During July 1940, air activity by the enemy increased around the Silloth area. Early on the morning of the 15th July around 150 bombs were dropped in the vicinity of the airfield, with splinters from one causing slight damage to a Wellington’s wing. After this bombing aircraft were dispersed over wider areas built close to the airfield. Camoouflage was used to disguise the dispersal areas and their precious contents. (Chorlton, 2006).
On the morning of 24th October 1940, the German Luftwaffe dropped a large bomb, approximately 2000 lbs in size, on the southern side of Silloth airfield, damaging graves in Causewayhead Cemetery. It left a large crater in a field nearby but otherwise no damage or injuries were caused.
Enemy plane bombs Silloth Airfield
Silloth was again bombed on 25th September 1940, put down to the testing of Hampden Flares. The Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), based at Farnborough, believed these flares were needed to visually align an aircraft’s gunsight in order to fire. It was thought safe to test the flares at Silloth since it was believed the airfield would be free of enemy planes.
During the Silloth experiment, a Hampden Bomber with flares fitted under its wings was to follow a Whitley bomber on a test run. The flare was lit, but the Hamden pilot was blinded by the bright reflection from his planes spinning propeller discs. Since the flares were set to last 3 and a half minutes the pilot in the Hampden warned the Whitley pilot to dive and get safely out of the way. At that point, however, ground control warned that an enemy aircraft was nearby. Before anything could be done, the enemy bomber used the light from the Whitley to bomb the airfield. After that experiment and its unintended consequences, training for radar operators was revised so that guns could be fired in the dark with improved chance of success.
Acknowledgement for above information: Gordon Akitt Archives