(part of a series)
Mon July 6/42
This was not counted as an operational trip because we never reached the enemy coast.
We took off from base at 2336 hrs in AX3404 Skipper P/O Higham With two mines aboard each weighed approx 1200 lbs But we only got about sixty mi when our starboard engine stopped on us. We jettisoned the mines which landed in some woods (safe) The skipper turned around to try to get back to Base but we were losing hight all the time and we had to land at Steeple Morden. It was very dark out and we were unable to see much coming in we passed low over a town and nearly clipped the church steeple off and also nearly ran into the tops of some trees. With our wheels down we hit the aerodrome at about 100 to 120 mph. We bounced about 20 ft and came down again and was going along swell. The skipper thought he saw a hedge looming up in front of us so he cut the switch and puled the wheels up. And we slid along on our belly for about a hundred yds Then we made a jarring stop. No one was hurt except the air craft which was a glorious end to a very good kite.
The sqdn has been very unlucky this day for one of our kites crashed and burned killing eight and two walked away from it.
Another crashed on return from ops the same night and five were killed at Boscomb.
The other was 1 1/2 mi from Molesworth.
The C.O. came down the following day to pick us up and his hydraulics in the undercarraige gave way but he was O.K. another kite was sent for to pick us up.