During that period 299 small ships and barges were either sunk or damaged, 49 aircraft destroyed or damaged, and many supply dumps wiped out.
Destruction of shipping reached its peak last month with 45 barges and small ships sunk, and 51 craft of various types damaged.
Although the squadron failed to make its century in barge and small ship kills for September, competition was keen among air crews on October 1, to bag the four required to complete that score.
Early on that day I watched the squadron’s technique from the leading Beaufighter of a flight of three.
Half an hour out the weather forecasts given pilots at the last minute proved correct, and the aircraft buffeted through a succession of tropical showers to steamy sunshine 10 minutes later.
The smallest details were clearly visible, even at a speed of more than 200 miles an hour, and once we circled to confirm what appeared to be wheel-tracks in the sand.
Further along our allotted stretch of beach lay half-sunken, rusting barges, grim evidence of the accuracy of Beaufighter cannons at close range.
Last week one pilot, to make sure of his prey, flew in so low that spray from shells hitting the water near the target pelted against the observer’s wind-
Screen so hard that he excitedly told the pilot that enemy ack-ack was finding its mark.
The day before yesterday the squadron bagged nine in a row, and resignedly, on the way home, the crews agreed that loack of opportunity to compete the 100 was all in the luck of the strafing game.