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Battle of Britain campaign diaries

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Saturday 27 July 1940

 

  • Weather: Fair Straits, cloudy in Channel. Slight rain in the midlands and the North Sea.
  • Day: Raids on shipping and naval units in Dover harbour and Straits.
  • Night: Attacks on south-west England.

Enemy action by day

During the afternoon, several raids attacked shipping and naval units in the Straits and in Dover harbour. Two enemy aircraft were shot down and we lost one Hurricane.

One raid approaching a convoy off Swanage was intercepted and driven back, two enemy aircraft being shot down and one Spitfire missing. Other raids approaching shipping and ports on the South Coast retired before our fighters could intercept.

North and North-East

Five raids of one aircraft each were reported off the east coast of Scotland and the Orkneys.

South and West

During the day, six raids approached the South Coast between Selsey Bill and Portland. One of these, which was attempting to attack a convoy off Swanage, was intercepted and driven off. One Me109 (confirmed) and one Ju87 (confirmed) was shot down by Hurricanes of Nos. 145 and 238 Squadrons respectively. The other raids retired before fighters could intercept.

Enemy aircraft made a reconnaissance of Belfast, Isle of Man and the area south-west of Anglesey to Cardiff.

Spitfires of No 234 Squadron shot down one Ju88 (unconfirmed) off Land's End.

Dover Area

At 1430 hours, ten Me109s which had been patrolling the Calais area, crossed the Straits and dropped bombs which caused damage to dock equipment. Fighters chased the enemy aircraft towards France but did not make contact.

At 1602 hours, one raid of 6+ flew towards Dungeness, turned west and bombed a steamer (which was damaged) off Sandgate.

At 1730 hours, three Squadrons were sent up to patrol the Dover area and No 41 Squadron shot down one He113 (confirmed) and No 615 Squadron shot down one He59. No 501 Squadron lost one Hurricane.

Off East Anglia

At 0930 hours, one raid attacked a convoy off Lowestoft. Our fighters failed to intercept.

At 1706 hours, a convoy and naval units off Orfordness were attacked. RDF lost track of this raid and it was not intercepted.

Approximately six other raids approached the east and south-east coasts but did not penetrate inland.

By night

At 2230 hours, about 20 enemy aircraft were plotted out of Cherbourg and the Channel Islands to Cornwall and other western counties as far as Anglesey, Bala, Kidwelly, Upton-on-Severn, west of Gloucester, Cardiff and Bristol area. In some instances fighters were despatched but no interceptions are reported.

Between 2348 and 0130 hours, four raids approached the coast near St Abb's Head - apparently minelaying - and went north as far as the Firth of Tay where explosions were heard. Three further raids appeared to carry out minelaying from the Tay to Kinnaird's Head.

By 0300 hours, most of the raiders had returned from the west to northern France, but not all landed in the Cherbourg area.

Statistics

Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours, 27 July 1940

  • Blenheim - 63
  • Spitfire - 242
  • Hurricane - 331
  • Defiant - 24
  • Gladiator - 8 (1 Flight only)
  • Total - 668

Casualties:

  • Enemy: Fighters - 2 confirmed; Bombers - 1 confirmed 1 unconfirmed. 1 seaplane also confirmed as shot down.
  • Own: 1 Spitfire, 1 Hurricane.

Patrols:

  • 141 patrols despatched involving 522 aircraft.

Balloons:

  • Flying - 1274 Casualties - 70.

Aerodromes:

  • Abbotsinch, Sherburn and Hartlepool serviceable by day only.
  • Evanton is unserviceable.

Organisation:

  • No 604 Squadron moved from Gravesend to Middle Wallop.

Air Intelligence Reports

  • None.

Home Security Reports

  • 26th/27th July 1940.
  • General Summary
  • With reference to yesterday's report, it is now established that no bombs were dropped at Poole on July 26th.
  • Bombs were dropped in many localities during the early hours of the morning of July 27th, but casualties and damage reported are negligible, the majority of bombs falling in open country.
  • Detailed Summary
  • Early on July 27th, bombs were dropped near Faversham (Kent), in the Wimborne and Dorchester sections of Dorset and at Weymouth, without any damage being reported.
  • Bombs were also dropped at Elie, Kinglassie and Falkland in Fifeshire and at North Berwick.
  • In all, reports of bomb droppings were received from nearly thirty points but only one slight casualty has been reported.
  • An unexploded bomb at Westerleigh (Gloucester) has now been established as a petrol bomb.
  • All the above incidents occurred during the early hours of the morning, and the remainder of the day of July 27th has been quiet.
  • Late at night on the 27th of July and early in the morning of the 28th July, bombs were dropped at Swansea Docks, Upton-upon-Severn and Kidwelly (Carmarthen). No damage has been reported except at Swansea where a railway line was displaced.

The Ju88 was fast, manoeuvrable and well armoured making it a difficult target. A Hurricane was shot down today by the gunners on a Ju88, before the same aircraft, already damaged, was shot down by a training Harvard armed with a single .303 machine gun! City and industrial defences were well prepared by this time, Balloon Command had over 1500 barrage balloons on strength, such as these over London Once a raid was over land, the RDF Chain Home stations could no longer plot the raid. The Royal Observer Corps tracked the raids visually and reported to the Sector Control Rooms, from posts such as this Pilots of 601 Auxiliary Squadron, who took part in today's action, intercepting a raid off the Isle of Wight, shooting down a 109 for the loss of a Hurricane The He113 did not in fact exist, the type being renumbered He100 early in its development. Because the few that were built were used extensively in propaganda exercises, such as in this picture with spurious unit markings, it was assumed they were in large scale service, indeed one was claimed in action today by 41 Squadron, pictured here in 1939 in earlySpitfire Mk1s wearing the code 'PN', later they were re-coded 'EB'

 

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