It's not long before another Sunderland appears - and this time, it looks like he's got me dead to rights! ALAARM
! We dive for the cellar, lashed by gunfire from the big flying boat.
I change course once below. For some reason, no bombs are dropped on the first pass. Nevertheless, some damage has been done to the casing in the area of the deck gun. I'll have to be back on the surface before I can have that repaired.
In the meantime, I'm happy to stay down, glad that when the bombs come, they are some way off. I resume course after a few minutes then wait a couple of hours before coming back up to periscope depth again.
All is clear so I decide to proceed again on the surface...
...just long enough to recharge the batteries.
Then down we go again, more gently this time. I don't plan on coming up again...
...until it's getting dark.
Then down again for daylight. The weather takes a turn for the worse as we get closer to the Spanish coast, so I come back up to recharge the batteries. The bridge watch are obviously expecting conditions to get worse still, as they're all in oilskins and sou'westers.
By mid-afternoon, we're well prepared for another spell underwater...
...but with darkness approaching, I decide to chance remaining on the surface for a little longer. This goes as hoped for...until about half-past eight, when the lookouts spot another aircraft approaching from astern.
It's another b***dy Sunderland!
He must have been as surprised by the encounter was we were - for the second time, we receive only bullets,no bombs, on the first pass. The tail gunner joins in the fun as we crash dive away.
Once again, the newly-repaired foredeck area has been hit again! The good news is that the pressure hull has not been penetrated.
I make another mistake by ordering the boat levelled just below periscope depth. The result is that we narrowly miss a salvo of the bombs the Sunderland has now manage to dump on us.
The Devil looks after his own, they say and we're obviously in his good books today, for no further damage ensures. However, I'm now determined that in future, I will make a greater effort stay below the surface, when transiting Biscay during daylight....to be continued!