Updated 2016 with added detail of combat reports

keepituryens

Sqn Ldr Rodney Levett Wilkinson - CO 266 (Rhodesia) Sqn Sqn Ldr Rodney Levett Wilkinson – CO 266 (Rhodesia) Sqn

By a strange quirk of fate, while conducting research on another airman, I unexpectedly discovered that the Parish had its very own Battle of Britain airman (ack. Battle of Britain Monument). His story is not documented, so on the anniversary of his death it felt the done thing to redress the balance and remember one of our Few.

Rodney Levett Wilkinson was born on 23rd May 1910 was born in Atcham on the outskirts of Shrewsbury on 23rd May 1910 the only child to Maj Clement Arthur Wilkinson (Kings Shropshire LI) and Ruth Violet Esther Wilkinson (née Mirehouse). 11 days before his fifth birthday he lost his father, killed at Ypres. At some point after this tragic event his mother moved to Rotherfield with her young son taking up residence at The Gables in Argos Hill. The young “Wilkie” began his education at Wellington College and then followed…

View original post 839 more words

Advertisements

September 15 is the day officially celebrated as “Battle of Britain Day” the climax when the German Luftwaffe launched some of its largest concentrated attacks (principally against London). About 1,500 aircraft from both sides took part and at the end of the day, RAF Fighter Command had successfully managed to break up most of the enemy formations stopping them from inflicting major damage. When Hitler heard of this latest setback, he postponed Operation Sea Lion, (the planned German Invasion of Great Britain) and although the battle raged for another 6 weeks the intensity lessened as his attention focused east towards the Soviet Union.

A month earlier, Rotherfield had already experienced the battle first hand when a German Messerschmitt Bf110 was shot down in a fireball at Bletchinglye Lane. Exactly a month later, another German aircraft was about to make its own fiery appearance.

On September 15th, Luftwaffe Bomber group Kampfgeschwader 76 (KG76) was assigned to bomb London. They flew twin engine Dornier Do17 medium bombers. (In 2014, one of the only remaining Dornier’s in existence was recovered from its watery grave on Goodwin Sands and is now being preserved at RAF Cosford). Nicknamed “Fliegender Bleistift/Flying Pencil” because of its slim shape this aircraft was one of 3 main bomber types alongside the Heinkel He111 and Junkers Ju88 used by the Luftwaffe during the Battle.

Dornier Do17 serial F1+AT (serial partially obscured on fuselage) prior to its destruction over Rotherfield -  reproduced with permission from Battle over Sussex- Middleton Press

Dornier Do17 serial F1+AT (serial partially obscured on fuselage) prior to its destruction over Rotherfield – reproduced with permission from Battle over Sussex- Middleton Press

Do17 serial F1+AT was crewed by Lt Anton Wagner, Obgfr Kurt Boeme, Gfr Peter Holdenreid and Gfr Johann Kottusch. As they flew over the English coast a series of RAF attacks on the formation pulled their fighter escort away. By the time they reached London, they were confronted by Douglas Bader’s vaunted “Big Wing” comprising 5 Squadrons of about 60 airplanes who mercilessly set about the bombers. Jettisoning their bomb loads at random most bombers streamed back over the Thames estuary towards Kent and Sussex heading for home in disarray. For once the RAF outnumbered their opponents with pilots almost having to elbow each other out of the way to get a shot in. Over the course of 40 minutes, 6 Dornier’s from KG76 were shot down at Sturry, Underriver, Lullingstone, Herne Bay and at the most photographed crash of the entire battle at London’s Victoria Station.

The last casualty was serial F1+AT attacked by up to 10 RAF fighters. As their formation broke up the Dornier was engaged by 4 Hurricanes. Shorn of its fighter escort the bomber made for the clouds in a bid to hide from their quarry. Emerging beneath the cloud base a few minutes later it appeared as if they had successfully managed to shake off their attackers but the Hurricane of Flt Sgt Josef Kominek (Blue 2, B Flight) of 310 (Czech) Sqn had kept them in sight.

Sgt Kominek (fcafa.com)

Sgt Kominek (fcafa.com)

He made three further attacks firing off over 1,600 rounds and stating in his after action combat report that “at about 200 yards some sheets started to fall off and smoke was pouring from the port engine” With one engine on fire, the bomber began to lose height. Desperately attempting to maintain altitude the crew dropped their bomb load blind over the English countryside, but they were already doomed. Now set upon by the Hurricanes of Sgt’s Charles Hurry and George Jeffery from 46 Sqn more hits were registered. As they approached Rotherfield, Belgian volunteer Plt Off Victor Ortmans and Sgt Rupert Ommanney flying Hurricanes of 229 Sqn inflicted the coup de grace shooting up the stricken bomber.

At 12.20pm the Dornier was observed ablaze and plummeting towards the earth. Only Holdenried managed to bail out from the inferno, but as he tried to jump clear his parachute fouled with the tail plane and tragically he was dragged down to his death alongside his fellow crewmen.

The aircraft was entirely destroyed when it crashed. 49 Maintenance Unit were detailed to collect the remains on the 24th Sep with special instructions stating that the aircraft was “Burnt out. Bring scrap to Faygate” All four crewmen were initially buried at Tunbridge Wells cemetery before being re-interred at the German Soldatenfriedhof at Cannock Chase Staffs nos. 1/142 – 1/145.

When the site was excavated after the war, small surface fragments were recovered including parachute buckles, uniform buttons and pieces of melted alloy.

From published sources the location of the crash site is variously given as being near the Bicycle Arms and Argos Hill. The Sussex Constabulary report written by PC128 Clem Harris described finding the aircraft and bodies “in a copse…..in a field at Red Lane Farm, the rear of Argos Hill Lodge”. Eye witness accounts confirm that the bomber burnt out fiercely setting some pine trees on fire and coming to rest on the edge of a pond in a copse. Red Lane Farm no longer exists although properties on the A267 bearing the Red Lane title are approximately where the former farm was originally located. The two photographs below taken from the copse described above show the field where the bomber crashed, parts of which would have been spread right up to the hedge line in the foreground. The field is bordered by the A267 Tunbridge Wells road to the east and the B2101 Bicycle Arms road to the south. It should be noted that this field is on private land and not accessible to the public.

y 13 aug burwood 2 (640x480) y 13 aug burrwood location 1 (640x480)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was to be the final “manned” enemy aircraft downed over the parish during the war, although in 1944 a number of enemy vengeance “V” weapons were to be seen or heard passing over and occasionally crashing with mixed results. This was not the case for the RAF as a number of friendly aircraft crashed all over the Parish during the hostilities. I hope to eventually record all the remaining crash sites, V Weapon and Civil Defence War record bombing locations when research time permits.

I would like to acknowledge the invaluable help from Mr Clark in identifying the crash location as well as author Simon W Parry who kindly sent me copies of contemporary combat reports and accounts for study.

 

 

 


untitledIn August, the Luftwaffe stepped up their campaign launching Unternehmen Adlerangriff (Operation Eagle attack). Targeting RAF airfields and RDF stations (later renamed RADAR), the Battle entered a crucial stage when on the 15th Aug 1940 the aftermath of one particular raid brought the war uncomfortably close to the inhabitants of Rotherfield.

This critical day played a part in influencing the outcome of the entire Battle and was referred to afterwards as “Black Thursday” by the Luftwaffe. One of the units involved was the elite Erprobungsgruppe 210 (ErPro210). Led by Swiss born Hptm Walter Rubensdörffer, a decorated veteran of the Spanish Civil War, the unit specialised in low level precision bombing attacks. They flew twin engine Messerschmitt Bf110c Zerstörer’s (Destroyer’s), a two seater heavy fighter used in a ground attack role as well as utilising bomb carrying Messerschmitt Bf109e’s. ErPro210 had already carried out a successful attack on the 15th, when in the early evening they made their way towards another target, RAF Kenley.

Walter Rubensdorffer

Walter Rubensdorffer

Around 6.30pm, 24 Bf110’s & Bf109’s approached Dungeness. Flying into an early evening mist it was not until they reached Sevenoaks that they discovered they had lost their fighter escort. Undeterred, Rubensdörffer lined up to attack what he could just perceive as hangars in the distant haze. What he didn’t realise was that he was about to attack Croydon aerodrome by mistake.

On the ground, 9 Hurricanes of 111 Sqn that had just refuelled after an earlier sortie were hurriedly scrambled. Frantically opening their throttles to achieve height a pilot spotted the German airplanes below diving on the aerodrome. As Rubensdörffer led the attack the RAF fighters pounced and a vicious dogfight ensued. Many of the bombs fell well wide of their mark as the Bf110’s formed a defensive circle. Despite German propaganda claiming the Bf110 was invincible, they were no match for nimble modern single engine fighters that were faster and more manoeuvrable. More Hurricanes this time from 32 Sqn arrived and with fuel beginning to run low, the Germans broke formation and raced hell for the Coast.

(c) London Borough of Sutton Museum and Heritage Service; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“Pauke-Pauke” Oberleutnant Habisch’s Bf110D commences his bomb run on Croydon aerodrome. Like his CO and 5 others, he would soon be shot down, taken prisoner this time at Hawkhurst.

They left behind a scene of utter carnage, despite not being able to attack as they had wished, the Terminal building, hangars, workshops, the armoury and Officer’s Mess were all ablaze or wrecked and the airfield was heavily pockmarked. On the Purley Way civilian buildings had also been damaged, the Bourjois Perfume factory taking a direct hit. Tragically 68 people perished, 62 were civilian and over 185 were wounded. Now it was time to pay the bill. Harried by the RAF, Erpro210 aircraft were shot down at Nutfield, Hooe, Horley, Ightham and Hawkhurst. Rubensdörffer’s aircraft (serial S9+AB) was also damaged over Croydon, Sqn Ldr John Thompson reporting in his AAR “I fired a five second burst…climbing vertically from astern and observed bits of cowling, fuselage, etc. flying off in all directions”.

Rubensdörffer was escorted by Lt Horst Marx’s Bf109 attempting to protect him as he headed south, however at Crockham Hill near Chartwell, Rubensdörffer was attacked again possibly by Plt Off Byron Duckenfield’s Hurricane of 501 Sqn who hit the fuel tanks rupturing them and setting the aircraft on fire. Over the intercom Rubensdörffer informed Marx he was wounded and his radio operator OGefr Ludwig Kretzer dead or unconscious. At Frant, with the Hurricane still on his tail, his escort was shot down, crashing at Lightlands Farm. Marx managed to bale out and on landing flagged down a police car heading towards an ominous pall of smoke 4 miles south…

Now alone, Rubensdörffer’s luck gave out. Flying at tree top level as he approached Rotherfield he just managed to clear the spire of St Denys before dropping low over Yewtree Lane looking for a place to land. At Bletchinglye Lane he finally lost control and ploughed headfirst into a tree lined bank. The impact was so violent that the aircraft cartwheeled bursting into flames causing the ammunition to explode and sending pigs from the piggery at Bletchinglye farm squealing for cover. Both crewmen would have died instantly. When they arrived on the scene, all that was left for Marx (in police custody) was to identify the bodies. Rubensdörffer and Kretzer, were buried at Tunbridge Wells cemetery before being re-interred at the German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffs after the War.

An interesting postscript to this story is that Rubensdörffer was posthumously awarded the Knights Cross for his bravery. Had he survived he may instead have been court martialled for going against Hitler’s strict order forbidding the bombing of any London targets.

site 4 (800x522) site 13 (800x528)

Official dig in 1988 where a few fragments including this saddle drum magazine were unearthed. Some relics are also on display at Newhaven Fort.

 

Readers should note that the crash site is on private land although  visible from the roadside on Bletchinglye Lane. I would like to acknowledge the help from John Vasco and Simon Parry who managed to confirm so much of the detail.

IMG_3392 (800x600) IMG_3396 (800x600) IMG_3405 (800x600)

                 Crash site visited by the author in 2014. L-R Looking from crash toward Piggery and Bletchinglye Lane, gradient of field, not the best place to try a landing & from Bletchinglye Lane looking toward crash

IMG_3212 (600x800)

 

 

 

Final resting place of the crew of S9+AB at Cannock Chase visited by the author in 2014

 


The first of 2 dead rubbers after Hawthorn (Ferrari) had wrapped up the championship at the last race at Nurburgring saw Farina (Ferrari) take his second successive win. Although another victory for the all conquering Ferrari team it further strengthened the opinion of what could have been if he had not had such a disastrous start to the season not finishing in the first four races and finding himself 25 points behind the leader at the halfway stage.

Result

1st – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Ferrari – 8 points

2nd – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 4 points (6 points minus 2 dropped points)

3rd – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 4 points

4th – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Maserati – 0 points (3 points minus 3 dropped points)

5th – Onofre Marimon (ARG) Maserati – 2 points

Lap Leader bonus point  – Felice Bonetto (IT) Maserati – 0 points (1 point minus 1 dropped point) 

Championship standings

1st – Hawthorn (GB) Ferrari – 35 points (4 wins) – 1953 CHAMPION

2nd – Farina (It) Ferrari – 22 points (2 wins)

3rd – Fangio (Arg) Maserati – 21 points (0 wins)  

4th= – Lang (Ger) Maserati – 19 points (1 win)

4th = – Ascari (It) Ferrari – 19 points (0 wins)                                                                    

NEXT – Season finale and celebrations for Ferrari in front of the Tifosi – Monza ITALY

Fangio (Maserati) returned but his title challenge was now over. Only Lang (Maserati) could stop Hawthorn (Ferrari) from the championship title and that would be a tall order requiring him to win all the remaining 3 races as well as claiming all the bonus lap leader points in each race. Macklin returned for HWM as it was confirmed that both de Graffenreid (Maserati privateer) & Galvez (Maserati) would miss the rest of the season.


LAP 1 – A wet start and a closely packed grid led to inevitable consequences at the first chicane Castrol “S”. It began when Moss (Cooper) slid into Prince Bira (Maserati privateer) and was quickly followed by Schell (Gordini) colliding with Brown (Cooper) who crashed out heavily. It was confirmed post race that Brown would miss the rest of the season and possibly never race again. Macklin (HWM) only just returned from injury was next to go clipping Marimon (Maserati) who luckily escaped without damage. Other retirements at the same corner were McAlpine (Connaught) hitting a stationary Macklin, also Claes (Connaught privateer) suspension, Collins (HWM) , Wharton (Cooper privateer) and Marimon (Maserati) collisions. At the front Lang (Maserati) and Bonetto (Maserati) set the early pace exchanging the lead with Lang getting the bonus lap leader point to send the home fans wild. His mission impossible chances of taking the championship from Hawthorn still just alive. Ascari (Ferrari) chose not to pit which allowed him to move up to second but with worn tyres. Fangio (Maserati) further back chose to do the same but Hawthorn languishing near the back after a lack lustre first lap did come in for fresh tyres.       


End of lap. 1st – Lang (Maserati), 2nd – Ascari (Ferrari), 3rd – Fangio (Maserati), 4th – Bonetto (Maserati), 5th – Villoresi (Ferrari)


LAP 2 – 10 runners were left, a solitary Gordini and Connaught at the back behind the big guns of Ferrari and Maserati. Ascari moved ahead of Lang and into the lead early on at the Castrol “S” but further damaged his tyres in the process. Fangio was also a man on the move passing Lang at the 2nd corner and moving up to 2nd. Lang’s supreme effort to hold the lead was now beginning to flag as perhaps he began to accept that his task was a hopeless one. Farina made the most progress of all storming through the field to challenge for the lead halfway round the lap. This was achieved at cost as a catalogue of errors between Ascari and Farina meant both drivers would have to pit for running repairs if they made it to the end of the lap. Less lucky was plucky Brit Salvadori in his Connaught which gave out at the unforgiving Castrol “S”. At the end of the lap, Lang was foundering while Bonetto (Maserati) had caught the front runners and with his car in better condition, just moved ahead. 


End of lap. 1st – Bonetto (Maserati), 2nd – Farina (Ferrari), 3rd – Ascari (Ferrari), 4th – Fangio (Maserati), 5th – Lang (Maserati)


LAP3 – Farina quickly retook the lead at the dreaded Castrol “S” after pitting but again damaged his tyres exiting the corner. Bonetto managed to stay with his illustrious countryman and going into the final corner bravely dived past him. Farina however was in no mood to let his chances of a win go begging and using all of his experience managed to pass Bonetto exiting the curve to take his first victory of the season. Ascari took the final podium place but Lang who had led at the end of the first lap could only finish 5th behind Fangio’s Maserati and only pick up a single point. The result confirmed Hawthorn as champion who cruised home in party mood in 6th, world champion with 2 races to spare. 

Result

1st – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Ferrari – 8 points

2nd – Felice Bonetto (IT) Maserati – 6 points 

3rd – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 4 points

4th – Juan Manuel Fangio (ARG) Maserati – 3 points 

5th – Hermann Lang (GER) Maserati – 1 point (2 points + 1 point for 1st lap leader  minus 2 dropped points)

Championship standings

1st – Hawthorn (GB) Ferrari – 35 points (4 wins) – 1953 CHAMPION

2nd – Fangio (Arg) Maserati – 21 points (0 wins)  

3rd – Lang (Ger) Maserati – 19 points (1 win)

4th – Ascari (It) Ferrari – 15 points (0 wins)

5th= – Farina (It) Ferrari – 14 points (1 win)

5th= – Bonetto (It) Maserati – 14 points (0 wins)     

                                                                                   
NEXT – A dead rubber with nothing but pride at stake for the challengers trying to shorten the points gap between themselves and champion  Hawthorn –  Bremgarten SWITZERLAND  

Fangio (Maserati) remained absent meaning that Lang would lead the Maserati challenge against the Ferrari’s of championship leader Hawthorn and the improving Ascari.  


LAP 1 – No less than 5 cars stalled at the start including Lang (Maserati) in 2nd, Ascari (Ferrari) 3rd & de Graffenried (Maserarti Privateer) 4th. Hawthorn (Ferrari) took full advantage and pulled away while the rest of the field concertinaed. Ascari who had looked to be Hawthorns chief rival during Fangio’s absence retired on the start line when he was unable to start his engine. De Graffenried’s Maserati violently crashed as the field bunched up, (he will play no further part in this seasons championship after sustaining a back injury). Wharton (Cooper Privateer) was next to got hitting Villoresi (Ferrari) who survived the impact with no damage. Other retirements were Brown (Cooper) with suspension failure, Marimon (Maserati) who collected Schell (Gordini) at Chappell. At Abbey Curve Moss (Cooper) crashed into Bira (Maserati privateer) as well as damaging Galvez’s Maserati. Claes (Connaught privateer) retired shortly after with damage received driving over the debris from the earlier collision. At the front, Hawthorn after being put under some pressure by Lang began to pull away for a second time and took the bonus lap leader point. The British fans were even happier as both Salvadori (Connaught) and Collins (HWM) were following at the head of the chasing pack.   


End of lap. 1st – Hawthorn (Ferrari), 2nd – Salvadori (Connaught), 3rd – Lang (Maserati), 4th – Collins (HWM), 5th – Bonetto (Maserati)


LAP 2 – Almost immediately, at Copse corner Marimon (Maserati) hit Collins (HWM) taking both cars out and  promoting Farina (Ferrari) the forgotten World Champion to 4th.  Further on at Abbey curve a struggling Galvez (Maserati) came to grief when his car ran over the debris from the last lap. He lost control in 4th gear and crashed heavily into the hay bales on the trackside. Although conscious, it would appear that his injuries may preclude him from the next few races if not the entire season. The Connaughts of Salvadori & McAlpine were still running at the end of the lap giving the British fans even more to cheer about on top a near faultless display by Hawthorn at the front.


End of lap. 1st – Hawthorn (Ferrari), 2nd – Lang (Maserati), 3rd – Salvadori (Connaught), 4th – Farina (Ferrari), 5th – Villoresi (Ferrari)


LAP3 – Only 8 runners were left which very soon became 7 when Rosier (Ferrari privateer) retired at Maggotts from 7th place. Sadly McAlpine’s race soon came to an end when forced wide at Chapel attempting to overtake the stricken Ferrari of Rosier his suspension gave out on the dirty part of the track. Hawthorn continued to maintain his healthy lead but 2nd place was being keenly fought over by Lang, Salvadori and Farina. Lang spun as Salvadori gambled with an audacious move half way round the lap. But they were unable to catch the near perfect Hawthorn who took the chequered flag for an historic 4th consecutive win. Watching from the winners pavilion there was a small chance he could be crowned world champion if events went his way. They almost did when Lang desperate to keep in the championship drove recklessly into the back of 2nd place Salvadori taking the pair out. Salvadori had to be restrained from confronting Lang although his colourful use of old Anglo-Saxon expletives would not have fallen on deaf ears. Farina was thus gifted an undeserved 2nd place with Villoresi making it a 1,2,3 for Ferrari on the podium. Trintignant (Gordini) was the only other finisher and so the final 5th place 2 points went to Lang who had completed the greatest part of the race amongst the non-finishers. He would have to win all the remaining 3 races and claim the lap leader bonus point in every race if he was to stop Hawthorn taking the title.

Result

1st – Mike Hawthorn (GB) Ferrari – 9 points (8 points for win plus 1 bonus point for 1st lap leader) 

2nd – Giuseppe Farina (IT) Ferrari – 6 points

3rd – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 4 points

4th – Maurice Trintignant (FRA) Gordini – 3 points

5th (DNF) – Hermann Lang (GER) Maserati – 2 points

Championship standings

1st – Hawthorn (GB) Ferrari – 35 points (4 wins)

2nd = Lang (Ger) Maserati – 18 points (1 win)  

2nd= Fangio (Arg) Maserati – 18 points (0 wins)

4th – Ascari (It) Ferrari – 11 points (0 wins)     

                                                                                   
NEXT – Can the Hawthorn make it 5 in a row and seal the title? –  Nurburgring WEST GERMANY 

Britain’s Kenneth McAlpine (Connaught) and Argentina’s Roberto Mieres (Gordini) were debutant drivers replacing the injured Fangio (Maserati) & Behra (Gordini). Both qualified respectively in 10th & 11th. (nb. Monterrey used to represent Rheims)  


LAP 1 – All cars got off the line without incident with Hawthorn (Ferrari) powering away early on. At the first corner “Andretti”, Collins (HWM) crashed out quickly followed by the second HWM of Macklin who was taken to hospital as a precaution. McAlpine’s (Connaught) 1st race also came to an abrupt end with suspension damage running over debris from the earlier collisions with Rosier (Ferrari privateer) following suit soon after. Next to go was Prince B Bira’s privately entered Maserati with a collapsed suspension and then another British marque went when Brown (Cooper) crashed out.  Meanwhile Hawthorn continued to extend his lead picking up the bonus 1st lap leader point with a huge margin over nearest rivals Villoresi (Ferrari) & Lang (Maserati) . More woe beset the remaining British teams as Galvez collected Moss (Cooper) at the Corkscrew leaving just Wharton’s privateer Cooper remaining with only half of the first lap completed. Also to go at the Corkscrew were Marimon (Maserati) & Mieres (Gordini) who came together leaving a corner littered with detritus.


End of lap. 1st – Hawthorn (Ferrari), 2nd – Villoresi (Ferrari), 3rd – Lang (Maserati), 4th – Ascari (Ferrari), 5th – de Graffenried (Maserati privateer)


LAP 2 The second lap began much like the first with all drivers throwing caution to the wind despite the first lap warnings showing how unforgiving the circuit was in the wet. Early on Villoresi appeared to have adapted best and began to pull clear of the chasing pack but still some margin behind Hawthorn. Lang spun at the second corner further helping Villoresi’s quest for his first points of the season. Hawthorn pitted well ahead at the end of the second lap although his car was showing signs of wear. Ascari (Ferrari) & Farina (Ferrari) both began to move through the field and into the points positions. Then disaster struck for Farina. Ascari held the best line going into the corkscrew forcing Farina onto the dirty part of the track. As he rumbled over the debris his cars suspension gave out and he was forced to retire still without any points or even a finish this season. His shambolic defence of the championship title was now surely gone. Trintignant (Gordini) also had to retire when he overshot the preceding corner and destroyed his tyres. De Graffenried (Maserati privateer) was next to go at the corkscrew from 5th place.     


 

End of lap. 1st – Hawthorn (Ferrari), 2nd – Ascari (Ferrari), 3rd – Villoresi (Ferrari), 4th – Lang (Maserati), 5th – Wharton (Cooper privateer)


LAP3 – 7 runners began the final lap as once more the fragile cars struggled to meet the demands on a tricky circuit. Despite his huge lead Hawthorn had to take the last lap carefully as his cars handling deteriorated and by the halfway point he was forced to run in lower gears. Lang spun at the 3rd corner as did Ascari ahead who was trying to close the gap to Hawthorn. Hawthorn spun at the last corner  when about to lap Schell’s Gordini but with such a huge margin he still took the chequered flag with a commanding margin. The hat-trick of victories now placed him frimly at the top of the championship race. Ascari continued to improve taking 2nd and now looked to be the main rival to Hawthorn while Fangio remained side-lined with injury. Villoresi made it a Ferrari podium lock-out in third. Mention also goes to Ken Wharton’s privately entered Cooper who took his first points of the season so although the Works team continue to struggle there is a glimmer of hope for the British marques.  

Result

1st – Mike Hawthorn (GB) Ferrari – 9 points (8 points for win plus 1 bonus point for 1st lap leader) 

2nd – Alberto Ascari (IT) Ferrari – 6 points

3rd – Luigi Villoresi (IT) Ferrari – 4 points

4th – Hermann Lang (GER) Maserati – 3 points

5th – Ken Wharton (GB) Cooper (Privateer) – 2 points

Championship standings

1st – Hawthorn (GB) Ferrari – 26 points (3 wins)

2nd – Fangio (Arg) Maserati – 18 points (0 wins)

3rd – Lang (Ger) Maserati – 16 points (1 win)     

                                                                                          
NEXT – Can the Hawthorn seal the title at home before Fangio returns – Silverstone GREAT BRITAIN