Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 361 August 26, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 48. Another day of fine weather and Luftwaffe sends 3 major raids. At noon, 150 aircraft come across the Straits of Dover from Calais. Spitfires of 616 Squadron at Kenley are late getting aloft and are decimated by Bf109’s, as are Defiants of 264 Squadron. Coastal towns in Kent and airfields at Biggin Hill and Kenley are bombed. At 3 PM, another 170 aircraft fly up the Thames estuary. Most are turned back but 6 Do17s bomb RAF Debden, doing considerable damage. A raid 150 aircraft coming across the English Channel at 4 PM is turned back by RAF fighters and low cloud. It is a bad day for both sides. RAF loses 28 fighters. Germans lose 22 bombers and 24 fighters. In contrast, only 6 British airmen killed or missing while most German aircrews are killed or crash on British soil and are taken prisoner.

Italian submarine Dandolo sinks British steamer Ilvington Court (8 lives lost). 2 British steamers are attacked by German torpedo bombers (4 He-115s & 8 Ju-88’s), 10 miles East of Kinnaird Head, Scotland, having detached from convoy HX-65 and heading for London. Passenger and frozen food ship Remuera is hit by aerial torpedoes and sinks while Cape York is badly damaged and will sink the next day. Crews from both ships are safely rescued.

At 5.48 PM off Madagascar, the Arado seaplane from German armed merchant cruiser Pinguin fires on Norwegian tanker Filefjell (carrying 10,000 tons of petrol and 500 tons of oil from the Persian Gulf to Capetown). Pinguin pulls alongside and sends a prize crew aboard while Filejell’s crew is taken prisoner.

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