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To: Intelligence H.Q. Fighter Command,
 
From:  Intelligence Speke,
 
Date:  1/11/42
 
Ref:  S.P./S 369/int.
 
 
Personal Combat Report
 
A)     DATE OF COMBAT 18/9/42,
 
B)      UNIT, Merchant Ship Fighter Unit
 
C)      TYPE OF A/C Hurricane M.K. 1 Eight Machine Guns,
 
D)      TIME OF ATTACK About 11.55 hours,
 
E)       PLACE OF ATTACK 68.30 N42.30 W
 
F)       WHEATER 7/10 Cloud at 2000 feet 10/10 Cloud at 4000 feet Vis 10 miles,
 
G)      OUR CASUALTIES A/C Nil,
 
H)      OUR CASUALTIES PERSONNEL nil,
 
I)        ENEMY CASUALTIES Two H.E. 111s destroyed
 
 
On 18th September 1942 at 1015 hours local time I was at readiness when the R.D.F. Guard ship reported that enemy aircraft were in the vicinity of the convoy. I got into the cockpit of the aircraft and everything was made ready for launching. The enemy aircraft appeared at a height of 4,000 feet and were identified as Ju.88. These aircraft proceeded to bomb and dive bomb the convoy individually from cloud and it was not thought advisable to launch the aircraft.
 
At 11.00 a.m. it was reported that 9 He.111 torpedo carrying aircraft were coming in from astern low down on the water. M F.D.O Lt. Carrigue gave the Captain instructions to fire me off, but as the ship was not clear ahead, no action was taken by the Captain and a red flag was given the firing officer P/O Davies. After this attack had faded, we were still being bombed when I noticed that my electrical installation had broken down entirely. The R.T.O. and the other members of the crew very calmly proceeded to check the fuses and they changed the battery with bombs falling round the ship.
 
At 11.50 a.m. local time another group of torpedo carrying aircraft were reported coming in of the port quarter. This time we were all set to shoot off and a good launch was effected. As the ship was in position 53 in the middle of the convoy, I had to swerve violently to avoid balloon cables of other ships, I also had to take avoiding action from Bofors and Oerlikon fire from one or two of the ships who opened up on me.
 
I was in immediate communication with my F.D.O. and climbed to about 700 and went round to the port quarter of the convoy where I could see the 15 He.111 coming in in line abreast. They were about 3 miles from the stern of the convoy about 50. I dived on them and carried out a head on and port beam attack on a He.111, opening fire at 300 yards and closing to 150yards. I noticed my shots striking the engine and nose of the Heinkel and as I turned above and behind to the left I noticed white smoke coming from his starboard engine. I closed again to 250 yards and gave him the rest of my ammunition in a quarter attack carried out from both his engines, but as I was interfering with the flack from the ships I broke right and went round the stern to the starboard side of the convoy. From there I observed that no ships had been hit by the torpedoes. On going round to the front of the convoy I saw the wreckage of a Heinkel 111 in the water between the two columns on the port side. My F.D.O. told me to patrol the starboard side of the convoy for although I had used all my ammunition it was my intention to show myself to any other formation and endeavor to break it up with a mock attack. No more aircraft appeared but the Ju.88 were still bombing from the clouds. I checked my fuel and found I had 70 gallons left. I asked my F.D.O. for the distance and vector to the nearest aerodrome. He replied that it was 240 miles away on a vector of 180M. I decided to try and save the aircraft and I set out on this course allowing 10 for drift steering 170M.
 
I ran into a fog bank about 40 miles wide after 15 minutes flying but managed to make landfall and pin point my position. I flew at heights between 200 and 2000 and arriving at Archangel I fired the recognition signal and found Keg Ostrov aerodrome where I landed at 14.15 hours with 5 gallons in my reserve tank left.

Subsequent to the dispatch of my Combat Reported dated 19th September 1942 and when the convoy arrived at Archangel, I was informed by the Captains of H.M.S. Ulster Queen and H.M.S. Gleaner and officers from other ships, that when I made my first attack, they saw a Heinkel 111 swerved out of formation and in attempting a tight turn near sea level crash into the water. I did not see this happen and therefore knew nothing about it when my original combat report was prepared.
 
 
                                                                                                                                AHBurr
1st November, 1942                                                                                                              A.H. Burr.
                                                                                                                                                Flying Officer R.A.F.V.R

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