Campaign Diary

Campaign diary

July 1940

Wednesday 10th
  • Weather: Showery in south-east England and Channel. Continuous rain elsewhere.
  • Day: Convoy raids off North Foreland and Dover.
  • Night: The east coast, home counties and western Scotland attacked.

Summary of action

During the day the main effort was concentrated in two attacks on shipping. At approximately 1100 hours a convoy was attacked off Manston by 1 Dornier escorted by 10 Me109s but in consequence of timely action by two of our fighter squadrons, the enemy aircraft were driven off. They suffered losses of 1 Me109 confirmed and 4 Me109s probable. At 1325 hours a large force of about 120 enemy aircraft collected behind Calais and approached a convoy between Dover and Dungeness. Fighter interception by 5 squadrons resulted in 6 Me110s, 1 Me109, 1 Do17 and 1 Do215 being confirmed as having been shot down, and 2 Me110s, 5 Me109s and 4 Do215s as probable casualties.

Further enemy harassing raids took place along the West, South and East coasts. This was especially heavy in the West. Towards the evening, owing probably to bad weather, activity decreased. 1 Ju88 was shot down by AA fire. In the east, casual shipping was attacked and a few localities bombed including Raynham Aerodrome. During the course of these attacks 1 Do17 and 1 He111 were shot down and 1 Do17 and 1 He111 are probable casualties. No. 242 Squadron took part and accounted for one certain and one unconfirmed (included in the above). A few sporadic raids took place over the Scottish coast, none of these were intercepted.

Between 2130 and 0530 hours, 12 raids were plotted between Firth of Tay and Beachy Head. Owing to adverse weather, none of our fighters were up. Bombs were dropped on Guisborough, Canewdon, Hertford, Isle of Grain, Tobermory (Isle of Mull, West Coast of Scotland), Colchester, Welwyn and Ely.



  • Enemy: Fighters – 8 confirmed, 11 unconfirmed; Bombers – 4 confirmed, 6 unconfirmed.
  • Own: 2 Hurricanes confirmed. 2 Hurricanes crashed on landing.


  • 200 patrols were flown involving 641 aircraft.


  • Flying 1087, Casualties 81.


  • Catterick unserviceable.


  • No. 79 Squadron from Hawkinge to Turnhouse.
  • No. 605 Squadron from Drem to Dyce.
  • No. 72 Squadron operational by day only.

Air Intelligence Reports

  • Inspection of an Me109 which was shot down recently, confirmed that this aircraft is armed with 2 cannon, 1 in each wing, and 2 machine guns firing through the airscrew [propeller]. Previous reports that this aircraft carried 3 cannon are incorrect.
  • A reliable source in a neutral country reports a marked change in highly placed Germans in that country during the last ten days, from one of extreme optimism to one of hesitation. Ten days ago the Germans were confident that England would be invaded almost at once and that we should quickly be compelled to seek and Armistice. However, they are now doubtful when invasion will take place and are becoming increasingly doubtful whether, if attempted, the operation would succeed. They stated our constant air attacks [by Bomber Command] were making it difficult to assemble troops and stores.

Home Security Reports

  • Report on Enemy Raids on Aerodromes

    • Martlesham Aerodrome. At 0515 hours, 5 HE [High Explosive] bombs fell on the RAF station. No damage reported.
    • Honington Aerodrome. At 0517 hours, 2 HE bombs (either 100 or 250lbs) one of which fell within 100 yards of Wellington at dispersal point, i.e. 600 yards of hangar and the other within 400 yards of same hangar. (Dornier aircraft concerned was reported shot down by No. 66 Squadron).
    • West Raynham Aerodrome. At 0544 hours, seventeen bombs (type unspecified) estimated between 50 and 100 lbs each, were dropped, causing minor damage to plant and setting a hangar on fire. Three Ansons and one Gladiator were burnt out in the hangar. Three Battles and one Tutor were superficially damaged. The effect on operational ability was nil.
    • Marham Aerodrome. At 0557 hours, about 14 bombs (type unspecified) fell in cornfield 300 yards north-east of the aerodrome. Wires on the road nearby were cut. No damage to the station.
Thursday 11th
  • Weather: Channel overcast.Cloud base 5,000ft, Visibility fair. Thunderstorms and bright intervals in the midlands and north.
  • Day: Convoys attackedoff Suffolk. Portland harbour raided.
  • Night: Activity over south-west England, East Anglia, Yorkshire coast and Portsmouth.

Summary of action

Between 0600 and 0900 hours a number of raids by single aircraft were carried out between Yarmouth and Flamborough Head and inland. Bombs were dropped at several places including the Royal Engineer Headquarters at Melbourne in Derbyshire, and at Bridlington where a truck containing ammunition was blown up. Although weather conditions were not good, a Do17 was intercepted by fighters and shot down off Cromer by No. 242 Squadron. One of our Hurricanes was shot down during the combat but the pilot is reported safe. In the South, attacks on shipping were reported off the Isle of Wight and at 0741 hours a raid of six aircraft appeared in the Cherbourg area. Three sections of fighters were ordered to patrol Poole and on the approach of the enemy were reinforced by a further squadron. A fight ensued and 604 Squadron shot down a Ju87 confirmed and possibly a Ju87 unconfirmed.

Between 0900-1100 hours, there was little enemy activity, probably due to bad weather. Of four raids, however, one, a Do17, was intercepted by No 601 Squadron and shot down off Selsey Bill. Another raid bombed Swansea and carried out a shipping reconnaissance of Milford Haven.

After 1100 hours considerable activity started with an attack on Portland and a convoy off the coast, some fifty enemy aircraft taking part. These aircraft were plotted from Cap Hague and Jersey. Five of our squadrons intercepted and succeeded in shooting down 8 Me110s for certain and 8 Me110s and 1 Ju87 probable. In addition, one Hurricane which attacked one of our sections and which bore red and blue checked markings on the wings was shot down.

The AA at Portland shot down three enemy aircraft, one He111, 1 Ju88 confirmed and one unidentified enemy aircraft unconfirmed. As a result of this engagement, a Me110 landed near Weymouth practically undamaged and the occupants arrested before they could destroy the aircraft.

In the afternoon several attacks on convoys off Suffolk were reported. Continuous fighter patrols were maintained over these convoys and no reports of damage have been received. One enemy aircraft carried out a reconnaissance over Aldershot, Upper Heyford and out over Norfolk.

At 1744 hours, a raid of some fifty aircraft attacked Portsmouth. Guided by accurate AA fire, two of our squadrons intercepted the enemy and in the ensuing combat, No 601 Squadron shot down 4 He111s and 1 Me110 for certain and 4 He111s probable. No 145 Squadron shot down 1 Me110 and 3 He111s for certain and lost one hurricane (pilot safe).

Bombs fell on Portsmouth setting fire to the gas works and causing some casualties. Pilots report that during this engagement, enemy bombers threw out various objects which appeared to be metal turnings, plates and wire, in great quantity.

One raid was plotted North of Glasgow at 1913 hours and was tracked east over the Firth of Forth and out to sea. This is considered significant in view of a raid which was plotted at about 2330 hours on the night of 10/11th July going westwards with no trace of its return.

By Night

After 2100 hours several raids penetrated into the West Country and bombs were dropped in South Wales, Somerset, Bristol, Portland, Dorchester and Plymouth areas. A few raids also crossed the East coast and bombs were dropped in the Hull, Ipswich, Harrogate, Doncaster, Colchester and Harwich areas. No serious damage is reported. Reports of bombs which exploded in the air were received.

Our fighters carried out 32 sorties during the night but no interceptions have been reported. Cloud conditions obtained over the West of England.



  • Enemy: Fighters – 10 confirmed, 2 unconfirmed;
  • Bombers – 13 confirmed, 12 unconfirmed; Type unspecified – 1 Of the above totals, AA at Portland claims 2 confirmed and 1 unconfirmed.
  • Ours: 3 Hurricanes (1 pilot safe), 2 Spitfires.


  • 119 patrols involving 447 aircraft were flown.


  • Deployed 1077, casualties 24.


  • Catterick unserviceable by night.


  • No. 609 Squadron (Spitfire) “B” Flight at Warmwell, Red
  • Section at Boscombe Down, Yellow Section at Middle Wallop.
  • No. 79 Squadron (Hurricane) non-operational. Awaiting
  • move to Turnhouse.
  • Nos. 73 and 245 Squadrons operational by day only.

Air Intelligence Reports

  • Nil.

Home Security Reports

  • Not available.


Friday 12th
Saturday 13th
Sunday 14th
Monday 15th
Tuesday 16th
Wednesday 17th
Thursday 18th
Friday 19th
  • Weather: Showery with bright intervals in most cases. Channel winds light – fair.
  • Day: Dover raided. Defiant squadron largely destroyed.
  • Night: Some activity between Isle of Wight and Plymouth, Thames Estuary and Harwich.

Summary of action

Two major engagements took place off Dover, the first at 1215 hours and the second at 1600 hours. An enemy bomber was shot down off Shoreham in the morning and another in the evening, whilst one Hurricane (pilot saved) was shot down near East Grinstead. Glasgow was bombed in the morning by 2 Do17s and small vessels were attacked east of Clacton and south of the Isle of Wight.

South and South-West

At 0703 hours a Do17 which had carried out a reconnaissance over Croydon, Northolt and Brooklands was shot down by a Hurricane off Shoreham.

At 1431 hours Hurricanes encountered 12 Me109s off Selsey Bill and one Me109 was shot down (unconfirmed). One Hurricane is missing. At about 1735 hours one Hurricane landed in flames at West Grinstead following enemy action. It was a total loss but the pilot is safe.

At 1803 hours a Heinkel 111 which had penetrated inland was shot down off Shoreham.

Other raids were reported in the Bristol Channel, Portsmouth and Swanage areas during the day and minesweepers were attacked off the Isle of Wight.

It is noticeable that approximately six raids of some strength approached our coasts chiefly in the Channel and North Eastern area but when fighters were sent up they turned away before contact as established.

South-East Coast

About 30 enemy aircraft assembled behind Cap Gris Nez and approached Dover at 1215 hours. A squadron of Defiants (No. 141), one of Hurricanes and one of Spitfires took off to intercept. No. 141 Squadron was ordered to a position over Cap Gris Nez where it was attacked by 12 Me109s. Three Defiants were shot down immediately and another three crashed while returning to Hawkinge. (4 pilots killed, 2 injured; 5 air gunners missing). One Me109 was shot down by the Defiants. The Hurricanes shot down 2 Me109s (confirmed) and one Me109 (unconfirmed) and Anti-aircraft at Dover shot down one Do215. The Spitfires apparently failed to make contact with the enemy.

At 1600 hours about 36 enemy bombers and fighters again approached Dover. One squadron of Hurricanes and two of Spitfires were sent up. 6 Me109s and one Ju87 were shot down (unconfirmed). In addition one section of Spitfires shot down 2 enemy seaplanes (unconfirmed) near Calais. One Hurricane crashed (pilot safe).

East Coast

Meteorological reconnaissance was carried out over the North Sea. A raid attacked some naval units 40 miles off Clacton and several reconnaissances were reported.

North-East Coast

One raid of two Do17s crossed the coast north of Aberdeen and bombed Glasgow at 1013 hours. 42 people were injured.


The enemy maintained 15 patrols over the Calais/Dunkerque area.

By night

Considerable enemy activity from 2330 until 0230 hours.

33 raids were directed against the coast west of the Isle of Wight as far as Plymouth, 5 or 6 of which crossed to the Bristol Channel. Minelaying is suspected.

There were about 15 raids in the Thames Estuary – Harwich area, many of which are suspected of minelaying. One raid made an attack on Manston Aerodrome in the vicinity of which bombs were dropped, but no serious damage has been reported.

Several raids appeared north of Harwich as far as Aberdeen and minelaying is suspected at various places along the coast including the Hull area, Firth of Forth and a number of aircraft crossed to the Firth of Clyde, presumably minelaying. Bombs are reported dropped north west of Kilmarnock and Abbotsinch.

At about 0030 hours, Blenheims on patrol encountered and shot down an enemy seaplane at 0107 hours (confirmed). It was seen to fall into the sea in flames near Harwich.


Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours, 19 July 1940

  • Blenheim – 62
  • Spitfire – 227
  • Hurricane – 331
  • Defiant – 22
  • Total – 642


  • Enemy: Fighters – 3 confirmed, 8 unconfirmed; Bombers – 3 confirmed, 1 unconfirmed; Seaplanes -1 confirmed, 2 unconfirmed.
  • Own: 6 Defiants confirmed (all No. 141 Squadron), 3 Hurricanes confirmed (Nos. 1, 32 and 43 Squadron) plus one unconfirmed (No. 43 Squadron; crashed on landing).
  • AA claims one bomber confirmed in above totals.


  • 175 patrols despatched involving 735 aircraft.


  • Flying 1178. Casualties 66.


  • Catterick and Dyce aerodromes are unserviceable during the hours of darkness.


  • No. 602 Squadron (Spitfires) “A” Flight at Montrose.
  • No. 615 Squadron (Hurricanes) moved from Kenley to Hawkinge.
  • No. 609 Squadron (Spitfires) moved from Middle Wallop to Warmwell.
  • No. 65 Squadron (Spitfires) moved from Hornchurch to Manston.
  • No. 151 Squadron (Hurricanes) moved from North Weald to Rochford.
  • No. 73 Squadron (Hurricanes) “A” Flight moved from Church Fenton to Prestwick.
  • Nos. 245 and 72 Squadrons (Hurricanes) operational by day only.

Air Intelligence Reports

  • None.

Home Security Reports

  • 18th/19th/20th July 1940

General Summary

  • During the 19th July, enemy aircraft activity was again confined to almost entirely to coastal areas. With the exception of an attack on Glasgow, there is little to report.

Detailed Summary

  • It is now learned that six bombs were dropped on July 17th at Nutfield Aerodrome (near Godstone, Surrey) at 1155 hours. No damage was caused.
  • At about 1040 hours on the 19th July, 8 HE were dropped in the Govan and Scotstoun areas of Glasgow. Tenements were seriously damaged and an occupied communal shelter was blown up. Windows of the Royal Ordnance Factory, Cardonald, were broken by splinters and blast, but the factory was not otherwise damaged.
  • At about 0603 hours on the 19th July, bombs were dropped on the Norfolk and Norwich Aerodrome at Norwich. A hangar, used for the storage of AFS appliances, was hit and the clubhouse was burnt out.
  • During the July 19th, bombs were also dropped on Milton Aerodrome (near Pembroke) at 1245 hours and on Manston Aerodrome at 2320 hours. No damage has been reported.
  • At 1720 hours on the 19th July, a boy’s school was demolished when bombs were dropped on Polruan, near Fowey.
  • At 0120 hours on July 20th bombs were dropped at Abbotsinch Aerodrome (Renfrew).
  • At 0220 hours on the 20th July, bombs were dropped on Stirling. Two houses were demolished and minor damage caused to adjacent buildings.
Saturday 20th
Sunday 21st
Monday 22nd
Tuesday 23rd
Wednesday 24th
Thursday 25th
Friday 26th
Saturday 27th
Sunday 28th
Monday 29th
Tuesday 30th
Wednesday 31st