect me arrived at Gravesend around 1530 hours. After a long slow and painful journey back in the Bedford, we arrived at Middle Wallop at 1855 hours. I crawled in my rack, worn out from all of the adventures of the last two days, and I slept like a log.
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Diary entry for Thursday July 18th 1940, 1100 hours, flight operations:
After reporting to Flt Lt Payne's office at 1030 hours, I was detailed to perform a check out flight at 1100 hours in a Hurricane from the reserve pool. I was to fly this mission with a newly arrived pilot, Plt Off Paul Alan Davies, as my wing man. Payne opened his office door and told Davies to step in, which he did and came to a standing rest position by my side. My Hurricane, VK-B, would be transported back to Middle Wallop by truck, but as I had earlier recounted the damage incurred on the 16th to Pipps, which he was nil to happy about, he said she would most probably be dismantled and used as spares. The results of heavy attrition in the past few weeks had diminished our Squadron's operational capability to eleven Hurricanes. No. 238 Squadron's Adjutant made the urgent request to Maintenance Unit No.5, RAF Kemble for three additional Hurricanes on the very day I was forced down by the Huns. They expedited the replacement order but could only deliver a lone Hurricane at the time. It was flown in just yesterday, and Pipps had not found the time to paint the appropriate Squadron identity letters on her as of yet.

Payne detailed me with the check out flight including flying to The Channel while showing Davies the lay of the land, engaging in a fighting area drill with Davies and testing the Brownings out over the water in this new crate. Payne needed this plane to be cleared for operations as No. 238 Squadron was scheduled to be on 'Readiness Status' tomorrow, July 19th. As we came to attention to salute and exit Payne's office he spoke up with an almost indistinguishable smirk on his face and said, “and Wedns, by no means are you to try out your Brownings on Davies old boy!” I instantly cut a glance towards Davies and noted a look of trepidation on his face as he looked straight forward. I cracked a slight smile at Payne, said, “Yes Sir!”, as we saluted and Davies and I both turned about face and marched out of Payne's office. I did not speak a word to Davies as we walked to our kites. I would let him stew for the moment in the insecurity of what Payne meant by that closing comment.

Davies and I took off from Middle Wallop at 1100 hours and came to vector one-nine-zero which put us on course for the town of Christchurch near The Channel coast. We would fly my check out mission directly off the coast over The English Channel. I checked in with Starlight and advised him of my mission and he acknowledged our vector and assigned us Angels five Liner as our cruising altitude and speed. Flt Lt. Payne had briefed Davies and I that the Chain Home Low station at Worth Matravers was unserviceable due to routine maintenance and upgrades. Also at this time the Army Chain Home Low station at Culver Battery was being prepared to move 1500 yards back into Fort Bembridge. Thus it also was unserviceable during this time and would not begin operations again until July 30th. RAF No. 152 Squadron from Warmwell had two flights of Spitfires tasked to patrolling the line from just off the coast of Portland Bill to Bembridge on the Eastern coast of The Isle of Wight. These Patrols were being used to plug the hole in the Chain Home Low RDF for the time being. “Be advised No. 152 Squadron will be patrolling at 8,000 feet, so keep your head on a pivot and Do Not, I repeat, Do Not get into a scrap with them Wedns! This is not a training mission against them! Understood?” Payne told us. I acknowledged knowing what he was alluding to. Hurricane and Spitfire pilots vehemently disagreed about who's fighter was superior and each looked for any chance he could garner to do a spot of tail chasing and have a case to claim the top slot of who flies the prominent RAF fighter.
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Davies and I cruised at 180 mph, and were closing on Christchurch when Starlight came on the Blower, “Hello Rupert Leader, this is Starlight calling............
At that very moment three Do17s of the German Luftwaffe, flying at low altitude, were about to cross the coast just East of Bournemouth. The Observer Corps. at Swanage called in identifying the intruding Huns to Ten Group HQ just five minutes earlier, and The Observer Corps. at Bournemouth were on the telephone calling the raid in at this time! The boys at Bournemouth observed that the bomb bay doors were open on each of the three Dorniers, annoucing that the preparation for dropping their eggs was nearing completion. The Bombenschützs were finalizing the adjustments of their bomb sights as they each performed the final navigation to properly approach their target.
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Within minutes the Jerries would be in sight of the town of Hurn, home of their intended target . The four brick towers of the smoke stacks at the factory were now in view as the Bombenschützs lined up their final run into the target. The factory was less than two miles inland from The Channel and the Jerries would be able to perform a quick escape once their bomb loads had been dispersed.
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As the rear gunner in the lead Do17 watched his two comrades sail along smoothly, he noted what a beautiful day it was to his Captain over the R/T. The Captain scolded him over the blower, “Keep your eyes looking and your mouth shut, those Hurricanes may come out of anywhere! Those Tommies in the Spitfires will drop from the sun and strike us before you even realize! Concentrate on the mission Dummkoph!”
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On this day the lucky stars aligned for the Huns as they flew in over the coast thinking it strange that nil Ack Ack was coming up to announce their presence to what should be intercepting RAF fighters. They had no idea that today Fighter Command was solely counting on The Observation Corps. to identify incoming air raids. Bomben weg! Cried the lead Do17s bombadier as his eggs began their journey down to wraught havoc upon the factory.
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The Luftwaffe bomber crews had been informed as to the importance of this mission early this morning in their briefing. A week ago a Nazi informant living near the town of Hurn had learned from a local bloke of the importance of the Royal Naval equipment produced at this factory. Returning to France two days ago by boat under the cover of darkness, the informant turned over the coordinates of the installation to his superiors. This factory manufactured key components of the sighting instruments for the Royal Navy's fire control systems aboard British battle cruisers. The often chuckled about wartime poster, 'Loose Lips Might Sink Ships', was twisted in a totally different direction by this naive local sod's ignorance.
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As the bombs dropped, the skies above were clear of the Spitfires and Hurricanes which normally the Jerry bomber crews were forced to engage. Each was wondering where the enemy was, and considering to themselves, if this persisted all would make it back to France undamaged.
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The eggs now began to walk across the factory site causing utter destruction!
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The Engineers buildings, the material sheds and the great brick towers of the smoke stacks from the production and assembly buildings were now under assault! The Ack Ack crews were never allowed time to make it to their Bofors, so the Huns soared along unmolested.
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The third and final Do17 let her bomb load drop as all three lumbered on there way seeding the destruction of the facility. These were the fastest Luftwaffe bombers and the pilots intended to leave the hostile English Island with the greatest haste that their machines could muster.
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The Huns had lined up the Do17s so that they each would lay a path of destruction right through the heart of the complex. The full impact of the Huns assault was now punishing the factory and many of her workers.
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The devastation on the ground was unimaginable! The fire, the heat and the force of the explosions decimated all in their path. Very few buildings managed to avoid damage or complete destruction. Only one of the great brick smoke stack towers was left standing. The factory looked to be an utter loss. The Huns had executed their mission with great precision, and brutal force, but,........... they were not home yet!
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/25/20 04:35 PM.
#4501524 - 12/25/19 06:53 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
Joined: Apr 2013
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XIV


The Battle of Britain

Diary entry for Thursday July 18th 1940, 1100 hours: the continuation oy my tasked flight.
….............“Hello Rupert Leader, this is Starlight calling, come to Vector two-niner-five, Angels two, gate, ten miles, we have 3 big babies attacking inland targets near Hurn. No help available for you at present, listening over.” “ Hello Starlight, Rupert leader calling, received and understood, out.” Hello Red Two, this is Red Leader calling, line astern, gate, ten miles, stay with me Davies, bandits ahead! I discovered later in the afternoon of this same day that A Flight of No. 152 Squadron was taking on petrol at Warmwell after exhausting their resources on their first Patrol, and B Flight was well over 45 miles away near Bembridge. This left Davies and I to intercept the Hun bombers alone. As we flew along the Channel coast and soon moved inland, I could see the bombs detonating on what appeared to be a factory roughly North East of Hurn. I swung starboard and could scarcely make out several contacts four miles ahead on the deck to our one o'clock low.
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As I crossed the bombed out site I witnessed the fires and heavy smoke as the factory continued to burn. It appeared as though most of the buildings at the site were destroyed. They must have had almost nil warning of this incoming low level attack. If this were true, the loss of life in the factory would most probably be considerable.
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I directly confirmed visual to Starlight of several German Do17s heading North Northeast. I began a modest dive, running down to one thousand feet and gaining speed to roughly 250 mph. I observed the first Ack Ack bursts mushrooming around the bombers and became cocksure that it was high time to level the tally for what Jerry had just brought to pass!
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“Hello Starlight, Rupert leader calling, Tally ho! out.” “Red Two, Red Leader calling, close up on me Davies, watch my tail! Follow my lead and assualt the Hun I am attacking, over.” Davies acknowledged, but I was troubled because he was lagging much too far in the rears. If any snappers were about we would be split up and both quite thin skinned to any attack they might embark upon. As I approached 250 yards I let off a short burst, but I waited to draw closer for the next squeeze as I was running this Hun down rather quickly. I offered another short burst at 150 yards.
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I was drawing closer at an alarming rate and the Do17s rearward gunner was patiently delaying his defensive response until I was near enough at hand for him to assault my Hurricane. Again I pushed my gun button to fire a short burst, thus clobbering his starboard engine for the second time.
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As I approached 100 yards I noticed a single Ack Ack cloud appear and directly let loose another series of short bursts. My rounds were beginning to take their toll on the Dornier as I glimpsed the rear gunner's tracers moving towards me. It all happened rather quickly, yet it appeared to transpire in slow motion in my mind as I slid to the starboard and watched the tracers stream by my canopy narrowly missing my lass.
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I was within the rear gunner's range but as I weaved side to side a mite I beat up the Hun bomber quite badly. This Jerry gunner was rather slow in his reactions and could not get a bead on me as I moved around. The starboard engine was beginning to smoke when I saw several Ack Ack rounds rip into the port side wing near the engine, setting it on fire.
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I dropped down a few feet and then quickly pulled back up lightly while firing my eight Browning machine guns, and this storm of rounds silenced the ventral gunner. Once hit, he surely must have slumped over the escape door latch releasing it, as I witnessed the door fall open. The hatch remained open but not one Jerry bailed out. At 800 feet altitude I am not sure anyone would have survived if they did manage to get out. I pulled up quickly to retake my position of advantage and survey what maneuvers would be required to establish my next attack. The Hun I had attacked was billowing smoke badly at this juncture of the battle. As I climbed and rolled to my starboard Davies was just approaching the badly damaged bomber and offered a short burst while roaring past and then pulling up and to his port wing.
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Just now Ack Ack rounds clobbered the Hun bomber which I had damaged ruthlessly. Each wing directly gave way folding upward, then sheared off and the bomber began to dive off toward the fields below. The Jerry was engulfed in flames and falling hurriedly. The remaining two Do17s hauled themselves strongly to their starboard wing as I was beginning to emerge from my barrel roll. I could still see the burning bomber plummeting towards the island below as I prepared to climb once again in expectation of my coming attack upon the closest Dornier.
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Not one Jerry escaped as the Do17 burned on it's way into the English countryside. Thinking of all of those that laborered at the factory in Hurn who were either injured or lost their life, I felt some solace in their stead as this bomber crew would no longer bring destruction to my countrymen. That judgment alone reconciled any feelings of sorrow I might have felt towards those now falling to their death. War is a messy business and one must separate oneself from questioning his righteous position to take a man's life while in combat. Evil is evil and must be harshly dealt with at it's appointed time if Peace is to conquer it!
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As I straightened up and plotted my next attack, the Jerry I was eying could not have situated himself in any better position for my ensuing attack. I simply rolled inverted, pulled my nose down and rolled right into a dive which established me directly on course for his six o'clock. As I dived in I gave several short burst and witnessed both Do17 engines shut off. As I observed this I eased off to my port wing as I knew this Hun was dropping into the Channel. As I soared around to my port wing I viewed Plt Off Davies composing his dawning attack run on the final bomber.
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“Red Two, Red Leader calling, carry on with your weaving during your attack run old bean! That Jerry gunner will rip you to shreds if you assualt him in a lifeless pursuit, listening out.” I did not expect a response as I knew Davies had his hands full trying to bring down this bomber.
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At what looked to be 250 yards Davies began to unleash short bursts just as the RAF Fighting Area Tactics had been taught to us. Smoke started to boil from one of the engines as Davies pressed the attack. The Do17 was now descending in a manner which would bring him to wave top altitude in mere moments. This was a common tactic employed by the Huns in an attempt to cause an RAF pilot think he was doomed and flying into the drink, when actually the Jerry would level out at the last moment just on top of the Channel and then press on to run for France. I could see Davies was having none it and gave chase right on the Jerry's tail firing burst after burst into the bomber. He must have silenced the rearward crown gunner as there was no return engagement coming from the Dornier.
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Just as I anticipated the Jerry leveling out, he slid violently into the Channel displaying an appalling crash which was promptly taken from our view as the water engulfed the bomber and it sank below the surface! “I got him!” cried out Plt Off Davies over the R/T. As he pulled his hurricane from it's dive he flew directly through the spray which erupted two hundred feet above the impact. “Good show mate! Jolly good show!” I chimed in. “Form up and we will make for home.” “Hello Starlight, Rupert leader calling, three Huns dispatched, coming home now, listening out!” “Hello Red Leader, Starlight calling, Smashing Show you two, Wonderful, really wonderful work chaps! The mates at Hurn will be happy to learn of this!” Yes they would I thought to myself, the ones that are still alive would be, but what of the ones who did not survive the assault? The monumental amount of missions, the death toll, the destruction, where was this War taking us and when would it end? My mind was beginning to waver a trace from the stress of it all, and........ none of it looked to let up at all presently. Press on, I simply have no choice but to press on for King and Country! I kept telling myself that! I must continue convincing myself of that and keep my head about me!
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Last edited by Blade_Meister; 03/25/20 05:34 PM.
#4501525 - 12/25/19 06:54 AM 'Wings Over The Reich: War Stories From The Battle Of Britain!' [Re: Blade_Meister]  
Joined: Apr 2013
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XV

The Battle Of Britain

My Grandfather addressed this struggle in a poetic oeuvre which hearkens the likes of Tennyson, Owen or Sassoon. The love of a schoolboy for Literature then transposed sensibly through a blank verse poem. This, so one may understand the sense of inevitability and foreboding, in words as well as in beat, during this ominous moment within The Battle of Britain!

We knew they were coming!
After all they were late
They were assembling their pawns
Calling to arms their mighty knights
Awaiting a gathering exchange
To ruin a stalwart Empire

We knew they were coming!
Taking the other by force
Seizing it with their might
Using their great numbers
Relying upon their scheme
But they forgot one word
In this blind ambition
Hope!
Which will mount
A defiant mighty stand
Even if,
We knew they were coming!
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We knew they were coming!
High above the coasts
Forming up their murderous mob
Soaring along undaunted
Knowing their foe would falter
In no time he would fall

We knew they were coming!
An Empire would be crushed
Under this heavy stone
In time chivalrous knights
Would vanish in thin air
But they forgot one word
The other held all along
Hope!
Is all which was needed
Even if,
We knew they were coming!
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We knew they were coming!
Generals watching over mighty flights
As each lumbering aloft
Across the wide expanse
Their burdens heavy laden
Coming to make the scene

We knew they were coming!
Their formations very proud
Four fingers of a cover
For the waves of raiders
A menacing display to all
Whom gaze upon this pageant
But they forgot one word
The other held so tight
Hope!
Was Victories Faith
Even if,
We knew they were coming!
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We knew they were coming!
The gaggle of executioners
They carry death and destruction
The enemy care for none
Yet blind faith carries them on
For Fatherland and Leader

We knew they were coming!
For pride and prejudice
Combatants soldier on
They carry on obliteration
To their neighbors sons
The bombs which they carry
Flung far and near
But they fight an Empire
Whom shed off their despair
The other laid the bedrock
For an everlasting stand
It comes from the word
An enemy had forgotten
Hope!
Is the final command
For,
We knew they were coming!

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Footnotes from Paton Wednsforth: September 23, 2018.
My Grandfather would have been 97 years old this day, God rest his Soul. After canvassing his Diary intrinsically for 16 years, and just as importantly The Battle of Britain, I have reached the resolve that Chris's Diary is painting a rather fine stroke of the actual enormity of the struggle at hand. Sharing my Grandfather's Diary is altogether endearing to me, yet his Squadron was but one of dozens who were laboring every day to preclude the rise of tyranny in England. I am enrolling myself to bring forward a much broader stroke of Fighter Command's RAF engagements on the 25th of July 1940. I will include, without exception, each one of the RAF encounters which occurred on the 25th of July, interspersed within Chris's original Diary entries of 238 Squadron's skirmishes for this day. Please regard in observance, this is 'One' out of 68 days, with kindred RAF undertakings, in the course of The Battle of Britain. Alas, all the while The RAF were measurably disadvantaged by the Luftwaffe's preeminent numbers of fighter and bomber aircraft which were resolved to break the British Empire.


0650-0730 hours, July 25th. RAF Engagements off Lincolnshire:
The three Spitfires of Red Section No. 222 Squadron were ordered to take off from Kirton-in-Lindsey at 0538 hours to investigate raid X34 but were soon diverted to patrol a Convoy 35 miles East of the Lincolnshire coast at 10,000 feet. Forty minutes into the patrol Red Leader, Plt Off Vigors, spotted two He111s at 5,000 feet heading Westward towards the Convoy off of the Mablethorpe Coast. The He 111s dived Eastward to sea level and Red Section gave chase in a Column Formation. Vigors attacked striking the lead bomber and was himself hit by the rear gunner while Red Two, Plt Off Cutts, and Red Three, Plt Off Assheton, followed through attacking as well. On the second attack Vigors silenced the rearward gunner and stopped one engine before Assheton expended all of his ammunition into the He111 and both turned for home owing to Petrol shortage. Cutts repeatedly attacked the second He 111, disabled the rear gunner and in one subsequent attack forced the Heinkel's landing gear to lower. He broke off also owing to low Petrol and was forced to land in a field short of Kirton-in-Lindsey. Cutts returned to Kirton-in-Lindsey shortly thereafter by car and his Spitfire was returned to the Aerodrome a few days later by truck. No claims were recorded but it was believed that both He 111s were brought down owing to the severe damage inflicted by these three lethal RAF pilots. This was the initial RAF air combat mission of July 25th, 1940.
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0725-0755 hours, July 25th. RAF Engagements over Northern Scotland:
Two Spitfires from Red Section No. 3 Squadron scrambled from Wick Aerodrome at 0711 hours to intercept one Heinkel He111. As Red One, Fl Off D A E Jones, and Red Two, Pl Off J Lonsdale broke through the complete overcast at 9,000 feet they spotted the Heinkel roughly 8 miles ahead of their current position. They used the cloud cover in addition to the sun being located at their backs to smuggle themselves into position behind the He111. Jones used one short burst to knock out the rearward gunner, then closed to 200 feet and assaulted the starboard engine knocking the cowling off and setting the engine ablaze. He then attacked the port engine with the same result. Lonsdale further attacked the starboard engine and witnessed the landing gear lowering. Through subsequent attacks the Heinkel departed into the clouds in a slow dive, starboard engine stopped, port engine damaged, wheels down, presumably crashing into the North Sea. No claims were submitted owing to the fact that the He 111 disappeared into the clouds and was not seen again. This was the second RAF air combat mission of July 25th, 1940.
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Diary entry July 25th. Engagements Over the West Country: No. 238 Squadron, Middle Wallop:
Chris's account would be the RAF's third air combat mission of July 25th, 1940.
My lass, VK-B, was shipped back to Middle Wallop two days prior, and the Squadron Engineering Officer, Cecil Chadsworth Williams, had since determined that Hurricane VK-B's extensive combat damage did not warrant the effort nor expense of repair. Pipps, my rigger, had to relay the decision to me. He had already harvested her starter for one of the other Hurricanes which needed a replacement rather badly. While I was a bit put off hearing the final assessment from Pipps, and he was nil to happy either, I was quite thankful as I walked out to see her for one last time. She had served me well and delivered me from each mission to continue the fight. It is a funny thing that a big inanimate object such as a fighter aeroplane can grow on you as a sort of friend. She had taken care of me from my first check out flight back at Tangemere right up to our final precarious landing at Lympne. Maybe it was the stress and raised emotions from the almost constant aerial combat and lack of sleep, but I felt a bit of a quiver in my lower lip as I said goodbye to my beat up old lass. “Thank You,” I said to her now knowing her war was accomplished.

The sky over the Western share of The English Channel seemed fairly quiet throughout the early morning on the 25th. That completely changed in just a few waning hours! At 1045 hours, No. 238 Squadron was scrambled from Middle Wallop, vectored to two-two-zero, Angels fifteen, Buster to Swanage on the Isle of Purbek. All twelve Hurricanes formed up hastily en route and entered the Portland shipping lanes on The English Channel in a touch less than 25 minutes. Pipps had finally found time to paint the call letters on my new Hurricane. So begins the story of VK-B II I chuckled to myself. I had days earlier already asked her to take good care of me just as I had done in my original Hurricane. From Swanage we were to come to vector two-four-five and intercept Bandits. About forty bombers and several fighter escorts were reported by Starlight on heading two-eight-five in passage to possibly attack shipping off of Portland.
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At 1100 hours, Payne spotted Bandits to our starboard wing, one o'clock low, and thus began No. 238 Squadron's initial combat of July 25th as he called it in. "Hello Starlight, Rupert Leader calling, Tally Ho! Thirty bombers with eight Snappers, Angels eight. Attacking now! Over." "Hello Rupert Leader, Starlight calling, received and understood. God Speed! Out."
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"Hello Blue Leader, Red Leader calling, take those snappers 'Burn'!" Payne hatched pet names for most of us in 238 Squadron over the course of our training, such as 'Burn' for Fl Off Phillip Carlson Coburn. He seemed to fancy using them to bolster our courage and broadcast his confidence in us. To all the boys in 238 Squadron, Flt Lt Payne was simply Rupert Leader or Red Leader. Respect for him within our Squadron was absolute, despite the obvious associations we could come up with involving his last name. Often times we had a little chuckle amongst ourselves with this, such as, at times he was a Royal Payne!, but never anything beyond this inter Squadron banter. We would rally about Squadron Leader Flt Lt. Colin Alexander Payne and accompany him into the pits of hell if called to do so! Coburn affirmed Payne's message and B Flight mounted a slight climb and banked starboard somewhat to initiate their intercept tactics of the Jerry snappers. Payne jumped on the blower once again, “Red Leader to A Flight, Red Section line astern on me, attack port side bombers! Yellow Section, line astern on Marshall, attack starboard side bombers! GO!” As A Flight and B Flight separated to begin their differing attacks on the Jerry fighters and bombers, Fl Lt Samuel Monroe, Red three, spotted a lone Me 109 slightly above us moving across the nose of our flight to the port side. A 'Snooper'! Monroe called it into Payne! Flt Lt Payne replied, “Hello Red Three, Red Leader here, take that snapper out 'Sammy'!” Monroe confirmed, pulled up and banked port side to maneuver onto the Jerry's tail. I did not fancy being that snapper pilot as Flt Lt Samuel Monroe had proved quite savage when dog fighting the Huns as of late.
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We were attacking from out of the sun and moments ago I was puzzled as to how these snappers knew we were here and had already started climbing in preparations to defend against our superior attack altitude. At this moment all was suddenly apparent that the Huns had sent one of their comrades up to scout for any Tommies which might be above and about. A Flight turned starboard and assembled our line astern formations to begin the diving descent in approach to attack the Hun bombers. Monroe continued to stalk the snooper and was soon to be embroiled within a fierce dogfight with the Hun. B Flight maneuvered to retain her superior position to cut off the rising snappers, as the boys knew to respect the Me 109 for her superior climbing ability. Burn was waiting for the opportune moment when the 109s were slow and B Flight could dive in and take advantage of Jerry's inferior posture, thus exacting the maximum damage allowable on the Huns.
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1245-1325 hours, July 25th. RAF Engagements over Southeast Country:
Twelve Spitfires from No. 65 Sqn. , eleven Hurricanes from No. 615 Sqn. and nine Hurricanes from No. 32 Sqn. were scrambled by Fighter Command's 11 Group. They were vectored by their controllers to intercept thirty Ju87 dive bombers and thirty Me 109 fighter escorts crossing The Strait of Dover in the West North Westward direction of the coast of Deal. The Luftwaffe flights were en route to attack shipping Convoy CW.8. Though the RAF fighters and Luftwaffe escorts were almost identical in numbers, the RAF fighters were unable to attack the Ju87s as a result of the Luftwaffe fighter's superior assault altitude upon initial meeting. The RAF fighters managed to reverse the Me 109's advantage and even the playing pitch. Near the conclusion of combat the RAF had taken the upper hand. In little more than forty five minutes the intercept was concluded, and the RAF pilots managed to confirm two Me 109s destroyed and two Me 109s probably destroyed. Only one RAF pilot sustained injury, Plt Off Victor George Daw, 21 years old of No. 32 Sqn. whom suffered a wound in the fleshy portion of the leg and had to land wheels up in a field near Dover. The Me 109 pilots made zero claims while the Ju87 pilots managed only superficial damage upon two of the British Merchant Marine vessels. Convoy CW.8. continued traveling on a South Westward heading through The Strait of Dover. This was the first of two attacks carried out on Convoy CW.8 on the 25th of July in Southeast Country. This was the fourth RAF air combat mission of July 25th, 1940.
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Even if the bomber pilots could not see our Hurricanes, they knew their escorts would only climb away in this dramatic fashion if there were a threat from the Tommies. As the Hun bombers watched their escorts rise up to defend against the inevitable attack, a few of the rearward pilots became restless and were loosing there places at the end of the massive formation. Having our backs to the sun was a tremendous edge for our Flight, and we used it to great advantage during our undertaking to assault the Hun bombers.
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Thirty bombers is a rather large number to ponder storming into with only five Hurricanes. Where does one begin? As Flt Lt Payne had trained us, focus on your Section Leader and follow your Fighting Area Attack Training Tactics. Payne broke in on the blower, “Hello Red Section,” which consisted only of Payne and myself since Monroe was now fully engaged with his snooper snapper. “Hello Red Section, Red Leader calling, stay with me, steady, watch not to pile into Jerry on your pass through the formation 'Wedns'!” Payne knew I had never encountered such a large formation of bombers and he wanted me to remember my training and use it. “Focus on the Hun I am attacking, storm on ahead and let these bastards have it one time for Jolly Old England mate!” Payne enthusiastically blasted over the R/T. The moment seemed to slow to a crawl, we were diving down and a thought came to mind of a riddle my Father had quizzed me with in my younger years. I could hear Father saying this in a quite spirited manner, “Why Chris, do you know how one dines on an elephant son?” My puzzled look prompted him to say with a chuckle, “Why, one mouthful at a time son, of course!” This memory solicited a smile even now, but more importantly, it was precisely how I was to assail this formation of bombers! One Hun at a time, of course!
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Monroe had now gained a favorable position to his Jerry combatant's tail, but he still lacked the altitude of his prey. He fired a short burst, but......
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the Jerry pilot was climbing away from Monroe whom was now dropping past 100 mph. He desperately sought to put his reflector sight onto the Me 109 so he could press the gun button to fire. The Hun simply climbed away as Monroe's pace dropped off below 80 mph. His port wing dipped as his Hurricane fell aside trying to recover the speed and control she had frittered away.
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1450-1515 hours, July 25th. RAF Engagements over Southeast Country:
Nine Spitfires from No. 610 Sqn. , twelve Hurricanes from No. 111 Sqn. , nine Spitfires from No. 54 Sqn. and eleven Spitfires from No. 64 Sqn. were scrambled by Fighter Command's 11 Group. They were vectored by their controllers to intercept twenty Ju87 dive bombers and forty Me 109 fighter escorts whom were crossing The Strait of Dover in the West North Westward direction of the port of Dover. The Luftwaffe flights were en route to attack shipping Convoy CW.8. This would account for the second attack upon this convoy today. The reports from each RAF Squadron varied but the consensus was that the Luftwaffe was at 12,000 feet of altitude. Parts of each RAF Squadron attempted to attack the Ju87s, but were intercepted by the Me 109s. The RAF pilots whom attempted to intercept the Me 109 fighters were badly out numbered and thus the situation devolved into a wildly out of hand dogfight. The order of the day seems to have been head on attacks for the RAF pilots in what could only be described as selflessly courageous offensives in a desperate situation. In little more than 25-35 minutes the combat was concluded. Four Me 109s were destroyed, three probably destroyed, four damaged, and only one Ju87 destroyed. The Luftwaffe pilots claimed five Spitfires destroyed including one by Major Adolf Galland of III./JG26. RAF pilots lost were Flt Lt Basil Hugh 'Wonky' Way, 22, No. 54 Sqn. 8 claims thus far in his career; Fl Off Alistair John Oswald Jeffrey, 22, No. 64 Sqn. 4 claims thus far in his career; and Sqn. Ldr. Andrew Thomas Smith, 34, No. 610 Sqn. 1 claim thus far in his career. These three men gave all in which they could in the desperate defense of The Empire and her people. Convoy CW.8. continued to sail South Westward through The Strait OF Dover sustaining two ships lost to Luftwaffe dive bombing attacks. This was the fifth RAF air combat mission on July 25th, 1940.
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As A Flight dove in some of the Hun bombers lost their nerve and dropped their eggs from fear of our impending attack. I can only imagine being in one of those tail end bombers and witnessing five RAF Hurricanes diving in to initiate a strike upon your bomber. I ponder it an episode which would be a frightful sight and exceedingly likely to unnerve most young men.
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On our first pass through a small number of Jerrys scattered, but over twenty stayed in a tightly spaced formation. They soldiered on knowing we were pressing in to give them everything we could muster. The fight was now spreading out all over The Channel's sky, wildly writhing about like two opposing wrestlers brawling to establish a dominant hold on the other. Hurricanes and Me 109s were above me battling furiously and Ju88s were in front of me with some diving away cowardly, but,.... I was about to have my opening portion of the elephant!
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My cardinal attack run was blisteringly swift. My Browning's were blazing, casings streaming down and I could see the the Ju88 lighting up with debris flying from it. Smoke was beginning to emerge from the starboard engine. I had set off less than one third of my ammunition as I witnessed my target dropping it's starboard wing.............
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