The Luftwaffe’s relentless assault on Britain, begun on 7th September, continued unabated. It was now evident that London and other major cities would have to absorb widespread destruction and a heavy tide of deaths. There was no end in sight. Equally there was no sign at all that Hitler was any closer to bringing Britain to her knees, forcing her to sue for peace.
From the weekly Resume of the Naval Military and Air Situation for the week up 17th October 1940, as reported to the War Cabinet:
36. Daylight attacks consisted mainly of sweeps over South-Eastern England, for which bomb-carrying fighters were increasingly employed; on the 13th, each of the four raids plotted was entirely composed of fighters.
37. Night attacks increased considerably in intensity and relays of aircraft, singly or in groups, were active over the country from dusk to dawn, the scale of attack usually diminishing after midnight. On the 15th October the enemy reverted to the dropping of parachute mines. New devices reported were a combined incendiary and explosive bomb, and large balloons for the distribution of leaflets.
38. About three-quarters of the night attacks were directed against London, but bombs were also scattered over rural districts, particularly in the Home Counties. In the Provinces, Liverpool, Birmingham, Coventry and Bristol suffered comparatively heavy attacks. On the 15th-16th the number of enemy aircraft operating over Great Britain was the highest experienced at night, some 450 long-range bombers being employed.
Throughout the week railway communications seem to have received particular attention, and seventeen Royal Air Force stations were attacked, though with negligible results. Enemy reconnaissance activity was continued on the same scale as before.
39. During the week Fighter Command flew an average of 35 sorties each night and a total of 812 patrols, involving 4,005 sorties by day… Two enemy aircraft were shot down by our fighters on the night of the 15th-16th, and at least two more were destroyed the following night.
68. Damage to civilian property and public buildings has been widespread in London and in other areas. A feature of the damage has been the number of huildings of national importance which have been affected. St. Pauls and the cathedrals of Canterbury and Coventry must take first place. In London the Royal Courts of Justice, the National Gallery, Kensington Palace, St. James’ Church, Piccadilly, the Natural History Museum, the Treasury, the War Office, No. 10 Downing Street, have all suffered damage.
69. The south-east coast towns have again suffered damage to civilian property, especially Hastings. Other parts of Kent, Surrey and Essex have sustained considerable damage and there has been damage to residential property in Liverpool, Manchester, Coventry, Luton, Birmingham and Middlesbrough.
70. The approximate figures for the week ending 0600 hours, 16th October, are 1,567 killed and 4,634 injured. These figures include the estimated figures of 1,380 killed and 3,729 injured in London.
See TNA CAB/66/13/3