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Battle of Britain 4 Sep 1940: a rookie shows what he's made of

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Uploaded on Sep 4, 2010

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COMBAT REPORT

Name: Sgt 'Boy' Williams
Date: 4 Sept 1940
Flight, squadron: 1 Sqn Hawkinge
Number of enemy aircraft: 7
Type of enemy aircraft: Bf109
Time attack was delivered: 0700
Place attack was delivered: Channel, NE Deal
Height of enemy: 8,000
Enemy casualties: 6
Our casualties: 0

I've got me a new mate, make no mistake!

Today was like déjà wotsit, coz we're sittin' in the readiness' ut at Manston and Pemberton comes in an' catches me wiv me boots up on a table, sleepin'.

"Boy!" he barks, "'Ow many sorties now?"

""Uh..wha..uh, five Sir!" I tell 'im.

"Any kills?"

"Er...an 'Einkel, an' a 109...er, an a piece of a 110, Sir."

"You'll do," he grunts, and points at this lad in the corner what just arrived this mornin' and 'as been sittin' terrified in a corner watchin' the sun come up. "Take 'im up and don't let 'im get killed before I work out what flight to put 'im in today."

The lad looks at me like this is a joke, but I jerk me thumb toward the door, "C'mon you."

As we's walkin' across the aerodrome to our kites, I asks 'im, "What's yer name?"

"Percy Harfield-Radisson," he sez.

"Harfy-wot?" I sez, "Radisson?"

"Harfield-Radisson, yes."

"Too long. I'll call you Radish, alright? Right Radish, we are going to go up and do a nice patrol down the coast to Deal at 5,000, then we'll pop out over the Channel and climb up to about 10,000 until we get about level with Margate, then we'll head back over the aerodrome and do it all again. When we've been up about an hour, we'll land back 'ere and you can put in yer logbook yerv been on a wartime patrol. Howz that sound?"

"It sounds...what about Jerry though?"

"Who? Oh, 'im. Don't you worry about Jerry. 'ardly ever see 'im these days, and if we gets lucky, well, just do wot I sez and you'll be fine." I tell 'im, tryin not to worry 'im too much.

But 'e don't sound worried at all, "I was rather hoping to be able to have a go at bringing down a German kite or two," he sez.

I stop walkin' and put me 'and on 'is shoulder, "You'll get yer chance Radish. But don't be in no 'urry. If we are unlucky enough to run into Jerry this mornin', there ent much the two of us is goin' to be able to do, is there? The old man said I woz to take you up, and bring you down again, and I always obeys orders, I do!"

Blinkin' eck. [i]I was rather hoping to be able to have a go at bringin down a German kite or two[/i]. As I trundled up the strip with Radish behind me, I didn't give 'im much chance of gettin' back alive if we did run into Jerry. All guts and no garters, as they say.

Well, the run down to Deal goes smoothly enough and 'e managed to stay on me wing in the turn. Managed very nicely actually. I sets us up for the climb up to 10,000 and then I sees the buggers. What do yer call half a staffel? Is it a 'halffel'? Anyway, they is sittin' a good five thousand feet higher en us and four of em breaks and comes down while the uvver two or three just wait and watch. I report 'em to Sector Control, but they's no one else in the neighbourhood what can 'elp us, so we're on our lonesomes.

"Watch me tail Radish!" I told 'im "An if you get the chance, run like 'ell, we're outnumbered 'ere and it's no time for 'eroes!"

We merge wiv 'em and I'm 'aulin around trying to get onto the tail uv the one guarding the tail uv the one whos tryin' to get on my tail...if yer know what I means. And F me drunk, if bloody Radish doesn't open fire from across the circle with a perfect deflection shot and knock him down smokin'!! I 'ave a couple of squirts, but there's no stoppin' Mr Percy Harfy-wotsit. 'E gets anuvver two by the time I get lucky and get me first. I look around and there's four oily patches on the water, a couple chutes floatin' down and me and 'im is still alive. Me crate is leakin' a bit o vapour from somewhere, but all me gauges is lookin' alright for now. And did I mention - we're both still alive? Miracles do 'appen.

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