Category Archives: Non classé

19 June 1940

Nine pilots take off from Kenley at 6:45 to join Hawkinge Airfield. They leave at 08:00 for an offensive reconnaissance of Abbeville, Flixecourt, Poix, Rouan and Dieppe. While flying over Rouan, pilots note the presence of about 45 German aircraft on the airfield. Returning to Hawkinge at 9:45 Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll was ordered to remain on site to provide an escort for twelve Bristol Blenheims from 12:55. The bombing seems, however, missed since it is indicated that only a section of the bombers touches the Dieppe aerodrome. At the same time, Flying Officer Anthony Eyre is forced to a forced landing in Wilmington following a fuel failure. If the pilot is not injured, the Hawker Hurricane Mk I P2793 is badly damaged.[1] The remaining eight No.615 Squadron aircraft land at 15:55. Flight time : 04:45 hours.

In parallel, three pilots participate in air combat training over the Sutton Bridge range, while six hours of night flying training are conducted.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2793) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P2578) ; Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (P2764) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) ; Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (P3390) ; Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (L1584) ; Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963).

Losses : Hawker Hurricane Mk I P2793 (Flying Officer Anthony Eyre) : severely damaged on landing at Wilmington (fuel failure).


[1] The damage seems, however, limited since the aircraft return from 27 June  1940.

18 June 1940 : reinforcement

On 16 June, a message arrives to indicate that if the squadron remains available for operations over France, it must organize a series of training to participate in the defense of British territory within Fighter Command. The pilots are, therefore, gradually being dispatched to No. 11 (RAF) Group for an upgrade on radio and radar procedures for bomber interceptions.

In addition, three new pilots arrive on June 18th from No.5 (RAF) Flying Training School. They are Pilot Officer Sydney J. Madle [1] and Sergeant Derrick W. Halton [2] and Olivier V. Houghton [3]. The presence of the latter will be very short since he will be transferred, on 10 July, to No.32 (RAF) Squadron.


[1] Sydney James Madle. Born on 13 January 1921, in Strood (Kent), he was educated at Sir Joseph Williamson Mathematical School before working for South Eastern Electricity in Rochester. He joined the RAFVR in January 1939 and trained at No.23 (RAF) Elementary & Reserve Training Flying Training School and No.5 (RAF) Flying Training School. He joined No.615 Squadron on 18 June 1940.

Pilot Officer Sydney J. Madle

[2] Derrick Wilson Halton (748212). Born in 1939. He worked as a reporter at the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, before joining the RAFVR in May 1939. After his training at No.5 (RAF) Flying Training School with the No.45 Course (11 December 1939 – 10 June 1940), he joined No.615 Squadron on 18 June 1940.

Sergeant Derrick W. Halton

[3] Oliver Vincent Houghton. Born on 19 January 1921 in Foleshill (Conventry). He worked as an aeronautical mechanic, before joining the Civil Air Guard in October 1938 and the RAFVR on 22 March 1939. He trained at No.4 (RAF) Initial Training Wings (30 October) and No.5 (RAF) Flying Training School (9 December). He joined the No.615 Squadron on 18 June 1940, but his presence was very short and he was transferred to No.32 (RAF) Squadron (10 July) and No. 501 ( RAF) Squadron (27 August). He was killed in air combat on 6 September 1940, when his Hawker Hurricane Mk I V6646 crashed near Long Beech Wood (Kent).

15 June 1940

Nine aircraft take off at 10:45 to join Hawkinge to provide air protection for a convoy from 15:30. Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3380), however, return to Kenley due to a problem with the landing gear. The remainder of the Squadron land at 18:20 after 03:00 hours of flight (including a refueling in Hawkinge).

Pilots and Aircrafts : Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Flying Officer Peter Collard (P2871) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (L1584) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (N2399) ; Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (P3380) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P3487) ; Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2793) ; Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (L1992) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (L1789).

Lossess : Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3380 (Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner) : landing gear problem.

14 June 1940

As usual, eight Hawker Hurricanes take off at 08:15 from Kenley to patrol over Abbeville – Saint-Quentin-Saint-Omer with No.111 (RAF) Squadron. The whole formation return at 9:45 on the Hawkinge aerodrome. They leave at 12:30 for a second patrol on the sector of Abbeville – Rouen before landing at Kenley at 14:25. In all, the pilots fly during 3:20 hours.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871) ; Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2963) ; Flying Officer Peter Collard (P2768) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (P2328) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (L1584) ; Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts (L1983) ; Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders (P3487) ; Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (P2801).

12 June 1940

Nine pilots take off from Kenley at 15:15 for a patrol around Saint-Valery-sur-Somme – Le Treport – Le Havre. At the end of the mission, aircrafts landed on Manston (except for two aircrafts landing at Kenley) to refuel. The entire formation resumed the patrol at 19:15 over the same sector before returning to Kenley for 20:55. The flight time is 03h30.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871) ; Pilot Officer (P2963) ; Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (P2768) ; Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (L1584) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P3487) ; Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts (L1983) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) ; Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2793).

11 June 1940

Nine Hawker Hurricane take off from Kenley at 13:30 for an offensive patrol over the Fécamp – Le Tréport area with No.111 (RAF) Squadron. A German formation is met shortly thereafter and during the ensuing fight, Flying Officer Anthony Eyre claims two Bf.109, of which one probable, about 8 km north-west of Le Havre [1]. During the confrontation one of the pilots seems to have separated since he lands at Kenley, unlike the others who land on Manston. According to Fighter Officer Anthony Eyre’s combat report:

“I am participating in a patrol with eleven No.111 (RAF) Squadron aircraft and eight of our squadron over the French coast (between Dieppe and Le Havre). I fly in position n °2 to the right of the formation. We fly at about 4,800-5,500 meters when we see what appears to be enemy aircraft. Our Squadron is quickly dispersed when the fight begins, and I find myself alone. I see, then, to the south (about 6 700 meters) the Bf 109 below me. I immediately dive on the first and shoot at about 6,000 meters. When he sees the attack, he goes into a dive and turns suddenly which allows me to touch it three more times. I then see two other Hurricanes who engage him at about 3,000 meters, while he continues towards the ground. I see, then, another Bf 109 to my left and I engage immediately. He is going on a dive, too, following my attack “[2].

As usual, it is difficult to determine the opponent for lack of more accurate documentation. However, Peter D. Cornwell [3] reports a clash between No.111 (RAF) Squadron and a Luftwaffe formation consisting of Dornier Do.17M of KG 28 and Bf 109 of 2 / JG 3 in the sector of Le Havre around 14:15. Two Bf 109 E-1 of 2./JG 3 are seriously damaged, while a third crashes between Berneval-le-Grand and Belleville-sur-Mer (Unteroffizier Lutz Uth killed). In view of Flight Lieutnant Anthony Eyre’s report, it is reasonable to assume that No.615 Squadron pilots faced the same adversary.

A second patrol is conducted from Manston, above Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, at 20:00. No special event to report and all pilots return in Kenley at 21:15. The flight time is 03:00 for the whole day.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871) ; Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) ; Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (P2768) ; Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (L1584) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P3487) ; Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts (L1983) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) ; Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2793).

Claims : Flying Officer Anthony Eyre, two Bf 109 (one probable) (2./JG 3 ?), north-west LeHavre at14h30.


[1] Note that the No.615 Squadron ORB mentions one destroyed Bf 109 (inconclusive), as well as a second Bf 109 probable and a possibly damaged Ju.87. John Foreman mentions the claim of a destroyed Bf 109 and a damaged Bf 110 (FOREMAN, John RAF Fighter Command Victory Claims of World War Two: Part One 1939 – 1940. Walton-on-Thames: Red Kite, 2003, p.86). His combat report (AIR AIR 50/175/6) reports the claim of two Bf.109 (one probable).

[2] Combat Reports. Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (11/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/6.

[3] CORNWELL, Peter D. The Battle of France, Then and Now : Six Nations Locked in Aerial Combat, September 1939 to June 1940. Old Harlow : After the Battle, 2007, p.459.

10 June 1940

Nine aircraft take off from Kenley at 11:15 to reach Tangmere. They leave at 14:00 for a new offensive patrol over France. This time, it’s Fécamp – Abbeville – Dieppe – Le Tréport. The pilots return on Kenley at 15:30. Unlike previous days, German aircraft are reported, but British pilots can not catch up with them.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders (P3487) ; Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2793) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) ; Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts (L1983) ; Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) ; Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (P2871) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (N2337) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (L1584).

9 June 1940

As the day before, nine pilots leave Kenley at 10:15, to join Tangmere to carry out an offensive patrol, with of No.111 and 601 (RAF) Squadron, above sector Le Tréport – Aumale – Poix (12h00 – 13h30). Again, one of the Hawker Hurricanes must abandon the mission due to technical issues. This time, however, the stopover is not made in France but on the Hawkinge aerodrome, from where a second patrol is carried out over the same sector in the afternoon (15:35). The remaining eight aircraft return to Kenley at 19:15. The pilots make 04:40 of flight time, once again without meeting the Luftwaffe. Visibility is reported as very poor, while pilots note large columns of smoke rising from the cities of Rouen and Beauvais.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Flying Officer Peter Collard (P2768) ; Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) ; Flying Officer John R.H. Gayner (P2871) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (N2337) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (L1584) ; Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders (P3487) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P2793) ; Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (2801).

Losses : Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3487 (Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders) : returns to Kenley as a result of a technical problem.

1 – 7 June 1940 : reorganization

At the same time, Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll is busy reorganizing No.615 Squadron at RAF Kenley Station following the various losses sustained during the May 1940 operations. Lionel M. Gaunce temporarily takes the command of A Flight with the functions of Flight Lieutnant. Pilot Officer Horace E. Horne is transferred to No.242 (RAF) Squadron on 2 June [1]. In parallel, two new pilots arrive, Pilot Officer David Evans [2] and Cecil R. Montgomery [3].

These first days of June are, then, essentially devoted to a series of training to allow the Squadron to be able to find an operational activity over France as quickly as possible. There are, also, some patrols . On 2 June, Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2871), Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) and Cecil R. Young (P2966) took off on alert between 18:20 and 19:55 pm. The same on 3 June for Flying Officer Peter Collard (P2768) and Pilot Officer Michael R. Mudie (P2337) between 11:55 and 13:00. On 5 June 1940, a patrol in over Mayfield aerodrome took place, between 21:00 and 21:45 pm, with 9 aircraft: Lieutnant Flight James G. Sanders (P3487), Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2793) ), Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P2578), Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871), Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801), Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (L2003), Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ) Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) and Pilot Officer Michael R. Mudie (2768). Finally, Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) and Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (P3487) took off on 6 June between 12:15 and 12:50 for a short patrol over Kenley. 


[1] The rest of his career remains unknown in the research stage. Indeed, he does not appear to have participated in the Battle of Britain following his transfer to No.242 (RAF) Squadron since his name does not appear in the “Few” list. He was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer (September 1940), then Flight Lieutnant (September 1941), before being transferred to the RCAF on 3 January 1945.

[2] David Evans, born 21 November 1919 in Liverpool, joined the Territorial Army in 1938 in the 38th (AA) Battalion of the King’s Regiment. He obtained his transfer to the RAF with a SSU in June 1939. After his training with 9 E & RFTS Ansty, he joined No.615 Squadron during the month of May.

[3] Cecil Robert Montgomery, born in 1914 in Lisnaskea (Northern Ireland). He joined the RAF with a SSU in June 1939. He did his training at 22 E & RFTS (Cambridge), then the No.2 Flying Traning School Brize Norton (21 August 1939 – 17 February 1940). After his conversion to Hawker Hurricane, he joined No.615 Squadron in May 1940.

Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery

23 – 30 May : On Gloster Gladiator

Unfortunately, there is little information available about this period, and the ORB of No.615 Squadron, only restarting in early June.

However, it appears that Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders, as well as others pilots, participates in the Dynamo operation within a Flight flying for the occasion on Gloster Gladiator Mk II. This provisional unit is based at Manston, with the No. 604 (RAF) Squadron, between 23 and 30 May 1940. [1] According to the ORB of No.604 (RAF) Squadron, the detachment is composed, in addition to Flight Lieutnant James B. Sanders, by Flying Officer Lionel M. Gaunce and Pilot Officer David Evans, Petrus H. Hugo, Michael R. Mudie and Ralph Roberts. The pilots are then supposed to perform night patrols over Dunkirk and Boulogne, although the list of flights seems to show also patrols during the day. According to Håkan Gustavsson, four aircraft are used, namely the K7928, K7970, K8001 (damaged, on 26 May in a ground collision with the Bristol Blenheim L6607 on the Manston field) and the K8033 [2] .


List of known flights

25/05/40 (10h45 – 11h30)

Pilot Officer David Evans

Gladiator K8001

Training flights

25/05/40 (15h30 – 16h40)

Flying Officer Lionel M. Gaunce

 

Patrol

Pilot Officer David Evans

 

Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts

 

25/05/40 (20h45 – 21h20)

Pilot Officer David Evans

 

Patrol

Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo

 

Pilot Officer Ralph Robers

 

27/05/40 (10h30 – 11h45)

Flight Lieutnant James B. Sanders

KW-P

Patrol

Pilot Officer David Evans

KW-N

Pilot Officer Michael R. Mudie

KW-M

28/05/40 (07h25 – 09h10)

Flight Lieutnant James B. Sanders

KW-P

Patrol

Flying Officer Lionel M. Gaunce

KW-M

Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo

KW-N

28/05/40 (14h00 – 15h00)

Flight Lieutnant James B. Sanders

KW-N

Patrol

Flying Officer Lionel M. Gaunce

KW-M

Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo

KW-P

29/05/40 (13h10 – 15h00)

Flight Lieutnant James B. Sanders

KW-N

Patrol

Flying Officer Lionel M. Gaunce

KW-M

Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo

KW-T

29/05/40 (17h00 – 18h30)

Flight Lieutnant James B. Sanders

KW-N

Patrol

Flying Officer Lionel M. Gaunce

KW-M

Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo

KW-T

29/05/40 (20h20 – 21h15)

Pilot Officer David Evans

KW-P

Patrol

Pilot Officer Michael R. Mudie

KW-T

Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts

KW-N


[1] FRANKS, Norman. Dowding’s Eagles: Accounts of Twenty-five Battle of Britain Veterans. Pen & Sword Aviation, 2015 ; Christopher SHORES; WILLIAMS Clive. Aces High: A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots of the British and Commonwealth Forces of WWII. 2008, Grub Street ;

[2] GUSTAVSSON, Hakan. Gloster Gladiator in Fighter service : http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/gladiator_raf_ff.htm