During the struggle for air supremacy over the British shores a vast number of German aircraft had been shot down into the sea or had been so seriously damaged as to be forced to land in the ocean. Many German airmen had been rescued by British sailors, but to afford assistance to those who descend unseen the Germans had established floating refuges moored off the coastline of Holland, Belgium and France. These refuges, in appearance rather like the conning tower of a submarine, contained everything likely to be needed by a marooned airman. A gangway from the water to the deck gave access to the refuge, which was equipped with sleeping bunks, medical stores, food and emergency equipment, including a flagstaff for hoisting distress signals. These floating sick-bays were painted bright yellow to increase their visibility. The equipment brought ashore from a refuge buoy which had drifted across the Channel is seen above left, with the chief items labelled. Above right is the upper part of the buoy, much battered by its involuntary cross Channel trip. On the refuge buoy below deck four bunks were installed. No one was aboard this buoy when it drifted ashore. Right, may be seen the steel watertight hatch by which the cabin is entered.