25th February 02:05
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
SCRAMBLE – Trimley
2 bogies – called off both. Otherwise no joy. Completed a patrol & went home.
[1 Ju188 destroyed & 1 Do217 probably destroyed by F/L PFL Hall & F/O RD Marriott]
NFT, CINE-GUN & A/I PRACTICE
Spot of practice in finding the way home from above 10/10 cloud @ 2,000ft
SCRAMBLE & GCI Practice – Trimley
Very rapid scramble after hypothetical Huns. Absolutely no joy, so carried on with practice.
1 run: 1 visual: 1 murder
A long day for Broody & Jack. A first scramble in the early hours of the morning, followed by the regular afternoon NFT and a second scramble just before 23:00 that evening. Today saw Broody fly a total of 3 hours & 20 minutes.
The combats for Peter Hall and Dick Marriott took place during a scramble in aircraft HK228 (ME-C) at 22:00 on 24/ii/44, but apparently recorded by Broody on his return from the first scramble of the night. Hall’s combat report for the scramble was later annotated to show one HE177 and one DO217 as destroyed. Hall’s narrative on the combat report states:
“I was scrambled by North Weald at 2200 hours and ordered over to Biggin Hill control for freelance patrol at 18,000 feet. I chased several intersections in a southerly direction and, coming down to 14,000 feet followed an intersection in which I identified a Dornier 217 traveling S/W at about 300mph. I opened fire from 200 yards allowing 1½ ring deflection and observed strikes on the port engine and along the fuselage. Smoke began to pour out, and the e/a dived down toward the ground. As I came in for a second attack from starboard, the e/a disappeared below our port wing as we overshot. I made an orbit to port and went down after it to observe, but its contact could not be regained. We requested fix and the position is given as Q.8331, near Plumton Race Course, though the e/a may have crashed-some distance from this position. I claim 1 DO217 Probably Destroyed with the request that this be stepped up in the light of available evidence and the report from the Ack Ack in this district that a plane came down at 2225 hours.
Continuing patrol in a Northeasterly direction I observed an intersection slightly below at about 13,000 feet and, chasing this, found the e/a approaching head-on; coming in from astern I identified the aircraft as a Ju188 and plainly saw the black crosses on the wings. The searchlights doused but I was able to follow visually after my first attack from 200 yards, practically dead astern. No strikes seen but as I gave him 3 further short bursts the port engine caught fire and the e/a went into a steep dive with pieces falling off. I followed him down to 7000 feet and the e/a was then observed to dive even more steeply and hit the ground, an explosion being seen quite plainly. The position of this crash was fixed by control as R.1555 – east of Wadhurst. I therefore claim a Ju188 destroyed.”
(Source – The National Archives, Catalogue Reference: AIR/50/161)
I know that Peter Hall was reluctant to talk about his wartime experience in later years. The combat report above is reproduced not to glorify the success of the crew of ME-C at the expense of the German aircrew who died, but to serve as a historical reminder of the reality of war. I hope that you, like me, will read it well and take a moment to think about the skill and ability of the brave airmen or the RAF and other allied air-forces as they fought to keep the Empire safe from attack.