Went in 6 ship formation to Bg. - formation all the way; made it in 11 hours - still is one hell of a grind. Only did fair with bombs. Encountered very accurate and heavy ak-ak. One ship was well riddled and nearly all got holes in them. Coming back, Ranz led us off course, and we flew over the Desert War. All of a Sudden, we heard a loud explosion and discovered a 37 mm shell had exploded in our cannon - we were at 4,500 ft. and the ground forces couldn't miss - they hit us with the first shot. No one was hurt, but it tore hell out of the ship - left a hole big enough to put one's head in; hit gas tank and caused slight leak, also hit de-icer fluid container - made Christians out of all of us.
Have often wondered what I'd do if something something like that happened – well, it happened so fast that you can't think - you go into action fast before you can get scared; It is the after effects that give you the jitters. On being hit, we started swerving in all possible evasive manoeveres and it worked, for a shell came between No.3 engine and the cabin just after we started moving. Ran into pursuit but they didn't bother us. (Don't know if it was British or German fire that did it).