75 Years Ago from the Archives.

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

 

 

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 remaekably 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

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

February  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 February 1944.

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

          Squadron Leader Waite  -  Headquarters No.10 Group ( Flying Control ).

          Wing Commander Haseler  -  Headquarters A.D.G.B.

          Flight Lieutenant Gribble  -  D.A.P.M.

          Flying Officer Black  -  Headquarters A.D.G.B.

          Flying Officer Chamberlain  - 

          Flight Lieutenant Mount  -  D.A.P.M.

          Pilot Officer Till  -  C.T.T.V. West Drayton

          Warrant Officer Knight  -  C.T.T.V. West Drayton

          Flight Lieutenant Jarman  -  Headquarters A.D.G.B         

          Squadron Leader Pitt  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Wing Commander Linderman  -  No.19 Group

          Flying Officer Moss  -  No.126 Airfield

          Squadron Leader Hallington  -  No.172 Squadron

          Squadron Leader Harris  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Wing Commander Thomas  -  Air Ministry

          A/Commander Bowen  -  War Savings Committee

          Squadron Leader Simond  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Sergeant McCartney  -  Group Sanitary Inspector

 

Weather

          1st February     Typical R.A.F. Harrowbeer weather, raining and the airfield is in cloud all day. 10/10 cloud at eight thousand feet with visibility less than a mile.

          2nd February     Another impossible day with fog right down on the deck and the airfield remains in cloud.

          3rd February     The morning opens in very dull weather once more. As the day progressed the weather remains fair with good visibility.

          4th February     The weather again not promising. 10/10 cloud with high winds.

          5th February     Once more the day opens in very moderate weather, a 10/10 cloud base at three thousand feet with excellent visibility.

          6th February     A fairly reasonable morning, 10/10 cloud and very good visibility, however as the day progressed the weather closed in resulting in no operational flying.

          7th February     Typical R.A.F. Harrowbeer weather again, 10/10 cloud at eight thousand feet with thick mist right down on the deck and visibility about two hundred yards. At about 1500 hours there was a slight improvement in the weather.

          8th February     A fairly bright morning again.

          9th February     The day starts really well, another promising morning.

          10th February     Yet another bright morning but 10/10 cloud with good visibility.

          11th February     A clear morning at R.A.F. Harrowbeer, visibility fair to good, however the weather deteriorated during the night.

          12th February     Another fairly reasonable start to the day. 8/10 cloud with bright intervals.

          13th February     Today started with a spell of rather duff weather which improved as the day progressed.

          14th February     The weather thickens up today. Heavy rain all day, visibility less than half a mile.

          15th February     Weather - clampers at R.A.F. Harrowbeer, 10/10 cloud base less than one thousand feet at times - no flying at all.

          16th February     Today starts cold but a little better, 9/10 cloud with visibility fair to good allowing a small amount of flying to take place.

          17th February     The weather is very much improved although still very cold, a good day for Harrowbeer but clouding later in the day to 10/10 cloud.

          18th February     The weather remains cold but very good today, 10/10 cloud with poor visibility clearing up later in the day. The snowstorms that were over London are now moving west.

          19th February     The cold weather at present remains good at Harrowbeer, 10/10 cloud but fair visibility, no sign of the snow yet.

          20th February     Today is very cold and windy with 8/10 cloud.

          21st February     A fairly reasonable day.

          22nd February     The weather starts clear early on in the morning, clouding over later in the day to 10/10 cloud.

          23rd February     A fair morning concerning the weather with occasional rain showers.

          24th February     Today starts very cold and windy again clearing as the day progresses.

          25th February     Again a very cold start to the day with high winds and good visibility.

          26th February     A reasonable morning bit with 10/10 low cloud, visibility is fair to good. Very little flying taking place.

          27th February     The weather remains with 10/10 cloud and fair visibility. No operational flying only practice flying taking place.

          28th February     A slight improvement in the weather although cold and clear. Only practice flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today.

          29th February     Another very cold, fine day.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

          1st February     Squadron Leader Waite visited the Station in connection with Headquarters No.10 Group ( Flying Control ) business.

          4th February     Wing Commander Haseler from Headquarters A.D.G.B. visited the Station Commander.          Flight Lieutenant Gribble  -  D.A.P.M. visited the Station.

          6th February     One Flight of No.2713 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment arrived at the Station on a two day visit for the purpose of giving demonstrations of the various uses of the Regiment under active service conditions.          Flying Officer Black from Headquarters A.D.G.B. visited the Local Defence Advisor in connection with the above of which he was in charge, being assisted by Flying Officer Chamberlain.

          7th February     Flight Lieutenant Mount  -  D.A.P.M. visited the Station, also Pilot Officer Till and Warrant Officer Knight from C.T.T.V. West Drayton.

          8th February     The demonstration referred to above - which was impressive and well organised - was given by the Special Flight of No.2713 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment and was attended by all personnel who could be spared from their duties.          Flight Lieutenant Jarman  -  Headquarters A.D.G.B. and Squadron Leader Pitt  -  Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station.

          9th February     The demonstration Flight of No.2713 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment left for R.A.F. Bolt Head.

          11th February     The Station Commander attended a conference at Headquarters No.10 Group.          A Station gas defence exercise was held today with eminently satisfactory results. For once the wind was blowing from exactly the right quarters, so that the gas was impartially and efficiently distributed over the whole of the Technical Site. Inspite of this there were commendably few ' casualties '.          Wing Commander Linderman from No.19 Group visited Wing Commander Baker.

          12th February     Flying Officer Moss ( No.126 Airfield ) with sixty six men arrived with a convoy and all were accommodated for the night.

          13th February     A Station defence exercise was held today, see Appendix ' A '.

          15th February     Squadron Leader Trevenna, the new Padre arrived from R.A.F. Kiddlington to take over duties of the Station Chaplain in place of Squadron Leader Fenn who was posted to R.A.F. Kiddlington.          Another convoy of thirteen vehicles with on Officer and thirty six airmen were accommodated for the night.          Squadron Leader Hallington of No.172 Squadron visited Wing Commander Baker.

          16th February     Squadron Leader Harris from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station Engineering Officer.          A Flight of A.T.C. cadets from Kelly College, Tavistock under Flying Officer Nichols spent the afternoon on the Station.

          17th February     Wing Commander Thomas from the Air Ministry visited the Station Commander.

          18th February     A convoy of twenty six vehicles with two Officers and seventy two other ranks were accommodated for the night.

          19th February     Major Morland  -  Local Defence Advisor left to attend No.2 R.A.F. Regiment Commander's Course.          A/Commander Bowen ( War Savings Committee ) visited the Station Commander.

          20th February     No.193 Squadron moved to R.A.F. Fairlop. Their departure is very much regretted by the rest of the Station, who wish them the best of luck and look forward to seeing them again at some future date.          Flight Lieutenant Thorpe and thirty six cadets of No.793 ( Torquay ) Squadron A.T.C. arrived to spend the week-end at the Station, an interesting and instructive programme was prepared for them.          Squadron Leader Simond from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station Commander.          A convoy of thirteen vehicles with one Officer and thirty six other ranks were accommodated for the night.

          21st February     Flight Lieutenant Mount  - D.A.P.M. visited the Station.

          23rd February     The Station Commander presented a " Wings for Victory " plaque at Tavistock.          A convoy of thirty nine vehicles with four Officers and one hundred and twenty two other ranks were accommodated for the night.

          25th February     No.2738 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment moved to R.A.F. Kenley and No.2704 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment moved to R.A.F. Bolt Head.

 

Appendix  ' A '

R.A.F. Station  Harrowbeer

Defence  Exercise  -  13th  February  1944

A defence exercise was held on 13th February 1944. This was held largely at the request of R.A.F. personnel who felt they had been cheated in the large exercise in December 1943. The purpose was merely to test, the defence of Spooner's Feature - the ' strong point ' for the defence of R.A.F. Harrowbeer and was not the manning exercise to be held before 31st March 1944.

' Stand to ' was given at 0935 hours and in thirty five minutes a defence force of five Flights was in position with it's weapons. Other defence Flights were not able to participate owing to operations and pressure of work. The defence force consisted of five R.A.F. Flights and two Platoons of the Home Guard. The Home Guard were not in position until 1045 hours - it had been arranged that no contact could be made before 1100 hours to give Flight Commanders plenty of time to organise. The ' enemy ' consisted of seven Platoons of ' A ' and ' E ' Company, 15 Battalion of the Home Guard.

Enemy patrols were first sighted by Tiger Flight at 1059 hours and a few minutes later by Leopard Flight. Stronger forces, one hundred and fifty men were later reported on this front and Puma Flight were sent to assist Leopard and later parts of Lion to assist Tiger. Inspite of strong attacks commencing at 1125 hours this front held and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. A diversionary attack to the west was easily held by Lion and No.5 Platoon of the Home Guard and some prisoners were taken. The real trouble came from an attack on No.2 Platoon of the Home Guard by about fifty enemy. This Platoon was over-run and the enemy survivors approached the Battle Headquarters, but the chief umpire reports that this was due to bad umpiring. Battle Headquarters staff went up to fight. Panther Flight was called to help, but the Battle Headquarters was deemed over-run before its arrival at 1205 hours.

The R.A.F. defence force acquitted itself very well, concealment and fire discipline being  very good. Message writing was much improved. New positions for Tiger and Leopard were most successful as was the new organisation in the Battle Headquarters.

 ( unsigned ) .

 

Appendix  ' B '

Physical  Fitness  and  Entertainment  for  Form 540  -  February  1944

Physical Training :-     Numbers in February were much higher than in previous months. Defence Flights, Station course and ground personnel of Squadrons are doing P.T. regularly each morning and air crew have greatly increased their activities in the Gym. when not flying.

Sport

Soccer :-     The Station team is doing quite well in the ' Plymouth and District League ' and also playing friendly matches. Five matches were played in February with the following results :-  2  =  won     2  =  lost     1  =  drawn

When duties permitted some section matches were arranged between M.T. and Princetown, No.3013 Service Echelon and No.266 Squadron and No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron and R.A.F. Sharpitor.

Rugby :-     No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron are particularly keen on this game and two fixtures have been played with Launceston, Cornwall, both resulting in victories for the Squadron. They have also played some practice games, flying duties sometimes interfere.

Hockey and Netball :-     Owing to keen support from the W.A.A.F. Officers we hope to arrange some games to be played in the near future.

Badminton :-     An increasing interest is being taken in this game and it is being played most evenings by all ranks of the R.A.F. and the W.A.A.F.'s in the Gym. Incidentally the most popular evenings are Tuesday and Thursday.

Squash :-     This is frequently played by Officers and flying personnel. More requests are on order to come with the increasing popularity of the game.

Basketball :-     R.A.F. personnel have recently been induced to take a keen interest in this game and as a result, many fast and friendly games have been played.

Boxing :-     We are busy preparing a boxing tournament to be held early in March and are inviting other R.A.F. Stations to send in entries. Our most outstanding boxers are L.A.C. Pike and L.A.C. Sibley who have both done well in service tournaments.

Entertainment

The following is a brief summary of entertainment at this Station.

Cinema :-     ( A )     Station  -  4 Officers          4  -  other ranks

                    ( B )     E.N.S.A.  -  2

E.N.S.A. Shows :-     2 

Other stage shows :-     2  -  Station impromptu concerts

                                     1  -  Market players  -  comedy

                                      4  -  Harmony hours

Dances :-     2

Discussions, lectures and brains trust :-     4

Fellowship meetings for O.D.'s :-     Padre  -  4

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540

          1st February     Strength of Station including Units at R.A.F. Bolt Head and Units attached for medical administration :-     R.A.F.  =  1417     W.A.A.F.  =  365     Army  =  145

          4th February     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  24     W.A.A.F.  =  4     Army  =  1

          18th February     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  13     W.A.A.F.  =  4

          18th February     Numbers of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  6     W.A.A.F.  =  6

          23rd February     The Group Sanitary Inspector - Sergeant McCartney visited R.A.F. Harrowbeer on duty and carried out an inspection at this Station and also at R.A.F. Bolt Head and R.A.F. Hope Cove.

          25th February     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  13     W.A.A.F.  =  8     Army  =  1

The Form 540 for the month of February was signed by :- Squadron Leader F. Constable, Senior Medical Officer.

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

No.193  Squadron :-

          1st February     The month opens in typical R.A.F. Harrowbeer weather - 10/10 cloud at eight thousand feet with visibility less than a mile. The weather failed to improve all day making operational flying impossible.

          2nd February     The Squadron were released today at about mid-day due to bad weather conditions.

          3rd February     The morning opens in dull weather and an operation that was laid on for 0815 hours was put back and then finally cancelled.          At 1056 hours, eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft loaded with two, five hundred pound, multi cluster, instantaneous detonation bombs took off on a bombing " do " ( Ramrod No.127  Force A ). Despite good navigation landfall was made as planned, the weather over Cherbourg was 10/10 cloud with haze, the formation orbited inland when the leader saw bomb craters through a gap in the clouds. Owing to the amount of cloud the target was not positively recognised, but may have been Martin Vaast, as a train was seen nearby. The result was that no bomb bursts were seen and there is a slight doubt if the proper Noball target was pranged. In any case the bombs hit " a target ". Slight flak was experienced in the target area. The formation then returned to base. The weather overland was 9/10 cloud top at three thousand feet. Thin stratus cloud at five thousand feet and a  rough sea. All aircraft landed at 1217 hours.          At approximately 1458 hours another eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft each armed with two, five hundred pound, multi cluster instantaneous detonation bombs took off to bomb a Noball target on Ramrod No.128 Force B, which they did successfully. Landfall was made near Bailfleur at ten thousand feet. The target was found obscured so we continued west overland and found a clear patch to the west of Cherbourg. We were than able to identify the target by gun positions just north of the target. This was bombed in a dive down to six thousand feet. Although no smoke was seen from the target pilots consider that the bombs fell on or near to the aiming point. Intense heavy flak was experienced through gaps in the cloud and scattered bursts along the rest of the route. Our formation withdrew north of Flamanville and returned to base. The weather over the target area was 7/10 to 8/10 cloud top at seven thousand feet. There were clear patches west of Cherbourg, 2/10 cloud at eight thousand feet surrounded by heavy banks of 10/10 cloud. The sea was rough. All aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer safely landing at 1650 hours.          There were several practice sorties carried out throughout the day.

          4th February     At 0859 hours, eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft loaded with two, five hundred pound, multi cluster instantaneous detonation bombs took off on what turned out to be an abortive bombing operation ( Ramrod No.129 Force C ). The eight aircraft were led by Wing Commander Baker. Two of our aircraft had to return early owing to the fact that one of them was going u/s, the other would escort him back. The rest of the formation flew as planned, but on approaching the French Coast the weather was seen to be 10/10 cloud at two thousand five hundred feet and a report from No.266 Squadron ( also on this operation ) that the weather was useless the formation decided to return to base. When the formation were approximately ten miles north of Cap de la Hague the leader gave the order to jettison the bombs into the sea. On looking back our leader saw that all aircraft except one was at sixteen hundred feet with a single aircraft at seven hundred feet below. Our leader saw two bombs leave this aircraft, then on looking again saw sheets of flames along the port main plane, the aircraft went into the sea, without the pilot being able to bale out. The aircraft hit the sea and cartwheeled twice and then disappeared in a patch of flame. Another pilot reports seeing a bomb burst astern of the aircraft. A really tough break as a Typhoon aircraft and a pilot are lost and not by enemy action. The weather was 10/10 cloud over France, base two thousand five hundred feet and the sea very rough. Visibility below the cloud was twelve to fifteen miles, dropping to two miles in the rainstorms. The remaining aircraft landed at 1009 hours.

          5th February     Another day of poor weather and again bombing operations had to be abandoned when within sight of the French Coast.          Throughout the day operations were laid on, only to be cancelled at the last moment owing to u/s weather.

          6th February     At 0950 hours, eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft carried out a most successful prang on a ' M ' class minesweeper when acting as anti-flak in Roadstead No.83. Landfall was made five miles west of Abervack. The formation turned left on reaching the estuary and then turned in to attack the target which was seen to be one ' M ' class minesweeper lying east to west in the estuary north of Landeda. The anti-flak Typhoons went in line abreast in a dive from north north west to south south east down to mast height. Two Typhoons could not get into position to fire so pulled up and watched the attack. Many strikes were seen from the anti-flak aircraft, from waterline up to deck level amidships and fires starting. At this point light flak was seen to come from an enemy ' E ' boat lying in the estuary to the north of the target. The ' E ' boat had not been noticed before. The Minesweeper was hit all over and left on fire before the bombers came in for their attack. A total of one thousand seven hundred shells found their mark and the ship was left listing and on fire after bombs had been dropped. After the attack the formation continued south east, turning left where they took advantage from the high ground cover and the re-crossed the coast, some light flak was experienced from the south side of the estuary in the vicinity of Landeda. A considerable amount of oil was seen in the harbour and is thought might well have come from a ship which had been sunk previously. All aircraft from No.193 Squadron landed at 1123 hours. The Commanding Officer of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron is missing from this operation.

          7th February     Four Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off on an armed shipping reconnaissance. After eighteen minutes on course the weather was found to be 10/10 cloud at one hundred and fifty feet and deteriorating, with visibility down to one mile it was decided that the operation of course had to be abandoned.

          8th February     At 1140 hours, four Squadron Typhoon aircraft ( including one for Wing Commander Baker )  took off on Ranger No.104 Force B operation. Landfall was made as planned and the formation swept in the vicinity of Rennes but there was no activity there. They then flew at zero feet to Gael where four or six enemy aircraft were seen at one thousand feet south of the aerodrome flying east. Almost at the same time two FW190 enemy aircraft were seen flying west towards the airfield at zero feet. One was preparing to land and the other going round again after overshooting on the first approach. Wing Commander Baker ordered one section to cover while the other attacked the two FW190's. Wing Commander Baker attacked from east to west a FW190 just as it was touching down. He opened fire at six hundred yards and closing in over the enemy aircraft which was left burning fiercely on the ground. A No.193 Squadron pilot attacked the other FW190, opening fire at four hundred yards and closing to two hundred yards. After a short accurate burst the enemy aircraft rolled onto it's back and dived straight down to the ground, burst into flames and explodes just off the perimeter track. Several pilots confirm the destruction of the two FW190's. The other four to six enemy aircraft which had been reported were seen to make off at high speed without making any attempt to engage. The formation then continued towards St. Brieuc but found violent rainstorms so they climbed above passing Lannion where nothing was seen. The coast was re-crossed north of Lannion and so it was back to base landing at 1348 hours. On this operation light medium flak but late from Gael airfield was experienced. Long range fuel tanks were jettisoned before combats by all aircraft. Cine camera guns were used on the sweep. Enemy aircraft were in normal camouflage markings. This proved to be most successful and two enemy aircraft - FW190's were destroyed without loss to ourselves. The Wing Commander claimed one of them although another pilot also fired at this aircraft, assessment of the camera gun film is awaited. The other FW190 enemy aircraft fell to Flight Lieutenant P. Beake and there was no doubt about it ' Beaky ' did a wizard job here. Even the Wing Commander remarked about the high quality of ' Beakys ' shooting, and we most certainly congratulate a really fine pilot on this well earned success. Here is a man who has completed over one hundred operational trips, worked hard, is full of enthusiasm and knows the job, getting a taste for something tasty after a long spell of good work which on the top has so little to show for the efforts made. Good luck ' Beaky '. Both enemy aircraft were destroyed over Gael airfield.

          9th February     Flight Lieutenant Ross is posted as Squadron Leader, Officer Commanding No.193 Squadron at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Another promising morning and at first light all available aircraft were fitted with long range fuel tanks and left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Beaulieu to operate in Rodeo No.78 on a sweep. A No.193 Squadron pilot led the Harrowbeer Wing on this operation but unfortunately two aircraft had to return early due to engine trouble. The operation was a success and two enemy aircraft were shot down without loss by a section of aircraft from No.266 Squadron.          Our Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader G. W. Petre leaves No.193 Squadron tomorrow after a year of dedicated and loyal duty, this calls for a celebration in a fairly reasonable session tonight.          Unfortunately the pilots who went to R.A.F. Beaulieu only got back as far as R.A.F. Exeter due to bad weather conditions over base.

          10th February     No.193 Squadron go back to R.A.F. Beaulieu today, this time to operate in Rodeo No.80. Only two Typhoon aircraft fitted with long range fuel tanks from the Squadron could take part in this operation however owing to the u/s state of the aircraft. The two Typhoon aircraft took off at 1258 hours and flew with eight aircraft of the Harrowbeer Wing led by Wing Commander Baker. They proceeded at deck level until within fifteen miles of the French Coast when they climbed to eight thousand feet in 9/10 cloud. Landfall was made east of Port en Bessin. The Wing then dived down to deck level steering east to pick up correct track and continued west of Lisieux and proceeded at deck level south west of Chartres. Two aircraft had to return early when in the vicinity of Bernay owing to engine trouble. The formation swept south of Chartres and carried out their first attack on Etampes - Mondesu aerodrome. One of the No.193 Squadron pilots destroyed either a ME210 or 410 enemy aircraft and damaged two ME110 enemy aircraft, all on the ground at the time. An M.T. vehicle, probably a fuel bowser was also hit in the attack and blew up. The other No.193 Squadron pilot shared in a ME110 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground but was let down badly here as only one of his four cannon were firing. Later another enemy aircraft was attacked in the air but no results were seen. The same pilot then attacked a second enemy aircraft as it was alighting but after firing a few rounds he ran out of ammunition. The Wing got split up and a section of four aircraft returned to R.A.F. Tangmere, the Wing Leader landed at R.A.F. Newchurch and another pilot landed at R.A.F. Lympe having climbed through two thousand feet of cloud.          It does seem that far too many stoppages have taken place with the ' No.193 ' twenty millimeter guns. Hardly a time has passed but stoppages have handicapped the pilots. In view of the fact that this latest operation was a long range effort, it is distinctly hard to leave R.A.F. Harrowbeer, go as far as Paris and find one out of four guns only firing to begin with and this one to go u/s also before the ammunition was used up.          Squadron Leader G. W. Petre leaves today, he has been posted to Headquarters TAF.

          12th February     Once more all available aircraft with long range fuel tanks took off for R.A.F. Beaulieu to operate on Rodeo No.81 from there. Five pilots of No.193 Squadron took off with Typhoon aircraft of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron forming the Wing led by Wing Commander Baker. The object of the operation was to fly round Paris. Wing Commander Baker and one of our pilots had to turn back shortly after take off. The rest of the ' Wing ' carried on as far as the French Coast when a signal was heard " apples unsuitable ", this was bad news and the ' Wing ' therefore returned to base.

          13th February     Information was received today that the Squadron is to move to R.A.F. Fairlop on the 15th February. Bags of panic packing equipment etc.          Very limited practice flying carried out and all efforts on the part of the ground crew to get all aircraft serviceable.

          14th February     Everyone is working hard on the aircraft and in the evening hard at work breaking ties in the district.

          15th February     The weather is clampers at Harrowbeer. There isn't the slightest chance of leaving for R.A.F. Fairlop today.

          16th February     The weather is a little better today, but not good enough ' en route ' to get to R.A.F. Fairlop.          Some of the u/s aircraft become serviceable.

          17th February     The weather is good at R.A.F. Harrowbeer today. Everyone is ready to go to R.A.F. Fairlop - but London has a snowstorm and there is no chance of landing at R.A.F. Fairlop.          Quite a lot of practice flying is carried out, but one Typhoon aircraft has engine failure on approaching to land, however he managed to make a successful crash landing in a field. Although the Typhoon aircraft is a write off the pilot is unscathed.

          18th February     The weather at R.A.F. Harrowbeer is still good today, but the snowstorm that was over London is now moving west. The types are getting restless now. One pilot is to fly the Tiger Moth to R.A.F. Fairlop, he takes off and gets at least part way before he lands at R.A.F. Middle Wallop and stays overnight.

          19th February     One of the No.193 Squadron pilots receives orders that he is to attend a low level attack course at Milfield - with his aircraft. He therefore attempts to get through to R.A.F. Fairlop on his own. This proves successful but he phones through to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to say that the weather is too bad for the whole Squadron to get through.          The weather is still good at R.A.F. Harrowbeer and lots of practice flying is carried out. The Germans were however at work and one of our pilots has burst a tyre on take off to get to him. He makes a successful wheels up landing on the aerodrome at R.A.F. Harrowbeer sustaining no damage to himself and very little to the aircraft.

          20th February     Twelve Squadron Typhoon aircraft set sail for R.A.F. Fairlop and all arrive safely. Three pilots are left behind at R.A.F. Harrowbeer to bring other aircraft later on.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of February was signed by :-  Squadron Leader D. G. Ross.

 

No.263 Squadron :-

          9th February     At present No.263 Squadron are based at R.A.F. Beaulieu.          Flight Lieutenant Ross is posted as Squadron Leader, Officer Commanding No.193 Squadron at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          This Squadron ( No.263 )  has now provided all the Commanding Officers of the ' Harrowbeer Wing ' since Wing Commander E. R. Baker DFC and Bar is the Wing Commander flying and Squadron Leader J. Holmes DFC is Commanding Officer of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron.

          22nd February     Nine Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Beaulieu at first light. From there eight Typhoon aircraft took off on a sweep, but owing to cloud they made a brief shipping reconnaissance west of the Channel Islands. This operation proved disastrous to the Squadron. Squadron Leader G. B. Warnes DSO, DFC ditched his Typhoon aircraft into the sea ( not due to enemy action ) and was seen swimming towards what looked like an uninflated dinghy. Flying Officer R. B. Tuff R.A.A.F. then said he would bale out to help the Commanding Officer. He was told by another pilot not to do this but it seems that he did bale out of his Typhoon aircraft. Flying Officer R. C. Hunter was simply not seen or heard of after the Commanding Officer went in. Extensive Air Sea Rescue searches using every available resource were laid on and continued, but nothing was seen of these three Officers who are missing in circumstances which give little hope. The weather was bitterly cold.          Squadron Leader G. B. Warnes came to the Squadron as a Pilot Officer in September 1941. He took Command of ' B ' Flight in October 1941 and of the Squadron in December 1942. The development of ' dive-bombing ' and the success obtained by the Squadron as an anti-shipping unit owe very much to the leadership and tactical brilliance of Squadron Leader Warnes. He obtained his DFC early in 1943 and the DSO at the conclusion of his first operational tour in June 1943. After five months ' rest ' as Operations Two at No.10 Group he returned to the Squadron in December 1943 and supervised it's re-equipment with the Typhoon aircraft and then the operations of the past three weeks. As a leader he was absolutely trusted. Flying Officer Tuff's tribute to him leaves no more to be said. He was regarded and admired as a friend of all ranks throughout No.10 Group. In the hearts of many intimate friends he leaves a place which can not possibly be filled.

          23rd February     Air Sea Rescue searches continued west of Guernsey for the three Officers missing from yesterday's operation, nothing was sighted.

The Squadron O.R.B. Form 540 for the month of February was signed by :-  Squadron Leader H. A. C. Gonay.

          22nd February     ( taken from Form 541 of the Squadron O.R.B.  -  Duties of Work carried out ).

               Rodeo No.88  -  eight Typhoon aircraft of No.263 Squadron took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1055 hours to sweep Kerlin Bastard - Vannes. Finding 10/10 cloud off the French Coast, Squadron Leader Warnes abandoned the primary task and began a shipping reconnaissance to the eastward. When at zero feet some ten miles west of Guernsey he said he was going to ditch and was seen to do so. Our other aircraft orbited and obtained reasonably good fixer from R.A.F. Middle Wallop and R.A.F. Exeter. Two pilots saw the Commanding Officer swimming towards something that looked like a dinghy pack. Flying Officer R. B. Tuff said he thought the Commanding Officer was hurt and was going to bale out. Another pilot told him not to, but it seems certain that he did bale out. Visibility was not good and our aircraft saw nothing more of either of these Officers. Though they continued to orbit for thirty minutes until they were ordered back to base. Nothing whatsoever is known of what happened to Flying Officer Hunter. One of the pilots had difficulty with his petrol feed in changing tanks, and ultimately force landed wheels down at R.A.F. Roborough. It is possible that the Commanding Officer had the same sort of technical trouble. Our other aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Beaulieu at 1310 hours. Three pilots are reported missing.          At 1530 hours, seven Typhoon aircraft took part in searches of the area west and north of Guernsey, but they found nothing. The same work was done by aircraft of several other Squadrons and by an Air Sea Rescue launch. Visibility was poor, in haze under low cloud. All aircraft returned to base landing at 1640 hours.

          23rd February     Seven Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 0900 hours in a continuation of yesterdays search. The weather at R.A.F. Beaulieu would in other circumstances have been considered non-operational. The aircraft returned to base at 1045 hours.

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

 

No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-

          1st February     Raining and the airfield is in cloud all day. No flying for the Squadron today.

          2nd February     Another no flying day for the Squadron today.          Thirty pilots and ground crew played Rugger, a very good game.

          3rd February     Three bombing attacks were planned for Noball targets by three Squadrons for each.          Eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off and flew to the Cherbourg Peninsular where they met 10/10 cloud so it was decided to abandon the operation/ The bombs were jettisoned into the sea and the aircraft flown back to base.          Eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off on a second sortie but again there was too much cloud to be able to find the target so this time it was decided to bomb Maupertus airfield which was only seen at the last moment and consequently the bomb aiming was not thought to be too good. We heard later from No.263 Squadron that they saw eight bursts right amongst the aircraft dispersal area.          The third sortie of the day was cancelled.

          4th February     Again three sorties by the three Squadrons has been planned against Noball targets. The outcome was that only one sortie was flown ( at first ), the other two being cancelled due to bad weather conditions. Even the one sortie that was attempted was eventually aborted and the bombs had to be jettisoned in the sea as the target area was covered in 10/10 cloud. On this trip one of the No.193 Squadron pilots was lost, apparently he jettisoned his bombs too low and was hit by the explosion.

          5th February     Again three sorties were planned, the first was abandoned when ten miles off Cherbourg as the weather was u/s. The other two were also cancelled due to the poor weather conditions.

          6th February     Eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft armed with two hundred and fifty pound bombs followed eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron on Roadstead No.83. The aircraft took off at 0950 hours to act as anti-flak in an attack on an ' M ' class minesweeper in the Abervrach Estuary. No.193 Squadron plastered the boat with cannon fire, then we bombed it, and it is thought that one direct hit was obtained and two very near misses. The boat was left covered with smoke. During the attack there was considerable flak from an enemy ' E ' boat nearby. The Commanding Officer of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron said that he had been hit and was seen to bale out after about three miles out at sea. He had insufficient height and his chute did not fully open. He was seen motionless in the water. We are afraid that there is not very much hope that he can of got away with it. He has been a damn good Commanding Officer to this Squadron, keen as mustard and a really good experienced leader in the air. His incredible slang and expressions have come into general use by the Squadron. The Commanding Officer had flow on practically every offensive operation in which the Squadron was engaged since the day he arrived.          At 1240 hours four No.266 Squadron Typhoon aircraft carried out a four leg search just off Abervrach but saw nothing. They flew to the mouth of Abervrach and saw the minesweeper low down in the water and down by the stern surrounded by oil. There was slight flak from the area. All four Typhoons returned safely to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1405 hours.

          7th February     A bad day with the weather. Most of the pilots played basketball, none of them knowing the rules but had a very good game.

          8th February     Four of our Typhoon aircraft with three Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron and Wing Commander Baker ( leading ) took part in Ranger No.104 which was to sweep Rennes - Gael - St. Brieuc - Lannion. The formation took off at 1140 hours and proceeded on their sweep, when they were near Gael airfield one of our pilots reported five enemy aircraft to the south and immediately after they saw two more enemy aircraft flying west towards the airfield. Our leader ordered the No.193 Squadron section to attack the two enemy aircraft while we were ordered to cover them. They shot down both of the enemy aircraft and the other five enemy aircraft cleared off at high speed. A good effort. Slight medium flak was experienced from Gael. Our aircraft landed back at base at 1340 hours.          There was one scramble from R.A.F. Harrowbeer during the day. At 1505 hours two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled and vectored south after hearing that the bandits were heading south. We continued the chase until we reached Guernsey. Next we were told to return and patrol off Bolt Head. The two aircraft were then told to return to base and landed at 1625 hours.

          9th February     Three Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off at 1130 hours on Rodeo No.78 from R.A.F. Beaulieu with three Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron and followed five minutes later by six Typhoon aircraft of No.486 Squadron to sweep Pris - Chartres - Plouville. When near Chartres one of our pilots saw an enemy aircraft, being as he was the nearest to it he turned and attacked it. The enemy aircraft was either a ME109 or a ' captured Mustang ', anyway it had large black crosses on it and our pilot sent it crashing in flames after a short burst. The formation continued the sweep and when near Bayeaux a Dornier 24 Flying Boat was observed. Two other pilots of No.266 Squadron attacked it and saw the aircraft crash in flames. Two enemy aircraft destroyed, only three of our aircraft on the do !          Our new Commanding Officer is Squadron Leader J. W. Holmes DFC and joins No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron today. We knew him in No.263 Squadron at R.A.F. Warmwell and later when he was Gunnery Officer at R.A.F. Exeter. All who knew him liked him and we are very pleased to have him as our Commanding Officer. May he long lead us to success.

          10th February     Five No.266 Squadron Typhoon aircraft with two Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took part in Rodeo No.80. These seven aircraft and Wing Commander Baker took off from R.A.F. Beaulieu at 1255 hours to sweep the following airfields :-  Etampes - Bretigny - Villaublay and to go ten to fifteen miles east south east of Paris. The formation climbed to eight thousand feet to cross the coast which was in 9/10 cloud east of Port Bessin, they then dived down to deck level and swept west of Lisieux to south west of Chartres. Two of our aircraft had to return to base owing to engine trouble. The rest of the formation swept south of Chartres and carried out their first attack on Etampes - Rondedir Airfields. One of our pilots attacked and set fire to a JU88 enemy aircraft while another set an ME110 enemy aircraft on fire with the help of a pilot from No.193 Squadron. Another No.266 pilot attacked and set fire to an HE111 enemy aircraft on fire. All these enemy aircraft were on the ground and claims are substantiated by other pilots and cine camera guns. At least twelve multi-engined enemy aircraft were seen on this airfield. Flak was slight. Later a No.193 Squadron pilot damaged a ME110, set a ME210 on fire and attacked a M.T. vehicle. After this little do the formation re-formed and steered north east still at zero feet. The Wing Leader then detailed a section of four aircraft ( three from No.266 Squadron and one from No.193 Squadron ) to attack Bretigny Airfield. Only one aircraft was seen on the airfield - a DO217 enemy aircraft which had belly landed and had men working on it. A No.266 Squadron pilot attacked and damaged the DO217, probably doing the working party a little no good. This pilot then encountered a JU88 enemy aircraft flying west at one thousand feet which he attacked, the JU88 broke in half and crashed, the aircraft was destroyed without any help from the rest of his section. This pilot then re-joined his section and they flew westwards, after about three minutes another No.266 Squadron pilot reported seeing about seven enemy Harvard type training aircraft all attempting to land at an airfield near Villaublay. A No.266 Squadron pilot waded in and sent three of these trainers down in flames with a minimum amount of ammunition expenditure. One of our other pilots damaged another trainer as it was landing. The section of four aircraft then re-formed and proceeded north west encountering bad weather and low rainstorms, they climbed to eight thousand feet crossing out at Cap D'antiper and flew on landing at R.A.F. Tangmere at 1520 hours. The Wing Leader ( flying a No.266 Squadron Typhoon aircraft ) and his two had become separated from the rest of the formation at Bretigny Airfield when the encountered a violent snow storm, so they proceeded independently. As they were flying round Paris our Wing Leader saw a DO217 enemy aircraft flying east and shot it down in flames, after flying through another bad snow storm he saw a FW190 enemy aircraft which he attacked and destroyed shooting it down in flames. Wing Commander Baker landed at R.A.F. Newchurch at 1555 hours.          The total for the Squadron for this day is :-  eight and a half enemy aircraft destroyed and two enemy aircraft damaged, or for the Station :-  ten enemy aircraft destroyed and four enemy aircraft damaged.

          12th February     Five Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Beaulieu on Rodeo No.81 at 1400 hours to sweep Paris airfields with three Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron. They were following a sweep made by six Typhoon aircraft of No.486 Squadron made earlier, but unfortunately had to turn back at the French Coast as the weather was u/s. There were two scrambles from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today. One of these was a section of two Typhoon aircraft that took off at 1740 hours on a vector of one hundred and forty degrees, then on one hundred and seventy degrees onto bandits four miles south at angels three and a half. They flew into cloud and were told that the bandits were going south and were too far ahead so they were instructed to return to base, landing at 1825 hours.   

          14th February     Heavy rain all day. Visibility is less than half a mile. No flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today.          No.193 Squadron are leaving R.A.F. Harrowbeer. This seems strange when we have just got a Wing Leader and have done very well in the short time he had led us.          A party in the Officer's Mess to celebrate the Paris show and as a farewell to No.193 Squadron.

          15th February     There was a rush to briefing for an operation to intercept some JU88 enemy aircraft which had attacked a Sunderland Flying Boat in the bay and which we hoped would be landing back at Kerlin Bastard or Poulinic Airfields. At 1035 hours Rodeo No.83 was ordered and nine Squadron Typhoon aircraft were due to take part. Unfortunately Wing Commander Baker could not get his engine started and took off four minutes after the others and could not catch up due to poor visibility. The formation continued under the leadership of one of the No.266 Squadron pilots. Landfall was made approximately eight miles west of Brest at zero feet. By a piece of rotten luck we suddenly found ourselves crossing over Morlaix Airfield. The flak must have been warned as it opened up instantaneously with appalling results. One aircraft became a sheet of flames and crashed, another was also set on fire and was last seen heading for the ground. One aircraft was hit and started climbing, over his radio he told the formation that he had been hit and wished the lads cheerio. Yet another aircraft had a big hole in his rudder. The remaining five aircraft avoided damage by getting right down on the deck resulting in two aircraft hitting trees with their leading edges, but without serious damage. The formation then continued down to Kerlin Bastard and then back to base without seeing any of the JU88's. A disastrous day.

          16th February     Two scrambles carried out today from base.          At 1330 hours two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled onto a vector of two hundred degrees onto a bogey nine miles south. The section were then told to go six miles south and then at two miles they finally saw the bogey which was a Defiant aircraft towing a drogue, dummy attacks were being made on the drogue. The section landed back at base at 1340 hours.          At 1735 hours two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled and vectored south. They were told that the enemy aircraft were ten miles ahead to the east. The bandits were then reported as six miles ahead, then four miles ahead ! It was a Defiant aircraft towing a drogue over a convoy for anti-aircraft practice. The two Typhoons landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1840 hours.

          17th and 18th February     No operational flying due to poor weather conditions.          It has been suggested that the Officer's move into ' Whistlea ' when No.193 Squadron move, but we are not in favour.

          19th February     Five Squadron Typhoon aircraft flew down to R.A.F. Predannack, they thought they were going to do a show but only did a stand by duty.

          20th February     No.193 Squadron at last have managed to leave R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Good old No.266 Squadron now do ' stand by ' all day again.

          21st February     Five Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off at 1240 hours to escort two Mosquito aircraft in a very low level photographic sweep round Morlaix. One of the Typhoons was to act as a spare and returned to base at 1305 hours. Rendezvous was made with the Mosquito aircraft over Start Point. The formation the flew at zero feet making landfall just east of Batz. Still at zero feet they made a wide orbit to the south of Morlaix where one light flak gun opened up on them. The formation then flew north and re-crossed the coast near Sept Isles. The Mosquito aircraft flew at 310 A.S.I.  Our Typhoon aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1410 hours.          The Officer's have moved into ' Whistlea '.

          22nd February Four Squadron Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 1025 hours to carry out a convoy patrol flying from east to west from Portland to St. Alban Head as cover for an exercise involving gliders near Warmwell. There were no incidents. All aircraft landed back at base at 1140 hours.          No.263 Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. They were briefed and then took off on a sweep which was abandoned early on. On the way home near Guernsey Squadron Leader Warns DSO, DFC ditched in the sea and his number two seeing him in difficulties in the water baled out to help him. This is surely the most amazing effort.          At 1425 hours six Typhoon aircraft went to search the area between Guernsey and the Casquits for Squadron Leader Warns, his number two and another pilot of No.263 Squadron who was also reported to be in the drink. The sea was rough and nothing was seen. The search aircraft returned at 1550 hours.

          23rd and 24th February     No operational flying, only practice flying carried out.

          25th February     Three Squadron Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 1315 hours and vectored to Falmouth at thirteen thousand feet. From there they were vectored to the south east. The bandits were at five thousand feet so the section dived down by which time the bandits were then near probably 6/10 cloud and down to two thousand feet. The section flew down below the cloud but saw nothing. They could not get Control on the R/T at this height, so they flew back above the clouds, by this time the enemy aircraft were now too far ahead so Control instructed the section to return to base.

          26th and 27th February     No operational flying, only practice flying carried out.          On the 27th February we heard that our Wing Leader, Wing Commander Baker is being posted.

          28th February     In the evening we were amazed to hear the voice of one of our Squadron pilots on the telephone who had been shot down thirteen days ago ( 15th February 1944 ), he is back in England.

          29th February     Four Squadron Typhoon aircraft were sent down to R.A.F. Predannack and from there carried out a sweep going wide round the west of Ushant then over Raz Point to near Kerlin Bastard and back home. Our section leader found that he had a complete electrical failure as he had no R/T, reflector sight or guns that were operable so he abandoned the operation, having first seen that they had made a correct landfall. They all returned to base.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of February was signed by :-  Flight Lieutenant A. V. Sanders.

 

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

          1st February     No flying from any of the Flights today as the weather is poor.

          3rd February     Two sections of Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight patrolled south of Bolt Head this morning while Typhoon aircraft carried out a bombing mission in north west France. The patrols were uneventful.

          4th February     A section of Spitfire aircraft carried out a patrol south of Bolt Head this morning.

          5th February     A section of Spitfire aircraft were scrambled at first light this morning ( 0830 hours ) to search the position of a faded plot near the Eddystone Lighthouse. After five minutes flying the section were re-directed to look for an aircraft in distress. They were vectored into cloud on two hundred and eighty degrees - twenty five miles, but the section became separated in the cloud. They were then vectored to a position which took them through a convoy near Dodman Point, Cornwall. Next they were vectored north after the objective, but after a few minutes were ordered to return to base landing at 1000 hours. Various vectors were given throughout this search, but nothing was sighted.          A second section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off at 1035 hours to a position two hundred and fifteen degrees, Eddystone, sixteen miles. The centre of the search area was reached and much wreckage was found, including oxygen bottles in a half submerged dinghy. Large quantities of wood and paper were strewn about the area. Although a thorough search was made in the area no survivors were sighted. The section continued to orbit the area until they were ordered to return to base where they landed at 1145 hours.

          6th February     A Walrus aircraft took off at first light this morning for stand by duties at R.A.F. Warmwell, but this turned out to be uneventful. The Walrus returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer later in the day.          A section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off on a patrol at 1020 hours but were re-called to base after twenty minutes of flying.

          8th February     Two sections of Spitfire aircraft were out on patrol to the south of Bolt Head.

          9th February     Practice flying only carried out at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          10th February     A no flying day due to weather conditions.

          11th February     Only practice flying by the Squadron today.

          12th February     No operational flying today, only practice flying.

          13th February     Practice flying only today from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          14th February     A no flying day only practice flying today.

          15th February     A no flying day due to bad weather conditions.

          16th February     No operational flying today, only practice flying.

          17th February     Practice flying only today from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          18th February     No flying today only practice flying.

          19th February     Practice flying only today.

          20th February     Practice flying only today.

          21st February     A section of Spitfire aircraft carried out patrols to the south of Bolt Head. These patrols were uneventful.

          22nd February     Some local air experience with local Air Training Corps cadets took place between 1100 hours and 1230 hours.          At 1105 hours a section of two Spitfire aircraft were ordered off to patrol to the south of Bolt Head while Typhoon bomber aircraft were bombing northern France. This section landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1225 hours          At 1155 hours a second section of two Spitfire aircraft were ordered off to relieve the first section. After a few minutes of flying the first section were seen returning to base. The second section then climbed to seven thousand feet and when they were told by Control that they were in position they went below and found an orbiting Beaufighter aircraft. All aircraft were then vectored twelve miles east to within ten miles of Guernsey and a search was carried out there. Operations then informed the section that they were too far east, so they left that position and went six miles west and continued another search. Four Typhoon aircraft were seen searching this area. Our section were then told that they were too far north but owing to petrol shortage a large orbit to the south was carried out and the section returned to base, landing at 1350 hours.          At 1735 hours another section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off to continue the search but were unable to get through owing to adverse weather conditions. This section returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer were they landed at 1800 hours.

          23rd February     A section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off at 0810 hours to continue yesterdays search for two Typhoon aircraft pilots, but returned due to R/T trouble in number two's Spitfire. The section were re-called to base, landing at 0850 hours.

          26th February     A no operational flying day, only practice flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          27th February     A no operational flying day again only practice flying.

          28th February     A no operational flying day, only practice flying.

          29th February     A no operational flying day, only practice flying.

          There was a total of twenty non operational flying days at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for ' B ' Flight of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron this month. Only five rescue searches were carried out during the month from ' B ' Flight. The rest of the month was spent on patrols and practice flying which included :-  air to ground firing, air tests, cine camera gun attack work, dual instruction, experience flights on the Sea Otter aircraft, practice sea landings, air to sea firing, local flying by new pilots and dinghy drop practice ( drop and search ).

General :-  The following includes details from all Flights :-

     Total flying hours for the month                       389 hours  50 minutes

     Total operational flying hours for the month     Spitfires     31 hours  30 minutes

                                                                            Walrus       4  hours  50 minutes

                                                                            Anson       46 hours  20 minutes

     Total rescue sorties during the month               29

     Total patrols during the month                         37

 

          With reference to the patrols and searches carried on the 22nd February 1944, Headquarters No.10 Goup detailed an Officer to carry out preliminary investigations into the loss of Squadron Leader G. B. Warnes DSO, DFC  Officer Commanding No.263 Squadron who ditched off Guernsey on 22nd February 1944. The Officer visited Squadron Headquarters on the 26th February 1944 and took statements from all pilots concerned.

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

 

No.486 ( New Zealand ) Squadron :-

          8th February     No.486 ( N.Z. ) Squadron were operating from R.A.F. Beaulieu.          The ' Beaulieu Typhoon Wing '  were at R.A.F. Manston using long range fuel drop tanks and had considerable success destroying enemy aircraft in Belgium, Northern France and the Paris areas on low level sweeps. The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group decided to put the ' Harrowbeer Typhoon Wing ' and No.486 Squadron and No.263 Squadron at R.A.F. Beaulieu on a similar role in the Brest Peninsular area and the west of Paris. The Squadron was taken off bombing for this job and the first sweep was carried out on this date.          At 1030 hours six Squadron Typhoon aircraft fitted with long range fuel drop tanks made a low level sweep from R.A.F. Beaulieu to the Channel Islands. The Brest Peninsular was crossed at Mont St. Michel and a JU88 enemy aircraft was seen on the runway at Rennes Airfield, but it was too late to attack. Immediately after the Squadron had passed the airfield the FW190's were scrambled and subsequently two of them were shot down by the ' Harrowbeer Wing ' who were sweeping the same area thirty minutes after with six Typhoon aircraft. The No.486 Squadron aircraft landed safely back at base at 1245 hours.

          21st February     Four Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off at 1230 hours on a low level escort operation to Mosquito aircraft making a low level reconnaissance of the Morlaix area along with six Typhoon aircraft of the ' Harrowbeer Wing '. Apert from slight flak the operation was without incident. No.486 Squadron landed back at R.A.F. Beaulieu at 1420 hours.

          24th February     Four Squadron Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 1235 hours on a shipping reconnaissance in the St. Malo - Cherbourg are. One ship was found in the inner harbour at Cherbourg. This eas reported on landing at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1340 hours where the ' Harrowbeer Wing ' was standing by to make an attack. It was decided by the ' Harrowbeer Wing ' not to act on this information. The four No.486 Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1455 hours and carried out an unsuccessful shipping reconnaissance again in the St. Malo - Cherboutg area before returning to R.A.F. Beaulieu where they landed at 1645 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of February was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. H. Jennings.

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

January  1944

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

 

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

          Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes  -  Headquarters No.19 Group

          Warrant  Officer Loftus  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Squadron Leader Egerton  -  R.A.F. Mount Batten

          Lieutenant Colonel Miller  -  No.78 Wing

          Air Chief Marshal Sir Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt GBE, KCB, CMG and DSO  -  Inspector General of the Royal Air Force

          Group Captain Scroggs  - 

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

          Squadron Leader Boggis  -  R.A.F. Station Exeter

          Lieutenant Colonel Hassell  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Squadron Leader Grant R.C.A.F.  -  R.A.F. Station Exeter

          Flight Lieutenant Downing  -  Air Ministry

          Air Marshal Sir Roderick Hill CB, MC, AFC  -  Air Officer Commander in Chief, Headquarters A.D.G.B.

          Group Captain Guinness  -  Sector Commander

          Flight Lieutenant Cleaseby  -  Liaison Officer

 

Weather

          1st January     The year opens at R.A.F. Harrowbeer in fairly dull weather. There were occasional rain showers with poor visibility.

          2nd January     After a fairly bright opening to the morning the weather became ropey with only short bright intervals between intermittent rainstorms. Visibility was fair with 8/10 cloud about.

          3rd January     A moderate start to the day with fair visibility improving as the day progressed.

          4th January     The weather seems to be improving, a most promising start to the day.  A beautiful day with unlimited visibility.

          5th January     Another wizard morning with good visibility.

          6th January     A really good morning again, just right for flying, visibility ranging from fair to good.

          7th January     Another fairly suitable morning although rather a cold start to the day. Visibility remains fairly good.

          8th January     A fairly duff day today with haze and intermittent rainstorms although visibility was reasonable.

          9th January     A hopeless sort of day, thick mist and low cloud with constant rain during the morning. Visibility was less than two miles.

          10th January     Another poor day with 10/10 cloud at two thousand feet. The weather cleared a little about 1200 hours. Visibility was poor.

          11th January     Harrowbeer weather as we know it !  10/10 cloud at one thousand feet and torrential rain.

          12th January     The weather remains much the same again but in larger doses and actually became worse as the day progressed. Visibility was down to ten yards, totally u/s for flying.

          13th January     Still a complete clampdown at Harrowbeer. The weather appeared to improve around 2100 hours and by mid-night had cleared completely. Yet another no flying day at Harrowbeer.

          14th January     A beautiful clear morning with bags of frost and good visibility.

          15th January     A fairly good morning, apart from low cloud. The weather remained reasonable for the whole day but today was declared as a no flying day.

          16th January     A fairly favourable morning. As the day progressed the weather gradually deteriorated becoming u/s resulting in a total clamp-down.

          17th January     Still fairly hopeless resulting in no flying.

          18th January     Clampers ho !  Thick fog right down on the deck with rainstorms. No flying today.

          19th January     A terrible day, disastrous weather with visibility down to thirty yards. This is impossible weather resulting in yet another no flying day.

          20th January     A wizard day. Although the day started with a spell of fine weather, it began getting cloudy and misty in the early afternoon.

          21st January     A good day. The morning begins with clear sunlight.

          22nd January     The typical Harrowbeer weather is back. The morning was classed as hopeless from the start, gales blowing for most of the day. A complete clamp down on the airfield.

          23rd January     As dawn broke Harrowbeer was confronted with the worst wind foe ages and it continued unabated all day. The weather alternated between heavy showers and hail and rain with occasional fine clear patches.

          24th January     Another duff day with flying out of the question. It was pouring with rain all day and visibility was less than one mile.

          25th January     Yet another duff day. There were rain storms all day but the visibility below the clouds was fair to good.

          26th January     Today consisted of equal parts of thick fog and heavy drizzle. The clouds were right down on the deck. Visibility was down to a quarter of a mile. Another no flying day.

          27th January     Again yet another ropey day with visibility less than half a mile, so still no flying.

          28th January     A moderate morning with 9/10 cloud at about three thousand feet to start with clearing to 6/10 cloud with visibility approximately ten miles.

          29th January     A reasonable morning with good visibility, but becoming u/s later in the day, 10/10 cloud.

          30th January     The morning opens at Harrowbeer again with ropey weather, 10/10 cloud clearing later in the day.

          31st January     The weather remains ropey with cloud down on the deck, visibility about one mile. As the day progressed the weather cleared up slightly.

 

From  the  Station  O.R.B.

 

The month of January has been chiefly notable for bad weather, much rain and high winds alternating with heavy fog and drizzle with a few hailstorms thrown in.

          2nd January     Wing Commander E. R. Baker DFC was attached to this Station ( R.A.F. Harrowbeer ) from R.A.F. Colerne for Wing Leader duties ( Typhoon Wing ).          Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes from No.19 Group visited the Station today.

          6th January     Warrant Officer Loftus from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station and inspected the W.A.A.F. Section. Like many of our visitors she was unfavourably impressed by our weather. Warrant Officer Loftus was well satisfied with the organisation and running of the W.A.A.F. Section.

          8th January     Squadron Leader Egerton from R.A.F. Mount Batten visited the Station Engineer's Office.

          11th January     Lieutenant Colonel Miller from No.78 Wing visited the Local Defence Advisor.

          14th January     Air Chief Marshal Sir Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt GBE, KGB, CMG and DSO  -  Inspector General of the Royal Air Force passed through the Station en route to Plymouth.          Group Captain Scroggs passed through the Station en route to Headquarters No.19 Group.

          15th January     Squadron Leader Boggis from R.A.F. Station Exeter and Lieutenant Colonel Hassell from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station. Lieutenant Colonel Hassell inspected No.2891 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment.

          20th January     Squadron Leader Grant R.C.A.F. from R.A.F. Exeter visited the Station.

          24th January     Flight Lieutenant Downing from the Air Ministry visited today.

          26th January     The Station was visited by Air Marshal Sir Roderick Hill CB, MC and AFC  -  Air Officer Commander in Chief, Headquarters for the Air Defence of Great Britain who was accompanied by the Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group  -  Air Vice Marshal Steele and the Sector Commander  -  Group Captain Guinness. They were met by the Station Commander  -  Wing Commander J. Butterworth and taken to the Intelligence Officer, where they met the Squadron Commanders and aircrew personnel. The purpose of the visit was for the Air Officer Commander in Chief to make the acquaintance of personnel of this Station rather than to make a formal inspection of the Station.

          29th January     An instructor and twelve A.T.C. Cadets of No.507 Squadron from Kelly College, Tavistock arrived in the afternoon for a twenty four hour visit of R.A.F. Harrowbeer. An instructive programme was arranged for them, including a session in the Dome Trainer which was quite new for them and was greatly appreciated. The Cadets were accompanied by the Liaison Officer Flight Lieutenant Cleasby.

          31st January     No.2891 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment moved to Northern Ireland on detachment for training.

 

 

Appendix  ' A '

Form  540  -  Appendix  on  P. T. and  Recreation

 

P.T. :-     An increased amount of P.T. has been done during the past month, mainly due to the operation of compulsory P.T. for aircrew.

Attendances were made up by aircrew equivalent to one hundred and forty six man / hours of training. Ground staff reporting at 0830 hours in classes based on the Station Defence Flights completed two hundred and ninety attendances, equalling one hundred and eighty five man / hours.

 

Sport

Soccer :-   The Station XI has played as follows :-

Home  =  4     Away  =  2     Won  =  3     Lost  =  2     Drawn  =  1

Intersection matches have been curtailed because of the bad light.

Rugby :-     No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron team have played three away matches during the month and won one of them. It is hoped to be able to prepare an adequate ground for home matches in the next month.

Badminton :-     This continues in popularity with all sections and ranks. The court has been newly marked in the Gymnasium and is being well used.

General :-     The general standard of physical fitness on the Station is high and will so be maintained if the subject continues to receive the attention given to it at present.

 

Entertainment 

During the month of January there were only three evenings when no form of entertainment whatsoever was provided.

E.N.S.A. and Cinema :-     Visits from E.N.S.A. continue fortnightly both for stage shows and cinema. There is also weekly " Station " cinema. Other " live " shows included a visit from an R.A.F. " Gang Show ", from a " Stars in Battledress " party and a play by the " Market Theatre ".

Dances :-     Station dances are held fortnightly with two special dances interpolated.

Music :-     The music circle has now formed itself into the " Music Group " giving a weekly record programme for which a bulletin of programme notes is prepared and circulated beforehand to all members.

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540 

          1st January     The Strength of the Station including Units at R.A.F. Bolt Head and Units attached for medical administration :-     R.A.F.  =  1450     W.A.A.F.  =  363     Army  =  1326

          5th January     An Australian pilot attached to No.10 Squadron, R.A.F. Mount Batten was killed in a flying accident when a Tiger Moth crashed near Postbridge - he suffered multiple injuries and extensive burns. Another Australian airman from the same unit and involved in the same flying accident was admitted direct to the Military Hospital, Mortenhampstead - he suffered a fractured left tibia and fibula, a fractured right wrist, burns, cuts and abrasions.

          7th January     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  4     W.A.A.F.  =  5     Army  =  1

          14th January     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  7     W.A.A.F.  =  4

          21st January     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  8     W.A.A.F.  =  6     Army  =  1

          28th January     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  16     W.A.A.F.  =  5     Army  =  1

          30th January     A Radar operative from the Station Headquarters sustained chest injuries - fractured ribs - when in a lorry returning from R.A.F. Bolt Head. The vehicle struck a high wall on the bend of a road, the airman was struck through the canvas cover of the lorry. He was admitted to the Station Sick Quarters at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          The Form 540 for the month of January was signed by :-  Squadron Leader F. Constable, Senior Medical Officer.

 

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st January     Early in the afternoon four Typhoon aircraft went off on an Air Sea Rescue sweep, R.A.F. Harrowbeer - Bolt Head - St, Brieux - St. Malo and back to base. The aircraft took off at 1338 hours and returned to base landing at 1457 hours. The sweep proved uneventful, although one of the Typhoon aircraft had to return earlier than the others owing to hydraulic trouble.

          3rd January     The new Wing Commander flying ( Wing Commander E. R. Baker DFC ) arrived at the Officer's Mess and joined whole heartedly into a party of most of the Officers in ' No.193 Squadron '. In the evening at about 2000 hours they all set course for the ' Skylark ' ( public house ) getting very highly lubricated, then returning to finish off a most enjoyable evening in the Mess. This was a good opportunity to Welcome Wing Commander E. R. Baker to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Unfortunately he missed meeting the Squadron's Commanding Officer ( Squadron Leader Petre ) as he went off on leave earlier on in the day.

          4th January     Just after mid-day four Typhoon aircraft took off at 1210 hours on Ramrod No.119. The target was identified as Cherbourg which was bombed from north to south. No results were seen although there were some hits in the target area. The section then flew south west out over the coast. There was moderate heavy flak experienced from the direction of Cherbourg. There was no enemy aircraft or shipping seen. All our aircraft landed back at base at 1340 hours.

          5th January     Seven Typhoon aircraft set off on a second fighter sweep taking off at 1213 hours. The sweep was carried out as planned. A compact formation of thirty to forty Flying Fortress aircraft were seen overhead approaching the coast. Landfall was made at eight thousand feet north of Treguier. The section then flew between seven thousand and eight thousand feet to St. Brieux - Gael - Rennes - Dinard. No enemy aircraft were visible on any of these airfields. Twelve to fifteen balloons were seen flying at five hundred to one thousand feet on the banks of the Trieux Estuary, but there was no sign of any shipping. There was a balloon barrage over St. Malo and two ships ( possibly minesweepers ) going west off St. Malo. There was slight heavy flak from the Rennes area, late and behind. Visibility was about eight to ten miles. All  aircraft landed back at base at 1420 hours.

          6th January     The Squadron carried out two Ramrod operations today. One in the morning and the other in the afternoon.          The first, Ramrod No.120 was an operation which required No.193 Squadron to take off at 1037 hours and to bomb a specific target. The target was found and bombed but results were difficult to see owing to the amount of smoke created. No individual bursts were seen, but pilots are of the opinion that the bombs fell in the target area. Visibility was good but no enemy aircraft or shipping was spotted. Unfortunately in this first operation the Squadron suffered its' first casualty while on an operation. He was one of the Squadron's most popular pilots. The incident happened when he was shot down while diving down to bomb a ' Noball ' target in Cherbourg by flak. The flak seemed to hit one of his bombs and the Typhoon aircraft burst into flames. There seems to be no hope that he can of got out of the diving aircraft and the probability is that he was killed when the aircraft was hit. We deeply regret the loss of such a promising pilot. The rest of the Squadron returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1216 hours.          At 1512 hours four Typhoon aircraft were airborne on Ramrod No.121 which was the same target as the operation carried out in the morning. The target was found and identified, then attacked from east to west diving from nine thousand feet down to five thousand feet. Three bomb bursts were seen in the target area. The pilots of the other Typhoon aircraft are confident that their aim was good, but results could not be observed. There was moderate to intense moderate flak, black puffs in the target area, accurate for height but behind. One of the Typhoons had bombs that hung up. A number of bomb craters from previous attacks could be seen in the target area. The coast was re-crossed near Vauville on the way out. No enemy aircraft or shipping was observed. All aircraft landed back at base at 1642 hours.

          7th January     Another Ramrod operation was laid on this morning, but owing to low cloud over the target area, Maupertus Aerodrome got a plastering.          In the afternoon owing to a breakdown in bombing up equipment only three instead of eight Typhoon aircraft took off on an operation, this was coded as ' Blue Section '. Shortly after having started to climb to the French Coast and when about three thousand to four thousand feet up Blue two and Blue three flying behind and on either side of Blue one saw a part of Blue one's fin and rudder shot off. This was the last that was seen of Blue one. The Squadron and in particular ' B ' Flight mourn the loss of a most efficient and highly respected Flight Commander, but we hope that he may have had the opportunity to bale out. The position where the two FW190's bounced the three Typhoon bombers was two miles north east of Guernsey. Shortly after the sad news reached the Squadron six Typhoon aircraft with long range fuel tanks took off to search for their Flight Commander. They flew in wide line abreast to north Guernsey, then to five miles off the French Coast, then north between Alderney and Cap de la Hague all at sea level, but nothing was seen.

          8th January     A projected operation had to be cancelled due to weather conditions. Only practice flying was carried out.

          9th January     A hopeless sort of day with no flying possible today.

          10th January     Another duff day.     The only flying was a group of five Squadron Typhoon aircraft that were detailed to fly to R.A.F. Predannack to stand by for Air Sea Rescue duties. The weather was so bad that they were unable to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer

          11th January     The typical Harrowbeer weather conditions continue with 10 / 10 cloud at one thousand feet and torrential rain. Despite this ' A ' Flight was put on readiness state, but not needed. There was " bags of synthetics " carried out until the Squadron was released at 1200 hours and a visit to Plymouth organised.

          12th January     The weather is still bad but in larger doses ! Won't the boys stranded at R.A.F. Predannack since the 10th be pleased ?     The morning was spent on intelligence and aircraft recognition tests.     At about 1300 hours the weather got worse, nine pilots and the S.O. took transport and set course for R.A.F. Exeter to visit the Operations Room there, it was a very pleasant and informative visit. On the journey home a visit was made to Torquay where things went with a swing through the medium of the Gibbons Hotel, The Epicure and finally the Imperial Hotel. A most successful outing.

          13th January     The airfield is still under a complete clamp down. Bags of Link Trainer and intelligence gen. The Squadron was released at 1000 hours. Some P.T. and a liberty run to Plymouth were organised.

          14th January     The weather finally improves with a beautiful clear morning with bags of frost.          There was a bit of a flap on early on requiring taking off the long range fuel tanks and re-fitting bomb racks.          The five Typhoon aircraft that were stranded at R.A.F. Predannack returned to base today landing about 0945 hours - " brassed off " is the word here.          Orders came through that these five Typhoon aircraft had to be fitted with bomb racks as well. Even the clapped out aircraft are being brought into service these days on almost every operation.          Five Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off just after 1200 hours to operate in Ramrod No.123, Part 1. Their target was found and bombed, the Typhoons diving from ten thousand feet down to five thousand feet. All pilots saw bombs burst in the constructional area among buildings. This proved to be the most successful bombing of a Noball target so far. Flak by now was heavy and accurate. On this part of the operation two Typhoon aircraft received superficial damage, but all managed to return safely landing at 1338 hours.          The operation was repeated in the afternoon led by Wing Commander Baker on his first operation from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. At 1530 hours seven Typhoon bomber aircraft took off on Ramrod No.123, Part 11. The formation made landfall just south of Flamanville. The target was then found and attacked at 1600 hours, the Typhoon bombers diving from ten thousand feet to five thousand feet. Many bursts were seen in the target area. There was evidence of considerable damage that had been done during the morning attack. Moderate flak was experienced, but was heavy from the target area. Visibility was excellent. All aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1635 hours.

          16th January     Lack of serviceable aircraft restricts flying.         The weather, although good to start with has deteriorated and both the stand by and readiness sections of No.193 Squadron were scrambled to intercept " bogeys " approximately thirty five miles south west of Start Point. The readiness section were only airborne for three minutes when they were ordered to pancake. One Typhoon aircraft had to make a forced landing at R.A.F. Exeter owing to the clamp over R.A.F. Harrowbeer. It was a mistake scrambling these sections in view of the prevailing weather.

          18th January     Another ' Harrowbeer ' day, thick fog right down on the deck and rainstorms. Lots more synthetics training today.

          21st January     Blue section were scrambled onto an enemy aircraft that dared to leave his own coast at Cherbourg, but he must have regretted it, for he soon turned back again, and our section returned having made no contact.          An operational sweep was laid on for the afternoon. At 1415 hours four Typhoon aircraft took off as ' Fabric Squadron ' and a fifth pilot acted as spare man and joined up with No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron. The proposed sweep was - St. Brieux, Rennes and Dinard. Two ME109's ( German enemy aircraft ) were spotted in the circuit at Lannion Aerodrome. Our Wing attacked with the result that both enemy aircraft were destroyed - one by No.266 Squadron and the other by our aircraft. The ME109 which was shot down by No.193 Squadron had a vertical white stripe on the tail with short horizontal stripes half way up. All aircraft landed back at base at 1645 hours.          While this was happening ' B ' Flight continued the readiness state and ' A ' Flight provided Air Sea Rescue state for news had come through that one of the No.183 Squadron pilots was in the drink.          In the evening a party was held in the Mess to celebrate another enemy aircraft to our credit - what a sess !

          22nd January     Back to the typical Harrowbeer weather, again no flying, only synthetic training.

          23rd January     Weather still terrible although it did lift sufficiently to allow a little practice flying.          In the afternoon an operation was laid on which was a sweep ( Ramrod No.124 ) in two parts to be carried out in north west France. No.193 Squadron and No.266 Squadron set course together for Pleubian at 1430 hours - landfall was made south west of Sillon de Talbert - to sweep Pleubian, Kerlin Bastard and Morlaix. The weather over France was u/s and the Squadron turned some ten miles before Kerlin Bastard. At about this time one pilot reported serious engine trouble so he and his wing-man were forced to fly at reduced speed. Morlaix was swept and it was here that one pilot flying at reduced speed was hit by flak on the port aileron by twenty millimetre flak. Another No.193 Squadron Typhoon aircraft had been obliged to return to base just after crossing the English Coast, so the two lame ducks returned home just under cloud in line abreast and the rest of the section gave them rear cover on the deck. All aircraft returned safely at 1620 hours, thank goodness.

          24th January     Yet another duff day with no flying.

          26th January     A visit was made to the Station by Air Marshal Sir Roderick Hill KCB  -  Commander in Chief of A.D.G.B., he also visited ' B ' Flight dispersal and was introduced to all the pilots individually - asking questions and speaking generally.          There was no flying again today but in the afternoon some American combat films were shown in the Station Photographic Centre.

          27th January     Still no flying thanks to the poor weather.

          28th January     Lack of serviceable aircraft is becoming more than just a stumbling block now.          Seven Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took off at 1254 hours on Rodeo No.70, a fighter sweep. This was carried out as planned between one thousand feet and two thousand feet to Dinard - Rennes - Gael - Vannes - Kerlin Bastard - Morlaix within one hundred yards of all airfields except Kerlin Bastard. One enemy aircraft was seen flying around Guernsey, but too far away to attack. Another enemy aircraft was seen on the ground at Kerlin Bastard but nothing was seen at any of the other airfields. There was slight flak from Dinard and Vannes, moderate accurate heavy flak from Rennes with large black bursts and intense heavy flak from the Lannion defences. One Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron received Category ' A ' damage. One of our pilots fired a short burst at a large gun position north east of Morlaix. Violent R.D.F. jamming was experienced in the vicinity of Lorient on buttons B, C and D.

          29th January     Six Typhoon aircraft took off for R.A.F. Beaulieu to operate from there on Rodeo No. 73. En route and approximately four and a half miles north east of Bridport owing to the engine of the Typhoon aircraft cutting dead, one of our pilots had to crash land in a field. Apart from bruises and shock he came out of it o.k., but after being brought back to base in a Tiger Moth he was admitted to the Station Sick Quarters as a precautionary measure against after effects of the crash. The Typhoon aircraft was a total loss. Unfortunately owning to three more Typhoon aircraft being u/s on landing at R.A.F. Beaulieu only two Squadron aircraft took part in the operation which proved uneventful.

          31st January     To finish the month off, today was spent mostly on synthetics with a little practice flying later in the day.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of January was signed by :-  Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake.

 

No.266  ( Rhodesia )  Squadron :-

          1st January     A dull day with some rain and poor visibility.          One scramble took off at 1540 hours which involved Typhoon aircraft of N.266 Squadron. The aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1630 hours.

          2nd January     Only practice flying carried out today consisting of :- air to sea and air to air firing.

          3rd January     The Squadron carried out three anti-rhubarb patrols eastwards from Bolt Head to cover a large practice landing exercise taking place at Slapton Sands. These three exercises were carried out between 1033 hours and 1800 hours.          The Squadron ' hack ' which was a Tiger Moth aircraft crash-landed near Old Sarum, Salisbury due to engine failure, neither the pilot or the passenger were hurt.

          4th January     Three anti-rhubarb patrols were carried out in the morning as yesterday. These three patrols were carried out between 0845 hours and 1320 hours.          Four Typhoon aircraft took off at 1210 hours with four aircraft of No.193 Squadron to bomb a Noball target. The target was found covered with 7/10 cloud. No.266 Squadron think they located the village of Flotteranville five hundred yards south of the target so they bombed just to the north of it. No results were seen, not very satisfactory. Moderate flak was experienced in the area. All aircraft returned to base safely landing at 1340 hours.          Wing Commander Baker DFC and Bar arrived to be Wing Commander flying.

          5th January     Nine Squadron Typhoon aircraft along with seven Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took off at 1215 hours and swept at eight thousand feet from Trecuier - St. Brieuc - Gael - Rennes - Dinnard. One of our pilots flew with No.193 Squadron. Landfall was made at Trecuier. There were no enemy aircraft seen on any of these airfields. Between Gael and Rennes, four of our Typhoon aircraft detached to go down to ground level but did not find a target so they returned independently back to base landing at 1420 hours. During this operation about thirty to forty Flying Fortress aircraft were seen flying in formation as we approached the French Coast.

          6th January     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off at 1105 hours on Ramrod No.120. The formation were detailed to attack a Noball target, at the same time No.193 Squadron and No.183 Squadron were attacking other Noball targets. Our target was obscured by cloud so our leader decided to attack a different target that was visible. We dived from seven thousand feet to three thousand feet and saw bursts in the target area. Later on in the day eight more Typhoon aircraft took off again on Ramrod No.122 to bomb this same target but it could not be definitely recognised as being the right target, though it was a target and there were craters from previous attacks that could be seen in it. The Squadron dived from ten thousand feet down to five thousand feet but were not able to see any results. There were no enemy aircraft seen but fairly heavy flak was experienced from the Cherbourg area.

          7th January     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron at 0930 hours to bomb two Noball targets, but as both targets were covered by cloud both Squadrons instead attacked and bombed Maupertus Airfield. Many bursts were seen in and near the south west dispersal and two in the centre of the Airfield. No enemy aircraft were seen on the Airfield. Flak was intense over the Airfield. All aircraft landed back at base at 1100 hours.          In the afternoon eight more Typhoon aircraft took off at 1500 hours to bomb a particular Noball target, but actually bombed and attacked a different one in the same area diving down from eight thousand feet to four thousand feet. Several bursts were seen in the target area along with old bomb craters. There was no flak from the target area. but much from Cherbourg. Both Squadrons landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1620 hours. The Squadron heard later on that No.193 Squadron had lost one of its' pilots on this operation after being jumped on by enemy aircraft.

          8th January     Eleven Typhoon aircraft carried out low-level bombing practice on R.A.F. Exeter Aerodrome.

          9th January     A no flying day due to poor weather conditions.

          10th January     Eight Typhoon aircraft took off to carry out an Air Sea Rescue search in the English Channel, but the cloud base was falling rapidly so the aircraft had to return to base after fifteen minutes.

          11th, 12th and 13th January     Three days of no flying due to u/s weather.

          14th January     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron along with aircraft of No.183 Squadron and No.193 Squadron were airborne at 1210 hours on Ramrod No.123, they were detailed to bomb a particular target. A total of twelve Typhoon aircraft from No.266 Squadron flew in the operation, four of the were detailed to fly with four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron who were short of aircraft. Our eight Typhoon's followed No.183 Squadron by about two minutes with No.193 Squadron behind us. Nearly all the bombs burst for all three Squadrons appeared well in the target area, this must have caused a considerable amount of damage. There was no difficulty in finding the target. All aircraft returned safely to base at 1330 hours.          Later in the day at 1530 hours six of our Typhoon aircraft following six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Baker again attacked the same target and again put the bombs well into it. Dive-bombing took place from ten thousand feet down to five thousand feet. Control reported that twenty ' Bandits ' have been noticed in the area, but none were seen. After the attack the three Squadrons returned to base landing at 1650 hours. Although the three Squadrons have dropped twenty tons of bombs on this target, most appear to have hit it. A most satisfactory effect.

          15th January     A no flying day again.

          16th January     Eight Typhoon aircraft led by Wing Commander Baker took off on a small Ramrod operation at 1105 hours. The target was a store, being four large sheds beside a railway at St. Theorionuec four miles east of Landivisiau. The attack was low level using eleven second delay bombs and was highly successful, at least four bomb bursts were seen in the target shattering parts of the buildings and one burst right on two trains standing in the siding. The bombing height was one hundred and fifty feet, the rest of the trip was carried out at zero feet, no flak was experienced on the operation. All aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1225 hours.

          17th, 18th and 19th January     No flying days due to the poor weather conditions.

          19th January     The Squadron Doctor who had been with the Squadron since January 1942 is being posted away. A pity as he had hoped he would be with us for the invasion. There was a party at the Rock Hotel before lunch as a farewell to him, this resulted in the Squadron being semi-commatosed all the afternoon.

          20th January     There was a scramble today at 1040 hours, just as the sections were changing over stand by readiness. The sirens went off but the enemy aircraft were already miles away.          Four Typhoon aircraft took off on a shipping reconnaissance at 1055 hours to sweep the Isles De Batz and round the west of Ushant to Cap Chevre and back to base at 1250 hours. No shipping was seen on the sweep.

          21st January     Eleven Typhoon aircraft took part in Rodeo No.65 which was a sweep with five Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron. The formation took off at 1415 hours to sweep Dinard - Rennes - Sterieuc - Lannion, while we were flying this sweep No.183 Squadron flew it in the reverse direction. We met them just as we crossed the French Coast. The formation flew at below two thousand feet which was the cloud base. We encountered some accurate flak from Rennes, the flight then took us past Gael where we turned north. When approaching Lannion we saw two ME190 ( German enemy aircraft )  apparently commencing to land, one with it's undercarriage down. Our leader detailed No.193 Squadron to attack one of the ME109's and he would attack the one with it's wheels down. He fired twenty rounds per cannon from two hundred yards, closing to one hundred yards and saw a lot of strikes, but the enemy aircraft flew in quite straight at an angle of twenty five degrees to the horizontal as though it was going to land but continued and hit the perimeter track and exploded. One ME109 destroyed by our leader, nice shooting. His number two was flying with his finger hovering over his firing button and saw the enemy aircraft explode and realised that his services were not required. He got quite a lot of flak as he flew over the airfield at zero feet. Meanwhile one of the pilots of No.193 Squadron overtaking the other ME109 too fast had a squirt, but saw no results. He said he could have slowed up and had another squirt but thinking that No.266 Squadron pilots were following him he broke away. Immediately two Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron came in shooting and the ME109 exploded in the air and crashed in flames. The formation formed a defensive circle very smartly and returned to base where they landed at 1645 hours.          At 1625 hours two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled and when they were ten miles south of Bolt Head they saw four FW190 enemy aircraft flying at eighteen thousand feet. Unfortunately our section had just turned north at fifteen thousand feet. The section then turned one hundred and eighty degrees and closed at full bore. The enemy aircraft being two thousand yards ahead held their distance by losing the three thousand feet height and after eight to ten minutes were lost sight of in the haze.

          22nd January     A no flying day, a complete clamp all day.

          23rd January     Eight Typhoon aircraft carried out Ramrod No.124, a fighter sweep. The aircraft were airborne at 1430 hours and flew to St. Brieuc - Gael - Rennes - etc. As part of Ramrod No.124 when flying east for two or three miles south of Gael Airfield one enemy aircraft was seen at three thousand feet just north of the airfield, presumably coming into the circuit. The Squadron turned one hundred and eighty degrees to port and attacked. In all six pilots had squirts at the enemy aircraft, a FW 190 which kept turning into our attackers. From the cine camera gun films it has been decided to share the FW 190's destruction between the six pilots, one of which caught the FW190's wing being shot off. This means that three enemy aircraft have been destroyed in three days by this Station.

          24th January     The Flight Commander of ' A ' Flight is to leave and become a ' test pilot '. He joined No.266 Squadron in August 1941 and has been on every operational flight that he could wangle himself onto. He has bags of guts and a most charming personality. The Squadron will miss him.          Several pilots attended a party at the W.A.A.F. Officer's Mess, a very hectic party.          News has been received today that one of our missing pilots has been identified by the number of his aircraft that had been shot down and been buried at Leftgoet near Lesreven. At the time of the attack the pilot was seen to bale out from his aircraft and the parachute open. It was also witnessed that enemy aircraft flew round the parachute as it descended. The Squadron had thought that the pilot had got away with it, sadly this was not the case.

          26th January     Visibility is down to one quarter of a mile resulting in no flying today. The pilots were released in the afternoon to go into Plymouth.          Air Marshal Sir Roderick Hill visited the Station and was introduced to each pilot at dispersal and chatted with them for a while.

          27th January     No flying - visibility less than half a mile.

          28th January     Six Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off on Rodeo No.70 ( but two had to return )  at 1255 hours with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron led by Wing Commander Baker. The operation turned out to be a fighter sweep, Dinard - Rennes - Gael - Vannes - Kerlin Bastard - Morlaix, the sweep was completed without any excitement. There was quite a lot of flak from Kerlin Bastard ( Lorient ). All aircraft returned safely to base landing at 1500 hours,

          29th January     Eleven Typhoon aircraft including Wing Commander Baker flew to R.A.F. Beaulieu at first light with Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron. One of our pilots crash landed near Hurn due to a petrol blockage, the pilot was unhurt and the aircraft was badly damaged.          Nine Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off from R.A.F. Beaulieu with one Typhoon of No.193 Squadron. Wing Commander Baker had to drop out as he burst a tyre on take off. They flew at zero feet climbing to one thousand five hundred feet making landfall north east of Bayeaux. The formation saw Caen Airfield clearly but there were no enemy aircraft on it. As the weather was clear they climbed to four thousand feet near to Chartres the turned and returned leaving the coast near to the point of their entry. There was slight flak at the coast. No enemy aircraft were sighted. One of our Typhoon aircraft and one from No.193 Squadron had to return early as the No.266 Squadron Typhoon was running rough. These two aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer the other aircraft landed at R.A.F. Beaulieu.

          30th January     At 1425 hours ten Typhoon aircraft including Wing Commander Baker took off from R.A.F. Beaulieu to sweep the Paris area, but on reaching the Needles they were recalled as fifty enemy aircraft were reported operating and our operation was considered too small. They landed back at R.A.F. Beaulieu at 1445 hours.          A Rodeo round Paris was called for in the afternoon starting at 1150 hours. This time sixteen aircraft including No.257 Squadron and No.193 Squadron were to take part, but on the formation making landfall saw that the weather overland was u/s so they returned, landing back at R.A.F. Beaulieu again at 1705 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. ( Form 540 ) for the month of January was signed by :-  Squadron Leader P. W. Lefevre.

The Squadron O.R.B. ( Form 541 ) for the month of January was signed by :-  Pilot Officer K. M. Rogers.

 

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

          2nd January     Only practice flying carried out at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          6th January     Two standing patrols were carried out by a section of Spitfire aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer south of Bolt Head while Typhoon aircraft carried out a sweep in the Cherbourg area. The patrols were uneventful.

          7th January     Standing patrols were carried out by ' B ' Flight from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. During one patrol the section were ordered to intercept two Thunderbolt aircraft and escort them to base. Contact was made with the Thunderbolt aircraft and the escort was carried out.

          8th - 14th January     No flying days from R.A.F. Harrowbeer for No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron.

          15th January     Standing patrols carried out at all No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron Flights covering an area south of Bolt Head to the Lizard, Cornwall and Portland, Dorset. All patrols were uneventful.

          16th January     A no flying day from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Information has been received today from Headquarters No.10 Group that the Station is being re-equipped with - Warwick I aircraft in place of the Anson aircraft. Thus the aircraft establishment will be :-   4 + 2  Spitfire MKV     4 + 1  Warwick ASR I     and     4 + 2  Walrus / Sea Otters

          18th and 19th January     No flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          20th January     Only practice flying carried out.

          21st January     A section of Spitfire aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer were on patrol at 1440 hours and were diverted to a position two hundred and twenty degrees to search for a Typhoon aircraft pilot who had given a " MAY  DAY ". The area was searched for approximately thirty minutes when the section had to return to base as fuel was running low. This search was continued when a Walrus aircraft from ' B ' Flight was ordered off at 1555 hours to search a position one hundred and ninety degrees ASI ninety knots. On the way out the pilot of the Walrus aircraft gathered from the R/T talk that the pilot in the sea was not being orbited, but the aircraft was searching for him. The Walrus pilot decided to continue south of the position and search east to west towards north. After fifty five minutes he turned west and sighted two fair sized islands to port and land ahead. The islands were probably those off the French Coast north of west of Lannion. Four Spitfire aircraft then arrived as escort but only remained about fifteen minutes and disappeared. The Walrus aircraft was then ordered to return to base, but owing to increased winds landfall was made about ten miles west of Portland Bill. A homing was obtained from R.A.F. Exeter. Owing to the shortage of fuel the Walrus aircraft landed and re-fueled at R.A.F. Exeter returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer later in the evening at 2040 hours. It was later learned that the Typhoon pilot had gone straight into the sea.

          22nd January     No flying from any of the Flights, bales blowing for most of the day.

          23rd January     A section of Spitfire aircraft patrolled south of Bolt Head today. The patrol was uneventful.

          24th to 28th January     A section of Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight carried out a practice search in co-operation with High Speed Launches ( H.S.L's ).          Squadron Leader Brown, Officer Commanding No.277 Air Sea Rescue Squadron arrived today with a Sea Otter aircraft to give the Squadron pilots the ' Gen '.

          30th January     Only practice flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer today. One of the pilots received some dual control instruction flights on the Sea Otter aircraft by Squadron Leader Brown before he had to leave later in the day.

          General :-  There was a total of fifteen non flying days at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for ' B ' Flight of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron this month. Only one rescue search was carried out on the 21st January. The rest of the month was spent on patrols and practice flying including :-  air to ground firing, navigational exercises in the Lundy Island area, cine camera gun attack work, dual instruction, practice sea landings, air to sea firing, local flying by new pilots and dinghy drop practice ( drop and search ).

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

 

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

December  1943

Wing Commander J. Butterworth remains the Station Commander for R.A.F. Harrowbeer, but the O.R.B. for December was signed by Squadron Leader J. M. Littler.

 

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

          Wing Commander Hatcher  _  Headquarters A.D.G.B. ( Air Defence of Great Britain )

          Squadron Leader Jones  -  Headquarters Maintenance Command

          Flight Lieutenant Harris  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Squadron Leader Modley  -  Officer Commanding R.A.F. Station Bolt Head

          Group Captain Alexander  -  R.A.F. Mount Batten

          Group Captain Hobb  -  Dartmouth

          Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes  -  Headquarters No.19 Group

          Flight Lieutenant Mount  -  D.A.P.M.'s Department

          Squadron Leader Bradley  -  R.A.F. Station Davidstow

          Flight Lieutenant Maniston  -  Command Catering Officer, Headquarters A.D.G.B.

          Flying Officer Daniel  -  Command Salvage Officer, Headquarters A.D.G.B.

          Wing Commander Sissmore  -  Headquarters No.19 Group

          Various un-named Army Officers  -  British and American

 

Weather

          1st December     The weather today was reasonable with 5/10 cloud and visibility fair to good.

          2nd December     The weather is duffing up a bit - 10/10 cloud and rain showers but visibility still holding at fair to good.

          3rd December     Bad today with rain and 8/10 cloud.

          4th December     Quite a reasonable day for this part of the country although very cold and windy. 10/10 cloud about but with good visibility.

          5th December     The weather remains much the same although the wind has increased, the temperature is freezing but visibility fair. Any aircraft taking off for flights is finding the landing of the aircraft quite hazardous.

          6th December     Today is pretty bad and generally uninviting being very cold with low clouds, strong winds and rain showers.

          7th December     The weather seems to be improving with quite a reasonable morning. 3/10 cloud, cold and clear.

          8th December     A grim day.     No flying.     Heavy rain and visibility less than one mile.

          9th December     The weather was bad this morning, clearing in the afternoon in the Harrowbeer area.

          10th December     Today the weather remained bad for the whole of the day, 10/10 low cloud down on the hills. The " OCC " in with a vengeance.     No flying.

          11th December     " OCC " still in, though lifting in the afternoon but not enough to permit any flying, remaining cold with good visibility.

          12th December     The weather is still bad. There were a few flights in the morning but nothing again in the afternoon.

          13th December     The morning started hazy and freezing, 8/10 cloud, clearing in the afternoon eventually.

          14th December     The " OCC " tried very hard today but only managed to get as far as ' Spooner's Feature '. Thick haze from the south, east and south west but remained reasonably cold and clear around the aerodrome.

          15th December     Not at all pleasant today, 7/10 clouds at two thousand five hundred feet and cold with thick fog beneath.

          16th December     The " OCC " in with a vengeance, practically no visibility, 10/10 low cloud and therefore no flying.

          17th December     The " OCC " is still with us. Wet and cold, still no flying today.

          18th December     The weather is starting to clear a little, 5/10 cloud with visibility fair to good.

          19th December     Back to another grim day, 10/10 cloud. Visibility at times less than two miles.

          20th December     Starting to clear up again, fine with good visibility

          21st December     Today started pretty poorly, rain all morning, but is improving as the day progresses.

          22nd December     Quite a reasonable day for a change. 5/10 cloud with visibility fair to good.

          23rd December     A moderate kind of a day, but becoming duff as the day continues. 10/10 low cloud down to the hills all morning, clearing for a short spell in the afternoon.

          24th December     Not a very satisfactory day so far as the weather is concerned, frosty, but there were a few bright intervals, however the weather clamped down eventually towards evening.

          25th December     Yet another duff day. Weather totally unfit for flying.

          26th December     Another miserable day with the usual thick fog and intermittent rain storms making flying impossible.

          27th December     The usual mist prevails with visibility down to one thousand yards. 10/10 low cloud, weather u/s for flying for most of the day.

          28th December     Today is much better at last. 10/10 cloud.

          29th December     Another reasonable day but no good for flying.

          30th December     Today was pretty average, 6/10 cloud with visibility fair to good.

          31st December     The weather today is fairly good although there are patches of haze about, 7/10 cloud with good visibility.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

          1st December     Wing Commander Hatcher from Headquarters A.D.G.B. ( Air Defence of Great Britain ) visited the Station in connection with armament matters.

          6th December     Squadron Leader Jones from Headquarters Maintenance Command visited No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron.

          7th December     Flight Lieutenant Harris from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station in connection with equipment matters.

          11th December     A ' Station Gas Defence Exercise ' took place on the Station to which the reaction of all personnel was entirely satisfactory.          Squadron Leader Modley - the Officer Commanding R.A.F. Station Bolt Head visited the Station.

          12th December     A ' Station Defence Exercise ( Eros ) ' was held on the Station. The exercise was attended by a number of Army Officers, both British and American as well as Group Captain Alexander of R.A.F. Mount Batten, Group Captain Hobb from Dartmouth and Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes from Headquarters No.19 Group.

          13th December     Flight Lieutenant Mount of D.A.P.M.'s Department visited the Station as well as Squadron Leader Bradley from R.A.F. Station Davidstow.

          15th December     Flight Lieutenant Maniston - Command Catering Officer from Headquarters A.D.G.B. and Flying Officer Daniel - Command Salvage Officer ( H.Q.A.D.G.B. ) visited the Station in connection with their respective departments.          The road and rail parties of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron left R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer, the Squadron having been posted to R.A.F. Bircham Newton. Their departure is generally regretted and the Station will always be pleased to see them whenever they are in this part of the world.

          18th December     The Air party of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron took off for R.A.F. Bircham Newton.

          25th December     Christmas Day.     The day was kept as a holiday as far as the exigencies of the service would permit, and the usual Christmas procedure was observed. The Sergeant's Mess was invited to the Officer's Mess at 1100 hours, a goodly number of gallons of beer disappeared, and a pleasant time was had by all. After this the Officers and Sergeants adjourned to the Airmen's Mess and carried out the time honoured custom of serving the Airmen and Airwomen Christmas dinner. The latter including :- turkey, pork, a notable variety of vegetables and trimmings, plum pudding, jellies, cheese and biscuits, beer and ten cigarettes per head - not to mention Father Christmas carrying the Christmas pudding ( in flames ) round the hall. From reports received it can be stated without fear of contradiction that no one went away empty. After this the Officers were entertained in the Sergeant's Mess and in the afternoon there was a first class E.N.S.A. show which was much appreciated. This was followed by a terrific tea and in the evening when there was a Station dance. Everything went well and a great credit is due to all who were responsible for organising the festivities. It should also be recorded that, contrary to the usual practice, the Officers had their Christmas dinner followed by a dance on Christmas Eve, this making it possible for Mess staff to join in the general celebrations of Christmas Day.

          30th December     Wing Commander J. Butterworth ( the Station Commander ) departed for Scotland for a fourteen day course on Combined Operations. Squadron Leader J. M. Littler ( Officer Commanding No.276 ( ASR ) Squadron ) assumed the duties of the Station Commander.          Wing Commander Sissmore from Headquarters No.19 Group visited the Station.

 

Appendix  " A "

 Station Defence Exercise ' Eros '

This exercise took place on Sunday morning 12th December 1943 and was designed to test the defence of Yelverton sub-sector and in particular R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer.

One Battalion of an American combat team was the ' enemy ' and it's job was to overwhelm the strongpoint for the defence of R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer, vis :- Spooner's Feature and then consolidate. The counter attack by another complete American combat team was to be put in.

The defence of Spooner's Feature were in the hands of four Flights of the Station personnel - Lion, Tiger, Leopard and Puma, and two platoons of the Home Guard. In addition - Panther Flight was to originally concentrate near the Station Small Arms Stores where there were other Home Guard and a few R.A., C.M.P. and Pioneers in the vicinity.

The opening of the attack for both sides was supposed to be signalled by the dropping of one hundred and fifty Airborne troops. Action was not to start before 0900 hours, but unfortunately owing to the weather this part of the scheme was delayed and eventually abandoned. This caused confusion and while the defences were told to wait, the enemy started to move in. This was made worse by some deliberate cheating, ' B ' Company of the enemy moved in at about 0800 hours and had over-run one strong Home Guard area and the Small Arms Store before the exercise was due to start. At 0919 hours defensive news of the start of the exercise was given and the R.A.F. defences were immediately manned. The enemy who started early, unfortunately over-ran some positions on Spooner's Feature by 0930 hours before the defences arrived and R.A.F. personnel were never properly organised, because as each man arrived he was hurled into battle. The ground crew of Squadrons and Echelons were unable to take part, as they were engaged on local protection of the airfield, although nearly thirty members of No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron arrived to give valuable help.

Aircraft of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron took off immediately at 0919 hours and sent back valuable information of the enemies movements and ground strafed the enemy troops. In theory all aircraft were to take off as rapidly as possible, attack enemy aircraft and troops on the ground, send back information and when ammunition was exhausted they were to fly to R.A.F. Exeter or another safe airfield. It was estimated that seventy five per cent of the aircraft would have got off in this manner. This side of the ' battle ' was run by the Commanding Officer from Flying Control.

The main attack developed on the east and south of Spooner's Feature and the R.A.F. and Home Guard were slowly pushed back. Tiger Flight suffered heavy casualties and were reinforced by Puma Flight ( the reserve on the Feature ) being sent to help them.

As soon as the extent of the threat was known, orders were sent out for other troops outside to concentrate on Spooner's Feature. The remnants of Panther Flight, Home Guard, R.A. and C.M.P.'s from areas which had been over-run arrived to help. In particular about one hundred men of ' E ' Company Home Guard from Bere Alston arrived from the west. There they contacted detachments of Lion Flight and the Home Guard and joined up with them.

At 1055 hours the Controllers decided that the resistance on Spooner's Feature must cease so that the remainder of the exercise could be continued. At that time there was still R.A.F. and Home Guard sniping, about fifteen men of Lion Flight were undiscovered apart from the ' E ' Company and R.A.F. of about one hundred and thirty men referred to above who now counter attacked the Feature from the west. They were making excellent progress, but unfortunately the umpire had to rule them out at about 1115 hours in order that the enemy be given proper opportunity to consolidate. The Battle Headquarters was never found by the enemy.

The enemy consolidated and were counter attacked by one Battalion of Infantry and one Regimental Artillery of the supporting combat team which had been considerably delayed by road mining, etc. The counter attack was ruled successful by 1300 hours and the exercise concluded.

While the umpires had many criticisms to make - some of them were caused by their being unfamiliar with R.A.F. conditions and were unjustified. An example being the lack of field telephones in all A.A. Posts, the distribution of arms and ammunition, the necessity for the Station to remain on an operational basis - however both they and the enemy praised the fire discipline of the R.A.F. The R.A.F. reached Spooner's Feature in excellent time and in spite of delay in the issue of field telephones and Browning machine guns caused by the Control staff the positions that had not been over-run were manned in a maximum of thirty minutes. As Spooner's Feature is two miles from the Communal and Technical Sites this was a fine performance.

In spite of the unfair advantage taken by the enemy at the start, their greater numbers and the necessity for a ' scramble ' by the R.A.F. it must be recorded that the official verdict was that the defence of Spooner's Feature was held.

 

Signed by :-  H. Moorland    Major  L.D.A. Harrowbeer

 

Appendix  ' B '

Physical Fitness and Entertainment for Form 540     December  1943

December has seen a reorganisation in P.T. on the Station, Echelons and Dispersal Points being visited by P.T.I.'s.     Air crew ( in accordance with the recently circulated command letter ) are now scheduled to a minimum of eight hours P.T. per month in the Station Gymnasium.

Sport

Soccer :-    A Station XI played in the Plymouth Combination League weekly and occasionally friendly games as arranged with nearby units for section teams, in many case leading to social functions. An inter-section league has great support for most sections.

Rugby :-     Matches have been played when operations permit by No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron who are extremely keen on the game.

Badminton :-     One of the few indoor sports available continues to increase in popularity.

Squash :-     Air crew make full use of all facilities for this game on the Station, there is some shortage however of racquets.

Entertainment

The following is a brief summary of entertainment on the Station

Cinema :-     E.N.S.A.                                 3 shows

                    Station                                   4 shows

                   Cinema in the Officer's Mess     4 shows

Stage :-        E.N.S.A.                                 3 shows

                    Dances                                   3

                    Whist Drives                           4

                    Gramophone Concerts            4

                    Padre's Social Hour                 Weekly

Wall Newspaper :-     This feature ' The Typhoon ' has been extremely popular and contributions are greater than the space available.

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540

          1st December     The strength of the Station including Unit R.A.F. Bolt Head and Units attached for medical administration :-  R.A.F.  =  1599     W.A.A.F.  =  414     Army  =  135

          3rd December     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  20     W.A.A.F.  =  11     Army  =  3

          3rd December     A Sapper on leave at Horrabridge from No.2 Posting Depot B.N.R.E. Halifax was admitted to Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital, Plymouth with a ' bullet wound to his right foot ' caused when his rifle ' went off ' when he was cleaning it.

          3rd December     A Liberator aircraft crashed at Steeperton Tor - an ambulance from No.115 Station Hospital co-operated and all casualties were admitted to the Station Hospital.

          10th December     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-   R.A.F.  =  7     W.A.A.F.  =  9     Army  =  2

          17th December     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  12     W.A.A.F.  =  0     Army  =  2

          21st December     A Typhoon aircraft crashed at Colcharton Farm. The pilot was admitted to the Station Sick Quarters suffering from bruises and shock.

          24th December     Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :-  R.A.F.  =  9     W.A.A.F.  =  2     Army  =  1

          25th December     A Flying Fortress aircraft crashed at Shelstone Tor. The casualties were admitted directly to No.115 Station Hospital.

          27th December     A Liberator aircraft crashed at Hamel Down. The casualties were admitted direct to the U.S. Army Hospital, Stover.

          28th December     A Liberator aircraft crashed near Black Tor. The casualties were admitted direct to No115 Station Hospital, U.S. Army.

          28th December     A Typhoon aircraft had engine trouble whilst at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. It turned over and caught fire. The pilot was removed by personnel in the vicinity and was treated for burns to his face, he was then admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth.

The Form 540 for the month of December was signed by :- Squadron Leader F. Constable, Senior Medical Officer.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st December     Four Typhoon aircraft of ' B ' Flight flew to R.A.F. Predannack at 1045 hours and later took off from there to act as anti-flak cover for two Mosquito bomber aircraft being escorted by eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron Typhoon aircraft attacking a ship near the Ile de Groix. Only one of the Mosquito bombers took off. No.193 Squadron acted as anti-flak at the northern end of the Isle. Two aircraft attacked a minesweeper and observed good results. The Mosquito bomber attacked and scored a near miss and later flew into the sea. On the return journey one of the pilots saw a JU88 ( German Aircraft ) which was attacked and destroyed. One of the No.193 Squadron pilots was forced to bale out into the sea thirty miles south of Land's End, Cornwall and was rescued by a H.S.L. ( high speed launch ) after about one and a half hours. This is No.193 Squadron's first enemy aircraft. The remaining three No.193 Squadron aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1315 hours.

          2nd December     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron represented our share of the ' Harrowbeer Wing ' and escorted twenty four Boston Bomber aircraft to a target south of Cherbourg. One of the Boston aircraft had one engine put out of action by flak, but managed to return safely.

          3rd December     Eight Typhoon aircraft indulged in a fighter sweep in the Rennes area.

          4th December     Four Typhoon aircraft of ' A ' Flight were airborne with No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron on a sweep in the Rennes area. Bad weather on the other side of the Channel forced the aircraft to keep low.

          5th December     The ' Harrowbeer Wing ' is airborne to cover the withdrawal of two hundred Liberator aircraft from a mission in the Lorient area.

          6th December     Eight Typhoon aircraft were airborne and flew to R.A.F. Predannack in the late morning on stand by duties.

          7th December     The eight Typhoon aircraft returned from R.A.F. Predannack.

          9th December     Bad weather in the morning, clearing in the afternoon when flying practice could be carried out including a small amount of bombing practice off Dawlish.

          10th and 11th December     Two days of no flying due to the bad weather conditions.

          12th December     Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled after a ' bogey ' ( enemy aircraft ) which turned out to be friendly.

          13th December     ' A ' Flight took over the state of readiness early in the afternoon to allow No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron to do a Squadron " Balbo ".

          16th December     Another no flying day.

          17th December     A Roadstead with torpedo Beaufighter aircraft was laid on, but at dawn this was cancelled because of the weather conditions.

          18th December     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron and eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron were airborne at 1100 hours as withdrawal cover to torpedo Beaufighter aircraft being escorted by aircraft of No.183 Squadron. The target being a ship - the ' Pietro Orecle ' of four thousand seven hundred tons laying off Concarneau. The weather over France prevented the ' Wing ' from flying at twelve thousand to seven thousand feet. Landfall was made at Ile de Batz and from there to Concardeau, the ' Wing ' flew at deck level and returned via Penmarche Point, Seine Isles and Ushant. Rain, low cloud and low visibility being encountered all the way from Concerdeau. Control vectored the ' Wing ' to R.A.F. Predannack where a landing under very adverse conditions was made. There was great disappointment by all concerned as the party and house warming at Whistley ( the Squadron Mess ) was missed.

          19th December     The eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron that were at R.A.F. Predannack returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer and the party and house warming took place in the evening to the satisfaction of everyone.

          20th December     Ten Dakota aircraft dropped paratroopers near Yelverton in the morning and then landed on the aerodrome.          ' B ' Flight on state have two scrambles, but see nothing.          Seven Typhoon aircraft took off at 1455 hours to fly to R.A.F. Predannack in the early afternoon and later carried out a sweep with No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron from Raz Point to Rennes. The aircraft flew to within six miles west of Ushant, climbing to twelve thousand feet in a gentle turn. Diving they crossed the French Coast at Raz Point and then flew at deck level near to Rennes and then turned north returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 1640 hours.

          22nd December     Quite a reasonable day with two operations. Both operations required No.193 Squadron and No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron to escort Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.183 Squadron who would attack the installations at Martinvast near Cherbourg.          The first trip in the late morning gave very good bombing conditions with moderate flak experienced, the bombs were not seen to explode.          The second trip in the middle of the afternoon gave bad bombing conditions, the bombers diving through a small gap in the clouds and all the bombs were seen to explode.

          23rd December     Local practice flying including air tests, camera gun work and formation flying.

          24th December     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron went off to escort six Bomphoons ( Typhoon bomber aircraft ) of No.183 Squadron. This Ramrod operation was carried out from R.A.F. Predannack and went according to plan. No enemy aircraft were seen.

          25th December     Christmas Day ( on the moors ) heralds another duff day, no flying.

          26th December     Yet another miserable day making flying impossible.          This evening and on a moderate scale, a very happy party continued, celebrations in the Officer's Mess, before sojourning to ' Whistley ' for the usual discussions and commentaries.

          27th December     The Squadron is on state this morning, but heavens knows why! The usual mist prevails with visibility one thousand yards.

          28th December     Another day of practice flying, which was marred by a terrible aircraft accident. Unfortunately on just getting airborne, three quarters of the way along the runway one of the pilots had his engine cut out on his Typhoon aircraft. He had not the time to get both undercarriage wheels up and attempt a belly landing, with the result that he came a nasty cropper just beyond the end of the runway. The port undercart which had stayed down when he hit the ground caused the aircraft to turn over onto it's back. One of the Typhoon's long range fuel tanks immediately burst into flames and soon the greatest part of the aircraft was ablaze. As the cabin hood had not caved in it looked a bad show for the pilot, however to the amazement of most and with a little assistance the pilot was out and smiling through his burns and bruises in a matter of seconds. It is expected that the pilot will make a full recovery quite soon. The Commanding Officer and one or two of the other pilots paid him a visit during the evening and found him enjoying the atmosphere of the Plymouth Royal Naval Hospital, the nurses having proved most attentive and efficient.

         29th December     Today marks the first anniversary of the history of ' No.193 Squadron '. The Squadron was formed at this Station ( Harrowbeer ) a year ago today and looking back over the previous twelve months there is quite a lot to be proud of. The only disappointment has been the atrocious bad luck of the Squadron pilots in not meeting enemy aircraft. The total of half of a JU88 is not an imposing record, so far as enemy aircraft destroyed is concerned, but there are a dozen ships that have been damaged during sweeps.

The Squadron started with no aircraft and most of the pilots came from O.T.U.'s ( Operational Training Units ). These pilots have been trained and despite postings are operational on Typhoons.

A very happy celebration was held tonight, starting at the ' Skylark ' around 2000 hours, pilots and all ground staff of ' No.193 Squadron ' had a highly satisfactory time. After the ' lubricating ' period at the ' Skylark ' all congregated at ' Whistley ' - the Squadron Mess and continued until well after midnight.          The Commanding Officer took the opportunity of dishing out cigarettes, cigars and various South American foods - including a special type of cheese!!  To all concerned these ' dainties ' had kindly been sent by our Brazilian God-Parents from the Embassy in London.

          30th December     In the afternoon eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft carried out a Rodeo at zero feet. No enemy aircraft were seen. Two Squadron aircraft were hit by flak. One had a terrific hole just behind the cockpit, the port wing bearing several holes and the steel cable rudder controls cut. The aircraft is classified as Category ' B '. The second aircraft managed to complete the sweep with a badly damaged starboard wing.          Today saw the arrival of  new Typhoon aircraft incorporating the latest type of sliding hood. This is the first of it's kind to reach the Squadron. Much favourable comments made and it is to be hoped that more will be arriving in the very near future.

          31st December     This is the last day of 1943.          At 0938 hours eight No.193 Squadron Typhoon aircraft took part in Ramrod No.118. The operation was carried out as planned, making landfall north of Morlaix at eight thousand feet. They swept above the cloud to south west of Morlaix to Guipavas, re-crossing the coast at Pontuval. No enemy aircraft or shipping were sighted. There was moderate heavy flak experienced from the Guipavas area. All aircraft landed back at base at 1104 hours.          At 1554 hours four Typhoon aircraft were sent off on an Air Sea Rescue search twenty miles, east to west out from the English Coast to Guernsey. No trace could be found of a dinghy. Two barrage balloons were seen and there was light flak from the north east corner of Guernsey, otherwise the search was uneventful. The sweeping search was carried out at different heights between zero and five hundred feet. All four Typhoon s landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1709 hours.

So it's " good-bye " 1943 and here's to 1944.

A special tribute is paid to two members of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron ground crew who by their quick action and disregard of possible injury enabled the pilot of the Typhoon aircraft that overturned and was burning on the 28th December 1943 to be rescued.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of December was signed by :-  Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake.

 

No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-

          1st December     Eight Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Predannack with four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron and one Mosquito aircraft on a Roadstead to attack a motor vessel of four thousand tons near Groix Island. The formation flew at zero feet and when approaching Groix Island saw the large merchant ship and several armed trawlers or minesweepers. No.193 Squadron acted as anti-flak cover and attacked the ships, but the Mosquito aircraft dropped it's bombs a bit short then hit the sea itself and went in. At this moment Red Section ( four aircraft ) saw a JU52 ( German enemy aircraft ) ( Raus I ) fitted with a mine detecting ring flying at three hundred feet. Two of the pilots of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron attacked the enemy aircraft which was seen to hit the sea, they are claiming one JU52 destroyed ( shared ). Red Section then continued flying east round the Island coming out to the south and getting a lot of flak from ships and the Island. Blue Section of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron went to the south of the Island and attacked two minesweepers the turned about for home. As they approached Cap Chevre with two Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron they saw two JU88 ( German enemy aircraft ), one of them escaped into the cloud and the other was attacked by a pilot of No.193 Squadron setting it's starboard motor on fire. Two of the No.266 Squadron pilots each fired at the JU88 and sent it into the sea. The enemy aircraft is claimed as destroyed and shared as one half to No.193 Squadron and one half to No.266 Squadron. As this combat was taking place a section of No.266 Squadron aircraft flying near Glenan Islands saw another JU88, one of the pilots attacked pressing his attack home at very short range. The other pilot saw strikes on the enemy aircraft and the attacker broke away, this was the last time that this No.266 Squadron pilot was seen. It is assumed that he was hit by the JU88 rear gunner. The enemy aircraft was further attacked by the three remaining No.266 Squadron Typhoons which was hit several times and eventually crashed into the sea. The aircraft is claimed as one JU88 destroyed by four pilots ( one quarter each ).

          2nd December     Four Typhoon aircraft flew to Ushant and Raz Point searching for the downed No.266 Squadron pilot from the 1st December 1943, but nothing was found.          Seven Typhoon aircraft took off on Ramrod 111 at 1140 hours from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to escort twenty four Boston Bomber aircraft with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron to bomb a special target, ( Martinvast ) south of Cherbourg. The formation made a rendezvous with the twenty four Boston bombers over Portland Bill. They then escorted the Boston bombers to the target area where they saw the target as a large brown patch among green fields. The bombing looked good. There was moderate to intense heavy flak directed at the bombers. The bombers were escorted over the target and then back to base where all aircraft returned safely landing at 1335 hours.

          3rd December     Eight Typhoon aircraft took off at 1425 hours to sweep to the north of the Gael - Rennes district, but at ten thousand feet there was too much cloud to see anything. There were no enemy aircraft seen and no flak experienced. There were no incidents of any kind. All aircraft returned safely landing at 1620 hours.          Back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer an attempt was made by six Typhoon aircraft to carry out air to air firing but the drogue was shot away.

          4th December     Four No.266 Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Predannack along with four Typhoons of No.193 Squadron to sweep Gael - Rennes - St. Malo area. They flew at zero feet making landfall west of Ushant. The operation went without incident and one hour later four Typhoon aircraft with four Bomphoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron carried out an armed shipping reconnaissance at zero feet into Douarnenez Bay and flew out between Ushant and the mainland. There was no sign of enemy aircraft or shipping.

          5th December     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron ( of which two returned early ) flew with six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron and eight aircraft of No.257 Squadron to a point on the south coast of the Brest Peninsular ( Moklan-Sur-Mere ) at twelve thousand feet. They were to rendezvous with two hundred and forty Flying Fortress aircraft and together with various Spitfire Wings escort them safely home. A few minutes before rendezvous a large unescorted formation of sixty to eighty Liberator aircraft were seen at the same height, twelve thousand feet, as the Flying Fortresses were going to be. They were escorted back home to Portland. No Flying Fortresses were seen. No enemy aircraft were seen and no flak.

          6th December     Seven Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Predannack in bad weather conditions to take part in an operation, but it was cancelled. These seven Typhoon aircraft were unable to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer due to the bad weather.

          7th December     The seven Typhoon aircraft stranded at R.A.F. Predannack yesterday returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer today.          The Squadron were released in the afternoon and most of the pilots played rugger, some went into Plymouth.

          8th December     No flying today due to the poor weather conditions.         There was a party at the Rock Hotel in the evening.

          9th December     Only limited practice flying carried out, again due to the terrible weather conditions.

          10th December     Again no flying today owing to the bad weather, there were low clouds down on the hills.

          11th December     No operational flying, but practice flying was carried out including :- battle formation, air to sea firing, air to ground firing at the Bolt Head ranges and a practice attack on a Sunderland Flying Boat.

          12th December     The airfield was attacked by ground troops and mock attacks were carried out on them by two Typhoon aircraft. The ground personnel formed pockets of resistance around the drome until being wiped out. A practice scramble was also undertaken. ( See Appendix ' A ' )

          15the December     Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 1250 hours and flew to Bolt Head. They were then instructed to orbit and finally told that the enemy aircraft had returned to their base. The two Typhoons were re-called to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 1320 hours.

          16th December     The weather for the past four days has been terrible with only a limited amount of practice flying taking place.          The afternoon today was taken up by clearing up the ground around our dispersal areas, we all got very wet and dirty. As it was " Dingaars Day " most of the Squadron went to the ' London Inn' at Horrabridge and had a wild party.

          17th December     Again no flying today.          It was a big day on aircraft recognition for the Squadron.

          18th December     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron along with Typhoons from No.193 Squadron took off at 1115 hours and were to make rendezvous with six torpedo carrying Beaufighter aircraft. They made landfall at Isle de Batz at ten thousand feet, they then flew overland to Concarmeau Harbour at five thousand feet and saw the target ship off Jument Point along with several small boats. The Beaufighter aircraft were to attack the M24 ( the Piettro Orsealo ) a four hundred and fifty foot long motor vessel. No.266 and No.193 Squadrons were dead on time for arrival at the rendezvous with the ship which was seen, but the Beaufighters were twenty minutes late. We swept over the area and returned by the sea route round Ushant landing at R.A.F. Predannack at 1320 hours via the Brest Penninsulr. There were no enemy aircraft and no flak. We later heard that the Beaufighters scored two torpedo hits, but the boat is still afloat. The eight No.266 Squadron pilots got weather-bound at R.A.F. Predannack and had to spend the night there, much to their annoyance as there was to have been a party at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          19th December     The eight Typhoon aircraft flew back from R.A.F. Predannack today landing in very poor conditions.

          20th December     Eleven Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off at 1450 hours from R.A.F. Predannack and crossed the French Coast at Raz Point at ten thousand feet. They swept east losing height in bad weather to near Gael Airfield and then at zero feet over St. Brieuc Airfield crossing out at Minnard Point and so home. There was no shipping and no enemy aircraft seen throughout the operation. Very little flak was experienced.

          21st December     No operational flying today, only practice flights consisting of flight formation and cine camera gun work.          One of the pilots had his engine cut out when at three thousand feet, but he brought off a successful crash landing near Tavistock. The Typhoon aircraft was smashed but the pilot unhurt. The cause was lack of petrol to the engine, the reason has not yet been discovered. If this is a failure on behalf of the aircraft it is the first for a long time.

          22nd December     Twelve of the Squadron's Typhoon aircraft along with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took part in an operation where they were to act as escort in two attacks by No.183 Squadron Bomphoon aircraft on a special target at Martinvast.           On the first attack the aircraft took off at 1050 hours and rendezvoused over base before flying to the target area, which they managed to identify. The Bomphoons were seen making their bombing run but it was not possible to see any of the bomb bursts. There was slight medium flak from the target area. No. enemy aircraft were seen. Two Typhoon aircraft had to return early landing at 1110 hours as one of the aircraft had developed engine trouble. The other ten aircraft landed at 1220 hours.          The second operation involved nine Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron which took of at 1455 hours from R.A.F. Harrowbeer with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron to escort eleven Bomphoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron to bomb a special target at Martinvast. 8/10 cloud was found over the Cherbourg Penninsular. The bombers were able to dive through a gap in the clouds and carry out their bombing run. The escort did not see anything of the target or any of the bomb bursts due to the cloud. There was very little flak and no sign of any enemy aircraft. All aircraft landed back at base at 1615 hours.

          24th December    Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off at 1220 hours from R.A.F. Predannack escorting six Bomphoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron on Ramrod No.116 to bomb Guipavas Airfield. The aircraft rendezvoused over base before crossing the French Coast near Pontsuval and swept over Guipavas from east to west on a bombing run. The results of the bombing appeared to be very good, bomb bursts were seen among the Station buildings, Dispersal area and landing ground. Hits were observed on the buildings and Hangars, but no enemy aircraft were seen on the ground or in the air. Moderate inaccurate flak was experienced. All aircraft landed back at base at 1345 hours.          There was a large scale party in the Officer's Mess to which ladies were invited. There was dancing and much singing - a very good party.

          25th December     Christmas Day     Weather unfit for flying and all the Squadron were released.          The Sergeants were invited to the Officer's Mess and then the Officers served dinner in the Airmen's Mess. An extremely good dinner too. This was followed by a party in the Sergeant's Mess and then gentle parties for the rest of the day. A good time was had by all.

          26th December     The weather u/s again.          A visit to the Moorland Links Hotel before lunch and then continued a very amusing session in the Mess until a late lunch.           Five pilots of ' B ' Flight are ill with very bad colds, but they are still bearing up.

          27th December     Still no flying due to the weather conditions.          The Squadron was released again in the afternoon when nearly all of them attended a dance at the Moorland Links Hotel.

          28th December     A pilot of No.193 Squadron crashed his Typhoon aircraft at the end of one of the runways. One of his long range fuel tanks came off and exploded causing a large fire. His aircraft went on a few yards further thus getting out of the worst of the fire, but it was burning slightly upside down with the pilot trapped inside. Two ground crew from No.266 Squadron were first at the scene and somehow got the jammed door open and they pulled the pilot out, not too badly hurt. A good effort by those two lads.

          29th December     Another no flying day, most of the pilots spent most of the day shooting at the small firing range.

          30th December     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off at 1320 hours from R.A.F. Predannack and flew west of Ushant round Dankmarch Point towards Kerlin Bastard, when ten miles west of Ile de Croix a JU52 German aircraft with a minesweeping ring was seen flying west at zero feet. Two pilots attacked the JU52 and it fell in flames into the sea. The other six No.266 Squadron aircraft were lined up behind waiting to take their turn in the attack. The Squadron are claiming one JU52 destroyed. The formation then dived over Kerlin Bastard meeting intense flak and returned at three hundred feet overland to R.A.F. Predannack where one of the pilots had to make a wheels up landing as his hydraulics had been damaged by being hit by a piece of debris from the JU52. We heard later that had the Squadron returned by the sea route they would have met several FW190 German aircraft off Brest. A pity, but still a JU52 is something to be going on with.

          31st December     Seven Typhoon aircraft took part in a big operation as fighter sweep. The intention was to fly to Kerlin Bastard, but the operation was abandoned when twenty miles inland of France as the leader's radio transmitter could neither send or receive.          A second sweep was carried out at 1410 hours ( Ramrod No.118 ) by six Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron to Guipavas and St. Brieuc. They flew at zero feet until about ten miles from the French Coast where they started to climb. They found 10/10 cloud over France at three thousand feet and carried on climbing up to ten thousand feet. The formation then swept south over Lannilis to Brest, they then turned north east to Guipavas and out by St. Brieuc Bay where the formation dived down to sea level and then headed back to base. Flying Fortress aircraft were seen at twenty thousand feet over Morlaix and Guipavas with one straggler being escorted by Spitfire aircraft. There were no enemy aircraft seen and no flak experienced. The Typhoon aircraft landed back at base at 1550 hours.          A number of pilots went off to the Moorland Links Hotel and had an excellent evening where they saw the " New Year " in, in great form.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of December was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant J. D. Wright.

 

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

          1st December     ' B ' Flight from R.A.F. Harrowbeer carried out a standing patrol twenty miles south of Bolt Head.

          16th December     Air crew carried out a liaison visit to the Air Sea Rescue launches at Salcombe.

          31st December     From 1030 hours this morning Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight flew continuous patrols south of Bolt Head until 1745 hours.          The section on patrol from 1525 hours sighted a red star light about thirty miles south of Bolt Head and on investigating found two dinghies tied together containing four occupants. Spitfire No.2 dropped a flame float while No.1 climbed to give a ' fix ' and then flew off to locate the H.S.L. ( high speed launch ) which had been contacted and given a course to the dinghies. A further section was then ordered off to relieve the section and reached the position just as they were leaving. The dinghies were again marked by flame float and after ascertaining that the H.S.L. was on it's correct course they returned to base as the weather was closing in. The occupants of the dinghies were picked up at 1800 hours.

There were seven definite no flying days from R.A.F. Harrowbeer during the month, and a further four days when only practice flying could take place. The majority of the rest of the month of December was spent on practice flying which consisted of :- cine camera gun practice, air to air firing, air to ground firing, sector reconnaissance, circuits and landings, sea landing practice and local cross country flights.

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

 

No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron :-

There are no records of rescue sorties or details of work carried out on Forms 540 or 541 for No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron for the month of December.

In the summary noted at the end of December 1943 it states :-

Movements :-  The Squadron detachment ceases on the 14th December 1943 and except for a few left behind for servicing purposes the personnel re-joined the parent unit of R.A.F. Bircham Newton.

The net movements in air crew personnel were :- six Pilots, four Navigators, thirteen Wireless Operators ( air ), five Gunners and two F.M.A. ( A.G. ) posted out.

This summary was signed by :- Wing Commander B. G. Corry  DFC.

 

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

November  1943

Wing Commander J. Butterworth is the Commanding Officer for R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer. The Station Operation Record Book for November was signed by Squadron J. M. Littler.

 

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

          Lieutenant Colonel Hassel  -  Group Defence Officer for No.23 Group

          Flight Lieutenant Cleasby  -  Liaison Officer

          Wing Commander R. H. Haworth-Booth DFC  -  President for District Court Martial

          Squadron Leader L. J. L. Pullar MC  -  Member for District Court Martial

         Flight Lieutenant H. J. Holland  -  Member for District Court Martial

          Squadron Leader B. H. Bowring  -  Member for District Court Martial

          Flight Lieutenant C. P. Barrett  -  Waiting Member for District Court Martial

          Squadron Leader W. M. Andrew  -  Judge Advocate for District Court Martial

          Air Commodore Russell  -  Air Officer Commanding No.70 Group

          The Hon. Herman Hodge  -  Colonial Office

          Squadron Leader Fenwick  -  No.73 Maintenance Unit

          Lieutenant Colonel Ronaldo-Carvalho  -  Brazilian Mission Member

          Captain Hamlet Estelle  -  Brazilian Mission Member

          Captain Henrique Perra  -  Brazilian Mission Member

          Captain Alphonse Arujcosta  -  Brazilian Mission Member

          Flight Lieutenant Dickinson  -  Public Relation Officer for the Air Ministry

          Pilot Officer Prettyman  -  Air Ministry ( Interpreter )

          Dr. Kipping  -  Command Chemical Warfare Advisor

          Wing Commander Godfrey  -  Air Ministry

          Squadron Leader Johnston  -  R.A.F. Station Exeter

 

Weather

          1st November     A poor start to the day. Bad weather resulting in no flying from the Station. Rain for most of the day with low cloud.

          2nd November     Another miserable day. Weather u/s all morning, by 1400 hours the weather had clamped down completely but started to clear in the late P.M.

          3rd November     Yet another " Harrowbeer " day, weather u/s all day. Bags of rain and much low cloud, with a haze at night right down on the deck. Although the rain eventually stopped for a period in the afternoon the weather remained u/s for flying until after dusk when it gradually cleared for a spell.

          4th November     A fairly good morning with good visibility.

          5th November     The day opens with poor weather again, 10/10 low cloud.

          6th November     Today the weather was much better with fairly bright patches.

          7th November     A fairly good day, although there was a lot of cloud about at two thousand feet and intermittent rain showers, visibility was moderate.

          8th November     A filthy day with rain and thick fog right down on the deck with visibility thirty to forty yards, sometimes even less than that.     Even the sturdy moorland ponies " gave up "the main road round the Aerodrome today with a view no doubt to finding somewhere they could at least see the grass they were standing on. To stay around ' Harrowbeer ' on a day such as this a keen sense of smell is of more importance than good eyesight to anyone. In the late afternoon the weather began to clear gradually, although u/s for flying until well after last light.

          9th November     Quite satisfactory start to the day, fair periods throughout with 6/10 cloud.

          10th November     Another favourable morning. Visibility was fair with 8/10 cloud most of the day.

          11th November     A beautiful morning with scattered high cloud and good visibility.

          12th November     A hopeless morning, bags of haze, 10/10 cloud and rain. As the day progressed the weather remained duff, apart from one short bright interval followed by another clamp down.

          13th November     More heavy rain, high winds and thick cloud. The weather was cold and remained duff making flying impossible.

          14th November     A fairly cold bright start to the morning followed by heavy rainstorms from 0930 hours until 1000 hours. Gales were blowing from time to time throughout the day.

          15th November     Another cold but fairly good morning with occasional showers, 5/10 cloud and rather bumpy in the air.

          16th November     A typical cold November morning, clear with much frost. Visibility was good.

          17th November     A favourable morning today with good visibility again.

          18th November     Another reasonable day with the weather. Visibility rated as fair to good.

          19th November     A moderate day. Visibility was fair improving to good as the day progressed.

          20th November     Today was back to the duff weather again. Lots of rain showers and low cloud, visibility was poor but improving throughout the day.

          21st November     Yet another ropey day. Heavy rain later in the day with poor visibility, deteriorating as the day progressed.

          22nd November     Today was a bit better, a fairly good day although there was considerable scattered 10/10 cloud about at times with a spot of rain. Visibility was fair to good.

          23rd November     Another fairly reasonable morning, but still a lot of cloud coming down to the hills with occasional showers.

          24th November     A moderate start to the day with lots of low cloud but gradually closing in. By 1300 hours the weather had clamped down entirely and heavy rainstorms were experienced from then on.

          25th November     A most pleasant change with practically no cloud and excellent visibility.

          26th November      A favourable day, fair with cloud increasing to 8/10.

          27th November     The weather is back to being duff again, cold with 10/10 cloud and bad visibility.

          28th November     A hopeless day again 10/10 cloud and heavy rain. The weather remains duff until last light, lots of heavy mist about.

          29th November     Today was a much better morning, although a very strong wind was blowing over the Aerodrome. There was 8/10 cloud but visibility was poor.

          30th November     Another fairly good morning although there was a considerable haze in broken patches, again 8/10 cloud with fair to good visibility.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

November has been an uneventful month with little of interest from the Station point of view.

          1st November     Flying Officer Craven-Ellis reported for duty today on posting. She assumes command of the W.A.A.F. Section.

          4th November     Lieutenant Colonel Hassell - the Group Defence Officer of No.23 Group visited the Station for a conference with the Local Defence Advisor.

          6th November     Thirty two Air Training Cadets and two Officers of No.1322 Squadron visited the Station on a night visit accompanied by Flight Lieutenant Cleaseby - Liaison Officer. The Sector Commander also paid a visit.

          7th November     Thirty Air Training Cadets and one Officer of No.507 Squadron spent the day at the Station. Luckily the weather was fair and it was found possible to give all members of both Squadrons ' air experience '.

          9th November     The trial by District Court Martial of an airman at R.A.F. Harrowbeer on five different charges commenced today. The composition of the Court was as follows :-

                      President :- Wing Commander R. H. Haworth-Booth DFC

                                Members :- Squadron Leader L. J. L. Pullar M.C.

                                                  Flight Lieutenant H. J. Holland

                                                  Squadron Leader B. H. Bowring

                      Waiting Member :- Flight Lieutenant C. P. Barrett

                      Judge Advocate :- Squadron Leader W. M. Andrew

          10th November     The District Court Martial concluded.

          11th November     Armistice Day Anniversary - no special parades or celebrations.

          17th November     The Hon. Herman Hodge of the Colonial Office visited the Station and was entertained by No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron.

          22nd November     Squadron Leader Fenwick from No.73 Maintenance Unit visited the Station.     A Brazillian Mission visited the Station and were suitably entertained by the Station Commander and the Commanding Officer and members of No.193 ( Bellows of Brazil ) Squadron. The Mission consisted of the following Officers :-

                    Lieutenant Colonel Renaldo-Carvalho

                    Captain Hamlet Estelle

                    Captain Henrique Perra

                    Captain Alphonse Arjucosta

They were escorted by Flight Lieutenant Dickinson - ( Public Relations Officer for the Air Ministry ) and Pilot Officer Prettyman - ( attached to the Air Ministry ), the latter acting as interpreter to the party.     No.193 ( Bellows of Brazil ) Squadron laid on a very interesting programme for the visitors, including some spectacular aerobatics by the Squadron Commander, and a fly-past of the whole Squadron as well as social entertainment in the Mess and elsewhere.

          23rd November    The Brazilian Mission departed well pleased with the arrangements made for their edification.

          24th November     No.2891 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment left for Filey on training duties.

          25th November     A " live " Gas Practice ( decontaminating an aircraft ) using a mustard gas bomb took place on the airfield and was attended by Dr. Kipping ( Command Chemical Warfare Advisor ) and a number of local A.R.P. Authorities and others. No casualties were sustained.

          30th November     Squadron Leader Johnston from R.A.F. Exeter visited the Station Armament Officer.

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Court Martial of a R.A.F. Harrowbeer Airman

 

The airman was tried by District Court Martial at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer on Tuesday and Wednesday the 9th and 10th November 1943 on five charges :-

1st Charge     Section 41 Air Force Act

In that he at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer fraudulently converted to his own use and benefit certain property, that is to say, the sum of £6.2.5 ( six pounds and twelve and a half pence ) received by him for and on account of the Officer in Charge of the Commanding Officer's Benevolent Fund.

2nd Charge     ( Alternative to 1st Charge ) Section 40 Air Force Act.

In that he at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer having received the sum of £6.2.5 for and on account of the Officer in charge of the Commanding Officer's Benevolent Fund neglected as it was his duty to pay the said Officer the sum of money before leaving the said Station on posting.

3rd Charge     Section 41 Air Force Act

In that he at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer fraudulently converted to his own use and benefits certain property, that is to say the sum of £5.13.3 ( five pounds and sixty seven pence ) received by him for and on account of the Officer in Charge of The Commanding Officer's Benevolent Fund.

4th Charge     Section 41 Air Force Act

In that he at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer fraudulently converted to his own use and benefit, that is to say, the sum of £2.2.0 ( two pounds and ten pence ) entrusted to him by another airman in order that he, the accused might apply the same towards purchasing a parting present for an airman.

5th Charge     Section 40 Air Force Act

In that he at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer improperly caused subscriptions to be collected from R.A.F. Personnel at the said Station for the purpose of purchasing a parting present for an airman.

          The Court found the accused Not Guilty on the 2nd charge, but Guilty of the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th charges. He was sentenced to be ( 1 ) reduced to the ranks and ( 2 ) to undergo detention for 112 days.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

 

Appendix  ' B '

R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer Physical Fitness and Entertainment  -  November 1943

 

This month has been busy on the sorts side, though P.T. has been rather erratic owing to operational commitments of flying personnel. Badminton is increasing in popularity, but mixed hockey had to be abandoned owing to lack of co-operation from the W.A.A.F.'s.

Physical Training Summary :-     An average of twenty two persons from the following units :-     R.A.F. Regiment, No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron, No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron and Station Headquarters ( Tabloid Defence Course ).

Work Done :-     Basic purposeful table, Parachute synthetic training, Agility and endurance work and minor games.

Sport :-     Soccer     Two types of matches were played by the Station Team - friendly and league ( Plymouth Combination ). This month has seen an astonishing improvement in the Station Team.

League Matches

               V     R.A.F. Anthony                         won     5  -  3

               V     Spartan                                    won   12  -  1

Friendly

               V     Practice Camp Okehampton     draw     2  -  2

               V     French Ship ' Paris '                  draw     1  -  1

               V     Royal Engineering College          won     8  -  1

 

A live and interested entertainments committee has been formed.

Wall Newspaper :-     Mention should be made of the Station Wall Newspaper  " The Typhoon ". This has achieved it's second edition and expresses the Station opinions as well as providing a little entertainment.

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540

               The Form 540 for November was signed by Squadron Leader F. Constable, Senior Medical Officer.

          1st November    Strength of Station including units from R.A.F. Bolt Head and units attached to medical administration :-     R.A.F.  =  1582     W.A.A.F.  =  432     Army  =  138

          4th November     A Corporal Fitter from No.3013 Echelon was struck by a propeller when working on a machine sustaining injury to his head, right shoulder and forearm and right thigh - he was admitted direct to the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth.

          5th November     Patients admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital for week ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  12     W.A.A.F.  =  64     Army  =  Nil

          12th November     Patients admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital for week ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  16     W.A.A.F.  =  4    Army  =  1

          17th November     Flight Lieutenant Chapman, the Medical Officer for No.193 Squadron was attached to the R.A.F. Institute of Pathology and Tropical Medicine, Halton.

          19th November     Patients admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital for week ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  17     W.A.A.F.  =  8     Army  =  1     A.T.S.  =  2

          23rd November    A Sergeant of the R.A.M.C. ( attached to the Quartering Commandant, Tavistock for Sanitary Duties ) was involved in an accident on Crapstone Road, Horrabridge when his motorcycle he was riding crashed head on into an on-coming R.A.F. lorry, sustaining a compound fracture to the right tibia and fibula, concussion and cuts to his face. First Aid was rendered in the Medical Centre and the patient was then transferred to Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital, Plymouth.

          26th November     Patients admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital for week ending today :-     R.A.F.  =  22     W.A.A.F.  =  9     Army  =  5

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st November     A poor start to the month as far as the weather is concerned. No flying, synthetics where possible.

          2nd November     Another miserable day.     At 1400 hours the Squadron was released as the weather had clamped down completely.

          3rd November     Another  " HARROWBEER "  day, bags of rain and low cloud. There was no flying until after dusk. The morning was spent on synthetics.

          4th November     A better day with the Squadron on state from 0700 hours. Some air-testing took place early on followed by Wing practice with No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron. There was much practice flying in the afternoon including dog-fights, air to sea firing, air to air firing and aerobatics.

          5th November     The morning was spent on intelligence work and the afternoon on synthetics.

          6th November     In the early afternoon four of the Squadron aircraft took part in the Squadron's first ' Ranger ' operation which was, however, rendered abortive owing to u/s weather over the French coast area.     The day finished with a night flying exercise.

          8th November     The weather today was terrible again, a no flying day - a projected shipping reconnaissance had to be abandoned.

          9th November     A ' Ranger ' operation was again postponed, just as the four Typhoon aircraft taking part had become airborne at 0945 hours, with the result that the Typhoons had taken off and landed over a period of ten minutes.     After ninety minutes the operation was " on " again. Four Typhoon aircraft took off at 1125 hours on Ranger No.100 and crossed the coast at zero feet to Cap D'enquay, they then turned left and attacked their target ( Dinard Aerodrome ) from south to north. Hits were seen on dispersals, hangars and the watch office as bursts were fired by all four pilots, but no damage has been claimed. There was accurate flak from around the airfield, particularly the north west area. All aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1246 hours. No enemy aircraft were seen on the airfield. No enemy shipping was sighted. Still the general feeling seems to be that any moment now a FW190, JU88, ME10 or some of the other enemy targets are going to " catch a packet " if these " Ranger and Rhubarb " operations continue to be authorised.

          10th November     A bit of a flap as operations came through with revised instructions. First of all in accordance with instructions received yesterday, bomb racks were being fitted to some of the Typhoon aircraft and while in the middle of this job, and after initial arrangements had been made to carry out a convoy escort, word came through that we were expected to escort eight Bomphoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron on an attack of some minesweepers. Everything was cancelled in favour of the attack of the minesweeper operation which was carried out successfully. Eight Typhoon aircraft took off at 1310 hours on escort duty for Roadstead No.79. The aircraft flew at zero feet to Treglar Point then in a south west direction over Le Trieux and out at Minaid Point climbing to five thousand feet. When ten miles clear of the French Coast on the way back to base they saw eight ships in an estuary, thought to be two or three ' M ' class minesweepers and four to five escort vessels. On looking back a few seconds later they saw thick black smoke pouring from two or three of the ships in that position. There was intense light flak and black bursts at seven to ten thousand feet. No enemy aircraft were seen. Visibility over the target was excellent. All aircraft landed back at base at 1436 hours.

          11th November     Two sections were at stand-by and another at readiness, from 1300 hours.     Several pilots had their ' Bombing Baptism ' practice today when the Squadron's first bombing practice was carried out.

          15th November     After three days of bad weather bombing practice continued and the Squadron was on state from first light to last light.

          16th November     Seven of No.193 Squadron's Typhoon aircraft left for R.A.F. Predannack in the early morning with four of them carrying out an operation from there. The operation was to be Circus No.66. The four Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Predannack at 1201 hours and crossed the French Coast at Ile De Vierge, they found the target covered in 9/10 cloud with a top at one thousand feet. It was decided that the aircraft should return to base jettisoning their bombs on the way. There was intense, heavy flak at Brest. The Typhoon aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Predannack at 1304 hours.     Practice flying was carried out at R.A.F. Harrowbeer by the rest of the Squadron.

          17th November     An armed shipping reconnaissance was carried out just after first light by four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron. The aircraft were fitted with ' long range fuel tanks ' and ordered off on an offensive reconnaissance at 0604 hours along with four Typhoon aircraft of No.266( Rhodesia ) Squadron. The aircraft flew at sea level from Bolt Head to Sillon De Talbert, nothing was seen on the way out. One Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron developed engine trouble half way across the Channel and returned to base with his No.2. The rest of the formation flew on parallel to the Lezardrieux Estuary where the leader saw a small ship in the estuary, he turned left and attacked it. The ship was a small armed trawler, many strikes were seen but results could not be checked due to the speed of the aircraft. One of the pilots from No.193 Squadron attacked a flak position on the way in and also fired a short burst at a motor launch in the estuary. The flak position was on the end of a jetty consisting of two times twenty millimeter guns, it is considered that the crew could not have survived. There was intense light flak from the shore positions and one pilot saw gunfire from the trawler. A few bursts of heavy flak was experienced near the estuary mouth. After the attack the Typhoon aircraft carried out reconnaissance in the Ile De Batz area, nothing was seen. The formation landed back at base at 0934 hours.     Immediately after this operation the Commanding Officer left for London to attend a luncheon at the Brazillian Embassy.

          18th November     A fighter sweep and a shipping reconnaissance was carried out today by the Squadron. At 0817 hours eight Typhoon aircraft took off on Rodeo No.47 with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron. The formation was to sweep Rennes and Gael at two thousand feet. They then turned on a course to Mont St. Michael, but shortly found the weather 10/10, a bank of cumulus cloud at twenty thousand feet, so they turned west and found a clear patch north of Pontivy. The Typhoon aircraft swept the area then flew out over Lezardrieux at ten thousand feet. Nothing was seen in the harbour. The weather was 10/10 at two thousand feet over the Channel. All aircraft landed back at base at 1011 hours.     A shipping reconnaissance was carried out at 1628 hours in the Sept Isles - Ile Vierge area. There was no enemy aircraft or shipping seen. The weather was 5/10 cloud at two thousand feet with visibility at fifteen miles. The aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1751 hours.     Practice flying was undertaken by the remainder of the flying personnel at base.

          22nd November     A special rehearsal was made today in preparation for the visit by the Brazillian Air Mission. An excellent air demonstration was given by the Squadron when sixteen Squadron Typhoon aircraft took to the air together. This was followed by a most thrilling display of aerobatics by the Commanding Officer of No.193 Squadron. After being introduced to all the pilots the Brazillian Mission adjourned to the Squadron Mess at Whistley, where a few drinks were consumed in vey congenial surroundings and much discussion, technical and otherwise was made.

The Brazillian Mission headed by :- Lieutenant Colonel Renaldo Carvelho

                              consisted of :- Captain Hamlet Estella

                                                    Captain Henique Penna

                                                    Captain Alfonso Arjcosta

Flight Lieutenant Dickenson and Pilot Officer Prettyman acted as guides and comforters, the latter acting as interpreter.

          23rd November     After the discussion in the Squadron Mess the previous evening on the diverse merits of the 20mm cannon and the .5 machine gun, our guests were taken to the stop butts this morning and each in turn fired the four cannon in a Typhoon aircraft and we think rather impressed.     An even more spectacular flying demonstration was given by the Squadron today for the benefit of our Brazillian friends. After a hearty lunch the Mission took their departure singing the praises of the Typhoon aircraft and No.193 Squadron pilots in general. Altogether a most successful and interesting outing for everyone.

          24th November     Despite the inclement weather an armed shipping and weather reconnaissance flight took off at 1005 hours comprising four Typhoon aircraft. Landfall was north of Ploubien at three thousand feet. On sighting some shipping the aircraft turned left and dived down. White very light was then seen from the east side of the mouth of the estuary. Four ' M ' class minesweepers were found lying stationary about one mile inside the mouth of the estuary. The ships were found lying fairly close together about one ships length apart in a box, bows towards the sea. Concentrated light and medium flak, red tracer and self destroying white flashes at one thousand to fifteen thousand feet and black bursts at one thousand feet came up from ships and shore. The leader did not get into position to fire but the other three pilots all fired five to seven bursts seeing many strikes all over each ship. The Typhoon aircraft continued flying north out to sea and along the coast to Morlaix Estuary. No shipping was seen so the aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1117 hours.

          25th November     A ' Station Gas Exercise ' took place this morning which included the ' contaminating ' of the No.193 Squadron Hurricane aircraft.     Most of the day was spent on practice flying including dog-fights, cine camera gun attacks and formation drill.

          26th November     Seven Typhoon aircraft with ' ling range fuel tanks ' were ordered off at 0936 hours to escort Boston bomber aircraft on a bomber operation. A perfect rendezvous was made at St. Catherine Point at eleven hundred feet with eighteen Boston bomber aircraft flying in three boxes of six. Also six Spitfire aircraft flew with the formation. Landfall was at Barfleur where the ' long range fuel tanks ' were jettisoned. There was 8/10 cloud over the target. No bombing results were seen. Control reported that there were enemy aircraft at twenty thousand feet, but non were seen. There was considerable heavy flak on the way from the target to the coast. The bombers were escorted by the Typhoon aircraft to Portland and then they flew back to base arriving at 1117 hours.          Four Typhoon aircraft took part in Ramrod No.110 in the afternoon along with Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron. They took off at 1440 hours making landfall at Flananville at fourteen thousand feet, they then swept over the target area and west in five legs at thirteen thousand feet The bomber aircraft were seen on the run-in, but no results of the bombing were seen except clouds of smoke from the target area. A course was then set for home after the bombers had left. There was intense and accurate flak from the target area throughout the sweep. Two red flashes were seen among the bombers which was thought to be marker flak. While on the operation the R.A.F. Church Stanton Wing were seen along with various other formations of fighter aircraft. No enemy aircraft were seen. The weather in the Channel was 4/10 at five thousand feet. The target area was 5/10 cloud with thin stratus cloud at sixteen thousand feet. Visibility was good. No.193 Squadron landed back at base at 1542 hours.

          28th November     The weather is still very unsettled causing much loss of flying time. Most of the pilots spent the morning on ' Intelligence Gen ' and the Squadron was later released from 1300 hours.

          29th November     Better weather today allowing plenty of practice flying to take place :- formation flying, tail-chasing, cine camera gun work, etc.

          30th November     A very interesting lecture was given by a Flying Officer who had evaded capture from the hands of the enemy. The lecture lasted about one hour from 0930 hours in ' B ' Flight Dispersal and was greatly appreciated.          Four Typhoon aircraft were detailed to R.A.F. Predannack and then sent off on a shipping reconnaissance from there at 1630 hours. The formation flew at sea level on a course of two hundred degrees for twenty three and a half minutes. D.R position was given as ten miles west of Ouessant, but no land was sighted, so leader turned on a second course of one hundred and thirty six degrees and held this for seven to eight minutes. With no coast-line in view, the section turned to starboard and flew south for a further five minutes and then east eventually making landfall just north of St. Guenote. Turning to port the coast-line was reconnoitred as far as Ile Vierge, but no shipping was sighted so the aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1830 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of November was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake.

 

No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-

          1st November     No flying today owing to the bad weather.     No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron carried out some synthetic deflection training.     Thirty of the Squadron played rugger, a very enjoyable game.

          2nd November     One patrol of four Typhoon aircraft flew fifty miles out from south east of Start Point, there were no incidents to report.

          3rd November     Pilots went into Plymouth on a Liberty bus, most of the men went to the pictures ( cinema ), then fed and danced a bit, but the evening was not a great success.

          4th November     Twelve Typhoon aircraft took part in a practice Wing with Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron but it had to be abandoned on account of the visibility, so, the Squadron carried out Squadron formation practice, formation and cine camera gun work.          There was a small party in the " Skylark " ( public house ) in the evening.

          5th November     The Squadron carried out synthetic deflection training and aircraft recognition on account of the bad weather.

          6th November     Four Typhoon aircraft took off on a Rhubarb at the same time as four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron to beat up Gael Airfield. They made landfall at Cap D'erquy dropping their ' long range fuel tanks ' at Jugen and turned on account of heavy low cloud passing over St. Brieuc Airfield and then home. There was some A.A. fire from St. Brieuc but no other excitement apart from one pilot a firing short burst at a water tower.          The only other flying today by the Squadron was air to sea firing, battle formation, cine camera gun practice and low flying cross country exercises.

          7th November     Eleven Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off as a Squadron and were bounced by two other aircraft - ( no further details ).

          9th November     Four Typhoon aircraft carried out a Rhubarb operation intending to attack Gael Airfield, but there was insufficient cloud cover so it developed into an attack on railway engines. Two pilots shot up some trucks and fired bursts at an engine shed into which an engine had just gone. This was thought to be Combourg on the Rennes - St. Malo railway.          Non-operational flying consisted of air to ground firing practice carried out by twelve pilots at the Bolt Head range. This is a gun-carrier and it is the first time that this Squadron had done air to ground firing practice.

          10th November     Eight Typhoon aircraft acted as an anti flak Squadron to eight Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron to bomb some ' M ' class minesweepers previously reported in the Lezardrieux Estuary. No.193 Squadron were to act as escort to the formation. No.266 Squadron led and saw the ships straight in front of them, most of the pilots fired at the ships and then No.183 Squadron came in and dropped their bombs. We obviously took the ships by surprise. No.183 Squadron claim one escort vessel Cat. III and one ' M ' class minesweeper Cat. IV.

          11th November     Four Typhoon aircraft went off on a Rhubarb operation to a railway east of Granville, they beat up two locomotives and a freight train and then continued eastwards, but as cloud was down on the deck they turned about and attacked the same target a second time. One pilot was hit in his port ' long range fuel tank ' which was knocked off. As he was returning on this tank his engine immediately cut out, not knowing the cause he jettisoned his hood and doors to bale out, but just before doing so he tried switching over to the main tanks, the engine picked up and all was well. The Squadron are claiming two locomotives damaged, one German Anti Aircraft gunman killed and one light Anti Aircraft gun-post damaged.          Fifteen pilots did dive bombing practice off Dawlish, this is the first practice we have had doing dive bombing.          Flight Lieutenant Collcult ( the Squadron Adjutant since March 1941 ) is to be posted to No.44 Squadron ( a Rhodesian bomber Squadron ). In future the Squadron's Adjutant work is to be done by one of the pilots.

          15th November     Six Typhoon aircraft went off on a shipping reconnaissance to Lezardrieux, but no ships were seen and no other excitement.          A farewell party was held in the Officer's Mess as a farewell to Flight Lieutenant Collcult.

          16th November     Four Typhoon aircraft were loaded with bombs, this being the first occasion that bombs have been carried on an operation by this Squadron. The operation was to bomb Poulmic Airfield but the weather over the target was u/s so the bombs were jettisoned and the operation abandoned.

          17th November     Four Typhoon aircraft went out on an early shipping reconnaissance in the area of Lezardrieux Estuary. The pilots saw and attacked a small armed trawler, seeing many strikes.      There was a second reconnaissance to the same place later in the day when they saw but did not attack the same boat in the same position.

          18th November     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron along with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer intending to sweep from Rennes to Gael, but soon after passing over Mont St. Michel at twenty thousand feet they met solid 10/10 cloud. The formation then turned and found a clean patch north west of Pontivy so they swept this area and then cut over Lezardrieux at ten thousand feet. There was no shipping or enemy aircraft sighted and no flak was experienced.

          19th November     Eight Typhoon aircraft carried out a shipping reconnaissance at zero feet over the area of Morlaix Estuary - Brehat - Abervrach. No shipping was seen and there was no flak.     There was also one scramble carried out today which was uneventful.

          20th November     One scramble today which was very unsatisfactory as the section could get no instructions from Control for fifteen minutes.

          26th November     For the past six days there was no operational flying carried out due to the bad weather conditions. There was a limited amount of practice flying when the weather permitted.          Seven Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron along with seven Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron escorted eighteen Boston bomber aircraft from St. Catherine's Point over Barfleur to a special target south of Cherbourg and then back to base. There was considerable flak over the peninsular. Bombing could not be seen as there was 8/10 cloud over the target area. No enemy aircraft were sighted.         In the afternoon eight Typhoon aircraft ( two returning early ) with six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took part in a Ramrod operation making five runs east to west over the target area of a special target at thirteen thousand feet. The bombers were seen making their run and smoke was seen from the bombing in the target area. There was intense accurate heavy flak throughout the operation. Many other friendly fighters were also seen.          A patrol was carried out from the Lizard to Dodman Point, Cornwall. A cruiser type ship which was passed several times on the patrol suddenly started firing at one of the Typhoons, otherwise there were no incidents.

          27th November     Today was another no flying day.     The Squadron were released in the afternoon, many of the pilots went to Plymouth and then to the Moorland Links Hotel in the evening for quite a hectic party.

          30th November     Three more days of non operational flying, again due to bad weather.          Eight Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Predannack to take part in an attack on a motor vessel, but it was cancelled and the aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of November was signed by :-  Squadron Leader P. W. Lefevre.

 

No.276  Air Sea Rescue Squadron     ' B ' Flight

          1st November     No flying at the Flights owing to adverse weather conditions.

          4th November     ' B ' Flight ordered on stand-by at 1530 hours while a Typhoon aircraft sweep was in progress.

          6th November     A large air to ground firing exercise was carried out on the new Bolt Head firing range.

          7th November     An Anson aircraft was made available to carry out ' air experience flights ' for A.T.C. cadets on the airfield.

          10th November     The Squadron was ordered to stand by on three separate occasions today. The last was while Typhoon bombers carried out a shipping reconnaissance in the English Channel.

          11th November     Four Spitfire aircraft were ordered to R.A.F. Warmwell this morning on stand-by while a fighter patrol was carried out.

          17th November     A section of Spitfire aircraft carried out patrols south of Bolt Head while Typhoon aircraft carried out a shipping reconnaissance in the English Channel. The patrols were uneventful.

          18th November     Standing patrols were carried out south of Bolt Head.

          25th November     Two Spitfire aircraft were detailed to carry out a practice search. The section was scrambled at 1530 hours to search for a dinghy that had been dropped in the English Channel earlier by a previous Spitfire aircraft. The dinghy was located and one Spitfire orbited while the other located Air Sea Rescue launches and directed them to the dinghy. The section landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1635 hours.

          26th November     Two patrols south of Bolt Head carried out by sections of Spitfire aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to await the return of Typhoon aircraft. The patrols were uneventful.

There was a total of six ' no flying ' days during November due to bad weather.

There were no Air Sea Rescue sorties made during the month of November by No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron ' B ' Flight from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Apart from seven patrols the month was spent on practice flying consisting of :- low level flying, dual instruction flights, practice cine camera gun attacks, ground firing attacks at the Bolt Head range, dinghy drop practice, stand-by duties at R.A.F. Warmwell, aerobatics, circuits and landings and experience on type flying.

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

 

No.279  Air Sea Rescue Squadron :-

          16th November     One Hudson aircraft N/279 took off at 0935 hours on an Air Sea Rescue search one hundred and fifty miles west south west from Land's End, Cornwall. The aircraft landed back at base at 1450 hours.

          18th November     At 1510 hours two Hudson aircraft N/279 and W/279 went out on a search off Land's End, Cornwall. They flew in a line for ten miles and then on a reciprocal for four miles to the west. Nothing was sighted and both aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1750 hours.

          19th November     Hudson aircraft O/279 was airborne at 0830 hours on a search seventy five miles south west of Land's End, Cornwall. Nothing was sighted so the aircraft returned to base landing at 1455 hours.

          23rd November     Two Hudson aircraft N/279 and W/279 from R.A.F. Harrowbeer were ordered off at 0945 hours on a search off Southern Ireland. The weather and visibility was bad, contact between the two aircraft had been lost so the aircraft had to search separately. Nothing was seen by either aircraft so they returned to base landing at 1420 hours.

          24th November     One Hudson aircraft O/279 was sent out at 1013 hours to search north west off Land's End, Cornwall. At 1208  hours a message was received from base giving a new position north of Land's End. At 1308 hours a Warwick aircraft was seen circling so a new course was set. At 1312 hours five men were seen paddling in a dinghy to an airborne lifeboat which had been dropped by the Warwick aircraft. The lifeboat was tilted on one side and the after buoyancy chamber had not inflated, the men were seen on board the lifeboat and the dinghy break adrift. At 1315 hours a message was sent to base and a first class fix obtained. At 1355 hours the lifeboat was seen to be in a sinking condition and it was decided to drop a Lindholme, but the lifeboat could not be located again. A Wellington aircraft and a Warwick aircraft were also searching but the lifeboat had not been re-located by the time we reached the area. A course for base was set, landing at 1605 hours.

          26th November     Two Hudson aircraft 0/279 and N/279 went off at 0940 hours to search for traces of an airborne lifeboat dropped by No.280 Squadron on the 24th November 1943, but nothing was found apart from a submarine smoke candle. The two Hudson aircraft returned to base landing at 1530 hours.

          29th November     Two Hudson aircraft 0/279 and W/279 took off at 0945 hours on a search north of the Scillies, but nothing was seen. Both aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1550 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of November was signed by :- Wing Commander B. G. Corry DFC.

 

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

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


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