Slight activity in the morning, main raids by Luftflotte 3 in the south-west during the afternoon.
Night: Continued widespread attacks with the main concentration in the Midlands.
Weather: Early morning fair but remainder of day cloudy.
For most of the morning and afternoon of Wednesday the Luftwaffe rested, although the Channel was filled with small formations which kept the radar plotters busy waiting to see which would turn north and become a genuine raid.
At 1700 hours 50+ appeared near St. Malo and proceeded to Cherbourg where escort and escorted swelled the ranks to 100. Off the Channel Islands another raid of 30+ built up, and behind it further formations of 20, 60 and 20 joined up to form a mass of 100+ aircraft which headed for Weymouth.
Two squadrons, judiciously placed by 10 Group, intercepted, but were unable to get through the fighter screen which numbered nearly 200. A third squadron fared no better and the bombers attacked Warmwell aerodrome, dropping twenty bombs. Two hangars were damaged and the station sick quarters burnt out. Nine-unexploded bombs were left to be dealt with, and communications were disorganised until noon on the following day. Bombs also fell on Fareham, Pembroke and the Scilly Isles, at the last mentioned a direct hit being scored on the RAF wireless station.
Within an hour a further mass raid of 100 headed from Cap Gris Nez for Dover and the Estuary, but was attacked by several of the eleven fighter squadrons sent up. This final action brought Fighter Command’s losses for the day to sixteen with nine pilots dead, four missing and four wounded.
The Luftwaffe left behind twenty aircraft and their crews, but after nightfall they had it all their own way, carrying out widespread attacks without suffering any loss. Some mines were laid on the east, south and west coasts, while most of the sixty-five raids plotted in attacked industrial centres in the midlands, where bombs fell on forty places, including Birmingham, Coventry and towns in, southern England, South Wales and Scotland. Montrose, a fighter airfield between Dundee and Aberdeen, was the recipient of an unexpected attack.
While German bombers droned over England, eighty-one twin-engined RAF bombers were heading the other way—for Berlin. Industrial and communications targets were the orders for the night. Cloud prevented accurate identification and bombs were dropped on several sections of the city, some damage being done to residential property. The RAF raid was a reprisal for the German bombing of London the previous night. This incursion into Germany territory was the first of several and within a fortnight there were to be far-reaching results with changed Luftwaffe daylight tactics, and a reprieve for Fighter Command.
Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster
Airmen: 20 | Aircraft: 23
Airmen: 13 | Aircraft: 18
Spitfire R6810, No. 152 Squadron
P/O R.M. Hogg listed as missing. Shot down by Bf 109s over Channel and crashed into sea.
Spitfire R6994, No. 152 Squadron
P/O T.S. Wildblood listed as missing. Shot down by Bf 109s over Channel and crashed into sea.
Hurricane V7226, No. 213 Squadron
P/O J.A.L. Phillipart killed. Shot down by Bf 109 over Channel. Body washed ashore two days later.
Hurricane R4199, No. 17 Squadron
S/L C.W. Williams listed as missing. Aircraft broke in two after combat with Bf 110. Crashed into sea.
Hurricane P3200, No. 213 Squadron
P/O H.D. Atkinson listed as missing. Last seen in combat over Warmwell. Failed to return to base.
Hurricane V7250, No. 87 Squadron
Sgt. S.R.E Wakeling killed. Shot down by Bf 109 and burst into flames and crashed near Dorchester.
Hurricane N2433, No. 32 Squadron
P/O K.R. Gillman listed as missing. Failed to return to base after combat over the Channel.
Spitfire R6966, No. 616 Squadron
Sgt. T.E. Westmoreland listed as missing. Failed to return to base.
Spitfire K9819, No. 616 Squadron
Sgt. P.T. Wareing taken prisoner. Crashed nr Calais after combat with Bf 109. Managed to escape after POW.
Blenheim L1330, No. 29 Squadron
P/O R.A. Rhodes listed as missing.
AC1 N. Jacobson listed as missing.
Believed shot down and crashed into sea during night combat.
Blenheim L6782, No. 604 Squadron
Sgt. C. Haigh killed.
Sgt. J.G.B. Fletcher killed.
LAC A.L. Austin died next day.
Crashed during night operation. No known reason.
- A Junkers Ju 88 A-1 bomber and crew of I./KG 51 “Edelweiss“, Channel Islands, 1940. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-402-0265-03A / Pilz / CC-BY-SA 3.0.
- Two Hawker Hurricane Mk Is of No. 32 Squadron coming in to land for refueling and rearming at Biggin Hill, watched by an airman standing with a signalling flag in the foreground, August 1940. © IWM (HU 54519A)
- Groundcrew in steel helmets refueling a Hawker Hurricane Mk I of No. 32 Squadron, as the pilot climbs out of the cockpit, Biggin Hill, August 1940. © IWM (HU 54513)
- Groundcrew refueling a Hawker Hurricane Mk I of No. 32 Squadron from a refuelling truck whilst the pilot waits in the cockpit, Biggin Hill, August 1940. © IWM (HU 57450)
- Ground staff in steel helmets refuelling and rearming a Hawker Hurricane Mark I of No. 32 Squadron, at a dispersal at Biggin Hill, August 1940. © IWM (HU 54515)
- Ground staff re-arm a Hawker Hurricane Mk I of No. 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill, August 1940. © IWM (HU 104487)