High level raid on Scapa Flow

Three hours after the sinking of HMS Iron Duke a high level raid of 15 aircraft bombs Scapa Flow, narrowly missing the 12,000 ton accommodation ship Voltaire. One stray bomb lands on Hoy which is the first part of the British Isles to be hit by a German bomb in the war.

The Skuas of 803 Sqn. from Haston make no contact with the enemy.

804 Sqn. scrambled to intercept raid over Scapa Flow

Shetland radar picks up a raid approaching Orkney from the east. Ten minutes later they arrive in two groups, one over Hatston and the other over Scapa Flow. Estimates put the number of aircraft at 35 He 111 (KG 26?) but the twilight makes identification difficult.

One hundred high explosive and incendiary bombs fell on land, half in error at Brig of Waithe in the parish of Stenness where James Isbister becomes one of the first civilian to be killed by bombing in the war. Most of the other bombs fall near Hatston creating eight foot wide craters and narrowly missing the bomb dump. The only casualty is one of 800 Sqn. ground crew hit by shrapnel whilst taking a walk a mile from the airfield.

The attack on Scapa Flow is more successful with the cruiser HMS Norfolk hit and holed with the loss of three of her officers and six ratings injured.

The whole of 804 squadron is scrambled from Hatston. They fail to make contact with any enemy aircraft and have difficulty returning to their own base.

Both the Royal Navy and the RAF blame inadequate radar coverage from Nethebutton on Orkney which is poorly situated.

Major R T Partridge recalls in his book Operation Skua:

The whole squadron (804) got airborne but, in the gathering darkness, no contacts were made and we all had a hell of a job landing back at the airfield as there were no flares or runway lighting.

Cottages at Brig of Waithe, Orkney
One of these cottages was hit by a bomb during the raid on 16 March 1940 killing its occupant James Isbister

Cottages at Brig of Waithe, Orkney in 2020
Cottages at Brig of Waithe, Orkney in 2020

Skuas sink Königsberg

Skuas from 800 & 803 Sqns (from Hatston, HMS SPARROWHAWK) attack & sink Königsberg in Bergen - first major warship ever sunk by aerial attack.

Lieutenant William Lucy, Officer Commanding 803 Sqn. has read intelligence reports of a German cruiser in Bergen harbour and persuades Major R T Partridge, Officer Commanding 800 Sqn. to take part in a dive bombing raid.

All but one of the Skuas made it back. But only just... There's an account of the attack and some stunning images on a page dedicated to the attack.

Source: @Ness_Battery