Weather: cloud and widespread drizzle
Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours:
- Blenheim – 40
- Spitfire – 227
- Hurricane – 399
- Defiant – 10
- Gladiator – 8
- Total – 684
It seemed that the weather was putting an end to the battle by day. This was in fact, officially, the last day of the Battle of Britain. The effort put in by the enemy that day seemed half-hearted. However, October as whole was far from representing a gradual decline in enemy activity. On the contrary, it had put RAF fighters to perhaps the sternest test of the whole encounter. The switch by the Luftwaffe to attacks by fighters and fighter bombers and its abandonment of the twin-engined bomber as its main weapon increased the odds against the RAF. Furthermore, the tactic of sending many of the attacks at what was in those days extreme altitude put a serious extra strain on RAF pilots. All this had resulted in many more fighter-to-fighter combats. The physical strain on pilots of this new form of combat was beginning to tell on RAF capacity to hold their own. The Battle had also taken its toll on the civilian population with the total casualties from the bombing in October being 6,334 civilians killed and 8,695 seriously injured.
However, the RAF kept up its ability to absorb the lessons of every new tactic employed by the Luftwaffe. Whatever the Luftwaffe threw at them, RAF pilots always rose to the challenge. They were doing so on the last day of the Battle as they had done on the first day on July 10th.
73 Squadron Operational Record Book -31 October
Weather terrible – impossible to do any flying, everyone getting ‘brassed off’ with the mud and general bad conditions.
Reported Casualties (RAF Campaign Diary 31st October 1940):
* Enemy: 0 confirmed, 0 probable, 0 damaged
* Own: Nil.
Today’s theme: The Final Story – Thank you, but no thank you