75 Years Ago from the Archives.

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

 

 

May  1943 

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward continues to be the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          The Station Operation Record Book for May was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, the Station Administration Officer.

 

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

          Flight Lieutenant Seger  -  No.10 Group Interrogation Officer

          Lieutenant Colonel A. N. Hargreaves  -  No.10 Group Defence Officer

          Squadron Leader Wallick  -  Fighter Command Security Officer

          Brigadier R. J. P. Wyatt MC  -  Commander Devon Sub Division

          Flying Officer Hosking  -  Defence Officer

          Flight Lieutenant Mountford  -  From R.A.F. Defford

          Wing Commander Bromley  -  No.10 Group Signals Officer

          Commander Leeds  -  No.10 Group

          Flight Lieutenant Tanner  -  Air Sea Rescue School Blackpool

          Wing Commander Smith  -  Headquarters Fighter Command Air Sea Rescue Liaison Officer

          Flight Lieutenant N. Pushman  -  No.10 Group Air Sea Rescue Officer

 

Weather

          1st May     The weather was fairly good to start with but developing into a rain storm later in the day.

          2nd May     No flying today owing to very poor visibility, cloudy with a haze.

          3rd May     The weather was cloudy again with a haze, visibility fair. Very little flying due to high winds.

          4th May     Weather fine but hazy with fairly strong winds. Visibility poor at first but improved to fifteen miles later in the day.

          5th May     Weather fair but with poor visibility.

          6th May     Poor weather again, visibility very poor at first although turning better later in the day, strong winds were experienced.

          7th May     The weather today was fairly good with visibility about ten miles.

          8th May     Lousy weather today. 10/10 cloud. Heavy rain with a forty mile per hour gale blowing. No flying carried out today.

          9th May     The weather was poor first thing in the morning bu gradually improved as the day developed.

          10th May     A filthy day weather-wise with poor visibility. 10/10 cloud with a twenty mile per hour wind blowing. No operational flying carried out.

          11th May     Very poor weather today. 10/10 cloud with poor visibility. No operational flying. Formation flying carried out under difficult conditions.

          12th May     Filthy weather today, visibility poor. Again no operational flying.

          13th May     The weather was poor first thing this morning but clearing up later in the day at around 1600 hours.

          14th May     Fair weather, 3/10ths cloud. Visibility five miles early on clearing to ten miles.

          15th May     The weather continued to be good, but there was some haze about which eventually cleared up.

          16th May     The weather good again today which the pilots made the most of to improve their flying skills.

          17th May     An ideal flying day. Today was the busiest flying day for the Squadron to date.

          18th May     Another beautiful day enabling lots of flying to be carried out.

          19th May     Again a splendid day for flying, although the wind that rose up yesterday is still blowing, otherwise excellent flying conditions and weather. Considerable haze formed later in the day.

          20th May     Weather fairly good but still much haze all around.

          21st May     The weather remains good with excellent visibility, 3/10ths cloud at eight thousand feet.

          22nd May     The weather was not too good early on . Visibility was about two miles decreasing to about one thousand yards with large patches of ground haze,

          23rd May     Quite good weather again today although there were large patches of haze about. Heavy rain fell later on in the day.

          24th May     Very cloudy with rain, clearing up in the afternoon and more rain in the early evening.

          25th May     The weather was fair today with 6/10th cloud and visibility at around two miles.

          26th May     A filthy day weather-wise. Typical Harrowbeer weather with thick haze right down to the deck. No flying today.

          27th May     The weather today was very bad early on, but by mid-day had cleared up. Good weather for flying was experienced, unfortunately in the afternoon there was scattered showers and the weather clamped down again for a short spell clearing up once more before dusk.

          28th May     The weather was fairly good today with a slight haze early on clearing beautifully before mid-day. There was very little cloud.

          29th May     Wizard weather. A bright clear day with slight wind and very little cloud.

          30th May     In the morning there was heavy cloud all around but eventually clearing away before noon, after which visibility became ten to fifteen miles. There was some cloudy patches with a twenty mile per hour wind from west south west.

          31st May     The weather was poor early on with considerable haze, but clearing up gradually by 1030 hours. After 1530 hours the weather clamped down over the ' drome ' for a short spell, but cleared up a little and made flying possible for a short time. Rain fell at intervals. Heavy rain continued after 1645 hours with visibility deteriorating. The wind was ten to fifteen miles per hour from the south west.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          1st May     Flight Lieutenant Seger - No.10 Group Interrogation Officer gave a lecture to pilots of No.193 Squadron on security and interrogation of prisoners of war.          Lieutenant Colonel A. N. Hargreaves - No.10 Group Defence Officer visited the Station.

          2nd May     Squadron Leader Wallick - Fighter Command Security Officer visited the Station Intelligence Section.

          4th May     No.193 Squadron became operational to-day and were on ' anti-rhubarb ' patrols and readiness duties.

          7th May     A Blenheim aircraft of ' C ' Flight, No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight while on a calibration flight off the Lizaed, Cornwall sighted a fully surfaced submarine which crash dived on being sighted. It was unidentified.

          14th May     No.193 Squadron were on an ' anti-rhubarb ' patrol in the early morning when two ME109's were sighted, but contact was not made.          During the late afternoon a Hurricane aircraft of No.286 ( Army Co-operation ) Squadron made a crash landing on Slapton Sands, Devon while carrying out low level attacks on defences after having hit a high tension cable.

          17th May     At 1336 hours one Spitfire aircraft of No.331 ( Norge ) Squadron, twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.332 ( Norge ) Squadron and four Spitfire aircraft of No.129 Squadron landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          No.331 ( Norge ) Squadron and No.332 ( Norge ) Squadron had been cover to a second wave of bomber aircraft returning from attacks on L'orient.          No.332 ( Norge ) Squadron had nothing to report, but No.331 ( Norge ) Squadron claimed the destruction of two FW190's and damage to a third. A fitting way to mark the occasion of Norwegian Independance Day.          The four Spitfire aircraft of No.129 Squadron were detailed to proceed on an Air Sea Rescue patrol off the French Coast while the bomber aircraft were returning.          No.193 Squadron flew ten patrols to-day, their busiest day since becoming operational.

          20th May     A Walrus aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron was detailed to search for a Sunderland aircraft which had crashed into the sea. Wreckage was found four miles and three hundred feet from the Eddystone Lighthouse. A target tug and tenders were on the scene salvaging debris.

          21st May     Aircraft of No.193 Squadron were airborne at 1550 hours with orders to attack troops on the Buckfastleigh - Totnes Road ( this was an Army Co-operation exercise ). Nothing was seen. A section of two Typhoon aircraft were up at 1603 hours as back up transport West of Buckfastleigh. No infantry seen, no return fire.

          22nd May     Four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron were ordered again to attack troops on the Buckfastleigh - Totnes Road. The weather was unfavorable owing to thick haze, but several attacks were made and met by some rifle fire by the ' enemy '. A second section of two Typhoon aircraft completing attacks was about to return to base, when a vector South of Exmouth to look for a pilot floating in the sea. No.1 of the section spotted the pilot floating eight miles South of Exmouth and sent his No.2 back to base with a fix while No.1 continued to orbit the pilot. The pilot had not inflated his dinghy and was only in the dinghy for about ten minutes before being picked up by a motor launch.

          25th May     In the evening No.414 Squadron ( Mustangs ) R.C.A.F. arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          26th May     No.2847 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment ( except the Bofors Flight ) left the Station on route for R.A.F. Dunsfold. The Bofors Flight of No.2847 Squadron took over the Bofors guns from No.450 Battery LAA Regiment R.A.

          28th May     A census of aircraft at R.A.F. Harrowbeer was taken and there were sixty four aircraft which included sixteen different types. This is probably the greatest number there has been on the Station at any one time up to the present.

          29th May     A section of No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. were on ' anti-rhubarb ' patrols. The section was then diverted to assist in an Air Sea Rescue sortie with No.276 A.S.R. Squadron. They found two Spitfire aircraft circling an overturned dinghy with nine men clinging to it. The Spitfires left and later the section of No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. was joined by two  Beaufighter aircraft and then a Walrus aircraft and escort. Owing to engine trouble the Walrus was unable to land on the sea. A rescue launch had been sighted previously and a Spitfire was detailed to guide the launch to the dinghy, all the crew being picked up with the exception of the tail gunner who was lost when the aircraft ditched and caught fire.

          30th May     In the afternoon during an attack by twenty FW190's on Torquay, two Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron were on patrol, but owing to petrol shortage they were unable to intervene. No.2 saw five FW190's at sea level. Five Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron were scrambled but sighted nothing.

          30th May     A Defiant aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron took off on an A.S.R. sortie and found a pilot in a dinghy. Shortly afterwards a Walrus aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron out on an engine test arrived on the scene and asked the Controller if he could be used in the rescue. The Walrus landed on the sea, but it was too rough to enable the aircraft to approach the dinghy and rescue the pilot. It was also too rough for the Walrus to take off. A Defiant aircraft guided a rescue launch to the dinghy by dropping smoke bombs, the pilot being rescued. The Defiant continued to orbit the Walrus until a shortage of petrol compelled it to return to base. A rescue launch was sent out and towed the Walrus into Torbay where the water was calm and the Walrus was able to take off.

          31st May     The advance party of No.2738 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

 

Sport :- P.T. Recreation

 

The excellent weather has helped a great deal with outside activities, although it has been much regretted that owing to a minor ' blitz ' disaster the swimming pool normally used by the Station at the ' Moorland Links Hotel ' has been damaged and is at present unusable.

 

Cricket :-    A total of eight matches have been played.     The results for May are as follows :-  Won = 3     Lost = 4     Drawn = 1

 

Tennis :-    We have regular use of three civilian courts in the neighbourhood. This is a popular sport resulting in nearly two hundred people using the courts. The shortage of balls is the greatest problem.

 

Various other activities included :- soccer, badminton, gymnastics, squash, boxing, physical training and remedial exercises.

 

Entertainment

 

Cinema :-     A full size ( 35 mm ) projector has now been installed in the Station Gymnasium and shows are given four nights a week. These shows are well attended.

 

Theatre :-    We continue to stage all ' live ' shows in the theatre.     ENSA continue to send mediocre ' white ' shows.      A welcome change this month is the visit of a U.S.A. show, it's slickness and American humour was greatly enjoyed by a large audience.

 

Our own Station Concert Party was revived and put on two performances to packed audiences. It has also given performances at the Satellite Station at R.A.F. Bolt Head.

 

A vocal and piano recital was given by two members of this Station with the assistance of a local civilian lady singer. This attracted an audience of one hundred and raised £2 - 17 - 6 ( £2.87 ) for the ' Prisoner of War ' fund.

 

The Plymouth Shakespeare Society gave a performance of a modern comedy ' Passing Brompton Road '.

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540 

The Form 540 for the month of May was signed by Squadron Leader F. Constable the Senior Medical Officer.

          1st May     Strength of Station :-     R.A.F. = 1433          W.A.A.F. = 368          Army = 290

          7th May     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.AF. = 9     W.A.A.F. = 8     Army = 3     ATS = 2

          18th May     An aircraft collided with an Army lorry on the aerodrome involving the death of three Army personnel, injuries to the pilot and six Army personnel. The Army personnel were in the lorry at the time of the accident. All injured personnel were admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth, some direct from the scene of the accident, others were treated and wounds dressed in the accident reception room at the medical centre before being transfered to hospital.

          21st May     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 7     W.A.A.F. = 3     Army = 11

          28th May     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 12     W.A.A.F. = 4     Army = 4     ATS = 1

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

   

No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight

          7th May     A Blenheim aircraft of ' C ' Flight while on a Calibration Flight off the Lizard, Cornwall sighted a fully surfaced submarine whih crash dived on being sighted, the submarine was unidentified.

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

 

No.129 Squadron :-

          17th May     Four Spitfire aircraft of No.129 Squadron landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer today. The four Spitfires were detailed to proceed on an Air Sea Rescue patrol off the French Coast while bomber aircraft were returning from an attack on L'orient.

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

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st May     The day commenced with a lecture on the ' Interrogation of Prisoners of War '. The Commanding Officer led a practice Squadron formation out over the English Channel. The glass-houses of Guernsey were clearly seen. The Squadron returned to base just as a rain storm broke.

          3rd May     The Squadron's first ' official ' day as an ' Operational Squadron '.          Sections were at stand by and readiness from dawn until dusk, but much disappointment was felt when the day passed without any action being made.          A lecture was given at Intelligence on ' Aids to Escape '.

          4th May     Today at 1250 hours the ' anti-rhubarb ' patrols started and continued until 2215 hours. Great joy among all the troops and high hopes that very soon a 190 or 109 ( enemy aircraft ) may soon break the Squadron's duck of enemy aircraft destroyed. Unfortunately all patrols proved uneventful today.

          8th - 13th May     The weather has turned lousy resulting in very limited flying.

          14th May     Today was the first time that enemy aircraft were spotted on ' anti-rhubarb ' patrols and scrambles.          Two pilots were vectored up to two " 109's " at twenty seven thousand feet at 0700 hours. The 109's who were making condensation trails spotted the Typhoon aircraft who were doing the same some six thousand feet below them. The 109's immediately rolled past one of the Typhoon aircraft's tail some fifty yards away, doing at least four hundred miles per hour, they finally pulled up into the sun and disappeared. A dense fog covered over the aerodrome whilst the interception was in progress and the two Typhoon aircraft had to land at R.A.F. Church Stanton. The two Typhoons returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1205 hours the same day.

          15th May     The weather was good but there was some haze about which eventually cleared. Practice interceptions, camera gun attacks, low level flying, sector reconnaissance, air testing and an Army Co-operation exercise were carried out today.

          17th May     An ideal day with ' anti-rhubarbs ', scrambles and Air Sea Rescue searches undertaken. This proved to be the busiest day for the Squadron to date.

         18th May     Another beautiful day. The first patrol was carried out at 0622 hours. Only one scramble outside the usual patrols called for.          One pilot whilst on a patrol reported seeing a certain lighthouse keeper having breakfast. Even that rare thing, an egg on a plate was recognised.

          21st May     There was an early patrol at 0626 hours and a scramble at 1450 hours. Other flying activities involved a beating up exercise, air testing, practice interceptions, an Army Co-operation beat up and a two hundred and thirty mile shipping reconnaissance which completed today's programme.

          22nd May     The Commanding Officer led another Army Co-operation beat up, on the same target as yesterday ( see the Station O.R.B. section for the 21st and 22nd May ). The first section of two Typhoon aircraft took off at 0623 hours, the second section was up at 0643 hours and after completing the beat up were about to return to base when they were vectored on a course South of Exmouth floating on a very calm sea and was orbited. Whilst an eagle eye was kept on the unfortunate ditched pilot a dinghy was noticed being inflated and the poor wet ---- climbed into it. After approximately ten minutes on dinghy exercise the pilot was picked up by a motor launch.

          24th - 27th May     The weather took a turn for the worst again resulting in reduced flying activity. The pilots had to resort to synthetic flying.

          30th May     Today there were several ' anti-rhubarbs '.          Two sections of Typhoon aircraft were scrambled, but despite their quick take offs they hadn't a chance of catching any of the enemy aircraft that bombed Torquay.          To illustrate this, our Blue Section was at readiness at 1300 hours. Operations were phoned and asked if they could do an ' anti-rhubarb ' patrol ( Start Point / Torquay ), this was arranged and Blue Section took off at 1400 hours. The patrol was uneventful until about 1440 hours when ' Cobra ' called up to say a ' bogey ' was at O for oboe. No.1, Blue Section asked them to repeat the message in order to confirm the code letters. The section was then flying South to Start Point but turned round immediately and opened upto maximum speed and flew towards Torquay. Control then said that " Torquay is being bombed by twenty five bandits ". No.1 Blue Section turned approximately seventy degrees, flying out from the coast and rising smoke was observed at Torquay. Blue Section continued turning starboard and a column of black smoke was seen rising from burning wreckage in the sea. Blu Section continued at maximum speed, turning one hundred and sixty degrees. Blue Section maintained this course for ten minutes. No aircraft were observed by No.1 of Blue Section but No.2 thought he saw five aircraft ten miles about one hundred and fifty degrees from Torquay flying low over the sea. Actually they appeared as specs only. No.2 Blue Section was behind No.1 Blue Section and had developed a faulty R/T and tried waggling his wings, but could not attract No.1's attention. Being low on petrol it was impossible to continue the chase any longer, so the chase was abandoned and Blue Section returned to base landing at 1515 hours. All the Sections scrambled ( the first being at 1443 hours ) had received their orders too late to have a chance of catching the enemy aircraft. The all returned bitterly disappointed as it turned out that twenty enemy aircraft had bombed Torquay and it is known that three had been brought down by the L.A.A.          Enough said for the moment.

          31st May     Thus we have once more to close the month in duff weather at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. It is the general belief that should the occasion ever arise, the experience gained through the ' flexibility ' of the weather at Harrowbeer would undoubtedly expedite the transmission of anyone to the rank of Meteorological Officer - acting rank of course.

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

 

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

          3rd May     Flying Officer Hosking a Defence Officer visited the Squadron Headquarters, he returned later on to R.A.F. Portreath.

          4th May     Flight Lieutenant Mountford from R.A.F. Defford reported for duty with the Squadron. In view of the fact that his medical category would not permit full flying duties the Senior Medical Officer is arranging disposal. He was posted to No.2 Delivery Flight, R.A.F. Colerne on 5th May 1943.

          6th May     One Spitfire aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron was airborne to search for some Spitfire aircraft of the R.A.F. Portreath sector, contact having been lost with them off Plymouth. These aircraft were found to be still airborne and in the meanwhile R.A.F. Portreath had contacted them again.

          10th May     No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron were today presented with six beer tankards by the ' Anson Aircraft Company ' to celebrate the saving of one hundred lives from the sea.

          11th May     Squadron Commander, Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn DFM was today invested with the AFC by the King at Buckingham Palace.           During practice sea landings a ' B ' Flight Walrus aircraft damaged the hull and tail-plane on hitting the water. The pilot took off smartly and returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          15th May     A Walrus aircraft with a crew of three were ordered off to search a position one hundred a forty five degrees from base. Th position was overshot and the Walrus flew on a vector of two hundred and ninety degrees for five minutes to get into the correct position. At this spot a small boat flying the French tricolour was found, smoke floats were dropped and the Walrus then went to guide a Air Sea Rescue launch to the spot. The A.S.R. launch hove too besides the small boat which later got under way leading the small boat towards the Isle of Wight. The Walrus then returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer on receipt of an order from Operations, pancaking at 1830 hours. Five people were seen on the fishing smack deck, which was stationary when fitst sighted, it later got under way by itself. The Walrus pilot thought it may have got petrol from the A.S.R. launch. Information from N.A.L.O. indicates that the French crew were paddling the boat and that the crew numbered seven French escapees trying to reach England.

          16th May     ' B ' Flight of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron carried out dinghy drill in the swimming pool at the ' Moorland Links Hotel '.

          17th May     Dinghy drill again carried out at the ' Moorland Links Hotel ' accompanied by the Station Sports Officer.          There were eleven unsuccessful sorties carried out by ' A ' Flight ( R.A.F. Warmwell ) and ' B ' Flight ( R.A.F. Harrowbeer ) today searching for the crew of a Flying Fortress aircraft. Some of the crew had baled out over land and some over the sea. A patch of oil was found but no survivors.

          19th May     A Defiant aircraft No.N1541 set off at 2040 hours on a rescue sortie to search a position approximately five miles off Torquay. After dicing with death at low level in a Defiant, our intrepid airmen found that the ' object reported ' was a dead seagull surrounded by it's relatives, legitimate or otherwise. The report is believed to have come from some " dear old lady " or a " benign old gent " either suffering from defective sight or a perverted sense of humour. The Defiant landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2115 hours.

          20th May     Wing Commander Bromley - No.10 Group Signals Officer visited the Squadron Headquarters today.          Flight Lieutenant Tanner from A.S.R. School, Blackpool visited the Squadron to get ' Gen ' on A.S.R. work, he returned on the 21st May.          A Walrus aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron was airborne at 1144 hours to search for a Sunderland aircraft which had crashed into the sea. Wreckage was found four miles and three hundred feet from the Eddystone Lighthouse. A target tug and tenders were on the scene scavenging debris.

          21st May     Defiant aircraft No.N1151 took off on a rescue sortie at 1215 hours to a position five hundred yards off Torquay in Tor Bay. A launch was found to be there and they were informed that the pilot was safe. The Defiant was told to look for the aircraft further inshore which it found on a beach. The Defiant returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1315 hours.

          25th May     The Squadron Commander gave a lecture to the local Air Training Corps cadets.          There was an uneventful search for a Sunderland Flying Boat which was reported to have crashed into the sea by ' C ' Flight ( R.A.F. Portreath ) carried out, but only a marker was found and this was reported to Operations and a fix obtained. ' B ' Flight ( R.A.F. Harrowbeer ) was also engaged in the search but was also unsuccessful.

          27th May     Dinghy drill again at the ' Moorland Links Hotel ' swimming pool.          The Squadron Commander visited the Air Training Corps cadets, Tavistock and delivered a short address.

          28th May     A Walrus aircraft was sent out to search for a dinghy reported twenty six miles South of Bolt Head. The Walrus was escorted by one Spitfire aircraft from No.276 A.S.R. Squadron and two Mustang aircraft. After sixteen minutes a dinghy was found being orbited by two Beaufighter aircraft. A smoke float was dropped but the throttle of the Walrus was unable to close sufficiently to allow the pilot to land the Walrus on the sea. The escorting Spitfire was then sent off to a rescue launch which had successfully been contacted to guide it to the dinghy. The Walrus orbited until the crew had been taken on board the rescue launch, it then returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. It was later learnt that there were ten men in and clinging onto the dinghy.

          29th May     At 1845 hours a Walrus aircraft and a Spitfire aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron and one section of No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. took off on an A.S.R. sortie.    

          30th May     Walrus aircraft No.2325 went out at 1500 hours with the intention of carrying out practice sea landings. The Walrus was contacted by Operations and ordered to proceed on a course of one hundred and five degrees for ten minutes out from Bolt Head. After eight minutes several aircraft were seen orbiting a position five miles to starboard. A Defiant aircraft at the scene dropped a dinghy, which failed to open, it also dropped smoke flares. The sea was rough but the Walrus managed to land and was guided toi the scene of a dinghy with a pilot in it, ( the occupant was a German pilot who had been shot down during the raid on Torquay ). Several attempts were made to get alongside to rescue the pilot from the dinghy, but in view of the fact that there was nothing to get hold of either in or on the dinghy the task was impossible. ( The German dinghies have no side ropes ). The pilot in the dinghy could not help in the rescue as he was in a coma. Owing to the roughness of the sea the front hatch of the Walrus could not be opened as the waves were breaking over it in sufficient strength that the aircraft would have been swamped and would sink. All rescue attempts had to be made from the rear hatch. Eventually the Walrus had to abandon the rescue and stood off until a rescue launch which had previously been contacted arrived and could rescue the German pilot. A second rescue launch was called for to tow the Walrus into Torquay where the sea was calmer and it could take-off to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn.

 

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

          14th May     A Hurricane aircraft from the R.A.F. Harrowbeer detachment of No.286 AAC  Squadron hit some high tension cables which were stretched out between two hills while doing some low level attacks for the Army LAA. The Hurricane made a crash landing on Slapton Sands and is classified as a ' write off '. The pilot was uninjured but suffered from shock.

          18th May     A Defiant aircraft of the R.A.F. Harrowbeer detachment of No.286 AAC  Squadron while taking off from the aerodrome struck an Army lorry parked on the aerodrome - three Army privates were killed and six seriously injured - the pilot was seriously injured and the aircraft was written off.

          General :-     Sixty three Army Co-operation exercises were carried out during the month of May for No.55 Anti Aircraft Brigade. These exercises included LAA and HAA exercises from ground level up to ten thousand feet. Most of these exercises took place in the Plymouth area with a few in the Salcombe, Slapton, Brixham and Dartmouth regions. The aircraft being used from the R.A.F. Harrowbeer detachment included one Hurricane, four Defiants and an Airspeed Oxford.

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

 

No.331 ( Norge ) and No.332 ( Norge ) Squadrons :- 

          17th May     One Spitfire aircraft of No.331 ( Norge ) Squadron and twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.332 ( Norge ) Squadron landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for operational duties. They were detailed to act as cover to a second wave of bomber aircraft returning from attacks on L'orient.

               No.331 ( Norge ) Squadron claimed the destruction of two FW190's and the damage of a third. A fitting way to mark the occasion of ' Norwegian Independance Day '.

               No.332 ( Norge ) Squadron had nothing to report.

 

No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. :- 

          24th May     Late in the evening a signal came ordering the Squadron to move from R.A.F. Middle Wallop to R.A.F. Harrowbeer tomorrow. Probable time 1530 hours.

          25th May     Preparations for the move to R.A.F. Harrowbeer were completed by 1200 hours but the move was delayed by Movement Control until 0630 hours tomorrow. Late in the afternoon a signal was received that the aircraft were required to move to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to operate tomorrow and at 1830 hours ten Mustang aircraft flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          26th May     The road convoy which consisted of thirty eight vehicles left R.A.F. Middle Wallop at 0645 hours for R.A.F. Harrowbeer. After a very hard trip over roads with many long steep hills they arrived at 2100 hours. Some difficulty was experienced due to the shortage of petrol before raching the refueling point. Emergency arrangements were put in place which kept the convoy moving.         The rail party reached R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1830 hours after an uneventful trip.

          27th May     The work of settling in was undertaken and completed by early afternoon.

          28th May     The Squadron practiced formation flying and a section of No.414 Squadron and No.193 Squadron were sent off on ' anti-rhubarb ' patrols.

          29th May     Flying was restricted by U.S.A.A.C. operations.         Later in the day No.414 Squadron and No.193 Squadron carried out ' anti-rhbarb ' patrols.          One section of No.414 Squadron took off on an Air Sea Rescue sortie.        A section of No.414 Squadron while on an ' anti-rhubarb ' patrol was diverted to this operation :- They found two Spitfire aircraft circling an overturned dinghy woth nine airmen clinging to it. The Spitfires left and later the section of No.414 Squadron was joined by two Beaufighter aircraft and then by a Walrus aircraft with it's escort. A rescue launch had been sighted previously and a Spitfire was detailed to guide the launch to the dinghy. All the crew were picked up with the exception of the tail gunner who was lost when the aircraft ditched and caught fire.

General :-

Aircraft on charge as at 31st May 1943 to No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. :-

Operational :-     12 Mustang I          2  =  Tomahawk IIB

Non Operational :-     1  =  Miles Master III         1  =  Tiger Moth

 

Numerical strength of No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. :-   21 = aircrew    254 = ground-crew

 

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by Wng Commander R. F. Begg.

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

April  1943

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward continues to be the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer.          The Operation Record Book for March was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, the Station Administration Officer.

 

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

           Flying Officer Renvoize - Flight Commander of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron " A " Flight ( R.A.F. Warmwell )

          Wing Commander Smith - Headquarters Fighter Command

          Flight Lieutenant N. Pushman - No.10 Group Air Sea Rescue Liaison Officer

          Warrant Officer Dyer - P3 No.10 Group

          Flight Lieutenant Lamb - Squadron Gunnery Leader

         Air Officer Commanding Air Commodore Embry - No.10 Group

          Group Captain Woodhall -

          Pilot Officer Hughes - Squadron Gunnery Officer

          Flight Lieutenant Hastings - Squadron Navigation Officer

 

Weather

          1st April     Very poor visibility and heavy winds. A poor start to the new month.

          2nd April     Weather still fairly bad. Flying started at mid-day and carried on until 1900 hours.

          3rd April     Mist and drizzle to start with, clearing up by 2000 hours.

          4th April     Good weather allowing flying all day.

          5th and 6th April     Quite good weather.

          7th April      Quite clear, but the wind began to blow and by lunchtime at least gale force was reached - thus stopping all flying.

          9th April     A good day resulting in plenty of flying.

          10th April     Another good day for flying practice.

          11th April     Very misty in the morning.

          12th April     A duff day - no flying.

          13th April     A really wizard day, the pilots enjoying lots of flying activity.

          14th April     Cracking day with lots of flying taking place

          15th April     Quite good weather although somewhat hazy.

          16th April     Weather again quite good but hazy.

          17th April     Another good day for the pilots.

          18th April     Excellent weather, lots of air activity.

          19th April     Weather in the morning very poor, no flying.

          20th April     Back to some good weather again to the relief of the pilots.

          21st April     Weather in the morning quite good but very windy with a slight haze. After 1017 hours the weather clamped down, no more flying.

          22nd April     Up until mid-afternoon the weather was impossible. In the morning there was rain and a thick haze, clearing up gradually as the day progressed. Late in the afternoon there was still a considerable ground haze.

          23rd April     Drizzle and a thick haze all day - no flying.

          24th April     Quite a good morning although early on there was heavy rain. The weather clamped down altogether about 1800 hours and torrential rain continued throughout the night.

          25th April     A good morning, apart from a slight ground haze. As the day progressed the weather gradually clamped down with very strong winds. Despite the morning promise, today turned out to be a poor day for flying.

          26th April     Very windy with a slight ground haze.

          27th April     Strong winds, only decreasing in the afternoon.

          29th April     Impossible weather again haze and rain.

          30th April     A heavy haze over the aerodrome, clearing gradually before noon.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          2nd April     Three Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron on a shipping reconnaissance off the French Coast.

          4th April    During the afternoon two Squadrons of Spitfire aircraft of No.65 and No.602 Squadrons landed to refuel. They then took off to act as rear cover support to Ventura Bomber aircraft attacking marshalling yards at St. Brieux.

          4th and 5th April     Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron operated from R.A.F. Exeter on ' anti - rhubarb ' patrols.

          9th April     At approximately 1200 hours, eight Whirlwind aircraft of No.263 Squadron landed to refuel and were then airborne at 1250 hours on an armed shipping reconnaissance. Two Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron were engaged on an Army Co-operation exercise.

          14th April     Three ' Fairy Swordfish ' aircraft of No.834 Fleet Air Arm Squadron were airborne at 2130 hours, oo20 hours and 0217 hours ( the night of the 14th / 15th ) respectively on patrol over the Channel. There were no sightings.         At 0859 hours one Walrus aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron was airborne to search for a dinghy.

         15th April     A Walrus aircraft of No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron capsized during a practice landing off Bolt Head. Three of the crew were picked up by a Walrus aircraft from R.A.F. Portreath and one by an R.A.F. Pinnace.

          16th April     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group visited the Station ( Air Commodore Embry ).

          18th April     Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron carried out night flying exercises from 2200 hours until 0130 hours.

          21st April     Three Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron went out on an anti - rhubarb patrol which was uneventful.

          30th April     One section of No.193 Squadron were detailed on an anti - rhubarb patrol.

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540 :-

          The Form 540 for April was unsigned.

          1st April     Strength of Station including R.A.F. Bolt Head and R.A.F. Hope Cove :- R.A.F. = 1502      W.A.A.F. = 227     Army = 316

          2nd April     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 20     W.A.A.F. = 7     Army = 0

          9th April     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 21     W.A.A.F. = 8     Army = 1

          16th April     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 22     W.A.A.F. = 4     Army = 2

          24th April     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 21     W.A.A.F. = 3     Army = 0

          30th April      Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 13     W.A.A.F. = 4     Army = 1

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.65 ' East India Squadron :-

          4th April     Eleven Spitfire aircraft of No.65 ' East India ' Squadron and Wing Commander O'Brian DFC  joined No.602 Squadron and No.19 Squadron as escort cover to twelve Ventura Bomber aircraft and the R.A.F. Exeter Wing as close escort in an attack on St. Brieux Marshalling Yards. The Spitfire aircraft left R.A.F. Perranporth at 1310 hours and flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to refuel and be briefed for the operation. The Wing set course from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at zero feet, climbed after twenty eight minutes and reached twelve thousand feet over the sea north of St. Brieux before making a right handed turn out to sea again. No enemy aircraft were sighted and the bombing was not observed as the Perranporth Wing did not enter the target area. All aircraft landed safely by 1755 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. for April was unsigned.

 

No.193 Squadron :- 

          1st April     A poor start to the new month as far as the weather is concerned.          While the pilots were carrying out synthetics ( Link Trainer exercises, etc ) and watching films the Commanding Officer led the Squadron's first operation :- a patrol out to the French Coast. Everyone especially the troops, took a good view of the Squadron doing an operational trip at last.

          3rd April     Some pilots were made " day operational ". Most of them took part in their first patrol - an MTB ( motor torpedo boat ) escort - late in the evening. The morale of the Squadron was always high and is now touching astronomical heights.

          5th April     The Squadrons more experienced pilots were sent to R.A.F. Exeter to carry out patrols with No.266 Squadron to gain operational experience.

          8th April     A section of six Typhoon aircraft were up before dawn and left for R.A.F. Exeter at first light, where they carried out patrols throughout the day. In future it has been decided to do patrols from R.A.F. Harrowbeer as it would be more efficient and quicker.          Serviceability of the aircraft at present is bad.

          9th April     A good day with plenty of flying, mostly operational.          Loss of serviceability is still holding training back.

          10th April     We have now been doing our own patrols for three days and things have worked out very well.

          11th April     The Squadron Tiger Moth and the Station Commander's Magister aircraft were utilised in taking up Air Training Corps cadets and troops when possible during the day.

          16th April     Plenty of flying including one anti - rhubarb patrol.

          18th April     Flying consisted of low flying formation during the day and an aircraft recognition test at Intelligence. At night " B " Flight did circuits and bumps from 2200 hours to 0130 hours using the only serviceable Hurricane aircraft.

          19th April     The weather in the morning was very poor so there was no flying carried out much to the disappointment of the pilots. Visits to the Link and Hunt Trainer plus film shows kept the pilots busy. In the afternoon the weather cleared but bad serviceability kept flying down to almost nil. Night flying exercises were carried out in the Hurricane aircraft from 2200 hours until 0015 hours.

          21st April     Two anti - rhubarb patrols were carried out from 0807 hours - 1017 hours. The weather then clamped down and all projected flying had to be cancelled. The rest of the day was spent on film shows, Intelligence and Synthetics. A typical Harrowbeer day.

          22nd April     In the afternoon all pilots of No.193 Squadron visited Salcombe for the purpose of having a " close up " look at MTB's ( motor torpedo boats ). Trips in a HSL ( high speed launch ) were arranged to Bolt Head when the mechanism was fully examined and tested by the pilots. Everyone enjoyed the instructional outing.

          24th April     About noon, the Commanding Officer led a formation of twelve Typhoon aircraft over to R.A.F. Warmwell to inspect various types of tanks there. The general opinion was that, despite the undoubted qualities of the tanks their preference is still the Typhoon aircraft.

          25th - 28th April     Four days spent mainly on air to air firing practice with spells of synthetics in between.

          29th April     Back to the impossible weather with haze and rain. Lots more synthetics carried out.

          30th April     The Squadron is now looking forward to the 3rd May 1943 with high spirits, as they are due to become operational.     The Commanding Officer had a chat with all the pilots in ' B ' Flight Dispersal on discipline and the coming operations.

 

No.263 Squadron :- 

          9th April     Seven aircraft flew an uneventful Roadstead No.55 from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. They then returned to R.A.F. Warmwell.          The aircraft of No.263 Squadron took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to meet up with No.312 ( Czech ) Spitfire Squadron and No.313 ( Czech ) Spitfire Squadron at Bolt Head and flying at zero feet they swept the Isles - Isle De Batz area for shipping reported there. Only ship like rocks were found. A Spitfire aircraft chased a JU88 enemy aircraft but it escaped into cloud. Visibility was good under 10 / 10 cloud except in patches of rain.

The Squadron O.R.B. for April was unsigned.

 

No.276 ( Air Sea Rescue ) Squadron :-  

          1st April     Flying Officer Renvoize of No.276 Air Se Rescue Squadron " A " Flight Commander ( R.A.F. Warmwell ) visited Squadron Headquarters ( Ravenscroft - R.A.F. Harrowbeer ).

          3rd April     Warrant Officer R. Davies and Sergeant C. Taylor W.OP/AG were ordered off to escort an aircraft in distress. They contacted the aircraft and then returned to base.

          4th April     Warrant Officer Bird ( Pilot and Captain ), Pilot Officer N. Berryman ( 2nd Pilot ) and Sergeant Frisby ( W.OP/AG ) of "  A " Flight R.A.F. Warmwell were ordered off in a Walrus aircraft on a course of one hundred and sixty degrees for twenty nine minutes. They sighted the body of an airman in the water and landed beside it, owing to the fact that the airman was still wearing his parachute harness, dinghy mae-west ( uninflated ) difficulty was experienced in getting the body into the Walrus. Pilot Officer Berryman dived into the water in an endeavour to get the body of the airman into the aircraft. Owing to the very rough seas, the waves being some four feet high Pilot Officer Berryman had to give up the struggle owing to exhaustion after fifteen minutes. The dead body of the airman had to be abandoned. Hostile aircraft unsuccessfully attempted to interfere with the rescue and a Spitfire aircraft of No.504 Squadron acting as escort was lost four miles north of Cherbourg.

          4th April      A Walrus aircraft and two Spitfire aircraft were sent off to search a point thirty five miles and one hundred and eighty degrees from the Eddystone Lighthouse. A fix was obtained on arriving at the position. A strip search was carried out but nothing was found.

          5th April     A Walrus aircraft serial No.X2271 and two Spitfire aircraft were ordered off at 1850 hours to follow various vectors until a position two hundred and thirty degrees and ten miles out from Polperro was reached. They were joined by a second Walrus aircraft with escorts. The aircraft searched the area thoroughly but found nothing. The Walrus aircraft landed at R.A.F. Portreath at 2110 hours, the Spitfires landed at 2030 hours.          The two R.A.F. Harrowbeer Spitfires returned to base in the morning of 6th April.

          6th April     Wing Commander Smith - Headquarters Fighter Command visited the Squadron Headquarters.          Flying Officer E. Brookes took over the duties of Squadron Adjutant.          The R.A.F. Harrowbeer Walrus serial No.X2271 flew from R.A.F. Portreath to R.A.F. Predannack where it was detailed off at 0750 hours on a vector of one hundred and ten degrees and twenty miles out from the Lizard, Cornwall. On arriving at the position the area was searched but no signs of wreckage or survivors could be found. The Walrus aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Predannack at 1110 hours. At 1230 hours it was again sent off to continue the search of the 5th April on a course of one hundred and eighty degrees and thirty five miles out, the area was searched including areas north and east of the given position. Nothing was to be found. The Walrus aircraft was again returned to R.A.F. Predannack. At 1555 hours Walrus serial No.X2271 was told to return back to it's base at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          8th April     Flight Lieutenant N. Pushman - No.10 Group Air Sea Rescue Liaison Officer and Warrant Officer Dyer - P3 No.10 Group visited the Squadron Headquarters and the new Squadron establishment was discussed. This new establishment was the result of an additional number of aircraft being supplied to the Squadron which now totals twenty three. When the Anson aircraft and the Walrus aircraft arrive the figure will be twenty five.

          10th April     The Squadron Commanding Officer and four Officers today attended a cocktail party at the new American Hospital, near Horrabridge ( Plaster Down ) and a good time was had by all.          Flight Lieutenant Lamb - Squadron Gunnery Leader visited the Squadron Headquarters.

          14th April     Today the Squadron celebrated it's one hundredth rescue.     The first Squadron to reach ( and pass ) this total. The Air Officer Commanding - Air Commodore Embry, Group Captain Woodhall and Wing Commander Ward visited the Squadron Headquarters and congratulated the Squadron Commanding Officer on the achievement of the Squadron and the rescue of this morning.          Walrus aircraft serial No.X2271 was detailed off on another rescue sortie leaving R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0850 hours to search a position two hundred and twenty five degrees and thirty minutes out from Bolt Head where a Lancaster Bomber aircraft was found half submerged in the sea after twenty eight minutes flying time. The crew of seven were located in a dinghy approximately one mile from the ditched aircraft. Walrus X2271 alighted on the sea and the seven airmen were picked up. At the request of the first pilot of the Lancaster an attempt was made to retrieve a valuable camera and it's equipment from the ditched aircraft. The Walrus taxied towards the Lancaster, unfortunately a heavy swell washed the Walrus against the crashed aircraft and the front gun penetrated the Walrus on the port bow. The salvage attempt was abandoned. A rescue boat arrived one hour later and four airmen were transferred to it. Walrus X2271 took off with the other three rescued airmen ( who were suffering the most from exposure )  landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1140 hours where they were transferred to the Station Sick Quarters.          In the afternoon of the 14th April a Flight Conference was held and was attended by all Flight Commanders, Flight Lieutenant N. Pushman from No.10 Group and the new Squadron Adjutant. It was announced at the conference that " D " Flight would move from R.A.F. Fairwood Common on 24/4/1943 to R.A.F. Portreath.

          15th April     A n air test and practice sea landings was scheduled for Walrus aircraft serial No.W3029 and it's four man crew. On making the sea landing the Walrus aircraft is believed to have struck a submerged obstacle and it sank immediately. The crew clambered onto the main-plane then took to the water in their mae-wests. One of the crew who was unable to swim was supported by two other members of the team. A Walrus aircraft that was at stand-by at R.A.F. Bolt Head was sent out to pick up the ditched airmen. A rescue boat was also sent to the scene and three of the rescued airmen were transferred to it. The fourth airman ( the non-swimmer ) was flown by the Walrus to R.A.F. Harrowbeer and taken to the Station Sick Quarters arriving at 1830 hours.          On receiving a report at R.A.F. Harrowbeer of Walrus W3029 in difficulties a Defiant aircraft took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer but the rescuing Walrus ( from R.A.F. Bolt Head ) and a rescue boat were already at the scene. A basking shark was located five hundred yards from where the Walrus W3029 crashed, shots were fired at it but there were no definite results. It is considered that the shark may have been " damaged ".

          16th April     Walrus aircraft serial No.X9522 was detailed off at 1435 hours on a rescue sortie to an area two hundred and twenty five degrees and thirty three minutes out from Bolt Head. Debris from a crashed aircraft was located on the sea. The Walrus aircraft landed on the water and taxied among the debris, several bright yellow oxygen bottles were seen and the lower half of an Irving Flying Suit were recovered. There were no survivors found. The Walrus landed at R.A.F. Bolt Head at 1810 hours where it refueled before returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          At 2100 hours, Walrus aircraft serial No.X9522 was sent off to search two positions. One being two hundred and twenty degrees and sixty seven minutes out from base, the other area one hundred and ninety degrees and twenty minutes from the first position. Both areas were searched but nothing was found. The Walrus landed at R.A.F. Predannack at 2350 hours, returning back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0835 hours on the 17th April.          At 2100 hours a Walrus aircraft from " B " Flight ( R.A.F. Harrowbeer ) was airborne to search for  Wing Commander O'Brien ( Portreath Wing ) who had been seen in his dinghy near the French Coast. At 2135 hours a Walrus aircraft from R.A.F. Portreath was ordered off on the same search and in carrying out the search made landfall at Quessant near Brest. Both these searches were unsuccessful but Wing Commander O'Brien was picked up by M/G boats early the next morning.

          18th April     A telegram was received from Air Commodore B. E. Embry - Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group saying :-" Heartiest congratulations on completing your century ".

          20th April     Another telegram was received today from A.C.C. No.10 Group reading :-  " Once again heartiest congratulations on your splendid rescue. Flying Officer Martin's seamanship must have been of the highest order and he is to be particularly congratulated ".  ( This refers to a rescue by " C " Flight R.A.F. Fairwood Common ).  " The work which your Squadron has been doing in the last few days has been outstanding and has no doubt affected the morale of all air crews in the group ".          A telegram received from No.277 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron - the Squadrons opposite number in No.11 Group :- " Congratulations on your 121st body ".

          22nd April     The following telegram was today received from Air Officer Commander in Chief of Fighter Command :-  " My congratulations to all concerned for the excellent A.S.R. results achieved in your group and in particular to No.276 Squadron for their outstanding achievements of 6 rescues in 7 days  +  +  Liegh Mallory ".

          25th April     Flight Lieutenant N. Pushman - No.10 Group A.S.R. Liaison today visited Squadron Headquarters.

                   The rest of the month was taken up by air tests, navigational exercises, local flying, dinghy dropping exercises, experience on type training and stand-by duties at R.A.F. Bolt Head.

 

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

                    The month was taken up by ninety three Army Co-operation exercises with No.55 Anti Aircraft Brigade.          Three aircraft were used comprising one Hurricane and two Defiants. The number of aircrew at this time had increased to approximately twelve. The exercises were carried out in the Plymouth, Salcombe, Brixham, Bigbury and Start Point areas. They varied between low level and nine thousand feet high foe LAA and HAA.

The Squadron O.R.B. for April was signed by Flight Lieutenant F. P. Joyce.

 

No.504 Squadron :- 

          8th April     In the afternoon " B " Flight of No.504 Squadron flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Ibsley to take over readiness there. They later returned to R.A.F. Ibsley with no results.

The Squadron O.R.B. for April was signed by Squadron Leader J. R. C. Kilian.

 

No.602 Squadron :- 

          4th April     At about 1600 hours No.602 Squadron took off from R.A.F. Perranporth for R.A.F. Harrowbeer where they landed to refuel. They then took off with Spitfire aircraft of No.65 ' East India ' Squadron to act as rear cover to Ventura Bomber aircraft attacking the marshalling yards at St. Brieux. The Squadron then returned to R.A.F. Perranporth arriving back at 1740 hours.

The Squadron O.R.B. was signed by Flight Lieutenant W. W. J. Lord DFC.

 

No.834 ( Fleet Air Arm ) Squadron :- 

          14th April     Three Fairey Swordfish aircraft were airborne at 2130 hours, 0020 hours and 0217 hours ( the night of the 14 / 15th April ) respectively on patrol over the Channel, there were no sightings, nothing to report.

      

~     ~     ~     ~ 

 

March  1943

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward continues to be the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          The Station Operation Record Book for March was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, the Station Administration Officer.

 

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

          Air Marshal Sir T. L. Leigh-Mallory KCB, DSO - Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group, Commander in Chief Fighter Command

          Air Vice Marshal W. F. Dickson CB, DSO, OBE, AFC

          Flight Lieutenant Pushman - No.10 Group Air Sea Rescue Liaison Officer

          Air Commodore Embry - No.10 Group Headquarters

          Wing Commander Smith - Headquarters Fighter Command Operations

          Wing Commander Hocke

          Group Captain Boret

          Squadron Leader Thomas - Air Sea Rescue Directorate

          Group Captain Waring

          Pilot Officer Ryder-Ryder - Air Ministry Photographer

 

Weather

          1st and 2nd March     Wizard weather with lots of flying taking place.

          3rd March     Bags of wind and low scud, flying possible.

          4th March     Thick haze again curtailing flying.

          5th March     Haze preventing any flying until 1630 hours.

          6th March     A fairly good day allowing quite a few flying hours to be carried out.

          7th March     The morning was bad making flying impossible, but it cleared in the afternoon allowing flying to resume.

          8th March     Cloud was 10/10ths at two thousand feet so flying was restricted.

          9th March     A wizard day allowing flying hours to be the highest for the month so far.

          10th March     The weather became u/s at mid-day and flying promptly ceased.

          11th March     Weather completely useless until the late afternoon.

          12th March     Flying could not commence until about 1100 hours and then continued all day.

          13th March     Weather duff until late afternoon.

          14th March     Conditions bad again with no flying until 1600 hours.

          15th March     Quite a good day.

          16th March     Weather useless again until lunchtime.

          17th March     Quite a sunny day, but a bad ground mist prevented much flying.

          18th March     Weather useless all day, no flying allowed.

          19th March     Impossible weather for flying in the Typhoon aircraft, but limited flying was carried out in other types of aircraft.

          20th March     Not very encouraging weather. Flying conditions were found to be unsafe.

          21st March     Very damp and misty, visibility and cloud base almost nil.

          22nd March     Weather still unsuitable for flying.

          23rd March     A repetition of the last two days, the weather seems to have become more or less permanent. An insignificant amount of flying, merely one weather test.

          24th March     The bad weather continues.

          25th March     Weather still duff as the pilots have come to expect, a strong wind blowing during the morning.

          26th March     No improvement in the weather.

          27th March     Duff weather in the morning, clearing up around noon allowing flying to commence until 1930 hours.

          28th March     An excellent day. Proper flying for the first time for nearly a fortnight during the whole day. Bags of flying hours.

          29th March     Dense mist in the morning, lifting at 1300 hours. At 1330 hours practically everyone was airborne. The weather then shut down at 1700 hours and a nasty cross-wind developed.

          30th March     Back to the duff weather again.

          31st March     Typical Harrowbeer weather, visibility poor and all projected flying was cancelled.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          4th March     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group, Air Marshal Sir T. L. Leigh-Mallory KCB, DSO visited R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          6th March     At approximately 1750 hours a Flying Fortress aircraft of U.S.A.A.F. Bomber Group landed on the aerodrome having run short of fuel on returning from operations over L'orient. The crew were the same as were scattered over Dartmoor after baling out of their Flying Fortress on the 28th January 1943. ( Note - in the Station O.R.B. for January 1943 it is written that this happened on the 21st January 1943 ).

          8th March     During the morning twelve Spitfire aircraft of No.602 ( City of Edinburgh ) Squadron landed to refuel to acting as bomber escort.

          13th March     One Officer and twenty cadets of the Air Training Corps arrived to carry out a weekend training programme on the Station.

          14th March     No.263 Squadron left R.A.F. Harrowbeer and returned to R.A.F. Warmwell, Dorset.          No.s 129, 504 and 616 Squadrons of the R.A.F. Ibsley Wing arrived on the Station.          No.504 Squadron was scrambled to form an escort on an Air Sea Rescue sortie.

          16th March     Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward assumed Command of the Station.

          17th March     The R.A.F. Ibsley Wing ( No.s 129, 504 and 616 Squadrons ) took off to return to R.A.F. Ibsley, New Forest, Hampshire.

          19th March     A party of one Officer and twenty Air Training Corps cadets arrived for a weekend training programme at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          25th March     Today was the final shooting for the Station Commander's Trophy. Nineteen teams of eight had entered and the shooting throughout was of a high standard. The trophy was won by the Workshop Section with No.318 Echelon as runners up.

          27th March     One Officer and twenty two Air Training Corps cadets visited the Station for a weekend training programme.

          28th March     A exercise coded " RAIDEX " took place today.     The codeword " RAINEX " was received at 0523 hours. This was an exercise controlled by the Commander of the Plymouth Garrison to test action, communications, etc. of service and civil defences in the event of a Squadron emergency.

          30th March     A report was received by the Camp Commandant of R.A.F. Bolt Head at approximately 0730 hours. Eight FW 190's ( German enemy aircraft ) approached R.A.F. Bolt Head and were immediately engaged by Beaufors Anti Aircraft fire. Four of the enemy aircraft sheered off, three circled on the outskirts of the aerodrome and one flew across the aerodrome dropping two bombs and shooting at the place with cannon fire. One bomb exploded damaging a power cable and one bomb fell about two hundred feet wide of the GCI Operations Room which failed to explode and was later dealt with by the I.B.D.S. from Okehampton. No other damage and no casualties.

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540 :-

 

          The Form 540 for the Station Sick Quarters for the month of March was signed by Squadron Leader F. Constable ( Senior Medical Officer ).

          1st March     Strength of the Station :-  R.A.F. = 1135     W.A.A.F. = 249     Army = 293

          2nd and 3rd March     Lieutenant J. L. Foreman U.S.A.A.F. was killed in an aircraft crash ( date unknown ). The body was found near to the crash site in Princetown, near Yelverton at approximately 1645 hours on the 1/4/1943. His body was conveyed to R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer at 1000 hours on the 2/4/1943. Lieutenant Foreman died from multiple injuries.

          5th March     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :-  R.A.F. = 8     W.A.A.F. = 5     Army = 3

          12th March     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :-  R.A.F. = 11     W.A.A.F. = 4     Army = 1

          19th March     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :-  R.A.F. = 9     W.A.A.F. = 6     Army = 1

          26th March     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :-  R.A.F. = 13     W.A.A.F. = 1     Army = 1

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.129 Squadron :-

          14th March     No.129 Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer along with No.s 504 and 616 Squadrons from R.A.F. Ibsley as part of the R.A.F. Ibsley Wing to give escort cover to a bomber aircraft operation.

          17th March     The Squadron returned to R.A.F. Ibsley after waiting at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for three days and nights unable to take part in the bomber aircraft operation due to bad weather conditions.

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

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st March     A great day for the Squadron, over thirty five hours of flying duties carried out.

          4th March     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Fighter Group visited the Squadron and was quite favourably impressed.          Flight Lieutenant Fokes went to R.A.F. Northolt to test the new hood for the Typhoon aircraft.

          5th March     The pilots of No.193 Squadron were allotted their individual aircraft and spent most of the day finding fault with them.

          7th March     An impossible morning on which " A " Flight put up a fine performance at the skeet range, including one crow ( two and a half foot wingspan ) which was confirmed by Flying Officer Hulbert.

          8th March     Pilot Officer Kilpatrick returned from sick leave after his accident in the Typhoon aircraft on the 4th February.

          9th March     A wizard day and inspite of incipient unserviceability, flying hours were the highest so far this month.

          13th March     The weather has been fairly poor just lately restricting flying practice.          " A " Flight had a fantastically frothy party at the Dispersal given by their Officers and SNCO's for their troops. Everyone was both highly satisfied and lubricated.

          19th March     The weather remains bad. Most of the flying being carried out is synthetic flying on the Hunt, Link and Esmondes Trainers. Although the weather today was impossible for flying Typhoon aircraft the Squadron was able to make use of the Squadron Tiger Moth which was in constant use by pilots taking up their own crews. The great keenness displayed by the troops and their implicit and quite misplaced trust in their own pilots is one more indication of the wizard spirit which already exists in No.193 Squadron.

          20th March     Flying conditions were found to be too unsafe for good serviceability.

          22nd March     More inclement weather, the pilots being occupied with morse code, intelligence and the usual synthetics.

          23rd March     The bad weather seems to have become more or less permanent. The general feeling in the Squadron is that synthetic flying is becoming a bit too prevalent an evil.

          24th March     Still the same synthetics for pilots. No joy for anyone, bags of " Gen " but " oh " to be airborne.

          25th March     A surprise visit paid to the Station by the Commander in Chief Fighter Command, and accompanied by the Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group, namely Air Marshal Sir T. L. Leigh-Mallory KCB, DSO and Vice Marshal W. F. Dixon CB, DSO, OBE, AFC.

          26th March     Still a bad morning, which was occupied by a film show, amidst cheering, shouting and tears of joy.     The weather cleared up at noon and every aircraft in the Squadron immediately took to the air.

          27th March     Duff weather in the morning again, which was occupied by a very entertaining film show, upon the niceties of ' unarmed combat '.

          28th March     An excellent day. Flying for the first time for nearly a fortnight, lasting the whole day, bags of flying hours.     The Commanding Officer led a formation of five aircraft in Army Co-operation attacks on gun positions and strongholds in conjunction with combined operations exercise " Raid X ".

          30th March     Duff weather again today. After a flying test the morning was spent on intelligence, " gen ", etc. In the afternoon " A " Flight kept on with the " gen " consumption whetted further with a film show on aircraft recognition, tanks and security.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for March was unsigned.

 

No.263 Squadron :-

                  The month of March commenced with the Squadron being divided.     " A " Flight and the Station ( Squadron ) Headquarters being at R.A.F. Harrowbeer, " B " Flight at R.A.F. Fairwood Common and No.3055 Echelon at R.A.F. Warmwell.

          1st - 13 March     " A " Flight put in some local flying. They also carried out occasional morning or afternoon fighter or bomber aircraft readiness duties. There was no operational flying for the Squadron carried out at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          14th March     On this fine Sunday the Squadron's exile from R.A.F. Warmwell was precipitately ended by a ' Form D ', both " A " and " B " Flights were to return to R.A.F. Warmwell.

          15th March     The Station ( Squadron ) Headquarters moved back to R.A.F. Warmwell by train.

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

 

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

          1st March     A Defiant aircraft was sent out on a rescue sortie at 1130 hours, the search point was twenty five miles and one hundred and thirty five degrees from Bolt Head. A large patch of oil and debris was located but no survivors. The Defiant aircraft landed back at base at 1330 hours.          At 1555 hours the Defiant aircraft went out again searching a point thirty seven miles and one hundred and thirty degrees from Bolt Head. Again all that was located was an oil patch and debris, no survivors. The aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1730 hours.

          3rd March     Wing Commander Smith from Headquarters Fighter Command Operations visited No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron ' A ' Flight at R.A.F. Warmwell today.

          4th March     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group, Air Vice Marshal Dickson visited No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron Headquarters and " B " Flight.

          9th March     A Walrus aircraft went out on a practice search, the object being to locate a dinghy and rescue the occupant. The exercise was successfully carried out five miles out and one hundred and thirty five degrees off Torquay.

          13th March     At 1240 hours a Defiant aircraft was detailed to search an area twelve miles out and one hundred and ninety five degrees off Bolt Head. A square search was carried out. Visibility was bad and nothing was sighted. The Defiant aircraft arrived back at base at 1435 hours.

          15th March     An unsuccessful rescue sortie carried out by " B " Flight from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1820 hours, they were detailed to search an area sixty two miles out and one hundred and forty five degrees from Bolt Head. The Walrus was then vectored three  miles West of original position. The aircraft was recalled from the search after ten minutes flying time landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2030 hours.          Pilot Officer Ryder-Ryder, Air Ministry Photographer arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer Squadron Headquarters to film Air Sea Rescue work being carried out.

          17th March     Group Captain Waring, Wing Commander Hocke and Squadron Leader Thomas - Air Sea Rescue Directorate together with Flight Lieutenant Pushman - No.10 Group Liaison Officer arrived at No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron Headquarters.

          21st March     " B " Flight carried out a practice search and rescue in Salcombe Bay for the benefit of the Air Ministry Photographer. A Walrus aircraft landed on the sea and picked up a ' pilot ' from a dinghy, but owing to a very rough sea the Walrus aircraft was unable to take off again. The Walrus taxied into Salcombe and took off for base the following morning.

          22nd March     Air Marshal Leigh-Mallory - Commander in Chief Fighter Command, Air Vice Marshal Dickson and Air Commodore Embry of No.10 Group Headquarters visited No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron Headquarters and " B " Flight Dispersals. The Commander in Chief talked with members of the aircrews.          Pilot Officer Ryder-Ryder the Air Ministry Photographer left R.A.F. Harrowbeer today.

          27th March     A Walrus aircraft was vectored to a position forty miles out South of Start Point. A square search was carried out but nothing found.

          The majority of March was taken up by pilots carrying out sector reconnaissance duties, air tests, formation flying, experience on types of aircraft and ferry work.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by Flying Officer D. J. McBrien.

 

No.504 Squadron :-

          15th March     In the early afternoon Spitfire VB and VC aircraft of No.504 Squadron flew from R.A.F. Ibsley, New Forest, Hampshire to R.A.F. Harrowbeer as part of the R.A.F. Ibsley Wing to give escort to bomber aircraft bombing St. Brieuc Aerodrome. On arrival at R.A.F. Harrowbeer the weather clamped down and the operation had to be postponed.

          16th March     The Squadron stayed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer overnight owing to the weather conditions and it was hoped to carry out the operation today. Unfortunately the operation had to be postponed yet again as a thick haze made it impossible for flying. The Squadron had to stay over once more as they could not return to R.A.F. Ibsley.

          17th March     The Squadron is still weather-bound at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. During the day one section was detailed to escort an Air Sea Rescue Walrus aircraft towards Alderney, Channel Islands. The search was uneventful.

          18th March     No.504 Squadron return to R.A.F. Ibsley.

          19th March     Later in the day No.504 Squadron flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Ibsley for duties but then returned without operating owing to unfavourable weather again.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by Squadron Leader J. R. C. Kilmartin.

 

No.602 ( City of Edinburgh ) Squadron :- 

          8th March     During the morning twelve Spitfire aircraft landed to re-fuel and take off with long range fuel tanks fitted to act as bomber aircraft escort on an operation. On their return flight they proceeded straight to their home base.

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

 

No.616 Squadron :-

          15th March     At 1430 hours No.616 Squadron took off from R.A.F. Ibsley, New Forest, Hampshire as part of the R.A.F. Ibsley Wing with No.s 129 and 504 Squadrons to fly to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, South Devon. The intention was that they were to fly as escort to six Whirlwind fighter bomber aircraft from R.A.F. Bolt Head, Devon as part of a bombing raid on St, Brieuc Aerodrome in Brittany, France. The aerodrome was to be bombed by twelve Ventura aircraft, these duly carried out their attack but the Whirlwind bomber aircraft part of the operation did not materialise.

          16th, 17th and 18th March     The pilots and aircraft of No.616 Squadron are still at R.A.F. Harrowbeer expecting to carry out the sweep with the Whirlwind aircraft. Owing to the shortage of ground-crew at R.A.F. Harrowbeer the pilots of No.616 Squadron carried out a rough daily inspection of their aircraft themselves and Harrowbeer is worth placing on record here that No.616 Squadron was the only Squadron in the R.A.F. Ibsley Wing whose aircraft remained serviceable during their stay. A tribute to the good work of their ground-crews and Servicing Echelon. The Squadron later returned to R.A.F. Ibsley on the 18th March not having carried out the operation.

          19th March     No.616 Squadron flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer this morning with No.504 Squadron but returned to R.A.F. Ibsley at 1620 hours without having made the operational sweep planned.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March is signed by Flight Lieutenant G. B. Maclachlan.

 

~     ~     ~     ~

 

February  1943

 

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward continues to be the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          The Station Operation Record Book for February was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, the Station Administration Officer.

 

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

          Brigadier C. R. Britten MC  -  Fighter Command Defence Officer.

          Lieutenant Colonel A. N. Hargreaves  -  No.10 Group Defence Officer

 

Weather

          1st February     Strong winds and hail storms resulting in restricted flying activities.

          2nd February     A fine day allowing flying to resume.

          3rd February     Another good day allowing flying to continue.

          4th February     A really good flying day, the best for three months.

          5th February     Not very good weather in the early morning, worsening towards dawn. Very bad weather in the afternoon.

          7th February     A wizard clear day,

          8th February     Miserable weather today with practically no flying taking place.

          9th February     Almost incessant rain with flying next to impossible.

          10th and 11th February     Impenetrable mist, seagulls crawling in under the fence and Hurricane aircraft asking for vectors ( directions ) from the hangars to the Flight Dispersals.

          12th February     Very bad weather until 1600 hours when it cleared up and flying commenced.

          13th February     An excellent day with flying activities all day long.

          14th February     Very bad weather, damp and misty.

          15th February     A good flying day weather-wise.

          17th February     Weather totally u / s.

          18th February     The weather closed in at 1030 hours stopping flying for four hours.

          19th February     Clear skies from 1400 hours onwards with bags of flying.

          20th February     A glorious day, again lots of flying taking place.

          21st February     Flying was badly restricted by a dense ground haze.

          22nd and 23rd February     A fine, typical Harrowbeer day ( foggy and cold ) cloud 10 / 10 ths at zero feet. No flying, the aerodrome is at a complete standstill.

          24th February     Low cloud made flying impossible in the morning and very little was accomplished in the afternoon.

          25th February     Good weather in the morning but clamped down for five hours from 1100 hours until 1600 hours.

          26th February     A wizard day from dawn to dusk, lots of flying carried out.

          27th February     A really good flying day.

          28th February     The weather today was fairly good allowing plenty of flying to take place.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          3rd February     At 2245 hours a Wellington III aircraft returning from St. Nazaire landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer owing to shortage of petrol and T.R.9 failure ( radio ) and in doing so sustained damage to the nose and propellers.          Later the same day at 2345 hours a Wellington X aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer with T.R.9 and intercom failure.

          4th February     At 1304 hours while carrying out a practice flight a Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron piloted by Pilot Officer A. W. Kilpatrick crashed between Yelverton and Meavy for reasons at present unknown. Pilot Officer Kilpatrick baled out, he was injured and removed to hospital.

          10th February     At 2100 hours preparations were made to receive a bomber aircraft in distress. The aircraft flew over the aerodrome at one thousand feet and proceeded on it's course.

          11th February     Gas exercise ' Allum ' commenced at 0400 hours.

          12th February     Dusk and night landings by Hurricane aircraft of No.193 Squadron carried out.          At 2240 hours until 0010 hours a practice shoot was carried out by No.245 L.A.A. Battery R.A.  Eight balloons were released, no hits were registered.          At 2155 hours a short attack took place on Plymouth. Aircraft of No.193 Squadron were still airborne on night flying exercises when the attack commenced, all landed without incident.          Between 2300 hours and 2359 hours preparations were made to receive returning bomber aircraft, non arrived.

          15th February     At approximately 1045 hours Pilot Officer R. B. Dunsmuir of N0.193 Squadron crashed on local flying and was killed.

          18th February     Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn AFC, DFM assumed command of the Station during the absence on temorary duty of Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward.

          20th February     Two aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron carried out a sortie South East of Torquay. A pilot was sighted in a dinghy and successfully rescued.          One Flight of No.263 Squadron arrived on the Station, they were flying Whirlwind aircraft.

          21st February     Brigadier C. R. Britten MC and Lieutenant Colonel A. N. Hargreaves visited the Station and inspected the defences of the airfield. An inspection was also carried out on No.2847 Squadron R.A.F. Regiment and No.4105 A.A. Flight.          Squadron Leader G. W. Petre assumed command of the Station, vice Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn AFC, DFM proceeded on leave.

          26th - 28th February     At 2320 hors a Halifax aircraft of No.35 Squadron landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer with engine trouble on returning from operations over St. Nazaire. The Halifax over-ran the runway ( runway two ) and went through the perimeter fence and across the main Yelverton - Plymouth road and after hitting a boulder which tore out one of the engines came to a standstill in a hollow by the road. There were no casualties among the crew.

Gas exercise  ' Allum '

          On the 11th February 1943 R.A.F. Harrowbeer was placed under gas alert which continued until 0400 hours on the 13th February. All personnel carried anti-gas equipment and wore eye-shields when in the open throughout this period.     Reconnaissance, decontamination, cleansing centre and sick annex parties were at readiness and within immediate call while continuing normal work. Hourly reports of weather conditions were received from the Watch Office by the Gas Section. The weather was consistently unfavourable for spray attack and no attack or incident developed.          The gas equipment of all personnel on the Station had been examined prior to the exercises.

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540

 

          The Form 540 for the Station Sick Quarters for the month of February was signed by Squadron Leader F. Constable ( Senior Medical Officer ).

          1st February     Strength of the Station :-  R.A.F. = 1574     W.A.A.F. = 336     Army = 391

          4th February     Pilot Officer A. W. Kilpatrick of N0.193 Squadron was involved in an aircraft crash and sustained injuries to his head ' concussion ?', fracture to base of the skull. He was admitted direct to the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth and placed on the dangerously ill list.

          5th February     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 13     W.A.A.F. = 4     Army = 1

          7th February     Pilot Officer A. W. Kilpatrick of No.193 Squadron removed from dangerously ill list at the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth.

          12th February     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 16     W..A.A.F. = 2     Army = 0

          15th February     Pilot Officer R. B. Dunsmuir of No.193 Squadron was killed in an aircraft crash at R.A.F. Harrowbeer - " multiple injuries ". He was dead on admission to the Station Sick Quarters.

          19th February     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 17     W.A.A.F. = 9     Army = 2

          26th February     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :-  R.A.F. 8     W.A.A.F. = 5     Army = 0

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st February     The Station Commanding Officer gave a security lecture in the afternoon.          As the weather was stormy with strong winds synthetic training took up every-ones spare time.

          2nd February     Four serviceable Typhoon aircraft were available and quite a ot of flying was carried out.

          3rd February     Flying took place from 0830 hours to 1800 hours. About mid-day a minor flap was caused by Warrant Officer G. S. Lawson as he was unable to lower his undercarriage on landing. He made a wheel's up landing close to the intersection of two runways. Pilot Officer R. B. Dunsmuir was on his first Typhoon solo flight and had to circle round until the wreckage could be cleared for him to land safely.

          4th February     A Typhoon aircraft flown by Pilot Officer A. W. Kilpatrick became uncontrollable in an aileron turn down from twenty seven thousand feet and had to be abandoned when the tail came off. Pilot Officer A. W. Kilpatrick experienced some difficulty in baling out and was badly bruised about the face and head. He was taken to the Royal Navy Hospital Plymouth and was found to be in no immediate danger. The cause of the accident is being investigated.

          6th February     All pilots had to undergo the monthly ' Aircraft Recognition ' test.

          12th February     The weather over the past few days has been rather bad therefore limiting the amount of flying that could be done. Today, as the weather eventually improved the Squadron was able to resume it's flying programme.

          13th February     A report from Flying Officer E. H. A. Vernon-Jarvis, Officer Commanding the " Harrowbeer Film Unit " at R.A.F. Church Stanton indicates that a good deal of flying is being done and fair filming progress continues. ( The title of the film if ' Flemish Farm ' ).

          15th February     Todays flying was marred by a fatal accident involving Pilot Officer R. B. Dunsmuir of ' A ' Flight who flew into a hill at very high speed. The cause is being investigated.

          25th February     For the past few days there has been a mixture of good and bad weather which has resulted in the Squadron carrying out a limited amount of flying practice and an awful lot of synthetic flying ( Link Trainer ).          An unfortunate accident happened today when a pilot ground looped on landing and wrote off the undercarriage, port wing, air-screw and stem frame.          Two pilots departed for a four day liaison trip on a destroyer.

          26th February     Two Typhoon aircraft were collected from R.A.F. Heston for the Squadron's use.

          27th February     Another bad day when the pilot who pranged on the 25th repeated in exactly the same manner another ground loop, resulting in the pilot being grounded.

          28th February     Six more Typhoon aircraft arrived this afternoon.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for February was unsigned.

 

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

          3rd February     A Defiant and Walrus aircraft took off on a rescue sortie at 1415 hours. The area they were to search was ten to fifteen miles East of Torquay. The position was indicated by a Typhoon aircraft orbiting the spot and a square search was carried out. There were no survivors found. Both aircraft returned to base at 1535 hours.

          5th February     A Flight Commanders conference was held at the Squadron Headquarters ( Ravenscroft ). The Squadron Commanding Officer presided and the four Flight Commanders and the Adjutant were present, in view of the re-equipping of the Squadron with Spitfires, Walrus and Anson aircraft along with the distribution of the aircrew. At the meeting several Air Sea Rescue queries and suggestions were brought up and discussed by the Flight Commanders.

          15th February     Owing to the arrival of No.263 Squadron at R.A.F. Harrowbeer the Squadron Headquarters and ' B ' Flight officially moved from ' Knightstone House ' and dispersal to ' Ravenscroft '. ( Ravenscroft is a very large house on the edge of the aerodrome opposite the original Watch Office ). The move has proved entirely satisfactory and it is hoped it will be their permanent home.

          16th February     Three aircraft were ordered off to search an area two hundred and seven degrees off Bolt Head for a dinghy on the sea. A strip search was carried out without any results. The search was abandoned by Operations.

          18th February     A Walrus aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer was sent off to an area one hundred miles South South West off the Lizard Point, Cornwall. They were to assist a Walrus aircraft from R.A.F. Portreath in a search for thirteen airman believed to be in a dinghy a few miles off Brest. The weather was very misty but the two aircraft carried out a extensive search, at times they were well within sight of the French coast. Nothing else was sighted apart from the Brest balloon barrage. The return journey was carried out in darkness.

          20th February     A Defiant aircraft was ordered off to search an area twelve miles out from Torquay on a sighting of one hundred and thirty five degrees. The position was marked by a patch of oil and an orbiting aircraft. A pilot was found in his dinghy. A larger dinghy was dropped to him in the sea along with smoke floats. Both aircraft carried on orbiting the pilot in his dinghy while a merchant ship from a convoy was directed to the spot and picked the pilot up.

          26th February     A Walrus aircraft was detailed to search a position nine miles South West off the Lizard Point, Cornwall. An aircraft had been seen to dive straight into the sea by other aircraft. After an extensive search nothing had been found.

          The majority of February was taken up by experience of type flights, air tests, sector reconnaissance, practice searches and ferry flights.

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

 

No.263 Squadron :-

          20th February     ' A ' Flight and the Squadron Orderly Room, Intelligence and Medical service, etc. moved to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, near Yelverton, Devon from R.A.F. Warmwell, Dorset.          The aircraft being used by No.263 Squadron at this time was the Whirlwind.

          21st February     Settling at R.A.F. Harrowbeer in conditions which, while in no doubt not unreasonable as on " active service " are very much less comfortable than the particularly good facilities of dispersal and messing which the Squadron enjoyed at R.A.F. Warmwell.          Local flying and night tests carried out.

          22nd and 23rd February     Weather foggy, cold and duff - no flying.

          26th, 27th and 28th February     ' A ' and ' B ' Flights were employed in a form of bombing tactics which the Squadron at any rate, had not used before. Soon after Squadron Leader Warnes took over command of the Squadron he suggested to Group Authorities that the Squadron might practice and use a form of dive-bombing tactic so that it can take part in ' Circus Operations '. Practices and operations over these three days were carried out. Judgement about their absolute success as whether in the form of damage to aerodrome installations and / or morale at Maupertus, or in bringing to battle of enemy fighters, must evidently be the concern of higher authorities and of more complete information. However let it be recorded here that these operations were intensely enjoyed by all who took part in them.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for February was unsigned.

 

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

          A total of thirty seven Army Co-operation exercises were carried out during the month of February with No.55 Brigade between three thousand feet and nine thousand feet mainly in the Plymouth area. Five airmen using two Defiant aircraft were used on the exercises.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for February was unsigned.

 

~     ~     ~     ~

 

January  1943 

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward continues to be the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          The Station Operation Record Book for January was signed by Squadron Leader Chris Hogg, the Station Administration Officer.          The Station Sick Quarters records for January was signed by the Station Medical Officer, Pilot Officer W. Chapman.

 

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

          Brigadier Foster-Hall  -  Commander of 199th Infantry Brigade.

          Lord Sherwood  -  Joint Undersecretary of State for Air.

          Lord Wimborne  - 

          Colonel G. Thompson DSO, MC  - Garrison Commander.

 

Weather

          No recorded weather conditions for the beginning of January.

          12th January     Rained very heavily in the morning thus making flying impossible.

          14th January     Weather not very favourable, showery in the afternoon.

          15th January     Weather improved today remaining good all day.

          16th January     Absolutely impossible weather, raining down hard all day with cloud right down almost to the ground.

          17th January     Another bad day with no flying.

          18th January     More bad weather.

          19th January     Another disgusting day with rain and low cloud. Flying impossible.

          20th January     Once more a filthy day. ( A seagull was seen to walk in under the fence ).

          21st January     Weather was a little better today and flying was resumed.

          22nd January     Flying packed up at lunchtime due to thick fog.

          23rd January     A wizard day weather-wise.

          24th January     Very variable weather resulting in only local flying.

          25th January     A horrible morning with a fifty mile per hour gale blowing.

          26th January     Quite a reasonable day with plenty of flying taking place.

          27th January     A typical Harrowbeer day. Indifferent weather in the morning and bad weather in the afternoon.

          28th January     A complete wash-out, rain, cloud on the deck and high winds.

          29th January     Quite a good day with lots of flying practice.

          30th January     Another fairly good day.

          31st January     A fitting end to a shocking month. Thunderstorms and very high winds all day.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          From 1st January 1943, the R.A.F. Form 540 sheets for the Station Sick Quarters were included in with the R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer Operation Record Book.

          1st January     The strength of the Station :- R.A.F. = 1469     W.A.A.F. = 211     Army = 348

          2nd January     Two sections of No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer for stand-by duties. Both sections took off to take part in a ' Rodeo ' with the rest of the Exeter Wing. After the operation the two sections landed back at R.A.F. Exeter.

          8th January     Station personnel admitted to the Station Sick Quarters week ending today :- R.A.F. = 15     W.A.A.F. = 6     Army = 2

          12th January     Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn DFC, AFM assumed command of the Station in the absence on leave of Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward.

          14th January     Four Hurricane aircraft and three Typhoon aircraft arrived at the Station for delivery to No.193 Squadron.

          15th January     Station personnel admitted to the Station Sick Quarters week ending today :- R.A.F. =15     W.A.A.F. = 6     Army = 2

          18th January     A Fleet Air Arm Fulmar aircraft crashed at Tanners Hill. The Station Medical Officer ( Pilot Officer W. Chapman ) and the Station Engineer proceeded to the spot and on arrival found a burnt out aircraft and two bodies.

          19th January     Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward returned from leave and re-assumed command of the Station.

          21st January     A  U.S.A. Flying Fortress aircraft returning from L'orient landed at 1508 hours as one of the crew was dangerously wounded. He was taken to the Royal Hospital Plymouth. Another  U.S.A. Flying Fortress aircraft belonging to No.303  U.S.A. Bomber Group returning from Brest developed engine trouble and on the pilot's orders all the crew baled out over Dartmoor at approximately 2340 hours. All members of the crew ( nine in total ) arrived at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer having been picked up from various parts of Dartmoor. The aerodrome was in a state of emergency until 0130 hours.

          22nd January     Station personnel admitted to the Station Sick Quarters week ending today :- R.A.F. = 18     W.A.A.F. = 3     Army = 2

          28th January     During the afternoon there was a short alert during which enemy aircraft dropped bombs at Kingsbridge. One of the enemy aircraft being shot down by two Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron.

          29th January     Station personnel admitted to the Station Sick Quarters week ending today :- R.A.F. = 8     W.A.A.F. = 3     Army = 2

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          2nd January     The whole Squadron visited No.257 ( Burma ) Squadron at R.A.F. Exeter. It was the Squadron's first opportunity of getting to know about the Typhoon aircraft from operational Typhoon pilots.

         3rd January     There is still no sign of any aircraft or   equipment for the Squadron.

          4th January     The Station ' Link Trainer ' was serviceable for the first time since the Squadron was formed and was in constant use throughout the day.

          5th January     Flight Lieutenant J. M. Crabb ( Johnny ) arrived and became Flight Commander of ' B ' Flight.

          6th January     As a result of the non-arrival of the Squadron aircraft, a detachment of six pilots were sent to No.257 ( Burma ) Squadron at R.A.F. Exeter and six pilots to No.266 Squadron at R.A.F. Warmwell. It turned out that this was very inappropriate to send us, as No.257 ( Burma ) Squadron and No.266 Squadron were just in the process of changing over. In the flap of activity and during the change over nobody had time to worry about the sprogs from No.193 Squadron, so both detachments sat down and waited for something to happen.

          7th January     The R.A.F. Exeter and R.A.F. Warmwell detachments were able to occupy themselves with cock-pit drill on the Typhoon aircraft.          Two pilots travelled to R.A.F. Charmy Down to collect two Hurricane aircraft, both of which turned out to be in a state of minor un-serviceability.

          8th and 9th January     Three more pilots join No.193 Squadron.

          10th January     The aerodrome at R.A.F. Warmwell became u/s. A lecture was arranged but did not take place due to the in-attendance of the lecturer. This was the last straw for the R.A.F. Warmwell detachment, they packed up and got ready to leave in an amazingly short space of time, leaving there at 1400 hours and returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The R.A.F. Exeter detachment devoted themselves to the Link Trainer.

          11th January     Squadron Leader G. W. Petre became Squadron Commander of No.193 Squadron at 1600 hours. He met the Officers in the Mess and was instrumental in starting a party.

          12th January     Still a complete lack of aircraft.

          13th January     Our first aircraft arrived, a battered Hurricane I which was borrowed from No.266 Squadron.          Four pilots were sent to collect four more Hurricane aircraft from R.A.F. Charmy Down.          ' B ' Flight managed to get in one and a half hours of flying in the battered Hurricane aircraft before it became u/s.

          14th January     Four Hurricane II aircraft arrived from R.A.F. Charmy Down, one of the old aircraft still had long range fuel tanks fitted to it.          Short local reconnaissance flights were able to be carried out for the rest of the day by the Squadron.

          15th January     Quite a lot of flying including aerobatics being carried out.          Squadron Leader G. W. Petre went to R.A.F. Exeter and secured another Hurricane aircraft plus a Miles Master II aircraft.

          17th January     No flying today due to bad weather, so plenty of Link Trainer and morse code work.          In the evening a Squadron Party was held where the Squadron adopted " Old King Cole " as the Squadron song ( no doubt changing the words ).

          18th January     More Link, Aldis, Buzzer and intelligence work carried out. Aircraft recognition has been going on for some time now in view of the impending monthly test and today was no exception.

          20th January     A Squadron photograph was taken, everyone being draped round the front of a Typhoon aircraft.

          21st January     Weather very much improved today. The Squadron flying consisted of ' circuits and bumps ', the aim being to land as close as possible to the beginning of the runway, which is good Typhoon aircraft flying training.          Squadron Leader G. W. Petre went to R.A.F. Duxford where he was to collect another Typhoon aircraft.

          23rd January     The weather was good for flying, but due to extensive un-serviceability of all Hurricane aircraft very little was achieved.          The Commanding Officer gave a flying exhibition of aerobatics in the Typhoon aircraft during the afternoon.

          25th January     Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake of ' A ' Flight flew his first solo in the Typhoon aircraft.

          29th January     The good weather today allowed lots of Hurricane aircraft flying throughout the day.          Two more pilots flew their first solo flights on the Typhoon aircraft.

          30th January     Quite a lot of Typhoon flying today.          After one month at R.A.F. Harrowbeer No.193 Squadron is at last able to get cracking on Typhoon aircraft training.

          As No.193 Squadron has not yet received it's complement of either aircraft or personnel the Squadron is not yet ' operational '.

The Squadron O.R.B. for January was unsigned.

 

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

          By the end of 1942 No.276 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron had carried out twenty nine successful sorties and saved ninety four lives

          In the King's New Year Honour List the Squadron Commander, Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn was awarded the A.F.C. ( Air Force Cross ) for valuable work in connection with Air Sea Rescue.

          Warrant Officer Soper MBE was awarded the Greek Air Force Cross for his work in connection with the evacuation of the B.E.F. from Greece.

 

          1st - 12th January     Most of this time was spent flying the Tiger Moth aircraft and Defiant aircraft on administration flights and air tests. Local experience flights were also carried out on all types of aircraft.

          13th January     A Walrus aircraft took off on a practice search which included landing and taking off from the sea.

          14th - 29th January     More administration flights, air tests and local sector reconnaissance flying.

          20th January     Pilot Officer N. Berryman reported to the Squadron Headquarters ( Ravenscroft ) on posting for flying duties.

          30th January     Flying Officer McBrien, ' B ' Flight Commander air tested a Spitfire aircraft which the Squadron is being re-equipped with. Further air tests were carried out late in the day and the Spitfire aircraft was then placed as serviceable.

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

 

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

          A total of thirty six Army Air Co-operation exercises with No.56 Anti -Aircraft Brigade in the Plymouth area were carried out. Three Defiant aircraft were used for the exercises.

          The Squadron O.R.B. for January was signed by Flying Officer T. M. Lee and Flight Lieutenant F. P. Joyce.

 

No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

 

          6th January     Four Spitfire aircraft flew from R.A.F. Churchstanton to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Two of the Spitfire aircraft were to carry out escort duties for a cruiser leaving Plymouth  and two Spitfire aircraft were detailed to fly to R.A.F. Exeter for cover there.

 

No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron   :-

          6th January     Two sections of aircraft flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Churchstanton for stand-by duties there. They were not needed and returned to R.A.F. Churchstanton late in the afternoon.

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

December  1942

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

 

Weather

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

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

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

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

          5th December     Weather still poor.

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

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

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

 

From the Station O.R.B.

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

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

          4th December     No operational activity.

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

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

          10th - 17th December     Nothing to report.

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

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

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

          25th and 26th December     Nothing to report.

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

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.175 Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.193 Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

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

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

 

No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.313 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

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

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

 

~    ~    ~    ~    ~




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