It was the first major assault by the Luftwaffe and is being seen as what the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, dubbed in a speech three weeks before as the beginning of the "Battle of Britain".
Although heavily outnumbered, the British fighter pilots put up a fierce fight and succeeded in driving off the attackers.
The Air Ministry said they inflicted "the greatest damage on the German air force since bombing raids on this country began". In total the Air Ministry said 14 enemy aircraft were shot down and 23 more were severely damaged. Two British fighters were lost, but the pilot of one survived and is safe.
The bombing raids began at dawn hitting airfields along the south and east coasts of England. But the main attacks took place offshore later in the day, when two shipping convoys were targeted. The first at 1100 hours off Marston and at 1325 hours a large force of about 129 enemy aircraft approached a convoy between Dover and Dungeness.
The attack was repelled by Spitfires who shot down at least nine enemy planes. Towards evening Hurricane pilots sighted nine Heinkel bombers supported by 50 fighters attempting to attack shipping off the east coast. The bombers were surrounded by two rings of Messerschmitts - but the Hurricanes broke through and attacked the bombers shooting down at least two.
The bombers rained bombs down on the convoy, but did not hit. The ships retaliated with anti-craft guns, before a flight of Spitfires destroyed the German formation - hitting one bomber which crashed into the sea. One eye-witness told The Times newspaper "I saw 10 machines crash into the sea, they included bombers and fighters. The range of operations was too extensive to see everything, for it was over land and sea".
Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces from Dunkirk, Adolph Hitler had Britain in his sights. On 16 July 1940 he ordered preparations for the invasion of Britain codenamed Operation Sealion. Hitler knew that an amphibious invasion would be made easier if Germany could establish control of the air in the battle zone. The battle for control of the skies became known as the Battle of Britain.
The air attacks were initially focussed on British shipping, ports and airfields along the English Channel but gradually the battle moved inland. The Germans stepped up their bombing raids in August and targeted London. Britain retaliated by bombing Berlin.
The German forces were losing bombers quicker than they could replace them and so they switched to night-time raids which continued until March 1941.
Britain had won the Battle of Britain - and Operation Sealion was postponed until further notice.