Battle of Barking Creek

Battle Of Barking Creek

Battle of Barking Creek

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The Battle of Barking Creek was a friendly fire incident that happened on 6 September 1939, resulting in the first death of a British fighter pilot in the Second World War.

Incident

At 6.15am on 6 September 1939, unidentified aircraft were reported approaching from the east at high altitude over West Mersea, on the Essex coast.Christopher Yeoman & John Freeborn, Tiger Cub - The Story of John Freeborn DFC* A 74 Squadron Fighter Pilot In WWII, Pen and Sword Aviation, 2009, ISBN 978-1848840232, p45 In response, six Hurricanes were ordered to be scrambled from 56 Squadron, based at North Weald Airfield in Essex. For some unknown reason, the Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Group Captain Lucking, sent up his entire unit. In addition to these, and unbeknown to the rest of the pilots, two Pilot Officers took up a pair of reserve aircraft and followed at a distance, destined to be the targets of the mistaken attack.

Additionally, 151 Squadron’s Hurricanes (also from North Weald), and Spitfires from 54, 65, and 74 Squadrons based at Hornchurch Airfield scrambled.With the war only three days old, none of the Royal Air Force pilots had seen combat, very few had ever seen a German plane. Communications between planes and command centres were poor. There was no identifying procedure for pilots to distinguish between enemy and friendly aircraft.Bob Cossey, A Tiger's Tale: The Story of Battle of Britain Fighter Ace Wg. Cdr.......
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