London, the Thames Estuary and Kent all attacked.
Night: Unusually heavy attack on London and Birmingham.
Weather: Fair but cloudy in the Straits. Clear, moonlit night.
At 9 a.m. thirty Messerschmitts were heading for Hornchurch and central London. They hit Waterloo Station and blocked all but two of the lines. At 9.45 another fifty went for the city and at 11.20 more came in to attack points in Kent and the Estuary. By 12.20 p.m. 110 were plotted in the Straits but these did not mature into a full-scale attack.
At 6.30 p.m. Göring’s plans to use the full moon were developing. The attack on London was heavy and the destruction of two bombers by night fighters did little to compensate for the serious and widespread damage inflicted on the city. Train services were stopped at the five main stations. Traffic from others was cut by more than two-thirds. The city’s Underground railway system was severed at five places. Roads were blocked throughout the city and a reservoir, three gasworks, two power stations and three important docks were hit. There were 900 fires in London that night. Over 400 people were killed and more than 800 badly wounded.
In the day and night operations of Fighter Command 643 sorties were flown against the Luftwaffe, whose units lost fourteen machines—one less than the number lost by the RAF.
Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster
Airmen: 12 | Aircraft: 16
Airmen: 6 | Aircraft: 15
Spitfire X4178, No. 41 Squadron
Sgt. P.D. Lloyd killed. Shot down in a surprise attack by Bf 109 of 4/JG 51.
Hurricane N2480, No. 46 Squadron
P/O P.S. Gunning killed. Shot down in combat with Bf 109s over the Thames Estuary.
Hurricane V6550, No. 46 Squadron
F/Sgt. E.E. Williams killed. Shot down by Bf 109s over the Thames Estuary.
Spitfire R6838, No. 92 Squadron
Sgt. K.B. Parker killed. Shot down in combat with Bf 109s over the Thames Estuary.
Hurricane V6722, No. 501 Squadron
Sgt. S.A. Fenemore killed. Shot down in combat with Bf 109s over Redhill.
Hurricane N2546, No. 605 Squadron
F/Lt. I.J. Muirhead killed. Shot down by Bf 109s over Maidstone.
- Soldiers inspect the wreckage of Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7 (W/Nr.3734) of Stab I./Lehrgeschwader 2 at Spruce Lawns, Elham. The aircraft was flying a Jabo mission on 15 October 1940 when a bullet from an RAF fighter struck the bomb under the belly, causing the Messerschmitt to blow up. The pilot, Leutnant Ludwig Lenz, was killed.
- A soldier is busy cutting the German Cross from the starboard wing of Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7 (W/Nr.3734) of Stab I./Lehrgeschwader 2, shot down by RAF fighters on 15 October 1940.
- Posed portrait of a soldier with rifle and bayonet standing watch behind beach defences ‘somewhere in Southern Command’, England, 15 October 1940. © IWM (H 4733)
- On 15 October 1940 a delayed-action 500lb bomb smashed through a seventh floor window of Broadcasting House in central London, before coming to rest in the music library two floors below. It exploded just after 9pm, when attempts were made to move it, killing 4 men and 3 women. Bruce Belfrage, who was reading the news in the BH basement, paused briefly, and than continued. Listeners at home heard a distant impact but were otherwise unaware of the event.