KG 76 bomb Hawkinge

At Hawkinge the personnel on the base are taken by surprise as the Do 17s (KG 2 and KG 76) and Bf 110s (EprGr 210) come in over Folkestone at medium height and the AA crews aren't able to man their guns - with the exception of two Hisapnios.

Number three hanger at Hawkinge receives direct hits and the iron doors come off their runners killing one airman and two civilian employees - Brisley and McCaister. Inside the hanger two Spitfires under repair were wrecked and two others seriously damaged. Four airmen are killed and six seriously wounded.

The workshops, clothing store and two married quarters were destroyed and the main store was on fire and the ammunition there was exploding.

Luftwaffe records state that Hawkinge was attacked in two waves, with 280 110-lb bombs being dropped first, followed by 16 1100-lb and eight 551-lb bombs.

64 Sqn's Spitfres engaged the Do 17s over Hawkinge and remarked on the lack of AA fire. American PO Donahue bailed out of his burning Spitfire over Sellinge.

Hurricanes from 32 Sqn returning to the airfield to refuel have to negotiate the 28 craters on the landing field. Flt. Lt. Michael Crossley requests permission to land, the response from the controller being "Hello Jacko Red Leader. We've had a spot of bother here. Permission to pancake granted. Good Luck." Sgt. Lacey's undercarriage collapses and F/Lt Gibson's aircraft ends up on it's nose. PO Barton opts to crash-land in a nearby field. The aircraft are refuelled and returned to Biggin Hill.

Firemen from Folkestone arrive to help out at the airfield. Section Leader R. R. Fry is accompanied by his team of Bill Willis, Percy Sutton, Ted Beeching, George Rumsey and George Kelly are fighting the multiple blazes at No 3 hanger where saving the aircraft isn't possible.

49 MU lost a number of vehicels, including a Ford V8 staff car and a Commer low-loader.

Fry said of the incident:

A chaotic scene greeted our arrival. There were fires in several places. The water tower, supplying pressure for the hydrants, had been holed by splinters in may places and water cascaded from it, reducing our mains supply to a trickle as we watched.

The main priority was getting the landing field operational and soldiers, airmen and civilians worked through the night filling in craters, sustained by a mobile canteen serving tea and sandwiches.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) RAF. Station Hawkinge

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
Hawkinge August 1940
12th
WEATHER. fine. The I.G. of the R.A.F, Sir E.A LUDLOW-HEWITT, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C. inspected the Station. An Enemy Bombing attack by J.U. 88's against the Station was carried out at 17.30 hours and lasted for approximately 10 minutes. One hanger, No. 3, was almost completely wrecked whilst on other, No. 5, was partially wrecked. A number of Bombs of heavy caliber, including incendiary, were dropped. The aerodrome and buildings were machine-gunned during the attack. The main stores were partly damaged by fire, the clothing store almost completely. The fire was quickly brought under control by R.A.F. personnel aided by local A.F.S. The Station Workshops were wrecked. Two houses in the Airmen's Married Quarters , occupied by airmen, were destroyed. Twenty-eight craters were made on the aerodrome, the largest being 76' x 72' x 28' deep, and the smallest 10' x 10' x 8' deep, but the aerodrome was not rendered completely unserviceable. Repairs to the surface were immediately commenced by the R.E.s. already attached for such work. Ground Defenses were surprised and no guns, except two HISPANO were fired. The altitude of the attacking aircraft was such that it was impractical for the P.A.C.U. to be brought into action. Two civilians, MR. BRISLEY and MR. CAISTER, employed by contractors of the Works Directorate, were killed and three airmen, CORPORAL Mc. COLL attached from R.A.F. Station, YEADON, A.C.2. SYMES attached from R.A.F. Station, KENLEY, and A.C.1. LANGDON of R.A.F. Station, HAWKINGE, were killed. Six airmen received severe injuries and were admitted to the KENT and CANTERBURY HOSPITAL, CANTERBURY. TheCasulaties occurred to personnel employed in No 3 hanger. Two SPITFIRE aircraft, under repair, were seriously damaged, whilst one or two others were struck by splinters. The two non-operational aircraft on charge were damaged but repairable. P.O. N.G. DURHAM reporting on posting from R.A.F. Station, WICK for duty at A.M.E.S., DOVER. F.O. J.D. GABB and F.O. J.H. READ reported on posting for operations room duties.
AIR RAID WARNINGS.
RED 08.35, WHITE 09.25, RED 11.38, WHITE 12.37, RED 23.37, WHITE 23.59

The identification of the attackers as Ju 88s seems incorrect.

32 Sqn patrol Hawkinge - combat over Dover

32 Squadron Intelligence Report

12 Hurricanes of 32 Squadron took off from Hawkinge at 14.40 hours to patrol; they were attacked by 12 Me109s who were flying at 20,000 feet north of Dover. As the patrol climbed after them the Me109s climbed away, then when an opportune moment arrived they dived on to the Hurricanes. F/Lt Brothers DFC shot one down into the sea. Sgt Aslin saw an Me 109 heading out to sea with smoke pouring from it but does not claim it. F/O Smythe DFC was shot down and crashed - he is in hospital (Royal Masonic) wounded. P/O Pniak was also shot up and bailed out and is injured in hospital.
10 aircraft landed at Hawkinge at 15.41 hours. The other two crashed.
F/Lt Brothers was leading Blue Section when the Me109s dived on them. He fired several short bursts at tow or three and then lost them through 'blacking out'. Climbing up to 20,000 feet he engaged them again and getting on the tail of one gave him two 3 second bursts. Part of the starboard wing came away and he dived into the sea about 10 miles south-east of Dover. F/Lt Brothers followed the e/a down and then returned to base. 1 Me109 destroyed.
P/O Pniak was flying No.3 of Blue Section. He was attacked head on by one of the 12 Me109s from above. Circling round he got on the e/a's tail and gave him two more bursts of 2 seconds; much black smoke poured out. This was probably the Me109 seen by Sgt Aslin. At this moment he was himself attacked and set on fire; he put his aircraft into a dive to land but had to bale out at 5,000 feet. He landed very fast as his parachute did not open properly and was full of large holes. His knee and ankle were injured and he was taken to hospital but has now returned. One Me109 probably destroyed.

Quoted in Battle of Britain Combat Archive v.6

Continue reading "32 Sqn patrol Hawkinge - combat over Dover"

32 Sqn patrol Hawkinge - combat over Folkestone

Oblt. Kurt Ruppert of 3./JG26 Clams his third kill, a 32 Sqn. Hurricane NE of Dover at 16:05.

Fw. W. Mueller of 3./JG26 claims an unknown Hurricane NE of Manston and Uffz. B. Adam of 2./JG26 claims an unknown Hurricane W of Dover.

32 Squadron Intelligence Report

Ten Hurricanes of 32 Squadron left Hawkinge at 15.49 hours to patrol round Dover, they intercepted approximately 15 Me109s who were flying at 10,000 feet off Folkestone at 16.00 hours. Each pilot selected an enemy and a dog fight ensued.
P/O Gillman in his report to the Intelligence Officer at Hawkinge stated that he had fired at an Me109 which blew up and fell into the sea. He was missing next day to it was not possible to get a combat report from him.
P/O Barton, Yellow section, after the initial attack had been in progress about 5 minutes, chased on of the Me109s across the channel, he was diving and came down from 15,000 feet to 7,000 feet when he began to catch up with the e/a/ He was taking fairly skilful avoiding action, but he was able to get in four bursts of 2 seconds at from 300 to 200 yards range. When his ammunition was exhausted the Me109 was flying straight and level at 150 m.p.h. at 1,000 feet. He flew round him but he showed no interest. He left him before he crossed the French coast. Only four of P/O Barton's guns were firing the remainder were stopped with separated cases.
P/O Seghers was shot up and bailed out but was uninjured. Aircraft landed at Hawkinge between 16.00 and 16.33 hours.

Quoted in Battle of Britain Combat Archive v.6

Continue reading "32 Sqn patrol Hawkinge - combat over Folkestone"

P/O Eugene Seghers

Belgian P/O Eugene George Achilles Seghers (82162, dob 7/4/10, Ledeberg) of 32 Sqn. is shot down and his aircraft lands at Tedders Lees on the valley road.

The casualty record for P/O Seghers (AIR 81/2760) contains the following telegrams:

EJB
6519

Telegram en clair.

To :- A.M. (C.1. Accidents) and P.4.(Cas), Repeated H.Q.F.C, 11 Group, 43 Group, Belgian Embassy.

From:- 32 Squadron. Biggin Admin

Received A.M.C.S. 2329 hours. 24.8.40

Biggin Admin NR10 IMEDIATE SECRET NOT WT
AM WHI=
Pass to AM (C1 Acc and P4 Cas) and Belgian Embassy.
GR76

A.357. 24/8.

FB
(A) Hurricane 6567
(B) 32 Squadron
(C) Over Hawkinge area at approx. 1600 hours 24/8. Aircraft on Elham and Lyminge road
(D) P/O E G A Seghers (Belgian) Broken Arm
(E) Name of hospital unknown
(F) N/A
(G) Enemy action
(H) Cat three.
(J) N/A.

Time of Origin:- 2220 hours 24.8.80

Crash Circulation. D.A.A.C. (for Belgian Embassy)
Advance copies passed to :- P.4.Cas. D.R.M. (M.A.P. Millbank.)

DF B PIP
AM -.8,KK. - .8WWHI H+
R2310 . CORF . VA .

6702

Telegram en clair.

ADDRESSED TO A.M. (C.1. Accidents) and P.4.(Cas) = RPTD = H.Q.F.C = 11 Group = Belgian Embassy.

FROM 32 Squadron.

STN Z NR42 ''IMEDIATE SECRET NOT WT''
AM WHI
GP36

A261 25/8.

REF THIS UNITS SIGNAL A457 24/8 P/O AEGG SEGHERS NOW REPORTED UNINJURED AND RETURNING BIGGIN HILL
==1425

Crash Circulation. D.A.A.C. (for Belgian Embassy)
Advance copies passed to :- P.4.Cas. D.R.M. (M.A.P. Millbank.)

WD B1 R 1608 H.W.N. K.K.

P35H160

The next mention of Seghers in the 32 Sqn. Form 541 (AIR 27/360/24) is on 31/08/1940 where he is recorded as taking part in a fighting patrol of the Farne Islands.

32 Squadron activity timeline

Reconstruction of activity from 32 Sqn Form 541 (AIR/27/360/24).

Aircraft Time 09:00 09:45 13:00 13:05 13:25 14:00 14:20 14:30 15:30 15:45 16:05 16:15 16:25 16:30 16:45 17:05 17:10 17:30 19:10 19:20 19:40
N2458 Biggin Hill Whitehouse Hawkinge Whitehouse Hawkinge Whitehouse Biggin Hill Unknown
N2524 Biggin Hill Aslin Hawkinge Aslin Hawkinge Aslin Hawkinge Aslin Biggin Hill Aslin Biggin Hill
N2755 Unknown Biggin Hill Eckford Biggin Hill
N2921 Biggin Hill Brothers Hawkinge Brothers Hawkinge Brothers Hawkinge Brothers Biggin Hill Barton Biggin Hill
P3481 Biggin Hill Flinders Hawkinge1 Unknown Biggin Hill Crossley Hawkinge Crossley Hawkinge Crossley Crashed
P3679 Biggin Hill Pearce2 Hawkinge Higgins Hawkinge Higgins Hawkinge Higgins Biggin Hill Higgins Biggin Hill
P3936 Biggin Hill Eckford Hawkinge Eckford Hawkinge Eckford Hawkinge Eckford Biggin Hill
V6546 Biggin Hill Higgins Hawkinge Unknown3 Biggin Hill Brothers Biggin Hill
V6547 Biggin Hill Wlasnowalski Hawkinge Wlasnowalski Hawkinge Wlasnowalski Hawkinge Wlasnowalski Biggin Hill Wlasnowalski Biggin Hill
V6565 Biggin Hill Gillman Hawkinge1 Biggin Hill Gillman Hawkinge Gillman Hawkinge Gillman Hawkinge Unknown
V6566 Biggin Hill Barton Hawkinge Barton Hawkinge Barton Hawkinge Barton Biggin Hill Whitehouse Biggin Hill
V6567 Biggin Hill Seghers Hawkinge Seghers Hawkinge Seghers Crashed
V6568 Biggin Hill Smythe Hawkinge Smythe4 Crashed
V6572 Biggin Hill Pniak Hawkinge Pniak5 Bailed out Pniak Crashed Unknown Hawkinge Pniak Biggin Hill Unknown

Key

Meaning Cell
Aircraft at Biggin Hill Biggin Hill
Aircraft at Hawkinge Hawkinge
Aircraft in the air with pilot's name Smith
No information Unknown
Aircraft unserviceable with reason Bailed out
Last mention of a pilot Bold text
Information assumed from circumstantial evidence Italic text

Footnotes

  1. It would make more sense if this was a patrol that landed back at Biggin Hill as both aircraft are next recorded as going from Biggin to Hawkinge. ^,^
  2. Sgt. Pearce does not appear again in the record book again during August. ^
  3. It would fit if Sgt. Pearce flew this plane back to Biggin Hill.^
  4. P/O Smythe is recorded as having crashed on this sortie but is not recorded as having participated The casualty report gives the time of his aircraft crashing as approximately 1600. ^
  5. The record for P/O Pinak contains several inconsitencies and is covered in more detail. ^