27 July 1944 - first Gloster Meteor sortie, Flying Officer Bill McKenzie RCAF of 616 Squadron

On this day in 1944 an RAF Gloster Meteor Mk 1 jet flew the first operational sortie of the type - in the 616 Sq log the entry read ‘History is made!’ An anti-diver patrol (so called after the way the V-1s flamed out then dropped from the sky) was flown by Flying Officer Bill McKenzie RCAF of 616 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, based at Manston on the north-east Kent coast. He later shot down a V-1 on 16 Aug 1944 as the following report confirmed;

 Consolidated Diver Report 616 Squadron, Manston F/O W. McKenzie, R.C.A.F. 16 August 1944

 After an uneventful scramble, F/O McKenzie was about to land at Manston when Control (Kingsley 11) passed information that Divers were coming in. F/O McKenzie was sent back to orbit approximately 5 miles S.E. Ashford at 3000 ft. One Diver was seen flying on a course of 320 degrees at 1000 ft, at speed of approximately 360 mph. F/O McKenzie positioned to 700 yards behind and 500 ft below Diver at approximately 0938 hrs. A Mustang was seen to attack from line astern and fire from 250 yards. No strikes were observed and the Diver continued on a straight and level course. The Mustang then pulled upwards and broke away. Immediately F/O McKenzie attacked from astern at range of 400 yards and fired a 4 second burst. Strikes were seen all over Diver and starboard wing fell off. Diver then rolled over on its back and went down to explode on ground approximately 6 miles southeast of Maidstone at approximately 0940 hours. This position and time has now been confirmed by Royal Observer Corps at Maidstone.

CLAIM: 1 Diver destroyed by F/O W. McKenzie (R.C.A.F.) SQUADRON: 616 Squadron AIRCRAFT: Meteor Mk I CALL SIGN: Hugo 19 WEATHER: Hazy, visibility 5 miles TIME UP: 0910 TIME DOWN: 0950

source; RAF FB page