|Sgt Gray VC and F/O Garland VC|
With the air clear of fighters the Battles flew through the soup they saw German trucks crossing and they dived immediatly. Garland dived the aircraft as low as possible and Gray released the 1000lb bombload upon the bridge. A column of water showed a near miss but there was also a blast as one vehicle was caught in the fire and another from a bomb striking the first span of the bridge. The Hurricane pilots regisetered that the bridge had been blown and temporarily out of use. As the Battles pulled for altitude and turned for home they were pounced upon by German fighters that had slipped past the Hurricanes. The resulting carnage left one Battle to return to the field with a solitary survivor, another crashed into the river, another into the fields. Garland's aircraft attracted the most fire as the group leader and he, Sgt Gray and Sgt Reynolds (the airgunner) were killed and their bodies interned in secret by locals. (1)
Both Garland and Gray were given the VC for their cool actions that saw the bridge blown, Sgt Reynolds recieved no citation as he was not part of the decission making process.
|The remains of a Battle|
The Battle did not see active service after the French campaign except in training and Costal command patrols.
Despite the bravery of the crews of the light bomber they were simply outgunned and outclassed by the oppoistion and were overtaken by events in the theatre that saw the Germans smash across the rivers and Blitzkrieg to the coast.