On this day 20 August, Battle of Britain


Mi General
MI.Net Member
Feb 29, 2004
Battle of Britain Campaign Diary

Weather: Generally cloudy, rain spreading from the north. Channel mainly fine.
Day: Scattered raids in the morning. Kent and Essex airfields attacked during the afternoon.
Night: Very little activity. One or two raids in the south-west.


Enemy action by day
Enemy action was again on a reduced scale, consisting mostly of reconnaissances and a number of raids by single aircraft which attacked targets in East Anglia.

One raid of 190 aircraft penetrated to the Thames Estuary where it was successfully driven off.

Manston was attacked without success by twelve enemy fighters at 1455 hours.

North and East Coasts

In the morning, one raid of 3+ flew to Orfordness and attacked objectives near Chelmsford and Lowestoft. This raid was intercepted and one Me110 destroyed.

In the afternoon, four small raids approached East Anglia some of which penetrated inland. Interceptions were not favoured by weather conditions. Later, a convoy East of Dunwich was attacked and also objectives at Great Yarmouth, Southwold and Wattisham. Two raids were intercepted and one Ju88 destroyed.

South East Coast

During the morning a number of small raids, mostly reconnaissances, were plotted in the Straits of Dover and the Thames Estuary.

At about 1445 hours, 80+ aircraft were concentrated behind Calais and this was plotted as 190 aircraft when it crossed the coast between Dover and Manston and flew to the Estuary and Canterbury areas. It was intercepted and five aircraft were destroyed. It has not been reported that this raid dropped any bombs.

At 1550 hours, 12 Me109s attempted to make a dive machine-gunning attack on Manston. They were successfully driven off by ground defences and three Blenheims.

South and West Coasts

A number of reconnaissances were plotted during the day in the Channel off the South and West Coasts and in the Bristol Channel, and a single aircraft attacked targets in Llanreath (Pembroke), Neath and Port Talbot.

An enemy aircraft attacked a ship off Anglesey with two aerial torpedoes at 1840 hours.

By night
Weather was cloudy with poor visibility round most of the coast. Enemy activity was negligible. A few raids were plotted off the South West Coast and one of these penetrated several miles inland north of Portland.


Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours, 20th August 1940
Blenheim - 53
Spitfire - 240
Hurricane - 396
Defiant - 22
Gladiator - 7
Total - 718

Enemy Losses
By Fighters
2 Me109.....1 Me109.....1 Me109
1 Me110.....2 Ju88........1 Do17
3 Do215.....1 unknown .2 Do215
1 Ju88........1 Ju88

3 aircraft of which two pilots are safe.

166 patrols despatched involving 477 aircraft.

It is estimated that about 150 enemy aircraft operated over Great Britain during the night 19th/20th August and 200 during the day of 20th August.
Flying 1472. Casualties 41 (31 repairable, 6 written off and 4 by enemy action).
Eastchurch is unserviceable. Abbotsinch and Hartlepool are unserviceable by night.

No changes.
Air Intelligence Reports
No reports.
Home Security Reports
Date: 20th/21st August 1940

General Summary
Before dawn, hostile aircraft were active chiefly in the Midlands where bombs were dropped at Derby and Coventry and near Sheffield, without, however, causing serious industrial damage.
During daylight, the East Coast districts of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were raided, and RAF aerodromes in these areas were unsuccessfully attacked. Pembroke and Port Talbot in South Wales were also visited during this period, but little damage resulted.
The night of 20th/21st August has been quiet, but there are reports of a few incendiary bombs dropped on rural districts in Devon, Dorset, Worcestershire and Suffolk; there is also some railway and road traffic dislocation owing to the presence of unexploded bombs.

Detailed Summary
Driffield Aerodrome was attacked by some enemy aircraft at 2245 hours, 19th August, four bombs being dropped from a low height, the first of which burst inside a hangar and severely damaged two Whitleys. The three others caused large craters on the aerodrome.
Hatson Aerodrome. One heavy bomb is reported to have been dropped on the foreshore close to the aerodrome at approximately 0200 hours.
Bircham Newton. At 0255 hours, HE and incendiaries were dropped which caused craters but did not affect the serviceability of the aerodrome. No other damage was caused.
Porthcawl was attacked at 1020 hours, but the bombs fell on a beach near the hangars and only craters were caused.
Manston Aerodrome. Twelve Me109s made a diving attack at 1550 hours; no bombs were dropped. Two of the enemy aircraft were able to get in burst of machine-gun fire before being driven off, but no damage or casualties resulted.
Wattisham Aerodrome. One Do215 dropped twelve incendiaries at 1850 hours, but damage was very slight and no casualties resulted.
Pembroke. Two further attacks were made on the oil tanks at Llanreath, at 0140 hours and again at 1155 hours, but only slight further damage was done. It is believed that six out of fifteen tanks are still intact.
About midnight on the 19th/20th August, about 40 HE and 100 incendiaries fell on derby and surrounding district. Seventeen houses were completely wrecked with damage to many others and to roads and mains.
Chelmsford was again raided at 0950 hours by a single aircraft and twenty-four houses were damaged and some casualties caused.
At 1010 hours, HE bombs were dropped on Port Talbot where slight damage was done to railway sidings and at Neath where slight railway dislocation was caused and some casualties. Ten HE dropped on the Air Ministry Experimental Station at Great Bromley. No damage or casualties resulted.
Serious damage to water mains and sewers occurred during a raid on Great Yarmouth at 1740 hours. Seventeen HE fell and an electric sub-station was wrecked.

Casualties on Ground by Enemy Action:
To RAF Personnel - nil.
To others - 23 killed, 135 injured

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