Battle of Barking Creek
The Battle of Barking Creek was an incident that happened on 6 September 1939, resulting in the first death of a British
fighter pilotin World War II. An air raid siren prompted a squadron of Royal Air ForceHurricanes to take off from North Weald Airfield, followed by two reserve Hurricanes. Spitfires of 74 Squadron taking off from Hornchurch Airfieldhad been told that the two reserve Hurricane aircraft were enemy aeroplanes, and ordered to attack. Inside the Hurricanes were Frank Rose, who survived though shot down, and an officer, Montague Hulton-Harrop, who was shot down by John Freebornto become the first British pilot fatality of the war. The entire air-raid warning turned out to be a false one. At the ensuing court martial, neither Paddy Byrne nor John Freeborn, the men who shot the two Hurricanes down, were deemed guilty, the court ruling the case as an unfortunate accident. The leader of the flight, Sailor Malan, was not charged. The Hurricane shot down was also the first plane shot down by a Spitfire. The origin of the name is confusing, as the incident did not take place over Barking Creek.
* [http://www.removablemedia.com/northweald/battleof1.htm Story of the incident]
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