Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 328 July 24, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 15. At 6.30 AM, Luftwaffe bombs Rolls Royce factory at Glasgow without damage, hitting a nearby printing works. At 7.30 AM, Junkers Ju88s raid shipping in the Bristol Channel and 1 Ju88 is shot down by Spitfires of 92 Squadron. At noon, 18 Dornier bombers escorted by 40 Bf109s attack shipping in the Thames estuary, sinking minesweeping trawler Fleming (19 crew killed, 3 survivors rescued by minesweeper Corena). 54 and 65 Squadron go up and, as the Germans turn away, 610 Squadron scrambles from Gravesend to cut off their retreat. The 36 Spitfires shoot down 9 Bf109s which are running low on fuel off the coast of Kent (RAF loses 2 Spitfires). Another Bf109 is shot down by anti-aircraft guns. German bombers sink anti-submarine trawler HMS Kingston Galena (16 dead) and minesweeper Rodino (4 dead) off Dover.

1277 French sailors (captured when French warships in British ports were captured on July 3) leave Southampton for Marseilles on French steamer Meknes to be repatriated. At 10.30 PM, flying the French flag and with lights on to indicate neutrality, Meknes is sunk in the middle of the English Channel by German motor torpedo boat S-27 (416 lives lost). British destroyers HMS Viscount, Wolverine, Sabre and Shikari respond to distress signals and rescue the survivors.

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