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409 Squadron RCAF: The Nighthawks

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THE FIRST KILL FROM A CONTINENT BASED AIRFIELD

The Squadron's arrival in France was followed immediately by the Allied break-through at Avranches and the Falaise Gap. There was little enemy activity over the rapidly receding Battle Line and our first kill on the Continent was not obtained until 24th/25th September, 1944.

Shortly before dawn P/Os. Len Fitchett (Pilot) and Alex Hardy (RAF-Navigator) were flying around Angels 16 when they were vectored after trade some 6,000 ft. below. Len immediately dived down to 10,000 ft. and Alex picked up a contact at a range of 2 miles.

The crew closed and at 500 ft. recognized the target as a He. 111. The enemy aircraft must have seen the Mosquito at the same time for it peeled off to port attempting to gain cloud cover, the tops of which were at 7,500 ft.

Len followed and opened fire at a range of 100 ft., a terrific explosion occuring with pieces flying off, the enemy aircraft going down in flames. In view of the nearness of the two aircraft it was impossible for Len to avoid flying through some | of the debris and his aircraft was damaged slightly. It was the first kill for Len and Alex but they were going to experience more joy subsequently.