Personal Combat Report of F/Sgt E. R. Thorn DFM.
I took off from Biggin Hill at 2250 hours on 9/4/41 being under Kenley G.R. control. We gained height and finally orbited 15,00 feet. We were vectored after our A/E on approx 300 vector but were unable to make contact and so returned to Biggin Hill and once more orbited.
We were then given a great number of vectors rapidly and finally on a 090 vector we sighted E/A (enemy aircraft) at about 1000 yards ahead and 200 feet above us flying on the same course at 18,000 feet. We closed in on his starboard side and made a beam attack with a burst of 2 seconds.
The de Wilde ammunition was observed to be bursting in the fuselage and there was return fire, of which only one hit could be traced subsequently in the starboard wing. We then crossed under the port side and gave another good burst of 2 seconds, and the port engine was seen to glow.
E/A then started to lose height and turned away to starboard and coming over above him we fired a burst at the pilot. Returning to the port side we gave him another burst in the fuselage, and there was again return fire, but now from one forward gun. We then asked Control for our position, which was given as approx over Brookland’s. We followed the enemy aircraft down to 9,000 feet and it disappeared into cloud in a steep dive with lots of white smoke coming from it, which I thought to be Glycol, heading in approx a southerly direction.
E/A was clearly seen to be HE 111 and is now established to have crashed at Godalming in Surrey.
There was no anti-aircraft or searchlight co-operation and Kenley Control was excellent. The weather was very clear above a white cloud base 10/10 at 7,000 feet. We used 1079 rounds of ammunition and landed back at Biggin Hill at 0016 hours on 10.4.41.
We claim one He 111 destroyed. My gunner was Sgt Barker.
Signed (pilot) E. R. Thorn.
(Above: Thorn is seated, first left © BBM)
For more information on F/Sgt E. R. Thorn See below: