A quiet week in the air over Britain

1st April 1942: A quiet week in the air over Britain

Britain had seen the end of the worst of the Blitz in May 1941 but had endured much incidental bombing since then, with occasional hit and run bombers causing significant casualties. This week proved to be exceptionally quiet, unusually there were no fatalities.




RAF bomb the medieval city of Lubeck

29th March 1942: RAF bomb the medieval city of Lubeck

The main object of the attack was to learn to what extent a first wave of aircraft could guide a second wave to the aiming point by starting a conflagration: I ordered a half an hour interval between the two waves in order to allow the fires to get a good hold before the second wave arrived. In all, 234 aircraft were dispatched and dropped 144 tons of incendiaries and 160 tons of high explosives.




Heaviest bombing raid on Malta yet

21st March 1942: Attack on Malta intensifies

The heaviest attack which has yet been delivered against Malta was made on the 21st March, when Takali aerodrome was the main objective. A mixed force of nearly 220 enemy aircraft participated in this raid, and great devastation was caused among buildings, and a reservoir was destroyed. During the day small reinforcements of Spitfires and Blenheims reached the island.




First Lancaster bombing raid

10th March 1942: First Lancaster bombing raid

The principal target on three nights was Krupps’ Works at Essen, a total of 336 aircraft dropping 397 tons of H.E. bombs (including 37 of 4,000 lbs.) and nearly 78,000 incendiaries. Our bombers included Lancasters, which were taking part for the first time in offensive operations. Fifteen of our aircraft are missing.




The RAF’s largest bombing raid so far – on Paris

3rd March 1942: The RAF’s largest bombing raid so far – on Paris Renault

The Renault factory, in the town of Boulogne-Billancourt just west of the centre of Paris, was making an estimated 18,000 lorries a year for the German forces. 235 aircraft – 89 Wellingtons, 48 Hampdens, 29 Stirlings, 26 Manchesters, 23 Whitleys, 20 Halifaxes – were dispatched in 3 waves, the crews of the leading wave being selected for their experience.




‘Australia’s Pearl Harbour’ – the bombing of Darwin

19th February 1942: ‘Australia’s Pearl Harbour’ – the bombing of Darwin

After all the noise had gone and everything was quiet it was great fun talking about how we felt while the raid was on. Well, I for one had the wind up properly, but after it was over I was fine again but while it was on I hugged the ground pretty close.




Daylight raid on Lowestoft kills 63

One of the worst raids on Lowestoft took place on the afternoon of 13 January 1942 the day before we were to return to school after the Christmas holiday. Some of our pupils were having tea in a café when four explosive bombs were dropped on the main shopping centre. Three of our pupils were killed including a friend from my class. It was a sad beginning to the term.




Daylight raid on the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau

Heavy flak burst observed under port wing by other aircraft in formation. Aircraft repeatedly hit. Port inner engine failed immediately after leaving target, feathered with difficulty. Shortly afterwards starboard outer engine failed and at 1241 hrs a Glycol leak developed in the same eingine, followed by a small fire and flames were observed in the cowling. The same engine totally failed about 1250 hrs.




Only a few incidents of bombing this week

Apart from slight interference with railway and utility services, damage has been confined to private property. The most serious incidents occurred on the night of the 12th/13th, when several houses were demolished in Manchester, Clayton, Denton and Oldham. Casualties for the week ending 0600 the 15th October are estimated at 61 killed and 69 seriously injured.




South Shields bombed

Last night’s do was much worse than Tuesday’s. St Bede’s junior school (South Shields) got a direct hit, Laygate school is also wrecked, Croftons, Woolworths and Black’s Regal are done for and Binns is badly damaged. The patrons of Black’s Regal rushed to the public shelter in the market place and shortly afterwards the shelter got a direct hit. I was told there were 80 killed in there alone….. One of the jerries shot down three barrage balloons. He got the three in line and pumped tracer bullets into them.