Battle of Britain campaign 2015 – Part Four 27th-30th Aug – “Hlabezulu” – South African Plt Off Michael Roland Hill becomes 266 Sqn’s first ace

Posted: August 30, 2015 in Battle of Britain, RAF, wargames, West End Games
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With the overall situation delicately poised, as the RAF just managed to keep the Lufwaffe at bay, after the Sqns success on the 25th Aug, it was inevitable that sooner or later their luck would change.

On 27th the war was brought once more painfully back to the carefee minds of the pilots, mercifully it was not as bad as it could have been. The Sqn was vectored towards RAF Kenley and ordered to link up with 43 Hurricane Sqn and the newly formed 616 Spitfire Sqn. The enemy strength was estimated to be 175+ but the composition was not known thanks to the persistent cloud. Just as the Sqn approached Kenley Fg Off John Pattison called over the RT in a braad Antipodean accent “This is Yellow Leader, BANDITS! swarms of the sods!” A mixed force of Heinkel He111 and Junkers Ju87b Stuka dive bombers were approaching from the South. Undetected were the 100 or so Messerschmitt bf109 fighter escorts a few thousand feet above hidden in the cloud. As Yellow Section led the Sqn toward the bomber formation the 109’s broke cover and set on the unsuspecting Spitfires.

Harry Prowse - 266 Sqn's 2nd combat death (BoB Monument)

Harry Prowse – The second pilot from 266 Sqn killed in action (BoB Monument)

A bitter dogfight ensued as the pilots of 266 Sqn attempted to react. Pattison’s Spitfire was soon shot up and losing power after the glycol tank ruptured. Now a sitting duck he chose to bale for the second time in his life landing safely in a field amongst the freshly harvested hay bales. Wilkinson led Red Section to assist but not before the Sqns second most experienced pilot, Yellow 2 Plt Off Colin Logan was also shot down (also for the second time). His aircraft on fire he managed to crash land and jump out before the Spit burned out. South African Plt Off Michael Rowland Hill addressed the balance slightly shooting down one of the enemy but 2 more Spitfires were shot down before the Sqn broke off leaving the bombers to attack Kenley with impunity. Sgt Ronald Barraclough parachuted safely but Red 3 Plt Off Harry Arthur Robin Prowse was not so lucky. Possibly wounded by enemy fire he went down with his Spitfire crashing a short distance from the airfield. He was the Sqns 2nd casualty.

30th Aug – 2 Days later the Sqn had the opportunity to even the score when they intercepted a group of 25 Bf110’s about to strafe the Spitfire factory at Southampton. The Sqn was made up as follows:-

Sqn Ldr Wilkinson (2 kills) Red 1, Plt Off E Wells (1 kill) Red 2, Plt Off R Roach (rookie) Red 3

Flt Lt S Bazley (2 kills) Blue 1, Plt Off M Hill (4 kills) Blue 2, Sgt D Kingaby (4 kills) Blue 3

Sub Lt H Greenshields Yellow 1, Plt Off C Logan (2 kills) Yellow 2, Sgt A Eade (1 kill) Yellow 3

Fg Off N Burnett (4 kills) Green 1, Plt Off J Soden (4 kills) Green 2, Sgt R Barraclough (1 kill) Green 3

B4HP5M RAF Pilots scramble during th Battle of Britain Conflict World War Two Pilots Running Aircraft Fighter Supermarine Spitfire Airf

Plt Off Hill (obscured) and other pilots scramble

With no fighter escort, the Bf110’s had to break off their attack and form a defensive circle for mutual support. Wilkinson led Red section into the attack. Catching one of the bf110’s in his sights as it circled away he scored multiple hits. Instructing his rookie wingman to follow, Wilkinson displayed a masterclass of how to keep on your quarry’s tail eventually finishing off the 110 over the sea. All the other sections also registered successes as another Sqn #19 Spitfire also joined in. The toasts for the day back at the Jackdaw Inn however went to Plt Off Michael Roland Hill, a native of South Africa who on his 2nd successive combat sortie shot down another enemy aircraft. With his score now confirmed on 5 he was the first official ace of 266 (Rhodesia) Sqn.





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