Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, No 312 (Czech) Fighter Squadron, 8th October 1940
original painting, oil on canvas, 80x60 cm, in personal collection

On the 8th October 1940 a section of three Hurricanes of No 312 (Czech) squadron piloted by P/O Alois Vasatko, Sgt Josef Stehlík and F/Lt denis E.Gillam was scrambled against the Ju-88A-1 (Wn.4068), M7+DK of 2./Kgr 806 near Speke airbase. Hurricanes came under the fight with the enemy aircraft and qiuckly sent it down to forced landing with the undercarriage retracted at Bromborough Dock. This was the first combat and victory of No 312 Sqn since formation on 29/8/1940 and also it was recorded Speke’s first WWII kill. Action came under the knowledge also as a probably the fastest RAF victory. It all takes only 11 minutes from scramble through score and returning back on the airbase.

The intelligence officer, Pilot Officer G McK Phillips report that is made up from the three pilots individual combat reports details the attack as follows, "Yellow section had just received the order to patrol Hoylake and were still near the aerodrome at a height of 1000 feet when a Ju88 was sighted by anti aircraft positions up river the bursts attracting the attention of yellow 3 which sighted the Ju88 flying slowly Westwards at 1200 feet. The Ju88 then in turn sighted our formation and climbed sharply trying to gain cloud cover. Shortly before entering the Ju88 received a burst from Yellow 3 which was followed by continual attacks from Yellow 1(continuous astern attacks) Yellow 2 and 3 which weaved in and out attacking from below and above principally from the rear on account of bad visibility. The Ju88 received bursts from Yellow 1 and 3 while still climbing through cloud and started gliding downwards. Yellow 2 and 3 doing quarter attacks. By this time both of the Ju88's engines were on fire and it was seen by yellow 2 and a large number of ground observers to fall flat down on a meadow on the left bank of the Mersey. During combat heavy and accurate return fire was experienced from the Ju88 up to the last moment before the crash. Slight damage was sustained by all our aircraft a bullet hitting the windscreen of Yellow 1 another the exhaust manifolds of Yellow 2 while Yellow 3 sustained damage to the petrol tank and the gun pipe line (He states in his individual report he returned thinking all his ammunition had gone). Cine guns were not carried. Anti Aircraft fire was ceased immediately our fighters came into action.

The observer Leutnant Herbert Schlegel was killed by a bullet wound to the head, the air gunner and wireless operator were injured on landing and the second pilot was uninjured.

The local newspaper recorded "It was a great few minutes and that Ju88 simply had no chance", said an experienced airman and "I saw the leading British fighter come back, I looked for a victory roll, there was none. The second Hurricane and then the third Hurricane came. They did no Victory Roll either, then as an old flying man I understood, none of them would take the credit individually".

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Giclée reproductions

Limited Giclée print edition

Giclée reproduction on canvas, 340 gsm

original size 80x60 cm

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Limited edition of 50,
matting paper 230 gsm,
format A2 (594x420 mm)

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