Dover, Folkestone and airfields in Kent and Essex attacked. Lesser raids in the Solent.
Night: Widespread raids, Industrial areas and airfields the main targets.
Weather: Mainly cloudy but dry. Brighter in the south.
This was another day of widespread activity in the course of which the Luftwaffe delivered three main attacks: (a) on Kenley and Biggin Hill, (b) on Hornchurch, North Weald, Debden and east London, and (c) on Portsmouth and the aerodromes at Warmwell in No. 10 Group.
Following several reconnaissance flights, Luftflotte 2 put in an appearance just after 1100 hours when 150 aircraft were crossing the coast at Deal. Bombs dropped on Folkestone and more balloons were set on fire at Dover, but the main effort was directed at Biggin Hill and Kenley. Six squadrons and three flights from No. 11 Group intercepted well forward, and the raids were broken up.
In the early afternoon a second Luftwaffe concentration was observed by radar to be forming up over Lille. Further units joined it from St. Omer and Calais, until raids of 60+, 20+ and 30+ were being plotted in towards Dover and Harwich.
The main objectives for the bombers from KG 2 and KG 3 off Harwich were North Weald and Hornchurch, with diversions in the east London area. Their efforts were disorganised by 11 Group which put up ten squadrons and one flight. One section of the raid fared better, however, and despite the attentions of two RAF fighter squadrons it successfully reached the sector station at Debden. Over 100 bombs damaged the landing area, the sergeants’ mess, the NAAFI, a motor transport depot and the equipment section. Both electricity and water mains were hit and five personnel killed.
A squadron from Duxford had been sent up to patrol Debden, but due to late vectoring saw nothing of the enemy. Hurricanes of No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron attempted to catch the raid as it left the Debden area, but most of them were unable to get proper courses to steer as they lacked the right radio-frequencies.
At 1600 hours, 150 aircraft of Luftflotte 3 approached Portsmouth at high altitude while two small diversions were laid on in an attempt to distract the fighters. No. 11 Group despatched five squadrons and No. 10 Group three. Independently three of the squadrons intercepted the formation short of the target, destroying three Heinkel 111s from KG 55 and causing many of the bombers to jettison their loads in the sea. By 1700 hours the raid had been repulsed. This was Luftflotte 3’s last major effort in daylight for some weeks, as its units concentrated on night bombing. To Nos. 10 and 11 Groups it had been one of their most bitter fights with twenty-eight aircraft lost in one engagement, out of thirty-one for the day. Four pilots were killed near Portsmouth, and twelve were wounded. Altogether Fighter Command flew 787 sorties, over 300 more than on the 25th. The losses in pilots were rising alarmingly and replacements were few.
Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster
Airmen: 44 | Aircraft: 42
Airmen: 7 | Aircraft: 29
Spitfire R6633, No. 616 Squadron
Sgt. M. Ridley killed. Hit by gunfire from Bf 109 over Kent coast. Crashed near town.
Spitfire N3275, No. 616 Squadron
F/O G.E. Moberley killed. Shot down over Channel by B109. Pilot did not bale out of aircraft.
Defiant L6985, No. 264 Squadron
Sgt. B. Baker listed as missing. Crashed into Thames Estuary after hit by gunfire from Bf 109. Pilot safe.
Defiant L7025, No. 264 Squadron
Sgt. W. Maxwell listed as missing. Crashed into Thames Estuary after hit by gunfire from Bf 109. Pilot safe.
Spitfire R6595, No. 610 Squadron
P/O F.K. Webster killed. Badly damaged by Bf 109. Crashed in flames attempting to land at Hawkinge.
Hurricane P3874, No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron
F/O R.L. Edwards killed. Shot down by gunfire from Do 17 during attack on Debden Airfield.
- A Wellington bomber and crews of No. 149 Squadron after their return from Bomber Command’s first attack on Berlin on the night of 25-26 August 1940. © IWM (HU 104669)
- German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels inspects a bomb damaged street in Berlin following the first RAF raid on the city. © IWM
- RAF personnel examine bullet holes in the cockpit of Heinkel He 111P (Werke Nr. 2124 G1+DM) of 4 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 55, shot down by Sgt B. E. P. Whall of No. 602 Squadron during an attack on Portsmouth Harbour on 26 August 1940.
- Heinkel He 111P (Werke Nr. 2124 G1+DM) of 4 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 55, shot down by Sgt B. E. P. Whall of No. 602 Squadron during an attack on Portsmouth Harbour on 26 August 1940.