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[Home] [Articles and Misc] [Targets in Holland - 21/22 July 1940]

Operation - Targets in Holland - 21/22 July 1940

W/C Dickens leading the first raid by this Squadron from England left at 23.59 hours on 21.7.40 to attack the oil storage tanks at Z3 (Rotterdam). He was unable to locate the primary target owing to low cloud and searchlight activity, so attacked an alternative target in the form of an aerodrome in the vicinity of Goeree, 41 49N 30 58E with four 250 lb bombs and two incendiary. F/O Havers dropped his four 250 lb bombs and two incendiary on a chemical works 2 miles north of the primary target. A large quantity of white smoke was seen to follow the bomb bursts. The third machine piloted by P/O Hayter was forced to turn back owing to an unserviceable gyro. By trying to follow this instrument the pilot lost his position and had to home by W/T. All aircraft returned safely

21-Jul-40 – Rotterdam - Oil storage tanks – Battle – L5336 – W/C Dickens - Unable to locate primary. Bombed airfield.

21-Jul-40 – Rotterdam - Oil storage tanks – Battle – L5433 – F/L JR Havers - Unable to locate primary. Bombed chemical works.

21-Jul-40 – Rotterdam - Oil storage tanks – Battle – L5431 – P/O Hayter  - Early Return - Gyro unserviceable.

The crews were as follows:-

W/C Thomas C Dickens, Sgt McCudden and Sgt Hamblin

F/L James R Havers, Sgt Lewis and Sgt Coles

P/O James C F Hayter, Sgt Pengilly and Sgt Mitchell

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103 Squadron Dickens

103 Squadron Dickens

103 Squadron Havers in France 1940

103 Squadron Havers in France 1940

103 Squadron Hayter J

103 Squadron Hayter

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Summary of Bomber Command operations in July 1940

    The Blenheims continued their operations over the occupied countries. On 2 July, a force of 11 Blenheims is despatched to bomb targets in Germany. 10 abort due to poor weather whilst the one remaining aircraft was shot down attacking the Dortmund-Ems canal. The high number of failed missions continued throughout the whole month, and when aircraft did eventually find a target to attack, the German fighters were normally close at hand. The gathering invasion fleet in the Channel ports was a frequent target for Blenheim operations and as the month progressed an increasing number of airfield attacks (what would later be known as 'intruder' raids) were flown. The peril of daylight operations was highlighted on a couple of occasions; on 9th July, 7 Blenheims from a total of 12 were lost in an attack on Stavangar airfield; and on the following day, No 107 Squadron lost 5 out of 6 aircraft despatched on a raid to Amiens. As for night operations, the numbers of aircraft involved rarely exceeded 70 aircraft, and these were often split between 6 or more targets. Only once, during the night of 25th/26th July, was the number greater than 100 (166). The month did mark the first use by Bomber Command of the 2,000lb bomb of No 73 Squadron during an attack on the German battleship Scharnhorst at Kiel during 2nd/3rd July). Some night operations also included Battles, back in the Command after their torrid time in France. Crews nearing the end of the training were also sent on low-risk missions (generally leaflet-drops over France) as they neared the end of their course to give them a feel for what life would be like on the squadrons. The Hampdens also continued their gardening mine laying sorties with up to 12 aircraft on such duties each night.

Compiled by David Fell with photos from my archive.

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