Spitfire Vb , BL692 (AH-M)
At 1325 hours, the Squadron took off from Manston, where a briefing had been held, to act as close, and only, escort to 6 Boston bombers bombing the aerodrome of St. Omer, and to go in first and attack the ack-ack positions around the aerodrome. After reforming, the same operation was going to be carried out at St. Inglevert aerodrome. Rendezvous was made at 1330 hours over North Foreland and course was set for the French coast, the aircraft flying at sea level. The French coast was crossed just East of Calais at 1340 hours with the aircraft still at sea level. Intense light flak was experienced from the Calais area. The squadron proceeded to St. Omer, being constantly fired at by spread light ack-ack positions, one of which borught down one of the bombers. Owing to thick fog in the St. Omer area, the Bomber formations turned right before reaching the target. They made one orbit to port and two to starboard just after turning right. They completely lost formation making it impossible for our aircraft to escort them. 8 F.W. 190's were observed and the Bostons broke off singly into the fog after releasing their bombs on no particular target. Some 2 miles N.W. of St. Omer aerodrome, Red 2, 2/Lt. Waerner T broke away from formation with white smoke coming from his engine. He called over the R/T that his glycol system was hit and he tried to climb so as to be able to bale out. Not succeeding to do so, he called up over the R/T wishing the boys goo luck and then he went in to "belly-land" on a cultivated, rather bumpy field.(Appendix 1). The Squadron climbed to 6,000 feet and recrossed the French coast E. of Cap Gris Nes - experiencing flak from the coastal batteries. Ten aircraft landed at Manston by 1430 hours. The 11th aircraft, Sgt Hansen E, landed at Gravesend.