Hurricanes take off from Wick

Hurricanes of 43 Sqn. take off from Wick to intercept German aircraft heading for Scapa Flow. Estimates vary - at least 24 raiders. 8.20pm Orkney: Air Raid Warning RED

OSDef HQ (Stromness Hotel) - CO Brigadier Kemp very unwell - has spent day in bed but "got out by raid 8.15. Dressed and saw whole show."

Source: @Ness_Battery

Hurricanes intercept He 111s over Orkney

Hurricanes from Wick intercept 6 enemy aircraft 40 miles E of Copinsay. Formation broken up, one shot down into sea. Heinkel 111 lands at Wick, 2 crew dead, pilot & wireless operator taken prisoner. Great difficulty for pilots - planes attacking from West, no light.

HMS CURLEW estimates 24 planes in attacks, 6 turned away by fighters. "the objective appeared to be the Hoxa and Switha booms. High level bombing against a floating boom could hardly be expected to achieve success. No bombs fell particularly close to the target."

The raid is made up of He 111 and Ju 88.

War Diary Appendix 3 showing times of raid on 8.4.1940

Source: @Ness_Battery

804 and 605 Sqn. scrambled to intercept aircraft over Orkney

804 Sqn. (Gladiators) patrolling Copinsay intercept Do 17 at 16:40.

804 Sqn's diary, quoted in Sky over Scapa, reads:

A tremendous day for HMS Sparrowhawk, the first and we hope by no means the last. 804 Squadron began their fun at 16.05 hours when Yellow Section flew off to Copinsay. There were a great many plots on the board, the weather fine with layers of cloud varying in density up to about 10,000 feet. about 16.40 hours P/O Sabey saw a Do17 and the section gave chase. Sub.Lt. Fell got in a burst at about 500 yds. as the Do17 disappeared into the cloud but followed him in.P/O Peacock went in above the cloud and as he came out so did the Do17, 400 yds. away. Peackock got in a burst before the enemy aircraft dived away back into the clouds. We were later informed that Do17 was crying SOS with a leaking petrol tank and did not reach his base.

804 and 43 Sqn intercept He 111 over Orkney

Red Section of 804 Sqn. (Gladiators from Hatston) are patrolling between Copinsay and Burray when they see an He 111K ten miles east which is being chased by 43 Sqn. Hurricanes from Wick.

804 Sqn's diary, quoted in Sky over Scapa, reads:

At 16.45 hours Red Section was sent to patrol between Copinsay and Burray. As soon as it got there, Carver saw a Heinkel 111K about ten miles east going north-east. Hot pursuit was begun and as the Section followed, Hurricanes could be seen on the cloud dodging Heinkel's tail. After a few minutes the enemy aircraft began climbing, twisting and diving. By the time Red Section arrived and got within range, 43 Squadron had done their job. The enemy aircraft's motors were idling and he dived down to 20 feet over the sea. For two or three miles, he held at 20 feet with a dark oil streak trailing behind him on the sea and finally flopped, port wing first. Six Hurricanes and Red Section few around the wreck as three of the crew swam for it.

Main air raid on Orkney starts

Estimates vary, possibly as many as 60 aircraft, Junkers 88s and Heinkel 111s, 7-10,000ft. One wave approaches from the east and another from the south-east.

605 Sqn. Hurricanes are scrambled from Wick and 804 Sqn. Gladiators are scrambled from Hatston.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) No. 605 Squadron.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
WICK. 10.4.40. Fine day with little wind. No activity in the morning and patrols were ordered over South going convoy from Kirkwall. At approx. 1545 hours P/O.Muirhead while on convoy patrol sighted enemy aircraft and carried out two attacks before losing him in cloud. An hour later F/O. Leeson leading red section saw two enemy aircraft at 14000 ft. climbed and brought the one down and two of crew jumped with parachute. It is unknown for certain whether the first machine encountered by F/O. Muirhead was brought down or not. For the next six hours there was intense activity far greater than anything seen previously. The released Squadron was brought to Stand-By; at one time we had three sections at Stand-By and it was still said there there were not sufficient fighter aircraft. Four pilots fired rounds at enemy aircraft and made out reports. F/O Lesson P/O. Carter, P/O. Muirhead and Sgt.Moffatt. Red section were available for 2¼ hours. "A" Flight were supplying the night phase pilots at at approx. 2045 hours Wick Air Raid Warning sounded; two of Red and Yellow section took off together with others from 43 and 111 Squadrons there were about 10 aircraft in the air after dark to encounter a raid on Scapa of about 40 enemy aircraft who came over in successive waves. Anti-Aircraft fire was intense and there were one or two loud reports of bombs one on the Pentland Skerries but no damage at all was reported. P/O. Edge and Flying Officer Austin P/O Currant and Sgt Mainland took part; F/O. Edge attacked three separate enemy aircraft and P/O. Current used all his ammunition on one enemy aircraft but neither pilots was able to say definitely with what results. It was reported that this station together with Hatston and anti-aircraft had accounted for seven enemy aircraft during the day.

Source: @Ness_Battery

Sgt. Pilot Robert Marwick Mainland

Sgt. R.M. Mainland is killed in a training accident.

566418 Sgt Robert Marwick Mainland

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) No. 605 Squadron.

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
WICK. 25.4.40. It is with regret that a report is made on the death of 566418 R.M. MAINLAND, Sgt.Pilot killed on a flying accident on a non-operational flight. His Section leader instructed Yellow 2 and 3 to break formation to allow him to do a barrell roll. It appears that this airman did not break away sufficiently when the leader had completed 270° the back of his cockpit hood struck the starboard mainplane breaking off 4-5 ft from the tip. The aircraft went into a spin from 5000 ft the pilot did not jump until about 500 ft from the ground, his parachute only partly opening and was killed instantly - position 6 miles due west of Thurso - Forss House on Thurso-Melvick road. P/O. Currant Yellow 1. returned safely to to [sic] his base - aircraft badly damaged. R/O. P. Danielson damaged his aircraft at 2200 hours by accidentally taxying into the Floodlight due to confusion of lights. At the time it was reported that German aircraft were over the aerodrome. Whether good and warm.

His funeral is postponed twice before being buried with full military honours.

His grave is located in Grave 411, Section O, in Wick Cemetery, Caithness.

Grave of Robert Mainland in Wick Cemetery

Robert Marwick Mainland was born on September 9th 1916 at 11 Broad Street, Kirkwall. He was the son of Robert Mainland, Essaquoy, and Jessie Marwick, Scockness. His name was added to the Rousay War Memorial in the Spring of 2017, and a dedication service was attended by his cousin, niece and nephew, and representatives of the Kirkwall Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland.

Rousey war memorial

Sources: Rousay remembered