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
Summary of Events
References to Appendices
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.
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.
Uffz Hans Wemhöner of II/JG 26 (Unit 5) Bails out of his Bf 109E-1 over Elham landing near Henbury, with a wounded (broken) leg. His Bf 109 crashes outside Denton. Shot down by a "Spitfire" over Folkestone which opened up at 500 yards scoring a lucky hit in the engine. JG 26 were intercepted by 56 Sqn. (Hurricanes).
Mary Smith records in her diary:
Air battle at 4pm. Nazi airman down at Parker's by parachute. Leg wound.
Sgt. G Smythe of 56 Sqn. bails out of Hurricane N2523 which is shot down by a Bf 109. The petrol tank explodes and it crashes in flames at Ladwood Farm, Acrise.
Combat report, Sgt. G Smythe - Green 2, B Flight, 56 Sqn
I was Green 2 when we were ordered to engage a fighter formation at 20,000 ft between Dover and Folkestone. I selected two Me 109s and got on their tails. There were gradually pulling away from me after having dived on me.
I fired several long bursts at ranges between 300 and 400 yards. I was then attacked from the rear by another Me 109. I fired a final burst at the E/A to port and broke away. As I was breaking away a cannon or large bore bullet passed through the hood over my head, through the windscreen, the armour plated cowling on the gravity tank and the petrol tank itself. I was immediately drenched with petrol and was obliged to bail out and landed about two miles from Hawkinge. On arriving at Hawkinge I was informed by the Duty Pilot that the pilot of the E/A I attacked baled out as well and landed in the vicinity of the aerodrome.
I received a few scratches on my face from the glass from the windscreen.