When Churchill gave the order to sink the Bismarck, we knew we just had to stop her trail of devastation at all costs!

Lt Cdr John ‘Jock’ Moffat, WW2 Swordfish pilot

The air strike carried out by the biplanes of HMS Victorious and Ark Royal at last light on May 26 had been Britain’s last hope of slowing or stopping the Bismarck before it reached the relative safety of waters off France.

With his crew of observer Sub Lt ‘Dusty’ Miller, and telegraphist/air gunner Albert Hayman, a 21-year-old Jock Moffat took off in Swordfish L9726 from the deck of Ark Royal and made for Bismarck, fighting against driving rain, low cloud and a Force 9 gale.

He flew in at 50 feet, barely skimming the surface of the waves, in a hail of bullets and shells, to get the best possible angle of attack on the ship and, at 9.05pm, dropped his torpedo.

RNAS Yeovilton

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