The Chronology: Page-46
Thursday September 19th 1940


Dawn: As the first light of day takes over from the dark of the early morning, members of the Civil Defence, the fire services and many civilians count the cost the nights bombing. About 2200 hrs the previous night, German bombers attacked a number of installations in Northumberland and County Durham causing considerable damage. But it was again on London that the bombing was most severe. Just before midnight, heavy bombing occurred along the Thames and as the night wore on this was extended closer to the city centre. By daylight, the extent of the damage was clearly seen. The once high class shopping areas of Regent Street, Bond Street and along Piccadilly, was a scene of devastation. Many shop fronts had been blown in, many of the once beautiful facades that had formed a part of London's history for many years now lay in a crumpled mass of bricks and mortar in the streets.

WEATHER:
Heavy cloud was expected to continue throughout the day and rain periods, heavy at times was expected over most of Britain. The Channel areas could expect a very low cloud base with early morning fog and mist patches in coastal districts.

OPERATIONS:

Waking up to a rather dismal and damp morning, it was obvious to many of the British pilots that it was certainly not going to be a day that one should be up there in that dull grey murk and they hoped that the Luftwaffe would see it in the same way. They were not going to be disappointed. Radar stations along the Channel coast were idle, the CRT screens blank.
On mornings where there is absolutely no activity, it is like a gift from God. We are able to take things that little bit easier, have breakfast in comfort and generally most of us are in a very relaxed frame of mind, but there was always someone to keep an eye on that screen.....just in case.
Margaret Farmer. Radar Operations.
0950hrs: Ironically, it was not on the south coast that the first attacks of the day occurred. A small formation made a surprise attack on Liverpool. No serious damage was done as most of the enemy aircraft were flying in singly or in pairs. Later in the morning, a number of Ju88s were detected heading towards London. These were met by 249 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes) and 302 Squadron Duxford (Hurricanes) over north Kent. The Ju88s were scattered and were turned back with one of the bombers being shot down by F/O J.Kowalski of 302 Squadron at 1130hrs and it crashed near Bury St Edmunds. Another was to sustain engine damage and crash landed near Cambridge.

1050hrs: During the rest of the day, the Luftwaffe make a number of reconnaissance flights over the Channel and off the English east coast over the North Sea. Other aircraft are assumed to mine laying duties and Fighter Command decides to leave them alone as they are posing no threat. One of the aircraft, a Ju88 was spotted crossing the coast near Harwich at 1045hrs and was soon intercepted by British fighters and it crashed on the coast near Orfordness.

1600hrs: Everything is rather quiet up until now when radar picks up small blips off the coast near Swanage.

Green section of 152 Squadron consisting of two Spitfires, is scrambled from Warmwell. The pilots are P/O Williams and P/O "Duchy" Holland (Sgt. K.C.Holland). Just after take off it is realized that Williams' radio is not functioning so the Australian assumes the leaders position. Not long afterwards a bandit is sighted over the Channel and Holland signals Williams to go below the cloud base while he remains above it. The German plane, a Ju88, disappears into the murk but moments later it reappears about two miles (3 km) in front.

The Australian closes in, making alternate quarter attacks from left and right. Aiming first at the gunners positions and then at each engine, Holland opens fire. There seems to be a free cannon firing at his Spitfire from the port side of the cockpit but this stops after Holland's first burst. There are also machine guns firing from each side of the cockpit as he sweeps in from each direction. Altogether he makes six attacks until he runs out of ammunition. The Ju88 is badly battered and Holland watches as it dives into the sea.

Dennis Newton A Few of the Few Australian War Memorial 1990 p187
*This downed Ju88 is probably one from 1/KG51 that was recorded as being shot down by British fighters of Britain's south coast, although the cause of crash is stated to be "Cause Unknown". Those killed were Oberfw. Luckard and Unffz. Henker while Fw. Walter and Gefr. Roeder were listed as missing. The time and location seem to confirm that this was the aircraft shot down by Holland and Williams of 152 Squadron.

Across the Channel, the Germans were busy during the day cleaning up the Channel ports from Calais to Antwerp after Wellington's, Hampdens and Whitleys unleashed another successful night attack on the barges during the night of the 18th/19th September. It was the biggest operation yet by Bomber Command on the barge installations when 194 bombers were involved. Of these, 187 crews reported that their mission was successful. Of this number, only one Hampden was lost while another was lost on a separate mine laying mission. [1]

With the events of September 15th still fresh when the Luftwaffe suffered tremendous losses, and the weather that was by now deteriorating and the prospect that no further improvement could be seen in the foreseeable future, Hitler formally announces that 'under the present circumstances it is not possible to contemplate any invasion plans against England.' The invasion was now postponed indefinitely and there would be no further discussion on the matter until the spring when the weather conditions would more suited to any implementation of an invasion. Of course, this is not known in England although as to whether any message was intercepted by British Intelligence or Fighter Command has never been mentioned or recorded.

Plans were put into place where the majority of German troops, that had been placed in readiness for an invasion of Britain, were now given fresh orders and were posted to alternative fronts. Most of them were to go towards the east in preparation for "Operation Barbarosa" that was to take place the following year, some had been sent to Crete while the remaining troops dismantled all the barges at the various ports along the Channel coast.

But although all plans now had been postponed, that was not say that hostilities against Britain were to cease. Air attacks were to continue, especially at night. The regular daylight sortie was still to occur which kept Fighter Command busy, but the continuous bombing of British cities and towns was to achieve nothing, except that Hitler hoped that it would demoralize the people. But in actual effect it had the opposite. The the Luftwaffe bombed Britain, the stronger the people became. They were true to their word, ".....they can bomb us as much as they like, they can come over night after night but the will never, never break our spirit."

Inclement weather conditions in the evening, curtailed many German operations although scattered attacks did occur. Mine laying continued along the coastline, Northumberland and County Durham were bombed although no serious damage was reported. Liverpool prepared for night raids and many sirens sounded, but it appears that enemy aircraft kept well out into the Irish Sea as no attack was made on the city. A formation of German bombers was detected off the Welsh coast at 1950hrs and appeared to be heading for the port of Liverpool, but they were lost and there was no record of them reaching Liverpool. The London area came under warning signals at 1955hrs and a number of separate raids on the capital commenced at 2100hrs, and  damage was done at Heston aerodrome in Middlesex when bombs destroyed a hangar and a number of buildings. Thirteen aircraft were damaged, some seriously. These included Spitfires of the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, a Wellington bomber that was 'just visiting' and the famous Lockheed 12A that was used by the famous war photographer Sidney Cotton. In London, a bomb exploded at the entrance to a large air raid shelter in the borough of Tottenham and estimates put the casualty count at about 70. Bombs fell at Edmonton, Golders Green and Willesden, but damage was not serious.

By 2100hrs, much of the heavy cloud cover either thinned out or cleared, especially in the North Wales and north west coast of England and a number of enemy aircraft were spotted. Most came under AA gunfire, but there were no reports of any of the bombers being brought down.

The weather seriously hampered Bomber Commands operations. Only a handful of Blenheims left for a raid on Dunkirk Harbour bombing German shipping and buildings.

In general, it was a day of spasmodic and scattered raids, quite often only consisting of a single German bomber. The weather conditions must have contributed to the fact that no major operation was conducted by the Luftwaffe. Compared to the heavy activity of previous days, Fighter Command took the advantage of moving some of those squadrons that had been under intense pressure over the last few weeks to quieter pastures.
234 Squadron that had been in the thick of things while at Middle Wallop and had earlier been moved to Warmwell, now were relaxed to St Eval who were exchanged for 238 Squadron who were sent to Middle Wallop. 610 Squadron were moved from Croydon to Acklington.

CASUALTIES:

It was just the second time during the battle that Fighter Command did not suffer any casualties. True that Britain did not have any with the exception that one aircraft of 257 Squadron Debden suffered engine failure while on convoy patrol but landed safely. But the Luftwaffe did sustain a number of casualties.

Excluding about six Luftwaffe bombers that crashed on landing on internal flights or crashed on take off, there were a number of them that crashed after being involved in operations against the RAF. One Ju88 of 4(F)/121 had to make a forced landing at Oakington aerodrome due to engine failure while on a photo-reconnaissence flight and was involved with British fighters and its crew captured. Another Ju88 of 5(F)/122 was involved in a British fighter attack and had to return to base carrying one dead and one seriously injured crewmember. A Do17 of 7/KG2 was attacked by Spitfires over southern England and although it managed to return to France it crashed. Another Do17 of 2/KG3 was believed to have suffered damage from AA gunfire and crashed on landing causing minor damage to the aircraft. A Ju88 was shot down by fighters over London with all the crew either killed or missing. A He111 of 4/KG4 was pursued by Hurricanes over the Thames Estuary and was last seen heading out towards the North Sea and is presumed to have crashed into the sea. The crew of a He111 were captured after their aircraft was brought down by AA gunfire near Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire. All these claims have been checked ands many of them are also recorded in Winston Ramsey's Battle of Britain - Then and Now Vol 5

In Germany, Hitler formally ordered the assembly of the invasion fleet to be stopped, and the shipping in the Channel ports to be dispersed ' so that the loss of shipping space caused by enemy air attacks may be reduced to a minimum'. [2]

Of course this news does not reach Britain, they remained unaware of the situation. But what was making news in Germany, was the headlines in most of the German newspapers. They accused RAF Bomber Command of murduring 21 deficient children at Bethel and stated that this bloody act is cause for revenge. Yet these same newspapers drowned in thier own glee in reporting that German bombers had attacked London with devastating results killing thousands of civillians which included hundreds of children. Another newspaper, The Diplo stated that Germany is waging war with clean weapons and in a chivalrous manner. It must be pointed out that these are written by the newspapers and edited by the German Foreign Office and are NOT of public opinion. [3]

[1] Middlebrook & Everitt Bomber Command War Diaries Midland 1996 p84
[2] Wood & Dempster The Narrow Margin Magraw-Hill 1961 p360
[3] William L.Shirer Berlin Diary 1934-1941 PRC 1997 p218



The Battle of Britain - 1940 website Battle of Britain Historical Society 2007