Monthly Archives: July 1940

Wednesday, 31 July 1940

RAF Silloth, Cumberland (now Cumbria)

The duty defence pilot, Sergeant-Pilot JCW Parrott, is briefed by the Duty Officer, F/Lt Moody, when an unidentified Whitley is spotted in the vicinity. F/Lt Moody passes on to Sgt Parrott the Station Commander’s verbal instructions to shoot the Whitley down if it fails to identify itself, or will not be forced down. It appears that Sgt Parrott was not required to take off and intercept the Whitley, but Moody’s briefing will prove crucial to an incident that takes place five days later.

RAF Ringway

From the Ringway ORB: ‘Lieut. LIVERSAGE, after visiting War Office, arranged for instruction of special personnel, to report at Central Landing School, probably fortnightly.’

Tuesday, 30 July 1940

RAF North Weald

F/Lt John Coghlan is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). The citation for his award reads:

This officer has been a flight commander in his squadron on most of the recent patrols and has led the squadron on some occasions. At all times he has shown the greatest initiative and courage and has personally destroyed at least six enemy aircraft.


The London Gazette, 30 July 1940: issue 34910, page 4674.

Saturday, 27 July 1940

RAF Abingdon

Sergeant John Austin starts flying the Whitley at No. 10 OTU, Abingdon. He starts on the Whitley III, but on August 13 he will progress to the Whitley V. On 10 September he will pass out from No. 10 OTU, and is posted to No. 51 Squadron at Dishforth. Two nights later he will fly his first bomber operation, to Bremen as 2nd pilot — in at the deep end.

Monday, 22 July 1940

The foundation of SOE

Chamberlain’s paper of 19 July, advocating the formation of a special organisation for organising sabotage and insurrection, is approved by the Cabinet. This paper is, in effect, the charter that brings the Special Operations Executive (SOE) into existence.

Thursday, 18 July 1940

56 Squadron, North Weald

S/Ldr Knowles, now a ‘Whitehall warrior’, borrows one of No. 56 Squadron’s Hurricanes. He flies to Ringway in L1764, taking off at 1200. The flight lasts about an hour. He returns between 1805 and 1905. There are obviously enough spare fighters for him to borrow an operational fighter aircraft from a front-line station during the battle.

There’s a gap in the Ringway ORB between the 17th and 22nd. It appears that bad weather prevents any parachute training drops over Tatton Park.

On 30 September Knowles’s borrowed Hurricane will be crash-landed on Chesil beach by P/O M.H. Constable-Maxwell, after 56 Squadron intercepts a raid by He111s on the Westland factory at Yeovil.