F/Lt. Deere encounters He 113s escorting bombers over the Thames Estuary

Sector Serial No (A) D 2.
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 24/7/40
Flight, Squadron (D) Flight A Squadron 54
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) 42 (Approx.)
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) Do.215 ME. 109
HE 113
Time Attack was delivered (G) 12.25
Place attack was delivered (H) Thames Estuary
Height of Enemy (J) 7,000 Feet
Enemy Casualties (K) Confirmed One Me109 destroyed identified
Three Me109s fired at
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) NIL
Personnel (M) NIL
Searchlights (N) (i) NIL
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) NIL
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range Opened 350 Yards
Length of burst Various
Range closed 150 Yards
No. of Rounds per Gun 1331
General Report (R)
While patrolling Deal at 7,000 Feet a large formation of enemy bombers was observed flying up the Thames Estuary, behind and above Bombers were 3? ME 109's and further 12 above and in cloud. I told Blue leader to go for the first three and I would take my section above and after the nine above. At that moment nine HE. 113's came from behind and I saw them in time to avert being shot at. I managed to stall turn into their tails and fire a burst into the centre of the formation which broke up. 109's then came down from above and a Dog Fight ensued. I had general wild bursts at various aircraft, but was unable to get a decent bead because of constant attacks from behind. I managed however one decent long burst at a 109 at close range and he went down with glycol pouring from his machine.
Rabbit Red Leader.
Sgd. A.C.Deere. F/Lt.
A C Deere

(AIR/50/21/105)

F/O McMullen attacked by He 113s over the Thames Estuary

Sector Serial No (A) D 2
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 24/7/40
Flight, Squadron (D) 12 aircraft 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft (E) Big Formation
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) ME.109's HE.113's
Time Attack was delivered (G) 12.25
Place attack was delivered (H) Thames Estuary
Height of Enemy (J) 7,000 Feet
Enemy Casualties (K) Confirmed One ME. 109 destroyed unconfirmed
Unconfirmed 1 ME109 Probable
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) NIL
Personnel (M) NIL
Searchlights (N) (i) NIL
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) NIL
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Ranged opened 200 Yards.
Length of burst Various
Ranged closed 100 Yards
No. of Rounds per Gun 2057
General Report. (R) I was patrolling with Red Section as Red 2. Blue Leader reported Bombers to our North as we were over Deal. Whilst turning off to attack the fighters, 12-15 HE.113's came up alongside from our rear. We took evasive action and finished up behind them, at the same time a squadron at least of 109's appeared. I sprayed the enemy formation as did Red1. This proving very effective. The section broke and I went into cloud. When I came out I saw approximately 6,000 feet below two ME.109's in a tight V. I attacked from above and behind, and the leader went into the sea. I turned my fire on to No. 2. Large clouds of Black Smoke came out, and bits fell off, enemy aircraft staggered.

I then went home.

Sgd. D.A.P. McMullen F/O.
DAP. McMullen F/o.

(AIR/50/21/49)

III./JG 52 carry out a freie Jagd

Intended to cover the withdrawal of bombers attacking a convoy in the Thames Estuary they cross over Dover and proceed north over Kent. Reaching the estuary they encounter a Squadron of Spitfires (54 Sqn. or 65 Sqn.). In the clash off Margate four Bf 109s are shot down. Among the casualties are Gruppenkommandeur Wolf-Heinrich von Houwald and two of his Staffelkapitäne, Oberleutnants Herbert Fermer and Lothar Ehrlich (of 7. and 8./JG 52 respectively). Only one of the three Spitfires claimed was confirmed.

  • Uffz J Zwernemann (7/JG 52): Spitfire north-east Margate
  • Uffz E Rossmann (7/JG 52): Spitfire north-east Margate (disallowed)
  • Lt J Keidel (7/JG 52): Spitfire north-east Margate (disallowed)

Radar plots appear

As the dawn mist burns off, radar picks up aircraft over Cap Griz Nez. (6+ over Cap Griz Nez and 3+ in the Straights.)

54 Sqn (Spitfires) are scrambled from Manston to deal with fighters and 610 Sqn (Spitfires) are scrambled from Hawkinge to deal with bombers.

The 6+ raid are Do 17 from KG 2 targeting Lympne.

15 Do 17 Bomb Lympne

15 Do 17s from I/KG 2 escorted by JG 54 come in low over Romney Marsh and rise up over the escarpment and drop 50kg bombs which explode in straight lines, the landing ground is cratered and a hanger is damaged.

Crews report dropping 90 110-lb bombs on hangars and buildings, although they also state that the full effect of their attack could not be gauged due to mist.

54 Sqn Spitfires are scrambled from Manston but are intercepted by JG 54's Bf 109s out of the sun - possibly over Dover - before they can reach the bombers. Two Spitfires force land at Lympne and are forced to swerve to avoid the craters.

All the Do 17s return home 45 minutes later, without radar Fighter Command are unable to find them.

This raid is intended to keep Lympne based interceptors on the ground and not interfere with the attacks on the radar stations.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. STATION, LYMPNE.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
LYMPNE. AUGUST
12TH.
Weather. Fair. 0800 HRS. STATION attacked by enemy aircraft. 141 Bombs dropped in a few seconds. Damage caused to hangers, offices and landing ground. NO CASUALTIES.

Big dogfight over Elham

Nine Bf 109s of II/JG 52 pass over Dover and steer the fight with 12 of 610 Sqn's Spitfires east to clear the way for ErprGr 210.

Harvest of Messerschmitts:

One Squadron of 1/JG 26's Bf 109s crossed the coast wast of Dungeness and circled round nort-east of Dover. They are intercepted by Spitfires of 54 Sqn. One of the Bf 109E-1s with lowered undercarriage, whose pilot Oblt. Friedrich Butterweck - later found dead six miles away - had bailed out, flew in circles over the village chased by Spitfires. It finally zoomed low over the village before crashing into Running hill. Over the next few days the unguarded wreck was a source of souvenirs for locals. The kill was claimed by P/O HKF Matthews of A Flt, 54 Sqn.

Battle of Britain - Then and Now and JG 26 War Diary:

Shot down over Ashford and exploded over Standard Hill Farm, Elham.

P/O Matthews Form "F" combat report reads:

Sector Serial No (A) D.1
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 12/8/40.
Flight, Squadron (D) "A" Flt. 54 Sqn.
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) 12
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) Me. 109's
Time Attack was delivered (G) 0830 - 0840 hours approx
Place attack was delivered (H) 5-6 Miles South of Dover
7-8 Miles N.W. of Dover
Height of Enemy (J) 16,000-17000 feet
Enemy Casualties (K) Confirmed. destroyed 1 Me.109
Unconfirmed -
Probably destroyed 1 Me.109
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) Nil
Personnel (M) Nil
Searchlights (N) (i) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) Slight A.A. over Dover
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range opened. 250 - 150 yards
Length of Burst 7-8 secs 6-7 secs
Rage closed 200 yds.
No. of rounds per gun fired 2358
General Report (R)
The squadron was patrolling Manston and was ordered to investigate aircraft in the Dungeness area. I saw about 12 aircraft at between 1300 and 1500 feet West of Dungeness. There were in Sections (4) line astern, as as we approached the whole enemy Squadron went into line astern.

They came inland and circled round North East of Dover, going into the sun which was very strong. AS we went into attack we became split up owing to this strong sun, and I got on to the tail of one 109 over the sea and gave it a 7 to 8 second burst from astern opening at 250 yards. I saw my bullets entering and the 109 made a very steep dive from about 1200 feet towards the sea. I think mulst out of control although I did not actually see it crash. I then came across 3 or 4 109's in a scattered vic formation. I got on the tail of the rear one and from dead astern opened fire at 250 yards, closing to 150 yards using deflection. This machine went straight down and crashed into the water land about ten miles North West of Dover. The enemy aircraft was camouflaged in the usual way and took no special evasive action.

The pilot of the a/c bailed out.

The destruction of this 109 is confirmed by the guns who reported the crash.

H Matthews. P/O

Mary Smith records in her diary:

Raids nearly all day. Nazi plane down on Running Hill about 8.30am. Horrid add AA bangs all morning.

A Bf 109 was also shot down over New Romney. (Possibly Oblt. H-Werner Regenauer, Bf 109E-4 of 2/JG 26 @ 1220)

Obltn Frieidrich Butterweck

Wreckage of Bf 109, Standard Hill Farm, Elham

Wreckage of Bf 109, Standard Hill Farm, Elham

Wreckage of Bf 109, Standard Hill Farm, Elham

From the pilot's Ausweis it was established that he was probably from JG26, although his pay-book showed he was with I/JG26 on 26th September 1939. He had been in the GAF for two years, previously serving in the German Army

AW: white, Dortmund, 15/1/40, FP: L 35464 Münster.

Frieidrich Butterweck (60014/3) was born on 28/1/1916 in Breslau. He had one known victory, a French Potez 63 at Poppel, south of Tilburg in the Netherlands, 13 May, 1940. He is burred in grave 15 of row 1 of the German section of Hawkinge cemetery.

Grave of Oblt. Friedrich Butterweck, Hawkinge

In August 2018 I took a trip up to Standard Hill farm, which sits on the high ground to the east of the Elham Valley. However, as there are no clear landmarks in the photos so, absent of more information, I was not able to definitively identify the crash site. However, in the photo of the remains of the fuselage from the starboard side the west edge of the valley is visible in the distance which means it must be close to east edge of the valley.

Standard Hill farm, Elham, Kent

The Brenzett Aeronautical Museum investigated the site and recovered many small parts.

Manston attacked

20 Bf 110s and Bf 109s of EprGr bomb and strafe then, 20 minutes later, 18 I/KG 2 Do 17s come in at low level and drop 150 250kg and fragmentation bombs cratering the airfield, destroying the workshops and damaging two hangers.

Crews involved from KG2 state that considerable damage has been inflicted on the target.

54 Sqn had tried to intercept the bombers but hadn't been able to get past the Bf 109 escorts.

65 Sqn (Spitfires) were taxiing out for take off when the bombs started falling. Most managed to get airborne and joined 54 Sqn's melee with the escort fighters.

With the escort tied up the bombers were unprotected as they returned and faced determined attack from 56 Sqn's Hurricanes.

A thin layer of chalk dust lies across the airfield which is declared out of action for more than a day.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. Station MANSTON

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
MANSTON. 12.8.40 1250. The aerodrome was heavily attacked by approximately 15 M.E.110's and some HEINKELS and bombed at low altitude. Some 150 H.E. bombs were dropped. The aerodrome was pitted with approximately 100 craters, and rendered temporarily unserviceable.
Two handers were damaged, and Workshops were destroyed. In the latter building a civilian clerk was killed, this being the only fatal casualty.
The raid lasted approximately five minutes.

II/KG 2 bomb Canterbury 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 camoflaged Hurricanes climbing to intercept the bombers.

The bombers throw out confetti, toilet paper and handgrenades 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 widthdrawn on 8 June and the aifield obstructed by stakes to prevent it being used by invading forces.

Sorces: Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust

F/O McMullen claims one He 113 damaged over Hawkinge

Sector Serial No (A) D.1
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 15/8/40
Flight, Squadron (D) 12 aircraft 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft (E) 130 approximately
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) 40 Ju.87
50 He.113
40 Me.109
Time Attack was delivered (G) 1118 - 1215 hours
Place attack was delivered (H) Dover and Hawkinge
Height of Enemy (J) Fighters 19,000 feet
Bombers 7,000 "
Enemy Casualties (K) Destroyed -
Probable -
Damaged 1 He 113
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) NIL
Personnel (M) NIL
Searchlights (N) (i) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) None
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) range opened )
Length of burst ) not known
Range closed )
No. of rounds fired )
F/O McMULLEN

The Squadron was ordered to engage the enemy aircraft in the Dover area. We climbed to 16,000 feet and saw a large number of ME 109's at that height. Before we could engage them, they turned tail and headed straight for Calais. We then were ordered to Hawkinge and when at 17,000 feet, encountered a number of HE 113's milling and circling - protecting dive bombers 10,000 feet below. I managed got get onto the tail of one of these and fired a short burst from about 250 yards range, I saw glycol pouring out, but since the enemy aircraft was at that height, he probably managed to get home.

DM McMullen F/o

(AIR/50/21/49)

F/Lt. Deere damages an He 113 over Hawkinge

Sector Serial No (A) D.1
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 15/8/40
Flight, Squadron (D) 12 A/C 54 Sqn.
No. of Enemy Aircraft (E) 130 approx
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) 40 Ju 87
50 He 113
40 Me 109
Time Attack was delivered (G) 1118 - 1215 hours
Place attack was delivered (H) Dover and Hawkinge
Height of Enemy (J) Fighters 19,000 Bombers 7,000
Enemy Casualties (K) Destroyed 1 Me.109
Probable Nil
Damaged 1 He.113
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) Nil
Personnel (M) Nil
Searchlights (N) (i) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) None
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range Opened )
Length of burst ) see attached sheet
Range closed )
No. of rounds per gun fired 2720
General Report (R)
F/Lt. Deere

The squadron was ordered to engage enemy aircraft in the Dover area. We were at 16000 feet climbing when we met about 40 ME 109's off Dover. Immediately they sighted us they half rolled and streaked back to Calais in no formation at all.

I shot at two of these and succeeded (with a long range burst from astern - range 300 - 250 yds) in bringing it down in flames. I saw it dive from 17000 feet down to 1000 feet before I had to break away.

I then understood that Hawkinge was being bombed and proceeded there, climbing to 18000 feet where I encountered a number of HE 113's. These were circling about and obviously staying to protect bombers. I managed to get on the tail of one and had no difficulty in overtaking it. I got in a number of rounds from astern and must have damaged him badly as glycol was streaming out. I followed the enemy aircraft back to Calais at 18000 feet before returning. HE 113's has yellow roundels on the main plane upper surfaces.

A C Deere F/L

(AIR/50/21/105)

F/O McMullen claims one He 113 probable over Maidstone

Sector Serial No (A) D 2.
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B)
Date (C) 15. 8. 40.
Flight, Squadron (D) 12 a/c 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft (E) 60 (Approximately).
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) 40 Do.17's.
He.113 ) Unknown No.
Me.109 )
Time Attack was delivered (G) 1826 - 1930
Place attack was delivered (H) Maidstone.
Height of Enemy (J) Bombers 18/19000. Fighters 13/25000.
Enemy Casualties (K) Destroyed. NIL.
Probable. 1 He.113.
Damaged. NIL.
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) NIL.
Personnel (M) NIL.
Searchlights (N) (i) N/A.
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) NIL.
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range opened )
Length of burst ) See attached Sheet.
Range closed )
No. of rounds per gun 608.
F/O McMullen

We were ordered on patrol and given a vector straight away. The Squadron climbed to approximately 17000 feet and orbited. Yellow Section gave Tally-ho,. On looking in that direction I saw a large formation of bombers resembling DO 17's.

I was No. 2 to the C.O. We went into line astern and came round behind the DO 17s. Echelon left was then ordered and I found one He 113 in front of me. I closed range to about 250 - 300 yards astern and fired short bursts. Bits fell off this aircraft and he appeared to be going down out of control. I saw my fire bursting on him. I was then attacked myself and was forced to break off the engagement. I fired one short burst at one HE 113, which I think was the one which fired on me.

DM McMullen F/o

(AIR/50/21/49)

F/Lt. Deere D.F.C. claims He 113s

Sector Serial No (a) D2
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (b) --
Date (c) 15th August 1940
Flight, Squadron (d) 12 a/c 54 Squadron.
No. & type of Enemy Aircraft (f) 40 DO 17s
HE 113s numers unknown
ME 109
Time Attack was delivered (g) 1826-1930
Place attack was delivered (h) Maidstone.
Height of Enemy (j) Bombers 18/19,000 feet
Fighters 23/25,000 feet
Enemy Casualties (k) Destroyed 1 HE 113.
Probable 1 HE 113.
Damaged ----
Our Casualties Aircraft (l) ONE
Personnel (m) NIL.
Searchlights (n) (i) N/A
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) NIL
Fire for Fighters (p) Range opened. See attached report.
Length of Burst
Rage closed
No. of rounds fired 2720
The Squadron was ordered to investigate enemy formations in the Maidstone area. I saw a large formation of enemy bombers heading towards London; and almost 50 fighters in front of them and about 4000 feet above. I warned the rest of the Squadron and climbed to engage the fighters - HE 113s at 19,000 feet. I managed to get in a short burst at one (200 yards range) before I had to break away. I then followed two HE 113s and after a very long chase (which I found later had taken me over France) caught up with them. This was at 17,000 feet and I had to use 12 boot. I fired at the first one from 300 yards; I do not think the enemy aircraft could have seen me, because it took no evasive action. My burst must have killed the pilot, because the machine went down into the sea , glycol and smoke poured from it - but I did not actually see it crash, although it stood little chance of getting back. The cloud was 10/10 all over the Channel and when I came through it, I found I was over Calais Marck Aerodrome. At the same moment, 5 HE 113s appeared from nowhere and chased me back over the Channel. They were very fast and must have been within range most of the time, as my instrument panel and hood were shot about and the machine probably sustained over damage. I was only 800 feet above the sea, when the enemy aircraft left me at Folkestone. I continued inland, but my engine stopped and the plane began to catch fire. I managed to gain a little height (up to 1500 feet) when I baled out. I just felt the jerk of my parachute openeing, when my fall was broken by some tall trees. My machine crashed 50 yards away from me. My only injury was a sprained writes. The HE 113s not only had yellow in the wing tips, but also on the top of the tail.
A C Deere F/Lt

(AIR/50/21/105)

54 Sqn. engage raid heading towards Hornchurch

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) No. 54 Squadron.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
Hornchurch 1940
august
15th
18.28 The second engagement was against large formations of Do 17s heading west towards HORNCHURCH aided by the usual escort fighters. The Squadron inflicted but little damage on the bombers, but their persistent efforts may well have preserved Hornchurch for yet another day. Two pilots force landed at West Malling just after it had been bombed. Our "bat" - 1 He 113 (F/Lt. Deere) and 1 Me 109 (F/Lt. Gribble) destroyed, and 2 He 113 (F/Lt. Deere and F/O McMullen) probable was gained for the loss of F/Lt. Deere's machine when he was shot down in Kent after a flight which had taken him (unwittingly) over Calais Marck!! He suffered only a sprained wrist after making a parachute jup at 1500 feet.
During the engagement we had the first genuine local air warning for many a long month. The Station's defences were fully manned. Over 36,000 rounds of ammunition were expended by the Squadron during the day's activities.
Yet another decoration for the Squadron. Colin Gray's D.F.C. is fully deserved and the Squadron offers him their heartiest congratulations.

F/O McMullen claims an He 113 over Hornchurch

Sector Serial No (A) D 1.
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (B) -
Date (C) 16/8/40
Flight, Squadron (D) 9 aircraft 54 Squadron
Number of Enemy Aircraft (E) 80 approx.
Type of Enemy Aircraft (F) 40 Do.215's
40 Me.109's and He.113's
Time Attack was delivered (G) 1214 - 1327 hours
Place attack was delivered (H) E. of Hornchurch and over the Coast.
Height of Enemy (J) Fighters 19,000 - 25,000
Bombers 16,000 feet
Enemy Casualties (K) Destroyed 1 He 113
Probable -
Damaged -
Our Casualties Aircraft (L) NIL
Personnel (M) NIL
Searchlights (N) (i) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance (ii) Behind bombers : in front of our fighters at16,000 ft.
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(P) Range opened )
Length of burst ) See attached Sheet.
Range closed )
No. of rounds fired ) 1540
F/O McMULLEN

The Squadron were engaging enemy bombers East of Hornchurch, when we were attacked by protecting ME 109's and HE 113's. I chased an ME 109 and found myself near Deal, where I came upon four HE 113's. I was at 28,000 feet and dived on one of these four; the enemy aircraft could not have seen me until I was right on him. I attacked from slightly astern and above, range 200 yards, giving enemy aircraft a 4 seconds burst. The enemy aircraft dived steeply and I followed it down and saw it crash into the sea just off Calais.

DAP McMullen F/o

(AIR/50/21/49)

54 Sqn. engage stragglers from large formation

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) No. 54 Squadron.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
Hornchurch 1940
august
18th
12.40 By this time the first big attack of the day had developed. At least 600 enemy aircraft - an probably a good many more - were plotted all over Kent. The Squadron was unable to approach the main formations but dealt satisfactory with a large number of stragglers. The following enemy causalities were claimed:-

S/Leader Leathart - 1 He 113 (probable) 1 Me 109 (damaged).
F/Officer McMullen -1 He 113 (damaged) 1 Do17 (?215) (damaged). This pilot also split up a formation of 12 He 113.s
P/Officer Matthews -1 Me 109 (probable).
F/Lt. Gribble - 1 Me 109 (destroyed).
P/O Gray - 1 Do 215 (damaged).
F/Sgt. Tew - 1 Me 109 (destroyed). Tew had the good fortune to secure this enemy causualty without firing a shot. Enemy aircraft was persuing him and Tew pulled out at a low altitude and the 109 failed to follow and crashed straight into the ground.
P/Officer Campbell- 1 Me 109 (destroyed) 1 Do 17 (damaged)

These achievements were gained without loss - either of pilots or aircraft.

F/O McMullen claims an He 113 damaged over Dover

Sector Serial No (a) D.2
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (b) -
Date (c) 18/8/40
Flight, Squadron (d) 12 aircraft 54 Squadron.
Type of Enemy Aircraft (f) Me.109 )
He.113 ) very large formations
Do.17 )
Do.215 )
Time Attack was delivered (g) 1240 -1342 hours
Place attack was delivered (h) KENT
Height of Enemy (j) 15,000 to 25,000 feet
Enemy Casualties (k) Destroyed -
Probable -
Damaged 1 He 113
1 Do 17 (?215)
Our Casualties Aircraft (l) Nil
Personnel (n) Nil
Searchlights (n) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance Nil
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(p) Range opened )
Length of burst) see attached sheets.
Range closed )
No. of rounds fired ) 935
F/O McMULLEN

I was Yellow Leader. We were ordered off to patrol Dover at 25,000 feet. At that height Red and Green sections intercepted 5 or more HE113. A short dogfight appeared to go on.

I found I was by myself when I saw two large formations of bombers escorted by fighters. I attacked the rearmost escort fighters, about 12 HE 113's. I picked one in the middle of the formation and large bits fell off him. I am sure he was badly damaged. I opened fire at 250 yards, sprayed the remainder and broke them up. I continued my dive towards the sea. I saw what was probably a DO 17 and engaged him at close range, making one engine catch fire. I broke off the engagement because I was a long way out to sea. On my way home I sighted six enemy twins and could not catch them up.

DAP McMullen F/o

(AIR/50/21/49)

S/L Leathart D.S.O. claims a probable He 113 over Kent

Sector Serial No (a) D.2
Serial No. of order detailing patrol (b) -
Date (c) 18/8/40
Flight, Squadron (d) 12 aircraft 54 Squadron
No. & type of Enemy Aircraft (f) Me.109 )
He.113 ) very large formations
Do.17 )
Do.215 )
Time Attack was delivered (g) 1240 - 1342 hours
Place attack was delivered (h) KENT
Height of Enemy (j) 15,000 to 25,000 feet
Enemy Casualties (k) Destroyed
Probable 1 He 113
Damaged 1 Me 109
Our Casualties Aircraft (l) Nil
Personnel (m) Nil
Searchlights (n) N/a
A.A. Guns Assistance Nil
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
(p) Range opened )
Length of burst) see attached sheets.
Range closed )
No. of rounds fired 2272
S/L Leathart, D.S.O.

Sighting some smoke trails I led the Squadron up to 28,000 feet in pursuit. I saw 3 He 113's painted a dark colour and with yellow wing tops. I fired at No.3 of the "V" who went into a vertical dive and was still in it at 4000 feet when I pulled out. Climbed up again and encountered a ME 109 and shot one of his slats off.

On the way home at 300 feet I saw A.A. fire over Tilbury which turned out to be about a mile behind a long DO 17 (215?) at 1000 feet. I have him the remainder of my ammunition at 200 - 100 yards. Bullets entered the fuselage and wings without apparent effect.

J A Leathart.

(AIR/50/21/48)

54 Squadron Intelligence report includes formation of He 113s

12 a/c 54 Squadron engaging the enemy over Kent 12:40 - 13:43 hours.

54 Squadron, operating from Manston, was ordered to investigate several enemy raids of unknown dimension and at great height over Kent. Subsequently the whole of Kent was covered with enemy raids. 54 Squadron operated in sections and engaged a number of single fighters and bombers.

Several large formations were sighted at 20,000 feet coming in from the coast towards Biggin Hill. One of these consisted of at least 80 bombers in waves of three - line abreast. Two of our pilots below said this looked like a huge oblong which was supported by many fighters circling above and in front. Unfortunately our fighters were not able to get at this formation owing to height and distance away from them.

54 Squadron must have met a number of individual machines on their return because a series of dog fights ensued.

The following points of interest emerge from the combat:

  1. It was emphasised once again that the Me 109 has difficulty in pulling out of a dive at low altitude. A Me 109 following on the tail of a Spitfire crashed through this failure.
  2. A formation of 12 He 113s were split up by one pilot who managed to damage one.
  3. The main formation could not be approached.
  4. Camouflage was standard in each type, plus the yellow wing tips on the fighters.

No Me110s were encountered. This is perhaps explained by the fact that only Me110s were encountered in a later raid during the day. In this later raid no Me109s were met by our fighters.

Signed; Patrick Shallard F/O. Intelligence Officer, R.A.F. Hornchurch.

Quoted without archive reference in Battle of Britain Combat Archive volume 5.