Activity limited to reconnaissance sorties. Fighter Command faces pilot shortage.
Night: Light raids on the Midlands, Merseyside and South Wale
Weather: Fine in the Channel, haze and some cloud in the east.
The lull continued throughout the day. Reconnaissance flights were plotted and, although Fighter Command flew 288 sorties, Luftwaffe losses amounted to only three machines. The RAF lost none.
The serious drain on fighter pilot resources was recognised by the Air Ministry on the 17th. Dowding had been pressing for Fairey Battle pilots to fill the gaps, but the Air Staff felt that wholesale withdrawals from the remaining light bomber squadrons might affect striking power on invasion day.
Finally they agreed to five volunteers each from the four Battle squadrons and three each from Lysander Army co-operation squadrons in No. 22 Group. These were sent for a six-day O.T.U. course at Hawarden and some carried out their first operational patrol within a fortnight of volunteering.
Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster
Airmen: 6 | Aircraft: 5
Airmen: 0 | Aircraft: 0
- Armourers fit fuzes to 250-lb GP bombs on their trolleys, prior to loading into Handley Page Hampden Mark I, P1333 ‘EA-F’, of No. 49 Squadron RAF at Scampton, Lincolnshire. P1333 crash-landed near Breda, Netherlands, on returning from a raid on Merseburg, Germany on 17 August 1940. © IWM (CH 254)