HEADQUARTERS, FIGHTER COMMAND(Copy
to No.9 GROUP and INTELLIGENCE OFFICER SPEKE)
OFFICER, No 256 SQUADRON, RAF STATION, SQUIRES GATE.
(A)Sector Serial No
(B)Serial No. of Order detailing Flight or squadron to Patrol
(E)Number of Enemy Aircraft1
(F)Type of Enemy AircraftJunkers 88
(G)Time Attack was delivered0110
(H)Place Attack was deliveredOver St.Helens
(J)Height of Enemy16,000 ft.
(L)Our Casualties - AircraftDestroyed
they illuminate enemy; if
Not, were they in front or behind enemy?)N.A.
(ii)Anti Aircraft guns
(Did shell bursts assist pilot
Intercepting the enemy?)N.A.
(P)Range at which fire was opened in each attack100 yards - two 2 secs.
on the enemy together
with estimated100 yards - one 1˝ secs.
length of burst
At approximately 0110 on
8/5/41 a Junkers 88 was sighted on our port quarter flying on a converging
Weimmediately turned starboard and dived slightly. The E/A was then about 300 ft above us
and 100 yards in front, whilstkeeping
abead on him I was waiting for
the pilot to maneuver to a more favorable position, when the rear gunner
and I was forced to reply. I gave him two 2 second bursts. All of a sudden
the turret was filled with fumes whichcompletely
obliterated all external vision. I opened the clear vision panel fully but
this made no difference whatsoever andI
decided to give one more burst where I thought the E/A ought to be to show
there was still some life left in our aircraft.Almost
immediately afterwards S/Ldr.Gatheral, my pilot, ordered me to bail out. He winked the Red Warning Lightseveral
times, so after him telling me he thought the engine had been hit I turned
the turret on to one side, opened thedoors,
took off my helmet, cocked one leg over the fuselage and sat there for
several seconds trying to look over myshoulder
to locate the tail plane and rudder. This I did and flung myself over the
starboard side and felt a tremendous thudagainst
jaw – I had’nt missed the tail plane after all. Instinctively I pulled
the rip cord as I was hit, and after a fewseconds
came up with a sudden jerk and found myself floating peacefully down
although I had no feeling of goingdownwards.
I was still about 5,000ft. above the cloud and heard many “Jerries”
hovering around me so I decided to spillthe
air out of my ‘chute and come underneath the blanket of clouds. I finally
landed near the village of Cronton, where Iwas
made very comfortable in a farm house. I eventually caught up with my C.O.
in the front room of the local village Police
Station, where we consumed more tea.
learned afterwards from the C.O. that he baled out about 3 minutes after me
as he had some difficulty in opening hishood.
I had baled out
at 16,000 ft. and after I had been out for a minute or two actually saw our
own aircraft burst into flames, and saw, and heard it, come whistling down in a large curve and finally crash about three
miles away. When it crashed itspreadeagled
itself in a large fiery mass.
At approximately 01.10 hours I sighted a Ju.88 at about 300 yards
range and slightly below. We were on a converging courses so I turned to
starboard and lost a little height on the turn to get below. I was gradually
overhauling the enemy and was on his port quarter at about 100 yards range
when he opened fire from the lower gun position. My gunner F/O. Wallen
returned the fire with two short bursts. The enemy tracer appeared to be
passing ahead of our aircraft and our shots were hitting the fuselage behind
the wing root. He hit my glycol header tank and immediately the cockpit was
filled with dense white fumes, also some glycol went into my eyes. I tried
to jettison the hood but wrenched off the knob, so I opened the hood in the
normal manner. The cockpit was still full of fumes and as I was half-blind I
ordered the gunner to bale out.
The engine began
to splutter and lose power, I put the cockpit lights on bit could only see
the instruments by leaning right forward and as I saw the hand of the
altimeter pass 3 I thought it was time to leave the aircraft.
I dived over the
left side and the aircraft seemed to stall as I went. I looked for the
“D” ring and pulled it, when the parachute opened I realised I must have
been at 13,000’ and not 3,000’ when I left the aircraft. I landed in a
cultivated field and walked about a mile till I came to a farm on the
outskirts of the village of CRONTON. I was taken to the police station were
I found F/O. WALLEN having a cup of tea.
I have come to the conclusion that I should have passed under the
enemy aircraft to his starboard quarter before trying to overhaul him as
then I would not have been between him and the moon. As it was I was excited
and did not want to loose sight of him and wanted to engage as close as
Previous to this I had
seen a Ju.88 but it was on the reciprocal course and I could not turn
quickly enough to catch it up.