75 Years Ago from the Archives.

75 Years ago from the Operation Record Books for
R.A.F. Station  Harrowbeer

 

June 1944 

 

Wing Commander J. Butterworth remains the Station Commander for R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of June 1944.

 

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

          Wing Commander M. Lipton -  Empire Central Flying School

          Squadron Leader C. B. Hegy  -  Empire Central Flying School

          Squadron Leader Gregor  -  Empire Central Flying School

          Major Pearce  -  Empire Central Flying School

          Squadron Leader C. P. Chilvers  -  Empire Central Flying School

          Squadron Leader J. R. Johnson  -  Empire Central Flying School

          Air Vice Marshal Steele  -  Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group

          Group Captain Hope  -  Sector Commander R.A.F. Exeter

 

Weather 

          1st June     The month of June opened frontally and cool, and in fact the weather continued unsettled until the 17th June.      Today started cold and cloudy and was a complete contrast to the weather of the past week.

          3rd June     Today the weather started by turning warm but eventually clamped down again.

          4th June     Poor weather.     In the afternoon a high gusty cross-wind made flying from the aerodrome difficult and in the early evening the weather clamped down with visibility less than one hundred yards. Late in the evening there was some heavy rain which cleared the atmosphere and by dusk the weather was a bit more pleasant.

          5th June     A low lying cloud base.

          8th June     Bad weather restricted flying.

          9th June     An uneventful day until the evening. The weather being rather bad, cloud right down to ground level.

          11th June     A dismal dawn. A real ' dampers ' day with the weather closing right in which made flying impossible for the day. The day remained obstinately clamped all day but did manage to clear a little during the evening.

          12th June     There was low cloud around during the morning.

          13th June     Another dismal dawn, the type of morning that seems peculiar to this area, cloud right down on the deck level and a drizzling rain. Another day of clampdown.

          16th June     Very bad weather all day.

          17th June     Today was the first fine day of the month.

          19th June     Another fine weather day.

          25th June     For most of the day there was low cloud and frequent showers lasting into the evening when the weather was supposed to clear up, but if anything it just got worse.

          26th June     The weather clamped down all day making this another ' no flying day '. It rained almost continually all day clearing only for a short while later on in the evening.

          27th June     More bad weather today.

          28th June     Again the weather clamped down today, for the greatest part of the day the Station was wrapped in cloud which was combined with torrential rain and a driving wind. Due to the rain and cloud the hills were hidden in a mist. Another ' no flying day '.

          29th June     Yet another bad weather day that lasted from dawn to dusk.     Today was another day of wind, rain and low cloud with no flying possible. The weather is so depressing.

          30th June     Still not much improvement in the weather today, it is still wet and windy but maybe not quite as bad as of late.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          2nd June     Wing Commander M. Lipton, Squadron Leader C. B. Hegy, Squadron Leader Gregor, Major Pearce, Squadron Leader C. P. Chilvers and Squadron Leader J. R. Johnson arrived from the Empire Central Flying School, R.A.F. Hullavington.

          7th June     A pilot from No.263 Squadron is reported as missing from operations.

          9th June     Another pilot from No.263 Squadron is reported as missing from operations.

          10th June     Wing Commander Bird-Wilson DFC and Bar arrived from No.85 Group as Wing Commander Flying.

          12th June     Air Vice Marshal Steele  -  Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group visited the Station.

          14th June     Squadron Leader H. A. C. Gonay ( Belgian ) of No.263 Squadron is reported as missing from operations.

          15th June     A  R.C.A.F. pilot of No.263 Squadron while on local flying as a result of a forced landing crashed and was killed.

          19th June     No.263 Squadron moved to R.A.F. Bolt Head.          No.610 Squadron moved to R.A.F. Station West Malling.

          20th June     No.1 Squadron and No.165 Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Predannack.

          22nd June     No.1 Squadron and No.165 Squadron moved to R.A.F. Station Detling.

          23rd June     No.64 Squadron and No.611 Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Predannack.

          30th June     A new scheme of re-allocation of Station Administrative Duties came into force today.

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540 :-

          1st June     Strength of Station :-     R.A.F. = 992     W.A.A.F. = 279     Army = 85     Naval = 264

          This Station ceased medical administration of the medical store accounting for R.A.F. Bolt Head with effect from 30/6/1944.

          2nd June     Number of patients admitted to the S.S.Q. and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  10     W.A.A.F.  =  2     Naval  =  3

          9th June     First Aid Points at all sites and dispersals equipped with stretchers, blankets and First Aid outfits and locations of Stretcher Posts to be marked with a Red Cross and " Stretchers " lettered above symbol for easy recognition.

          9th June     Number of patients admitted to the S.S.Q. and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  2     W.A.A.F.  =  1     Army  =  1     Naval  =  2

          12 June     Squadron Leader Constable - Senior Medical Officer for the Station detached for two days on a duty visit to R.A.F. Station Llandarog.

          15th June     A pilot of No.263 Squadron was involved in an aircraft accident - fatal - the aircraft overturned and crushed the pilot in the cockpit - death was due to fracture of the cervical spine and a fracture to the base of the skull.

          16th June     Number of patients admitted to the S.S.Q. and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  11     W.A.A.F.  =  3     Naval  =  1

          22nd June     A flying accident to a Swordfish aircraft which came down in the sea. The whole crew were picked up and detained overnight at the Royal Naval Sickbay, Dartmouth. They all returned to their Unit the next day fit for duty, all members suffered slight shock due to their immersion in the sea. There were no injuries - the Unit they belonged to was No.838 F.A.A. Squadron.

          23rd June     Number of patients admitted to the S.S.Q. and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  12     W.A.A.F.  =  3     Army  =  1     Naval  =  4

          30th June     Number of patients admitted to the S.S.Q. and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  7     W.A.A.F.  =  2     Naval  =  1

The month of June Form 540 for the Station Sick Quarters was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant Birkett.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.1 Squadron :-

          20th June     All went according to plan, the " Wing " together with No.6001 Echelon aided by many Dakota aircraft and sundry road vehicles pulled out from R.A.F. Predannack en route to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The pilots of No.1 Squadron and their Spitfire IXLF aircraft arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer before lunch and in the afternoon were introduced to the new Wing Commander Bird-Wilson. Apart from two operations later in the day the Squadron spent it's time sorting out their goods and chattels and finding a bed to rest their weary heads.          At 1645 hours four Spitfire IXLF aircraft took off to act as spotters for eight Spitfire IXLF aircraft which took off at 1655 hours ( all from No.1 Squadron ) along with Spitfire IXB aircraft from No.165 Squadron led by Wing Commander Bird-Wilson to bomb a radar station at Lannion / Ploumanach. Our eight Spitfire IXLF aircraft were carrying 8 X 500 lb. M.C. bombs, when these were dropped most undershot the target but there were two near misses. There was a supposed gun position just south west of the target. The attack was carried out from ten thousand feet down to four thousand feet over the target. At 1730 hours meagre light and medium inaccurate flak was experienced in the target area. The four spotter Spitfire IXLF aircraft returned to base landing at 1820 hours, the other eight Spitfire IXLF's had already landed safely at 1810 hours.          Eight of No.1 Squadron's Spitfire IXLF aircraft were again airborne at 2150 hours on an armed shipping reconnaissance. Each Spitfire IXLF aircraft was armed with 1 X lb M.C. instantaneous bomb. Also on this operation there were eight Spitfire IXB aircraft of No.165 Squadron. The sixteen aircraft were to patrol in the Cherbourg area, but no shipping was sighted. All the Spitfires jettisoned their bombs before proceeding back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. One large fire was seen in the Cetville area, two smaller fires were spotted four to five miles south of Maupertus and one fire was seen three to four miles inland west of Cherbourg. Gun flashes  were observed parallel to the north coast six miles inland. No.1 Squadron's Spitfire IXLF aircraft returned to base after the operation landing at 2305 hours without incident.

          21st June     Today proved uneventful apart from several convoy patrols. This break gave the Squadron the opportunity of getting straightened out in their new home. It is a small airfield and we are not the only occupants. The Fleet Air Arm ( No.838 Squadron ) have one corner for a Squadron of Fairey Swordfish aircraft, the yanks another for a mixed selection of aircraft the function of which has not yet been discovered, but we have learnt that they are very co-operative if one is intending to pay a flying visit to town. Incredible things happen in the R.A.F.          We are now told that we are to move again, this time to good old No.11 Group - R.A.F. Detling to be precise and that we are to move at once. Much of the equipment has just been unloaded from the transport, only to be re-loaded again. We leave R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1900 hours tomorrow for R.A.F. Detling, our role there will be ' anti-diver ' patrols, in other words to shoot down the enemy's secret weapon, the one thousand kilogram flying bomb or robot aircraft ( doodle bug ) just as fast as they send them over. Given suitable flying conditions this is exactly what the Squadron intends to do.          Four patrols of two Spitfire IXLF aircraft were scrambled throughout the day on patrols to escort shipping convoys of large ships south of Plymouth, all the duties were carried out uneventfully. The patrols were :- ( 1 )  0810 - 0940 hours     ( 2 )  1020 - 1145 hours     ( 3 )  1225 - 1235 hours and ( 4 )  1250 - 1435 hours.          Another patrol was organised for two Squadron Spitfire IXLF aircraft from 1530 - 1715 hours to patrol off the French Coast. The Spitfires were given various vectors but nothing was sighted, again another uneventful patrol.

          22nd June     Once again all kit was packed up and sent off. Several pilots went by road and the remainder flew their Spitfire IXLF aircraft to R.A.F. Detling according to plan after saying farewell to Wing Commander Bird-Wilson and not feeling too happy with leaving him behind.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was unsigned.

 

No.41 Squadron :-  

          7th June     At 0530 hours two pilots took off from R.A.F. Bolt Head on a shipping reconnaissance to St. Peters Port, Granville and St. Malo. The two Spitfire aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0625 hours on their return to report twelve plus Tank Landing Craft ( T.L.C.'s ) in St. Peters Port and five medium class minesweepers and torpedo boats going at fifteen knots towards St. Malo from the north of Cap Frehal Intense flak was encountered from St. Peters Port and the south east of Guernsey.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Squadron Leader R. H. Chapman

 

No.64 Squadron :-

          22nd June     No.64 Squadron at present is Station at R.A.F. Deanland, but today news has arrived that the Squadron is to move early next morning to R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer in No.10 Group. Everybody was very busy packing today. Eventually everything was settled and ready to move off the next morning. We then all settled down to enjoy our last night under canvas for a short while.

          23rd June     A day of great movement. At about eight o'clock ( 0800 hours ) fifteen Dakota aircraft arrived to help move No.64 Squadron and No.611 Squadron to a different sphere of operations. Everything that possibly could be was loaded into the Dakota aircraft and they then took off in a continual stream. The first one leaving at about nine o'clock ( 0900 hours ). A train party set out later in the day and vanished for some time. The Squadron transport was allowed a little more time to get ready and they started out at noon. The only arrivals on the 23rd June at R.A.F. Harrowbeer were the Dakota aircraft and the Squadron Spitfire aircraft, both of which arrived before lunch. On arrival the Squadron was released for the rest of the day, which was spent settling in to their new quarters.

          24th June     The Squadron began work very early. Convoy patrols were laid on from 0910 hours right through to the early evening, twenty eight sorties were carried out in total.     All the patrols were uneventful apart from one incident when one of our pilots burst a tyre on landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer which damaged his Spitfire aircraft. Two other pilots reported seeing four large minesweepers which were sweeping just off the French Coast. Group did not know who they were at first, but it was eventuall established that they were friendly not hostile. Our shipping obviously is not at all afraid of getting really close to the enemy coast.          In the evening two pilots carried out a ' Jim Crow ' along the French Coast from St. Malo to Lezardrieux. They reported seeing four M.T.B.'s ( Motor Torpedo Boats ) ten miles west of Guernsey. These turned out to be friendly vessels.

          25th June     The only flying today owing to the weather conditions was a ' Jim Crow ' that was carried out by two pilots in the evening at 1850 hours from Cap De La Hague along the coast to Lezardrieux and the across to St. Peters Port and finally back home intending to land back at base. On this operation the further they flew the more the weather deteriorated and when they were over St. Malo the only shipping that could be seen was in the harbour, but it was impossible to get any accurate information. By the time the operation had been completed the pilots had to land at R.A.F. Exeter at 2135 hours as the weather at R.A.F. Harrowbeer was so bad. Later in the evening the weather cleared sufficiently for the pilots to fly back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          26th June     No flying today due to poor weather conditions. One of our pilots collected some furniture from the Barrack Warden for the Dispersals which now look very attractive.

          27th June     There was only one operation today and that was carried out by twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.64 Squadron who escorted Typhoon aircraft of No.263 Squadron that were to attack electrical installations at Pontivy with rocket projectiles ( R / P's ). The operation was to take place from 1250 hours until 1440 hours. Inspite of bad cloud conditions the mission was completed and the results seemed satisfactory. On the way home the Squadron attacked a locomotive and two trucks about half a mile north of St. Quay Portrieux, it was well and truly hit but the only result seen was steam escaping from the locomotive.     There was no other activity during the day apart from six shipping patrols which were all uneventful.

          28th June     A no flying day either operational or non-operational.

          29th June     Another day of no flying. The usual monthly aircraft recognition tests were held at the Station Intelligence during the afternoon, but on a more elaborate scale than the ones that the Squadron had been used to at R.A.F. Deanland. These tests helped to pass the time, but time still tended to drag, possibly due to the depressing weather.

          30th June     Five or six air-tests were carried out by pilots in their Spitfire VBLFIR aircraft.          The Squadron has just received a signal saying that they were to be re-equipped with the Spitfire IXLF aircraft.         At 1530 hours eight Spitfire VBLFIR aircraft were to take part with the " Harrowbeer Wing " on a Rhubarb. The weather turned out to be hopeless and after the " Wing " had a quick look around No.64 Squadron returned to base, having been airborne for only thirty minutes. Just after they had landed at 1600 hours the first batch of Spitfire IX's arrived.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Squadron Leader Mackenzie.

 

No.165 ( Ceylon ) Squadron :-      

          18th June     The Squadron at present is based at R.A.F. Predannack flying Spitfire IXB aircraft. During the day it was learnt that the Squadron is to move to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          20th June     The Squadron moved to R.A.F. Harrowbeer and the nineteen non-operational sorties flown were mostly made in that connection.         In addition eight pilots including Wing Commander Bird-Wilson bombed a radar station at Lannion Ploumanach and eight pilots again including Wing Commander Bird-Wilson carried out an uneventful armed shipping reconnaissance in the Cherbourg area.          At 1655 hours four Spitfire IXB aircraft took off on a bombing strike, the target being a radar station at Lannion / Ploumanach which was bombed from west to east from a height of six thousand feet and diving down to three thousand five hundred feet. Most of the bombs undershot the target, but two were near misses which scored on a supposed gun-position a short distance to the south of the target. The four Spitfire IXB aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer after the attack landing at 1805 hours.          Another four Spitfire IXB aircraft took off at 1700 hours to the same target and being slightly behind the first four aircraft they experienced meagre light and medium inaccurate flak. These four aircraft landed back at base at 1810 hours.          Eight Spitfire IXB aircraft were airborne on an armed shipping reconnaissance at 2150 hours as it was suspected that the enemy would commence evacuation from Cherbourg. No. enemy shipping was sighted so the Spitfires jettisoned their bombs in the sea before their return flight. A large fire was observed in the Octeville area, two smaller fires about four to six miles to the south of Maupertus and other fires three to four miles inland to the west of Cherbourg. Gun flashes could be seen parallel to the north coast of the Cherbourg Peninsular about six miles inland. Approximately six to eight bursts of heavy inaccurate flak was fired from Cherbourg. Two of our Spitfires returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 2245 hours. The remaining six Spitfires followed landing safely at 2300 hours.

          21st June     Nine operational flights were made today by No.165 Squadron. The Squadron flew to R.A.F. Tangmere and returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer without operating.          Two sections of two Spitfire IXB aircraft made operational sorties from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The first section was airborne on a convoy patrol at 1400 hours on a course to the east of Start Point at a height of three thousand feet to cover shipping in the area. The patrol was uneventful, resulting in the Spitfires returning to base where they landed at 1515 hours.     The second section took off at 1625 hours on a standing patrol in mid-channel which was also uneventful. The object of the patrol was to fly thirty miles off the north coast of the Brest Peninsular at a height of six thousand feet. Nothing was seen on the patrol so the aircraft returned to base landing at 1810 hours.

          22nd June     The Squadron moved to R.A.F. Detling.

The Squadron O.R.B. Forms 540 and Forms 541 for the month of June was signed by :-Squadron Leader M. E. Blackstone

 

No.263 Squadron :-  

          1st June     June like May, opened frontally and cool, and in fact the weather continued unsettled until the 17th June.          The Squadron carried out practice bombing at Bolt Head, Hamstone during the afternoon.

          2nd June    A day of flaps, the first was to Dol Marshalling Yards and the second to the Goulet U-Boats, but unfortunately both operations never happened, a complete waste of a day.

          3rd June     Much rocket projectile work at Hamstone until a warm front clamped down.

          4th June     Some rocket projectile work in poor weather somebody is in a hurry for something ?

          5th June     The Squadron Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Bolt Head to carry out rocket projectile practice, but owing to low cloud this was not possible to do, but the pilots did see a noble pride of warships steaming slowly east along the English Channel.          One of our pilots who had to fly to R.A.F. Manston to collect rocket projectiles spares was lucky enough to fly below the cloud along the south coast and saw " so many ships in the Solent you could walk from the Isle of Wight to Southampton across their decks ".

          6th June     After a mid-night flap for twelve Typhoon aircraft, an early morning shipping reconnaissance to Goulet in duff weather was carried out. This operation was flown by eight Typhoon aircraft from 0625 hours until 0800 hours on a course from R.A.F. Harrowbeer - Batz - Ushant and landing at R.A.F. Predannack. On their return journey they found out that this was " D - Day ". Thus what had been demanded for three years, expected for two years and hourly waited for three months had arrived more or less unheralded in No.10 Group while the Squadron were carrying out an armed shipping reconnaissance and continued while they did rocket projectile practice at Bolt Head - and bound to Dispersal. The next hours and days turned out to be some of the Squadrons busiest yet.          The evening of the 6th June saw No.263 Squadron carry out their first rocket projectile operation. Eight Typhoon aircraft armed with rocket projectiles took off at 2015 hours, this was a damaging attack on a five hundred ton motor vessel off Granville. After the attack the Typhoon aircraft returned to base landing at 2150 hours. This was the start of one hundred and twenty one offensive sorties in five days.

          7th June     A double mixed Squadron of eight Typhoon bomber aircraft and eight Typhoon rocket projectile aircraft carrying 8 X 600 lb HE ( high explosive ) rockets was now bricked up. This was a state that was to be ' phenomenally ' maintained - these words are those of the Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group. Therefore ' two Squadron operations ' became possible simultaneously either in two waves with the same objective or with different targets.          At 0815 hours eight Typhoon aircraft armed with bombs carried out dive-bombing attacks on shipping in St. Malo. The results were four near misses which straddled the stern of a motor vessel and also two gun posts were shot at with many strikes being observed. After the attack all the Typhoon aircraft returned to base where they landed safely at 0955 hours.          At 0830 hours another eight Typhoon aircraft armed with rocket projectiles flew to St. Peters Port but this operation proved uneventful as no claims were made. These eight Typhoons landed back at base at 1000 hours.          Roadstead No.128 was laid on from 1225 hours until 1410 hours and carried out by eight Typhoon aircraft but had to be abandoned as cloud prevented the target from being found.          A shipping strike was carried out between 1630 hours and 1800 hours by eight Typhoon aircraft. The area to be swept was in the area of Sark, Channel Islands, but no claims were made. Flying Officer J. Parent is missing from this operation, but we hope to see him again one day - the fact that the Germans were shooting at him while on his parachute descent will not be forgotten.

          8th June     Despite yesterday's heavy activity all nineteen Typhoon aircraft on charge to the Squadron were serviceable at 1000 hours. Flight Lieutenant Wannop and the ground crews of No.6263 Servicing Echelon ( ex No.3055 ) and the Squadron had worked hard all night on them, as they did frequently during this and other months.          Seven Typhoon aircraft took off at 1330 hours on a dive-bombing shipping operation in the St. Malo area. One motor vessel is claimed as category A from the attack and all the Typhoon aircraft returned to base safely landing at 1445 hours.

          9th June     A night time and first light German destroyer flap ended in a clamp, which also affected the beach-head.          The Squadron ( eight Typhoon bomber aircraft and eight rocket projectile aircraft ) were briefed to attack gun positions south of St. Lo, but they failed to get through due to 10/10 cloud at zero feet on the Cotentin Coast. The Typhoon aircraft took off at 1850 hours and landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2010 hours.          Another pilot is reported missing in circumstances which offer nothing but guess work. We hope to see him again one day.          A second double attack with ten Typhoon aircraft was laid on between 2130 hours and 2300 hours to attack the gun posts at St. Lo. As the formation got to within five miles of the target they were re-called. On the return journey home due to the bad weather conditions some of our Typhoons landed at R.A.F. Hearne and some at R.A.F. Tangmere. On this operation Flying Officer Heaton was flying with the first section and was last seen climbing and turning his Typhoon aircraft in cloud and is reported as missing.          It is believed that our Typhoon aircraft were the first over the German lines that day.

          10th June     A first light shipping reconnaissance with eight rocket projectile Typhoon aircraft was carried out between 0530 hours and 0603 hours. This was a most successful operation as strikes were observed and damage caused to three M class merchant ships off St. Helier.          Later in the day two double Squadron shows took place ( four sections ).          Roadstead No.134 was a rocket projectile attack by eight Typhoon aircraft which took off at 0930 hours. The formation flew to the area of the Channel Islands but unfortunately found no shipping so they decided to fly on to Jersey where they attacked a radar station. The section managed to prang the huts of the radar station at Jersey Rouge Nez with eight sixty four pound rocket projectiles with fair results. After the attack the Typhoon aircraft returned to base landing at 1100 hours.          Roadstead No.135 was to be a dive-bombing attack from 0930 hours until 1100 hours by eight Typhoon aircraft which was aborted due to 10/10 cloud at three thousand feet off St. Malo.          At 1430 hours until 1530 hours Ramrod No.136 was in progress which required eight rocket projectile Typhoon aircraft and eight Typhoon bombers. They were to attack the Yffiniac bridge but again the operation was abandoned due to 10/10 cloud at one thousand feet.          A total of forty offensive sorties and fifty one hours of operational flying was an all time record for the Squadron for one day's work.

          11th June     Sunday - the weather remained clamped all day. Everybody was up as usual at 0345 hours, but went straight back to bed and slept until lunchtime. That is all except the Commanding Officer and Flight Lieutenant Wannop and the ground crew. Much work was carried out on the Typhoon aircraft, but there was no need to re-establish serviceability as we had it already.

          12th June     Another forty sorties and fifty hours and forty five minutes of operational flying was carried out today.          Soon after first light between 0542 hours and 0702 hours eight Typhoon aircraft took part in a shipping reconnaissance. Bomber Command dive-bombed four T.T.A.'s off Jersey, Channel Islands in St. Aubins Bay but no claims were made.          Then thirty two sorties in which 128 X 60 lb rocket projectile high explosive rockets and 32 X 500 lb multi-cluster .025 second fuse bombs were hurled into the railway viaduct to the south of Yffiniac with excellent concentration. This is a most terrible target.          Sixteen Typhoon aircraft were airborne from 0955 hours until 1135 hours and again from 1455 hours until 1630 hours on Ramrod No.137. This was an important operational attack against the railway viaduct to the south west of Yffiniac which took place in two waves of sixteen Typhoon aircraft. The operation was to disrupt the main Brest to Rennes railway line by the destruction of the viaduct. The bombing and the rocket projectile concentration was excellent, in both attacks bomb craters and rocket projectile craters were observed to have disintegrated the double track of the railway.

          13th June     Everybody was up and about at 0345 hours only to find another clamp which was to hinder operations.         At 1500 hours the Bomber Command of the Squadron was released and perhaps only for the time being wound up. The ground crews set to work to convert all the Typhoon aircraft to rocket projectile firing aircraft.

          14th June     Today was a day of four rocket projectile shipping strikes which were mainly successful.          The first sortie was an early morning one from 0530 hours until 0650 hours by eight Typhoon aircraft. The attack by the Squadron ( and a prang we believe ) was of a German U - Boat.          Another shipping reconnaissance was laid on from 0815 hours until 0945 hours by eight Typhoon aircraft to the Channel Islands. Squadron Leader Gonay got a direct hit on a T.T.A. off Corbier Point, unfortunately his Typhoon aircraft was hit by flak and he made an apparently controlled forced landing on Jersey.          The loss today of the Squadron's Commanding Officer ( Squadron Leader H. Gonay ) who is missing from an earlier attack off Jersey, Corbier Point in not too hopeful circumstances is a sad blow to the Squadron. He was quite new to the Squadron only arriving three months ago and never before flown a Typhoon aircraft. Squadron Leader Gonay very quickly proved himself master of every situation. As a leader he was absolutely trusted by everyone and was admired and loved as a friend.          Nine Typhoon aircraft took off on Roadstead No.140 which lasted from 1845 hours until 2015 hours. This was to be an attack on a German U - Boat. Two pilots returning from Roadstead No.140 were very lucky to make it back to base. One of the pilots flying back from St. Peters Port managed to land safely despite having several of his control wires cut by flak and others shredded. The other pilot's petrol system ' fell to pieces ' when he landed on the runway. This operation and the next days attack certainly sunk a T.T.A. and the U - Boat is believed to be damaged.

          15th June     Eight Typhoon aircraft were airborne on Roadstead No.142 from 0856 hours until 1000 hours.          Flight Lieutenant R. D. Rutter ( Flight Commander of ' B ' Flight ) is posted as Squadron Leader to command the Squadron on an operation to St. Peters Port. The flak here struck it's third victim as category B, but fortunately everyone managed to get back home safely landing at 1220 hours.          A R.C.A.F. pilot who had only been with the Squadron for six days crashed fatally near Launceston, Cornwall. It is thought that his Typhoon aircraft had developed engine trouble and that he had attempted to make a forced landing.

          16th June     Secret sources indicate that the Squadron's attack on St. Peters Port damaged a five hundred ton U - Boat and sank a trawler type auxiliary vessel. We were also told that the Squadron's job of harrying the ships between Cherbourg and Brest is of great importance in the Normandy beach-head.

          17th June     A shipping reconnaissance was laid on at mid-day from 1226 hours until 1403 hours involving eight Typhoon aircraft. The formation were unable to reach Granville owing to thick cloud, so they returned to base.          This operation was followed by a very successful rocket projectile attack on St. Malo between 1940 hours and 2110 hours. Twelve Typhoon aircraft armed with twenty five pound rocket projectiles sunk the L97 M/M passenger packet of nine hundred and seventy five tons was confirmed as sunk, category 3 and a tank landing craft was seen sinking by the escort section.

          18th June     This morning there were two shipping reconnaissance operations to the Channel Islands ( 1 ) from 0538 hours until 0716 hours which attacked a convoy off Grosnez Point, but no claims were made. ( 2 ) from 0824 hours until 0937 hours, this was flown by the same pilots as previously who returned to the Channel Islands to harass the convoy with good success. A one thousand two hundred ton motor vessel and a tank landing craft were damaged by rocket projectiles.          In the afternoon there was a flap for an immediate move of all No.10 Group Squadrons to R.A.F. Bolt Head as they are being re-sorted mainly to release the advanced marks of Spitfire aircraft for anti-diver activities in " Southern England ".          The Germans have sunk the old Whirlwind aircraft target ship ' Solmglint ' a whale oil ship of ten thousand tons which was being used as a block-ship in Cherbourg, she had not left port for three years.

          19th June     No.263 Squadron Typhoon aircraft moved to R.A.F. Bolt Head with No.6263Servicing Echelon and the rest of the Squadron following over the next four days in an insufficient number of motor vehicles which kept breaking down fairly regularly. No.6263 Servicing Echelon on arrival at R.A.F. Bolt Head found it was too windy to erect their tents to be used as accommodation as there were no other billets available.          No.263 Squadron have often visited R.A.F. Bolt Head which was in use as a forward base airfield.          As a permanent base R.A.F. Bolt Head suffers from it's establishment as an ' Advanced Landing Ground ' ( ALG ) and it's actual use as a two Squadron Station ( No.263 Squadron and half of No.406 Squadron and half of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron ). R.A.F. Bolt Head as an ALG is greatly used for the departure and arrival of other Squadrons for operations for which, as a further point of fact, the day fighter Squadrons have to provide re-fuelling facilities.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :-Squadron Leader R. D. Rutter

 

No.610 ( County of Chester ) Squadron :- 

          1st June     Throughout the morning the pilots went to the Photographic Section to watch recent combat films that they had previously taken. They were also shown a film titled " Interrogation of P. of W. "          At 1115 hours four Spitfire XIV aircraft took off to take part in Rhubarb No.268. The Spitfire aircraft crossed the coast at Pleneve to Lamballe, Montfort Redon - Vannes Railway, north of Yffiniac. The formation attacked a train on the Rennes - Redon line heading south and consisting of eight to ten wagons. The train stopped, strikes were seen along the length of the train. A single lorry was also attacked by one of the aircraft to the west of Ploerael without visible results. Some light flak was experienced north of Vannes with machine gun fire and a little heavy flak north of Redon. All the Spitfire XIV aircraft returned to base landing at 1305 hours. One of our pilots returned with a hole through his starboard wing caused by flak in the Vannes area.          Two sections of two Spitfire XIV aircraft were detailed to carry out a shipping reconnaissance between St. Peters Port - Lezardrieux - and back to St. Peters Port before returning to base. The first section took off at 1800 hours in Spitfire XIV aircraft but there were no sightings or incidents and all the aircraft landed back at base at 1930 hours. The second section took off at 1800 hours but were re-called and landed at R.A.F. Bolt Head at 1815 hours after a report was received that an object one foot square had dropped off No.2's aircraft on take off. On finding that there was nothing wrong the section took off again at 1845 hours but this time No.1 had developed engine trouble so the operation was abandoned, both Spitfires returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1935 hours.

          2nd June     Eight Spitfire XIV aircraft took off at 1510 hours and flew together to Lamballe and then split into two groups of four Spitfire XIV aircraft. The first four flew on Rhubarb No.269 ( first sweep )  and flew to the west and attacked a train of eighteen wagons near Plouaret. The train stopped when turning north near Landerneau. Twelve lorries were spotted but not attacked. Heavy flak of about six rounds was experienced After the attack three of the Spitfire aircraft flew back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1655 hours, the fourth Spitfire aircraft landed at R.A.F. Bolt Head with an excessively overheated engine due to a hole in his Spitfires port coolant radiator. The cause of the hole is not certain but was possibly due to a .303 bullet. Whatever made the hole must have lodged in it until the Spitfire was nearly back at base therefore saving some of the glycol from leaking out.          The second four Spitfire XIV aircraft flew south east from Lamballe on Rhubarb No.269 ( second sweep ) and made a successful attack on a train near Broons. This train consisted of twenty to thirty trucks and coaches. Many strikes were noticed. Fire was concentrated mainly on the engine, there was a lot of black smoke and some steam being emitted. the train came to a standstill. There was some light flak from the train and a few rounds of heavy flak south of Rennes. All the Spitfire XIV aircraft landed safely back at base at 1655 hours.          In the afternoon the Squadron was visited by Wing Commander Lipton, Squadron Leader C. B. Hegy, Squadron Leader Gregor, Major Pearce, Squadron Leader C. P. Chilvers and Squadron Leader J. R. Johnson who were members of the Navigation Committee from the Empire Central Flying School, R.A.F. Hullavington.

          3rd June     A shipping reconnaissance was carried out by four Spitfire XIV aircraft at 0545 hours which flew to the Morlaix area at zero feet. They then climbed to carry out the reconnaissance. There was a one hundred foot layer of 10/10 cloud at five hundred feet. The formation then flew to an estimated area which they thought should be Abervrach, but there was no break in the cloud so they returned to base landing at 0705 hours.          Four more Spitfire XIV aircraft carried out a shipping reconnaissance from 1025 hours until 1220 hours in the Sept Isles - Ouessant areas, but nothing was seen. This operation was flown at zero feet.          In the evening Rhubarb No.271 was planned. This operation involved four Spitfire XIV aircraft taking off at 1800 hours and flew to Pleneuf. No railway traffic was seen but what they did see appeared to be a military bus with a large amount of kit on top of it. This bus was attacked after being circled three times near St. Baradec on the Loudec to Mur De Bretagne Road. Strikes were seen on the bus which brought it to a halt. The section of four Spitfire aircraft then returned to base landing at 1955 hours.          Group Captain Hope - Sector Commander of R.A.F. Exeter made a visit to the Squadron.

          4th June     Throughout the day from 0620 hours until 1400 hours shipping convoy patrols were carried out at three thousand feet over a special patrol line on account of large convoy movements off the coast. These were carried out without incident.          During the afternoon the weather became bad with high gusty cross-winds and eventually clamping down completely in the evening. Most of the Squadron spent the evening in the camp cinema.

          5th June     Again the Squadron spent most of the day flying a total of twenty two shipping convoy patrols from dawn to dusk at three thousand feet over a special patrol line. These patrols were flown without incident.          Instructions were received this morning to paint special markings on all aircraft, black and white stripes across the wings, parallel with the chord and vertically round the fuselage. This task was completed by the evening.          Special restrictions have been placed on all personnel today. Everybody is confined to camp, all shops, houses, public houses, post offices, etc. are out of bounds.          This evening there was a Station Dance to which no civilians were admitted.

          6th June     Today is ' D - Day ', the invasion of Europe has begun with airborne landings, and also coastal landings. General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander sent a special message to all forces under his command which was broadcast over the airfield ' tannoy ' system by the Station Commander.          No.610 Squadron's part in this big event consisted of dull, though important shipping convoy patrols from 0930 hours until 1800 hours.          In the evening at 2015 hours a special strike by eight Typhoon aircraft with eight of our Spitfire XIV aircraft as escort was laid on. A small ship had been reported to be carrying " brasshats ", arriving at Granville from the Channel Islands had to be attacked. The ship was found just off Granville and the Typhoon aircraft carried out rocket projectile attacks, hits being claimed and confirmed by our pilots. There were also many near misses. The sixteen aircraft came back in great style in a tight formation sweeping low across the airfield at 2150 hours, a great sight for the ground staff. Moderate heavy and intense light flak was experienced in the Granville area. The weather was reasonable with 5/10 high cloud and good visibility.          The restrictions of local movements of personnel were removed today.

          7th June     At 0815 hours eight Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft took off as escort to Typhoon aircraft attacking shipping at St. Malo which they bombed, otherwise the operation was uneventful. The eight No.6120 Squadron Spitfire aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 0955 hours.          At 1225 hours another eight Spitfire XIV aircraft were airborne to escort Typhoon aircraft to Goulet De Brest where they were to look for shipping, this also proved uneventful with no attacks being made. However four mystery aircraft were investigated on this sortie which turned out to be Thunderbolt aircraft. Our Spitfires then returned to base where they landed at 1410 hours.          A total of four shipping convoy patrols were flown between 1035 hours and 2250 hours all without incident.

          8th June     The only activity today was two shipping convoy patrols early in the morning.          In the late afternoon nine Spitfire XIV aircraft flew to R.A.F. Bolt Head where they were to operate from when required. Unfortunately the operation was cancelled due to bad weather which resulted in the aircraft and pilots being stranded at R.A.F. Bolt Head.

          9th June     The nine stranded Spitfire aircraft and pilots at R.A.F. Bolt Head managed to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1700 hours once the weather had improved.          Ramrod No.134 was laid on at 1850 hours in which eight of No.610 Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft were to act as escort to sixteen Typhoon aircraft which were to bomb an enemy railway gun battery at St. Lo. This operation was ordered very quickly and the aircraft all away in a very short space of time making the aerodrome a scene of intense activity. This operation had to be aborted due to 10/10 cloud with a one hundred foot base up to eleven thousand feet over the French Coast. Seven of our Spitfire aircraft returned to base landing at 2015 hours. The eighth Spitfire aircraft had to return earlier landing at 1910 hours owing to the undercarriage becoming u/s.          A repeat operation of Ramrod No.134 was organised for 2130 hours. The Typhoon aircraft had to be bombed up, which was completed in record time. This second attempt was to attack the 88mm enemy gun battery at St. Lo, but again the operation was aborted. Although the cloud had cleared from the French Coast it was still down to three hundred feet in the target area. It was decided to re-call the aircraft to base where they landed at 2310 hours.

          10th June     At first light our Spitfire XIV aircraft were to escort Typhoon aircraft on an operation to attack three minesweepers off Jersey, Channel Islands.          A second attempt was made later in the morning from 0940 hours until 1100 hours, but again the duty was uneventful.          At 1230 hours a third operation was laid on when seven Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft were to escort Typhoon aircraft to attack a viaduct at Yffiniac in the St. Malo area. This operation had to be abandoned on account of cloud cover over the French Coast.          All these operations were in support of No.263 Squadron flying Typhoon aircraft with rocket projectiles and bombs, usually the escort aircraft staying with the rocket projectile armed aircraft. Our escort duties have so far proved uneventful, but a useful purpose is served as our pilots are able to observe the results of the Typhoon attacks.          The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group - Air Vice Marshal Steele visited the Station today. The Station Commander later gave a message from him over the ' tannoy ' system congratulating the ground crews on their work and also the pilots.          Wing Commander Bird-Wilson arrived as Wing Commander Flying for the ' Wing ' formed of No.610, 41 and 263 Squadrons.

          11th June     A no flying day today owing to the weather conditions.          The pilots spent most of the day playing " pool ".          The ground crews made the most of the lack of flying by " breaching " up the aircraft.

          12th June     What promised to be a good ' show ' was spoilt by low cloud this morning.          Twelve Spitfire XIV aircraft ( the first time twelve aircraft had been called for a long time ) led by the new Wing Commander Flying - Wing Commander Bird-Wilson set out to escort twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.41 Squadron on Rodeo No.168 to attack enemy aircraft reported to have been brought up by the Germans to Gael Airfield, to operate over the battle areas. The sortie was aborted on account of cloud cover. The operation took place between 0520 hours and 0710 hours.          Twelve Spitfire XIV aircraft took off at 0955 hours on Ramrod No.137 led by Wing Commander Bird-Wilson to escort Typhoon aircraft on an attack on what was supposed to be a viaduct south of Yffiniac. The rocket projectiles and bombs were successfully concentrated on the target, but on going down to have a look after the dust had cleared our pilots reported that the ' viaduct ' was an embankment. One of the Spitfires was a late starter on take off and finished up landing at 1015 hours back at base. The remaining eleven Spitfire aircraft returned from the sortie safely landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1130 hours.          A repeat of Ramrod No.137 was undertaken at 1455 hours by twelve Spitfire XIV aircraft with much the same results. On this operation eight of our Spitfire aircraft were detached to sweep against road and rail targets to the east of Lamballe, but made no attacks All our aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1630 hours.

          13th June     The weather this morning was really bad making flying impossible.          Flying commenced in the afternoon when eight of our Spitfire XIV aircraft took off at 1700 hours to carry out sweeps over northern Brittany. The aircraft returned on account of cloud cover over the French Coast. The eight Spitfire aircraft landed back at base at 1810 hours.         There were three uneventful patrols flown in the evening between 2135 hours and 1210 hours.

          14th June     Four Spitfire XIV aircraft took off at 0535 hours led by Wing Commander Bird-Wilson to act as escort to eight Typhoon aircraft on a shipping strike. Wing Commander Bird-Wilson developed R/T trouble and returned to base at 0545 hours, the remaining three Spitfire aircraft also returned to base as the Wing Commander was unable to catch them up after his aircraft's R/T had been fixed.          Immediately at 0535 hours another four Spitfire XIV aircraft were airborne to carry out the escort duty covering the Typhoon aircraft on their shipping strike in the St. Malo area. The sortie was uneventful but on the return journey three trawler type auxiliaries were sighted off Guernsey and were successfully attacked and left smoking. Intense light flak was experienced from the three ships. The four escort Spitfire XIV aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0725 hours.          A strike on the same three vessels by Typhoon aircraft armed with rocket projectiles was laid on and was quite successful, except that Squadron Leader Gonay ( Henry ) - Commanding Officer of No.263 Squadron was lost on the operation.          A further escort duty by eight Spitfire XIV aircraft was an attack on a submarine which was reported at St. Peters Port, Guernsey, this duty was organised quickly, carried out and was quite successful. Ten Typhoon aircraft making the attack were escorted uneventfully, except for intense flak from the Island. Two of the Typhoon aircraft were seriously damaged and a third was also hit.          Sixteen Spitfire XIV aircraft took off at 1845 hours on an uneventful escort of Typhoon aircraft attacking a submarine off Guernsey. All aircraft returned at 2000 hours.          Five patrols were carried out between 1505 hours and 1920 hours.          The Squadron is now operating as part of a ' Wing ' which is formed of No.610 Squadron and No.41 Squadron flying Spitfire XIV and XII aircraft and No.263 Squadron flying Typhoon aircraft. This is a very useful operational formation, equipped with some of the best aircraft of their types in operation.

          15th June     A shipping reconnaissance was laid on from 0535 hours until 0710 hours by three Spitfire XIV aircraft between Morlaix and Abervrach. Four vessels were sighted in Morlaix, but no action was taken. On the return flight our Spitfire aircraft landed at R.A.F. Predannack before returning back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          In the afternoon at 1600 hours eight Spitfire XIV aircraft took off on an armed shipping reconnaissance in the Channel Island area. No sightings were made on this sweep, although visibility was so good " you could see the individual leaves on the palm trees " on the Channel Islands. All our Spitfire aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1730 hours.          A total of eight patrols involving sixteen Spitfire XIV aircraft were carried out between 0620 hours and 1545 hours and all proved uneventful.

          16th June     Two Spitfire XIV aircraft were scrambled at 0748 hours but were re-called after just five minutes.      At 1526 hours a shipping reconnaissance was carried out by two Spitfire XIV aircraft from St. Peters Port to St. Helier. Three trawler type auxiliaries were seen at St. Peters Port. There was no action taken and the Spitfire aircraft returned to base landing at 1633 hours.          Rhubarb No.285 was laid on with four Spitfire XIV aircraft taking off at 1530 hours which was to be a sweep off Gring Camp to Goulet De Brest. There was no attacks made and no flak from the Brest area. Our Spitfire aircraft returned to base where they landed at 1715 hours.          A shipping reconnaissance was carried out by two Spitfire XIV aircraft between 2125 hours and 2250 hours. The area covered was from Granville - Jersey - Guernsey. There were no sightings made of any shipping on this operation.

          17th June     A first light shipping reconnaissance was carried out from 0520 hours until 0656 hours by eight Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft to Guernsey - Jersey - Granville - St. Malo. There was no flak experienced but the Channel Islands had 8 - 9/10 cloud at one thousand five hundred feet increasing in the St. Malo area. Two Spitfire aircraft of this section were diverted to carry out Air Sea Rescue proceedings over a light which was seen in the sea, this was believed to be a distress signal but nothing could be found.          Eight Spitfire XIV aircraft were detailed to act as escort to Typhoon aircraft flying to the Guernsey and Jersey area, which turned out to be uneventful. The times for this operation were from 1225 hours until 1350 hours.          Two shipping reconnaissance operations were planned for 1700 hours. The first was from Morlaix to Abervrach when small trawler type vessels were seen at Morlaix. No attack was made and there was no sign of any flak.          The second operation was from St. Malo to Brehat. Two medium motor vessels were seen at St. Malo along with other smaller vessels. Both sorties returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1825 hours.          The last operation for the day was an escort duty by eight Spitfire XIV aircraft to Typhoon aircraft on a shipping strike to St. Malo which was uneventful. The Squadron's Spitfires returned to base after the operation landing at 2115 hours.

         18th June     Eight Spitfire XIV aircraft of No.610 Squadron took off at 0540 hours to escort Typhoon aircraft to St. Malo where they attacked a small convoy off Jersey. Intense light flak was experienced from the ships being attacked, there was also moderate light flak in the St. Malo area. The Spitfire aircraft all returned to base landing at 0720 hours.          Another six Spitfire XIV aircraft were airborne from 0825 hours until 0945 hours on escorting Typhoon aircraft that were to attack the same small convoy off Jersey. More light flak from the ships was encountered.          In the afternoon No.610 Squadron received orders that they were to move to R.A.F. West Malling, Kent. The news was joyfully received and in the evening parties developed in the Messes.          During the night the ground crews loaded twelve vehicles with the heavy equipment of the Servicing Echelon and the Squadron's effects.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Squadron Leader R. A. Newbury

 

No.611 Squadron :-  

          22nd June     At the moment No.611 Squadron is Stationed at R.A.F. Deanland. Today news was received that the Squadron was to move first thing tomorrow morning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, so the rest of the day was spent in packing ready for the move.          R.A.F. Harrowbeer was a blow, to leave R.A.F. Deanland and Headquarters No.11 Group as a very happy time had been spent there and the Squadron had been very successful.

          23rd June     At 0800 hours fifteen Dakota aircraft arrived to take the equipment and ground crew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The Squadron were airborne at 1000 hours for R.A.F. Harrowbeer and landed at 1100 hours. It was an uneventful journey apart from the Squadron Tiger Moth aircraft which crashed at R.A.F. Tangmere, fortunately the pilot and passenger were o.k. but the aircraft was a write off. Nothing else happened today as the Squadron were busy settling in.

          24th June    Today was our first operating day at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Thirteen shipping convoy patrols were carried out all of which turned out to be uneventful. These patrols were carried out between 0605 hours and 2300 hours.

          25th June     Eight Spitfire LFVB aircraft of No.611 Squadron carried out a Rhubarb. Taking off at 0527 hours. The formation attacked a line of passenger coaches in Jugar Railway Station leaving them on fire and smoking. Nothing else was seen on land so the formation returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 0724 hours.

          26th June     The weather clamped down all day, there was no operational or practice flying.

          27th June     At 0920 hours ten Spitfire LFVB aircraft took off carrying five hundred pound bombs to attack shipping in the Channel Islands. The mission was aborted on account of no shipping being sighted. The bombs were jettisoned in the sea before they returned home landing at 1100 hours.          Ramrod No.148 was laid on using nine Spitfire LFVB aircraft to escort six long range Typhoon aircraft attacking a transformer station at Mur De Bretagne. The operation was aborted as the Typhoons had trouble with their fuel tanks and they turned back when they were south of Guincamp. The Squadron landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1920 hours.

           28th June     A no flying day due to bad weather.

          29th June     Another bad weather day. A Rhubarb that was laid on for the afternoon had to be cancelled.

          30th June     A briefing was made by Wing Commander Bird-Wilson prior to eight Spitfire LFVB aircraft of No.611 Squadron taking off on a Rhubarb at 1530 hours. Unfortunately as the formation was reaching the English Coast they were ordered to return to base owing to bad weather. The eight Spitfire aircraft landed at 1545 hours.          News has been received that the Squadron is to move on the 3rd July to R.A.F. Predannack. The Squadron is hoping to be re-equipped.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :-  Squadron Leader W. A. Douglas

 

No.691 Squadron :-  

          3rd June     A Warrant Officer of No.691 Squadron flew solo in a Barracuda aircraft from R.A.F. Roborough to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          7th June     A Pilot Officer flew some spare parts from R.A.F. Harwell to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

 

No.1697  ( ADLS )  Flight :-   Advance Despatch Letter Service

          5th June     Instructions have been received from Group to commence painting all aircraft with black and white stripes.

          15th June     Three flights from R.A.F. Hendon to the continent involving six aircraft and two flights to R.A.F. Harrowbeer via R.A.F. Thorney Island are successfully completed.

          16th June     A motto is adopted by No.1697 Flight  ' The Mail Goes Through '.

          21st June     A mail flight by a Hurricane aircraft is made to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The times given are 1340 hours until 1650 hours.

          23rd June     With the cancellation of the mail run to R.A.F. Harrowbeer via R.A.F. Thorney Island all internal mail runs cease.

The No.691 ( ADLS ) Flight O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. E. Storrar       

 

 

~     ~     ~     ~

 

May  1944

 

Wing Commander J. Butterworth remains the Station Commander for R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of May.

 

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

          Flying Officer Durnford  -  No.19 Group Coastal Command

                  ?             ?             -  The Commander in Chief of Coastal Command

          Air Vice Marshal Steele  -  Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group

          Group Captain Sir A. Hope  -  Senior Medical Officer for Headquarters No.10 Group

 

Weather 

          1st May     May opened with the first dull and cloudy day for a fortnight, there were a few bright periods as the day progressed.

          2nd May     Overcast during the morning, sunny and cloudless in the afternoon with drizzle towards dusk.

          3rd May     A bright sunny day with an average of 2/10th to 4/10th cloud.

          4th May     A strong south wind brought unsettled weather and low clouds. It was fine at dawn which steadily deteriorated with drizzle during the morning and heavy rain developing after lunch. There was a fine spell in the late afternoon but with heavy rain again in the evening.

          5th May     Heavy showers, strong winds and low cloud with bright periods between.

          6th May     Bright and sunny today with a bit of cloud, but rather cold owing to an easterly wind.

          7th May     Very variable wind and weather today.

          8th May     Not much change in the weather, sunny with cloud and haze.

          9th May     Still remaining bright and sunny but with that chilly wind coming from the south east during the morning.

          10th May     There is no break in the warm sunny weather.

          11th May     Another warm, sunny day.

          12th May     There seems to be no end of this good weather as today remains warm and sunny.

          13th May     The day starts with 10/10th cloud which lasts until around 1000 hours when the weather began to clear again.

          14th May     A fine warm day again with an easterly wind.

          15th May     The weather is somewhat coder today but still bright and dry. There is 5/10th cloud at five to eight thousand feet.

         18th May     Today there are fine bright periods, but generally it is overcast with intervals of showers.

          19th May     The day commences warm and bright, but a haze occurred with the sun shining for the greater part of the day.

          20th May     An unsettled cold and hazy day, but no rain. There is 5/10th cloud at five thousand feet which turned to 10/10th mist in the late afternoon.          Flying patrols landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer with the aid of a mortar fire canopy in duff last light at 2250 hours.

          21st May     Today was overcast with some sunny bright spells.

          22nd May     Cloud up to 5/10ths at times.

          23rd May     A clear sunny day.

          25th May     The weather has turned very bad making flying impossible due to low cloud.

          26th May     The weather remains bad with rain and the cloud right down making another no flying day for the Squadrons.

          27th May     Another poor mixture today during the morning consisting of sun and pearly low cloud or mist which cleared in the late afternoon.

          28th May     A much improved day today turning into a hot bright day.

          29th May     A fairly reasonable day to start which allowed flying to take place all day from first light, again turning very hot later on.

          30th May     A no flying day.     In the afternoon there was a thunderstorm, one which had been expected for several days owing to the unusual heat.

 

From  the  Station  O.R.B.

 

          1st May     No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron lost three Fairey Swordfish aircraft in their first operation.

        3rd May    Flying Officer Durnford from No.19 Group, Coastal Command gave a lecture on escaping to the pilots of No.131 Squadron and No.263 Squadron.

          4th May     The Commander in Chief of Coastal Command and the Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group visited the Station.

          5th May     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group - Air Vice Marshal Steele had a talk with the pilots of No.131 Squadron, No.263 Squadron and Officers of the R.A.F. Regiment in the Pilot's Room. He was accompanied by Group Captain Sir A. Hope.

          14th May     Eight Dakota aircraft from Aldermaston arrived on a freighter run.

          16th May     Spitfire aircraft of No.131 Squadron carried out exercises with a U.S. Navy Liberator aircraft from R.A.F. Dunkerswell.          Pilots of N.263 Squadron had an aircraft recognition test followed by discussions afterwards.

          17th May     A pilot from No.131 Squadron is missing from a result of offensive operations.

          19th May     A Beaufighter aircraft from R.A.F. Davidstowe Moor returned here from ' Roadstead No.108 ' badly shot up, the undercarriage would not lower and the aircraft crash landed. The Pilot was wounded and the Navigator is safe.

          21st May     A pilot of No.263 Squadron is missing from an offensive operation after his aircraft was hit by flak.

          24th May     No.131 Squadron and Servicing Echelon left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Culmhead. No.610 Squadron and Servicing Echelon arrived on the Station from R.A.F. Bolt Head.

          28th May     A pilot from No.610 Squadron is reported as missing from an offensive operation, his aircraft was hit by flak.          A pilot from No.263 Squadron struck the church tower of St. Paul's Church, Yelverton when taking off. The aircraft crashed and the pilot was killed.

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Sports,  P.T.  and  Entertainment

Sport :-     This month has seen the most un-cricket like weather possible and match after match had to be cancelled owing to the bad weather. In addition the majority of our first team players have been posted. The results for this month are :-    played - 2     won - 1     lost - 0 and one match had to be abandoned.

Squash :-     This sport has increased in popularity but badminton has suffered owing to the encroachment of the cinema seating on floor space in the Gymnasium. It is hoped to paint a new court in the ' small ' space left to provide for the coming season.

As the weather is showing signs of improvement, outdoor games are becoming popular again. Inter-section cricket is being taken up again and we welcome the W.A.A.F. who are entering a team.          For what is left of the Summer we shall be using the Moorland Link Hotel ' swimming pool ' as we did last year. Members of the various aircrews will also make use of the swimming pool for dinghy drill.

P.T. :-     Defence Flights are the main followers of a regular P.T. programme and these have now been increased by members of the ' Air - Mountain Rescue Service ' who follow a specialised programme of three half hour periods per week in addition to their weekly classes

Soccer :-     Plans have been made for a successful soccer season. Once again the Station has linked up with a Devon County League ( Plymouth area ) and there is interest among various sections for an inter-section play in the ' Joliffe Cup ' competition. It is a great relief to know that when the West Devon weather cannot dampen the football enthusiasm of the players and always manages to ' wash out ' the games.

Entertainment :-     Our programme continues to be very full as the following weekly summary of activities will show :-

Cinema :-     Four weekly performances with an average attendance at each performance of two hundred and seventy people.

E.N.S.A. Shows :-     One performance each fortnight with an average attendance of three hundred people per show.

Dances :-     One Station Dance per week with an attendance in excess of three hundred persons per dance.

Other regular amusements include :-     Music circle concerts and whist drives.

From time to time there were other shows, the most notable being from the ' Adelphi ' players who played Ibsen's ' Ghosts ' to a large and enthusiastic audience and a visit from the Plymouth Orchestral Society in a light classical concert.

 

( unsigned )

 

Station  Sick  Quarters  -  Form  540 :-

          1st May     Strength of Station including R.A.F. Bolt Head and units attached for medical administration :-  R.A.F.  -  1916     W.A.A.F.  -  466     Army  -  114     Naval  -  261

          3rd May     The Senior Medical Officer from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station for a review of a scheme for ' Evacuation of Casualties ' - points mentioned are being incorporated in a revised scheme.

          5th May     Patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  10     W.A.A.F.  =  3     Army  =  0     Navy  =  1

          6th May     An L.A.C. motorcyclist of the Station Headquarters was involved in a motor cycle accident and sustained injuries to his head and concussion. He was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth on 7/5/1944 and placed on the seriously ill list.

          12th May     Patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  11     W.A.A.F.  =  4     Army  =  0     Navy  =  2

          19th May     At 2130 hours a Beaufighter aircraft of No.144 Squadron returning from operations made a wheels up landing on the runway extension. The Observer was unhurt but the pilot was suffering from a lacerated wound to his left forearm and multiple abrasions to his left thigh. The Observer had applied a tourniquet to the pilot's arm enabling them to reach R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The patient was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth.

          19th May     Patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  16     W.A.A.F.  -  4     Navy  =  1

          26th May     Patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  = 11     W.A.A.F.  =  4     Navy  =  2

          27th May     With effect from today R.A.F. Bolt Head became self accounting for medical stores and administration.

          28th May     A Typhoon aircraft struck the tower of Yelverton Church on take-off and crashed in a field and caught fire immediately. Rescue work was impossible as the aircraft was on it's back and on fire before it could be reached, subsequent examination showed that the pilot had probably been killed on impact from multiple injuries. The pilot and aircraft belonged to No.263 Squadron.

The Form 540 for the month of May was signed by Squadron Leader F. Constable S.M.O.

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.1 Squadron :-

          30th May     In the evening eight of No.1 Squadron's Spitfire aircraft escorted Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.263 Squadron ( from R.A.F. Harrowbeer ) on an armed shipping reconnaissance. Luck was with them when ten miles south of Ushant they spied a convoy of mine-sweepers, auxiliaries and a power driven barge. The Typhoon aircraft of No.263 Squadron bombed the convoy and although no actual hits were registered some went mighty close with a possibility of damage being registered. There was some flak experienced from the convoy but nobody was hit.

 

No.2. Squadron :-

         1st May     Nine pilots and their Mustang aircraft were detailed to fly to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Gatwick for a Naval spotting exercise.

          9th May     The nine pilots and their Mustang aircraft returned back to R.A.F. Gatwick after completion of their duty.

 

No.131 ( County of Kent ) Squadron :-

          1st May     There were two scrambles carried out by No.131 Squadron today.     The first was from 1935 hours until 2120 hours. The stand by section of ' A ' Flight were scrambled and sent to patrol off Guernsey and Cherbourg at twenty two thousand feet. This was later reduced to one thousand feet and the patrol line shifted to the north of the Sept Isles.          The second scramble was from 2045 hours until 2140 hours. A section of Spitfire aircraft were sent to patrol off the Ile De Batz at twenty thousand feet.     Neither patrol had anything of interest to report.

          2nd May     The operational flying today consisted of eight standing patrols between 1220 hours and 2050 hours, these were carried out over Lyme Bay at twenty two thousand feet. The last patrol was cut short and brought back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer owing to low cloud with a base of seven hundred feet which was blowing up from the south west. The only thing of interest during the day was when one of the patrols was vectored south at 1725 hours to investigate a suspicious aircraft that turned out to be a Lightning aircraft.

          3rd May     In the afternoon the Squadron took part in No.10 Group Roadstead No.103 acting as target cover to Typhoon aircraft bombing a beached Elbing class destroyer east of Ile Vierge. The Squadron took twelve aircraft for a change, eight having been the usual number for several months. Take off was at 1620 hours and the formation set course from Stoke Point at sea level. When they were within twenty miles of the French Coast they made a rapid climb to cross the Ile Vierge at twelve thousand feet and swept to port towards the target. Zero hour was set at 1700 hours and the target cover was to arrive there two minutes earlier. Although the Spitfire aircraft of No.131 Squadron were there at 1658 hours the bombing had already started. One section of No.131 Squadron had been detailed to take special note of the bombing results. They observed one hit just aft of the mid-ships which produced clouds of steam and white smoke. The bows of the destroyer which was facing inshore were awash which had not been the case two days earlier according to the photographic reconnaissance pictures. There was a small amount of accurate light flak from either the target or shore batteries. The Squadron landed back at base at 1805 hours.          At 1950 hours one section of No.131 Squadron was scrambled and sent south at fifteen thousand feet. They were then told to climb to twenty thousand feet as there was a ' bandit over Plymouth ' at twenty four thousand feet, still climbing the section reached twenty eight thousand feet and saw flak bursts over Plymouth. People on the ground at R.A.F. Harrowbeer had been seeing the enemy aircraft vapour trails for some time and it seemed that an interception was vey likely. Unfortunately the Spitfire aircraft could not see the vapor trails and waited for information from operations. This was a long time coming which allowed the bandits to get ten miles ahead of the Spitfires. The section gave chase reaching a speed of four hundred and twenty miles per hour I.A.S. but could not see them so they were re-called when south west of Guernsey, landing back at base at 2030 hours.

          4th May     Flying was much reduced today owing to the state of the weather. The morning was spent on the Link Trainer, the rifle range and on Intelligence. In the afternoon a discussion group was held which was attended by nineteen pilots and the Intelligence Officer, the topic for discussion was :- ' Post War Demobilisation '. In the evening the Squadron had one scramble and carried out two patrols which all turned out to be uneventful.

          5th May     Operational flying today consisted of seven patrols at twenty thousand feet up to twenty two thousand feet in mid-channel. Each patrol flew to the south of Start Point and towards Portland Bill, between 0715 hours and 2220 hours. All the patrols were uneventful.

          6th May     The Squadron were detailed to escort a convoy of two motor vessels with attendant small craft from six miles east of Start Point until they entered Plymouth Sound. Two sections were engaged on this from 1700 hours until 1825 hours and from 1800 hours until 1940 hours.          There was a scramble at 1825 hours which was uneventful.

          8th May     The stand by section was scrambled at 1535 hours and vectored south, they were immediately put on an ordinary standing patrol between Start Point and Portland Bill for one hour and forty minutes. It is hoped that this sort of thing won't develop any further. If operations cry ' Wolf ' too often ( by scrambling the stand by section when all that is required is a relief patrol to take off, they will find that the pilots won't take genuine scrambles seriously ).          Between 1455 hours and 1545 hours one section carried out some co-operation work with Coastal Command - practice attacks on a Sunderland Flying Boat.

          9th May     Between 0955 hours and 1015 hours one section were sent out to carry out co-operation exercises with a Sunderland Flying Boat.          No.131 Squadron took part in No.10 Group Rodeo No.132. At 1500 hours twelve Spitfire aircraft were to fly as forward cover to No.165 Squadron in the La Rocuelle area. They climbed across the channel to the Ile Vierge at fifteen thousand feet, then swept around Kerlin Bastard and Vannes gradually losing height to meet No.165 Squadron at Gael at 1600 hours and to cover their withdrawal. The weather was perfect with good visibility and no cloud. There was no enemy reaction, neither flak or fighter aircraft making the whole trip uneventful except that one of our Spitfire aircraft developed plug trouble on the way back and had to land at R.A.F. Bolt Head. The remaining eleven Spitfire aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1655 hours.

          10th May    The usual standing patrols were carried out between Start Point and Portland Bill at twenty two thousand feet all day. The patrols began at 0705 hours and lasted until 2240 hours. During the 1930 hours and 2100 hours patrol the section were vectored towards the Cap De La Hague after bogeys. Four aircraft were intercepted near Sark and identified as Spitfire Mark IV's.          At 2025 hours the readiness section were scrambled onto the four bogeys mentioned above so were re-called and landed back at base at 2100 hours.

          11th May     The Squadron continue the patrols from Start Point to Portland Bill at high altitude from 0610 hours until 1200 hours. All patrols were uneventful.

          12th May     Again the customary standing patrols were kept up all day with the first one taking off at 0600 hours and the last one landing at 2225 hours.          During some of the patrols various sections were vectored onto suspected bogeys. In many of the cases these bogeys turned out to be various marks of Spitfire aircraft. The interesting thing regarding the bogeys is that it is suspected that the enemy have been using captured Spitfire aircraft, possibly three of which were around at that time. Two of the pilots involved in chasing the bogeys were called to R.A.F. Bolt Head to attend a conference held by the Sector Controller on this point, but other than stating the facts no other information was given, so the outcome is as to whether there are hostile Spitfire aircraft in the area or not! Therefore the pilots must be on their guard and expect that this is a possibility.

          13th May     Two Squadron Spitfire aircraft were airborne at 0615 hours to carry out a patrol but had to return after five minutes as one of the Spitfires developed R/T trouble.          A second patrol was laid on from 0750 hours until 0925 hours from Start Point to Portland Bill. They were to fly at twenty four thousand feet instead of the usual twenty two thousand feet owing to a thick layer of cloud from twenty thousand feet up to twenty four thousand feet.

          14th May     The usual standing patrols were carried out as previously between 0550 hours and 2135 hours. At 1250 hours one of the sections were scrambled and sent south east of Start Point but this proved to be uneventful. The section returned to base landing at 1405 hours.

          15th May     The day started with the normal standing patrols from 0545 hours until 1715 hours which all proved uneventful.          Another section of No.131 Squadron was also sent up at 0545 hours to carry out a patrol which experienced plenty of light flak from two E-boats entering St. Malo but there was no sign of any enemy aircraft. This section returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 0715 hours.          Four Squadron Spitfire aircraft took off on Roadstead No.107 at 0920 hours acting as cover to No.263 Squadron. The operation was uneventful and No.131 Squadron returned to base landing at 1045 hours.          At 1115 hours a shipping reconnaissance was carried out by four Spitfire aircraft on which two vessels believed to be merchant vessels and three mine sweepers were sighted. No action is reported and the four Spitfires returned to base landing at 1345 hours.          The day finished off with another patrol from Start Point to Portland Bill from 1910 hours until 2100 hours which was uneventful.

          16th May     Another day of high flying patrols starting at 0750 hours and lasting until 2225 hours. There was nothing to report on any of these patrols.          At 0845 hours two Spitfire aircraft were scrambled and vectored south east to a height of thirty one thousand feet, later they were sent on a vector north east of Alderney. Nothing was sighted and the aircraft returned to base landing at 0940 hours.

          17th May     At 0545 hours a shipping reconnaissance was laid on which was carried out by four Spitfire aircraft of the Squadron. The Spitfires reconnoitred the areas of Aber Vrach, Ushant and Brest at zero feet. Two small mine sweepers were seen at Lezardrieux. Unfortunately one of our pilots failed to return from this operation and is reported as missing. The other three Spitfires landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0735 hours.          The usual high flying patrols commenced at 0750 hours and continued until 1320 hours.          Another shipping reconnaissance was laid on at 2045 hours with four Squadron Spitfire aircraft. At 2125 hours, when the formation was north west of Camaret they sighted from a distance of one thousand yards four motor vessels ( three island, single funnel types ) of between one thousand five hundred tons and three thousand tons, being led by a tug or small coaster steering on a course of one hundred and forty degrees at about five to ten knots. Light inaccurate flak was experienced from these vessels but no one was hit by it. The four Spitfire aircraft returned safely back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 2217 hours.          Throughout the morning fifteen pilots of No.131 Squadron attended the Intelligence Office to take the periodic ' Air Defence of Great Britain Aircraft Recognition Test '. All the pilots obtained eighteen or more marks out of twenty and therefore passed the test.

          19th May     High flying patrols in the Lyme Bay area were flown again today commencing at 0640 hours until 1825 hours.         Four Spitfire aircraft took off at 1700 hours on a shipping reconnaissance. Two of the aircraft flew at zero feet to Aber Vrach and Goulet De Brest but saw nothing, they landed back at base at 1825 hours. The other two aircraft flew at zero feet level with the sea to St. Malo and Lezardrieux. On approaching St. Malo the Spitfires climbed to four thousand feet to observe the harbour and sighted a white camouflaged vessel with two masts and prominent crosstrees, superstructure amidships and no obvious funnel ( possibly an oil burning vessel ). Three small trawler type vessels were later seen at Lezardrieux. The two aircraft landed back at base at 1829 hours.          At 1955 hours Roadstead No.108 was laid on involving twelve Squadron Spitfire aircraft, the purpose being to act as escort cover to twelve anti-flak Beaufighter aircraft and twelve rocket projectile Beaufighter aircraft attacking shipping off Ushant. The formation rendezvoused with the Beaufighter aircraft and the close escort over the Lizard, Cornwall and flew out to a point near Ushant at sea level before climbing to one thousand five hundred feet to cover the attacking force. At 2045 hours about five miles east north east of Ushant a convoy of two destroyers and five or six merchant vessels were seen steaming east. The Beaufighter aircraft went in to attack scoring direct hits on one destroyer and one motor vessel and leaving the latter on fire. One of the Beaufighter aircraft was seen to go into the sea. Intense light flak was experienced from the ships. Nothing of interest happened to our formation which landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2134 hours having had to circle the airfield for about ten minutes owing to a Beaufighter aircraft which had to make a forced landing with it's wheels up having been hit by flak over the target.

          20th May     There was an early morning scramble by two Spitfire aircraft at 0635 hours, but they were re-called after ten minutes.          Patrols were flown from 1145 hours until 1845 hours, but of a different nature to the usual patrols. It was rumoured that an enemy submarine was at large in the channel. The patrols were detailed to fly between one thousand feet and three thousand feet in the area between Sept Isles and Jersey. Thick haze prevented any systematic search of the water and necessitated instrument flying for most of the time, so the patrols were of little or no value.          Six Spitfire aircraft took part in Roadstead No.109 at 2030 hours which was a repeat of Roadstead No.108 the previous day. At 2125 hours a convoy of three enemy Naval vessels of the destroyer type and five motor vessels were sighted about five miles off Ushant. To the great surprise of the Squadron the Beaufighter aircraft made no attempt to attack the ships and the whole formation returned uneventfully. No.131 Squadron landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2220 hours.

          21st May     The Squadron were back this morning on their high flying patrols in Lyme Bay from 0700 hours until 0840 hours and the again in the afternoon from 1430 hours until 1640 hours.

          22nd May     Today the usual high flying patrols started at 1440 hours and carried on until 2115 hours.          Rhubarb No.225 was laid on at 1700 hours which involved three Spitfire aircraft of No.131 Squadron now that the ban on attacking trains in France had been lifted. The formation of three Spitfires flew to a point between Jersey and the French Coast, they climbed to four thousand feet and carried out a reconnaissance in the Avranches area. At 1740 hours they sighted a stationary locomotive at a junction and the formation went down to thirty feet to attack it with cannon and machine gun fire. All pilots reported strikes and extensive damage with clouds of steam and debris. Four minutes later south west of Pensubouls they found a goods train and again they all went in to attack and report numerous strikes on the locomotive. It was then decided that as fuel was running short that the formation should head for home where they landed at 1835 hours.

         23rd May     Two Spitfire aircraft were detailed to carry out an Air Sea Rescue patrol at 0735 hours between Start Point and the Channel Islands. There had been a report of what looked like strips of wood seen on the sea but nothing of interest was found or seen to report so the two aircraft returned to base landing at 0915 hours.          The usual high flying patrols were carried out from 0840 hours until 1225 hours which were all uneventful.          Another Air Sea Rescue patrol was carried out between 1105 hours and 1245 hours but again nothing was seen.          At 1630 hours twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.131 Squadron took part in Ramrod No.131 which required them to act as escort cover to twenty four Mitchell aircraft bombing Dinard / Pluertuit Aerodrome. Bombing of the target was quite uneventful and there was no enemy activity from flak or enemy fighters. The formation returned to base landing at 1805 hours.

          24th May     No.131 Squadron and the Servicing Echelon left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Culmhead. The pilots flew over with eighteen Spitfire aircraft during the morning.

          28th May     The Tiger Moth was flown from R.A.F. Culmhead to R.A.F. Harrowbeer with a spare pilot to collect a Spitfire that had to be left there when the Squadron moved.

The Squadron O.R.B. ( Form 540 ) for the month of May was signed by :- Flying Officer C. Flick  -  Squadron Intelligence Officer

The Squadron O.R.B. ( Form 541 ) for the month of May was signed by :-Squadron Leader I. A. MacDougall

 

No.165 ( Ceylon ) Squadron :-  

         1st May     Four Spitfire IXB aircraft of No.165 ( Ceylon ) Squadron took off from R.A.F. Predannack at 1800 hours on a shipping reconnaissance on which they reported seeing a medium / small vessel lying on it's side with the bottom facing out to sea in the estuary at Abervrach. The section landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2000 hours before proceeding home. 

          2nd May     Two Spitfire IXB aircraft  were detailed to patrol between the Lizard, Cornwall and Start Point from 1500 hours until 1645 hours.          At 1600 hours a shipping reconnaissance was carried out by the Squadron. A section of four Spitfire IXB aircraft proceeded from base at zero feet to the vicinity of Morlaix and then from there they flew to the north of Ushant, climbing to eight thousand feet and then proceeded to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The beached destroyer was still beached near Pontusval and three smaller launches were still present in Abervrach and there were four boats which may have been E-boats also in the estuary. There was no opposition of any kind.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Squadron Leader M. E. Blackstone

 

No.263 Squadron :-

          1st May     May opened with the first cloudy day for a fortnight. The day was spent in re-establishing serviceability of the Squadron aircraft.

          2nd May     Dive-bombing of shipping in Lezardrieux. Seven No.263 Squadron Typhoon IB aircraft took off on Roadstead No.101 at 1856 hours. The formation dive-bombed out of the sun onto three motor vessels of between two thousand tons and three thousand tons, each with seven other smaller ships in the Lezardrieux Estuary. The bombs were grouped among the ships, but no claims were made. The cine camera gun from one of the pilots show cannon damage during the dive to one of the motor vessels ( category 3 or 4 ) and from a low level attack on an M class motor vessel ( category 3 or 4 ). There were balloons and accurate flak experienced on this operation but strong winds were the hardest thing to cope with. All the Typhoon aircraft returned safely landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2008 hours.

          3rd May     There were three morning patrols laid on from Start Point to the Lizard, Cornwall all flown at six thousand feet. The first patrol was between 0845 hours and 0945 hours, the second patrol was between 1005 hours and 1130 hours and the third patrol from 1110 hours until 1230 hours. Each patrol was flown by two Typhoon IB aircraft and were uneventful.          Eight Typhoon IB aircraft of No.263 Squadron took off at 1355 hours on Roadstead No.102   -  part 1, but they encountered 10/10 cloud at four thousand feet when ten miles from the coast so the operation was abandoned. The aircraft returned to base where they landed at 1500 hours.          PRU ( Photo Reconnaissance Unit ) has at last established that there are two beached ships ' opposite ' each other. One is in Abervrach and the other ( a destroyer )  near Kerlouan.          At 1755 hours eight Typhoon aircraft again took off on Roadstead No.102  -  part 2, which was a standard dive-bombing operation of a beached Elbing destroyer off Kerouak. A PRU of the target two minutes later confirms exactly our observations and claims of four near misses to the bows of the ship and one probable direct hit amidships ( category 3 ). The eight Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer after the attack landing at 1905 hours.

          4th and 5th May     Practice flying and the fitting of rocket projectiles to the Typhoon aircraft was carried out today. One Flight is to be released for intense training on this weapon.          The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group - Air Vice Marshal Steele visited R.A.F. Harrowbeer and was introduced to the pilots in dispersal.     There was no mention of the second front.

          6th May     No.263 Squadron pilots went to R.A.F. Bolt Head to see Squadron Leader Gonay, and two other pilots to demonstrate successfully the rocket projectile against a rock and tanks ( all three had practiced at S.L.A.I.S. Millford on the use of rocket projectiles ). Unfortunately the Typhoon aircraft used in the demonstration at R.A.F. Bolt Head showed marked signs of strain in their wings - rivets pulled out, etc. - so the rocket projectiles were removed from all other Typhoon aircraft which had them fitted pending an investigation.

          7th May     Practice flying only carried out today.

          8th May     A dive-bombing operation of Dinard - Plourtuit and a dusk shipping reconnaissance carried out today.          Nine Typhoon IB aircraft took part in Circus No.61, taking off from base at 1520 hours on a standard dive-bombing operation of Dinas / Pleurtuit Airfields. This was the first time that the Squadron had attacked this target. Two pilots fired their cannons on a flak post positioned on a hulk in the River Rance Estuary. The flak positions in the area were surprised and did not return fire. The Squadron returned safely and landed back at base at 1640 hours.          At 2056 hours a shipping reconnaissance was carried out by four Typhoon IB aircraft which found and reported minor concentrations of shipping in Morlaix and the Abervrach Estuaries. The formation then headed for home landing safely at 2215 hours.

          9th May     Practice flying and night exercises

          10th May     An exercise " Driver " with H.M.S. Glasgow and also ' 263/1 ' with the Plymouth guns was carried out by some of the No.263 Squadron pilots throughout the day.          Eight Typhoon IB aircraft were detailed to carry out four patrols with the first patrol taking off at 1245 hours and the last one landing back at base at 1820 hours. All these patrols were from Start Point to the Lizard, Cornwall and return to Start Point flying at a distance ten miles to the south and at a height of six thousand feet. The patrols all proved uneventful.          At 1750 hours until 1950 hours and then from 1850 hours until 2010 hours two more patrols were carried out between Bolt Head and the Lizard, Cornwall, with a final dusk patrol on the same line at 2100 hours until 2235 hours.          There was a Squadron scramble at 2025 hours on which two Typhoon aircraft were vectored to mid-channel for Dinard - Alderney plots, but nothing was sighted resulting in the two Typhoon aircraft being re-called to base landing at 2110 hours.          A total of twenty one hours of defensive operational flying has been undertaken.     This was followed by night flying exercises.

          11th May     Continuation of exercise " Driver " and ' 263/1 ' carried out by the Squadron Typhoon aircraft.          In the evening there was dive-bombing practice at R.A.F. Bolt Head. Two of our aircraft were hotly but inaccurately engaged by heavy anti-aircraft fire.

          12th May     Roadstead No.105 was laid on at 0930 hours which involved seven Squadron Typhoon IB aircraft on a standard dive-bombing operation on which they attacked out of the sun onto three small - medium sized motor vessels in Abervrach. All the bombs overshot their targets with possible damage to the harbour and installations and to the medieval town. The Typhoon aircraft were back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1100 hours.          Roadstead No.106 was underway at 1520 hours with eight Squadron Typhoon IB aircraft. The Commanding Officer's aircraft became u/s when he was half way across the channel so he and his section of four Typhoon aircraft returned to base with him. The other four Typhoon aircraft continued under the leadership of Flight Lieutenant Rutter who scored a pair of direct hits on a motor vessel ' M65 ' which was a ship of one thousand and sixty four tons and was rendered as ( category 3 ). This section of four Typhoon aircraft returned to base after the attack landing at 1640 hours.

          13th May     A practice and local flying day for the Squadron although the weather was very hazy.

          14th May     Six Typhoon IB aircraft were flown from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Tangmere at 1658 hours and took part in Rodeo No.135 which was a low level sweep around Paris which was uneventful, except for damaging two or three barges on the Seine and near Compeigne. The six Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1912 hours.          The usual defensive patrols were also carried out throughout the day.

          15th May     At 0928 hours Roadstead No.107 was laid on involving eight Typhoon IB aircraft which proved to be an unsatisfactory operation. The only target that was found in Abervrach was two landing barges and a beached merchant ship. These were dive-bombed with poor results. All the Typhoon aircraft returned safely landing at 1035 hours.

          16th May     A fighter affiliation with three Liberator aircraft from R.A.F. Dunkeswell was laid on today. The rest of the day was spent on defensive patrols, recognition tests, ship recognition, lectures and tactical lectures by Squadron Leader Gonay.

          18th May     The Squadrons normal state has now been established as the aristocratic state that we enjoyed with the Whirlibombers ( Whirlwind aircraft ).          Eight Typhoon aircraft and pilots are at sixty minutes availability for bombers.

          19th May     In the afternoon twelve pilots and the Intelligence Officer went to R.A.F. Mount Batten for a pleasant and useful cruise in a pinnace around Plymouth Harbour to Devonport for ship recognition.          Today was another day of patrols with two being carried out from R.A.F. Predannack and two from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. ( 1 )  2110 hours until 2205 hours,  R.A.F. Predannack - Start Point - R.A.F. Harrowbeer. ( 2 )  2000 hours until 2105 hours,  R.A.F. Predannack - Start Point - R.A.F. Predannack.  ( 3 )  2150 hours until 2245 hours,  Start Point - Lizard, Cornwall and  ( 4 )  2155 hours until 2330 hours,  Start Point - Lizard, Cornwall. All the patrols proved uneventful.

          20th May     In the late evening the Squadron flew it's first low level shipping strike with the Typhoon aircraft. One of our pilots is missing in not very hopeful circumstances. He was a pilot that was liked by all of us in the Squadron. He was one of those people who served steadily and did well in Training Command without ever losing sight of the ambition to fly on operations.          It was a hazy evening on the airfield and at 2205 hours two Squadron Typhoon IB aircraft took off to patrol between Start Point and the Lizard, Cornwall. This patrol required a dusk landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2250 hours, the visibility over base was very poor so the landing had to be made with the aid of a signal mortar and canopy which was successfully achieved.

          21st May     At 2109 hours eight Typhoon IB aircraft were airborne on Roadstead No.110 which was an operation which was carried out for reasons not disclosed but was very necessary to prevent a convoy of eight M class merchant ships ( or other small warships ) which were leaving St. Malo from continuing their operation and since there was cloud at two thousand feet this strike was laid on at low level. The convoy was met head on ten miles north north west of Cap Frehel and after a very good anti-flak attack by No.610 Squadron left one of the ships on fire, our Typhoons then went in with cannon fire and bombed from mast height. The results were difficult to observe, but one of the ships is claimed as ( category 3 ). It is reported that the enemy ships were deterred from their proposed operation. The Typhoon aircraft returned to base after the attack and landed at 2231 hours.

          23rd May     Today saw three Squadron Roadstead operations, dive-bombing ships off Brest and in the Lezardrieux Estuary. There were some good results. The first of these was Roadstead No.111 which took place with eight Typhoon IB aircraft of No.263 Squadron flying down to R.A.F. Predannack. The eight Typhoons took off from there at 0555 hours to dive-bomb a convoy of three M class merchant ships and two destroyers off St. Mathew Point. A direct hit was scored on one of the destroyers, damaging it claiming it to be ( category 3 ). All the Typhoon IB aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 0655 hours.          In the late afternoon at 1725 hours eight Typhoon IB aircraft were airborne on Roadstead No.112. The operation required the dive-bombing of two motor vessels in Lezardrieux, one of them of one thousand tons and the other of three thousand tons. After the attack both vessels are thought to be damaged by bombs straggling them resulting in near misses but causing damage. The two vessels are claimed as ( category 4 but possibly category 3 ). Intense flak was experienced from the area, but all the Typhoon aircraft returned safely landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1838 hours.          Another operation ( Roadstead No.113 ) was laid on in the evening with eight Typhoon IB aircraft which took off at 2056 hours again to dive-bomb ships in Lezardrieux. There was cloud at six thousand feet which prevented a proper dive bombing attack which resulted in the bombs overshooting or going wide. The Typhoon aircraft landed back at base at 2208 hours from this operation.          No.263 Squadron has completed sixty offensive operations and three hundred and fifty four offensive sorties with Typhoon aircraft since the 2nd February 1944.

          27th May     There has been little flying practice during the past few days owing to low cloud and mist. Today the Squadron spent the afternoon on fighter affiliation duties.

          28th May     The morning was taken up by air to air firing and dive-bombing practice.          At 1155 hours while taking off for this practice flying Flight Sergeant J. Pringle ( Paddy ) hit the top of Yelverton Church ( the pinnacle of St. Paul's Church tower dislodging half a dozen stones ) and crashed fatally in the fields below. ' Paddy ' Pringle was a keen and able pilot and an excellent friend.          An evening armed shipping reconnaissance was laid on at 1640 hours when nine Typhoon IB aircraft were airborne to search an area from Brehat to Abervrach but flying overland looking for shipping or trains. Nothing was found so the formation dive-bombed six barges in Abervrach with poor results. The nine Typhoon aircraft flew back to base after this attack where they landed at 1810 hours.

          29th May     No.263 Squadron were released from 1600 hours until 0800 hours for a Squadron party in the N.A.A.F.I.  Beer drinking and dancing was enjoyed by everyone. A Flying Officer who was the Master of Ceremonies achieved perfect timing in an unrehearsed act, he concluded a display of aerobatics on the cross-bar of a bicycle by falling head first into a brimming fire bucket.

          30th May     Two Roadsteads from R.A.F. Predannack were laid on for today by No.263 Squadron. The first of these was in the morning at 1145 hours when eight Typhoon IB aircraft loaded with bombs took off on Roadstead No.116. These eight Bombphoons carried out an armed reconnaissance of the approaches to Brest and sighted a three thousand five hundred ton motor vessel off the Goulet probably towed by a tug. Our dive-bombing secured the nearest results to date. Twelve of the bombs ( 500 lb multi cluster with a 025 second fuse ) fell in the stern area of the ship. One was a direct hit, another produced debris, the ship is claimed as ( category 3 ) but is believed by this unit to have been sunk. All the Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1300 hours without incident.          In the evening at 2000 hours Roadstead No.117 was underway by six Typhoon IB aircraft as a follow up to this mornings operation. This time five trawler type auxiliaries and a barge were found south of Ushant, but the dive-bombing was poor owing to the Typhoons diving too early. Rendezvous was made with a Spitfire aircraft Squadron at R.A.F. Bolt Head or R.A.F. Predannack, they crossed the channel at just above sea level then made a rapid climb to ten thousand feet from twenty miles off the French Coast. The standard approach was made as for all dive-bombing operations during the month. Dive-bombing of the target was from ten thousand feet down to three thousand feet out of the sun or from the stern of the ship. The formation then made an orbit offshore at three thousand feet to reform before returning to base where all aircraft landed safely at 2115 hours.

          31st May     Practice flying and a shipping reconnaissance that unfortunately found no ships were the only activities carried out today by the Squadron.

General :-     This month the Squadron took part in sixteen offensive operations involving one hundred and twenty sorties being flown which caused considerable damage to enemy shipping ( which is still being assessed ).There has been a great improvement in the accuracy of dive-bombing attacks which has been made as a result of constant practice.

The Squadron Adjutant who has been with us since November 1941 has been posted to a Squadron Leader post at R.A.F. Predannack. He had a nickname of ' Bish ' and seemed the immortal figure-head of the Squadron despite his years. He was an excellent companion and an inimitable raconteur. It goes without saying that he was adept to penetrate and control all the mysteries of the Squadron ' bumph '. As a man of the law and an inveterate weigher up of sporting chances, he was particularly helpful to anyone involved in any sort of sticky or delicate situation. He will be greatly missed by us all and we wish him all the best of luck.          Flight Lieutenant G. C. Racine has been posted back to Canada after his brilliant evasion.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Squadron Leader H. A. C. Gonay

 

No.610 ( County of Chester ) Squadron :-  

          22nd May     No.610 Squadron at present is based at R.A.F. Bolt Head and today they have received orders to move to R.A.F. Harrowbeer near Yelverton, Devon.

          23rd May     Two Officers and eight airmen proceeded to R.A.F. Culmhead to attend to the packing and transportation of the equipment there for onward shipment to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. An advance party of No.6610 Servicing Echelon also proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          24th May     The Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft were flown over from R.A.F. Bolt Head to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in the evening and the road party from R.A.F. Culmhead arrived along with a further party from R.A.F. Bolt Head.

          25th May     Four Spitfire XIV aircraft of No.610 Squadron took off on a shipping reconnaissance at 0605 hours covering the French Coast from St. Malo to Abervrach. A little shipping was seen at St. Malo. The weather over France was good but on returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer the Squadron experienced some very bad weather. The aircraft landed safely back at base at 0730 hours.          There was no further flying from base owing to the weather conditions.

          26th May     No flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today owing to bad weather, cloud right down on the deck and rain. The pilots carried out aircraft recognition tests followed by a short lecture on shipping recognition.          The Squadron has now settled down here. The aerodrome is rather small, surrounded by main roads and houses.         The Squadron's dispersals are the furthest away from the main camp area and to reach them the aerodrome has to be circumnavigated. The Officers are billeted at ' Ravenscroft ' - a large house which is a ' United Services ' building in that on the ground floor there are crew rooms and offices of a Fleet Air Arm Squadron ( No.838 ) and an American Courier Unit, on the first and second floors No.610 Squadron sleeps and on the roof the R.A.F. Regiment has a gun-post.          N.C.O.'s and personnel of No.6610 Servicing Echelon live on sites near the Messes. All Messes are on one domestic site about one and a half miles from dispersal entailing much traveling at mealtimes, bicycles are available however and Motor Transport duty runs are organised.

          27th May     Three sections of two Spitfire XIV aircraft flew high level patrols throughout the evening, on flew as far as Morlaix but there were no incidents on any of the patrols. On the first patrol from 1850 hours until 1920 hours the flight was cut short owing to one of the Spitfires developing engine trouble. The same two pilots went off on the second patrol from 1955 hours until2130 hours. The third patrol took place from 1930 hours and lasted until 2025 hours.

          28th May     At first light, 0550 hours two Spitfire XIV aircraft were detailed for a shipping reconnaissance which was ordered in the area from Abervrach to Goulet De Brest. There were no sightings of any shipping and therefore the Spitfires returned to base landing at 0720 hours.          In the afternoon four Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft took part in Rhubarb No.259 at 1700 hours. On this operation a goods train was attacked near Lasndivisiean and stopped. A second stationary train was attacked south east of Lamballe, the engine giving off much steam and an explosion occurred in the middle of the train. Flak wagons on the train put up intense flak and one of our Spitfires was hit. The pilot force landed about eight miles south south east of Lamballe, the Spitfire breaking up on landing, but there was no fire. It is thought that the pilot is all right as he was heard on the R/T saying that he was going to land. As far as we know this is the first Spitfire XIV aircraft to land on enemy occupied territory. The remaining three Spitfires landed back at base at 1755 hours. In the evening from 2125 hours until 2255 hours a special sweep of four No.610 Spitfire XIV aircraft was sent out from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to find and destroy the crashed aircraft. A combination of intense flak, poor light and a haze made the sortie unsuccessful.

          29th May     A shipping reconnaissance was laid on again at first light, 0550 hours by two Spitfire XIV aircraft. This operation was to search the area from St. Peter Port to Lezardrieux, but no sightings were made and both aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they landed at 0730 hours.          At 1100 hours, four Spitfire XIV aircraft took part in Rhubarb No.261 which was a sweep on Lamballe, Rennes, Redon and Pontivy crossing out at Yffiniac. No attacks were made and there were no incidents. All four Spitfires landed safely back at base at 1250 hours.          Two Spitfire XIV aircraft were detailed to carry out a shipping reconnaissance of St. Peter Port - St. Malo - Sept Isles at 1530 hours. One vessel was seen at St. Malo but no attacks were made on it. Both Spitfires returned to base landing at 1655 hours.          Another shipping reconnaissance was put in place using two Spitfire XIV aircraft from 1545 hours until 1715 hours in the Sept Isles to Ushant area Shipping was sighted at Morlaix and Abervrach and a smoke screen to the west of Brest. Again there were no attacks made and no incidents.          Four Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft were ordered off on two standing patrols during the afternoon, but these again were uneventful.

          30th May     There was no operational flying carried out today.     A ' Rhubarb ' that was planned was cancelled.          In the afternoon there was a thunderstorm, this had been expected for several days on account of the unusual heat.

          31st May     Eight Squadron Spitfire XIV aircraft took part in four shipping reconnaissance operations.          The first was from 0600 hours until 0725 hours and took part in the St. Peter Port to Lezardrieux area.          The second was from 0600 hours until 0710 hours between Morlaix and Abervrach.          The third sortie was from 1330 hours until 1445hours in the area of St. Peter Port and St. Malo. This had to be abandoned due to poor weather conditions.          The fourth was from 1335 hours until 1450 hours from the Sept Isles to Ile Vierge.      There were no sightings of any shipping on any of these reconnaissance patrols.

General :-     Operationally May was a very busy month. A total of 562 hours being flown by the Squadron including some non-operational flying. During the past two years this is the highest number of flying hours recorded and also the highest in No.10 Group for the month.

The Squadron has two pilots who were lost on operations on the 21st May 1944 and the 22nd May 1944 and are posted as missing. On the 28th May 1944 another pilot force landed near Lamballe after being hit by flak and it is hoped that he is safe.

The Squadron has now settled down at R.A.F. Harrowbeer and with big things impending during the next few months it expects to be even busier than it has been.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Squadron Leader R. A. Newbury

 

No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron :-  

          1st May     No.838 F.A.A. Squadron lost three Fairey Swordfish aircraft on their first operation.

 

No.1697  ( ADLS )  Flight :-

Air Despatch Letter Service

          6th May     This Unit transferred from R.A.F. Hendon to R.A.F. Northolt.

          16th May     At 0630 hours the first mail run was flown in a Hurricane aircraft from R.A.F. Northolt to R.A.F. Thorney Island and R.A.F. Harrowbeer by Squadron Leader Storrar. The flight was made in bad weather with visibility at twenty five yards for all of the journey, but it was successfully completed.

          18th May     There were two flights made today to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in Hurricane aircraft.     The first was a mail run and refuel in the Hurricane from 1355 hours until 1455 hours. The second was a mail run and return from 1425 hours until 1740 hours.

          26th May     A Warrant Officer pilot flew a Hurricane aircraft on a mail run at 1340 hours from R.A.F. Northolt to R.A.F. Thorney Island and then onto R.A.F. Harrowbeer. While he was attempting to pass round the left side of Plymouth with a low cloud base he collided with a barrage balloon cable which fortunately snapped, but seeing and feeling no damage to the aircraft he returned and touched down safely at R.A.F. Thorney Island where the Hurricane aircraft remained for repairs. The pilot returned to R.A.F. Northolt with another Hurricane aircraft and brought on the mail suffering no injury.

The No.1697  ( ADLS )  Flight O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. E. Storrar     

 

 

~     ~     ~     ~

 

April  1944

 

Wing Commander J. Butterwoth remains the Station Commander for R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of April 1944.

 

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

          Brigadier General Wyman  -  84th Group Tactical Air Force Canadian Headquarters

          Lieutenant Colonel Wallace  -  84th Group TAF Canadian Headquarters

          Captain Gilmour  -  84th Group TAF Canadian Headquarters

          Air Vice Marshal Steele  -  Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group

              ?   ?   ?           -  Sector Commander

          Squadron Leader Rodgrove  -  Sector Senior Controller at R.A.F. Colerne        ( Ditterlidge )

          Air Chief Marshal Sir T. Leigh-Mallory  -  Commander in Chief

          Wing Commander Stuart  -  Air Ministry

 

Weather

          1st April     The weather today is very poor with fog, much low cloud and rain.

          2nd April     The weather continues to be rather bad, more low cloud and rain.

          3rd and 4th April     The Aerodrome is still surrounded by low cloud and rain showers throughout the day.

          5th April     Misty in the morning turning to 7/10 cloud at two thousand feet in the afternoon with some sunny periods.

          6th April     The weather remained fine until the evening when 10/10 cloud covered the sky.

          7th and 8th April     Two days of bright but misty weather.

          9th April     The day started with heavy rain until 1000 hours after which it then developed into a warm, sunny almost cloudless day.

          10th April     A dull and wet outlook for most of the day but gradually clearing up in the evening.

          11th April     There was a mist and low cloud until lunch time when there was a slight improvement, but the rest of the day remained showery.

          12th April     A warm sunny day with little cloud.

          13th April     This morning started with mist, cloud and some light drizzle which cleared to brighter periods around noon. Towards the late afternoon it started to cloud over resulting in 7/10ths to 9/10th cloud cover at five thousand feet.

          14th April     Heavy rain and low cloud all day.

         15th April     Again, rain, rain and more rain with low cloud all day.

          16th April     Dull and cloudy in the morning, improving to 5/10ths cloud at two thousand feet followed by some sunny periods later in the day.

          17th April     Slight broken cloud all day. Visibility is reasonably good although there is some haze about.

          18th April     Today the weather is very unsettled with cloud and mist all day.

          19th April     The morning began dull and cloudy which then turned to rain shortly after lunch time and became quite heavy towards the evening.

          20th April     Cloud cover is 5/10ths with many bright sunny periods during the afternoon which became very misty towards dusk.

          21st April     A fine sunny morning, deteriorating as the day went on with fine rain starting to fall in the afternoon.

          22nd April     A lovely cloudless dawn brought in a brilliant hot sunny day, with little cloud. Visibility was excellent which remained with us for the rest of the month.

          23rd April     Another warm sunny day with no cloud, but the mist began to roll in towards the evening time.

          24th April     Dull and cloudy all day, but no rain.

          25th April     An almost cloudless sunny day with plenty of flying taking place.

          26th April     The weather continues to be fine and right for flying.

          27th April     Another fine, cloudless and sunny day.

          28th April     There is no break in the spell of good weather, although there is a haze about occasionally.

          29th April     Still no break in the fine weather, however there are patches of thin cloud blowing across the sky from time to time throughout the day.

          30th April     A hot, cloudless day with little wind about.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

          2nd April     An evasion exercise " Merrylegs " took place at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          3rd April     No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron Headquarters plus the servicing sections moved from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Portreath.          No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron ' B ' Flight moved from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Bolt Head.

          6th April     The Air Officer Commanding ( Air Vice Marshal Steele ) and the Sector Commander visited the Station today.

          11th April     Brigadier General Wyman, Lieutenant Colonel Wallace and Captain Gilmour from the 84th Group Tactical Air Force Canadian Headquarters visited the Station.          Ten Mustang aircraft from No.2 Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          12th April     The above ten Mustang aircraft left today for R.A.F. Gatwick.          The Commander in Chief ( Air Chief Marshal Sir T. Leigh-Mallory ) and the Sector Controller ( Squadron Leader Rodgrove ) visited the Station.

          17th April     A Hurricane aircraft crash landed on the Airfield ( see Appendix ' B ').

          20th April     No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Macrihanish.

          21st April     Three Fairey Swordfish aircraft from No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Worthy Down.

          22nd April     A Wellington aircraft of No.173 Squadron arrived on a familiarisation flight.

          23rd April     Token 4B ( N0.131 Squadron ) was lost in the sea on a scrambled flight.

          24th April     The Sector Commander visited the Station today.

          25th April     A sundry visit of aircraft to R.A.F. Harrowbeer totals thirty five.

          25th / 26th April     No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron  had their first night experience flights from this airfield.

          26th April     A sundry visit of aircraft now totals forty eight.

          27th April     Pluto 34 ( No.263 Squadron )  belly landed alongside runway 35. The aircraft caught fire but the pilot was o.k. Runway 17 / 35 was u/s for seventeen hours.     An Avenger aircraft of No.849 Squadron came to R.A.F. Harrowbeer on a familiarisation flight.

          29th April     Wing Commander Baker with Nos.193, 197 and 257 Squadrons came from No.124 Airfield to operate from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          30th April     No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron lost three Fairey Swordfish aircraft in their first practice operation.

There was a total of thirty four scrambles during the month of April 1944.

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Evasion  Exercise  " Merrylegs "  1/4/1944

 

Seventeen pilots of No.263 Squadron and No.131 Squadron took part in the exercise. The weather was fine. The local Home Guard were unable to participate, but forty to fifty troops of the R.A.F. Regiment and the local C.M.P. patrolled the neighbourhood while four armoured cars carried out the constant reconnaissance sweeps. The civil police were also on the alert.

At 1330 hours the pilots were assembled and briefed as to the rules. They had previously been told that battle-dress trousers were to be worn, but no blouse, collar, tie or hat. The rest was left to their own discretion. The result was a fairly motley crew, marvellously arranged. One in fact had a German N.C.O.'s tunic with swastikas chalked in prominent places, a species of mustard coloured peaked knitted cap and most unusual shoes.

The others not so imaginative all looked peculiar enough to attract the dullest civilians attention. Each carried a note saying the bearer was taking part in an exercise. The pilots were told that arrest was by seizure and to stop if challenged by any-one bearing fire-arms and were only allowed to speak a few words of broken English, and that they were to make their way back to this Station, once inside the perimeter wire they were not to be molested. The pilots were then taken in a blacked out van which stopped at intervals about six miles north west of the Airfield.

The first pair arrived back at 1530 hours after a quick trip on stolen bicycles, having slipped through before the search parties and guards had manned their points of vantage.

From then onwards the others straggled in, the last one reporting at 1800 hours. Seven were captured, several were chased but managed to get away. The task of the patrols was a hard one owing to the high banks and hedges, affording excellent cover to the edge of the Airfield, and of course the evaders made good use of it. One of the Officers stole an LAC's greatcoat and cap from a dispersed sleeping site and returned to the Station with a football crowd, carefully saluting all Officers he met.

All who took part in the exercise enjoyed it thoroughly.

                                                                              Unsigned

 

Appendix  ' B '

 

17/4/1944

At approximately 1910 hours a warning was received from R.A.F. Roborough that one of their Hurricane aircraft was in trouble and could R.A.F. Harrowbeer receive it. The pilot was only able to half close the throttle. On coming in to land he overshot the runway and tried to take off for another attempt, but when opening up, his engine cut out and the pilot had to make a wheels down landing on the moor, his undercarriage had buckled up and the aircraft finished up on the road leading from the W.A.A.F. Site to Horrabridge. The pilot was unhurt.

                                                                              ( Unsigned )

 

Appendix ' C ' 

Appendix to Form 540  -  Physical and Recreational Training and Entertainments.

P.T.:-     Defence Flights :-     The Defence Flight of this Station continues with weekly periods of P.T.         Attendances are somewhat spasmodic owing to operational commitments.

Aircrew :-     As flying time has increased with longer daylight hours and excellent weather, the aircrew have been unable to do much P.T. this month.

Airfield Construction Flight :-     The Flight is at present training on this Station and have put in much valuable time at P.T. and show enthusiasm and keenness.

A.T.C. :-     A course was laid on consisting of P.T., unarmed combat, boxing, minor games and lectures on P.T. theory for A.T.C. cadets who had volunteered as instructors in their own units.

Games :-     Soccer :-     The Station team continues with it's league fixtures but has suffered the usual disabilities of postings.          No less than fifteen section matches were played during the month of April between aircrew, No.838 FAA  Squadron, Airfield Squadrons, R.A.F. Regiment and the M.T. Section.

Cricket :-     Net practice has begun ready for the first matches to be held in May. We look forward to a good season under the Captaincy of Wing Commander J. Butterworth.

Tennis :-     This has proved very popular this month owing to the excellent weather. Tennis balls are in very short supply but we have still been able to play over thirty games on three courts kindly made available to the Station by local civilians.

Squash :-     The Squash Court is in use several hours each day. Balls luckily are in good supply and some excellent play has been enjoyed.

Badminton :-     This indoor game is still very popular despite the lighter evenings. There is a regular attendance of fifteen to twenty players each ' Club ' night ( Tuesdays and Thursdays ) and several newcomers to the game are fast becoming very good players.

Swimming :-     The pool which is available at the Moorland Links Hotel has unfortunately been damaged by enemy action and will not be available for about a month.

Entertainments :-     Live Shows :-     In addition to the fortnightly visits by E.N.S.A. companies we have now had a visit from a local ' dramatic society ' of high standing - The Swathmore Players who gave an excellent production of ' Quiet Wedding ' which was greatly enjoyed by a large audience ( four hundred and forty one people ) in the newly opened Station Theatre.        

Cinema :-     The E.N.S.A. visiting cinema has now been cancelled, but the films that are hired by the Station continue to be shown twice weekly. It is hoped that the delay in completing the 35mm cinema in the Gymnasium will soon be overcome.

Dances :-     The Station Band has suffered a great deal of postings. In addition to the regular Station Dances the band have played at informal Sunday night concerts ( useful as a means of talent spotting for the newly reconstituted Station Concert Party ) and at the performance of ' Quiet Wedding ' mentioned above.

Music Circle :-     The support for the weekly series of classical music on records has increased to the extent of creating on Tuesday 25th April a record attendance for this Station of thirty seven people. The concerts appear to be greatly appreciated by a wide selection of personnel of the camp.

                                                                    ( Unsigned )

 

General

As at the 1st April 1944, No.2883 R.A.F. Regiment Squadron while based at R.A.F. Harrowbeer had a scale of defence that comprised :- four Bofors guns and sixteen twin Browning machine guns. The Bofors were not deployed.          R.A.F. Bolt Head had a scale of defence which comprised :- No.2704 R.A.F. Regiment Squadron with a compliment of four Bofors guns, eight Hispano guns and eight twin Browning machine guns.

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.2 Squadron

No.2 Squadron were based at R.A.F. Gatwick, Sussex.

          10th April     A detachment of Mustang aircraft were detailed to proceed to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, but the weather was unsuitable for them to carry out their duty so the were re-called to R.A.F. Gatwick, Sussex.

          11th April     Mustang aircraft proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in the afternoon to carry out a duty of work and then return to R.A.F. Gatwick, Sussex.

          12th April     Mustang aircraft proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in the afternoon to carry out a duty of work and then return to R.A.F. Gatwick, Sussex.

No further details regarding the Squadrons duties are available at this time.

( No.2 Squadron's duties normally consisted of photo reconnaissance work. In this case the Squadron were probably photographing Plymouth Sound and the estuary ).

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of April was unsigned.

 

No.131 ( County of Kent ) Squadron :-

          1st - 4th April     Due to poor weather conditions the only flying carried out during these four days was a single cannon test on the 2nd April.

          5th April     The Squadron's normal state while at R.A.F. Harrowbeer during periods of when the weather is suitable for operational flying has now been established as :- one section at stand by, one section at fifteen minutes readiness and the rest of the Squadron at thirty minutes readiness.          ' A ' Flight carried out formation and cine camera gun exercises.          ' B ' Flight carried out night flying exercises from R.A.F. Exeter.

          6th April     At 1545 hours the stand by section of ' A ' Flight were scrambled and sent to the Torquay area at twenty six thousand feet, on account of a suspicious plot that had appeared five miles north of there. The section were recalled after forty minutes having seen nothing.          At 2100 hours ' B ' Flight while at stand by were scrambled and sent twenty miles south east of Start Point at fifteen thousand feet, but their trip was also quite uneventful and they landed back at base after thirty minutes.

          7th April     No flying for No.131 Squadron today.          The pilots occupied themselves by cleaning and re-decorating the Dispersal Huts.

          9th April     Operational flying during the day consisted of three sections of two Spitfire VII aircraft relieving each other between 1530 hours and 2115 hours in escorting a convoy of twenty four vessels traveling west between Portland Bill and Start Point.          With effect from today, unit censoring is being imposed on all outgoing correspondence.

          12th April     There were two uneventful scrambles during the afternoon. The first scramble was at 1345 hours but the aircraft were recalled after ten minutes.          The second scramble was from 1535 hours until 1615 hours when two Spitfire VII aircraft were sent to patrol off north west Guernsey at heights which varied between one thousand feet to four thousand feet.          During the morning the Squadron was visited by Commander in Chief  -  Air Chief Marshal Sir T. Leigh-Mallory to give a pre-invasion prep talk.

          13th April     During the afternoon No.131 Squadron carried out it's first show since the end of March.          At 1615 hours, eight Spitfire VII aircraft led by the Commanding Officer took off on No.10 Group Rodeo No.112. Two of the aircraft returned almost immediately owing to trouble releasing their long range fuel tanks. The remainder of the formation flew at sea level to the Brest Peninsular. When they were about forty miles out from Bolt Head they started to climb with the intention of making landfall over the French Coast at Yffiniac and then sweep the area of Carhaix - Guipavas at twenty four thousand feet. However when they were about twenty four miles from the French Coast and at fifteen thousand feet the Commanding Officer decided to abandon the operation owing to unfavourable weather, the condition being 9/10 cloud at five thousand feet and becoming thicker towards Brest, plus there was a layer of mist above the cloud layer. The formation of six aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing safely at 1755 hours.          Other operational flying during the day consisted of shipping convoy escorts, two sections of Spitfire aircraft kept up patrols over fifteen vessels sailing eastwards from Start Point from 1935 hours until 2130 hours.          During the morning the majority of the pilot attended a lecture by Wing Commander Stuart of the Air Ministry on accident prevention.

          14th April     There was heavy rain all day making today a ' no flying day '. Some Link Trainer practice was carried out in the morning by some of the pilots and in the afternoon twenty two pilots assembled in ' A ' Flight Dispersal for a discussion group session. These discussion groups are in accordance with the new scheme laid down by the Air Council by which everyone in the Air Force must attend one discussion group per week. The subject under discussion at the first meeting was ' Newspapers '.

          15th April     Again due to bad weather there was no flying by either Flight apart from one short weather test.

          16th April     Practice flying was carried out during the day and at 1615 hours the stand by section was scrambled. Two Spitfire VII aircraft were sent up to twenty seven thousand feet south of Plymouth to investigate two suspicious aircraft which turned out to be other Spitfire aircraft. The section returned to base after thirty minutes landing at 1645 hours.

          17th April     The first operation to be carried out today was No.10 Group Rodeo No.113 which entailed four Spitfire aircraft led by Squadron Leader J. O'Meara taking off at 1120 hours to act as forward cover to four Typhoon aircraft that were sweeping Rennes, Chateau Bougon and Vinnes Airfields. They climbed to sixteen thousand feet over the English Channel and swept the area of St. Malo and Rennes to cover the withdrawal of the Typhoon aircraft. The trip was entirely uneventful, not even any flak being encountered. The four Spitfires landed safely back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1313 hours.          At 1200 hours another four Spitfire aircraft from No.131 Squadron acted as second forward cover to another group of Typhoon aircraft who were going to Gael, St. Nazaire and Vannes Airfields. The four Spitfires flew over the same area as the previous four Spitfire aircraft but went down to fourteen thousand feet. The trip was uneventful and the aircraft landed back at base at 1405 hours.          The Squadron with eight Spitfire VII aircraft led by Commanding Officer ( Squadron Leader J. J. O'Meara ) took off at 1520 hours to act as first forward cover in Rodeo No.114 in which our old friends of No.165 Squadron from R.A.F. Predannack in their Spitfire IX aircraft were flying to Kerlin Bastard, Gael and Vannes. The Squadron crossed the French Coast at Lestin-Les-Greves at twenty four thousand feet at 1555 hours. They then swept westwards through Carnaix losing height down to twenty two thousand feet before leaving France at Pleneuf. As in the earlier shows nothing whatsoever of interest occurred and so the Squadron returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1700 hours.

          18th April     No flying today apart from a weather test and cannon tests.

          19th April     Again no flying today.     The day was spent on aircraft recognition tests, etc. During the afternoon the second of the weekly discussion groups was held, twenty five pilots in total assembled in ' B ' Flight Dispersal and held a spirited discussion.

          20th April     No.131 Squadron took part in Rodeo No.116 at 1700 hours acting as first forward cover to Spitfire IX aircraft of No.165 Squadron. They climbed from Bolt Head to cross the French Coast near St. Malo at twenty three thousand feet. The formation swept the area of Gael - Vinnes - St. Michel-En-Greve losing height gradually down to seventeen thousand feet. There was no enemy reaction, either fighting or flak so the formation returned to base eventually landing at 1912 hours.          There is less and less enemy activity in north west France, and we learned today that Lannion Airfield - one of the Squadrons old hunting grounds has now been obstructed.

          21st April     The stand by section of ' A ' Flight was scrambled at 1250 hours and sent to eight thousand feet over Brixham, but were soon recalled.          Similarly ' B ' Flight section were scrambled at 1445 hours and sent to Bolt Head from were they were vectored twenty eight miles south before being recalled.

          22nd April     Convoy escort patrols were carried out south east of Torquay by two sections of Spitfire VII aircraft.          The first was between 1510 hours and 1615 hours and the second patrol between 1715 hours and 1845 hours.          The Squadron were scrambled three times during the day which was all uneventful.     ( 1 ) From 1530 hours - 1545 hours, a section of Spitfire aircraft were sent south to investigate an air-raid, but they were soon recalled.     ( 2 ) From 1740 hours - 1830 hours, a section of Spitfire aircraft were sent to Bolt Head at thirty two thousand feet the vectored off towards Cherbourg at thirty thousand feet on account of vapour trails being seen there. The section were then brought back to patrol for thirty minutes over a shipping convoy in Lyme Bay.     ( 3 ) From 2110 hours - 2120 hours, a section of Spitfire aircraft were sent off but were then recalled as soon as they were airborne.

         23rd April     There were three scrambles during the day :- ( 1 ) From 1540 hours - 1625 hours, a section of Spitfire aircraft were sent to patrol east to west in mid-channel between Bolt Head and Cherbourg.     ( 2 ) From 1700 hours - 1820 hours, a section of Spitfire aircraft were sent to patrol off Bolt Head. The section were given various vectors and heights until finally at 1800 hours when approximately twenty five miles south south east off Bolt Head they were told there was something for them on the deck five miles ahead. Pilot No.1 instructed his No.2 to continue on the same course while he went down to investigate. This entailed flying down through 10/10 cloud from sixteen thousand feet, at three thousand feet he indicated and found himself still in cloud so he pulled up above it. He expected to find his No.2 waiting for him, but there was no sign of him. It can only be surmised that his No.2 did not receive or understand No.1's orders and went through the cloud and straight into the sea. Pilot No.2 is reported as missing.     ( 3 ) This scramble was quite uneventful. The section was scrambled at 1640 hours and sent to patrol from east to west - Start Point to Guernsey at various heights between ten thousand feet and twenty six thousand feet. They were on patrol for about forty minutes before being recalled. The weather by now was bad on the hills around R.A.F. Harrowbeer, so the section were homed to R.A.F. Exeter were they landed at 1955 hours.          At 1900 hours two pilots from each Flight took off to fly to R.A.F. Culmhead were eight pilots with four aircraft and a maintenance party from No.6131 Echelon are to be attached for a week while No.610 Squadron go on a course to the Armament Practice Camp at R.A.F. Fairwood Common.

          24th April     At 1515 hours a section of Spitfire VII aircraft were sent south of Portland Bill and then vectored ten miles north of Cherbourg before returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1605 hours.          There were two scrambles of the stand by section today. The first was at 1525 hours and probably a mistake as they were recalled before they were out of sight of the Airfield, they landed within ten minutes of take off.          The second scramble was at 1635 hours when a section of Spitfire VII aircraft were sent to twenty five thousand feet and vectored over the following triangular course - thirty miles south of Portland Bill, thirty -forty miles north of Guernsey, Alderney and back to Portland Bill. From there they were sent due east for seven minutes before being recalled to base were they landed at 1730 hours.

          25th April     In the morning No.131 Squadron received a visit by Squadron Leader Rodgrove - Senior Controller at R.A.F. Colerne ( Ditterlidge ) who came to discuss the new Squadron Control Interception of high flying enemy aircraft.         One section of Spitfire VII aircraft of ' A ' Flight were airborne between 1030 hours and 1230 hours over a large convoy of motor vessels, tankers, landing craft, corvettes and two destroyers going easat, ten miles south west of Portland Bill. This section was relieved at 1240 hours by another section of Spitfires which carried on the convoy patrol until 1420 hours.          In the late afternoon the Squadron carried out three scrambles between 1615 hours and 2115 hours to the south of Bolt Head, these were all uneventful.

          26th April     Today's flying started with a scramble of the stand by section at 0830 hours until 0905 hours. Two Spitfire VII aircraft were detailed to intercept a DO217 enemy aircraft which was report near Start Point. The section proceeded up to twenty two thousand feet but due to the time lag in passing the plot over which was obviously too great, the enemy aircraft had returned home by the time that our aircraft arrived at the spot despite a very quick take off ( twenty seconds ), the section returned to base.          There were four more scrambles throughout the day south and south east of Bolt Head. All four scrambles were uneventful.

          27th April     No.131 Squadron carried out two scrambles today. The first was undertaken by a section of Spitfire VII aircraft from 1415 hours until 1600 hours. The section flew fifty miles from the coast between Portland Bill and Start Point.         The second scramble was by a section of Spitfire aircraft from 1530 hours until 1645 hours. This section flew south of Bolt Head to mid-channel and then east to Guernsey at various heights up to a height of twenty four thousand feet before being recalled.          The days operational flying commenced at 1100 hours when six readiness Spitfire VII aircraft of ' A ' Flight were ordered up to patrol twenty miles south of Guernsey. Their mission was aborted through engine trouble to one of the Spitfires, so the section returned to base after only five minutes.          At 1120 hours, eight Spitfire VII aircraft from ' B ' Flight were put up on a precautionary Air Sea Rescue patrol at one thousand feet on an east to west patrol south of Start Point. This proved uneventful and the section returned to base landing at 1250 hours.          At 1815 hours, four Spitfire VII aircraft of ' B ' Flight were ordered off on an Air Sea Rescue patrol but after forty uneventful minutes of flying they had to return to base owing to R/T trouble in three of the aircraft.          At 1915 hours, a section of two Spitfire VII aircraft from ' A ' Flight were sent off on an Air Sea Rescue patrol to the mid-channel south of Bolt Head at a height of four thousand feet to escort back to the English Coast a Walrus aircraft which was being towed by a launch.

          28th April     No.131 Squadron carried out thirteen patrols in the Portland area over an exercise that was taking place in the area. The first patrol started at 0630 hours and the last one finished at 2110 hours.          There was also a total of seven scrambles carried out by the Squadron.     ( 1 ) From 0850 hours - 0900 hours, one section of ' A ' Flight was scrambled but were immediately brought back after one circuit of the Airfield.     ( 2 ) From 0915 hours - 1015 hours, a section of Spitfire VII aircraft from ' B ' Flight were sent up to fifteen thousand feet over Plymouth, they were then sent up to a height of thirty thousand feet and told that there was a bandit below them ten mile ahead. The section went ' homer ' for ten - twenty minutes, reaching a speed of four hundred and forty miles per hour and then dived away to the south, but there was no sign of any enemy aircraft. On spotting the French Coast the section were detailed to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.     ( 3 ) From 1115 hours - 1240 hours, the ' B ' Flight stand by section were again scrambled and sent to the south east towards Bolt Head at a height of fourteen thousand feet. Later this height was reduced to ten thousand feet and the section were given vectors which took them to Jersey where they were told that there were twenty bandits. These turned out to be friendly American aircraft. The section were then ordered to patrol up and down the west coast of the Cherbourg Peninsular to the south of the Channel Islands.     ( 4 ) From 1110 hours - 1200 hours, The stand by section of ' B ' Flight were ordered to orbit south of Bolt Head at a height of twenty two thousand feet, which was later reduced to ten thousand feet. This scramble was uneventful.     ( 5 ) From 1225 hours - 1240 hours, a section of Spitfire VII aircraft were scrambled and sent up to ten thousand feet over Plymouth, but were ordered to return to base as soon as they had reached there.      ( 6 ) From 1425 hours - 1430 hours, the stand by section of ' A ' Flight were scrambled and immediately recalled as soon as they had become airborne.     ( 7 ) From 1930 hours - 2035 hours, a section of Spitfire VII aircraft of ' B ' Flight were scrambled and sent up to twenty thousand feet. They were then given vectors that took them towards the Channel Islands. When about eight miles out the section were recalled to base, on the way back they were then re-directed and told to return to the neighbourhood of Guernsey at a reduced height of five thousand feet and to search for a  dinghy in the sea. After five minutes of an unsuccessful search the section were recalled to base.

          29th April     Today's operational flying started with four shipping patrols between 0645 hours and 1330 hours to cover friendly shipping between Start Point and the Lizard, Cornwall. There was a scramble at 0940 hours of a section of Spitfire VII aircraft by the Area Controller to twenty thousand feet over base and then to the south east over the Channel. The section were then told to orbit to port and investigate bogeys at fourteen thousand feet over Portland. Before reaching Portland the bogeys were identified as friendly aircraft so the section were recalled to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they landed at 1050 hours.          At 1545 hours the Squadron took part in No.10 Group Roadstead No.95. Eight Spitfire VII aircraft led by the Commanding Officer ( Squadron Leader J. O'Meara ) made rendezvous with aircraft of No.165 Squadron over the Lizard, Cornwall. Our aircraft were to fly as first target cover to a point slightly east of Ile Vierge where three waves of Typhoon aircraft were bombing a beached Elbing destroyer. The Squadron patrolled from north to south over the ship at twelve thousand feet ( No.165 Squadron were below them ) while the Typhoons went in to bomb. Two direct hits were observed, one of which started a fire amid-ships. The patrol was kept up from approximately 1630 hours until 1650 hours, but no enemy aircraft were seen and only a moderate amount of inaccurate flak from the destroyer was experienced. Our eight aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1750 hours.

          30th April     In the early hours of the morning from 0315 hours until 0400 hours there was a sharp air-raid on Plymouth, but beyond the manning of the Airfield defences there was no other activity in the immediate vicinity.          Except for a few air tests and cannon tests the days flying consisted of thirteen standing patrols and one scramble. The patrols were in an area five miles south of Portland Bill over exercises taking place in the Portland area between 0630 hours and 2210 hours.          At 1920 hour two Spitfire VII aircraft were scrambled and vectored thirty miles to the south east of Bolt Head towards the Ile-De-Batz to investigate suspicious plots that faded before a section arrived at the French Coast. The section were told that the bandits were approaching thirty five miles south east of Bolt Head at ten thousand feet. This was later altered by six thousand feet. The ' bandits turned for home ', our section were flying faster all the time but the enemy aircraft obviously dived away for home well ahead of them. On their way home our section were put onto the Portland patrol line at two thousand feet for thirty minutes and they finally returned to base at 2035 hours.

General :-     Monthly total of operational hours  =  253.00  hours

Monthly totals of non-operational hours  = 178.00  hours

Total number of sorties for the month  =  136  sorties

Movement :-     The whole Squadron with No.6131 Servicing Echelon posted to R.A.F. Harrowbeer  w.e.f.  1/4/1944

Casualties :-     One Australian pilot missing  23/4/1944

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of April was signed by :-Squadron Leader J. J. O'Meara.

 

No.197 Squadron :-

          29th April     No.197 Squadron is Stationed at R.A.F. Needs Oar Point, Hampshire at this moment in time and during the morning they carried out three operations from there. Wing Commander Baker  DFC flew with the Squadron all day. In the afternoon the Wing flew down to R.A.F. Harrowbeer which included ten Typhoon IB aircraft for a dive bombing show on shipping in the St. Malo area. They took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1630 hours to dive bomb a ship at Morlaix which produced favourable results including one direct hit. All the aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1750 hours.          Another show was laid on for later in the day but had to be cancelled owing to the Typhoon aircraft not being quite ready at zero hour. The Wing spent the night at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          30th April     The Wing left R.A.F. Harrowbeer early in the morning to return to R.A.F. Needs Oar Point, Hampshire where they landed at 1015 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of April was signed by :- Flying Officer G. G. Mahalty  ( Adjutant ).

 

No.257  ( Burma ) Squadron :-

          29th April     Two Typhoon Squadron aircraft operating from No.146 Wing, Headquarters were out on an early morning ' Ranger ' at 0655 hours with four other aircraft. During this operation they saw an enemy aircraft ( Leo 45 ) a twin engined transport aeroplane, they closed in and shot it down in flames. The action took part in the Tours area of France. The two Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 9855 hours.          Later in the day more Typhoon aircraft of No.257 ( Burma ) Squadron proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they took part in seven dive bombing operations on shipping in St. Malo Harbour from 0910 hours until 2100 hours. Several near misses were observed during the action. All our aircraft returned safely to base.

          30th April     All the Typhoon aircraft of No.257 ( Burma ) Squadron returned to No.146 Wing, Headquarters from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of April was signed by :- Pilot Officer L. Warren.

 

No.263 Squadron :-       

The month of April was one of the luckiest in the Squadron's history. We flew twenty one offensive operations involving one hundred and seventeen offensive sorties and including the destruction of two enemy aircraft and the damaging of enemy shipping, as well as many ground targets without any serious casualties. But more than that, two missing pilots returned to us, one only after a fortnights absence, the other on the 30th April after more than two and a half months.

          1st April     An Air Sea Rescue search was carried out by four Squadron Typhoon aircraft at 0645 hours for the Squadron pilot ( Flight Lieutenant Racine R.C.A.F. ) who was reported as missing on 31/3/1944 after being hit by flak in the area of Batz The search was evidently unsuccessful, but in fact he was footing it ashore at the time.

          2nd April     An evasion exercise was undertaken in the Tavy Valley ( " Merrylegs " ) which was profitably enjoyed.

          5th April     Once the weather had cleared the Squadron carried out an enemy shipping reconnaissance.

          6th April     Typhoon aircraft of No.263 Squadron were detailed to R.A.F. Predannack for an operation which was eventually cancelled. On landing at R.A.F. Predannack two Typhoon aircraft collided on the runway resulting in them both being written off.          Four Typhoon aircraft took off at 1944 hours on an uneventful shipping reconnaissance in the Abervrach - Lezardrieux areas. All the aircraft returned safely landing at 2114 hours.

          7th April     Due to poor weather conditions there was no operational flying, only some practice flying and night exercises from R.A.F. Exeter.

          11th April     A pilot of No.263 Squadron returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from night exercises at R.A.F. Exeter in bad weather lost his formation and landed at R.A.F. Roborough. He overshot the runway and pulled up his under-carriage. The aircraft was reported as damaged category C.

          12th April     Marshal of the R.A.F Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory  -  Commander in Chief  AEAF, spoke to all Officer pilots at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. He spoke of his confidence in the plan and forces designed for the invasion of Europe and recalled the splendid record of No.263 Squadron which he thought would be well enhanced in the next six months.

          13th April     Six Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 1239 hours on a shipping reconnaissance in the Channel Islands which proved to be uneventful. All aircraft landed back at base at 1345 hours.          Another Shipping reconnaissance was carried out at 1903 hours by eight Typhoon aircraft again in the Channel Islands which was also uneventful apart from flak from Guernsey and the Little Russel Strait. The eight Typhoons returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 2033 hours.

          14th and 15th April     Little flying carried out due to poor weather conditions.

          16th April     In the evening we heard that Flight Lieutenant Racine ( Gerry ) R.C.A.F. had returned to London after being shot down near Morlaix on the night of the 31st March 1944. We later learnt from him that he had been attacked by a ME410 enemy aircraft. He had got onto the tail of the ME410 and destroyed it with one long burst, then he found that his controls had jammed and he had to bail out.

          17th April     Four Typhoon aircraft took off at 1100 hours on Rodeo No.113 and crossed the French Coast at St. Malo at eight thousand feet. They then attempted to sweep the Breton Airfields at zero feet but this proved impossible due to there being 10/10 cloud at two thousand feet so the formation returned to base where they landed at 1313 hours.          The Squadron took part in Rodeo No.115 where eight Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 1833 hours and swept St. Malo, Gael and Rennes which proved to be uneventful. The height of the sweep was carried out as usual at zero feet after climbing in and out of France over the coast at ten thousand feet however a successful sweep round Paris was achieved. The eight Typhoon aircraft returned safely to base landing at 2030 hours.

          18th April     Today was the Squadron's first sweep round Paris ( from R.A.F. Tangmere ) which was rewarded with two enemy aircraft - Rodeo No.117 was laid on using six Typhoon aircraft in the operation. They took off at 1515 hours on a very successful flight. One of our Squadron pilots destroyed a ME410 enemy aircraft at five thousand feet near Bretigny. Four other Squadron pilots shared the destruction of a DO217 enemy aircraft near Vilaroche - both enemy aircraft exploded on hitting the ground. Our pilots also damaged a HEIII enemy aircraft on the ground at an Airfield south west of Paris. An Army truck and trailer plus a staff car were also seriously damaged in the operation. All the aircraft returned safely to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1715 hours.

          21st April     Four Typhoon aircraft took off at 0857 hours on Rodeo No.118 to sweep Breton Airfields, but the leaders compass was reading twenty degrees out so it was u/s, his No.2 had a u/s radio transmitter. As a result of these technical failures the operation was abandoned on reaching the French Coast resulting in the aircraft returning to base where they landed at 1010 hours.         Six Typhoon aircraft took off at 1158 hours on Rodeo No.119 and swept Cao Carteret, Vire, Rennes and Gael. Two of the six aircraft were classed as spare aircraft and on reaching the French Coast as planned as they were not required they returned to base landing back at 1310 hours. The remaining four Typhoons encountered flak at Dompout, otherwise the operation was uneventful. These four aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1410 hours.

          22nd April     A night and first light ship flap with bomber aircraft readiness was organised, but the operation was cancelled when the pilots were in their aircraft.          Squadron Typhoon aircraft were despatched to R.A.F. Tangmere to carry out a sweep, but as the weather over France was u/s they returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer

          23rd and 24th April     Practice firing and bombing carried out by the Squadron.   

          25th April     There was a total of four operations today including eighteen offensive sorties carried out :- two shipping reconnaissance, a successful shipping strike and from R.A.F. Tangmere an eventful sweep of Chateaudun.          The first operation was flown by four Typhoon aircraft which were airborne at 0644 hours on a shipping reconnaissance in the Brehat - Batz area. There were possible E-boats sighted in Lezardrieux and a little flak was experienced. The Typhoons returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 0806 hours.          The second operation was at 1600 hours when six Typhoon aircraft took off on Rodeo No.122 which was a lengthy sweep carried out from R.A.F. Tangmere. The area covered was Trouville Chartres, Chateaudrum, Flers and Point Percee Entirey. The operation was completely uneventful and the aircraft returned landing at 1800 hours.          At 1656 hours three Typhoon aircraft carried out the third operation of the day which was a repeat shipping reconnaissance of the mornings trip. Again this proved uneventful so the Typhoons returned to base landing at 1819 hours.          The fourth operation was Roadstead No.87, and was undertaken by four Typhoon aircraft taking off at 2035 hours. This was a dive bombing operation on three enemy destroyers lying in the River Range between St. Malo and Dinard. The bombing results were three near misses of the central destroyer which was classified as category 4. One of the No.263 Squadron pilots then cannoned two armed trawlers ( both claimed as category 3 ). The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group and the Sector Commander both congratulated the Squadron on the short time in which the operation was organised, planned and airborne. The tactics of crossing the Channel at zero feet, climbing to ten thousand feet and then to dive bomb with 2 X 500 lb M.C. bombs fuzzed at 025 seconds out of the sun from ten thousand feet down to four thousand feet and finally down to two thousand feet were repeated in the seven subsequent operations and in each operation accurate light flak of great intensity was encountered. All the Typhoons returned safely landing at 2145 hours.

          26th April     At 0925 hours six Typhoon aircraft took off on Roadstead No.88 to dive bomb a three thousand five hundred ton motor vessel or Spenbrecher with five other ships including two probable destroyers in the Morlaix Estuary. The dive bombing commenced resulting in bombs falling wide from fifty to three hundred yards. After the attack the Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1036 hours.          Ten Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 1428 hours on Roadstead No.90 again to dive bomb the previous targets but using two aircraft as close escort. During the attack one pair of bombs were a near miss on the three thousand five hundred ton motor vessel. One of our pilots continued to dive and fired his cannon at the ship, the motor vessel is classified as category 3. This pilot then flew on and fired at an Island flak post. After the dive bombing attack the formation then formed up and flew back to base where they landed at 1540 hours.

          27th April     Seven Typhoon aircraft took off on Roadstead No.91 at 1025 hours to again dive bomb the previous days targets which were still in the Morlaix Estuary. The result of the dive bombing attack was one very near miss of the large three thousand five hundred ton motor vessel and brown / black smoke and flames being seen from an M class minesweeper, both vessels are classified as category 4. A flak position on an Island was attacked by cannon fire with strikes being observed. The seven Typhoon aircraft returned after the attack to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1140 hours.          Roadstead No.92 was soon underway with ten Typhoon aircraft being airborne at 1630 hours. This was to be the fourth and last dive bombing attack on the Morlaix Estuary ships. The results of this attack were two very near misses on the three thousand five hundred ton motor vessel and again smoke and flames were observed from the M class minesweeper. An escort of Seafire aircraft also observed the attack and consider that both ships were certainly damaged and are classified as category 4. While the ten Typhoon aircraft were on their way to their objective one of the No.263 Squadron pilots thought he saw a dinghy in the sea, but continued on his task. After he had completed his duty he retraced his flight and by careful navigation he found the dinghy forty five miles south of Start Point. The pilot orbited the dinghy and obtained a successful fix for the Air Sea Rescue  of a Seafire aircraft pilot who had baled out of his aircraft during Roadstead No.90 on the previous day. Previous searches for a dinghy had been too far south. Good work to No.263 Squadron. In the meantime the formation returned to base from their operation and landed at 1750 hours.          A Typhoon aircraft ' Pluto 34 ' belly-landed alongside runway 35. The Typhoon caught fire but the pilot was o.k. Runway 17 / 35 was put out of use for seventeen hours.

          28th April     At 0757 hours Roadstead No.93 was carried out by seven Typhoon aircraft. The intention of this operation was to dive bomb an Elbing destroyer which was forced to beach by Naval action in the Aberack Estuary. Our formation found another destroyer and seven armed trawlers off Pontusual. Our best group of bombs of this series was entirely among the enemy formation and four near misses of the destroyers stern which should have damaged it, this vessel is claimed as category 4. After this attack all our aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they landed at 0910 hours.          At 1210 hours, seven Typhoon aircraft were airborne on Roadstead No.94. This time the wrecked Elbing destroyer was the target for the dive bombers. There was at least two near misses by our Squadron, but one of our pilots flew around for a second attempt to bomb the target which resulted in two direct hits rendering the vessel classified as category 3. A smoke screen had been laid but fortunately did not hinder the attack. The seven Typhoon aircraft proceeded back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer after the attack and landed at 1325 hours.          Two Typhoon aircraft took off at 1505 hours to carry out a shipping reconnaissance on which they saw more ships than had ever been reported at any other time in the Batz - Lezardrieux area. This was even more shipping than had been seen in the three years memory of the Squadron in this area. Their accurate reporting of the sighting provided good targets all day for Wing Commander Baker  DFC who had arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer with his Tactical Air Force Wing ( TAF ). Both Typhoon aircraft returned to base landing at 1625 hours.

          29th April     Two more dive bombing operations on enemy warships.

          30th April     A shipping reconnaissance and final dive bombing of a beached Elbing destroyer at Aberrach was carried out today. This operation was undertaken by four Typhoon aircraft that took off at 1125 hours on a shipping reconnaissance of shipping lanes and harbours from Lezardrieux to Aberrach. They were then to dive bomb the wrecked Elbing destroyer if no other suitable targets were found. The shipping from the previous day seems to have evaporated. The dive bombing of the Elbing destroyer was therefore carried out resulting in two near misses on the rusty, blackened, waterlogged wreck in the Aberrach Estuary. All our aircraft returned safely to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1300 hours.          We learnt today that a pilot who baled out near Aanbouillet on 13/2/1944 is now back in London, this is the Squadrons third evader.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of April was signed by :- Squadron Leader H. A. C. Gonay.

 

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

          1st April     Headquarters No.10 Group signal 0.77 dated 31st March 1944 received detailing Squadron and Servicing Section to move to R.A.F. Portreath on 3rd April 1944 and ' B ' Flight ( aircrew and ground crews ) to move from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Bolt Head.          No flying from any of the Flights due to bad weather.

          2nd April     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer as the weather is still not suitable. Everyone at R.A.F. Harrowbeer is finishing off the packing and getting ready for the move tomorrow.

          3rd April     The Squadron Headquarters and Servicing Section today moved from R.A.F. Harrowbeer by road to R.A.F. Portreath, arriving at approximately 1400 hours without a hitch.          Most of ' B ' Flight ground crew moved by road to R.A.F. Bolt Head, but bad weather prevented the aircraft from flying down there.

          5th April     The aircraft of ' B ' Flight completed the move of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron Flight to R.A.F. Bolt Head.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of April was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. M Littler.

 

No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron :-

          20th April     No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Macrihanish.

          21st April     Three Fairey Swordfish aircraft of No.838 FAA Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Worthy Down.

          30th April     The Squadron lost three Fairey Swordfish aircraft in it's first practice operation.          ( There are no other details given in the O.R.B. )                ( No Operation Record Book for No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron, Royal Naval Day Book, Flying Log Book or equivalent can be found at The National Archives, Kew, London or the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, Somerset ).

 

No.1697 ( ADLS ) Flight :-

           20th April     No.1697 ( ADLS ) Flight - Air Despatch Letter Service was established as a lodger Unit at R.A.F. Station Hendon.

The function of the Unit will be the delivery of important documents, mail, instructions, etc. for the Allied Expeditionary Air Force.

The Unit O.R.B. for the month of April was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. E. Storrar.

 

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

 

March  1944 

Wing Commander J. Butterworth remains the Station Commander for R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Operation Record Book for the month of March.

 

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

              Wing Commander Milroy-Hays  -  No.19 Group

          Squadron Leader Grant ( R.C.A.F. )  -  R.A.F. Exeter

          Squadron Leader Boggs  -  R.A.F. Exeter

          Air Commodore Bowen  -  War Savings Committee

          Wing Commander Ross  -  Senior Medical Officer for Headquarters No.10 Group

 

Weather

          1st March     8/10 cloud with some rain today.

          2nd March     Fair weather with good visibility.

          3rd March     Fine during the morning clouding over in the afternoon.

          4th March     It was snowing on the airfield first thing this morning but fortunately improved as the day progressed.

          5th March     Fine with good visibility.

          6th March     Again fine with good visibility.

          7th March     A fine start to the day, clear and bright.

          9th March     A beautiful day but with a haze for most of the morning.

          12th March     Fine with good visibility.

          13th March     5/10 cloud throughout the area and the visibility was fair.

          14th March     10/10 low cloud, visibility was very poor resulting in no flying from the Aerodrome.

          15th March     A fair day with reasonable visibility.

          19th March     A fine, bright sunny day,

          21st March     Overcast with a north west wind.

          22nd March     Again overcast with low cloud making flying very difficult.

          23rd March     A misty start to the day which hardly cleared all day.

          24th March     A fine, bright, mild day with a haze down in the valley.

          25th March     The fine weather is continuing but with a fairly heavy mist as high as two thousand feet.

          26th March     The fine weather is still with us but again with some mist in the morning and turning remarkably hot later in the day.

          27th March     The weather remains very good with no appreciable changes.

          28th March     Apart from an early morning mist over Dartmoor today is another fine and bright day on the Aerodrome.

          29th March     Today starts very hazy, clearing later in the day bringing occasional fine spells.

          30th March     A cold start to the day with an east north east wind turning cloudless and sunny as the day progresses

          31st March     The fine weather continues at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

 

From  the  Station  O.R.B.

         2nd March     A visit by Wing Commander Milroy-Hays of No.19 Group.

          5th March     A new system of numbering the runways by just two figures of the QDM was brought into force.

          10th March     No.2883 AA Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          No.131 Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Colerne.

          11th March     No.340 Free French Squadron arrived from R.A.F. Perranporth.          No.131 Squadron left for R.A.F. Colerne.

          12th March     No.340 Free French Squadron left for R.A.F. Perranporth.

          13th March     Discussion groups were formed in all sections and units throughout the Station. Subjects were prepared by the Station Education Officer and the groups met once a week. The discussions are on post war topics.

          18th March     No.6263 Servicing Echelon arrived with an advance party only.

          19th March     The main party of No.6263 Servicing Echelon arrived followed by No.263 Squadron.          A Defence Exercise was held on the Station today.          There was a visit by Squadron Leader Grant ( R.C.A.F. ) of R.A.F. Exeter.

          20th March     Sixteen Typhoon aircraft of the R.A.F. Thorney Island Wing arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer to take part in an operation.          Operations warned Flying Control of the return over this area of Flying Fortress aircraft returning from operations, they would probably be short of fuel. We made contact with one of them and it landed O.K. at 1722 hours. The crew thought that they were in Northern Ireland.

          24th March     No.131 Squadron arrived here from R.A.F. Colerne.

          25th March     A visit by Squadron Leader Boggs of R.A.F. Exeter.          There was the formation at R.A.F. Harrowbeer today of No.1007 Servicing Wing Headquarters at this Station.

          26th March     A Station Engineering Officer ( a Flight Lieutenant )  was posted from Station Headquarters to fill the Squadron Leader vacancy on the establishment of this new Wing.

          27th March     At a sports meeting it was decided to amalgamate all sports, each with a representative to sit on a committee. This was in future to be known as the " R.A.F. Station Headquarters Social and Sports Club " of which all personnel on this Station are automatically members. This decision was received with much enthusiasm.          There was a visit by Air Commodore Bowen of the ' War Savings Committee '.

          28th March     Seven Mustang aircraft of No.2 TAF arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for co-operation duties with the Royal Navy. Later in the day the seven Mustang aircraft of No.2 Squadron returned to their base ( R.A.F. Gatwick ).

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Defence  Exercise     19th  March  1944

 

The exercise was designed to practice bringing the ' Station Defence Scheme ' into operation and to test the defences, especially the strongpoint ' Spooner's Feature ' and Dispersals against a determined attack by enemy airborne troops, represented by five platoons of the Home Guard.

' Stand To ' was ordered at 0520 hours by tannoy and telephones, and in approximately thirty five minutes all Flights were in position with their weapons.

The Station Commander arrived at the Battle Headquarters shortly after ' stand to ' and immediately took steps by use of the tannoy to have all black-outs attended to, as lights were clearly visible from the Battle Headquarters.

The Defence Force during ' stand to ' consisted of five Flights :- Station Headquarters personnel - Lion, Tiger, Leopard, Puma and Panther. A.F.V. defending ' Spooners Feature ' and four Flights organised from Squadron Echelons, were defending Dispersals assisted by a local C.M.P. detachment. Grounded aircraft were protected by the Squadrons themselves.

At 0715 hours a skeleton manning was ordered. All others were allowed to proceed to carry out normal duties.

Action Stations were ordered at 1000 hours using the tannoy and telephones, and all positions were manned in approximately twenty minutes.

The Station Adjutant and Lieutenant Lewelly of the Home Guard took over duties at the Battle Headquarters.

Sequence of Events

1025 hours     Two platoons of Home Guard arrived to re-enforce the Station Defence Force, Strength = two Officers and thirty two other ranks and are given the task of defending ' Spooner's Feature ' from attack from the south west.

1035 hours     Two A.F.V.'s ordered to proceed down Green Lane and take up positions under cover.

1048 hours     Home Guard positions manned overlooking the valley and approaches from the direction of Roborough.

1055 hours     The Officer in charge of the A.F.V.'s reported that the enemy had been sighted down Green Lane, strength about thirty at a distance of about three hundred yards. Fire was opened up on them by Puma Flight and the A.F.V.'s and this enemy force was considered wiped out.

1100 hours     The enemy were reported by the Home Guard platoon as being immediately in front, about twenty riflemen and mortar were immediately engaged.

1105 hours     Thirty four R.A.F. personnel were to reinforce the Home Guard platoon - twenty in defence and fourteen to be held in reserve.

1110 hours     The enemy started attacking the Home Guard to the left of flank, the position was completely in hand.     One enemy platoon was reported to be moving up to a position ready for an attack in front of Lion Flight, the enemy platoon were caught crossing an open field and lost two sections. The remainder withdrew until re-enforced when they attacked forcing Lion Flight back to a position in Green Lane.

1125 hours     The enemy are reported to be approaching in large numbers from the Green Lane direction. Defences were strengthened from the reserves. Two A.F.V.'s took up position under cover to assist in repelling any action.

1135 hours     The C.M.P. detachment reported that the enemy were in the same direction about three hundred yards away. They waited until good targets were presented, then opened fire inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy.

1140 hours     The enemy attacked from several directions having got fairly close using cover. Heavy fire is brought down on them and enemy casualties are noted to be heavy.

1147 hours     A full platoon of the enemy were seen approaching towards Down Park House, a strongly defended area. A trap  was set for them by the R.A.F. Regiment Flight, heavy casualties were inflicted and the enemy were forced to withdraw.

1200 hours     A report was received from the A.F.V.'s that they had been ambushed.     The A.F.V.'s were in Green Lane to assist in shooting up the enemy. They got split up and one at a time became trapped. The enemy had blocked the Lane at a very narrow point and managed to keep the A.F.V.'s blocked in, cutting off any means of escape.

1210 hours     The enemy are reported to be re-forming for an attack on ' Spooner's Feature '. All positions are being re-enforced from mobile reserves.

1230 hours     The enemy attacked from two sides, but were heavily engaged when they were about one hundred and fifty yards from the main defence positions. The attack then began to peter out and the umpires gave their verdict of the defence.

The defence are starting to take things easy thinking that the battle was over and allowed one N.C.O. and ten men still in action to penetrate to within about fifty yards of the Battle Headquarters. Realising the position they were in a dog-fight ensued and in a last ditch attempt scattered grenades left and right, this party ran in front of the position held by the remainder of the mobile reserves and were wiped out.

General  Remarks  and  Lessons  Learnt

The exercise was carried out with enthusiasm by the Station and the Home Guard. Although the main feature is nearly two miles away the time taken for complete  manning could be reduced by practice.

Flight Commanders need to ensure that the best position for L.M.G.'s is chosen. Although in some instances they were set up within a few feet of excellent sites they were allowed to remain with fields of view that were restricted. Better concealment of personnel is required, in some instances there were a few that were over exposing themselves unduly moving about in the open ( possibly due to over-enthusiasm ).

Message writing and R/T signals were very good and clear keeping the Battle Headquarters well informed of matters.

It is suggested that in future training, the Battle Flights will attack the positions which they themselves would normally hold, thus giving them the lay-out and chances to study lines of approach from the enemy point of view.

              Dated  2nd April  1944       Signed......Colley...... L.D.A. Harrowbeer

 

 

Appendix  ' B '                                         Appendix to Form 540

Sports,  Physical  and  Recreational  Activities

R.A.F. Harrowbeer

This month has seen a great step forward in the consolidation of all the activities under the above heading. Representatives for specific sports, entertainment, cultural and social activity have been combined into one ' Social and Sports Committee '.

Badminton is now played regularly every Tuesday and Thursday evening. These have become' Club Nights ' and an average of twenty players use the courts for three to four hours on each of these nights.

Another activity which has grown very popular is the weekly concert of gramophone records. Here the attendance has nearly doubled within the month. To increase the social atmosphere, by arrangement with the N.A.A.F.I. tea and cakes are served during the interval. The room that is used for the concerts holds about thirty five people comfortably. By day it is the office shared by the Station Chaplain and the Physical Fitness Officer. It is known as the ' Club Room ' and is earmarked in the evening for such cultural and social activities as the music circle, discussion groups and teams visiting the gymnasium for table tennis, badminton etc.

 An experiment is being held on the W.A.A.F. Site which is about one and a half miles from the Communal Site. This distance often makes the W.A.A.F.'s reluctant to attend entertainment on the Communal Site, especially in bad weather. Special social evenings are now being arranged on alternate Fridays in the W.A.A.F.  N.A.A.F.I. and will include gramophone concerts, readings, sing-songs, etc.

The Station Theatre is now completed and it is hoped soon to come into the E.N.S.A. " Red " circuit. Up until now the N.A.A.F.I. was used for E.N.S.A. concerts, plays, shows, etc. which denied the airmen it's proper use two or three nights a week.

Owing to postings, section football has been greatly disturbed, but some good games have been played during the month. No.276 A.S.R. Squadron were beaten twice by R.A.F. Sharpitor - a reversal of previous results. The Station team has been stiffened by the advent of a R.A.F. Regiment Squadron. Prior to this a very scrappy Station XI were beaten at Plymouth by Plymouth United 5 - 1 after a great game. Later a game between R.A.F. Roborough / Mount Wise ( one of the strongest teams in the combination league ) resulted in a draw.

Table Tennis matches have been played with the N.F.S.  Yelverton, resulting in a loss and a win. These matches have been very successful from a social point of view. The home match was held in the gymnasium under excellent conditions and spectators were present.

Boxing is showing great interest. We are fortunate in having an R.A.F. representative fighter on the Station who has recently fought at both Uxbridge against South East Command and at Aldershot for the R.A.F.  A boxing meeting at this Station is being arranged for April 6th 1944.

Unsigned

 

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540 :-

          1st March     Strength of Station including Units at R.A.F. Bolt Head and Units attached for medical administration :-  R.A.F.  =  1089     W.A.A.F.  =  395     Army  =  1220     ATS  =  18

          3rd March     Wing Commander Ross, the Senior Medical Officer of Headquarters No.10 Group visited R.A.F. Harrowbeer on a routine inspection of R.A.F. Harrowbeer and R.A.F. Bolt Head. During the inspection all ledgers and registers, dangerous drugs, etc. were checked.

          3rd March     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  11     W.A.A.F.  =  6     Army  =  1

          4th March     Four bodies were located from a Wellington aircraft that had apparently crashed on 1/3/1944. The four airmen died from multiple injuries and burns.

          6th March     Wing Commander Ross, the Senior Medical Officer for Headquarters No.10 Group returned to Group Headquarters after the inspection of R.A.F. Harrowbeer and R.A.F. Bolt Head.

          10th March     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  4     W.A.A.F.  =  9     Army  =  0

          19th March     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  8     W.A.A.F.  =  5     Army  =  1

         20th March     The ' Casualty Clearing Organisation '  of the Medical Section was reviewed and adjusted to meet with prospective abundant casualties for disposal and also to improve existing arrangements on this Station. Further liaison between U.S. Army 115 Station Hospital regarding receiving and dispatching of air-crew casualties of the U.S.A.A.F. at R.A.F. Harrowbeer when the occasions arise.

          24th March     Number pf patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  12     W.A.A.F.  =  3     Army  =  2

          30th March     An LACW  Nursing Orderly injured her back when she came off a horse - she was admitted to Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital, Plymouth.

          31st March     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =          W.A.A.F.  =        Army  =        No numbers are given for this date.

The Station Sick Quarters Form 540 for the month of March was signed by :-  Squadron Leader F. Constable  S.M.O.

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.2 Squadron :-

          28th March     Seven Mustang aircraft of No.2 Squadron T.A.F. arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for co-operation duties with the Navy. The seven Mustang aircraft returned later in the day to their own base.

 

No.131  ( County of Kent ) Squadron :-

          23rd March     No.131  ( County of Kent ) Squadron at present is based at R.A.F. Colerne.          Today there was no flying by the Squadron as they were preoccupied with the preparation for tomorrows move to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          24th March     At 0945 hours the Squadron took off to fly to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in their Spitfire IX aircraft for a ten day attachment.          Their duties will be to carry out shipping patrols off Start Point to cover a large scale amphibious exercise taking place in the Slapton Sands area.          An ' overflow ' of pilots for whom there were no available aircraft and a daily maintenance party from No.3088 Echelon proceeded by road and rail to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          25th March     The only operational flying today was a shipping patrol of two Spitfire IX aircraft from 1515 hours until 1625 hours.

          26th March     A convoy escort patrol was carried out by two Spitfire IX aircraft in the Bolt Head area between 1030 hours and 1130 hours.

          27th March     There was no operational flying during the day. However eight pilots from ' A ' Flight carried out formation flying and cine camera gun exercises, and four pilots from ' B ' Flight carried out height climbs to thirty thousand feet over base.

          28th March     ' A ' Flight sent four Spitfire IX aircraft on a formation flight up to thirty thousand feet, while two other Spitfire IX aircraft from ' B ' Flight went up to try and intercept them.          Ten other Spitfire IX aircraft flying in two formations - one of six aircraft and one of four aircraft carried out formation cine camera gun exercises.

          29th March     At 1120 hours two pilots from ' A ' Flight were scrambled and ordered up to twenty eight thousand feet over Cherbourg to intercept three enemy aircraft which were plotted there. The trip was quite uneventful and as the section arrived in sight of Cherbourg the section were re-called to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they landed at 1210 hours.

          30th March     The whole of today's flying consisted of patrols off Start Point from 1544 hours until 1915 hours covering the amphibious exercise at Slapton Sands.

          31st March     The patrols are being kept up continually over the usual patrol line south east of Start Point. Nine sections of two Spitfire IX aircraft were on this duty, the first patrol being airborne at 0715 hours and the last patrol landing back at base at 2000 hours.          In addition to these patrols, eight Spitfire IX aircraft took part in No.10 Group Rodeo 107 between 1645 hours and 1800 hours which was led by Squadron Leader J. O'Meara. The Squadron were to act as withdrawal cover for four Typhoon aircraft who had been carrying out a Ranger operation, No.131 Squadron flew at sea level to the Sept Isles and then they climbed to fourteen thousand feet and patrolled east to west three times before returning to base. The operation was entirely uneventful, not even the Typhoon aircraft were sighted although they could be heard over the R/T as they returned.          The Squadron learned today that they were to remain at R.A.F. Harrowbeer instead of being there for only ten days detachment.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. O'Meara.

 

No.263 Squadron :-

          2nd March     Four Typhoon aircraft based at R.A.F. Beaulieu took part in Rodeo No.85 from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. At 1400 hours the four Typhoon aircraft took off to sweep Mont St. Michel, Rennes, Gael, Cap De Erquy, West of Guernsey and then back to their base at R.A.F. Beaulieu. The operation eas executed exactly as planned in the classical manner for such an operation. It was remarkably uneventful, no flak, no enemy aircraft and no shipping was encountered. This was Squadron Leader Gonay's first operation with No.263 Squadron. All aircraft landed back at base at 1600 hours.

          18th March     The Squadron at present is stationed at R.A.F. Warmwell, but have been posted to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, so the Squadron is busy packing for the move tomorrow.

          19th March     No.263 Squadron move by air, road and rail to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Sixteen Typhoon aircraft ( out of eighteen on charge )  flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in four boxes of four aircraft plus the Squadron hack ( the Hurricane aircraft ).

          20th March     Settling in at R.A.F. Harrowbeer where conditions of every sort have remarkably improved since the Squadron were here a year ago.

          21st March     The Typhoon aircraft were brought to bomber available state ready for an operation for shipping found in the Morlaix Estuary and Goulet De Brest, but the weather was unsuitable for a shipping strike.          The Squadron carried out an evening reconnaissance. Four Squadron Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 1755 hours from R.A.F. Harrowbeer on a shipping reconnaissance of Cherbourg Harbour. The formation climbed from zero feet up to three thousand feet and flew from west to east over the outer moles of the Harbour. They surprised the flak positions by coming out of the sun, when the flak opened up it was late and inaccurate. There were no ships found in the Harbour which was thoroughly inspected. The four aircraft landed safely back at base at 1900 hours.

          24th March     Rodeo No.103 was laid on today in which four Typhoon aircraft took part. They took off at 1129 hours to sweep Kerlin Bastard, Vannes and Morlaix. The operation was carried out at zero feet apart from when they crossed in and out over the French Coast when they climbed to ten thousand feet. No enemy aircraft were seen on Morlaix Airfield or in the air. The operation was quite uneventful and all aircraft returned to base landing at 1314 hours

          25th March     A Squadron Balbo took place this evening.

          26th March     Four Typhoon aircraft took off early in the morning on Rodeo No.104. The object of the operation was to try and catch any enemy aircraft that might be flying in the Mont St. Michel - Rennes - Gael - Ploubian areas. The operation was deemed uneventful apart from one of our aircraft that developed slight engine trouble and had to be escorted back home from the Rennes area.

          31st March     At 1645 hours in the evening Rodeo No.109 was carried out to Kerlin Bastard, Vannes and Plouha which was mainly uneventful. A JU52 enemy aircraft was seen landing at Vannes, but was too far away for us to attack. Two pilots fired at some soldiers and a barge near Auray and Hennebont respectively. Another pilot hit a tree near Loudeac while flying at zero feet, his throttle jammed at +5 boost. The formation managed to keep together, but on landing at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1806 hours the pilot that had hit a tree cut all his switches too early and had to make a wheels up landing. The pilot was alright but his Typhoon aircraft finished up as category B.          In the evening at 1904 hours a last light operation - Rodeo No.108 was laid on. The purpose of this operation was to try and catch JU52 enemy aircraft in the Vannes and Kerlin Bastard areas. The formation flew too and fro off the Bay of Biscay. Our four Squadron Typhoon aircraft then flew into the Ile De Groix area from seaward at zero feet and patrolled there from 2003 hours until 2014 hours. The weather was 10/10 cloud and poor visibility, being as it was dusk it became exceptionally dark. Our leader decided to lead the formation back home flying at five thousand feet and crossing the French Coast in the Lorient area. Unfortunately our leader was caught in some flak and was not seen again. The rest of the formation flew back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 2119 hours. There is evidence from R/F resources that our leader straggled back after them crossing out near Morlaix and then turned back to the coast where his plot failed, and then there was some evidence of a Beaufighter aircraft that had found a light and a ' blip ' from the sea north of Morlaix which might have been him. A search was laid on the next morning, but nothing was found. The pilot of this aircraft was Flight Lieutenant Racine R.C.A.F. and he is posted as missing. He came to the Squadron in October 1943 and took command of ' B ' Flight in February 1944. We very much hope to hear that he is safe.

General :-  Total operational flying hours for March  =  82 hours   15 minutes

                  Total non-operational flying hours for March  =  173 hours   55 minutes

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by :-  Squadron Leader H. A. C. Gonay.

 

No.266  ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-

          1st March     No operational flying today, only practice flying which included - air to sea firing and cine camera gun tests.

          2nd March     Five Squadron Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Beaulieu where they took part in a sweep to - Vernuil - Dreux -  Bretigny Airfields. It was the original intention to use only four aircraft on the sweep but at the last minute they were told to take all five aircraft. The formation took off and flew at zero feet towards France. Just before reaching land they climbed to eight thousand feet crossing the French Coast at Cabourg. The formation then dived down and continued at zero feet flying in wide line abreast. At Ramoillet one of our pilots while trying to avoid another aircraft struck a tree which severely damaged the aircraft's wing and radiator cowling. The Typhoon's temperature immediately rose which resulted in the formation turning for home, but the damaged aircraft could only fly at 230 A.S.I. Before the formation were about to re-cross the French Coast they attempted to climb to reach cloud cover but the damaged aircraft was unable to do this, so the formation had no option but to go back down to zero feet.  While still over the mainland of France and approximately fifteen miles from the coast a second pilot reported that he had also hit a tree and doubted if he would be able to make it back to base. The formation then flew on to Cabourg where they made a split with two aircraft flying to the left and the other three aircraft ( which included the two damaged ones )  flew to the right which resulted in the formation becoming separated. Almost immediately a pilot from one of the damaged aircraft said that " he must get out ", he got a fix and called for the Air Sea Rescue boys to be sent out. The area was orbited and a transmission for a fix was given but there was no sign of a stricken pilot or his aircraft. This happened four or five miles to the west of Havre, meanwhile the Typhoon with the ' high temperature ' made straight for base. The orbiting aircraft continued for about eight minutes before setting a course for home. After about six minutes one of the pilots heard ' May Day ' calls being given in a sing song voice, this was also heard the two pilots who had flown to the left of Cabourg. It was evident that the stricken pilot had managed to keep flying for quite a long time after his original message. The Air Sea Rescue was called upon but nothing was found. The pilot is now posted as missing. The three undamaged Typhoons landed at R.A.F. Friston before returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 1805 hours and vectored independently to the south of Plymouth about twenty miles out. The enemy aircraft had turned back by this time so the section were re-called to base landing at 1830 hours.

          3rd March     Two scrambles and practice flying carried out today.          One of the scrambles was at 1230 hours. Two Typhoon aircraft were vectored south and intercepted a Sunderland Flying Boat which was reported as a bogey.

          4th March     It was snowing early on in the day but improving later.          At 1435 hours, two Typhoon aircraft were airborne and vectored east and west twenty miles south of Start Point in anticipation of enemy aircraft, but nothing happened. The two aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1555 hours.          There was a scramble at 1550 hours of two Squadron aircraft which proved to be uneventful. As soon as the Typhoon's were airborne they were both ordered to pancake, landing at 1610 hours.          At 1750 hours Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled and vectored south east. They flew as far as Bolt Head before being ordered to return to base and pancake, their landing time was 1805 hours.

          5th March     One Typhoon aircraft was scrambled at 1335 hours and vectored south to twenty miles out to sea where he saw an aircraft four to five miles away. The pilot chased this aircraft flying flat out and eventually caught up with it four to five miles inland and identified it as a Mustang aircraft. The Typhoon aircraft was then vectored south again and saw an aircraft twelve miles ahead but could not catch up with it. This Typhoon then returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1415 hours.          There were two more scrambles later in the day, both proving uneventful.          Three pilots are being posted to O.T.U. which seems to leave us very short of operational pilots.

          6th March     We hear that twelve Typhoon aircraft and a servicing party are to move at first light to R.A.F. Bolt Head tomorrow.

          7th March     At first light, eight Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Bolt Head with seven more to follow later as they become serviceable. A road party of fifty five arrived at R.A.F. Bolt Head and started to get dug in. All available pilots are at R.A.F. Bolt Head ( seventeen in total ).          The Squadron is here in a defensive role while various large transports and landing craft pass on their way to an exercise taking place on Slapton Sands, Devon. If the Germans react we will be scrambled to deal with them, here's hoping.          At 0925 hours two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled from stand by at R.A.F. Bolt Head. They were vectored south close to Hope Cove and then over to Kingswear. They were ordered to investigate something on the water, but could only find a flock of seagulls. The section were then ordered to pancake, landing at 1000 hours. The seagulls had been picked up by a G.C.I. Station and they thought it might be an ' R ' boat.   ( German enemy torpedo / gun boat ).

          12th March     The whole Squadron has moved back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer this afternoon only to hear that we are to go up to R.A.F. Acklington for a gunnery course for about ten days and shall then move to R.A.F. Thorney Island to an airfield in No.20 Wing.

          13th March     The Typhoon aircraft were supposedly to go to R.A.F. Acklington, but just before take off it was cancelled. This news was followed by a large noisy party in the Mess.

          14th March     The Squadron Typhoon aircraft could not take off for R.A.F. Acklington toady on account of the bad weather conditions. The day was spent on packing up equipment, etc. for the move.

          15th March     Fifteen Typhoon aircraft took off in two Flights and flew to R.A.F. Acklington via Mutton Cranwich.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by :-  Squadron Leader J. Holmes DFC.

 

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

          1st March     Standing patrols were carried out by a section of Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight.

          2nd March     Standing patrols carried out by a section of Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight.

           3rd March     Standing patrols carried out by a section of Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight.

          4th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          5th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          6th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          7th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          8th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          9th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          10th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          11th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          12th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights.

          13th March     Two sections of Spitfires were airborne this morning from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0735 hours to search for a Liberator aircraft in the sea between Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey mainland. Various vectors were given but nothing was sighted during the search.          Two more sections were airborne at 1050 hours to continue this search but again nothing was sighted in the area covered.          At 1500 hours, two more sections were ordered off and a large orbit was made between Casquets and Guernsey. Then a zig-zag course was steered for Start Point diverging at fifteen degrees each side of the track home was searched without success.          This is the first time that four aircraft have been employed on a search and considerably improves the searching, although long range fuel tanks fitted would allow a much more thorough search to be made.

          14th March     No operational flying, only practice flying today.

          15th March     A section of two Spitfire aircraft were airborne at 1525 hours to locate a practice dinghy dropped by a previous Spitfire aircraft. The section were vectored direct to the position and while one of the Spitfires orbited the dinghy the other went off to locate an Air Sea Rescue launch which was directed to the search position and picked up the dinghy.

          16th March     A section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0730 hours this morning to search a position - Bolt Head, one hundred and thirty degrees, forty miles for the crew of a Halifax aircraft. Soon after take off number two's R/T became U/S and when about thirty miles out the section leader missing him turned to look for him. Number two had sighted a dinghy in the sea with six occupants in it and was coming to attract his leaders attention. Meanwhile a Beaufighter aircraft also on the search announced that he was circling wreckage in the original position. The section of Spitfire aircraft returned for about five miles and on an estimated position - Bolt Head, one hundred and thirty degrees, twenty five miles, located the dinghy with the six occupants. A dinghy and supplies were dropped and operations were asked to send out the Walrus aircraft. The dinghy was then marked with a smoke float and when a Beaufighter, two Spitfires and the Walrus arrived our section headed off for R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          The Walrus had been ordered off at 0800 hours to pick up the six survivors in a position - forty five miles south east of base. On reaching the centre of the search, the dinghy was sighted and the Walrus landed and picked up the survivors. Three attempts were then made to take off, but owing to the long oily swell and nine occupants in the Walrus aircraft it was impossible, so the Walrus started to taxy back on a northerly course. After almost an hour an Air Sea Rescue launch was sighted and the survivors were transferred to the launch which later landed them safely at Salcombe. The Walrus was then able to take off ( owing to the reduced weight )  and flew back to base were it landed at 1040 hours.          The crew of the Halifax aircraft belonged to No.466 Squadron and was returning from a night raid.          The Squadron Commander and Adjutant visited No.10 Group Headquarters to discuss a move and the re-equipment of the Squadron.

          17th March     No operational flying from any of the Flights today.

          18th March     No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron Spitfire aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer carried out patrols to the south of Bolt Head.

          19th March     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer, only practice flying.

          20th March     Three Spitfire aircraft were airborne at 1210 hors to search a position fifteen miles west north west of Guernsey for a Wellington or Warwick aircraft lost on the previous night. A search was carried out from east to west and towards the north, but nothing was sighted.          The Walrus aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer was scrambled at 1650 hours for reported survivors of a Flying Fortress aircraft returning from a raid. The Flying Fortress however managed to make landfall and so the Walrus aircraft was re-called to base where it landed at 1740 hours.          Squadron Spitfire aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer patrolled south of Bolt Head during the day.

          21st March     A section of Spitfire aircraft were scrambled at 1530 hours to assist returning aircraft from operations. While they were flying at nine thousand feet a Mustang aircraft was sighted but the section were unable to overtake it. The section continued the patrol without further incident and landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1645 hours.          The Squadron Commanding Officer visited R.A.F. Farnborough today to watch a practice drop from a Warwick aircraft of the new type of ' Airborne Lifeboat ' in Cowes Road. The drop was photographed by official U.S.A. photographers flying in this Units aircraft.

          22nd March     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          23rd March     Squadron Spitfire aircraft were on patrol to the south of Bolt Head.

          24th March     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          26th March     A section of Spitfire aircraft were carrying out practice flights when they were ordered to do a patrol ten miles to the south of Bolt Head. The section were then given a vector of one hundred degrees and after a few minutes flying time some wreckage was sighted, but there was no sign of oil or bodies. The section were then relieved by another Squadron, so they returned to base landing at 1700 hours.

          27th March     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer, only practice flying.

          28th March     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today.

          29th March     No flying from any of the Flights today.

          30th March     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          31st March     A Squadron standing patrol was carried out by a section of Spitfire aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today. There was no other flying to report.

          Signalled instructions were received today from Headquarters No.10 Group regarding moving the Squadron Headquarters and servicing section to R.A.F. Portreath and ' B ' Flight from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Bolt Head. The move is to take place on the 3rd April 1944.

          General :-  There was a total of nineteen non operational flying days at ' B ' Flight ( R.A.F. Harrowbeer ) for the month of March.          On five days during the month of March there were Air Sea Rescue searches carried out by ' B ' Flight.          The remainder of the month the Squadron spent on patrols, stand by duties at R.A.F. Bolt Head and practice flying which included :-  dinghy drops and practice searches, sea landings, cine camera gun exercises, air tests, air to ground firing, experience flights in the Sea Otter aircraft, local flying in the Tiger Moth aircraft for A.T.C. cadets, air to sea firing and aerobatics.

 

Total flying times for all Flights of No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron.

Total flying for the month of March  =  430 hours   40 minutes

Total operational flying for March    =  Spitfire     68 hours   45 minutes

                                                           Walrus       9 hours   55 minutes

                                                            Anson      26 hours   05 minutes

Total number of searches for March  =  34

Total number of patrols for March     =  27

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by :-  Squadron Leader J. M. Littler.

 

No.340  ( Free French ) Squadron :-

          10th March     No.340 ( Free French ) Squadron are presently based at R.A.F. Perranporth, Cornwall.          Today the Squadron were standing by to take off for R.A.F. Harrowbeer to take part in a five day Army Co-operation exercise. The weather at R.A.F. Perranporth deteriorated so much that the Spitfire IX aircraft departure was postponed until the following day. The majority of the ground crew set off to R.A.F. Harrowbeer by road.

           11th March     At 0720 hours the Squadron were able to take off and take part in exercise ' Fox ' taking place in Start Bay.     U.S. troops were practicing large scale landing exercises on the beaches there. The Squadron were to maintain east to west protective patrols overhead while the exercise was in progress. Seven patrols of four Spitfire IX aircraft in each patrol were carried out during the day, the last one landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1710 hours. All the patrols were flown from R.A.F. Harrowbeer and were uneventful.

          12th March     As the exercise was completely ahead of scheduled times the Squadron returned to R.A.F. Perranporth at first light, landing there at 0810 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was unsigned.

 

 

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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.


 
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