75 Years Ago from the Archives.

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

 

 

April  1944

 

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

 

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

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

          Lieutenant Colonel Wallace  -  84th Group TAF Canadian Headquarters

          Captain Gilmour  -  84th Group TAF Canadian Headquarters

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

              ?   ?   ?           -  Sector Commander

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

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

          Wing Commander Stuart  -  Air Ministry

 

Weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          12th April     A warm sunny day with little cloud.

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

          14th April     Heavy rain and low cloud all day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          27th April     Another fine, cloudless and sunny day.

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

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

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

 

From the Station O.R.B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          24th April     The Sector Commander visited the Station today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Evasion  Exercise  " Merrylegs "  1/4/1944

 

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

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

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

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

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

All who took part in the exercise enjoyed it thoroughly.

                                                                              Unsigned

 

Appendix  ' B '

 

17/4/1944

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

                                                                              ( Unsigned )

 

Appendix ' C ' 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                    ( Unsigned )

 

General

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

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.2 Squadron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.131 ( County of Kent ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General :-     Monthly total of operational hours  =  253.00  hours

Monthly totals of non-operational hours  = 178.00  hours

Total number of sorties for the month  =  136  sorties

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

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

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

 

No.197 Squadron :-

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

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

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

 

No.257  ( Burma ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

 

No.263 Squadron :-       

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.838 Fleet Air Arm Squadron :-

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

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

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

 

No.1697 ( ADLS ) Flight :-

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

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

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

 

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

 

March  1944 

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

 

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

              Wing Commander Milroy-Hays  -  No.19 Group

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

          Squadron Leader Boggs  -  R.A.F. Exeter

          Air Commodore Bowen  -  War Savings Committee

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

 

Weather

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

          2nd March     Fair weather with good visibility.

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

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

          5th March     Fine with good visibility.

          6th March     Again fine with good visibility.

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

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

          12th March     Fine with good visibility.

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

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

          15th March     A fair day with reasonable visibility.

          19th March     A fine, bright sunny day,

          21st March     Overcast with a north west wind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From  the  Station  O.R.B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Defence  Exercise     19th  March  1944

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sequence of Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General  Remarks  and  Lessons  Learnt

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Appendix  ' B '                                         Appendix to Form 540

Sports,  Physical  and  Recreational  Activities

R.A.F. Harrowbeer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unsigned

 

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540 :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.2 Squadron :-

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

 

No.131  ( County of Kent ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.263 Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

          25th March     A Squadron Balbo took place this evening.

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.266  ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Total operational flying for March    =  Spitfire     68 hours   45 minutes

                                                           Walrus       9 hours   55 minutes

                                                            Anson      26 hours   05 minutes

Total number of searches for March  =  34

Total number of patrols for March     =  27

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

 

No.340  ( Free French ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

 

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

February  1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Flying Officer Chamberlain  - 

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

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

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

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

          Squadron Leader Pitt  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Wing Commander Linderman  -  No.19 Group

          Flying Officer Moss  -  No.126 Airfield

          Squadron Leader Hallington  -  No.172 Squadron

          Squadron Leader Harris  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Wing Commander Thomas  -  Air Ministry

          A/Commander Bowen  -  War Savings Committee

          Squadron Leader Simond  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

          Sergeant McCartney  -  Group Sanitary Inspector

 

Weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          8th February     A fairly bright morning again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          21st February     A fairly reasonable day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          29th February     Another very cold, fine day.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Appendix  ' A '

R.A.F. Station  Harrowbeer

Defence  Exercise  -  13th  February  1944

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

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

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

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

 ( unsigned ) .

 

Appendix  ' B '

Physical  Fitness  and  Entertainment  for  Form 540  -  February  1944

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

Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entertainment

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

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

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

E.N.S.A. Shows :-     2 

Other stage shows :-     2  -  Station impromptu concerts

                                     1  -  Market players  -  comedy

                                      4  -  Harmony hours

Dances :-     2

Discussions, lectures and brains trust :-     4

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

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

No.193  Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.263 Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          11th February     Only practice flying by the Squadron today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

          18th February     No flying today only practice flying.

          19th February     Practice flying only today.

          20th February     Practice flying only today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Total flying hours for the month                       389 hours  50 minutes

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

                                                                            Walrus       4  hours  50 minutes

                                                                            Anson       46 hours  20 minutes

     Total rescue sorties during the month               29

     Total patrols during the month                         37

 

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

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

 

No.486 ( New Zealand ) Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

January  1944

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

 

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

          Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes  -  Headquarters No.19 Group

          Warrant  Officer Loftus  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

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

          Lieutenant Colonel Miller  -  No.78 Wing

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

          Group Captain Scroggs  - 

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

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

          Lieutenant Colonel Hassell  -  Headquarters No.10 Group

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

          Flight Lieutenant Downing  -  Air Ministry

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

          Group Captain Guinness  -  Sector Commander

          Flight Lieutenant Cleaseby  -  Liaison Officer

 

Weather

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

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

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

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

          5th January     Another wizard morning with good visibility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          17th January     Still fairly hopeless resulting in no flying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From  the  Station  O.R.B.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Appendix  ' A '

Form  540  -  Appendix  on  P. T. and  Recreation

 

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

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

 

Sport

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

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

Intersection matches have been curtailed because of the bad light.

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

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

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

 

Entertainment 

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

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

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

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

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

From  the  Squadron  O.R.B.'s

 

No.193 Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          24th January     Yet another duff day with no flying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.266  ( Rhodesia )  Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          15th January     A no flying day again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          20th January     Only practice flying carried out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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


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