Coastal Command’s successful week

Aircrew and ground staff from RCAF No. 407 'Demon' Squadron enjoy a tea break next to their Hudson aircraft on 2nd November 1941.

Successful attacks on shipping off the Dutch coast may have prompted these publicity shots of the first RCAF Coastal Command Squadron. No 407 ‘Demon’ Squadron had been equipped with Hudson aircraft in September and flew ‘rover’ patrols over the North Sea, attacking German merchant shipping when they found them. The urgent need to resupply the Eastern front meant that the Germans were making more use of coastal transport to ship munitions to the Baltic ports and the railheads to the east.

This was dangerous work. No. 407 Squadron lost six crews on these operations before the end of the year.

Coastal Operations.

Coastal Command flew 231 patrols (452 sorties) and provided 47 convoy escorts (86 additional sorties). Shipping protection patrols by Fighter Command totalled 593 (1,340 sorties).

Aircraft of the three Commands harassed enemy shipping both by day and at night. Particularly outstanding results were obtained on the night of the 31st October/1st November, when aircraft of Coastal Command reported hits on 12 ships totalling approximately 40,000 tons.

These consisted of a tanker and six merchant vessels (including the Reichenfels – 1,800 tons — claimed as sunk) off the Frisian Islands and four merchant vessels and a Flack-ship off the Norwegian coast. In these operations we lost only one aircraft.

On other occasions attacks with bombs, cannon or machine-gun fire were made on 19 ships of an estimated total tonnage of 60,000,

From the Air Situation Report for the week as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/19/32.

Pilot Officer J.F.' Jimmy' Codville gives the 'V for Victory' sign in the cockpit of his Hudson - he had taken part in the successful attack off the Dutch coast the day before.
He was killed on operations on the 5th November.

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