Battle of Britain Campaign Diary

Date: 2nd September 1940

  • Weather: Continuing fine and warm. Early-morning mist and fog patches.
  • Day: Once again, four main phases of airfield attacks.
  • Night: Scattered raids on Liverpool, the Midlands and South Wales.

Enemy action by day

The enemy's effort consisted mainly of five attacks in the East Kent - Thames Estuary area and during the course of those operations Fighter Squadrons destroyed 41 enemy aircraft (plus 18 probable and 32 damaged). Our casualties were 20 aircraft and 10 pilots killed or missing. Aerodromes appeared to be the targets.

North and East

Little activity took place. Four reconnaissance flights were made off the Norfolk Coast by single aircraft flying at about 10,000 feet between 1629 and 2055 hours.

South East

At 0750 and 0752 hours the Coast was crossed at Dover and Lympne by forty and thirty aircraft respectively at 20,000 feet while a small formation came in at Deal at 8,000 feet. The raids split inland and proceeded to Eastchurch, North Weald, Ochford and Biggin Hill. A further raid of thirty aircraft flying at 10,000 feet was intercepted near Hawkinge and turned back. Seven squadrons were detailed for this attack and inflicted casualties.

At 1220 hours two waves of 12+ and 30+ aircraft crossed the Coast at Folkestone and North Foreland and flew into the Estuary. Other raids penetrated to Maidstone. The battle was confined to East Kent from Rye to Shoeburyness. About one hundred aircraft were involved and dispersal to France took place at 1330 hour. Several enemy aircraft were shot down. Strong hostile formations continued to cruise in the Straits for about an hour.

At 1612 hours raids crossed the Coast at points North of Dungeness and Deal. One raid flew towards Biggin Hill and the remainder to the Thames Estuary and Essex flying over Hornchurch, North Weald and Colchester to Harwich. Some thirty enemy aircraft appeared to concentrate 10 miles South East of Central London where they turned back. In all some hundred aircraft took part. Four Fighter squadrons were in the air and successful interceptions were made.

Immediately after the above attackers had returned to France further raids amounting to seventy aircraft came in over Sheppey, Thames Estuary and East Kent at 1720 hours. This attack was of short duration and ended at 1750 hours.

At 1800 hours other raids totalling eighty enemy aircraft approached the Coast between North Foreland and Dungeness. They did not penetrate inland and after patrolling the Coast returned to France at 1830 hours. Strong patrols were maintained on the French side of the Channel.

West

At 1045 hours a single aircraft made a reconnaissance over South Wales and at 1400 hours one raid of two aircraft was plotted in the Bristol Channel.

By night

Enemy activity was extensive and was not so confined to specific areas as on recent nights. A feature was the early termination (0130 hours) of all the main attacks.

By dusk the enemy was operating along the East Coast, Wash to Tyne (mostly believed to be mine-laying), over Derby, in the Liverpool and in the Barrow-in-Furness areas. From 2200 to 0030 hours a steady stream of raids crossed the Coast between Beachy Head and Swanage and flew to the industrial Midlands as far as Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Many enemy aircraft passed to and from these areas over London Central. Others flew in over the Wash. The number of raids towards South Wales was rather less than recently. Off North East Scotland there was increased activity and a number of raids were plotted between Rattray Head and as far north as Scapa. A convoy off Kinnairds Head called for help at 2240 hours.


Statistics

Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours, 2nd September 1940

  • Blenheim - 60
  • Spitfire - 204
  • Hurricane - 398
  • Defiant - 21
  • Gladiator - 7
  • Total - 690

Casualties:

Enemy Losses
By Fighters
Destroyed Probable Damaged
19 Me109 8 Me109 11 Me109
8 Me110 5 Me110 8 Me110
2 He111 1 He111 2 He111
5 Do17 1 Do17 7 Do17
3 Do215 3 Do215 3 Do215
    1 He113
37 18 32
By Anti-Aircraft
Destroyed Probable Damaged
1 Me109    
3 Do17    
4    
  • Own:
    • 20 aircraft with 10 pilots killed or missing.

Patrols:

  • Own
    • During the night of 1st/2nd September - 29 patrols involving 29 sorties.
    • During the day of 2nd September - 100 patrols involving 741 sorties.
  • Enemy
    • It is estimated that about 100 enemy aircraft operated over Great Britain during the night 1st/2nd September and 850 during the day of 2nd September.

Balloons:

  • No reports.

Aerodromes:

  • Biggin Hill day landing lanes available only.

Attacks on Aerodromes

  • Detling, Eastchurch, Hornchurch.

Organisation:

  • No 263 Squadron has moved from Turnhouse to Drem. 'A' flight non-operational. 'B' flight operational.

Home Security Reports

  • Date: 2nd September 1940

    • General Summary
      • Enemy aircraft activity was again centred over South East England and the Thames Estuary during the day, some aircraft reaching the London area.
      • At about 2200 hours extensive activity was renewed and the following areas were visited: South Wales, London, the Midlands, as far as Liverpool in the North West. There was also activity along the North East Coast from the Wash to North East Scotland.

    • Detailed Summary

      • RAF Stations
        • Date: 1st September 1940
          • Subsequent information states that there is no confirmation of bombs having been dropped on Porthcawl Aerodrome on 1st September.
        • Date: 2nd September 1940
          • At 1328 hours, dive bombers attacked Detling Aerodrome.
          • Gravesend Aerodrome was attacked at 0805 hours, when 11 HE bombs were dropped causing damage to gas, electricity and telephone services.
          • There were two attacks on Eastchurch Aerodrome, the first taking place at 1233 hours, and the second at 1726 hours. No damage is reported as resulting from the first raid but later reports state that one runway only is usable with care by day, the rest of the aerodrome being unserviceable.
          • A formation of enemy aircraft (Do17) bombed Hornchurch Aerodrome at 1640 hours on 2nd September. Only six bombs fell on the landing ground causing no damage to buildings or personnel. But there was some damage (extent unknown) suffered by the AA Brigade Headquarters nearby.
          • It is reported that a bomb similar in appearance to an oil drum, believed to be a 100 kilo incendiary bomb fitted with air pressure with direct control action was dropped near Catterick Aerodrome at 2027 hours.

      • Elsewhere
        • Date: 2nd September 1940
          • Llandarcy: Further information received shows that no damage was done to the Naval oil tanks but that five commercial tanks, each holding 10,000 tons and belonging to the National Oil Refineries Ltd. are being left to burn out, which it is estimated will take some considerable time. The refinery works are closed down.
          • Cuxton: At 1630 hours on 2nd September an HE bomb was dropped on the drawing offices of Shorts Aircraft works.
          • Tilbury: At 1100 hours on 2nd September, HE bombs were dropped on the New Dry Dock causing damage to the premises of the London Graving Dock Company and Messrs. Green and Silly Wears. No 17 Shed has been demolished and bombs fell on the other sheds, buildings and the riverside station and yard.
          • Maidstone: severe Bombing took place at about 1300 hours on 2nd September, causing considerable damage to house property and 25 families have been evacuated. The morale of the town is reported as being unimpaired.
          • Swansea: During the night of 1st/2nd September extensive bombing was carried out over the town when 134 HE and a large number of incendiary bombs were dropped, causing considerable damage and many fires. It is further reported that the new Great Western Railway station was seriously damaged, necessitating the diversion of traffic. Four wheat warehouses belonging to the Weaver Flour Mill Co. were damaged, two being completely gutted, the loss of stock is reported to be 8,000 tons. Incendiary bombs also fell on the Imperial Chemicals Industries factory at Upper Bank, where there was little damage, but a hold up in production of twelve hours. Many casualties resulted from this raid.
          • Blyth: Fires were caused at the Import Dock at 2310 hours on the 2nd September due to incendiary bombs. All fires were extinguished.

    • Casualties on the Ground by Enemy Action:
      • To RAF Personnel - Nil killed, Nil injured.
      • To others - 51 killed, 247 injured.

Images
The Filter Room at Fighter Command Headquarters, Bentley Priory. All the 
information from the RDF chain, the Observer Corps and the RF stations was fed through this room before being passed 
to Sector level A 247 Squadron was one of two units operating Gladiators in the Battle of Britain. 
804 Squadron, a Fleet Air Arm Squadron, was the other

 

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Date Last Updated : Wednesday, February 16, 2005 0:27 AM

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