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Official Squadron Diary for 2-3 May 1944

  The six pages below are copies of the pages of the Form 540, the official Squadron Dairy for the days of 2 and 3
  May 1944.  They deal with the attack and sinking of U-852 in the Gulf of Aden and were written by Fg Off
  PF Cottis, the Squadron Intelligence Officer.  All errors from the originals have been left in.


              No. 8 Squadron

Place. Date. Time. Summary of Events. References

Aircraft did not circle beleiving that its presence misght encourage submarine to move from this position and contact lost again. At 1658z, course was set for Scuiscuiban as PLEL was reached. Landed at 1805z. As a result of an armour piercing incendiary cannon shell hitting the port engine, a cylinder head blew off after landing.

    The shadowing of the U- boat by "G" of 8 Squadron for three hours possibly prevented it finally escaping and certainly insuring the prompt location and capture of the enemy crew. This was further assisted by "X" of 8 squadron(Capt, F/O. Atherstone) which located the U-boat at 0200z on the 3rd may, lying in shallow water, 40 yards from the shore. D/8 squadron also sighted it at 0220z and received permission from H.MS Falmouth, then in the vicinity, to attack, but the depth charges failed to explode, probably owing to the shallow water. From observations made by "X" it was fairly obvious that the submarine had been abandoned by the crew as there was no sign of life aboard. At 0225z as "X" was flying at about 900 feet above the vessel, it blew up with a terrific explosion which threw debris over 1000 feet into the air and both the stern and the bow were blown off. The naval escort vessel, which had been homed by W/T , then sent a landing party ashore, and the enemy crew taken off in boats, Wellington "X" providing air cover.

    Two other aircraft of 8 Squadron took part in the hunt, Wellington J, airborne at khormaksar at 1410c on 2nd May, but landed at Scuiscuiban at 1945z without making contact and Wellington "B" arrived on 3rdMay, the U-boat after it had been blown up.

    The following message which was received by the Air Officer Commanding from the Chief of Air Staff, was passed on to No 8 squadron " I have read with great interest C in C, Easter Fleets Signal. My congratulations to you and to all concerned in this spirited and highly succesful action.".