The Mirror announced a "Better night fighter plane". The paper, with others, was reporting on a BBC commentary the previous evening by Air Marshal Sir Philip Joubert. Amazingly, he was referring to the Defiant, saying that the aircraft, "originally designed as a night fighter and used experimentally for a while by day", had now been restored to its proper role and "with certain developments that we are considering, should be very effective". It wasn't. The aircraft was not suited to radar interception. That Joubert felt the need to talk up the Defiant simply reflected the growing unease at the inability of the RAF to deal with the night bomber, and its desperation to come up with a solution.
The claim was, to say the very least, disingenuous, both as to its original role and as to its future effectiveness. The aircraft was not suited to carrying interception radar and, although the Mk II model was fitted with the AI Mk IV, it was never really successful as a night interceptor. With the twin-engined Bristol Beaufighter already on the stocks, the aircraft was withdrawn from combat duties in 1942 and used only for target towing and sundry other non-combat tasks.
Come the night, though, an even greater horror visited the Druid Street railway arch shelter in Bermondsey. The area under the arch was used as a social club and billiards hall during the day but, at night, it was transformed into a sanctuary from the bombing. The ominous sound of the sirens were the cue for local people to congregate as quickly as possible in a bid for safety. That night, it took a direct hit. Many were killed instantly and many died later of their injuries. The final death toll was 77. Censorship kept the details from the wider public.
And for for the first time, Italian aircraft were committed to an operation over British soil. Thirteen aircraft took part in a raid against Harwich.
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