To: Officer Commanding, No. 263 Squadron

From: Flight Lieutenant C.B.Hull

Date: 30th May, 1940

Subject: Operations 26th-27th May, from Bodo Aerodrome


I have the honour to report that the section of aircraft detailed by you, arrived at Bodo landing ground soon after midday. The ground was very soft and all aircraft became bogged up before the refuelling was complete. Wing Commander Maxton ordered me to detail a pilot to patrol base, and I sent Lieutenant Lydekker off.

By the time the refuelling was completed, two Heinkel 111 aircraft were seen over the base, so I took off, followed by pilot Officer Falkson who crashed. I ordered Lieutenant Lydekker by R.T. to land and refuel, but not to take off again, and learnt that he had engaged a Heinkel but failed to catch it when it fled south.

I proceeded to the Salte Valley in accordance with instructions from Wing Commander Maxton to operate there against low flying enemy aircraft which were bombing and ground strafing our troops.

About six miles down the valley I encountered a Heinkel 111 at about 500 feet, and carried out a beam attack followed by a quarter attack. I turned south and flew slowly up the valley with smoke pouring from engines and starboard side of fuselage. I broke off attacks on sighting another Heinkel 111 and a Ju 52 behind and above me. The Heinkel 111 disappeared so I engaged the JU 52 which crashed in flames.

Soon after two more Heinkel were observed, but they fled on sighting my aircraft.

Two Ju 52 aircraft appeared from the southwest and flew down the valley, so I climbed above and attacked them from the sunward side. Having overshot in the dive I attacked the leading enemy aircraft which went into cloud after one burst. Turning round I engaged the second enemy aircraft which had turned south. After several attacks it commenced sinking and went into a spin. Six occupants escaped by parachute before it hit the ground in flames.

On returning to the scene of some bombing a He 111 was sighted, on which I carried out a quarter attack which damaged both engines. As ammunition in the wing guns had run out during the engagement with the Ju 52 I carried out an astern attack from above with the object of disabling the rear gunner who was shell firing. On this attack the starboard inboard gun jammed, but a long burst with the port gun disabled the rear gunner and caused the enemy aircraft to dive sharply towards the ground. I followed it down until the ammunition in port gun run out, when I abandoned attack with enemy aircraft flying at about 120 mph up valley with smoke from both engines. I reached base at approximately 1700 hours and took off again at 1730 hours, as Wing Commander Maxton would not allow Lieutenant Lydekker to attempt this owing to the state of the runway.

I patrolled the same valley for over two hours without sighting any enemy aircraft and returned to Bodo at approximately 20.00 hours. There had been considerable work put in on the runway, and soft patches were well boarded over, making the take off quite safe.

Wing Commander Maxton then got in touch with the Army headquarters who requested that the two Gladiators aircraft would do patrols over Rognum to cover an evacuation which was taking place by boat between 23.00 hours and 10.00 hours next day. I decided to do this, in excess of your orders, owing to the extremely dangerous nature of the operation without air protection. Wing Commander Maxton agreed.

At 23.00 hours Lieutenant Lydekker took off and I followed at 24.00 hours and joined him over Rognum. No enemy aircraft were observed. At approximately 01.15 hours Lieutenant Lydekker returned to base and I was relieved on patrol by Pilot Officer Falkson at 2.00 hours.

On landing I decided to cancel standing patrols for fear of damaging the aircraft in landing or taking off continuously and Wing Commander Maxton arranged a system with the Army if the transports were attacked. Lieutenant Lydekker and myself came to readiness by an aircraft from 04.30 hours when Pilot Officer Falkson returned from patrol.

At 0800 hours the air alarm went off and soon afterwards numerous Ju 87 and Me110 appeared over the aerodrome, (subsequent reports varied between 10 and 14) and commenced dive-bombing a jetty south west of the landing ground. Lieutenant Lydekker had his aircraft running but mine failed to start so I waved him off, and then took refuge in a nearby barn. When I saw that the bombing was not directed at the aerodrome but about 300 yards away I returned to my aircraft, and got it running with the help of an airman, and took off without waiting to fasten straps or parachute.

I circled round the aerodrome and attacked a JU 87 at the bottom of its dive, from quarter above to astern. It appeared badly hit and turned over and dived low over the sea and seemed to be making off slowly. My next recollection is of another 87 which was rearing up in front of me, unaffected by my fire. There was a sharp crack, and I lost consciousness for a moment, and recovered to find two bullets holes in the windscreen and blood pouring into my right eye. Soon after I felt my aircraft hit by bursts of bullets and went into a right hand turn. The aileron controls locked over and I spiralled down receiving bursts of fire from behind. At about 200 feet the control column came free but although the aircraft righted itself there was no further lateral control. A burst of motor took me over some rocks and then I crashed. A Norwegian assisted me in getting to Bodo hospital where I was treated at once.

During the subsequent bombing of the hospital Pilot Officer Falkson assisted in clearing patients from the burning building, and generally behaved in an exemplary manner.

Lieutenant Lydekker was a great help in the air operations and in maintaining the guns which gave some trouble.

I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,

(Signed) C.B. Hull.
Flight Lieutenant.