Category Archives: Non classé

28 June – 29 June 1940: training

These two days are essentially devoted to a series of training during the day and night. Thus, three pilots are sent over the Sutton Bridge range. In parallel, a night patrol is conducted between 23:35 and 01:25, over Kenley by Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) and Pilot Officer Anthony Eyre (P3487).

27 June 1940

Eleven aircraft take off from Kenley at 9h40 to join Hawkinge to escort a Bristol Blenheim Flight in charge of an aerial photography mission to the north of France. The mission is uneventful and everyone gets back to Kenley for 12h25. The staff of No.615 Squadron was then pleased to receive King George VI who, in addition to staying for tea, also took the opportunity to decorate the Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll and Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders of the DFC. On another happy note, Flying Officer Peter Collard is granted permission to marry Annette Christina McNally. They move in, then, to Whyteleafe Road (Caterham).

26 June 1940

Twelve pilots take off from Kenley at 06h44 towards Hawkinge to conduct a reconnaissance of the Dieppe – Rouen – Boos sector. There were no notable events to report during the patrol and they return to Hawkinge at 08:40. However, on landing, Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young’s Hawker Hurricane Mk I [1] is badly damaged when one of the legs of the train retracts. The pilot is, however, not injured. 02h06 of flight during the day.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders (P3487) ; Flying Officer Herbert S. Giddings (P2801) ; Pilot Officer David Evans (L1983) ; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P2578) ; Pilot Officer Ralph Roberts (P2793) ; Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966) ; Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (P2328) ; Pilot Officer Michael R. Mudie (P3380) ; Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (P2966) ; Flying Officer Peter Collard (P2768) ; Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871).

Losses : Pilot Officer Cecil R. Young (Hawker Hurricane Mk I ?) : severely damaged landing on Hawkinge as a result of a landing gear problem, around 08h40.


[1] The identification poses a problem, indeed, the ORB mentions at this date the Hawker Hurricane Mk I P2966, which is also indicated as assigned to the Lieutnant Flight Lionel M. Gaunce. However, the P2966 is his usual aircraft and it is reported as operational the next day (June 27), we can reasonably think of an error.

22 June 1940

Nine Hawker Hurricane take off from Kenley to join Hawkinge at 05h45. They leave at 07h00 for an offensive reconnaissance of the Abbeville – Poix – Rouen – Dieppe sector. The formation seems to separate during the mission since the ORB indicates that only five pilots meet, near Rouan, a formation of He.111 of the III./KG 1 escorted by Bf.110 of the 7./ZG 26 towards 07h45. The British pilots split in two as Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll claimed two He.111s (an inconclusive claim and a probable one), while Flying Officer Peter Collard also claimed an inconclusive victory over one of the bombers. According to Peter D. Cornwell, one of the He.111 makes a forced landing west of Rouen. [1] At the same time, the other three pilots face the escort. Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders claims two Bf.110 (one conclusive and one inconclusive). It is the same for the Flying Officer Anthony Eyre with another conclusive claim against one of the fighter. 7./ZG 26 does not appear, however, to suffer a loss. Unfortunately the confrontation is also heavy for the No.615 Squadron since Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd is shot down and killed. His Hawker Hurricane Mk I P2764 crashes, around 08:10, near La Mailleraye-sur-Seine. He is probably a victim of Leutnant Kuno-Adalbert Konopka, of 7./ZG 26. He was 30 years old. He will be buried in the municipal cemetery of Mailleraye-sur-Seine, where he still rests today. For his part, Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders is forced to a forced landing, following a fuel outage, on the Isle of Wight. His aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3487 is, however, not damaged.

According to the report of Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll: 

“Over Rouen, at about 2700 m, I see Bf.110 flying from the east at an altitude of about 1800 meters. Five of ours attack, including two for He.111. I attack a He.111 then a second on which I open fire for five seconds. The left engine seems to have difficulty, with a fine smoke escapes”. [2]

Flying Officer Peter Collard brings some clarifications:

“Above Rouen, we see eight He.111 and four Bf.110 approaching from below. I attack a He.111. I observe a smoke escaping from the machine, but I do not see it crashing”. [3]

Regarding the Bf 110 attack, Flying Officer Anthony Eyre reports:

“During a reconnaissance with four other aircraft, I observe a formation of He.111. As I prepare to attack, I see three Bf.110 in escort. I attack one of the three and destroy his right engine. It disappears by losing altitude. I try to do the same with the other two, but they make several turns preventing me from aiming. I can not observe further and I climbing fast with the little ammo I have left to continue my reconnaissance alone before finding the Squadron Leader over Dieppe”. [4]

Curiously, Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts claims an inconclusive victory over a Junkers Ju.52. According to Brian Cull: “According to a report from Zurich, General Fritz Löb, commander of Luftgau Belgien-Nordfrankreich, is shot and killed by a British fighter during a reconnaissance flight.” [5] According to another source, the aircraft carrying General-Major Fritz Löb was reportedly the victim of a fatal collision at the Brussels-Evere aerodrome. At the same time, the KTB of the 9./JG 54 indicates on the Junkers Ju.52 carrying a general would have been victim of an air collision with a Do.17, although with no correspondence for the date. [6]

The battle report of Keith T. Lofts [7], besides being difficult to read, further reinforces the mystery of this claim. Indeed, it indicates that the fight takes place around 08:30 in the vicinity of Forges-les-Eaux, which corresponds more or less to the places where takes place the other confrontation. There is also mention of a “troop transport” identified as a Ju.52 flying at ground level (about 600 meters). The confrontation (diving from the sun) is very short since the pilot abandons his attack, without observing the result, because of the arrival of at least three Bf 110. There is no additional information on this event.

Pilots and Aircrafts : Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (P2871); Flying Officer Peter Collard (P2768); Flight Lieutnant Lionel M. Gaunce (P2966); Pilot Officer Petrus H. Hugo (P2963); Pilot Officer Cecil R. Montgomery (P3380); Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders (P3487); Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (P2578); Pilot Officer John R. Lloyd (P2764); Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (P2801).

Losses: Pilot Officer John Lloyd R. (Hawker Hurricane Mk I P2764). Killed in air combat with Bf 110, around 08:10, in the vicinity of Mailleraye-sur-Seine. Probably a victim of Leutnant Kuno-Adalbert Konopka, 7./ZG 26.

Claims: Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll: two He.111 (one inconclusive claim and one probable) around 8:45; Flying Officer Peter Collard: a He.111 (inconclusive claim) around 08:45; Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders: two Bf.110 (one conclusive and one inconclusive); Flying Officer Anthony Eyre: a Bf 110 (conclusive claim) around 08:40; Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts: a Ju.52 (inconclusive claim).


[1] 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.497. 

[2] Combat Reports. Squadron Leader Joseph R. Kayll (22/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/14.

[3] Combat Reports.  Flying Officer Peter Collard (22/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/2.

[4] Combat Reports. Flying Officer Anthony Eyre (22/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/6. On ne trouve, malheureusement, pas de rapport pour le Flight Lieutnant James G. Sanders.

[5] CULL, Brian. First of The Few : 5 June – 9 July 1940. Fonthill, 2012 ; Flight Magazine, 4 July 4, 1940, p.5 et 11 : https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1940/1940%20-%201887.html?search=Fritz%20L%C3%B6b ;

[6] http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/archive/index.php?t-31810.html

[7] Combat Reports. Pilot Officer Keith T. Lofts (22/06/40). Kew : The National Archives, AIR 50/175/17.

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.