End of Air Raids

By kind permission of John King, Author

After the air raids in March, London was little troubled until the night of 19/20 May when a massive aerial armada was launched against England. It included thirty-eight Gothas, two reconnaissance aircraft and three Giants.. Not all the aircraft arrived over England, but thirteen got as far as London. South East London was hit again and at least one Gotha was shot down after disgorging its bombs. 159 bombs were dropped that night on London, Sauthend, Ramsgate and Dover killing 49 people. It marked a turning point — the aeroplane campaign was over. It failed to subdue London and its effect, like that of the Zeppelin, was negligible.

The day after the raid, Acting Scoutmaster Henry Garner took the troop to Biggin Hill to see the RAF machines, mainly Bristol Fighters. Some of the ScoUts had hoped to have a flight and went prepared with letters from their parents to indicate their consent. In the event the weather was too cloudy but the boys had a treat when they were taken to lunch by Lieut E E Turner who, the night before, had with his gunner shot down the Gotha which had dropped its bombs on S E London. The party dined at the King’s Arms at Leaves Green.

Shortly afterwards the troop lost its leader when Garner was also called up, whereupon Senior Patrol Leader Jack Shortt moved up to fill the gap.

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