Dummy raids on shipping then heavy attacks on south-eastern airfields. Luton attacked.

Night: Third raid on Liverpool. Single raids over wide area.

Weather: Fair.

Main Activity:

The day began with a renewal of shipping raids, this time in the Thames Estuary, designed to act as feints for the main assault which was picked up by radar over Cap Gris Nez at 1030 hours. Three waves totaling 100 aircraft came at half-hour intervals at 14,000 feet.

A cloud-layer at about 7,000 feet meant that the Observer Corps had to rely on sound plotting and it was not until an hour after the build-up over France that the 11 Group controller realised that forces were heading for Kent and Surrey sector stations. Sixteen squadrons were despatched to intercept, of which two, to guard Kenley and Biggin Hill, became involved in a dog-fight over Surrey. One formation of German bombers, which had split off from the main group, attacked Biggin Hill at noon and was not seen by the 12 Group Squadron flying on airfield protection patrol. From high altitude delayed-action bombs were dropped which damaged the airfield surface and the village but once again did not render the former unserviceable.

A second mass attack began at 1330 hours when raids of 6 + , 12 + and 20 + crossed the coast between Dover and Dungeness, and then split up, sections heading for Biggin Hill, Shoreham, Kenley and Tangmere. Eight squadrons of fighters were ordered up and the raids retreated just before four o’clock. During this attack the radar stations at Dover, Pevensey, Rye, Foreness, Fairlight, Whitstable and Beachy Head were out of action due to a mains supply failure.

No sooner was this over than a third attack developed from Dover in waves, the objectives being Kenley, Biggin Hill, North Weald, Slough, Oxford and a convoy code-named ‘Bacon’.

Detling airfield was hit by forty to fifty bombs which set fire to oil-tanks, cut the mains cable, cratered the roads and damaged one Blenheim. It was estimated that the station would not be serviceable until 0800 hours on the 31st.

Far worse than this, one small raid of less than ten confused the defences by flying to the Thames Estuary and then turning south to Biggin Hill where at six o’clock, by low-level bombing with 1,000-pounders, the airfield was reduced to a shambles. Workshops, the transport yard, stores, barracks, the met. office, the armoury, WAAF quarters, and another hangar were wrecked; the power, gas and water mains were severed and all telephone lines north of the camp were cut in three places. Amid the rubble and fires casualties were very heavy, with thirty-nine dead and twenty-six injured — a number of them in a shelter trench which received a direct hit. Somehow the mess was cleared up and the station put back on an operational footing.

During the period another raid had come in over Sheppey, and, although intercepted, part of the force managed to reach Luton, where ten bombs were dropped and one hit the Vauxhall motor works, the total casualties including over fifty dead.

Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster

German Losses
Airmen: 57 | Aircraft: 40

British Losses
Airmen: 9 | Aircraft: 25

Hurricane L1965, No. 253 Squadron
P/O C.D. Francis killed. Shot down during combat with Bf 109.

Hurricane P3921, No. 253 Squadron
P/O D.N.O. Jenkins killed. Baled out when aircraft hit by gunfire from Bf 109.

Hurricane P3179, No. 43 Squadron
Sgt. D. Noble killed. Shot down by Bf 109 in combat over Sussex coast. Crashed near Brighton/Hove.

Hurricane V7369, No. 151 Squadron
S/L E.B. King killed. Crashed and exploded in flames during routine patrol. No cause known.

Spitfire X4248, No. 616 Squadron
F/O J.S. Bell killed. Shot down during attack on Bf 109. Crashed and burnt out.

Hurricane P3213, No. 253 Squadron
Sgt. J.H. Dickinson killed. Shot down by Bf 109, baled out but was killed.

Hurricane V6548, No. 43 Squadron
S/L J.V.C. Badger died of wounds 30/6/1941. Shot down by Bf 109 over Romney Marshes.

Spitfire R6628, No. 222 Squadron
Sgt. J.I. Johnson killed. Shot down by Bf 109. Crashed and burnt out.

Photo Descriptions:

  1. The wreckage of Heinkel He 111H (1G+EL, W.Nr. 5438 or 3438) of 3./KG 27, shot down on the night of 29/30 August 1940 by F/Lt A.R.Wright of No. 92 Squadron after being caught in searchlights over Bristol. The aircraft crashed onto a house at Downton, Hale, near Fordingbridge, Hants at 23:45 hours.
  2. A section of Spitfires of No. 616 Squadron prepares for an evening take-off from RAF Kenley in late August 1940.
  3. Barrage balloons come down in flames after being shot by German fighters, 30 August 1940.
  4. A Heinkel He 111 bomber of 5./KG 1 lies in a field at Haxted, near Lingfield. The aircraft was part of a formation despatched to attack the Royal Aircraft Establishment HQ at Farnborough in Hampshire on 30 August 1940. It was intercepted by a Hurricane of No. 253 Squadron flown by Plt Off J.P.B. Greenwood, whose bullets killed the gunner, Gefr Walter Reid, damaged both engines and started a small fire. The rest of the crew were captured.
  5. A bandaged Flt Lt Geoffrey Matheson of No. 222 Squadron surveys the burnt-out remnants of his Spitfire after he had crash-landed near the Sittingbourne Paper Mills on 30 August 1940. The aircraft has exploded shortly after Matheson got the battle-damaged Spitfire on the ground and he was lucky to escape with relatively minor wounds.