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Battle of Britain: Sea convoy attacked by German dive-bombers

Context

BBC war correspondent, Charles Gardner, recorded this commentary on 14 July 1940 when he witnessed an aerial engagement between the RAF and German dive-bombers attacking a convoy in the English Channel.

When it was broadcast it caused something of an uproar. Many people in Britain felt that such an eye-witness account was too dramatic and was inappropriate to be broadcast as 'news'.

What reaction would it get today?

Transcript

Well now Germans are dive-bombing a convoy out into sea...there are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven German dive-bombers - Junkers 87s - there's one going down on its target now...bang...no, missed the ship, so he hasn't hit a single ship...there are about 10 ships in the convoy...but he hasn't hit a single one...there you can hear our anti-aircraft going at them now...there are one, two, three, four, five, six....there are about 10 German machines dive-bombing the British convoy...which is just out to sea in the Channel...I can't see anything...no...we thought a German one had been got then...but now the British fighters are coming up...there's one coming down in flames...there's somebody's hit a German...and he's coming down...there's a long streak...he's coming down completely out of control...a long streak of smoke...oh ah, the man's bailed out by parachute, the pilot's bailed out by parachute...he's a Junkers 87 and he's going slap into the sea...and there he goes - SMASH! There was only one man got out by parachute so presumably there was only a crew of one in it.

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