Air attacks still aimed at convoys off Britain

HMS Boreas, bombed and seriously damaged on the 25th July 1940.
Image by former crew member Edward Wallace

At noon on the 25th July enemy bombers protected by fighters launched a large-scale operation against Dover. Waves of as many as fifty aircraft continued to attack for seven and a half hours. Severe damage was prevented by our fighters who successfully intercepted and inflicted casualties of twenty-one aircraft confirmed, with a further twelve probable. Seven of our fighters were lost. Three additional enemy casualties are claimed from anti-aircraft fire.

About 1630 on the 25th July, British aircraft on patrol sighted nine or ten enemy E-boats near Cape Gris Nez which were proceeding to attack the westbound Coastal Convoy, then approaching Dungeness and already being repeatedly attacked by enemy aircraft.

H.M. Destroyers Brilliant and Boreas and two British M.T.Bs. were sent to intercept and engage the enemy. On sighting our destroyers the enemy retired under cover of a smoke screen. They were engaged for 15 minutes, but with unknown results. The destroyers came under the fire of enemy shore batteries, and were also twice heavily attacked by dive-bombers while withdrawing.

The Boreas was damaged in both bombing attacks, and had 15 killed and 29 wounded, 16 seriously. The Brilliant received a direct hit on the quarter deck in the second attack, but had no casualties. Both ships were towed by tugs back to Dover.

See TNA CAB/66/10/29

Extracts from the Weekly Resume of the NAVAL, MILITARY AND AIR SITUATION up to 12 noon July 25th, 1940, as reported to the War Cabinet:


General Review.

35. Weather has again interfered with operations throughout the week. The activity of our day-bombers has been severely restricted, though extensive operations have been possible at night and have been governed by the same policy as those of last week, apparently with considerable success. Fighter operations have increased in intensity and have produced satisfactory results.

36. The scale of air attack on this country has again tended to decrease during the week and has almost exclusively consisted of attacks on convoys by large mixed formations of bombers and fighters. These attacks were not always developed or pressed home. Enemy reconnaissance and mine-laying operations have been at a high level and his transport aircraft have again been busy throughout the week.