Fifty two “Intruder” sorties were flown against railway targets and aerodromes in enemy-occupied territory; two aircraft are missing.
From the Home Security Situation Report for the week, as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/28/22
The RAF were now mounting numerous small raids throughout occupied Europe to keep the air defences on a state of constant alert. Sometimes these were mounted as diversions to large scale raids by the main Bomber Command force. On other occasions single aircraft were despatched simply to set off the air raid sirens and disturb the sleep of the residents and munitions workers. Berlin was a particular target for this purpose.
The new De Havilland Mosquito was ideally suited to these raids, its speed usually enabled it to evade enemy fighters. Yet there were other hazards when it operated on low level raids. Flight Lieutenants Tommy Broom and E. A. Costello-Brown were one of three crews from 105 Squadron that mounted an attack on 25th August 1942:
We took off from Horsham St Faith at 7.30 p.m. and went in formation to the Dutch Island at the mouth of the Scheldt where we split up and proceeded individually. Not long after crossing the coast and the islands, we were very low and brushed the tops of the trees.
A few minutes later after crossing another small wood, an electricity pylon suddenly loomed in front of us. We pulled up but the starboard engine struck the pylon at its top. Immediately the engine and the propeller stopped. The action of hitting the pylon jammed the controls.
We were eighty feet up and there was nothing we could do. We were doing about 250 mph and just had to wait until we hit the ground. I said to Costello-Bowen, ‘Well this is it’.
It’s a funny thing, but neither of us was worried and we were very calm, although death stared us in the face. We lost height steadily and crossed a couple of fields. Then the pinewoods loomed up in front. We were bound to crash into them – this was about half a minute after hitting the pylon.
Just before we hit I instinctively released my safety harness; why I don’t know. Then we hit and everything went black; no physical pain, just darkness and I felt myself rolling over and over like a ball. I must have been unconscious for a time. [They had crashed in Paaltjesdreef Wood at Westmalle in the Belgian hamlet of Blauwhoeve].
When I awoke I was covered in branches and bits of aeroplane and there was a strong smell of petrol. I was amazed I had no injuries; not even a scratch. I must have been flung out of the top of the cockpit as I was right in the front with the nose of the aircraft. It was amazing that the aircraft did not catch fire or the bombs explode. The nose of the aircraft must have passed between two trees. How lucky can you be?
My next thought was Costello-Bowen. Although it was nearly dark, I found him in some wreckage about twenty yards away. He was unconscious and looked in poor shape. The rudder pedals had torn off both his shoes. After talking and patting his face for a few moments, he finally awoke. I lifted him up and half carried him about 400 yards away, where we both sat down. He gradually recovered and we were soon talking. We both felt very despondent at the thought of being made prisoners of war.
See Martin Bowman: The Men Who Flew the Mosquito which has the remarkable story of how they made it back to Gibraltar on 21st September 1942, after crossing crossing France and Spain with one of the ‘escape lines’ run by the Belgian (see comments below) and French Resistance.