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North-East Diary

Roy Ripley &
Brian Pears
© Copyright Brian Pears 1994-2011


15th March 1942 to
28th/29th April 1942

Sunday, 15th March 1942  D925

'SS Athelqueen' (8,780t) tanker, Hull to Port Everglades, United States, sunk by the Italian submarine 'Tazzoli', off the Bahamas.

Day 925. All times BST. Blackout ends: 06.53, begins: 19.38

Thursday, 26th/Friday, 27th March 1942  N936

Enemy air activity reported over Newcastle. A Benzole plant at Lanchester in County Durham was damaged during an attack. Incidents were also reported at Gateshead, Berwick and at two places in Yorkshire.

20.48-22.33. Newcastle.. Enemy air activity. UX AA shell at the junction of Brentwood Avenue and Holmwood Grove.

Gateshead.. Control reports UXB Lobley Hill Road, Gateshead, opposite the junction with Victoria Road. Westward traffic diverted via Sidney Grove, Derwentwater Road and Dunston.

21.35.. Co Durham.. Malton Colliery, Lanchester.. Two HEs dropped at Malton Colliery, Lanchester. The benzole and creosote plants completely destroyed. Roof of power house blown off.

21.19.. off Northumberland coast.. A Dornier 217 E shot down by AA gunfire over Tynemouth. A body presumably from the above plane was found in the sea, 25 miles NE of Tynemouth on March 30th.

Night 936. All times BST. Blackout begins: 19.59, ends: 06.23
Public Alert: 20.50, All-Clear: 22.33
Industrial Alarm: 21.05, Release: 21.42

Friday, 27th/Saturday, 28th March 1942  N937

Scarborough.. A train was hit and damaged in an attack on Scarborough.

Night 937. All times BST. Blackout begins: 20.01, ends: 06.20

Wednesday, 1st April 1942  D942

'SS Robert W. Pomeroy' (1,750t) cargo ship, London to Blyth, was sunk by a mine off the Wash.

Day 942. All times BST. Blackout ends: 06.10, begins: 20.11

Saturday, 4th/Sunday, 5th April 1942   N945

Clocks advanced by one hour.

Night 945. Blackout begins: 20.17 BST, ends: 07.00 DST

Monday, 6th April 1942  D947

It was announced that from today no more white bread is to be baked. The Food Ministry ruled that only wholemeal National bread would be available in shops, cafes and restaurants. It will be a crime to bake or sell white loaves. It was stated that the new bread was sweet and nutty tasting but may take some getting used to, it was also said that housewives may find that the new type bread gets dry more quickly than before.

Day 947. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.58, begins: 21.21

Monday, 13th/Tuesday, 14th April 1942  N954

00.05.. Hull.. Three HEs fell in the Willerby Road, Woodlands Road, Springhead Avenue area. Residential damage reported. Casualties were four killed and five seriously injured.

Budget Day, Purchase Tax doubled on luxury goods, beer up 2d (1p) per pint, whisky up 4/8 (23p) per bottle (whisky now costs £1/2/6 (£1.12/p) per bottle and cigarettes up 2½d (1p) per packet of 10.

Night 954. All times DST. Blackout begins: 21.34, ends: 06.38
Public Alert (Hull Warning Dist): 23.31, All Clear: 01.32

Wednesday, 15th/Thursday, 16th April 1942  N956

A few enemy aircraft reported, most of them probably engaged in laying mines at the approaches to Tynemouth. Between 22.15 and 01.20 some of these machines flew inland and dropped bombs at points in Berwickshire, Northumberland, Durham and the North Riding.

Newcastle.. An AA shell exploded in Simpson Terrace, Shieldfield, killing a woman who had left the Victoria Tunnel Shelter to collect her insurance policy.

Newcastle.. Heavy gunfire and concussions heard from north at 23.51. At 00.07 came a report of AA shell exploded in Falconer Street opposite Christ Church, two women were injured.

South Shields.. At 00.45 on the 16th, four bombs fell in the grounds of residential property in Westoe. The first on the edge of a field at 'Seacroft', failed to explode and was dealt with by the Bomb Disposal Squad at a later date. The second and third fell in the gardens of 'Fairfield' and 'Eastgarth' respectively. The last one fell on the lawn 10 yards from 'Chapel House'. No casualties were reported but considerable damage was done to a large number of houses in the neighbourhood, including over 40 roofs of houses in Horsley Hill Road which were penetrated by lumps of clay thrown up by the explosions.

00.02.. Co Durham.. Greatham.. Four HEs fired a haystack, put out by NFS.

00.15.. Co Durham.. Two HEs dropped near Ship Inn, High Hesledon, one of which failed to explode. Slight damage to property.

00.37.. Co Durham.. West Hartlepool.. One person was killed and two injured when two HEs fell in Hart Lane, one house was demolished and the A179 was blocked by a crater. Two more HEs fell in allotments and another in Jesmond Gardens, numerous houses damaged, water main fractured. Damage caused to three houses due to AA activity. One hundred and twenty persons rendered homeless.

00.37,, Co Durham.. Boldon Colliery.. Two HEs dropped in fields - no damage or casualties.

Co Durham.. Two HEs dropped near RAF Usworth.

Yorkshire.. Middlesbrough.. HEs and IBs fell, twenty-six people were killed and fifty-two seriously injured, five babies were among the dead and in one instance the mother as well. Thirty-nine houses were made uninhabitable and some 1700 suffered less extensive damage. Public utilities were affected. Incident reported also at Shelton.

Night 956. All times DST. Blackout begins: 21.38, ends: 06.33
Public Alert: 23.49, All-Clear: 01.18
Industrial Alarm: 23.49, Release: 00.19
Industrial Alarm: 00.49, Release: 00.59

Monday, 20th April 1942  D961

'SS Plawsworth' (1,489t) cargo ship, Sunderland to London with coal, was sunk by a mine off Aldeburgh.

Day 961. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.23, begins: 21.48

Tuesday, 21st April 1942  D962

Domestic fuel rationing starts in Britain.

Day 962. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.21, begins: 21.50

Wednesday, 22nd April 1942  D963

A single raider crossed the coast near Sunderland, flew to Tynemouth, and thence to Seaham Harbour, but dropped no bombs.

Day 963. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.18, begins: 21.52
Public Alert: 16.34, All-Clear: 16.48

Thursday, 23rd April 1942  D964

'SS Chatwood' (2,768t) cargo ship, Tyne to London with coal, was sunk by a mine off the Wash.

An enemy aircraft crossed the coast at Blyth and flew over Morpeth and Acklington. No attacks were made against land targets.

Day 964. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.16, begins: 21.54
Public Alert: 15.32, All-Clear: 16.21

Saturday, 25th April 1942  D966

Newcastle.. At about 07.30 an enemy aircraft flew over the City. AA defences in action and fighter aircraft in pursuit.

Day 966. All times DST. Blackout ends: 06.11, begins: 21.58

Tuesday, 28th/Wednesday, 29th April 1942  N969

York.. For over one hour, forty German aircraft pounded the city of York unopposed. In all 84 tonnes of bombs were dropped on or near the city, which suffered badly, particularly from the IBs, they started many fires around the Minster. HEs fell mainly in the central and northern districts of the city which added further to the devastation.

The Guildhall was set on fire and was left a burnt out shell. The Minster however was spared. Rowntree's original North Street factory was an early casualty - packed full of sugar - it burned with intense heat, fortunately the presence of the river, right in the heart of the city, ensured an adequate supply of water to fight the fire, although the building was still being cooled down on Thursday. Telecommunications in the city were broken.

St Martin's was damaged and the clock had stopped at 03.45, marking the time that the bomb exploded - it was proposed that the clock should be left showing that time as a permanent memorial of the attack, but the idea has apparently been forgotten or abandoned.

The railway station was severely damaged by fire, and the airfield (now part of a housing development) was severely damaged. The guardroom received a direct hit, the officers mess, hangars and other buildings had blast damage and there were bomb craters all around the airfield. Within the city boundaries seventy-two civilians (nineteen men, thirty-nine women and fourteen children), four Civil Defence workers and five soldiers were killed, ninety-two people were seriously injured and one hundred and thirteen slightly injured. Add to that the number of casualties in the Flaxton district, fourteen killed, six seriously injured and one slightly injured.

Two queries about this raid have been raised in the book 'Action Stations Vol 4.' by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny. (1) Why were German bombers allowed to bomb for 90 minutes before a lone night fighter appeared on the scene? (2) Why was the city of York left undefended, when British Intelligence knew of the attack via Enigma?

The following composite account of the air raid on York has been taken from two books, 'Beadeker Blitz' by Niall Rothnie and 'The York Blitz - 1942' by Leo Kessler and Eric Taylor .... "In 1942, York still had to face the war, it had received 780 alerts since the start of the war but only four people had been killed and those on three separate occasions when stray bombs had been dropped by, presumably, the odd German aircraft wishing to lighten its load on the way from another target.

Military targets were few in York, the largest factory complex was Rowntrees, but expansion over the years led it to move to a site NE of the main city. It had turned over some of its storage facilities to war goods, but fuse packing, optical instruments and the filling of fuses - in what used to be the 'Smarties' block, were scenes repeated in many cities. Chocolate and cocoa were still produced and some of the materials, cocoa beans, sugar etc., were still stored in an old warehouse down by the river in the centre of the city.

There was also an airfield but this was used as a base for 4 Squadron (Army Co-operation) RAF, and was equipped with Lysanders, hardly capable of doubling up as fighters if the need should arise. The only obvious military target might be the railway - York was an important railway junction, the HQ of the London and North-Eastern Railway Company, with extensive passenger and goods lines, sidings and repair yards. It is worth noting that these three possible military targets were not in the centre of York ( Rowntrees and the airfield were some distance away and the LNER slightly to the W ). The relative lack of damage that the city was to receive owed much to these fortuitous locations and to a good degree of accuracy by the Germans.

One of the best indications of York's immunity thus far, was the fact that the public shelters were hardly used at all, for example, near the centre of the city stood a large shelter with 2 doors each of which bore a notice with the message - 'Key on other door' - the key was in fact in a small glass case at the end of the shelter, with a notice asking people to break the glass to obtain the key - the glass was unbroken. It is remarkable to relate that this was noted several days after the raid. The immunity ended brutally.

In the early of Wednesday 29th April 1942 the Royal Observer Corps plotted some 40 enemy aircraft, off the North-East coast, 30 miles out to sea, suddenly turning westwards, they came in two groups, one came over Flamborough Head and the other over Hornsea, there was no doubt then, that York was the target, and that city's worst night of the war was about to begin.

The bombers came in on their own or at most in pairs at anything from 4.000 to 12.000 feet, then dived down to 1.000 feet to drop their flares and bombs. The air raid sirens started to sounded at 02.42, but the Germans had been over the city for ten minutes by then. The raid began when sticks of flares (37 at least) and incendiary bombs were dropped to the W of the city. Incendiaries fell on Pickering Terrace, Bootham Terrace, Queen Annes Road, where the Wellyn House Flats eventually collapsed and Burton Stone Lane, near to Lumley Barracks, where soldiers immediately turned to and put out the fires. Indeed at this early stage of the raid, the fire fighting was excellent, everyone giving a hand.

Incendiaries are usually the prelude to attack by high explosive, and so it was in Bootham Terrace, the NFS had responded quickly to deal with a fire there, soon afterwards a stick of HE straddled the little railway bridge linking Grosvenor Terrace and Bootham Terrace, killing a fireman, two Fire Guards, Mr Coleman the Deputy Head Warden, a soldier and some civilians. Bombs fell on Amberley Street and at the junction of Chatsworth Terrace and Winchester Road, about 25 yards from a group of three Air Raid Wardens, killing two outright, leaving the third in a state of severe shock. The two or three bombs that fell on Amberley Street and Chatsworth Terrace accounted for over a quarter of the deaths.

The 22.15. Kings Cross to Edinburgh train was approaching York station as the bombs began to fall, it pulled into No 9 platform at 02.53, about then a bomb fell on the Leeman Road coal depot blowing rails from the sidings across the main passenger lines, a short distance from the station, at the same time a number of flares were seen coming down over the top of the station, followed immediately by HE the incendiary bombs, some hitting the train.

Passengers on the train included a Petty Officer Jacques, two Leading Hands and fifteen ratings on their way to Hexham, Northumberland. After the explosions which wrecked several coaches, various offices and set the after part of the station roof ablaze, PO Jacques sent his party of men to a shelter with the exception of one Leading Hand, who helped him to rescue an injured Naval Commander and then attempt to help fight the fires. They and other firefighters now faced an impossible task, too many fires were now needing attention.

The station had been hit by HE at the southern end, the ticket office was on fire, a number of other offices had been wrecked and the station roof had suffered major damage. Railway fire crews found that the hydrant pressure had fallen, so they were left with the choice of fighting some fires and leaving others. The rest of the Railway staff were also at full stretch, kicking incendiaries off the platforms, dealing with casualties from the train, seven of whom were taken to hospital, some others divided up the Kings Cross train, pulling fourteen carriages from the six that were already on fire, letting the latter burn out, an action later criticised by uninformed onlookers, who were unaware of the fallen water pressure. The NFS arrived at 04.00 but it took another five before the fires could be called under control, relay pumps being run in from the river, the mains water pressure improving gradually. York station is one of the few places to display a plaque commemorating the bravery and sacrifices of its employees.

Further damage to railway property was caused when fire bombs hit the stables and coal depot, a train of some thirty trucks was destroyed together with one of Sir Nigel Gresley's famous A4 Pacifics, No 4469 'Sir Ralph Wedgewood'. The engine repair shed, housing about thirty locomotives was bombed, three engines took the brunt of the explosion but shielded the others from serious damage. Not all of the bombs directed at the railway actually hit it, a man living in Leeman Road counted about eleven high explosive bombs within 300 yards of his house, some fell in Garfield Terrace and the streets surrounding it.

Coney Street came under attack, the Guildhall was set ablaze as was the church of St Martin le Grand, the church registers were saved by the Verger who lived nearby and dashed into the blazing building to rescue them. The Jersey Dairy whose premises backed on to the church was also destroyed, but it was able to continue trading from the wrecked shop doorway. The press offices were also on fire. Firemen from Malton tried to fight the fires which had broken out not only in Coney Street, but in New Street, Daveygate and in the Leopold Arcade, but the were fighting a losing battle.

The Bar Convent School in Nunnery Lane ( 100 yards from the railway station ) was hit by a delayed action bomb, the nuns and between fifteen and thirty pupils went to take cover in the cellar when it was found that one of the nuns was missing, two nuns went to look for her, and after a series of mishaps and just as they thought they were nearing the crowded shelter and safety, the bomb exploded killing five of the nuns. It was not until Sunday 3rd May that all five bodies were recovered. Bar Convent was not the only school to be hit, Manor Grade High was completely destroyed, Poppleton Road received a direct hit, Shipton Street, Queen Anne's, Nunthorpe, Bootham and St Peters were all damaged or burning. The Blind School in Kings Manor and the Art Gallery next door were set on fire, as were the offices of the Education Department, in St Leonards, across the road. Local government offices in Duncombe Place were also set on fire.

One complete container of incendiary bombs fell, just before 03.00. in the grounds of a nursing home some 65 yards from York Minster. Incendiaries also landed on the Guildhall which was nearing the completion of a three year restoration period to rid it of all things, Death Watch beetle. Despite efforts by firewatchers to put out many the incendiaries on the wooden roof, there was too many to cope with, its destruction was of more importance than it would at first appear, part of it was the Civil Defence Control Centre.

In addition to the loss of the Control Centre, York was to lose the main telephone exchange in the Lendel area of the city by 03.30, in trying to extinguish incendiary bomb fires, the water and foam ran on to the telephone equipment and wrecked it. Worse was to come, after evacuating the main Control Centre, it was found that the secondary control centre in St Paul's Church was also on fire, so the control room staff eventually took refuge in the undamaged Mansion House, the army providing a field telephone. Due to the circumstances described, wardens did not know where to send the information needed by Civil Defence leaders to co-ordinate services, this was not a serious problem, local Civil Defence services were capably dealing with most incidents, helped by the limited nature of the attack.

York's fire services were stretched to the limit, fortunate in having two rivers, the Ouse and the Foss, crossing the city, thirty-three static water tanks, 75% of its planned surface lines in place and an efficient force of firewatchers, all seemed to be well, but they did have problems at a later stage in the raid. The number of fires was so great, and the water pressure so low, that fireboat pumps, relay lines and static supplies had to used to help quell the fires. Lack of telephone communication meant that many fires had a real hold before the firemen got to them, the fact that outside help could not be called up, each fire engine was on its own, some fires had to be left to burn, especially ordinary houses, a difficult decision for any firefighter to make. The fire services in York, were, for a while, on their own. The first NFS reinforcements arrived from Hull at 04.30 and this was on the initiative of the Area Fire Force Commander, who had lost all contact with York. Things could only get better.

It was in the residential areas that most people were killed. The Nunthorpe Estate was built in the 1930s, on the site of some allotments on which there had been a pond, a lot of the ground was waterlogged and in places unsuitable for the erection of Anderson shelters. A bomb dropped on Nos 23-25 Nunthorpe Grove, destroying both houses as well as Nos 19-21, in No 19, a house with no shelter, a young woman, whose husband was on night-shift, was buried and badly injured but rescued, - she was not expected to live, or if she did, she would have none of her faculties as she had a compound fracture of the skull and other multiple injuries, but she was to make an eventual and full recovery - her three year old daughter was buried but pulled out alive - her rescuer thought she was dead, but he learned 42 years later that she had survived to go to America and marry an American surgeon - and an ATS girl billeted at No 19 was half buried, rescued quickly, but suffered two broken ankles - she had thirteen pieces of bone removed from her left ankle and was discharged from hospital in April 1943.

In No 21 only an ATS girl billeted there was unaccounted for, her name was Dorothy Thompson, the rest of the occupants were safe, despite being machine-gunned by German aircraft both before and after the bomb exploded. Days passed and Rescue Party after Rescue Party searched around the crater and through the rubble. Mortuaries were checked and it was found that a woman named Dorothy Thompson had been taken to a Mortuary outside York, but this proved to be the body of a fifty year old of the same name, soldiers from the same unit as the young ATS girl helped in the search, all to no avail. By Thursday May 7th the bomb crater had completely filled with water, and the rescue services had to borrow a trailer pump from the NFS to cope it, when they finally drained it, there at the bottom of the crater, covered in clay and mud was the body of Dorothy Thompson. She was only 24-years-old and had recently become engaged.

Another bomb landed between and to the rear of Nos 35-37 and 39-41 Nunthorpe Grove, these families had Anderson shelters and were in them. When the bomb fell, No 41 had the roof of their shelter blown apart by the blast, but no one lost their lives in this incident. Fate was not yet finished with Nunthorpe Grove. (See 5th March 1945).

To the rear of Nunthorpe Grove lay Nunthorpe Crescent, and a number of houses there were damaged by bombs that fell in Nunthorpe Grove, one in particular was partly demolished by a boulder that was throw up by the explosion near 39-41 Nunthorpe Grove. The boulder came through the roof of the house, killing the man in it, his wife was unhurt but badly shocked and his daughter was trapped but rescued with an injured back and legs, a neighbour in the same ambulance had a badly crushed leg.

In Bootham Terrace a number of houses were wrecked, houses with no fronts on and many with no windows left intact, but those who were comparatively lucky helped out the less fortunate. One home for instance became the unofficial local First Aid Post, 2 elderly people appeared, partially dressed, on the doorstep and came into the hall in a dazed condition, carrying the rest of their clothes, they were helped, The bodies of 2 old ladies were brought in and laid on the lounge carpet. They had been killed by blast and bore no signs of bodily injury. Another woman was brought in and put on the kitchen floor - she was thought to have a broken jaw, so despite her cries she was not allowed any water to drink - the fallen lounge door became a temporary stretcher and was used for at least one man who had been killed by blast while lying on the ground.

In Crossland Road a bomb had fallen in a back-yard, demolishing Nos 8 and 9, the occupants of No 9, a mother and two children had taken cover in an Anderson Shelter, which was badly damaged, all three were pulled out uninjured and taken to a Rest Centre. However the three occupants of No 8 were still under the debris of what was once, their home. Rescuers removed 4 feet of rubble before they reached the first occupant, a member of the WAAF, she was fine with only a superficial cut to the base of her skull, more debris was removed and the woman and child were uncovered, the woman injured and her two year old son dead.

Incident reports by this time were flooding in and they included - Four trapped Queen Anne's Road - Mother killed baby in arms Water Lane - Bomb dropped St Olaves Road ... severe damage - Clifton Aerodrome severely damaged ... Night guard wiped out. Nearly every street from Kingsway through Crombie Avenue, round via Rowntrees Bridge, through the maze of terraced streets along the railway line, right up Grosvenor Terrace, and back into Bootham once more, were all reporting death and destruction as the Germans pressed home their attack without any opposition.

A Mr Myers who owned a house at the corner of Seagrove Walk and Grantham Drive staggered out to find a 1,000 lb bomb embedded in his garden, he told a group of wardens but they had more pressing problems at that time. Everywhere they were still tunnelling to free trapped people. In the Clifton and Burton Stone Lane area, there were nearly twenty of them. A soldier and a woman were pinned down by smoking debris next to a bomb crater. In spite of danger from escaping gas which may ignite at any moment rescue workers toiled for two hours to free the two of them. At the back of the Clifton cinema civil defence workers dug into a mountain of wreckage, Seven hours later a weary but triumphant woman, bearing a filthy screaming baby in her arms would be saved.

The Royal Observer Corps manning a secret post (the location was kept secret until the end of the war) in the sorting shed of the Central Post Office, Lendel, finally got observer release at 04.46 they had been well and truly in the centre of things ever since the sudden change of course by the enemy planes off Flamborough Head was reported to them from an outside post at 02.36.

By all accounts this was the most accurate of the Baedeker Raids, 54% of the bombs landing on target, yet it was one of the lightest of the main raids. The Germans claimed to have sent seventy-four bombers on the raid, the British estimate that between thirty and forty bombers took part. It was normal for a raiding force to consist of between seventy and eighty bombers, so it must be assumed that a higher proportion than usual failed to find the target.

It was generally felt that York Civil Defences had acquitted themselves well. The senior personnel had experienced the most trouble of any 'Baedeker Blitzed' city and had coped. Local troops and civilians gave much assistance and outside help arrived in time from blitz experienced places such as Hull. Numbers of those who died in York vary from seventy-six to eighty-two. Of the 27.000 houses in the city 579 were rendered uninhabitable, a further 2.500 were damaged to some extent. Obviously there was a fear that the city would become a target of the Luftwaffe again, but York did not suffer another major attack again for the rest of the war.

A Dornier Do 217 crashed at Coneysthorpe near Malton, Yorkshire, the cause unknown. 1 of the crew was killed and three injured crewmen were captured.

A Heinkel He 111 was shot down in the attack on York. The incident is graphically described in Leo Kessler and Eric Taylor's book 'The York Blitz - 1942'... A twenty-three year old Free French Hurricane night fighter pilot Yves Mahe arrived over York to find that city well and truly under attack. He hurtled past a Junkers Ju 88, his sights on a Heinkel He 111 that was machine-gunning the streets below. His first burst missed, but it alerted the German pilot who broke away to the right, Mahe followed and got the Heinkel in his sights once again, this time setting the starboard engine on fire. Following it down Mahe lost sight of it in the smoke and the haze of dust that hung over the city.

At 1.000 feet the crew began to bale out of the crippled Heinkel, one by one their chutes opened and one by one each crew member was unlucky enough to be struck by the tail as the bomber spiralled downwards. After narrowly managing to escape falling into the Ouse, the turret gunner hit the ground first to find himself alone in enemy territory, in the distance was a little collection of houses, he walked up to one of them and gave himself up.

The Junkers Ju 88 that Mahe flew past on his way to shoot down the Heinkel had seen enough, he jettisoned the last of his bombs, uselessly, on both sides of the railway line leading from York to Huntington. The pilot headed for the coast and back to base. One of the crew members of the German plane, Oberfeldwebel Hans Fruehauf, an observer-gunner, finally ended up on the Russian front fighting on foot - as an infantryman.

This is where confusion starts - in contrast to the above account, the book 'The Blitz - Then and Now' states that it was a Junkers Ju 88D that Mahe shot down - " 1/Kustenfliegergruppe 106 Junkers Ju 88D-1 (1334) Shot down by Warrant Officer Y. Mahe in a No 253 Squadron Hurricane. Crashed whilst attempting a forced landing at Tree Farm, Elvington, Yorkshire 03.30. Lt W. Boy killed. Uffz K.H. Kugler, Gefr W. Schindler and Gefr H. Muller (injured) taken prisoner. Aircraft M2 + CH wrecked." * The photograph of the rudder of the aircraft in 'The Blitz - Then and Now' appears to be that of a Junkers Ju 88 * Further confusion starts here - one of the markings on the rudder of the aircraft that Mahe shot down was the silhouette of a ship, the 'SS Bovey Tracey' (1212t) a cargo ship built in Sunderland in 1930, she was on her way from Portsmouth to Sunderland, on the 17th November 1941 when she was attacked and sunk by German aircraft, but one of the books already quoted states that she was sunk in the Channel and a third book, that she was sunk off Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

The Hurricane pilot Yves Mahe already had an adventurous life behind him. After the French surrender in 1940 he had stolen a plane just before the Germans had captured his home base. Unknown to him, his flyer brother was doing the same thing. By a roundabout route in their stolen planes, both officers had reached England in order to join de Gaulle and continue the fight. Amazingly, on his first day in London, sight-seeing, Yves Mahe bumped into none other than his brother! The Heinkel Mahe shot down was his first kill, in due course General de Gaulle would decorate him with the Croix de Guerre and York gave a civic welcome at the Mansion House.

Night 969. All times DST. Blackout begins: 22.03, ends: 06.02
Public Alert: 03.16, All-Clear: 03.45

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