Wednesday, 3 July 1940


After refusing an ultimatum to sail out of the reach of German capture, the French fleet is attacked by the British Mediterranean Fleet at Oran (Mers-el-Kebir). It sours relations with the French forces still in England. General de Gaulle finds it difficult to recruit French forces in Britain to the Free French cause. Most are returned to France under the Armistice.

No. 24 Squadron

Flying Officer Boris Romanoff, of the Russian royal family, cousin to the late Tsar, is posted to Ringway from No. 24 Squadron.

No. 56 Squadron

At 4 p.m. F/Lt John Coghlan is about 9,000 feet over Felixtowe with another Hurricane. They have been sent up to investigate an unidentified intruder, an ‘X-raid’. As Section leader, he has ceded control to Red 2 as his R/T is not working. A third Hurricane has become lost in the clouds, so they are now only two.
Over Orfordness Coghlan sights a Dornier 215 through a gap in the clouds and waggles his wings to catch the other’s attention. He loses sight of the Dornier in the clouds but spots it again in clear air. Coghlan attacks from the sun but can get in only a quick burst of two or three seconds; his approach speed is too great. The other Hurricane attacks while Coghlan does a loop to get back on the Dornier’s tail. This time he gets in a 10-second burst, again from 200 yards. As he passes ten yards away he sees the Dornier’s port engine and wing-root burst into flames about two feet long. Coghan enters cloud and sees the Dornier no more. His report says it may be linked to a mass of flames and a trail of smoke which crashed into the sea off Burnham at about 4.20. He claims an unconfirmed victory.