75 Years Ago from the Archives.

75 Years ago from the Operation Record Books for

R.A.F. Harrowbeer

 

 

December  1942

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward is the Station Commanding Officer. The Station Operation Record Book for December was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, who was the Station Administration Officer.

 

Weather

          1st December      Weather fine and quite a lot of flying was carried out.

          2nd December    Today the weather was very poor with low cloud and rain.

          3rd December     The weather was exceptionally fine for the time of year.

          4th December     Again the weather was not good today, there being a lot of low cloud and rain.

          5th December     Weather still poor.

          7th December     Weather was poor again today, low cloud and rain. Not at all the sort of weather for flying in.

          8th December     The weather still bad so no flying undertaken.

          9th December     The weather was much better today allowing flying activities to resume.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

          2nd December     An inter-station rifle competition was fired at Wilsworthy Rifle Range.

          2nd December     A shipping convoy was attacked off Plymouth by " E " boats in the early morning. Six Hurricane bomber aircraft of No.175 Squadron with twelve Spitfire aircraft of the Exeter Wing as anti-flak escort carried out ' Roadstead ' No.44 in the morning. Two " E " boats were seen a few miles North of Cap de la Hague and were attacked by the formation. The anti-flak Squadron with cannon and machine guns along with the Hurri-bombers attacked dropping their bombs from mast height. After the attack one " E " boat was seen to be on fire and the other was issuing large volumes of smoke.

          4th December     No operational activity.

          6th December     A Wellington aircraft of No.304 ( Polish ) Squadron landed on the airfield after a submarine sweep.

          9th December     No.175 Squadron left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Gatwick.

          10th - 17th December     Nothing to report.

          18th December     A rifle competition took place between the Station and the R.A.F. Regiment, the Station personnel winning by a narrow margin.

          19th, 20th and 21st December     Nothing to report.

          22nd December     R.A.F. Bolt Head being unserviceable, sections of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron and No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron carried out stand-by duties in readiness at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. One section of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron was scrambled by rocket, but the sortie was uneventful.

          25th and 26th December     Nothing to report.

          27th December     An Operational Training Unit Whitley aircraft based at R.A.F. St. Eval crashed at Trewinnow Cross, one of the crew being killed.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.175 Squadron :-

          1st December     Eight sorties were carried out today by the Squadron. Air Sea Rescue patrols were carried out for three survivors that had been reported from a torpedoed vessel off Plymouth, but no sign of any survivors was seen. The Squadron also carried out eight sorties on shipping convoy patrol work.

         1st December    The Squadron Commanding Officer ( Squadron Leader Pennington-Leigh ) attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace and was decorated with the DFC and Bar.

          2nd December     Ten sorties carried out today on shipping convoy patrols which had code-names of :- Skipper, Sapper an Pocket .

          3rd December     By 0800 hours six Hurricane aircraft of No.175 Squadron were bombed up and airborne by 0835 hours to attack ' E ' boats which had attacked one of our convoys off Plymouth. The Squadron made contact with two ' E ' boats three miles North of Cap de la Hague. The attack was successful and the leading ' E ' boat was claimed as Cat. 3. The other ' E ' boat was claimed as Cat. 4.

          4th December     The Squadron received today that it was to move again. This time they were to go to R.A.F. Gatwick. The orders are for the move to take place on the 7th December. In most cases this will be a popular move as the boys find Harrowbeer somewhat dull from both operational and a social point of view.

          5th December     The Squadron was released at 1300 hours and everyone got busy packing up for the move.

          6th December     No flying today so everybody is carrying on with packing and speculating on why the Squadron is moving to Gatwick.

          7th December     There was again no flying today due to low cloud and rain. All our packing and clearing up is now complete ready for the move. The main body of the airmen entrained at Horrabridge railway station at 2200 hours en-route for R.A.F. Gatwick. They travelled through the night to their new station. Owing to the bad weather the Squadron aircraft had to stay at R.A.F. Harrowbeer overnight.

          8th December     The weather remains bad, so again the aircraft and pilots had to stay another day and night at Harrowbeer. The train party arrived at their new base, R.A.F. Gatwick just before 0800 hours and did not take long to settle in. They were met at the railway station with transport for everyone. Everything was done to give No.175 Squadron a good welcome to the Army Co-operation Command. A rather better reception than their arrival at R.A.F. Harrowbeer ! ! !

          9th December     Nineteen Hurricane aircraft took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Gatwick before lunch. Everybody is now settling down at R.A.F. Gatwick and getting used to their new surroundings.

          10th December     The remaining Hurricane aircraft of No.175 Squadron left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.FG. Gatwick so the Squadron is now fully installed at their new home.

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          18th December     This is the official day of the formation of No.193 Squadron at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

               The only officer present was Flying Officer G. T. M. Webb who immediately assumed the duties of Squadron Commander, Adjutant, Engineer and Welfare Officer.

          19th - 28th December     A steady flow of airmen comprising the various ground crew positions started to arrive at No.193 Squadron.          Information was received that the Squadron was to be serviced by No.3013 Echelon, which although presumed to be already in existence could not be located.

          29th December     Today Squadron Leader W. H. A. Wright assumed Command of No.193 Squadron and was one of the first pilots of the Squadron along with Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake and Pilot Officer R. H. Orlebar.          These three pilots travelled to R.A.F. Bolt Head to get some ' Typhoon Gen '. The visit was spoilt due to the complete lack of serviceable Typhoon aircraft there. They contented themselves by gazing at a sadly incomplete aircraft on trestles.          More Commissioned and Non Commissioned Officer pilots arrived today and Typhoon handbooks were given out Everybody obtained a bicycle and rushed around the airfield doing local reconnaissance which quickly terminated in the twin ' focii ' of interest, ( the Officers and Sergeant's Mess ). There was no further activity.

          31st December     It should be noted that No.193 Squadron has no aircraft, no ground equipment and only a skeleton ground crew.          Everyone was put to cleaning dispersals apart from a one and a half hour session in the morning when a lecture was given on ' The Cockpit Lay-out of a Typhoon '.           It was New Years Eve and a party was held in the Officer's Mess where the " Squadron Call " originated " 191, 192, 193 ".

 

No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron     ' B ' Flight :- 

The Squadron O.R.B. was signed by Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn.

           1st December     An Air Sea Rescue search was carried out resulting in the sighting of a ship's balloon flying at the end of a cable from a ship submerged in the sea off Bolt Head.

          1st December     Flying Officer E. Seabourne DFC is posted to Headquarters No.10 Group and promoted to Flight Lieutenant.

          2nd December     Flying Officer R. Hosking left ' A ' Flight to become Flight Commander of ' B ' Flight.

          3rd December     A Defiant aircraft of No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron took of at 0915 hour to search an area thirteen miles, one hundred and seventy degrees from Bolt Tail. A large patch of oil was found seven miles from the coast. There was shipping in the vicinity and sundry items of debris were investigated when seen. There were no survivors found from a Destroyer that had sunk. The Defiant landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1030 hours.

          4th December     Squadron Leader Fisher was posted to No.57 Operational Training Unit for flight instructor duties.

          7th December     A Defiant aircraft took off at 0955 hours to search for the cause of a light that had been seen by aircraft on a night patrol. The position was one hundred and thirty degrees and fifty miles out. A wide strip search was carried out but nothing was seen. The Defiant landed at R.A.F. Exeter at 1150 hours.

          8th December     Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn DFC arrived from No.275 A.S.R. Squadron to Command No.276 A.S.R. Squadron.

          9th December     A search by a Defiant aircraft was carried out for the crew of a Whitley aircraft off Boscastle. The Defiant returned to base after fifteen minutes with a defective undercarriage. Three further searches were carried out over the next forty eight hours and then discontinued as nothing had been seen and the weather had completely turned u/s.

          12th December     Flying Officer R. Hosking and Sergeant L. Badger took off in a Defiant aircraft in search of a free flying balloon. Insufficient warning had been given and the balloon was lost to sight.

          20th December     A rescue sortie was undertaken by a Defiant aircraft in search for the crew of an enemy aircraft believed shot down ninety five degrees and twenty two miles off Start Point. A square search was carried out but nothing located. Three further searches were made, one by a Walrus aircraft which found no survivors but did find a floating mine. The position of the mine was reported to minesweepers by Aldis Lamp.

               The rest of the month was spent carrying out air tests, local flying and W/T tests, experience on aircraft type flights and sector reconnaissance flights.

 

No.286 ( Army Air Co-operation ) Squadron :-

          A total of nineteen Heavy Anti-Aircraft duties were carried out during the month in the Plymouth area using three Defiant aircraft.

 

No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          23rd December    Two Spitfire aircraft took off from R.A.F. Exeter for R.A.F. Harrowbeer. They then took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1535 hours on an anti-rhubarb patrol, landing back at 1705 hours.

          29th December     White, Yellow and Red sections of No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron took off from R.A.F. Exeter arriving at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for readiness duties. At 0940 hours they took off ( relieving each other in turn ) to patrol a shipping convoy sailing five miles South of Plymouth. Nothing was seen. Red and Yellow sections landed back at base, White section landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.               Blue and Green sections flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer for readiness at 1230 hours but were not called upon.

 

No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          14th December     At this time No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron were operating from R.A.F. Churchstanton.              A Spitfire VB aircraft flown by Squadron Leader J. Cermak flew a cross country flight to R.A.F. Harrowbeer and return.               At 1100 hours Pilot Officer J. Novak with Flying Officer Quincey as a passenger flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they stayed for two and a half hours before flying back to base.

          22nd December     Four Spitfire VB aircraft ( Red and Yellow sections ) flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, leaving R.A.F. Churchstanton at 0915 hours and arriving at 0950 hours for stand-by duties. They remained at R.A.F. Harrowbeer overnight and returned to R.A.F. Churchstanton the following day just before mid-day.

          23rd December     Six sections were detailed to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to take over readiness duties, staying overnight.

          24th December     All aircraft returned back to R.A.F. Churchstanton.

          28th December     Two sections flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to take over readiness duties but were not needed so they returned back to base.

          29th December     Two sections ( one of four Spitfire aircraft and one of two Spitfire aircraft ) proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The section of four aircraft remained overnight whilst the section of two aircraft returned to base on the 29th.

          30th December     Blue section and Green section were ordered to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in the early afternoon. At 1705 hours both sections carried out standing patrols between Exmouth and Torquay before returning to R.A.F. Churchstanton.

          31st December     Two sections again proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in the early afternoon. One section stayed overnight while the other returned to base early in the evening.

 

No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          29th December     Two sections of ' A ' Flight flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Churchstanton at 1320 hours and 1530 hours for readiness duties. They were not required and returned to base at 1515 hours and 1600 hours.

          31st December     ' B ' Flight and one section of ' A ' Flight took off from R.A.F. Churchstanton for duties at R.A.F. Harrowbeer between 0900 hours and 1320 hours. The Squadron was not called upon so they all returned to base leaving R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1505 hours.

 

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November  1942

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward is the Station Commanding Officer. The Station Operation Record Book for November was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, who was the Station Administration Officer.

 

Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :- 

          Air Vice Marshal W. F. Dixon CB, DSO, OBE, AFC - Officer Commanding No.10 Group

          Lieutenant Colonel W. P. B. Fraser DSO - No.10 Group Defence Officer

          Reverend Squadron Leader Johnson - R.C.A.F. Headquarters representative

 

Weather 

          The weather for November 1942 was very changeable as can be seen from the following table :-

          1st November     Low cloud and mist, poor visibility

          4th November     Weather again very bad.

          5th November     No flying as weather is unsuitable.

          6th November     Good weather today, excellent conditions for flying.

          8th November     Glorious Devon weather - an unusual occurrence here.

          9/10/11th November     Weather still holding.

          12th November     Weather bad today. Morning cloudy and misty turning to rain later in the day.

          13th November     No flying today, weather cloudy and dull.

          14th November     Ideal flying conditions.

          16th November     Weather pretty good for flying.

          18th November     Weather not very good during the morning owing to low cloud, but it improved after lunchtime.

          19th November     Poor visibility and low cloud.

          20th November     Bad start to the day clearing later.

          21/22nd November     Fine all day.

         24th November     Weather fine with a slight haze.

          26th November     Weather good.

          27th November     Cold and very windy, a quiet day for flying.

          28th November     Again weather not good for flying.

          29th November     Weather turned out good after a poor start to the day.

          30th November     A very good day enabling lots of flying to take place.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

         

          2nd November     During a canopy exercise over base a Hurricane of No.175 Squadron crashed half a mile North East of Yelverton. The pilot was Pilot Officer Robertson and was killed in the accident. ( Pilot Officer Robertson is buried in Buckland Monachorum Church Cemetery ).

          7th November     Twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer during the morning and took part in an attack on Brest. A repeat operation was carried out in the afternoon.

          10th November     At approximately 0105 hours on the night of the 10th / 11th November a warning was received from Operations R.A.F. Exeter to receive two bombers in distress. One of these was a Lancaster aircraft which over-ran the runway causing some damage to the aircraft. There were no casualties.

          14th November     Four Whirlwind aircraft of No.263 Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer on stand-by duties.          During the morning a successful Air Sea Rescue was carried out by a Walrus aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron.

          16th November     Air Ministry Personnel employed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer were today formed into a Home Guard Platoon. The Home Guard being responsible for administration and the L.D.A. ( Local Defence Advice ) for weapon training and operational control.

          17th November     Two aircraft of No.175 Squadron took off during the evening on a shipping reconnaissance, but turned back owing to adverse weather conditions.

          18th November     At approximately 1020 hours twenty six Spitfire aircraft arrived on the Station to take part in an attack on Brest.          At 1420 hours a U.S.A. Liberator aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer after being damaged in enemy action.

          19th November     Two sections of No.175 Squadron were airborne to search for survivors of two merchant vessels sunk by two ' E ' boats during the previous night. One person was seen floating on a raft and a vessel was directed towards it by one of the aircraft of No.175 Squadron. A Walrus aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron also took part in the search. A submerged submarine was seen and shipping in the vicinity was warned of it's presence.

          21st November     At 1115 hours, four Hurricane bomber aircraft of No.175 Squadron took off to attack coastal vessels at Plouescat with six aircraft of No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron and six aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron as rear cover. There were no claims or casualties.

          23rd November     At 0250 hours a Lancaster aircraft landed with damage to it. The Lancaster was returning from Operations over the French Coast. There were no casualties.

          25th November     No.245 Light A.A. Battery took over all " Bofors " gun sights.

          28th November     Lieutenant Colonel W. P. B. Fraser DSO of No.10 Group ( Defence Officer ) visited and inspected No.2847 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment Section. Later in the day he and Major Gaywood ( Local Defence Advisor ) inspected No.2715 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment at R.A.F. Bolt Head.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.175 Squadron :-

          2nd November     Three Sections of No.175 Squadron were sent off on shipping convoy duties.

          During a canopy exercise over base one Hurricane aircraft crashed half a mile North East of Yelverton. The pilot, Flying Officer Robertson R.C.A.F. was killed on impact. ( He is buried in Buckland Monachorum Church Cemetery ).     Flying Officer Robertson ( Robbie ) was one of the best, and his cheerfulness and keen sense of humour made him popular with everyone. He will be greatly missed.

          3rd - 7th November     Sections of the Squadron were engaged on shipping convoy patrol work.

          6th November     Today we buried ' Robbie ' with full honours. The body was escorted by a funeral party and a firing party, he was taken past Dispersal to the village church at Buckland Monachorum and from thence to the cemetery. Wing Commander Ward, Squadron Leader Pennington-Leigh and most of the pilots attended the funeral and in perfect weather we said our good-bye. It was an impressive funeral, a fitting homage to a gallant soul. The R.C.A.F. Headquarters sent the Reverend Squadron Leader Johnson as their representative.

          7th November     Twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron arrived on the Station during the morning and took part in an attack on Brest. The same operation was repeated in the afternoon.

          8th - 11th November     Sections of the Squadron were engaged on shipping patrol work.

          10th November     A great day in our Squadron history. Our Commanding Officer - Squadron Leader Pennington-Leigh was awarded a bar to his DFC.          Flight Lieutenant Murchie was also awarded the DFC.          The honours were celebrated by a visit to Plymouth.

          14th November     Our Commanding Officer was married today in Weymouth. We all wish Squadron Leader Pennington-Leigh and his wife every possible happiness.

          17th November     Two aircraft of No.175 Squadron took off during the evening on a shipping reconnaissance, but turned back owing to adverse weather conditions.

          18th November     Nine sections of the Squadron carried out shipping convoy patrol duties.

          19th November     Two sections of No.175 Squadron were airborne to search for survivors of two merchant vessels sunk by two ' E ' boats during the previous night. One person was seen floating on a raft and a vessel was directed towards it by one of the aircraft of No.175 Squadron. A Walrus aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron  also took part in the search. A submerged submarine was seen and shipping in the vicinity was warned of it's presence.

          21st November     At 1115 hours four Hurricane bomber aircraft of No.175 Squadron took off to attack coastal vessels at Plouescat along with six aircraft of No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron and six aircraft of No.312 ) Czech ) Squadron acting as rear cover. There were no claims or casualties.

          22nd November     At 2305 hours two Hurricane bomber aircraft were airborne on an armed shipping reconnaissance. At approximately two miles South West of Sept Isles a coastal vessel was sighted by Red Leader who bombed and machine gunned it. The vessel was last seen down at the bows and listing to starboard.

          23rd November     Air Vice Marshal W. F. Dixon CB, DSO, OBE, AFC visited the Station and spoke to the pilots of No.175 Squadron at their Dispersals.

          24th - 25th November     Sections of the Squadron on shipping convoy patrol duties.

          25th November     At 1505 hours eight Hurricane bomber aircraft were airborne on No.10 Group ' Roadstead ' No.42 to attack two enemy coastal vessels at Brelat. Visibility was poor and no shipping was seen.

 

No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron     ' B ' Flight :-

          7th November     A Defiant aircraft was detailed to carry out a rescue sortie. The centre of the search was two hundred and twenty degrees from Rame Head and a distance of twenty nine miles. The search was carried out to forty five miles ( approximately ) but nothing was seen.

          8th November     A Walrus aircraft went out to a search position one hundred and forty miles out from the Lizard Point, Cornwall. Nothing was seen.

          14th November     One successful sortie carried out. Wreckage of an aircraft was found but no survivors.          A Walrus aircraft on a rescue sortie took off at 0935 hours. They flew one hundred and ninety five degrees out from Plymouth Breakwater. One mile out, wreckage of a Sunderland flying boat was located. Rescue boats were guided to the location of the wreckage which covered a large area. The Walrus returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1210 hours.

          19th November     A rescue operation was carried out by a Walrus aircraft in search of survivors of a shipping convoy. The position being four to ten miles South to South West of the Eddystone Lighthouse. Wreckage was found three to seven miles South of the Light - a very large patch of oil. Seven rescue boats ( MGB's and ML's ) were in position. A submerged submarine was observed two miles North West of the position. All boats in the vicinity were warned by Aldis Lamp and a smoke float was dropped. The submarine then surfaced and was identified as friendly.

          20th November     Four unsuccessful sorties carried out.

          24th November     Squadron Leader R. R. P. Fisher was posted from the Squadron to No.275 A.S.R. Squadron and Flight Lieutenant R. F. Hamlyn DFM arrived from No.275 A.S.R. Squadron to command No.276 A.S.R. Squadron.

          27th November     A Defiant aircraft was sent out to search a position thirty five miles, two hundred and twenty degrees out from R.A.F. Bolt Head. Nothing was located.

          30th November     Squadron Leader R. R. P. Fisher reassumed command of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron and Flight Lieutenant R. F. Hamlyn DFM returned to No.275 A.S.R. Squadron.          At 1330 hours a Walrus aircraft took off on a rescue sortie, searching one mile seawards from Teignmouth for the crew of an enemy aircraft. The scene of the crash was located by a large patch of oil on the surface of the sea. Three rescue boats in the vicinity were contacted by W / T, two of these boats were seen to pick up debris. No survivors were found.

          The rest of the month of November was spent on air tests, practice dinghy drops, A.T.C. Cadet experience, etc.

 

No.286 ( Army Air Co-operation ) Squadron :-

          Ten Army Air Co-operation exercises were carried out in the Portreath area at heights around six thousand feet.          Eight exercises were flown in the Plymouth area for heavy anti-aircraft co-operation practice.          Eight exercises were flown on low level gun-site duties.

 

No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          7th November     Eleven Spitfire aircraft left R.A.F. Exeter at 1025 hours for R.A.F. Harrowbeer for operational duties. At 1130 hours they took off on Ramrod No.36 as target support to bomber aircraft. They rendezvoused with the rest of the Czech. Wing over R.A.F. Bolt Head at 5,000 feet. They crossed the French Coast at 19,000 feet West of Point de Pontusval. This Squadron was flying as Wing top cover, they jettisoned their long range fuel tanks fifteen miles from the coast and made for Brest, orbiting five miles North until the bombers were seen over the target, when the Wing returned. No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron landed at R.A.F. Exeter with the exception of Squadron Leader Dolezal and Warrant Officer Skirka who landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Pilot Officer Doucha was attacked by a FW190 during the engagement. His aircraft was put out of action and he had to bale out approximately twenty five miles South West of the Eddystone Lighthouse. He is reported as missing, presumed dead.          Six Spitfire aircraft of No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron flew from R.A.F. Exeter to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, taking off from there at 1555 hours on No.10 Group Ramrod No.35 as ' Yellow Section '. They met up with ' Red Section ' ( four Spitfires ) and rendezvoused with aircraft from No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron and No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron over Bolt Head. The Wing then set course to act as target support to eleven Liberator Bomber aircraft which were to bomb Brest Docks. No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron was to act as top cover to the bombers and they crossed the French Coast below cloud at 19,000 feet. The aircraft proceeded to Plabennec and climbed through a cloud gap to 24,000 feet, swept round to port and Northwards losing height to 19,000 feet. They re-crossed the French Coast near Guernsey. Hearing that the bombers were North of Brest the Wing turned West along the coast and sighted the eleven Liberator Bombers heading North West. Ten miles out from the coast vapour trails were seen descending and the Wing Leader informed the bombers that he was about to give them close cover. No reply was received from the bombers. The Liberator Bombers then fired on the Wing formation. The Czech. Squadrons received no damage and returned with the Liberator Bombers to within five miles of the English Coast. Nos.310, No.312 and No.313 ( Czech ) Squadrons then returned to their respective bases.

 

No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron :- 

          14th November     Twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron took off from R.A.F. Church Stanton and joined the rest of the Czech. Wing in No.10 Group Rodeo No.21. The Wings job was forward support to Bombers attacking La Pallice. No enemy aircraft or shipping was seen and the Squadron landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer on their return.          Eleven Spitfire aircraft took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1350 hours and rendezvoused with the rest of the Czech. Wing over R.A.F. Bolt Head. They climbed to the French Coast which was crossed South of Lannion. Some fairly accurate heavy flak was experienced in the Lannion area. This operation was designed to cover the withdrawal of the Bombers from this mornings excursion of La Pallice. The Bombers were not seen, nor were any enemy aircraft or shipping. The Squadron landed back at R.A.F. Church Stanton.          One Spitfire aircraft flew direct from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Church Stanton at 1345 hours.    

 

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October  1942 

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward is the Station Commanding Officer. The Station Operation Record Book for October was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg who was the Station Administration Officer.

 

Weather 

  5th October     Adverse weather conditions. No flying.

  7th October     No flying.

10th October     Wet morning, fine after lunch.

11th October     Sunny and cloudy.

12th October     Not so good, low cloud and occasional rain.

13th October     Plenty of sunshine.

14th October     No flying, bad weather.

15th October     The weather relented and was fine. Back to flying.

16th October     Good.

17th October     Very poor, mist and rain for most of the day.

18th October     Poor clearing by lunchtime.

19th October     A lot of mist limited flying.

20th October     Wet and cloudy.

21st October     Cloudy with fair periods.

22nd / 23rd October     Very bad, no flying today.

24th October     A lot of sunshine, but a strong wind.

25th October     Again another possible day for flying.

26th October     Bad weather conditions, limited flying.

27th October     Morning bad, clearing in the afternoon.

28th October     Very good, little cloud with exceptionally good visibility.

29th October     A hopeless day. Wind gale force and torrential rain.

30th October     Low cloud and strong winds, limited flying.

31st October     An improvement in the weather enabling flying to continue.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          1st October     Twelve Spitfire VB aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron took off from R.A.F. Bolt Head at 1651 hours and flew as close escort to four Whirlwind aircraft in a shipping attack East of Bainbol. There were no claims or casualties.

               6th October     A Wellington aircraft of No.142 Squadron crashed on Dartmoor. Four of the crew were killed and one injured. A Defiant aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron located the Wellington and endeavoured to help the rescue party, but owing to bad weather the search was abandoned.

          7th October     A local farmer directed the Civil Police to the spot where the Wellington had crashed on the 6th. R.A.F. Harrowbeer sent out a rescue party and were able to remove the bodies.

          9th October     No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron took off from R.A.F. West Malling with No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron and No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron on No.11 Group ' Circus ' No.224, returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. There were no claims or casualties.

          10th October     No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron moved to R.A.F. Church Stanton.          No.175 Squadron ( Hurricane IIB Bomber aircraft ) arrived with seventeen Hurricane IIB aircraft under the Command of Squadron Leader J. R. Pennington-Leigh DFC.

          13th October     Eight Spitfire aircraft of No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for convoy patrol duties.

          15th October     Six Hurricane IIB aircraft of No.175 Squadron escorted eighteen Spitfire aircraft on a shipping attack at Lesardrieux. The targets were found and claimed as damaged. There were no casualties.

          19th October     A  " Manning Exercise " was carried out on ' Spooner's Feature ' for R.A.F. Station personnel and personnel of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron and No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight.

          21st October     Thirteen Spitfire VB aircraft of No.306 ( Poland ) Squadron arrived during the morning from R.A.F. Northolt and carried out an offensive operation in the afternoon. They were detailed to escort bombers returning from an attack on Lannion. There were no casualties.

          24th October     During the afternoon one captured ME110 and two JU88's arrived on the Station for exhibition purposes. Later a lecture was given by one of the Intelligence Staff regarding these aircraft to the personnel of the Gun Posts on the Aerodrome, which were being manned by the Army.

          25th October     R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer became the parent Station to R.A.F. Satellite Bolt Head.

          26th October     Two Hurricane IIB aircraft of No.175 Squadron took part in an Army Co-operation exercise.

          28th October     Twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron arrived on the Station to take part in an operation with No.175 Squadron and No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron to carry out an attack on Lezardrieux where shipping had been reported. No shipping was sighted. Fire was opened on flak positions on the estuary and supporting aircraft damaged some locomotives and other flak positions. All aircraft returned safely.

          30th October     At 1920 hours a warning was received from No.19 Group that a Liberator aircraft was approaching R.A.F. Harrowbeer in distress. The clouds were very low but every effort was made to bring it down safely. The Liberator broke cloud over base and made two circuits in preparation to land. Sadly the aircraft crashed at Fullamoor Farm, three miles North of the Aerodrome.

               During the month of October a rifle shooting competition for a trophy presented by the Station Commander, Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward was held for the second time. A great deal of interest was shown with twenty nine voluntary teams competing. The competition was on a knock out principle. The standard of shooting was very satisfactory and over half of the teams averaged eighty per cent of the points. The Electricians Section did remarkably well by getting both of their teams into the final. The winning team was captained by Warrant Officer Idiens. Both winners and runners up received medals. It is the intention to shoot for the trophy every four months.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.19 Squadron :- 

          3rd October     ' A ' Flight of No.19 Squadron moved from R.A.F. Perranporth to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Late in the morning two convoy patrols were carried out. One returned due to bad weather, the second was uneventful.           ' A ' Flight then returned to R.A.F. Perranporth.

          8th October     Seven Spitfire Vc's from ' A ' Flight flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Perranporth. They landed in the afternoon. Two Spitfire Vc aircraft then carried out a convoy patrol, landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1525 hours.          ' A ' Flight of No.19 Squadron were then moved to R.A.F. Exeter.

 

No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight :-

          19th October     A  ' Manning Exercise was carried out on ' Spooner's Feature ' for R.A.F. Station personnel and personnel of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron and No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight.

 

No.175 Squadron :-

          10th October     No.175 Squadron moved from R.A.F. Warmwell, Dorset to R.A.F. Harrowbeer with Hurricane IIB aircraft. The Squadron Commanding Officer ( Squadron Leader J. R. Pennington-Leigh DFC ), Scotty, Polly and Spy went by car, the remainder of the Squadron went by road or rail. It was a pretty sight to see the aircraft fly into R.A.F. Harrowbeer ready to be operated by our new Commanding Officer.

          12th October     Weather not too good, but the Hurricane aircraft managed to take off on sector reconnaissance flights, local flying and weather tests.

          13th October     A total of thirty five flying hours carried out today. These comprised :- eighteen sorties on local flying, nine on local formation, three sector reconnaissance flights and two convoy patrols.

          14th October     No flying today due to bad weather.

          15th October     Five pilots and the Commanding Officer went off on an operation to attack shipping in the Trieux River. They were successful and claim two small trawlers as Cat. 3 and an E-Boat as Cat. 3.

          21st October     Twelve sorties carried out today on convoy patrols. The Squadron was also on readiness for Air Sea Rescue duties for part of the day, but were not called on. Later in the day local flying and dusk landings were undertaken.

          22nd / 23rd October     Two days of very bad weather, resulting in no flying.

          24th October     Weather much better today. Back to flying, including one sector reconnaissance, four formation flights, one Army Co-operation exercise, two low flying and formation flights.

          25th October     ' Spy ' ( the Intelligence Officer ) left today for an Intelligence Course at Highgate, most probably he will return a ' Super Spy '. The terror of all line shooting pilots

          26th October     The weather again very poor today, but two Hurricane IIB aircraft undertook a convoy patrol at mid-day. Later a patrol went off to escort a shipping convoy moving from Plymouth to Falmouth.

          28th October     A great improvement in the weather. Eight Hurricane IIB's escorted by Spitfires took off on an attack on shipping. The chance to become ' fully operational ' again certainly acted like a tonic to the pilots. Unfortunately no ships were sighted, bombs were brought back much to the disappointment of all. It was however the cause of excited conversation as the pilots told of what they saw ' on the other side '.

          29th October     A hopeless day, bale force winds and torrential rain resulting in no flying.

          31st October     The Squadron were able to carry out convoy patrol work. These consisted of one convoy of eleven ships codenamed ' Range ' and one convoy of seventeen ships codenamed ' Multiple '. they were sailing ten to fifteen miles out from Plymouth.

               As at the 31st October 1942 the strength of the Squadron consisted of fifteen Officers and one hundred and eighty four other ranks.

 

No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron     ' B ' Flight :-

          6th October     Pilot Officer Emberg carried out a land search for a Wellington aircraft which had crashed on Dartmoor. Later Squadron Leader Fisher located the Wellington aircraft and attempted to guide a land party to it, but the weather closed in and the ground search had to be abandoned.

          7th October     Squadron Leader Fisher, Flying Officer Ernst and Pilot Officer Brooks set out on a ground search for the crashed Wellington aircraft. After searching ( in their opinion ) half of Dartmoor they found the wreckage and helped the sole survivor to an ambulance.

          8th October     Sergeant Coleman and Sergeant Badger took off in a Lysander aircraft on a rescue sortie. They were to search in the vicinity of Pendine Light. One ditched airman had already been located by boats, unfortunately nothing further was seen.

          9th October     Squadron Leader Fisher was flown to R.A.F. Warmwell to collect a Walrus aircraft which he then flew back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          20th October     In view of re-location of Walrus aircraft ( one per Flight ) extensive Walrus training commenced.

          21st October     Squadron Leader Bocock arrived from No.277 Air Sea Rescue Squadron to take over the training of all pilots on Walrus aircraft flying.

               The majority of October was spent on flying duties using the Walrus aircraft. This was mainly as dual control instruction. There was also a good number of air tests, local flying and cross country flights in Lysanders and Defiant aircraft.

 

No.286 ( Army Air Co-operation ) Squadron :-

          No.286 ( AAC ) Squadron is still based at R.A.F. Colerne but with a detachment of ' A ' Flight based at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The unit had three personnel and three Defiant aircraft which was used on Army Air Co-operation exercises along with No.55 Anti Aircraft Brigade. A total of twenty nine exercises were carried out during the month of October.

 

No.306 ( Poland ) Squadron :-

          21st October     Thirteen Spitfire VB aircraft arrived during the morning from R.A.F. Northolt and carried out an offensive operation in the afternoon. They were detailed to escort Bombers returning from an attack on Lannion. Owing to bad weather the aircraft became dispersed during the operation. There were no engagements and no casualties.

 

No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          1st October     Eight Spitfire VB aircraft were sent to R.A.F. Bolt Head on stand by duties.  At 1650 hours six Spitfire VB aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron along with six other aircraft took off from R.A.F. Bolt Head as close escort to six Whirlwind aircraft which were to bomb three mine-sweepers at Lezardrieux. The Whirlwind aircraft were unable to identify their position of landfall so they looked for alternative targets, but found none so they proceeded to return to base. No.312( Czech ) Squadron broke escort at the French Coast which they believe was an estuary North East of Morlaix, they orbited until the Whirlwinds came out when they joined up and escorted them back to base. No enemy aircraft or shipping was sighted. There was moderate light flak from coastal batteries off shore.

          2nd October     An order was received from Headquarters No.10 Group to move the Squadron to R.A.F. West Malling. It was decided to move the rail party the next day while the ground equipment was loaded at the railway station in Horrabridge in the evening. The W/T van proceeded by road as the advance party.

          3rd October     The ground crews left at 0710 hours ( one Officer and forty two men ) arriving at R.A.F. West Malling at 1725 hours. The ground crews were billeted immediately on arrival, dispersals occupied and ground equipment unloaded.

          4th / 5th October     The Squadron Spitfire VB aircraft were unable to fly to R.A.F. West Malling owing to bad weather.

          6th October     Orders received from Headquarters No.10 Group to move the Squadron from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Churchstanton on the 10th October 1942.

          8th October     Eighteen Spitfire VB aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. West Malling at 1410 hours arriving at 1530 hours.

          9th October     At 1530 hours all aircraft took off from R.A.F. West Malling for R.A.F. Harrowbeer. In the meantime at 1400 hours two Harrow aircraft with forty airmen of the ground staff took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. West Malling. After they had landed orders were received for the ground crews to proceed straight to R.A.F. Churchstanton. A rail party left at 1850 hours from R.A.F. West Malling with three Officers and eighty one other ranks, arriving at Taunton at 0300 hours.

          10th October     Eight Spitfire VB aircraft took off for R.A.F. Churchstanton via R.A.F. Exeter. The rest of the ground staff were loading equipment at R.A.F. Harrowbeer until late at night. Arrangements were made for a special train to leave Horrabridge the next morning. At R.A.F. Churchstanton the rail party were met at Taunton by Station transport and taken to camp where all accommodation was prepared. During the morning equipment was unloaded and brought to the camp. Officers are accommodated at the Officer's Mess, while Ground Staff Officers are on camp. The Dispersals and Headquarters are brand new but the Squadron Hangar being not yet completed, a Blister Hangar was utilised as an emergency measure.

          11th October     The rail party left R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1050 hours ( two Officers and sixty five other ranks ) arriving at Taunton at 1630 hours where transport was waiting. The road party, consisting of three lorries with some ground equipment, W/T van, Hillman Saloon and Hillman Utility left R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1000 hours arriving at R.A.F. Churchstanton at 1500 hours.

          28th October     At 0800 hours twelve Spitfire VB aircraft proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer pancaking at 0830 hours. These aircraft then took off at 1410 hours as close escort for eight Hurribomber aircraft detailed to attack shipping at Lezardrieux. They rendezvoused with eleven aircraft of No.313 C9 Czech ) Squadron at Start Point. The French Coast was crossed North of Fleubian. The target for the bombers was not seen. After crossing the river approximately two miles East of Lezardrieux six pilots of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron attacked a locomotive and goods train moving South East. It is claimed that the locomotive was stopped and steam was seen coming from it. A machine-gun blockhouse was also attacked and return gunfire was experienced. Enemy casualties :- one locomotive heavily damaged.     Our casualties :- one Spitfire VB  Cat. A.

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

September  1942

Squadron Leader R. R. P. Fisher took over command of R.A.F. Harrowbeer during the month of September while Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward was on leave. Squadron Leader R. R. P. Fisher signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of September.

 

Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-

          Air Vice Marshal Janousek - Czech Inspector General

          Air Vice Marshal A. H. Orlebar CBE, DFC - Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group

          Air Commodore F. Beaumont - Director of Allied Air Co-operation

          C/C Tongs - Commanding R.A.F. Exeter

          Lieutenant Colonel Colle - Czech Military Air Attache

          ?  ?  ?  Cloville - Air Ministry ( D.A.F.L. )

          General Viest - Deputy of the Czech Minister of Naval Defence

 

From the Station O.R.B.

          3rd September     Today was the third Anniversary of the commencement of the war and appointed as a day of national prayer.

          4th September   Two aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron were sent out on a scramble from R.A.F. Bolt Head for four FW190's South East of Torquay.

          10th September     Ten aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron proceeded to R.A.F. Bolt Head and took off from there to act as escort to four Whirlwind aircraft on a sea level shipping attack along the French Coast. No shipping was seen.

          25th September     The second Anniversary of the formation of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron. Celebrations commenced with a dinner held at the ' Moorland Links Hotel '. This was followed by a dance in the Officer's Mess.

          26th September     No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron Anniversary celebration - Mass in a Bellman hangar was followed by inspection of the Squadron by General Viest, who presented some of the pilots with Czech  decorations. Air Vice Marshal A. H. Orlebar CBE, DFC presented the Squadron with their Squadron Crest duly signed by His Majesty the King. The Air Officer Commanding decorated Flight Sergeant F. Mares with the DFM.

          26th September     Fifteen Spitfire IX aircraft of No.64 Squadron arrived on the Station. At 1600 hours, twelve of these aircraft were fitted with long range tanks and sent off on an operation.

          27th September     An advance party of No.229 Mobile Maintenance Unit arrived on the Station and went into a tented camp just North of the W.A.A.F. Site.

          29th September     Twelve Spitfire IX aircraft of No.64 Squadron took off for R.A.F. Fairlop.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B. 's

 

No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron   ' B ' Flight :-

          11th September     Squadron Leader R. R. P. Fisher carried out dinghy dropping tests in Defiant Serial No.AA351. This aircraft has been modified by enlarging the flare shute large enough to allow the dropping of a dinghy. The idea of the internal stowage of dinghies was first introduced by Squadron Leader Fisher, Warrant Officer Prater and the Squadron Engineering Officer, the tests were highly successful. Fighter Command were extremely pleased with the results but regretted the scheme could not be incorporated in all Air Sea Rescue Defiants because of the time it would take to get all the aircraft modified.

          11th September     A Walrus aircraft was ordered off to search one hundred and twenty degrees off from R.A.F. Bolt Head and a distance of forty two miles out. Nothing was seen.

          22nd September     A Walrus aircraft was detailed to search the beaches between the Manacle Point and Land's End, Cornwall. Nothing was seen.

          24th September     One successful search in the Minehead area was carried out. On the return flight Flight Sergeant F. O. Dimblebee saw a Whitley aircraft flying on one engine. They followed it until it had passed the coast. He reported this to the Controller on landing and was informed that it had later crashed killing three of the crew.

          26th September     Two Walrus aircraft and four Defiants from No.277 Air Sea Rescue Squadron arrived from No.11 Group to reinforce " B  " and " C " Flights. One Walrus and two Defiants were stationed at each Flight ( R.A.F. Harrowbeer and R.A.F. Portreath ) until the 29th September when No.277 A.S.R. Squadron returned to their home base.

          26th September     A Walrus aircraft was sent to R.A.F. Portreath to help cover duties, while there it was sent out on a search for a Spitfire South of Predannack. Nothing was seen.

         Most of September was spent on local flying duties, stand-by duties at R.A.F. Bolt Head and practice dinghy drops.

 

No.286 ( Army Air Co-operation ) Squadron :-

          1st September     Flying Officer Wilton ceased to be attached to R.A.F. Harrowbeer on being boarded unfit for flying owing to ropey eyes.

          9th September     Sergeant J. C. Baylis carried out a low flying Army Co-operation course in the Bere Alston area.

          15th September     Another low level Army Co-operation course in the Bere Alston area.

          17th September     An air test and Army Co-operation course at low level undertaken in the Helton and St. David's area.

          23rd September     Sergeant J. C. Baylis took off in a Defiant aircraft on a special course over Rame Head but had to return due to the weather being u/s.

 

No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          7th September     Four aircraft arrived on the Station during the afternoon to patrol an important convoy with No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron.

 

No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          2nd September     A.M.O. N1167  dated 27/8/1942 was received according to which His Majesty the King approved the Squadron Crest of No.312( Czech ) Squadron:- a flying stork, with motto " Non Muiti and Multa ". The official presentation by the Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group will take place on the commission of the Second Anniversary of the Squadron.

         3rd September     A signal was received from No.10 Group that His Majesty the King had been graciously pleased to award the DFM to Flight Sergeant F. Mares.

          4th September     Flight Sergeant J. Pipa and Sergeant Liskutin ( Green Section ) took off from R.A.F. Bolt Head on a scramble for four bandits over Torquay. Three FW190's were seen in vic formation twenty five miles East of Torquay. Green Section got onto their tails at a range of six hundred yards at sea level. Green Section opened fire, Flight Sergeant Pipa attacked the leader and Sergeant Liskutin ( No.2 ) attacked aircraft No.3. Some ammunition was saved in case the fourth FW190 was seen. There was no return fire. There were no claims made and no casualties. Flight Sergeant Pipa and Sergeant Liskutin reported that the FW190's had dark camouflage with white bands on the fuselage, forward of the tail unit.

          5th September     Today is the Second Anniversary of the formation of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron but the celebrations have been postponed owing to the court mourning of H. R. H. the Duke of Kent. Several congratulations have been received from other Czech. Air Force Units.

          7th September    Three sections were sent out on a shipping convoy patrol duty South of Plymouth to :- one floating dock, two destroyers, four A.A. ships and six motor vessels.          In the morning was the funeral of L.A.C. Pavlat ( who had died from a knee injury ) from the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth. In attendance were three Officers and thirty other ranks of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron and R.A.F. personnel.

          10th September     Four aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron acted as close escort to six anti-flak Whirlwind aircraft. They flew to the French Coast approaching over the Isles de Batz and roughly followed them to beyond the Sept Isles before returning to base. There was nothing seen and nothing to report.

          25th September     Today was the celebration of the Second Anniversary of the Squadrons formation. At 1830 hours a cocktail party and dinner was held by the Squadron at the ' Moorland Links Hotel ', Yelverton. This was attended by Air Vice Marshal A. H. Orlebar CBE,AFC and other guests. Squadron Leader J. Cermak gave a short address during the dinner providing an outline of the history of the Squadron which since it's formation has completed six hundred sorties, many over enemy territory and the pilots have destroyed and damaged in this country over thirty enemy aircraft. After the dinner an Officer's dance was held at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          25th September     Thirteen aircraft were sent to R.A.F. Portreath for offensive operations.

          26th September     At 0945 hours a Squadron parade was held in front of one of the Bellman Hangars with the Czech. Wing Band in attendance. From 1000 hours to 1030 hours a church parade was held by the Reverend Squadron Leader Vramley in remembrance of the pilots lost since it's formation. At 1030 hours a Squadron parade was held outside " B " Flight dispersal by General Viest and Air Marshal Janousek. Five Czech. pilots were awarded the Czech. War Cross, fifteen pilots were awarded the Czech. Medal for Gallantry and Flight Sergeant F. Mares was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

               Air Vice Marshal A. H. Orlebar CBE, AFC arrived and the whole Squadron marched past, afterwards he presented the Squadron with the Squadron Crest which had been approved by His Majesty the King.

               The Czech. Army Band gave a concert in the Sergeant's Mess at lunchtime and in the gymnasium from 1700 hours until 1800 hours. In the evening an Airman's Dance was held with great success.

          27th September     The celebrations continue with a concert in the Officer's Mess from 1300 hours until 1400 hours and a dance in the Sergeant's Mess in the evening.

          29th September     Thirteen aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Portreath at 1745 hours.

General

               The activities of the Squadron during the month were on a slightly smaller scale than previously partly due to bad weather. The morale of the Squadron remained good.

               Most of the month was spent on convoy patrol work, practice formation flying and operational sorties.

 

No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          8th September     Aircraft from No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron together with twelve aircraft of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron acted as rear support to Boston Bombers in an attack on Cherbourg Docks. There were no claims or casualties.

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

August  1942   

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward was the Commanding Officer for R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for August.

 

Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-

          AVM Sir Robert Brooke-Popham GVCD, KCB, DSO and AFC

          Clayton Knight - Press Liaison Officer, representing ' Wild World Magazine of Canada '

 

Weather 

Very mixed, changeable weather conditions with a few days during the month when flying was cancelled or aborted during sorties.

           7th August     No flying today owing to bad weather.

          11th August     Weather very changeable, thundery and showery, visibility 1000 yards to 10 miles.

          21st August     No flying owing to non-operational weather.

          31st August     Weather - extremely bad.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

The strength of the Station effective :-

          13 R.A.F. Officers         5 W.A.A.F. Officers         7 Warrant Officers         

          11 Flight Sergeants       20 Sergeants       44 Corporals       263 Other Ranks

          W.A.A.F.'s          1 Pilot Sergeant          2 Sergeants          4Corporals         

          77 Other Ranks

          Non-effective :- 3 R.A.F. Officers

 

          1st August     An Air Training Corps Camp was opened at R.A.F. Harrowbeer with the arrival of Cadets from No.1322 Squadron - Newton Abbot ( a detachment ), No.339 Squadron - Paignton and No.1472 Squadron - Paignton with a total of 84 Cadets and 3 Officers for a period of 7 days.

          8th August     A detachment of 53 ATC Cadets arrived today from No.1322 Squadron - Newton Abbot and 24 Cadets from No.4200 Squadron - South Brent with 2 Officers for a 7 day camp.

          15th August     A detachment of 45 ATC Cadets from No.41 Squadron - South Brent, 25 Cadets from No.1212 Squadron and 30 Cadets from No.142 Squadron with 5 Officers arrived for a 7 day camp on the Airfield.

          15th August     Today was the first anniversary of the opening of R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer. Celebrations were held and the ' Flying Training Command Band ' supplied the music. A message of congratulations was received from the Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group.

          Today R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer became a self accounting unit.

          22nd August     22 ATC Cadets from No.1877 Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for a 7 day camp with 1 ATC Officer.

          22nd August     A communication exercise " Ajax " was held from 1700 hours on 22/8/42 until 1200 hours on 23/8/42 and a new ' Battle Headquarters ' was manned for the first time by the Commanding Officer, Local Defence Advisor and one R.A.F. Regiment Officer.

          26th August     Squadron Leader Fisher assumed command of the Station during the absence of Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward who went on leave.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.16 Squadron :-

          31st August     Five Fleet Air Arm Observers were attached until 5/9/42.

          An Advanced Landing Ground ( ALG ) was established at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for the R.A. VIII Corps " Mustang III " exercise. The exercise was cancelled owing to the weather.

 

No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron    " B " Flight :-

          2nd August     Squadron Leader Fisher carried out dinghy drop tests from a Defiant aircraft. The tests proved only reasonably successful, great difficulty was experienced in dropping the dinghy accurately owing to the very limited view in this type of aircraft. Further difficulty was also experienced in flying the aircraft at low speed close to the water.

          2nd August     Sergeant Coleman in a Tiger Moth carried out local flying exercises with the ATC Cadets.

          3rd August     A Lysander aircraft was sent out on a search off Hope Nose. This turned out to be a false alarm. A supposed parachute in the water turned out to be a drogue from a target towing machine. The drogue was later picked up by a rescue launch.

          5th August     A search was undertaken by a Lysander on a search for a bomber aircraft that was in the sea off Rame Head. A fifteen mile strip search was carried out, but nothing was seen.

          22nd August     One aircraft was detailed to carry out drogue towing for No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron in order for them to practice air firing.

          24th August     At approximately 1500 hours Pilot Officer J. D. Ernst along with AC1 Fleet acting as rear gunner proceeded on a practice flight off Start Point. Nothing further has been heard of them and as many enemy aircraft were operating over the area it is presumed they were shot down and lost. A Lysander made a search of the area but was recalled to base owing to the weather deteriorating. Further searches were carried out over the next forty eight hours.

          24th August     Sergeant Coleman and Sergeant Douglas went off in a Lysander aircraft on a search in the vicinity of Start Point. Nothing was found and the Lysander was ordered back due to bad weather.

          30th August     A rescue search was detailed for wreckage that had been seen in the sea 180 degrees, six miles off Seaton. Nothing was found.

          Most of August was spent on practice flying which included dinghy drops, dual control sea flights in the Walrus aircraft - landing and taking off from the water, sector reconnaissance flights, air tests and ferry duties.

 

No.286 ( Army Co-operation ) Squadron :-

          1st August     A detachment from the Squadron was sent back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer with Flying Officer Wilton and Sergeant Baylis. The aircraft they were operating was a Defiant on Army Co-operation work with No.55 Brigade.

 

No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          3rd August     Eight sections of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron carried out shipping patrol duties in the English Channel over convoys ' Multiple ' and ' Cloak '. ' Multiple ' consisted of twenty motor vessels, five trawlers and one destroyer one mile South East of Round sailing Eastbound.

          5th August     Six aircraft took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to escort Liberator aircraft.

          6th August     Ten aircraft took off from Harrowbeer with No.310 Squadron on a Roadstead Operation escorting twelve Hurribombers. Set courses were followed but no targets were found, instead an arrangement of lighthouses and rocks similar to ships was seen. One pilot stated that the rocks were wrongly reported as ships. Six aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer the rest landed at R.A.F. Exeter.

          10th August     Two sections flew to R.A.F. Bolt Head to take over readiness duties there. Flight Lieutenant Kasal " B " Flight Commander detached for a five day course on Merlin engines to Rolls Royce, Derby. Flying Officer Perina detached to Sutton Bridge for a four week Gunnery Course.

          11th August     One section scrambled to the Dartmouth area. Nothing was seen to report. Three pilots flew to Boscombe Down to inspect German aircraft ( JU88, HEIII and ME109 ).

          12th August     From the 12th - 16th August " A " Flight were operating from R.A.F. Bolt Head on stand by and readiness duties.

          16th August     Fifteen Spitfires took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Redhill, Surrey to operate from there. They returned back to Harrowbeer on the 20th August. While the Squadron were at R.A.F. Redhill they carried out flying duties in the Dieppe area and flew escort duties during " Operation Jubilee ".

          17th August     A part of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron went to R.A.F. Warmwell were they took part in No.10 Group diversion to No.11 Group ' Circus ' No.204. They swept the Cherbourg area but saw nothing and returned to R.A.F. Redhill in the evening.

          18th August     While the Squadron were operating from R.A.F. Redhill they joined with No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron and No.350 ( Belgium ) Squadron to carry out a feint ' Rodeo ' operation sweeping the Berck Treport area. Nothing was seen and there were no casualties.

          19th August     No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron still operating from R.A.F. Redhill took part in ' Operation Jubilee ' in the Dieppe area. They made three sorties during the day and the following were claimer :-

               1st Sortie     one fishing boat damaged.

               2nd Sortie     three FW190 probable

               3rd Sortie     two and a half DO217 destroyed

          Our casualties    one Spitfire   Cat  B

          20th August     Eighteen aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Redhill. All aircraft and personnel of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron are now back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          A message was received from the AOC  No.11 Group and the Chief of Air Staff congratulating all Squadrons that took part in the Dieppe action stating that :-

                    " The Squadrons have the satisfaction not only of having scored a striking victory over the German Airforce on it's home ground but more important still of having earned the confidence of the Army and Navy with whom for the first time they have had the chance to co-operate in their full strength.     Please convey to all concerned my appreciation and thanks for a great days work ".

          Czechoslovakian pilots in the R.A.F. claimed about twenty enemy planes destroyed.

          21st August     Flight Lieutenant Kaslik gave a lecture to the ATC boys on the Dieppe operations.

          24th August     Six aircraft acted as rear cover on a shipping reconnaissance during the afternoon. Nothing seen and no combats.

          24th August     Two sections on convoy patrol over convoy ' Range ' which consisted of seventeen motor vessels, one trawler, two armour plate trawlers, three A.S. trawlers and one destroyer. The convoy was seven miles South West of Portland. Two enemy aircraft were reported in the area but nothing was seen.

          26th August     Combat films were received from the Dieppe engagement on 19/8/42 from Fighter Command and shown to the pilots.

          28th August     At approximately 1100 hours a Mosquito night fighter aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer and all flying personnel were asked to acquaint themselves with the machine. An hour after landing the Mosquito gave a flying demonstration over the airfield.

          A lot of the month was spent on convoy patrol work and cross country flights especially to R.A.F. Bolt Head and back to assist with stand by and readiness duties there.

General

               The activities of the Squadron were on an increased morale, great satisfaction being felt after the Dieppe operations.

               There were no losses to the Squadron

               The re-arming of the Spitfire VC's were completed.

               Notification was received that the Squadron badge had been approved, but an official presentation that was planned for 5/9/42 during the celebrations of the 2nd anniversary of the Squadron had to be postponed until after the court mourning following the death of the Duke of Kent.

     

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Copies of the Station and Squadron Operation Record Books are kept at ' Knightstone House ' -  R.A.F. Harrowbeer Archives ' and are available to view at ' Abigail's at Knightstone ' or by appointment ( Telephone :- 01822 853679     Archivist :- Michael Hayes ).

 
This page is updated each month and only shows the four most current months.


 
Please contact me if you have or want to find out more information regarding the O.R.B.'s and R.A.F. Harrowbeer.
                                                     Thank you     Michael Hayes