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Thread: RAF bomber loss night 26/27 June 1940?

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    Default RAF bomber loss night 26/27 June 1940?

    Hi guys

    Can anyone advise if a RAF bomber was lost on the night of 26/27 June 1940 in the Channel off Brighton?

    A pilot of 601 Squadron claimed a Heinkel 111 on this night and reported "I saw the Heinkel lying on the water. A column of smoke was blowing from his rear section. I circled twice but there was no movement."

    Apparently no Heinkel or other German bomber was lost on this night off the south coast, so was it an RAF machine shot down in error?

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Hello Brian,

    According to Chorley volume 1, 3 Hampdens were lost that night :
    No. 49 Squadron, P4305, gardening. hit by Flak and crashed into the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal, 2 PoWs and I KIAs buried in Kiel.
    No. 50 Squadron, L4078, Hannover, the crew of 4 is buried in Hannover War Cemetery
    No. 50 Squadron, P1329, Hannover, crashed into the sea, 0359, after transmitting "going down" in plain language. An earlier code w/t signal indicated the Hampden was flying on one engine. W/C Crockhart is buried in Holland, Sgt Ingram in Denmark, the other two crewmembers are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

    Joss

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    Brian,
    It seems to me that this may well have been a German recce aircraft rather than a bomber as such. I'm not at all familiar with the Luftwaffe formations per se. Did they have specialist recce units?
    I dare to suggest that it might possibly have been a French aircraft trying to escape to England? A long shot I know, but possible?
    Bill.

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    Brian,

    Within three weeks Squadron Leader Aitken scored a notable victory for which he was awarded the D.F.C. Night fighting, as such, did not exist. Little could be done about the occasional raider who crossed the coast in darkness. Nevertheless, night readiness was maintained in rotation by ordinary day-fighter squadrons, and on June 26th Aitken and Tom Hubbard scrambled at eleven o'clock to intercept a plot near the patrol line. There was good cloud in patches, but a strong moon, and by chance a battery of searchlights picked up one Heinkel III in a formation of three. Before the bomber could escape the beam, Aitken slipped behind it and, with a long burst between its illuminated exhausts, committed it to the English Channel. There it floated, ringed with foam, the crosses on its wings showing clearly in the light of Aitken's flare.

    See:
    The Flying Sword:The Story of 601 Squadron.
    Moulson,Tom.
    London:Macdonald,1964.
    p.76

    Aces High (p.93), claims that this event took place on the night of 25/26 June 1940, off Brighton. Aitken flying Hurricane P2920.

    Comments please.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st August 2010 at 13:58.

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    OK guys

    It seems that the combat may have occurred on the night of 25/26 June (not 26/27th).

    Any RAF bomber losses that night that might fit the bill? Or possibly a Heinkel did fall on that night. Further enquiries will be made.

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Hello Brian,

    Nothing in Chorley for that night 25/26th June, and "Bomber Command War Diaries" by Middlebrook & Everitt concur :
    25/26 June 1940 Germany 48 aircraft - 24 Hampdens, 12 Wellingtons, 12 Whitleys - despatched and 21 different targets in Germany and Holland bombed. No losses"

    I'm no expert either on German reconnaissance units, but the ones I know were flying Dorniers (Do-17 /Do-215).

    What about Coastal Command ? For a loss at sea, it could be a good contender.

    Joss

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    Default Aitken's 'Heinkel'

    Hi Joss

    I've checked Ross McNeill's 'Coastal Command Losses' and there's no loss for this night. And no Bomber Command loss.

    Apparently there were three 'He111s' so it seems unlikely that Aitken's victim was a reconnaissance aircraft.

    So what was it that he attacked, shot down and saw on the surface of the sea?

    Brian

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    A He 111 perhaps?

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