The second of the RAF’s four engined bombers made its first bombing mission on the 11th, after the Stirling had debuted in February. The Lancaster was still under development following its maiden flight.
No. 35 Squadron … flew its first sorties on Halifaxes on the night of 11/12th March 1941, when the target was Le Havre. Six aircraft were despatched, four of which successfully attacked the primary target whilst another, unable to see either the primary or the alternative target (Boulogne), bombed Dieppe instead. The sixth aircraft, failing to see the target even after repeated circuits and having insufficient fuel to allow it to proceed to the alternative, jettisoned its bombs in the Channel.
Unfortunately, one of the aircraft which had bombed Le Havre was mistaken for an enemy aircraft on the return journey and was shot down in flames at Normandy, Surrey, by one of our own night fighters. Only two members of the crew – the pilot and the flight engineer – escaped by parachute and survived.
See No. 35 Squadron RAF history.