30 June 1940

30 June 1940

Eleven aircraft take off from Hawkinge at 09:25 to participate in a joint mission with No.111 (RAF) Squadron to escort several Bristol Blenheim Mk IV aircraft over Merville. Once again, the ORB of No.615 Squadron contains little information. Just mentioned is a clash with Bf 109s (four inconclusive victories are claimed), while three Bristol Blenheims are missing. All the pilots of No.615 Squadron returned to Hawkinge after about 02:20 hours of flight.

The ORB of No.111 (RAF) Squadron contains more details [1]. Thus, the bomber formation consisted of twelve aircraft, the main one being escorted by No.111 (RAF) Squadron, while No.615 (RAF) Squadron was in charge of the rear. One Bristol Blenheim fell victim to flak, while the rest of the formation reached Hawkinge at 12h20 and Croyon at 14h45. However the mission is not easy as it appeared that the rear of the formation, as well as No.615 Squadron, met four Bf 109s as they crossed the French coast. A fight broke out during which two Bristol Blenheims were shot down, while two or three German fighters were destroyed.

The bombers appear to belong to No.107 (RAF) Squadron.[2] Unfortunately, the ORB of this squadron contains little interesting information[3] and it only confirms the loss of three aircraft: L9467 (Pilot Officer J.P. Quirk, Sergeant D.C. Hawkins and K.E. Murray, all captured), R3870 (Squadron Leader Herbert Pilling ; Sergeant F.A.S. Roche and Holman T. Denison, only the second survives as a prisoner) and R3823 (Pilot Officer Richard H.M. Bennett ; Sergeant Albert B. Langford and Denis S. Harrison, all killed)[4]. This participation is confirmed by the No.2 (RAF) Group who report an attack on Merville by twelve aircraft of No.107 (RAF) Squadron between 10h15 and 12h35. The airfield is bombed from an altitude of about 1 800 m and three aircraft did not return (a fourth was forced to land at Manston due to damage)[5].

It is, however, more difficult to determine the opponent. John Foreman indicates that Bf 109 from I./JG 20 and I.(J)/LG 2 have take off to intercept the formation [6]. Indeed, the Oberfeldwebel Erwin Clausen (3./JG 77), Leutnant Hans Kolbow (3./JG 20), Karl-Heinz Schnell (3./JG 20), Leutnant Hermann Staiger (1./JG 20) and Feldwebel Wilhelm Koslowski (1./JG 20) claim Bristol Blenheim between 12h43 and 12h50 [7]. There are several other claims (15h25), but they could correspond to the afternoon raid by Bristol Blenheims of No.110 (RAF) Squadron (escorted by No.56 and 151 Squadron) between 13h15 and 15h30 where a clash is reported between fighters.

Returning to No.615 Squadron, the claims are of Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll, Flight Lieutenant James G. Sanders, Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings and Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young around 11h45.

According to Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll :

« three Blenheims are flying north towards Merville when they are attacked by two Bf 109s. I attack the one on the left (…) and I see a thin trail of black smoke. I then aimed at the second one which was about to open fire on the bomber formation. (…) I managed to hit him, but he was able to shoot down the second Blenheim whose right engine caught fire. »[8].

According to Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young :

« Approching Merville at 12 000 ft about 2 000 ft above Blenheims Bombers. The section leader grave Tally Ho Starboard. We dived down on 3 Bf.109’s. I myself attacked one just as it had begun to attack on the last Blenheim of the formation. I opened fire at 300 yards –  at the same moment the Blenheim caught fire. I then closed into about 50 yards. Bits flew off the ennemy machine and a large column of smoke issued forth as it went into a vertical dive towards the ground. Ammunition exhausted I turned towards home and was chased by another 3 Bf.109 and was forced to land at Martlesham Heath. »[9].

Pilots and Aircrafts : Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P3109) ; Pilot Officier Cecil R. Young (P3380) ; Pilot Officer Michael R. Mudie (P2337) ; Flight Lieutenant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (P2768) ; Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) ; Flight Lieutenant James G. Sanders (P3487) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P3111) ; Pilot Officer David Evans (L1992) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) ; Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts (L1983).

Claims : Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll : one Bf 109 (inconclusive claim) ; Flight Lieutenant James G. Sanders : one Bf 109 (inconclusive claim) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings : one Bf 109 (inconclusive claim) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young :  one Bf 109 inconclusive claim).

[1] No.111 (RAF) Squadron, Operations Record Book. Kew : The National Archives, AIR 27/866.

[2] http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/archive/index.php?t-32356.html

[3] No.107 (RAF) Squadron, Operations Record Book. Kew : The National Archives, AIR 27/841.

[4] http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/107_squadron.html#3006

[5] http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/archive/index.php?t-49106.html

[6] FOREMAN, John. RAF Fighter Command Victory Claims of World War Two : Part One 1939 – 1940. Walton-on-Thames : Red Kite, 2003. p.101.

[7] Pour rappel, il y’a un décalage d’une heure entre l’heure allemande et anglaise.

[8] Combat Reports. Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (30/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/14.

[9] http://aircrewremembered.com/cecil-reginald-young-chapter-3.html et Combat Reports.  Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (30/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/33.

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