Air attacks on Britain much reduced

Pilots from No.611 Squadron based at Hornchurch in July 1941. From left - Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock, a Battle of Britain ace with 24 confirmed kills, lost on operations on 3rd August, Pilot Officer Wilfred Duncan-Smith (later father of Ian the Conservative politician), Flying Officer Peter Dexter, lost in a collision in mid July, and Sergeant William Gilmour.

United Kingdom.

Fighter Command flew 1,119 patrols, involving 4,513 sorties, by day, and 691 patrols, involving 912 sorties, by night. The latter total includes dusk and dawn patrols. The bulk of our fighter effort by day is accounted for by offensive sweeps and bomber escorts over Northern France, and by shipping protection patrols.

The German effort by day was again very small and only five reconnaissance aircraft were plotted inland, though on two days a few fighters crossed the coast. Shipping and weather reconnaissance flights were at the same low level as last week.

Of the week’s German Air Force casualties, only two occurred over this country — a Ju. 88 which crashed from an unknown cause in Cornwall and an Me. 109 which our fighters destroyed off the Isle of Wight.

At night, about 340 long-range bombers and bomber-reconnaissance aircraft operated, compared with 195 last week. On the nights of the 4th/5th and 8th/9th, the Midlands appeared to be the principal objective and, on other nights, small concentrations attacked Plymouth, Southampton and Yarmouth.

On four nights, the main activity was armed reconnaissance of shipping. About sixty aircraft are suspected of minelaying, and night fighters operated on five nights over our eastern aerodromes, but without success. Fighters accounted for eighteen of the 21 German aircraft destroyed at night during the week.

By Day
The only daylight incident of the week occurred at Land’s End, on 3rd July, when an enemy aircraft dropped bombs which failed to explode. This aircraft then crashed.

By Night.

Enemy bombing was somewhat heavier than in previous weeks and included a sharp attack on Southampton (7th/8th July) and two short attacks on Great Yarmouth (6th/7th and 8th/9th July).

No bombs were dropped on the night of the 3rd/4th. On other nights of the week a few bombs fell in Birmingham, Coventry, Bristol, Plymouth, Aberdeen and several places in East Anglia, without causing serious damage or many casualties.

Casualties for the week ending 0600, 9th July, are estimated at 78 killed and 67 seriously, injured.

From the Air and Home Security Situation Reports for the week, as reported to the War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/17/33

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