409 Squadron RCAF: The Nighthawks
A Squadron, like an airman, is often called on to perform duties it had never imagined. The flying bomb attack on Southern England was really a page out of Buck Rogers.
The Nighthawks were in on the ground floor for this job. We were stationed S.E. of London when the attack started. The first bomb over England crossed the 'drome and we watched it as it flew towards London amidst intense ack ack fire. We were shaken at times, by near explosions or as bombs crossed the drome at nought feet.
We saw the damage wrought when bombs exploded in a crowded city and welcomed the opportunity to attack them. For over two weeks we were taken off nightfighting and sent against the robots.
Curious tales were told in dispersal after patrols; many bombs were seen to fall short and crash in the Channel; some were seen to reverse their direction after being launched; others were seen to prang in France.
F/O Chuck Preece (Pilot) and F/O Bill Beaumont (RAF-Navigator) scored our first kill against the robots.
They were just taking off to carry out a patrol over France when Chuck noticed a bomb approaching at a height of 1,000 ft. travelling at about 220 mph. Chuck was able to position himself and get in a two second burst from 150 yds. astern as the bomb passed. Banking sharply to avoid the balloon barrage Chuck and Bill were unable to see the results but Balloon Command and ROC confirmed the kill.