The first British pilots are shot down in the 'Battle of Barking Creek'

From the Operations log of No.74 Squadron RAF

Hornchurch 6.9.39
0735
Twelve Spitfire aircraft (6 of ‘A’ flt and 6 of ‘B’ flt) ordered to intercept enemy air raid which turned out to be a friendly formation of Hurricanes of No. 56 Squadron, North Weald. P/O BYRNE and a and P/O FREEBORN opened fire on two Hurricanes thinking they were Hostile Escort Fighters. Both Hurricanes were brought down. One pilot P/O HULTON-HARROP, was killed. Other pilot was uninjured. No enemy aircraft were sighted.

See TNA AIR 50/32

Byrne and Freeborn were subsequently acquitted of any wrong doing at a Court Martial held at Hendon on the 17th October. The record of proceedings at the Court Martial does not appear to have survived.

See also North Weald Airfield Museum.

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