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FORM “F"
 
FIGHTER COMMAND COMBAT REPORT
To :- HEADQUARTERS, FIGHTER COMMAND  (Copy to No.9 GROUP and INTELLIGENCE OFFICER SPEKE)

 

From :- INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, No 256 SQUADRON, RAF STATION, SQUIRES GATE. 

 
(A)  Sector Serial No                         
 
(B)  Serial No. of Order detailing Flight or squadron to Patrol                    
 
(C)  Date  08th May, 41                
 
(D)  Flight:   1 Defiant of  ”A”        Sqdn:    No.256 Squadron
 
(E)  Number of Enemy Aircraft    1
 
(F)  Type of Enemy Aircraft    Junkers 88
 
(G)  Time Attack was delivered    0110
 
(H)  Place Attack was delivered    Over St.Helens
 
(J)  Height of Enemy    16,000 ft.
 
(K)  Enemy Casualties    Damaged              
 
(L)  Our Casualties - Aircraft    Destroyed
 
(L)                      -  Personnel    Nil
 
(N)  (i)  Searchlights (Did 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 attack         100 yards - two 2 secs.
       on the enemy together with estimated                        100 yards - one 1˝ secs.
       length of burst
 
(R)    General Report
 
                     At approximately 0110 on 8/5/41 a Junkers 88 was sighted on our port quarter flying on a converging course. 
 
                     We immediately turned starboard and dived slightly. The E/A was then about 300 ft above us and 100 yards in front, whilst keeping a  bead on him I was waiting for the pilot to maneuver to a more favorable position, when the rear gunner opened up and I was forced to reply. I gave him two 2 second bursts. All of a sudden the turret was filled with fumes which completely obliterated all external vision. I opened the clear vision panel fully but this made no difference whatsoever and I 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 Light several times, so after him telling me he thought the engine had been hit I turned the turret on to one side, opened the doors, took off my helmet, cocked one leg over the fuselage and sat there for several seconds trying to look over my shoulder to locate the tail plane and rudder. This I did and flung myself over the starboard side and felt a tremendous thud against my left jaw – I had’nt missed the tail plane after all. Instinctively I pulled the rip cord as I was hit, and after a few seconds came up with a sudden jerk and found myself floating peacefully down although I had no feeling of going downwards. I was still about 5,000ft. above the cloud and heard many “Jerries” hovering around me so I decided to spill the air out of my ‘chute and come underneath the blanket of clouds. I finally landed near the village of Cronton, where I was 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. 
 
                    I learned afterwards from the C.O. that he baled out about 3 minutes after me as he had some difficulty in opening his hood. 
 
                            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 it spreadeagled itself in a large fiery mass.
 

      G.H.Gatheral S/Lr

DSWallen F/O

                                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 possible.
 
                                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.

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