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Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader


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72 Squadron Operations

Records Book

1st July 1940


                              See Next Day




Blue Section were ordered off to intercept unidentified aircraft at 6000 ft. 8 miles east

of Sunderland. A few minutes later, the height was given as 3,000 feet and later still as

'height unknown'. At 0612 hours Blue 1 sighted a white two engined biplane with floats

flying S.E. at about 500 feet 8 miles East of Sunderland.  He circled this A/C three times

until he was satisfied of the identity and recognised as a HE.59.  Large repeat red

crosses were seen on the surface of top plane and a black swastika on a red background

on tail. Blue 1 then ordered No. 1 attack and opened fire at 200 yards closing to 30

yards with a burst of 4 seconds.  The speed of the E/A was estimated at about 130

m.p.h. and it was therefore very rapidly overtaken. Faint grey smoke or vapour was

observed coming from the fuselage as Blue 1. attacked. The E/A  turned slowly to

starboard as Blue 1. broke away. and Blue 2 then attacked from 200 yards with a burst

of 4 secs.  The E/A was losing height when Blue 3. attacked with a simple deflection

shot as the A/C wheeled  to the right. Blue 3. fired a burst of 6 secs.  Blue 2 began a

second attack but only fired a burst of 1 sec. when E/A landed on the water about 4

miles east of Hartlepool. After Blue 2's first attack Blue 3. observed a number of small

articles strike the water. These he thought were fragments of the machine but Blue 2. 

on seeing them as he broke away thought they were small bombs. As soon as Blue 1.

saw the E/A in the water he flew to the light Cruiser which was loading a convoy in the

vicinity and directed the ship to the spot.  Meanwhile Blue 2 and 3 circled the A/C

which was slowly sinking tail first. 3 of the crew of the E/A were seen to leave in a

dinghy and row towards the cruiser whose long boat took up the position by the

sinking Aircraft which was now in a vertical position with the nose up and submerged

as far as the trailing edge of planes.  No return fire was experienced by any of our

pilots   during the combat and the E/A took evasive action.   A long trail of oil on the

water clearly marked the track of the aircraft from the time that time it touched the

water until it came to rest.  A total of 390 rounds were fired. Blue 1  had one stoppage

due to a split cartridge case.  The letters        D-A SAI were seen on the upper surface of

the top plane of E/a.  Blue section returned to Acklington and landed at 07 00




Red Section ordered to patrol Farne Island.  No interception was made and Red Section

landed forty-five minutes later.



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