2 – 3 November 1940

2 - 3 November 1940

Northern Front

Christopher Shores indicates, in his book “Dust Clouds in the Middle East”, that during the day of 2 November, a Savoia-Marchetti 79 of 44bis Gruppo BT is involved in a confrontation with five Gloster Gladiatoer around 09h30 am. A Fighter is claimed destroyed while the Italian bomber is slightly damaged. The event was reported to have taken place in the vicinity of Noggara (in the northwestern corner of Ethiopia forming the border with Sudan and Eritrea).

This action is, however, absent from the British documents. However, it should be noted that at this time, Sudan has only two units operating on Gloster Gladiator: in this case K Flight and No.1 (SAAF) Squadron. It is known that K Flight is participating in a training series with No.223 (RAF) Squadron during the first three days of November over Summit. Given the distance, and the number of aircraft avaible on K Flight, it seems unlikely that its pilots are concerned. On the other hand, Lieutnant Andrew Duncan of No.1 (SAAF) Squadron reportedly claimed a damaged Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 over Kumbina on 3 November.[1] A sortie is actually mentioned in Lieutenant Brian J.L. Boyle’s logbook on this date, although he does not seem to be writing anything about a fight. In addition, the place of fighting according to the Italians: Noggara is located at a relatively moderate distance from the airfield of Azaza (Geraref). Thus, if both events were to be confirmed, a date error could be considered to make them coincide. Unfortunately, for lack of precise documents to consult, it remains a mere hypothesis.

Logbook of Lieutenant Brian J.L. Boyle, 3 November 1940.

[1] In the absence of War Diaries or ORBs relating to No.1 (SAAF) Squadron during this period, there are a few sheets (two) relating to the period August-November 1940. This document was compiled at a later date from Lieutenant Andrew Duncan’s Logbook, with all possible risks of error.

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