Friday, 6 June 2008

Lancaster LL811 Bad Penny II

At 11:34 BST tonight please pause for a moment in remembrance of those who gave their lives in the liberation of Europe that started with the invasion of Europe on 6 June 1944 because D-Day began 26 minutes earlier.

The elephant is coloured RAF pink.

Photos with thanks to 550 Squadron association.

At 11:34pm on 5 June 1944 this aircraft* of 550 Squadron based at RAF North Killingholme was the first to cross the French coast and drop its bombload on a German coastal gun battery in Normandy to begin Operation Overlord. The French government awarded the crew captain Flying Officer (later Squadron Leader) Kenyon Bowen-Bravery the Croix de Guerre in recognition of this and a commemorative plaque was dedicated in the church of St Denys in North Killingholme.

"1,012 aircraft - 551 Lancasters, 412 Halifaxes, 49 Mosquitos - to bomb coastal batteries at Fontenay, Houlgate, La Pernelle, Longues, Maisy, Merville, Mont Fleury, Pointe du Hoc, Ouisterham and St Martin de Varreville. 946 aircraft carried out their bombing tasks. 3 aircraft were lost - 2 Halifaxes of No 4 Group on the Mont Fleury raid and 1 Lancaster of No 6 Group on the Longues raid. Only two of the targets - La Pernelle and Ouisterham - were free of cloud; all other bombing was entirely based on Oboe marking. At least 5,000 tons of bombs were dropped, the greatest tonnage in one night so far in the war.
110 aircraft of Nos 1 and 100 Groups carried out extensive bomber-support operations: 24 'Airborne Cigar' (ABC)-equipped Lancasters of No 101 Squadron patrolled all likely night-fighter approaches, so that their German-speaking operators could jam the German controllers' instructions; No 100 Group flew 34 RCM sorties and 27 Serrate and 25 Intruder Mosquito patrols. 2 Intruders and 1 ABC Lancaster were lost.
58 aircraft of Nos 3 and 5 Groups carried out a variety of operations to conceal the true location of the invasion for as long as possible. 16 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and 6 G-H fitted Stirlings of No 218 Squadron dropped a dense screen of Window, which advanced slowly across the Channel, to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion coast. These flights required exact navigation; both squadrons had been practising for this operation for more than a month. The second diversion was carried out by 36 Halifaxes and Stirlings of Nos 90, 138, 149 and 161 Squadrons. These aircraft dropped dummy parachutists and explosive devices to simulate airborne landings over areas not being invaded. 2 Stirlings of No 149 Squadron were lost while carrying out this duty.
31 Mosquitos bombed Osnabrück without loss.
Total Bomber Command effort for the night: 1,211 sorties, 8 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost. The number of sorties flown was a new record. British, American and Canadian divisions landed on five Normandy beaches early the next morning."

*Lancaster LL811 was one of a batch of Lancasters built by Armstrong-Whitworth at Baginton.


Anonymous said...

Lovely post. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Said Flying Officer Kenyon Bowen-Bravey (DFC, Croix de Guerre) died peacefully with his family at hand, 07.00 on 01.09.13 at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, Kent.