3rd September 1940

249 Squadron Operational Record Book – 3 September, North Weald
09:00 hours Squadron ordered to patrol Chelmsford, Eastchurch, nothing seen, ordered to land by sections after 1 hour’s patrol, and immediately after refuelling the Squadron was ordered off again to intercept a large formation of enemy aircraft approaching from the NE. Owing to being ordered off too late, the Squadron was unable to gain height in time to intercept this force, and we all had the most unsatisfactory experience of seeing North Weald being heavily bombed and being unable to do anything about it. The enemy carried out a pattern bombing attack from approx. 15,000 feet, which was very accurate, but it is interesting to record that although between 200 and 300 bombs were dropped on the buildings the damage to the buildings etc… did not in any way hinder the operation of the squadrons from North Weald. From the air, this attack appeared to have been far more effective than it actually was and no doubt the enemy pilots reported, quite justly, that they had knocked out North Weald. The Squadron brought to readiness during the afternoon, patrolled Eastchurch, Canterbury and Dover. 3 Me109s were seen well above but they sheared off towards France. We were fired at by AA from the Dover guns and Sgt Rowell’s aircraft was apparently hit. He was unaware of this however, until his aircraft caught fire just before he landed on return to North Weald. He was slightly concussed but otherwise uninjured.

7th September 1940

249 Squadron Operational Record Book – 7 September
2 patrols were carried out in the morning, Flt Lt Barton, now leading the Squadron, owing to the Squadron Commander’s absence in Maidstone Hospital. No contact made during these patrols. 11:30 hours third patrol at Rochester, 15,000 feet. Immediately on reaching patrol line, Squadron ordered to Maidstone in time to intercept a raid of 30 He111s with the usual escort of fighters above and at the sides. A quick flank attack was made on the bomber formation, but there was no time to observe the effect of the fire before breaking away. The Squadron was then attacked by Me109s and a dog fight followed. 6 serviceable aircraft returned to base and were ordered off again within quarter of an hour. As these 6 took off, a large enemy force passed over the aerodrome but did not bomb until they reached NE London at 15,000 feet. The 6 aircraft of the Squadron then attacked an enemy force of approximately 100 aircraft, as a result of which 1 Do17 was destroyed and several damaged.

By far the heaviest day’s fighting the Squadron has yet had. Enemy casualties: 4 ½ destroyed, 1 probable, 3 damaged. It is worthy of note that during this, the enemy’s longest full-scale attack on the London docks, POs Meaker and Loweth had motored to Maidstone to collect the CO from the hospital there. On their return they arrived at Surrey docks about 5 mins before these attacks took place and spent a very undignified forty minutes lying on the pavement at the entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel.

11th September 1940

249 Squadron Operational Record Book – 11 September
Brought to readiness at 16:10 hours and ordered to patrol London Docks and Thames Estuary. Large formations of He111s with fighter escorts intercepted East of London. For the first time, it was possible to carry out a head-on attack, this resulted in 2 He111s being destroyed and 1 probable. Sgt Davis was wounded during this battle and had to bale out at Beneden owing to fire in his aircraft. Squadron patrolled Dover at 18:15 hours, and although a number of enemy fighters were seen high above, it was not possible to make contact. A stick of bombs was seen to fall slap outside the entrance to Dover harbour in the sea but no-one could see the enemy aircraft from which they were dropped.

15th September 1940

249 Squadron Operational Record Book – 15 September
Squadron patrolled with no. 46 Squadron at 12:00 hours and intercepted 20 Do215s South of London, and carried out a beam attack. Enemy casualties: 1 destroyed, 1 probable and 1 damaged. Our casualties: nil. At 13:40 hours, Squadron again ordered to patrol and intercepted 15 Do215s over South London. A beam attack cracked this formation wide open, the result being that 5 ½ bombers were destroyed and 8 ½ probables and 3 damaged. One reason for this success was that the German fighters failed to do their stuff, probably due to their attention already being diverted by being attacked from above by Spitfires. Further patrol with 46 Squadron carried out over Shellhaven during the evening; nothing seen. This was by far the most successful day in the Squadron’s history.Total to date 185 enemy aircraft destroyed.

27th September 1940

249 Squadron Operational Record Book – 27 September
3 very successful sorties carried out with 46 Squadron. Our casualties were POs Burton and Meaker killed. Although 2 of our most gallant comrades were lost, to-day was a glorious day in the history of the Squadron. From reports later received it appears that PO Meaker attacked a close formation of 5 Ju88s on his own and his aircraft was completely shot up by the heavy cross fire from the cannons now fitted in the rear of these aircraft. From reports from the Hailsham district Observer Corps, it appears that PO Burton has been attacking an Me110 for some time and was seen to climb above it and dive down on to it, he rammed it and cut it’s tail off and both aircraft crashed. PO A G Lewis, DFC on this day destroyed 6 aircraft himself and was subsequently ordered a bar to his DFC.