Tilbury and Southampton raided.
Night: Continued bombing of London and Merseyside.
Weather: Early morning fog in northern France. Channel cloudy with haze in the Straits and Thames Estuary.
British service chiefs, unaware that Seelöwe had been postponed on September 17th, continued to await the invasion. Equinoctial gales which had swept the Channel earlier in the week had now died down and the sea was quieter. By 8.30 a.m. the only sign of enemy activity was in the air where some 200 aircraft, mainly bombers, crossed the coast on a ten-mile front in five formations ranging from three to fifty planes in size.
Flying between 10,000 and 25,000 feet the Germans tried to get through to London, but were repulsed. Three hours later another 200 assembled into five formations over Cap Gris Nez and headed north. Of the eighteen British squadrons sent up to intercept them only two engaged.
Soon after lunch between fifteen and twenty Bf 110 fighter-bombers came up the Solent in two waves. Diving singly, they attacked the Supermarine works at Woolston near Southampton. They did little damage to the factory itself but hit a shelter and killed nearly 100 of the staff.
The Messerschmitts then turned over Portsmouth and for twenty minutes trailed their coats. Not a British fighter was to be seen but the A.A. guns blazed away and shot down one German aircraft, making eleven for the day. This brought German losses since September 19th to fifty-nine. In the same period twenty-two British fighters were destroyed of which four were lost on the 24th.
Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster
Airmen: 12 | Aircraft: 11
Airmen: 2 | Aircraft: 6
Spitfire X4037, No. 92 Squadron
P/O J.S. Bryson killed. Shot down by Bf 109s over Essex and crashed in flames near North Weald.
Hurricane P3832, No. 605 Squadron
P/O W.J. Glowacki killed. In combat with Bf 109 over French coast and shot down.
- A formation of Heinkel He 111 bombers in flight, 1940. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-408-0847-10 / Martin / CC-BY-SA 3.0.
- Pilots of No. 249 Squadron based at North Weald, September 1940. Left to Right: P/O Percy Burton; Flt/Lt Robert ‘Butch’ Barton; Flt/Lt Albert Gerald ‘Zulu’ Lewis; P/O Terry ‘Ossie’ Crossey; P/O Tom ‘Ginger’ Neil; P/O Hugh John Sherard ‘Beazel’ Beazley; Sqn/Ldr John Grandy C/O; P/O George Barclay; Flt/Lt Keith Lofts.