Combat report

MBakerWB1392752-161128-38.jpg

Title

Combat report

Description

Combat report by Flying Officer V S Breckenridge. Relates first attack by fighter killed wireless operator and wounded rear and mid-upper gunners as well as damaging the aircraft. Second fighter attack caused more damage and the pilot and navigator were wounded. Third and fourth attacks caused further damage. Despite being wounded and having no oxygen , mid-upper gunner manned rear turret (gunner unconscious) for remainder of trip. In addition despite severe wounds the navigator continued with duties and made accurate landfall. Landed at RAF Docking. Immediate awards of CGM to navigator and DFCs to pilot and mid-upper gunner.

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One page printed document

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Contributor

Identifier

MBakerWB1392752-161128-38

Transcription

Combat

626/Y2 ME584 Aircraft Cat. E.
Transferred to E.C.F.S.
F/O V.S. Breckenridge 2026hrs to 2434hrs 20,000’ Target area. 180 I.A.S.

First attack.
While on the bombing run a single engine fighter attacked on the Starboard quarter, firing a long burst from close range. This initial burst killed the wireless operator Sgt. J. Hall, and severely wounded the rear gunner Sgt. J. Schwartz in the foot. A cannon shell burst in the mid upper turret, injuring the gunner P/O W.J. Baker in the right side of his face and rendering him unconcious [sic]. The aircraft damage from this attack was heavy. Oxygen system partially U/S. Hydraulic system U/S. Bomb doors hanging open., Three R.P.M. indicators and boost gauges U/S. Intercom from rest bed aft U/S. Elevators and rudders damaged. Rudder trimmers U/S. D. R. and Gyro compasses U/S. Number one petrol tank holed. Partial failure of the Electrical System.

Second attack:
One minute after the first. Firing a 5 second burst. As both gunners were out of action the pilot had no warning but did his best to evade. However further damage occured, [sic] the pilot was injured in the leg, and the navigator W/O R.J. Meek was severely wounded with one bullet through the left breast close to the heart and a second through the left shoulder.

Third and fourth attacks.
These caused further damage, with the pilot taking what evasive action he could by avoiding the enemy tracer. When the mid upper gunner regained conciousness [sic] he climbed out of his turret, found the wireless operator dead, the rear gunner unconcious [sic] on the rest bed, and the navigator seriously wounded. Realising the aircraft was unprotected, he manned the rear turret despite being wounded, no oxygen, no intercom, inadequate dress and a U/S turret.

Despite his severe wounds and loss of blood the navigator continued his duties – with such accuracy that landfall was made only three miles North of track. While crossing the North sea fires broke out in the aircraft due to a complete breakdown of the electrical system. P/O Baker left the rear turret to aid with the fire fighting, returning to his post afterwards. There aircraft made a successful landing at Docking:

Sgt: J. Schwartz and W.0. R.J. Meek were: admitted to the R.A.F. Hospital Ely. Sgt. James Hall 1342144 is buried; in Ardrossan Cemetery, Ayrshire.

The following immediate awards were made:
Navigator. W/0 R.J. Meek C.G.M.
Pilot. F/O V.S. Breckenridge D.F.C
M.U.G. P/O V.B. Baker D.F:C.

Citation

“Combat report,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/36086.

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