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Air Raid at Filton 25th September 1940


This was one battle in the 'Battle of Britain' that we lost. For once an occasion on which RAF fighter command was found wanting. The country was still recovering from the massive daylight raids over England. Finally ending in October 1940 with a resounding victory for the Royal Air Force and which brought to an end Hitler's plans for an invasion of England.

In Germany they view the battle a little differently, seeing it as an inconclusive episode only ending when the Fuhrer's attentions were directed toward Soviet Russia; which then became his prime preoccupation.

One of those raids, on Wednesday 25th September 1940 was against the Bristol Aeroplane Company works. Fifty-eight Heinkel 111 medium bombers of Kampfgeschwader 55 Greif, (the Griffin-Geschwader) with an escort of 40 Long Range Messerschmitt Bf 110 two seater fighters from Zerstorergeschwader 26, (the Horst Wessel Geschwader); further protection, as far as the English coast, was from single seat Bf 109's, mostly from bases on the Channel Islands.

A luftwaffe reconnaissance flight of the 21st September had revealed that Filton was unguarded. No fighters were in evidence; this was later confirmed by a second sortie just two days later. They knew that fighter cover was available from other airfields in the West Country but nevertheless a daring daylight raid was planned. The raid was put together using aerial photos and 1938 ordnance survey maps (bought by Germany prior to the outbreak of war). Diversionary raids were planned to draw away fighters. Plymouth to the South West and Portsmouth toward the South East were targeted whilst the main attack force slipped through, seemingly unnoticed towards Filton.

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List of People Killed in Air Raid at Bristol Aeroplane Company on 25th September 1940.

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