29 – Brest

Beaufort N1016 OA-X
22 Sqn
Date : 06 avril 1941
Mission : Attaque du Croiseur Gneisenau à Brest (29)
Décollage : St Eval à 04:20
Causes de la perte : Abattu par la Flak
Lieu de la perte :
en rade de Brest (29)
Royaume-UniF/SgtRalph WalterHILLMANWOP A/GRAF643257KIA
Royaume-UniSgtWilliam CecilMULLISWOP A/GRAFVR746872KIA
SgtJames PhilipSCOTTObsRCAFR/63912KIA
Flying Officer Kenneth CAMPBELL (72446), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (deceased), No 22 Squadron.
This Officer was the pilot of a Beaufort aircraft of Coastal Command which was detaned to attack an enemy battle cruiser in Brest Harbour at first hour on the morning of 6th April, 1941. The aircraft did not return but it is now known that a torpedo attack was carried out with the umost daring.
The battle cruiser was secured alongside the wall on the north shore of the harbour, protected by a stone mole bending round it from the west. On rising ground behind the ship stood protective batteries of guns. Other batteries were clustered thickly round the two arms of land whic encircle the outer harbour. in the outer harbour near the mole were moored three heavily-armed anti-aircraft ships, guarding the battle cruiser. Even if an aircraft succeeded in penetrating these formidable defences, it would be almost impossible, after delivering a low-level attack, to avoid crashing into the rising ground beyond.
This was known to Flying Officer Campbell who, despising the heavy odds, went cheerfully and resolutely to the task. He ran the gauntlet of the defences. Coming in almost at sea level, he passed the anti-aircraft ships at less than mast-height in the very Mouths of their guns, and skimming over the mole launched a torpedo at point-blank range. The battle cruiser was severely damaged below the water-line and was obliged to return to the dock whence she had come only the day before.
By pressing home the attack at close quarters in the face of withering fire, on a course fraught with extreme peril, this officer displayed valour of the highest order.