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Weather: showery

Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours:

  • Blenheim – 52
  • Spitfire – 215
  • Hurricane – 403
  • Defiant – 16
  • Gladiator – 7
  • Total – 693

Activity this day was once more concentrated on attacks by single aircraft. The targets were south of London and on London itself. Attacks took place on radar stations and on Eastbourne and Brighton where a cinema was hit killing 35 people.

In Berlin Hitler blamed the difficulties being experienced in the battle against the RAF on the weather. The point is that the Germans had missed the fine weather earlier in the month. It was then that they had failed to dominate the RAF. Now it was getting too late to launch an invasion. Yet the Germans managed to get the impression that once again the RAF was showing signs of being near defeat. The RAF lost 14 and the Luftwaffe lost 7.

73 Squadron Operational Record Book – 14 September

This turned out to be our blackest day. Twelve machines took off, seven returned in disorder. F/O Smith, supported by two others, reports that Spitfires attacked the formation and broke up the rear section. Smithy followed one Spitfire right down almost to the ground, hence the forcefulness of his statement that they attacked our formations. Of the seven that returned, P/O Marchand was battered about a bit, having a bullet through his port tank, one through the port aileron passing through the main spar and emerging from the landing light, and one clean through the top of the W/T mast just above his head.

F/Lt Beytagh got a bullet in his radiator and force landed at West Malling. Sergt Marshall was shot down by a Me109 near Dover, Sergt Leng was also shot down by one of the same tribe, near Gravesend. The CO was reported missing, also Sergt Brimble. Sergt Griffin was shot in both legs and baled out. A pall of gloom spread over the whole unit.

Reported Casualties (RAF Campaign Diary 14th September 1940):

*  Enemy: 16 confirmed, 3 probable, 12 damaged
*  Own: 12 aircraft with 4 pilots killed or missing.

Today’s theme: The Airfields – RAF Middle Wallop

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