32 Sqn. escort convoy off Dungeness

DETAIL OF WORK CARRIED OUT By:No.32 Squadron.

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Remarks References
Hurricane
N.2459 P/O.Grice. Escort Convoy. 1500 1625 Yellow Section as Escort to Convoy W. of Dungeness Height 3,000'. P/O.Gillman return to Base owing to oil trouble. P/O.Smythe and P/O.Grice attacked 3 He.112's. P/O.Smythe was shot up and landed Hawkinge. * Red Section carried on the Escort and encountered no enemy aircraft. Being relived by Yellow Section at 1645 hours who encountered no enemy aircraft. 8.7.40
N.2460 P/O.Smythe. 1610
P.3481 P/O.Gillman. 1610
N.2461 F/Lt.Crossley. 1550 1720*
P.3677 P/O.Daw. 1720*
N.2670 F/Sgt.Turner. 1640 1810*
N.2588 F/O.Humpherson. 1810
P.3679 F/O.Clerke. 1645 1810
N.2409 Sgt.Henson. 1650 1720

(AIR 27/360/22)

32 Sqn Transfer from Biggin Hill to Hawkinge

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
P.3112 F/O.Humpherson. To Forward Base. 1335 1355 Landed Hawkinge. 12.8.40.
P.3147 P/O.Gardner.
P.4106 P/O.Pniak.
P.3936 P/O.Eckford.
P.2524 Sgt.Higgins.
P.2671 Sgt.Aslin.
P.3146 F/Lt.Crossley.
P.2459 P/O.Grice.
P.2596 P/O.Barton.
P.2458 P/O.Proctor.
P.3522 P/O.Smythe.
P.3481 Sgt.Bayley.

32 Sqn Patrol

32 Sqn perform an uneventful patrol.

As they are in the air, Hawkinge is bombed. Some return to Biggin Hill but five - low on fuel - return to Hawkinge.

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
P.3146 F/Lt.Crossley. Patrol. 1430 1500 Ordered to patrol Hawkinge at 8,000'.No e/a sighted. 12.8.40.
P.2459 P/O.Grice.
P.2596 P/O.Barton.
P.2458 P/O.Proctor.
P.3522 P/O.Smythe.
P.3481 Sgt.Bayley.
P.3112 F/O.Humpherson. 1530
P.3147 P/O.Gardner.
P.4106 P/O.Pniak.
P.3936 P/O.Eckford.
P.2524 Sgt.Higgins.
P.2671 Sgt.Aslin.

II/KG 2 bomb Bekesbourne airfield

54 Sqn and 56 Sqn Hurricanes are vectored towards the 24 Do 17s of II/KG 2, lead by Kommodore Oberst Johannes Fink, who it is assessed are heading for Manston after crossing the Channel from Calais to North Forland. The 30 Bf 109 escorts of I and III/JG 54 fail to see the camouflaged Hurricanes climbing to intercept the bombers.

The bombers throw out confetti, toilet paper and hand grenades to confuse the attacking fighters.

The ensuing combat between the fighters continues back across the Channel with 32 Sqn and 64 Sqn joining in.

Oberleutnant Albert Dressel of III/JG 54's Stabsschwarm belly lands his Bf 109 near Margate and is taken prisoner.

Luftwaffe records state that ‘Canterbury airfield’ and another reported as being west of Manston received a total of five 500kg, four 250kg and 439 50kg bombs. The bombs fall around Bekesbourne and Patrixbourne.

Bekesbourne was a WWI RAF airfield and had been used in May and June 1940 by Lysanders of 2 and 13 Sqns. supporting Operation Dynamo. They were withdrawn on 8 June and the airfield obstructed by stakes to prevent it being used by invading forces.

Sorces: Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust

32 Sqn Fighting patrol

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
12 sorties as above. Fighting Patrol. 1650 1810 Ordered patrol Hawkinge at 10,000'. When over Dover sighted 30/40 Do.215's escorted by 3-/40 Me.109s flying at 12,000'. After the initial combats took place the Squadron became split up and various combats took place ranging from Dover to N. of Whitstable. One Hurricane P/O.Barton was shot down and crashed near Hawkinge. Aircraft shot down by the following. F/Lt.Crossley 1 Me.109 Confirmed. 1 Unconfirmed. F/O.Humperson 1 unconfirmed. P/O.Grice 1 Do.215 damaged. P/O/.Proctor 1 Me.109 U/C. Sgt.Higgins P/O.Pniak P/O.Gardner 4 U/C. P/O.Smythe 1 Do.215 Confirmed. Sgt.Bayley 1 Do.215 confirmed. Squadron landed individually at various times.

P/O A R Barton

Shot down over Dover in Hurricane N2596, crashed near Elham.

On the same day that Frieidrich Butterweck crashed at Standard Hill farm R.W. Bailey of Ladwood Farm east of Elham recalls in his post war memoir:

Later I saw George Godden, He told me that about the same time a Hurricane had landed in his field and the pilot had just managed to stop with his nose practically touching George's cowshed. This pilot told George that he had shot down two Gerries that morning and then was forced to land as he was out of fuel. After that date things really hotted (sic) up in the Battle of Britain.

P/O Barton is the only Hurricane recorded as lost in that area on this date. His combat record (AIR 15/16/2) does not include a Form F for this date and, likewise, there is no casualty file for him on this date. Even expanding the date rate out I have find no other Hurricane or Spitfire that could fit this incident.

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

PlaceDateTimeSummary of EventsReferences to Appendices
HawkingeAugust 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 return to Biggin Hill

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight. References
P.3112 F/O.Humpherson. From Forward Base. 1830 1850 Landed Biggin Hill. 12.8.40
P.4106 P/O.Pniak. 1840 1900
P.3936 P/O.Eckford. 1830 1850
P.2524 Sgt.Higgins. 1830 1850
P.2671 Sgt.Aslin. 1830 1850
P.3146 F/Lt.Crossley. 1830 1850
P.2459 P/O.Grice. 1830 1850
P.2458 P/O.Proctor. 1830 1850
P.3522 P/O.Smythe. 1830 1850

KG 2 bomb Eastchurch

At Eastchurch five Coastal Command Blenheims of 32 Sqn, 266 Sqn's ammunition and one of their Spitfires - on loan to CC - were destroyed. There is as direct hit on the Operations Room. 12 people are killed and 40 injured. There are 50 bomb craters on the field.

As the raiders made for home 111 and 151 Sqns attacked them, downing five and damaging several more. Involved in this action was Flt/Lt R.L. Smith of 151 Sqn in the first experimental Hurricane armed with 20mm cannon (L1750) who claimed one kill and one damaged.

DATE (C) 13th August
FLIGHT & SQN & SECTION (D) ??? 151 - Blue One
No of E/A and Type (E & F) Fifty Plus - Dorner 215s & 17s
Time of attack (G) 06.45
Place "  " (H) 15 miles ENE of Manston
Height of Enemy (J) 8,000 ft approx
Enemy Casualties (and classification) (K) One Dornier 215 (caught fire) ?????
confirmed by Sgt Clarke
Our Casualties (A/C) (L) Nil
(Pilots) (M)
Fire from fighters estimated (P) 2 Cannons only
Range opened 300yds
Length of Burst 4secs
Range Closed 100yds
No. of rounds Unknown
General Report (R)

I was leading three sections of 151 Squadron (Blue, Yellow, Green) - the C.O & Reds having been separated coming through the clouds from Rochford due to the turning to get into the patrol, which was was ordered for 12 miles South of Manston. The clouds were from 3000 to 5000 ft, with continuous layers everywhere, with a small gap over towards Dunkirk, ??? ??? so that it was difficult to maintain position. At approximately 06.25 (guessed) I heard ??? base(?) tell the CO to make for E/A which were 20 miles S.E. of Manston, so proceeded there myself with ??? ??? Red section. P/O Ramsey reported "aircraft at 4 o'clock after 5 minutes and I saw 3 formations of aircraft stepped up at abut 5 miles to starboard, going North ??? 8,000 ft. Assuming the rear of the squadron to be twin-engine fighters, I ??? spent ten minutes or more positioning myself ??? into the sun and at 16000 ft and about two miles astern. I ordered the attack, telling my aircraft (which I hoped were all there, although one section was not visible in my mirror, and my no. 3 could not keep up) to dive through the enemy formation and into the clouds, (as I assumed the rear squadron were Me 110's, and ¾ of my pilots were new) I opened fire at 300yds with my cannons, firing into the general mass, as the enemy were in exceptionally close formation. One immediately burst into flames and another ??? started smoking when my windscreen front panel was completely shattered by enemy fire, and I broke away downwards & returned to North Weald.

R.L.Smith F/Lt.

Taken from AIR 50/63/98 which is a low quality scan of a handwritten report that in places is hard to decipher.