407 (Demon) Squadron

407 Squadron Hudson crashed at Docking

This Canadian Squadron moved to Bircham Newton with its Hudson aircraft at the end of March 1942, staying for six months, before moving to St Eval in Cornwall. During its stay at Bircham Newton it was employed attacking enemy shipping across the North Sea, mainly off the Dutch coast, a role it shared with No. 320 (Dutch) Squadron. During this period it earned its Demon nickname because of the tenacity of these attacks and the tonnage of shipping sunk. Most of these anti-shipping sorties were flown from Docking at night. The Squadron returned to Docking in November 1942, staying until February 1943

The photograph shows a 407 Squadron Hudson after a crash landing at Docking during the night of 25/26 May 1942. The arrow was drawn on the image to show damage sustained from an enemy shell. This was a very black night for the squadron, who lost five Hudson aircraft, in addition to this one and another that was seriously damaged, following attacks on well-defended enemy convoys off the Frisian Islands.  A total of twenty-one crew members perished that night and one was captured as a prisoner of war. It was a combined operation with the Dutch of No. 320 Squadron, who also lost one aircraft and four crew members.

During their time in west Norfolk, Nos. 320 and 407 squadrons both participated in the third 1000-bomber raid, against the city of Bremen, on the night of 25/26 June 1942. This raid, a major Bomber Command operation, supported by Coastal Command, is often referred to as Operation Millennium II. Two visiting Wellington squadrons, No. 311 (Czech) Squadron and No. 304 (Polish) Squadron, also participated in Millennium II from Bircham Newton as part of Coastal Command's contribution.

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© D. Jacklin 2017. This website is owned by the RAF Bircham Newton Memorial Project.