The Battle of Southend Sands is the name given to an incident during 'Fanny' Barton's first stint as CO of Hornet Squadron, when A Flight accidentally engaged Bristol Blenheim bombers in combat, believing the aircraft to be Junkers Ju-88s.[1]

The aircraft claimed by Hornet Squadron after the battle consisted of two Ju-88s destroyed, one Ju-88 severely damaged/probaly destroyed and three Messerschmitt Bf-109s damaged, including one probably destroyed.[2]

When Squadron Leader Rex took command, he briefly explained how a fault in the tracking system had resulted in British aircraft flying over England were mistaken for German aircraft flying over the North Sea.[3] He then sent 'Fanny' Barton to the Blenheim squadron's base at Manston to apologise to the CO.[4]

Due to his being called to the inquiry into the incident, combined with a severe bout of earache, Fanny Barton did not rejoin Hornet Squadron until the beginning of October. [5]

While leading the reformed Hornet Squadron to intercept a large raid in September 1940, Barton briefly remembered his visit to Manston a year earlier. [6]


This incident is based on the real life event which later became known as the Battle of Barking Creek.[7]


  1. Piece of Cake Chapter 1
  2. Piece of Cake Page 75
  3. Piece of Cake Page 87
  4. Piece of Cake Page 88
  5. Piece of Cake Pages 107 to 109
  6. Piece of Cake Page 659
  7. Piece of Cake Page 668