75 Years Ago from the Archives.

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

 

August  1943

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F Ward was the Commanding Officer for the month of August 1943 at R.A.F. Harrowbeer and he signed the Operation Record Book.

 

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

          Wing Commander Oakley-Beutler OBE  -  District Inspecting Officer for the Air Training Corps.

          Flight Lieutenant Deemy D.T.T. ( Films ).

          Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham  -  GCVO, etc.

          Squadron Leader Hardy  -  Headquarters No.19 Group

          Squadron Leader Lloyd-Jones  -  Headquarters No.19 Group

 

Weather

          1st August     A wet and misty day, very miserable. Heavy rain - low cloud and haze about almost down to the deck. The weather failed to clear all day.

          2nd August     A poor start to the day, rain, low cloud and thick haze, by 1330 hours the weather had cleared considerably.

          3rd August     The weather today for a change was quite favourable. Even the weather immediately over Harrowbeer remained moderate allowing a certain amount of practice flying to take place.

          4th August     The weather was mediocre early on with low patches of cloud and pockets of ground haze. At 1500 hours the weather clamped down completely. No flying. Torrential rain in the evening.

          5th August     The weather was fair with low cloud and a slight haze. At about 1130 hours the weather began to deteriorate and was completely clamped down by 1200 hours. This remained for the rest of the day - heavy rain, fog and half a gale blowing.

          6th August     Another poor beginning to the day, showers of rain and haze. Visibility early on was two to three miles.

          7th August     A fair start to the day, although there was some thick low cloud about. Visibility was about four miles.

          8th August     A moderate morning gradually closing in as the day progressed.

          9th August     A fairly good morning continuing throughout the day.

          10th August     It was a filthy start to the day, fog right down on the deck. Visibility was about two hundred yards. By the afternoon the weather cleared up which allowed a good amount of practice flying to take place.

          11th August     Another poor start to the day, but by 1000 hours the weather had started to clear.

          12th August     Quite a nice morning today, the pilots enjoying practice flying and operations once again.

          13th August     A miserable day on the Station, thick low cloud and rain storms.

          14th August     Another poor start to the day although the haze seemed to be lifting as the day progressed.

          15th August     A good day today weather-wise which pleased the pilots.

          16th August     Again quite a good day all round.

          17th August     Excellent weather which allowed plenty of flying to take place.

          28th August     The weather today was very poor resulting in no flying all day.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

          2nd August     The Station Commander visited R.A.F. Bolt Head today.

          7th August     The Air Training Corps camp which arrived on the Station on 31st July and was attended by four Officers, one Warrant Officer and fifty eight cadets of No.357 Squadron, Wivelscombe, four cadets of No.1169 Squadron, Exeter and six cadets of No.339 Squadron, Paignton dispersed today. ( see Appendix ' A ' )               A second party of A.T.C. cadets assembled on the Station today, consisting of two Officers and twenty eight cadets of No.1120 Squadron, Torquay, one Officer and twenty one cadets of No.2087 Squadron, Holsworthy and one Officer and sixteen cadets of No.2101 Squadron, Winkleigh.

          8th August     Twelve Officers arrived on the Station and were attached for the purpose of undergoing a course at the Eggbuckland Operations School.

          9th August     Wing Commander Oakley-Beulter OBE - District Inspecting Officer for the Air Training Corps inspected the A.T.C. camp during the morning.          Flight Lieutenant Deemy D.T.T. ( T. Films ) visited the Station in connection with the installation of a 35mm projector in the Station Gymnasium.

          13th August     Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brookes-Popham, GCVO, etc. visited the Station and inspected the A.T.C. camp, he was accompanied by Wing Commander Oakley-Beulter OBE.

          14th August     The A.T.C. cadets that arrived for Summer camp on 7th August dispersed today.          A further party consisting of one Officer and seventeen cadets of No.2011 Squadron, Crediton arrived in camp to undergo training for one week.

          17th August     No.193 Squadron moved to R.A.F. Gravesend today.

          19th August     Major H. Moorland who is to relieve Major F. J. Gaywood as L.D.A. made a visit to the Station to report his arrival.

          21st August     One Officer and seventeen A.T.C cadets of No.2011 Squadron, Crediton left today on completion of their training.

          22nd August     A manning exercise ( Grouse ) was carried out today. ( see Appendix ' B ' )

          24th August     Major F. J. Gaywood MC on relief by Major H. Moorland reported his departure today.

          25th August     A second manning exercise ( Grouse ) was held. This exercise and that of the 11nd August were carried out under instructions received from Headquarters Fighter Command. ( see Appendix ' B ' )

          31st August     The usual entertainments and sports activities have taken place on the Station during the month.  ( see Appendix ' C ' )          The detachment of No.286 Squadron consisting of one Officer, one Warrant Officer and ten other ranks left the Station today.

 

 

Appendix  ' A '

 

Summary of the Air Training Corps Summer Camp

July 31st  -  7th August  1943

R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer

From :- Flying Officer G. W. Rowse A.T.C. Camp Commandant.

 

Strength :- The camp opened with a total of :- four Officers, one Warrant Officer and sixty eight cadets.

Site :- Cadets and Officers were accommodated in tents on the Communal Site, ample tents and space being available. Unfortunately on the 4th August there was a heavy rain storm, and it was found necessary to disperse the cadets to huts on Sites 6, 7 and 8.

Parades :- Divine Service was attended by Officers and cadets on Sunday morning, and during the week training instruction was adhered to as far as possible.

Training :- Every advantage was taken to the facilities which the Station had to offer and sincere appreciation is given to the Station personnel of their assistance.

Flying :- On Thursday 4th August Flying Officer C. E. Murrell arrived with a Domine seven seater aircraft and although flying was attempted through unfavourable weather on that afternoon and Friday morning, by the afternoon of the latter day sixty one cadets, one Warrant Officer and four Officers had flown short flights, there being no more cadets available or eligible.

Sickness :-The general health of the cadets was very satisfactory, there being two cases of very minor illness, one case of slightly sprained ankle and another cadet was taken to the Sick Dispersal Quarters and detained with a badly sprained ankle.

General :- Although the weather was generally unfavourable, frequent, lasting rain storms interfering with sports and games, the opinion of all the Officers and cadets was that they had a really good time.

Station Commander's Inspection and address :- At 1100 hours on Saturday morning Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward inspected the cadets, later taking the salute at a march past.

Activities and training consisted of :- Link Trainer practice, parachute drill, dinghy drill, rifle and shooting instruction, time at the Flight Dispersals, time in the Flight Hangars and the Armoury. The cadets also underwent route marches, physical training and bathing.

Flying Officer   G. H. Rowes

Camp Commandant

 

 

Appendix  ' B '

 

Exercise  ' Grouse '

 

The Air Officer Commanding Fighter Command ordered that two one hundred per cent manning exercises to be held during August 1943 :- one by day and one by night.

On Tuesday 17th August a preliminary warning was issued. Personnel were told there would be two exercises between the 21st and 31st August, both to be known as exercise ' Grouse '. No preliminary warning would be given and action station positions were to be taken up immediately.

At 1037 hours on Sunday 22nd August the Officer in Charge issued exercise ' Grouse ' over the tannoy. Within a few minutes men were moving in all directions and by the end of thirty five minutes the R.A.F. Regiment posts and all localities were reported as fully manned. Umpires, including the Commanding Officer visited all localities, inspected arrangements for demolition and some went through the buildings to see that they all had turned out. Only one or two ' column dodgers ' were found.

At 1230 hours the Commanding Officer issued exercise ' Grouse ' stand-down on the tannoy, personnel returned to their normal duties.

 

Night  exercise  ' Grouse '

 

At 0430 hours on Wednesday 25th August about one hour before first light the Commanding Officer issued exercise ' Grouse ' again. There was a short pause while personnel dressed and then various sites burst into life. Black-out precautions were not good and doors could be seen opening with light blazing out. Most men had no difficulty in finding their positions although there was too much talking. At 0510 hours, forty minutes from the initial warning, localities and posts were reported that they were fully manned.

Umpires and the Commanding Officer carried out an inspection as before.

During both exercises W.A.A.F. personnel manned first aid posts, clearing centres and helped to assist at the cook-house.

Major Moorland  LDA

 

Sports  and  Entertainment

Physical Fitness :- Outside activities have been greatly hampered by bad weather and the sports meeting arranged for the 28th August had to be cancelled. It was found possible however to play their Station cricket matches during the month, two of which were won and one lost.

Inter-section seven a side cricket matches were continued on a knock out basis. The teams in the final were the R.A.F. Regiment and the P.T.I.'s and Police. The R.A.F. Regiment won their match by an easy margin.

Badminton continues to be plated in the gym and tennis when the weather permits, on courts kindly loaned by local people.

Voluntary P.I. takes place most evenings in the gymnasium, mainly in boxing, medicine ball work and athletic training.

Entertainment

Cinema Shows :- There were five showings including " Eagle Squadron " and " This Gun for Hire ".

ENSA  Variety :- Only one show this month.

Concert Parties :- ( other than ENSA )   Two shows including our own Station Concert Party " The Edwardians " and the Army Concert Party " The Bombshells ".

Dances :- A total of four during the month.

Discussion Group :-  " The BBC in Wartime " led by a BBC public relations officer.

A. R. Williams

Physical Fitness Officer.

 

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540

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

 

          1st August     Strength of Station including R.A.F. Bolt Head :-     R.A.F.  = 1859     W.A.A.F.  =  386     Army  =  168     ATS  =  15

          6th August     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F.  =  9     W.A.A.F.  =  5     Army  =  1

One W.A.A.F. with a case of Diptheria admitted to Swilly Isolation Hospital, Plymouth.

          13th August     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F.  =  15     W.A.A.F.  =  6     Army  =  0

          20th August     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F.  =  0     W.A.A.F.  =  10     Army  =  3

          20th August     A W.A.A.F. from the Station Headquarters was involved in a bicycle accident when cycling down a steep hill ( Milton Combe ). Her injuries included concussion and a fractured skull. She was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital, Plymouth and placed on the dangerously ill list 21/8/1943. Placed on the seriously ill list 24/8/1943 and removed from the list on 26/8/1943. Her progress is favourable.

          22nd August     A Nursing Orderly from the Station Headquarters is attached to R.A.F. Hendon for an Ambulance Course of one weeks duration.

          27th August     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F.  =  7     W.A.A.F.  =  3     Army  =  0

One W.A.A.F. with a case of Diptheria admitted to the City Isolation Hospital, Plymouth.

          Strength of Station including R.A.F. Bolt Head :- R.A.F.  =  1397     W.A.A.F.  =  338     Army  =  205     ATS  =  16

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

No.183 Squadron :-

          1st August     New establishment for Typhoon ( Ground Attack ) Squadrons - takes effect from this day. It reduces the establishment to eleven Officers ( including the Adjutant, Medical Officer and Intelligence Officer ) and thirty four other ranks.

               Today was a wet and misty day, there was nothing else to do but submit to a ' Recognition Test '. The results were quite satisfactory.          In the evening a signal was received posting the Squadron and Echelon to R.A.F. Tangmere.

          2nd August     So once again the Squadron begins the process of packing up, recalling people from leave, drawing up movement orders, fixing up details with the Movement Control Officer. All this was done with the minimum of panic.          During the day there was a shipping reconnaissance ordered for the Squadron to carry out. Four Typhoon bomber aircraft were escorted by six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron which flew at zero feet to the Sept Isles and along the coast to the Isles Vierge but nothing was seen so the aircraft returned to base. The weather was 2 - 3/10 cloud at three thousand feet. Visibility was thirty miles and the sea slightly choppy.

          3rd August     Eight Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Predannack for a bombing operation against Maupertus Aerodrome. The operation started at 0925 hours. Eight Typhoon bomber aircraft were armed up, each with two - five hundred and fifty pound multi-cluster, instantaneous bombs. No.183 Squadron Typhoon bomber aircraft were escorted by No.193 Squadron and No.266 Squadron. The aircraft flew at sea level and soon flew into thick channel fog, it was decided to abandon the operation. All aircraft returned safely to base.          In the evening there was a party at Bere Alston to celebrate firstly a Flight Lieutenant of the Squadron being awarded the DFC and secondly to bid farewell to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, which we found a most comfortable Station.

          4th August     The main party let by rail at 0840 hours, the Typhoon aircraft were flown at 1130 hours and a few made the journey by road.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of August was signed by :- Squadron Leader Gowers and Pilot Officer S. I. Williams ( Intelligence Officer ).

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st August     Today was a miserable day with heavy rain, low cloud and a haze almost down on the deck. The whole Squadron once again spent most of the morning brushing up on their high standard of aircraft recognition.          There was no operational flights today from Harrowbeer.

          2nd August     The weather today was again bad, so the morning was spent on synthetics and intelligence work.          Fortunately the weather cleared up in the afternoon allowing flying practice to resume.          Six aircraft took off about 1845 hours as escort on an armed shipping reconnaissance, which unfortunately proved to be uneventful.

          3rd August     At 0625 hours, six Typhoon aircraft left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Predannack to take part in a ' Circus ' operation from there. The aircraft were airborne from R.A.F. Predannack by 0920 hours, but landed back there again after about an hour as the weather was u/s over the English Channel.          Two patrols were carried out in the evening. The first was where two Typhoon aircraft were detailed off at 2015 hours on a normal patrol. The aircraft were then vectored onto ' bogeys '  thirty miles south west of Plymouth, which proved to be eight Spitfire aircraft, they also saw a convoy leaving Plymouth and one Hurricane aircraft ( flying north ) fifteen miles south of the Eddystone Lighthouse. The patrol were then were vectored onto a ' bogey ' on the south side, but the plot had vanished. The weather was 7/10ths at eight thousand feet over the sea and 4/10ths over land. Visibility was eight to ten miles and the sea calm. The section landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2135 hours.          The second patrol of the evening was uneventful.

          5th August     Flying practice was carried out as far as was possible, but on a limited scale owing to the poor serviceability of the aircraft. About 1139 hours the weather began to deteriorate, finishing up with heavy rain, fog and half a gale blowing.

          6th August     Another poor day with the weather.     Lots of synthetics today and fifteen pilots took the official ' Aircraft Recognition Test '.     Aircraft serviceability still bad.

          7th August     There was practice flying today as far as serviceability would allow. During an air test the Commanding Officer gave a really superb example of the capabilities of the Typhoon aircraft, once the pilot has mastered the aircraft.          The Squadron was on a state of readiness from 1400 hours and at dispersal it was evident that the Commanding Officer's display had cheered the troops up no end.

          8th August     In view of the extra hours put in recently by the Ground Echelon, in a special effort to get new machines fitted quickly and therefore have more serviceable aircraft available the Commanding Officer and Flight Commanders agreed that it would be a sound idea to invite the Echelon to the " Leg of Mutton " ( local Public House ) tonight for a little celebration in appreciation of their efforts. After the bar closed, some of the Officers proceeded to the Mess to continue the party while the Commanding Officer and the remainder of the Officers went direct to the hangar to render a little ' practicable ' assistance there. Unfortunately they spoiled their good work by leaving huge steams of light blazing from the hangar doors, etc. At about mid-night the ' hangar section ' then proceeded to the Officer's Mess.

          9th August     The Squadron was on state from 1400 hours and there was one scramble while they were on stand-by. No enemy aircraft were seen and the section returned to base.

         10th August     The day started very badly with visibility only about two hundred yards. This was disappointing as high hopes were held that sufficient serviceable aircraft would be available to get some real flying practice in. The weather cleared by the afternoon and practice flying was able to be carried out, culminating with a realistic show in the evening in which ten Typhoon aircraft ( yes ten aircraft ) took part. This was a good effort as only once on May 1st has the Squadron been in a position to put more than ten aircraft in the air at the same time.

          11th August     The Squadron was on state from 1300 hours. There were three uneventful scrambles in the evening. One of these scrambles was when two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 2050 hours to patrol the Lizard Point, Cornwall area, but this proved uneventful. They saw two convoys, one off the Lizard and one off Plymouth. The weather was 3/10th cloud at two thousand feet and a haze at six thousand feet. Visibility was good below six thousand feet. The Typhoon aircraft landed back at base at 2200 hours.

          12th August     At 1039 hours six aircraft took off for R.A.F. Predannack to act as escort to bomber aircraft. The target was - Brest / Guipavas, but they returned before crossing the French coast as the weather was u/s.          The No.193 Squadron rifle team won the Station Challenge Trophy today. Some good shooting took place in today's final which No.193 Squadron won by a margin of twenty two points. This called for another celebration which started in the " Leg of Mutton " again.

          13th August     A miserable day. Thick low cloud and rainstorms. Synthetic training when possible and in the afternoon aircraft recognition and combat film viewing.          Flying Officer Cassie returned from the ' Low Level Attack Course ' at Milford.

          15th August     Six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron operating from R.A.F. Portreath made a sweep over Brest. The aircraft were ordered to R.A.F. Portreath to act as escort on the sweep in the Brest area along with No.266 Squadron. At 1455 hours the six Typhoon aircraft set a course from the Lizard, Cornwall and commenced their climb as detailed. They saw the bomber aircraft and escort wing to the south west of the Brest Peninsular. In order to wait for the bombers to make their approach, the Squadron turned one hundred and eighty degrees towards the French coast. They crossed the French coast at fourteen thousand feet, levelled off at sixteen thousand feet and proceeded some ten miles south east of Brest. The aircraft then turned starboard towards the target, turned to starboard again, diving down as ordered to five thousand feet. During this diving turn, No.266 Squadron lost contact with No.193 Squadron which crossed the coast at five thousand feet. Blue leader saw one FW190 German enemy aircraft well astern of the formation, which apparently turned away. Visibility was unlimited, smoke floats could be seen on the sea. It was not until the next day that the Squadron found out that the operation had been cancelled. Five of the Typhoons landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer between 1610 hours and 1630 hours. Blue leader landed at R.A.F. Predannack owing to a shortage of fuel.          Two sections were scrambled at 1930 hours, but proved uneventful.       More practice flying carried out during the day much to the delight of the pilots.          An advance party of No.193 Squadron moved to R.A.F. Gravesend during the day.

          17th August     Eleven Typhoon aircraft took off for their new base - R.A.F. Gravesend, Essex.          The posting pleased all types, as usual some did the journey ( from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Gravesend ) by rail and some by road. The weather proved excellent which helped matters considerably.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of August was signed by :- Squadron Leader G. W. Petre.

 

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

          1st August     A congratulatory message addressed to all Air Sea Rescue Squadrons received today from the Air Officer Commanding in Command of Fighter Command as a result of the rescue of over one hundred airmen from the North Sea.

          2nd August     ' B ' Flight were ordered to stand-by while Typhoon aircraft carried out a shipping reconnaissance.

          3rd August     Flight Sergeant V. Dorman who was shot down on 7/6/1943 during operations, was to-day reported as a Prisoner of War in a letter received from him, he states he was attacked by FW 190's ( German aircraft ) and shot down, but managed to get into his dinghy just of the Sept Isles. He was in his dinghy for seven days when he made the coast of Guernsey, where he was captured.

          4th August     No operational flying from R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The weather is very poor with torrential rain in the evening.

          5th August     Information was to-day received from Headquarters Fighter Command, that a new establishment ( WAR/FC/653A ) had been prepared for the Squadron to bring us into line with other Air Sea Rescue Units. Many increases in personnel are included, particularly in the ' Fitter ' Trades which has been a source of most of our ' groans ' to Group Headquarters.

          10th August     Squadron Leader Lloyd-Jones and Squadron Leader Hardy from Headquarters No.19 Group visited the Squadron Headquarters to-day. The object of the visit being the ditching of aircraft.

          12th August     A section of Spitfire aircraft was ordered off from ' B ' Flight at 0620 hours to search for a raider shot down in the sea after the raid on Plymouth the previous evening. The position being one hundred and ninety nine degrees True, from Hope Cove, ten miles south west of Bolt Head for a JU88 ( German aircraft ). The area was searched thoroughly but only a large patch of oil was sighted, and boats were circling the spot. The search was later resumed at 1040 hours but again without positive results. The Spitfire aircraft were then vectored to thirty miles south west of Bolt Head, where returning bomber aircraft from the previous evening had reported lights and an aircraft in flames diving towards the sea. This area was also searched but without result.

          14th August     Night flying practice was carried out by Spitfire aircraft from ' A ' Flight - R.A.F. Warmwell. This is the first time night flying practice had been carried out by the Squadron, although many searches have been completed at night.

          15th August     A practice dinghy drop and search was carried out as one of the exercises for the day. A Spitfire aircraft had dropped a dinghy into the sea about mid-morning. At 1030 hours two Spitfire aircraft took off to search for the dinghy, but they could not find it. At 1300 hours a Walrus aircraft followed by two Spitfires at 1310 hours were ordered off to search for the dinghy ( the Spitfires to act as escort to the Walrus ). This search lasted about two hours but again the dinghy could not be found. It was thought that the dinghy on touching the water must have opened upside down and sank before the searching aircraft had reached the area.

          16th August     This afternoon the role of the Squadron was changed from Air Sea Rescue to normal day fighter, and the Spitfires were ordered to ' advance readiness ' to carry out anti-rhubarb patrols. Unfortunately no scrambles resulted from this sudden change.

          18th August     Four Spitfire aircraft and two Walrus aircraft were ordered to R.A.F. Gravesend to re-enforce No.277 Air Sea Rescue Squadron there. All aircraft flew direct with the exception of Flight Sergeant Sotheron-Estcourt who landed at R.A.F. Warmwell and handed the aircraft over to another pilot who flew it on to R.A.F. Gravesend.

          19th August     ' B ' Flight and an Anson aircraft from R.A.F. Portreath operating from R.A.F. Harrowbeer were ordered on stand-by duties while the Ibsley Wing of Spitfires swept an area north east of Brest.

          22nd August     This morning ' B ' Flight personnel were engaged on a Station Defence Exercise which lasted until noon. All positions were manned within the given time and later inspected by the Local Defence Advisor.   ( Exercise Grouse )

          25th August     At 0545 hours a Spitfire aircraft was ordered to fly to R.A.F. Portreath for stand-by duties. At 0920 hours the Spitfire was ordered off from R.A.F. Portreath to search a position forty eight miles north of Land's End, Cornwall for a Flying Fortress aircraft crew. After searching for one and a half hours, a dinghy with six occupants and one clinging to the side of it was sighted. A smoke float was dropped and the Spitfire continued to orbit for half an hour when it had to return to R.A.F. Portreath. An Anson aircraft and a Walrus aircraft from ' C ' Flight were also orbiting and directing boats to the spot. The Spitfire returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer after completion of the rescue sortie at 1255 hours.          In preparation for the continuation of last nights search by ' C ' Flight, one Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight and two from ' A ' Flight were ordered to R.A.F. Portreath just after first light this morning. The Spitfires were airborne at 0640 hours together with an Anson aircraft from ' C ' Flight. At 0729 hours the Anson spotted the dinghy, but again lost it due to very bad weather conditions. It was however spotted again at 1037 hours by an Anson ( Welder 46 ) who remained and orbited the dinghy. They also contacted the Walrus aircraft searching in the vicinity and instructed the Walrus to contact Air Sea Rescue launches. The Walrus made contact with the launches and gave them a bearing, then led them to the dinghy. At 1117 hours the boats picked up seven of the crew and took them to Padstow. Three of them were in a very exhausted condition. The search was then continued for the other members of the Flying Fortress aircraft crew who were in their Mae Wests only, but without success. During the search Flying Officer Hosking in his Anson aircraft ditched into the sea owing to engine trouble. All five occupants of the Anson were in their dinghy for about four hours before they were picked up by a private motor launch from Portreath with a party including the Senior Controller from R.A.F. Portreath.          Information was received today from Headquarters No.10 Group that since most of the units flying is carried out within range of the enemy's short range fighter aircraft, the Squadron is now classed as fully operational and flying time will count as fully operational.

          26th August     No flying from any of the Flights to-day.

          27th August     Instructions received from Headquarters Fighter Command that in view of the Squadron now being fully operational Form 765A ( Operations Statistical Summary ) would be rendered as from 1st September 1943 instead of Form 765B ( Operations Statistical Summary Non-operational Units ).

          28th August     No flying from any of the Flights to-day. Weather very poor.

          29th August     The ' Maintenance Flight ' of the Squadron to-day took over new hangar accommodation on the aerodrome.

          30th August     A section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off to search two hundred and twenty eight degrees sixty four miles from Bolt Head for a Mustang aircraft pilot, who had baled out as the result of enemy action. A thorough search was carried out, then a new position fifteen miles south was given. The search continued but without success. The Spitfires landed at R.A.F. Warmwell.

          31st August     At 0755 hours this morning a section of Spitfire aircraft were ordered off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to continue yesterdays search, position two hundred and eight degrees and twenty seven minutes one hundred and eighty ASI from Bolt Head. On the way out to the position two separate sections of Spitfire aircraft were seen returning on reciprocal. At 0847 hours the centre of the search area was reached and a strip search commenced. At approximately 0925 hours the section was attacked by four FW190 enemy aircraft from about the same level and to port. Sergeant Ewens was flying as No.2 to Flight Sergeant Sotheron-Estcourt in line abreast at about three hundred feet. He shouted to his No.1 warning him of the attacking FW190's and as he himself was attacked he did a steep climbing turn to the left towards the attacking aircraft and made for the clouds. Flight Sergeant Sotheron-Estcourt appeared not to have heard the warning and No.1 was last seen trailing smoke and about to ditch into the sea. Coming out of the cloud again Sergeant Ewens circled the spot and saw a long trail of oil and a large patch of oil. He dropped his dinghy into the middle of the oil and asked Operations for a ' fix ', he then headed back to base. His aircraft was cannon shelled and machine gunned in the fuselage and tail, despite a bullet hole in the port tyre he made an excellent landing without further damage to the aircraft. At 1115 hours the Walrus aircraft was ordered off as the dinghy had been sighted again. Owing to enemy activity in the area the Walrus was recalled to base landing at 1315 hours. It was ordered off again at 1930 hours but before it could get to the centre of the search it was too dark to try and find the dinghy. The Walrus landed at R.A.F. Exeter at 2145 hours.    Flight Sergeant Sotheron-Estcourt is missing as a result of these operations.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of August was signed by :-  J. Renvoize   Flight Lieutenant

 

No.279  Air Sea Rescue Squadron :- 

          2nd August     An aircraft took off from R.A.F. Predannack at 1120 hours and given an escort of Mustang aircraft. ( The search area is not given in the O.R.B. ). A big patch of oil was seen but the search brought no concrete results. On the return flight the aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1440 hours.

          11th August     At 0940 hours two Hudson aircraft were detailed off on a search, nothing was sighted and the aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1405 hours.

          21st August     At 1700 hours a Hudson aircraft was airborne for an Air Sea Rescue search but nothing was sighted. The Hudson landed at R.A.F. Predannack at 2050 hours.

          30th August     Two Hudson aircraft took off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1520 hours on a search, but were recalled with nothing being seen, they landed at 1750 hours back at base.          Another search was carried out at 1925 hours but again nothing was found, this aircraft landed at R.A.F. Predannack at 2125 hours.

          31st August     The Hudson aircraft that landed at R.A.F. Predannack on the 30th was airborne at 1125 hours and flew to R.A.F. Bolt Head where it picked up an escort of eight Spitfire aircraft to carry out a search for a dinghy off the French coast. Nothing was sighted and the Hudson aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1320 hours.

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

 

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

           3rd August     Pilot Officer R. Martin proceeded to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to command the detachment there.

          31st August     Squadron Leader F. P. Joyce visited R.A.F. Exeter and R.A.F. Harrowbeer detachments to assist with the move to R.A.F. Exeter of the R.A.F. Harrowbeer detachment.

          The latter detachment will cease to exist today.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of August was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant P. P. Godfrey

 

          There were no traces of No.286 A.A.C. Squadron's Form 540 or Form 541 for the month of August.

 

No.453 Squadron :- 

          19th August     No.453 Squadron were operating out of R.A.F. Perranporth and took off at 1640 hours with eleven Squadron Spitfire aircraft as a freelance Wing for Boston bomber aircraft doing reconnaissance work in the Brest area. They set course at 1650 hours and flew at zero feet until 1713 hours. The formation started to climb on a course of two hundred degrees and crossed at Plouescat at fourteen thousand feet at 1727 hours. Then a wide orbit was made at north Guipavas and a further orbit of the Pontsuval / Plouescat area, they then set a course of twenty eight degrees for home base losing height slowly and crossing in north west Portland Bill at one thousand feet and all aircraft landing back at base at 1755 hours except for one pilot who landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1755 hours with fuel tank trouble and one pilot who landed at R.A.F. Exeter short of fuel. No. incidents took place on the operation.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of August was signed by :- Squadron Leader K. M. Barclay

 

 

~     ~     ~     ~

 

July  1943 

Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward continues to be the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of July.

 

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

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

          Captain Warlow  -  Technical Chemical Warfare Advisor to the 3rd Division A. A. Group

          Group Captain Woodall  -  Sector Commander

 

Weather

          1st July     A really wizard day, bags of sun and practice flying undertaken.

          2nd July     Another cracking day.

          3rd July     Almost incredibility, a ninth day in succession - we are currently due for a dose of Harrowbeer fog again.

          4th July     Not a very good day, lots of low cloud about

          5th July     Very mediocre weather, thick cloud and mist.

          6th July     Rained in the morning, clearing about mid-day.

          7th July     Showery in the early morning, clearing up later to a really fine day.

          8th July     Raining periodically throughout the day.

          9th July     Fairly nice weather.

          10th July     The weather clamped down at 0900 hours and did not clear until late in the evening.

          11th July     A completely impossible day, heavy mist and rain clamped right down onto the deck. Visibility is at times down to about thirty yards. Everyone is browned off to tears.

          12th July     A great improvement on yesterday - the sun actually shone about four times.

          13th July     Not a very nice day, bags of low cloud with poor visibility.

          14th July     Another pretty nearly duff day with very little flying being done.

          15th July     Visibility - twenty three and a half gallons. No further comment.

          16th July     A momentary change for the better. Very warm in the morning, clouding over towards the afternoon.

          17th July     A clamp down in the morning, followed by warm sunlight and a wind of gale force proportions. Flying virtually impossible.

          18th July     Semi clamp down all day. Visibility about one mile and no ceiling.

          19th July     Impossible day, heavy rain from 0700 hours onwards continuing until dusk with thick low cloud over the hills and a strong variable wind.

          21st July     Still ropey weather.

          22nd July     A slight improvement in the weather, but still a lot of haze about. Flying duties were cancelled later in the day owing to the weather being u/s.

          24th July     Very poor visibility today.

          25th July     A slight improvement in the weather today. The mist has lifted from the airfield, giving a visibility of around three to four miles.

          26th July     Similar weather to yesterday's. Visibility again three to four miles. Later in the day operations were cancelled owing to the weather turning u/s.

          27th July     A really miserable day. Rain with thick fog and visibility about one hundred yards.

          28th July     A much better day today, although there are still patches of haze which cleared off later however.

          29th July     A poor start to the day, fog again right down to the deck. By mid-day the weather had started to clear and by 1400 hours there were only small patches of cloud with visibility of eight to ten miles. The first really good day for a fortnight.

          30th July     A really good day.

          31st July     The final day of the month opened with favourable weather. At around 1500 hours the weather gradually deteriorated and finally clamped down altogether.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

          4th July     Two Officers and thirty eight Air Training Corps cadets of No.2072 Flight A.T.C.  South Brent visited the Station. Six Air Training Corps cadets from Kelly College, Tavistock visited the Station for instruction on the Link Trainer.          The Squadron Leader for administration proceeded to the Air Ministry to discuss details regarding the supply and operation of a 35mm cinema projector. This projector is to be installed in the gymnasium when the housing nearing completion is ready for its reception.

          8th July     Squadron Leader A. V. Gowers DFC of No.183 Squadron assumed command of the Station, vice Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward proceeded on privilege leave.

          11th July     A gas exercise was carried out during the morning between 0800 hours and 1200 hours. ( see Appendix ' A ' )

          15th July     Information was received from Headquarters No.10 Group that an airwoman at R.A.F. Hope Cove had made serious complaints about the messing at the Grand View Hotel, Hope Cove. An investigation was made into the complaints and a report rendered by the Investigating Officer.

          17th July     Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward resumed command of the Station on his return from leave.

          25th July     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group, Air Vice Marshal C. Steele visited the Station.

          26th July     Shooting for the Station Commander's Trophy commenced today. The competition takes place at approximately four monthly intervals and arouses the greatest interest throughout the Station. The Trophy at present is held by the Station Workshop Section.

          28th July     A investigation into an accident owing to a collision between a service pedal bicycle and a motor transport vehicle of No.2738 L.A.A. Squadron, resulting in injuries to Corporal Mathison of No.3100 Echelon was carried out today.     ( see Appendix ' B ' )

          31st July     Five Officers and eighty one other ranks of the Air Training Corps arrived in camp today to undergo a weeks training. They are accommodated in a tented camp, pitched on a suitable open piece of ground on the Communal Site. The cadets are from the following Squadrons :- No.339 Squadron Paignton, No.357 Squadron Wivelscombe, No.1699 Squadron Exeter and No.1322 Squadron Newton Abbott.

          There has been plenty of entertainment on the Station this month of all ranks - R.A.F. and W.A.A.F.

 

Station Sick Quarters  -  Form 540 :-

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

          2nd July     Strength of Station and R.A.F. Bolt Head :- R.A.F. = 1643     W.A.A.F. = 431     Army = 216     ATS = 15

          2nd July     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 12     W.A.A.F. = 4     Army = 2

          7th July     P1598  Flying Officer Gottowt of No.183 Squadron was killed in an aircraft crash at R.A.F. Harrowbeer  " multiple fatal injuries ".

          9th July     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 7     W.A.A.F. = 1     Army = 1

          16th July     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 9     W.A.A.F. = 3     Army = 1

          23rd July     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 9     W.A.A.F. = 9     Army = 0     ATS = 1

          30th July     Station personnel admitted to the Sick Quarters and Hospital week ending today :- R.A.F. = 5     W.A.A.F. = 2     Army = 1

 

 

Appendix  ' A '

R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer Gas Exercise 

          A gas exercise was held on the 11th July 1943 :- Captain Warlow - Technical  Chemical  Warfare Advisor to the 3rd Division A.A. Group being present.

          The Station was put on alert at 0800 hours and at 0935 hours, the suspected use of gas was reported over the telephone to the Gas Officer by an airman on the Communal Site. In view of the position being adjacent to the Airmen's Mess, the Officer immediately went went down and found a slight concentration of tear gas in the air. The alarm had been given but not picked up beyond the immediate vicinity, and the Catering Officer had taken all precautions for the protection of food both in the Airmen's Mess and the Ration Stores.

          The exercise was considered to be fairly satisfactory and Captain Warlow appeared to be favourably impressed. Owing to the weather it was decided not to use " Burster Bombs " for contaminating vehicles, as had been intended. The Station was announced free of gas by tannoy at 1155 hours and the all clear given at 1215 hours.

          The ' Gas Rattle ' system is not satisfactory and it might be more efficient if a rattle was sounded over the tannoy.

 

Appendix  ' B '

Accident Investigation Report for the night of 22nd / 23rd July 1943

          Report from Squadron Leader F. Constable, Senior Medical Officer at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer :-

          " I am the Senior Medical Officer at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer. I was on duty at the Medical Centre on the night of 22nd / 23rd July 1943. At approximately 0020 hours on the 23rd July Major Gaywood brought Corporal Mathison to the Medical Centre and stated that the N.C.O. had been involved in a collision with his car. I examined Corporal Mathison and found that he was slightly shocked and concussed and had a fracture to the outer third clavicle. He also had several minor abrasions of the face and hands. He will probably be non-effective for full duties for three weeks. In my opinion there was no question of Corporal Mathison being under the influence of drink. "

                                               Signed :- F. Constable     Squadron Leader

 

          Summary of Major F. J. Gaywood  LDA,  R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer report :-

          " I am the LDA at R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer. On the night of 22nd / 23rd July 1943 at approximately 0010 hours i was driving an R.A.F. Regiment Hillman van in the direction of my house which is at the Yelverton end of the Aerodrome. Having completed my duty i returned late from Dartmouth and went direct to the Officer's Mess for dinner and later instead of returning the van to the car park at the Aerodrome i drove home intending to return the van next morning. This i admit is not in accordance with instructions that cars are to be returned to the car park on completion of duty. I took the road to Yelverton skirting the south side of the Aerodrome and when i reached a point opposite ' Crossways ' Corporal Mathison who was approaching from the opposite direction collided with the off-side of the van. It was a dark night with thick mist and on account of poor visibility i was proceeding at a crawling pace. The lights of the van i was driving were defective, only the near-side light being in operation. There was no damage to the van, Corporal Mathison  was thrown from his bicycle and sustained slight injury. I immediately conveyed him to the Sick Quarters. "

 

          Damage to the bicycle No.56432 held by Corporal Mathison of No.193 Squadron :-

          An estimate of costs and new parts and labour to above mentioned machine are :-

                                                               £    s    d           Today's price

Cost of labour                                  =      .   10    0                  0.50

Cost of one new front wheel            =       .    5    0                  0.25

Cost of one new front mudguard      =       .    1    3                  0.06

Cost of one new front forks              =       .    7    6                  0.37

                    Total cost                    =       1    3    9               £ 1.18

                              Signed :- J. R. Frost     Flight Sergeant for Transport Office

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

 

P.T.  and  Recreation :-

P.T.  -  The minimum time per person for P.T. is one and a half hours per week as laid down in the recent Commanding Officer's letter. While a few Sections and Squadrons have more than completed this minimum, others have been unable to do so, mainly because of operational duties.

Unarmed Combat  -  The N.C.O.'s promotion course is attended in the Gymnasium, having thirty to forty minutes instruction daily.

Swimming  -  Dinghy drill, swimming instruction and recreational swimming was carried out in the fine weather at the open air swimming pool at the ' Moorland Links Hotel ' where the Station have obtained a reduction in administration charge.

Squash  -  The court for Officers and Flying personnel was used very infrequently during the month due to a limited number of balls available.

Tennis  -  The use of courts at private houses have been granted and a number of personnel have made use of this facility. There is a reluctance on the part of potential players to bring their own rackets onto the Station and the Gymnasium Store have non for loan, otherwise greater numbers would play.          A match ( men's doubles ) has been arranged between the Station and R.A.F. Mount Batten for the 31st July.

Cricket  -   The improvement in June has continued this month. The Station can now raise two very competent teams - a useful asset when players are likely to be called away at the last minute for operational duties.          Five matches were played in July ( four home and one away ). All five matches were won by the Station. The best score was one hundred and fifty six for six.          Two more matches are to be played against R.A.F. Mount Batten and Fort Eginton ( Plymouth ).

               Seven a side cricket competitions have been very popular between inter-sections. Matches are limited to twelve overs per innings, an average score is found by each team dividing its runs by the number of wickets lost. If all wickets fall before the end of twelve overs the side continues batting in the same order. The highest average wins. Unfortunately the smooth running fixtures have been impeded by bad weather.

Badminton  -  The court in the Gymnasium is regularly and frequently used by both Officers and airmen.

Boxing  -  Two Station personnel - one from No.270 A.S.R. Squadron and one from the R.A.F. Regiment are at present training for a fight in Plymouth on August 7th.

 

Entertainment :-  

The usual entertainments have been held on the Station during the month.          ENSA have provided two cinema shows and three ' live ' entertainments.             The Station Cinema has provided four entertainments during the month with good audiences.          It would be much appreciated if more up to date films could be obtained for the services.          The fortnightly dance and a special Squadron dance complete the entertainments for the month.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.183 Squadron :- 

          2nd July     The Commanding Officer returned from his Combined Operations Course and in the evening led an armed shipping reconnaissance operation. The formation of Typhoon aircraft flew at sea level to Brehat and along the French Coast to Sept Isles. There was a thick haze off the coast rising to about three to four hundred feet. No shipping was sighted. There was no opposition in the air or on the ground encountered and all aircraft returned safely.

          4th July     Quite a busy day today. During the morning the pilots went up on formation flights, air to sea firing practice, etc.          At 1920 hours four Typhoon aircraft were airborne for an armed shipping reconnaissance with six aircraft of No.266 Squadron as escort. They made a perfect rendezvous at Start Point and flew at sea level to Brehat and thence westwards to Iles De Batz. Again no shipping was sighted and no opposition from the ground or air. The weather was good over the sea with visibility eight to ten miles. The aircraft landed safely back at base at 2045 hours.

          6thJuly     There was a shipping reconnaissance operation  detailed for the morning but owing to the weather conditions the aircraft returned after being airborne for thirty five minutes.          In the evening twelve Typhoon aircraft took off on another armed shipping reconnaissance, four of the aircraft carrying bombs. They flew at sea level for about fifteen miles east of Brehat, then turned west to Sept Isles. Though the weather was clear nothing was sighted and all aircraft returned safely back to base.

          7th July     A shipping reconnaissance laid on in the afternoon. Four No.183 Squadron Typhoon aircraft were loaded with bombs and six Typhoon aircraft as escort flew to the Sept Isles, then westwards to Landeda. They saw nothing and returned to base.          It is with regret that we record the death of Flying Officer Gottowt - the only Pole in the Squadron. He met his death in a flying accident during the evening. He was a keen pilot and fighter, popular with all of us, and he will be sadly missed by the Squadron. He always flew as the Commanding Officer's No.2.     Porucznik ( Flying Officer ) Eugeniusz Gottowt is laid to rest in the Service Section H - Grave 362 of the Northwood Cemetery.

          8th July     Ten Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron left soon after first light for R.A.F. Predannack. From there they were to bomb Guipavas Aerodrome with No.193 Squadron and No.266 Squadron as escorts.

          11th July     It was the most depressing day since our arrival here, continuous drizzle and heavy mist with visibility about thirty yards. The day was spent in the Mess, sleeping and playing snooker.

          13th July     At 1555 hour a reconnaissance flight took place - four Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron were armed up with two five hundred and fifty pound, general purpose, three second fuse bombs each. Four other Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron were to act as escort along with four Typhoons of No.193 Squadron. Two of the bombers returned to base landing at 1640 hours, one having oil pressure trouble. The other aircraft flew to the west of Vierge, turned east and at about five miles north west of Batz saw a small ship taken to be a tug estimated at two hundred tons. The lead aircraft of No.193 Squadron fired his cannon as he flew over, two fighters of No.183 Squadron attacked with cannon fire from south to north and then the Typhoon bombers came in. The first aircraft dropped two bombs which were either direct hits or very near misses. The second aircraft attacking from the sea scored one near miss, the second bomb overshooting. As they turned away from the target the ship was seen to be listing slightly, belching smoke and steam and had stopped moving. Shortly after the attack one Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron was attacked by two FW190's which approached from out of the sun, one of them getting in a burst. The pilot was uninjured, but hits were scored on the cowling, tail, fuselage and wings rendering his hydraulic system, radio and A.S.I. u/s. He landed without flaps or brakes and overshot the runway. His aircraft was category B. The tug was claimed to be category III.

          14th July     The Squadron had a liberty run to the Lopes Hotel, Roborough and drank freely of an excellent draught Bass, they then took a stock back to the Mess, where the party continued in high spirits until 0200 hours. A most enjoyable ' thrash '.

          20th July     There was a shipping reconnaissance operation in the morning, ten Typhoon aircraft took part, four of them with bombs. When within ten miles off the French Coast the operation was abandoned due to bad weather conditions.

          25th July     In the evening there was a shipping reconnaissance duty consisting of four Typhoon bomber aircraft, four Typhoon escort aircraft and three Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron. Unfortunately the operation was cancelled in mid-channel owing to the thick haze down to sea level.

          29th July    The weather just lately has not been very good for practice flying or operationally. Several operations have had to be abandoned so time for the pilots has had to be spent on aircraft recognition, tests and lectures.

          30th July     The afternoon was spent on Dinghy drill at the Moorland Links Hotel.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of July was signed by :- Squadron Leader Gowers and Pilot Officer S. I. Williams ( Intelligence Officer ).

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st July     An auspicious start to the new month with a really wizard day. No synthetics today due to the Link Trainer being u/s.

          2nd July     Only one armed shipping reconnaissance operation and escort to No.183 Squadron was carried out in the evening.

          3rd July     The ninth nice day in succession. Training flying went on to the utmost limit of our serviceability which although low, is still a bit of a tribute to the hard work of the pertinacity of the senior N.C.O.'s and troops.

          4th July     Very poor serviceability so not so much flying could take place. The Link Trainer is still u/s.

          5th July     One operational patrol today and lots of training flying undertaken.          A normal patrol saw four destroyers with balloons five miles south west of Start Point, twenty to twenty five small fishing vessels without balloons south east of Brixham and three large fishing vessels with balloons south of Exmouth.

          7th July     Squadron Leader J. W. Petre attached to the Fighter Leader Course.          The Link Trainer can-not be used due to it's present state of disrepair.

          8th July     Four Typhoon aircraft left for R.A.F. Predannack early in the morning.          Low serviceability prevented any practice flying.          The Link Trainer is now serviceable again, and the usual distasteful synthetics took place in the afternoon.

          9th July     Four Typhoon aircraft took off for R.A.F. Predannack at 0600 hours and had one abortive attempt on a shipping reconnaissance.          Throughout the day No.193 Squadron also carried out escort duties to No.183 Squadron.

          10th July     The weather was bad today, not clearing until late into the evening.          The Squadron had to content themselves with synthetics ( the Link Trainer ) and revolver shooting practice.          Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 0625 hours onto a vector of one hundred and eighty degrees and told there were three bandits thirty miles south of Exmouth at eight thousand feet going west. When the aircraft reached the interception point, the bandits were reported at two thousand feet. The section searched below 10/10 cloud but could find neither bandits nor ' friends on the sea ' which were supposed to be there. The section was next ordered to return to base. The ' friends on the sea ' were later plotted forty miles from D.R. position. The aircraft landed back at base at 0715 hours.

          13th July     Four Typhoon aircraft led by Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake escorted four Bomphoons (  Typhoon aircraft armed with bombs ) and Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron on an operation. They flew at sea level to five miles west of Vierge and turned about four miles offshore. They saw an enemy ship of about two hundred tons approximately one mile to the west of Batz. Flight Lieutenant Beake led an attack and scored hits with cannon fire. The Bombphoons then followed, the first bomb fell short but the other three bombs scored hits or very near misses. On leaving, the target was seen giving off smoke and steam and listing slightly in a stationary position. Cine-camera film confirms severe damage.

          17th July     The weather is still not being kind to the Squadron. Flying is virtually impossible, so it's still more synthetic training.

          19th July     An impossible flying day with heavy rain from 0700 hours continuing until dusk. The Squadron was on basic state from 0530 hours onwards.          The only flying that could be done was a weather reconnaissance.          No advantages could be taken on the Link Trainer as the Station Instructor was posted today.

          20th July     Three sections carried out a practice low level rendezvous in the form of a shipping reconnaissance.          Weather testing and gun-camera attacks above five thousand feet were also included in today's flying programme.

          25th July     The weather has improved slightly today with visibility about three to four miles.          There were bags of practice sorties carried out throughout the day and in the evening an armed shipping reconnaissance took place taking off at 2044 hours, but had to be abandoned in mid-channel owing to thick fog being right down to sea level.

          28th July     A reasonable day although there are still patches of haze about. This cleared up later.          Flying consisted of practice interceptions, combats, formation flying and low level flying.          At 2025 hours Green Section while on stand-by duties was scrambled to the Exeter area to intercept bandits at three thousand feet. After several vectors without leading to interceptions the Squadron was ordered to pancake.

          29thJuly     This was the first good day for nearly a fortnight, although the weather was poor early on in the day.

          30th July     Six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron left for R.A.F. Predannack at 1330 hours to be on readiness there at 1400 hours.          They were called on to form escorts on a ' Circus ' which had to be abandoned and a shipping reconnaissance which was also rendered abortive owing to the weather being u/s over the French Coast and Channel areas. All aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer by 2120 hours.

          31st July     The final day of the month opened with favourable weather, and as much flying practice as possible was carried out until about 1500 hours. The weather then gradually deteriorated.          Two sections were ordered off to escort No.183 Squadron on an armed shipping reconnaissance, Start Point - Batz - Il Vierge and back to base. The aircraft were up at 1900 hours and returned to base after twenty five minutes. After reaching Bolt Head the weather was u/s and once again the operation had to be abandoned.

               The closing of this month without an accident brings the Squadron record to five successive months without an accident.

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

 

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

          1st July     Air Vice Marshal Steele  DFC  -  Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group and Captain Woodall  -  Sector Commander visited the Squadron Headquarters today and had talks with the aircrew of ' B ' Flight.

          2nd July     Two Spitfire aircraft were ordered off at 0520 hours to search for a bomber aircraft thought to be a Wellington in the sea. Faint plots were obtained during the night. The search position was twenty eight miles out and one hundred and fifty degrees from Start Point. A strip search was carried out but nothing sighted. The Spitfires landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0710 hours.

          4th July     In the evening two Spitfire aircraft were ordered off to carry out a patrol twenty miles south of Start Point, pending the return of Typhoon bombers out on an armed shipping reconnaissance. This patrol was uneventful.

          6th July     Two Spitfire aircraft patrolled ten miles south of Bolt Head to await the return of Typhoon bombers on a shipping reconnaissance, but the patrol was uneventful.

          7th July     Practice dinghy drill was carried out by ' B ' Flight aircrew at the Moorland Links Hotel swimming pool today.          One of the pilots carried out tests with a locally modified dinghy in a Spitfire aircraft today. These tests were very successful and photographs were obtained of the actual drop.          All the air-gunners were re-graded today ( much to their joy ) and received an ante-date of approximately twelve months.

          8th July     Aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron and some of the aircrew flew to ' A ' Flight ( R.A.F. Warmwell ) where a Ministry of Information publicity film was being made. All personnel and aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer on the same day.

          9th July     A No.276 A.S.R. Squadron dance was held tonight in the Station Gymnasium, complete with beer garden and cabaret. This proved to be an excellent ' do '.          No.276 A.S.R. Squadron ' A ' Flight took advantage of the u/s weather and had discussions with the Station Education Officer, the subject being " Women after the war ".

          17th July      An Anson aircraft was flown to R.A.F. Northolt to collect dinghies for the Spitfires.

          18th July     Flight Lieutenant F. O. Dimblebee of ' C ' Flight ( R.A.F. Portreath Flight Commander ) was today awarded the DFC for his work in saving numerous lives, whilst in No.276 A.S.R.  Squadron.

          22nd July     Circuits and landings carried out by ' B ' Flight in a Walrus aircraft and dual instruction given to new pilots.

          24th July     Unofficial intimation was today received that Sergeant V. Dorman who was reported missing after operations on the 7th June 1943 was now a prisoner of war in Germany.

          25th July     At 2100 hours ' B ' Flight was ordered to patrol south of Bolt Head while Typhoon bomber aircraft carried out an armed shipping reconnaissance, the patrol was uneventful.

          27th July     ' B ' Flight was ordered to search near Sept Isles for a Mustang aircraft pilot who had ditched the previous evening, but weather conditions prohibited any searching.

          31st July     Operationally this has been a very slack month as far as this Squadron is concerned. most of the flying being only practice.

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

 

No.279  Air Sea Rescue Squadron :- 

          5th July     A Hudson aircraft was ordered off at 9535 hours to carry out a creeping line ahead search for rafts reported in the sea. The rafts were sighted at 0745 hours carrying one body believed to be dead in position STAK5916 ( 49 degrees 57 mins N. 08 degrees 25 mins W ). An M.T.B. ( Motor Torpedo Boat ) was called to the area. The Hudson landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1114 hours.          Another Hudson aircraft was airborne at 1019 hours to search for a raft, they sighted a Walrus aircraft and continued to search until 1158hours when a smoke float was sighted. Two H.S.L.'s ( High Speed Launch ) came alongside the raft and were last seen at 1355 hours attempting to tow the raft. The raft was in position 49 degrees 52 mins N. 07 degrees 42 mins W. The Hudson landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1510 hours.

          7th July     An aircraft was airborne at 0923 hours for a creeping line ahead search. Results - nil. The aircraft returned to base at 1441 hours.

          13th July     Another morning search with nil results.

          18th July     An airborne search was carried out between 1235 hours and 1658 hours by a Hudson aircraft with an airborne lifeboat. The results for the search was again - nil.

          24th July     A Hudson aircraft was airborne at 1355 hours for an air sea rescue search to Bardsey Island. Result  -  nil. Nothing of importance was seen on the outward and return journey. The Hudson landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1614 hours.

          28th July     Two Hudson aircraft at 1045 hours were airborne on an air sea rescue search. A French fishing vessel was sighted. At 1342 hours the search was abandoned owing to the lack of cloud cover. After setting course for the Lizard, Cornwall an empty lifeboat was sighted at 1343 hours waterlogged and containing no sign of life. Both aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1452 hours.

          30th July     A Hudson aircraft took off at 0855 hours and flew to R.A.F. Predannack where it picked up four Mustang aircraft to escort it on it's search. Results  -  nil. The Hudson landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1715 hours.          Another Hudson aircraft was airborne at 1849 hours to fly to R.A.F. Predannack and pick up an escort of two Mustang aircraft and then to carry out a search. Results  -  nil. The Hudson landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2230 hours.

          31stJuly     A Hudson aircraft was ordered off at 1140 hours to carry out an air sea rescue search, but nothing was sighted in the search area. The Hudson landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1335 hours.

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

 

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

          There was a detachment of No.286 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron still at R.A.F. Harrowbeer during the month of July, although there is nothing documented in the Squadron O.R.B. of their ' Summary of Events ' ( Form 540 ) or the ' Detail of Work Carried Out ' ( Form 541 ) documents.

 

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

June  1943 

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

 

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

          Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert -

          A.O.C.  Air Vice Marshal Steele - Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group

          ?   ?   ?     -  Group Captain in charge of R.A.F. Exeter

          Squadron Leader Lloyd-Jones - No.19 Group Air Sea Rescue Liaison Officer

          Squadron Leader Mossford - Officer Commanding No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron

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

          Major Morgan - No.10 Group G2

          Group Captain Barraclough - Senior Administrative Officer No.10 Group

 

Weather 

          1st June     A filthy day. The weather was u/s until about 1430 hours. There was a brighter spell for a while before it clamped down entirely for the rest of the day with heavy rain. There was also strong South Westerly winds of around twenty to thirty miles per hour.

          2nd June     Today early on there was heavy rain, 10/10 cloud and a very thick haze. There was a strong North West wind with a lot of low cloud, causing restricted flying. The bad weather continued until 1400 hours before clearing up with visibility of about five to eight miles.

          3rd June     Another miserable morning with a lot of low cloud, heavy showers of rain and considerable haze. Visibility at first was about half a mile clearing to around three miles during the forenoon. At about 1400 hours the weather cleared up slightly. Towards the end of the day the weather went duff again.

          4th June     The weather was fair early on with visibility of five to ten miles. The weather deteriorated rapidly and became impossible from 1230 hours onwards.

          5th June     The morning opened with fairly dull weather and a haze which gradually cleared away by mid-day. The weather cleared up a little in the early afternoon with visibility of around five to six miles.

          6th June     The morning opened with fair weather, some low cloud and patches of mist. The weather clamped down from 1500 hours until 1700 hours before clearing up once more.

          7th June     Early on the weather was fairly bright, but large patches of mist was hanging around the Aerodrome. By 1030 hours the weather had gradually deteriorated and by 1300 hours became totally u/s.

          8th June     A filthy day again. Heavy rain and thick mist right down to the deck.

          9th June     Another nasty start to the day, bags of rain and a thick haze. A thick mist covers the hill tops most mornings making flying impossible. About noon however the weather began to clear and by 1400 hours it was quite bright and apart from considerable patches of low cloud, proved to be good for flying.

          10th June     What a lousy morning, thick mist right down on the deck once more. The weather cleared up a little in the afternoon.

          11th June     Quite a good day for a change.

          12th June     The weather again fairly good with visibility about twenty miles.

          13th June     Quite a good morning, but a lot of broken cloud about.

          14th June     The weather was quite good early on in the day, but there were heavy showers of rain later on throughout the day.

          15th June    Adverse weather conditions. The weather was moderate early on, deteriorating by 0600 hours. The weather then clamped down for a spell turning to heavy rain and thick low cloud until about 1530 hours, after that brighter spells appeared.

          16th June     Quite a favourable morning, although there were patches of thick cloud about.

          17th June     Early on the weather was not too bad, but as the morning progressed it clamped down for a short spell, clearing up again before 1200 hours.

          18th June     An impossible morning. Rain and thick mist right down on the deck, this continued all day. A no flying day on the Aerodrome.

          19th June     Another filthy day, much the same as yesterday.

          20th June     The morning weather again continued to be poor with cloud and haze until around 1500 hours when it cleared up and flying practice restarted.

          21st June     A really nice day. The first in two or three weeks.

          22nd June     Quite a reasonable day today, with unfortunate haze up on the moors.

          23rd June     A reasonable day with lots of operational flying taking place.

          24th June     At last, a really good day with a generous amount of flying undertaken.

          25th June     The weather reverts to the usual R.A.F. Harrowbeer clamp, 11/10 cloud at zero feet.

          26th June     A really nice day again.

          27th June     A wizard day.

          28th June     This is too good to last, yet another really wizard day.

          29th June     Perfect weather, although somewhat hot for carrying out stand-by duties

          30th June     Another reasonable day.

 

From the Station O.R.B.

      

          3rd June     Six Mustang aircraft of No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. moved to R.A.F. Predannack to operate on an ' instep ' operation. The operation was uneventful.          Three sections of No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron moved to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to act as level escort to aircraft on an operation.

          5th June     No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. moved to R.A.F. Portreath.          No.183 Squadron arrived on the Station from R.A.F. Colerne.

          7th June     A Walrus aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron escorted by a Spitfire aircraft took off from R.A.F. Bolt Head to search for a pilot of No.412 Squadron R.C.A.F. The pilot was successfully rescued. While this rescue was taking place two more Spitfire aircraft from No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron were airborne to locate the dinghy in the Sept Isles area. The empty dinghy was located and the pilot of No.1 aircraft sunk it with gunfire, unfortunately pilot No.2 ( Sergeant V. Dorman ) was not responding to R/T messages and failed to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Sergeant V. Dorman is reported as missing.

          9th June     During the afternoon No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Davidstowe.          A detachment of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron ( Hudson aircraft ) arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Davidstow Moor.

          11th June     It was learnt from a reliable source that Sergeant V. Dorman had been attacked by six FW190's.

          13th June     At approximately 0020 hours a sharp attack took place on Plymouth causing damage and casualties.

          15th June     At dawn and during the morning Typhoon aircraft of No.183 and No.193 Squadrons took off on armed shipping reconnaissance duties, each time they were recalled owing to adverse weather conditions. Finally at approximately 1700 hours they were able to complete the operation which turned out to be uneventful.          Two Spitfire aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron and three Hudson aircraft of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron carried out A.S.R. sorties.          During the evening two Spitfire aircraft and one Walrus aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron were detailed off on a rescue sortie. The Walrus found a pilot floating in the sea in his ' Mae West ' in a large patch of oil. A dinghy and a smoke float were dropped but before the pilot could get into the dinghy the Walrus had landed on the sea and after three attempts the pilot was picked up. The Walrus was unable to take off owing to the rough sea but a rescue launch arrived on the scene and the pilot was transferred to it. The Walrus then started to taxi towards the coast and was met by another launch which guided it into Salcombe.

          24th June     Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert visited the Station.          Four Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron and eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took off on No.10 Group ' Circus ' number 38 setting course from R.A.F. Bolt Head to land-fall at Isle de Batz at ten thousand feet and then climbing to twelve thousand feet. The Typhoon bomber aircraft then turned towards the target from the West and dived in column from twelve thousand feet to three thousand feet releasing their bombs at four thousand feet. The leading Typhoon bomber owing to difficulty in releasing it's bombs overshot his objective and as a result the other bombers overshot the mark. Two of the Typhoon bombers only released one bomb a piece. Bomb bursts were seen on the extreme edge of the South East dispersal area. No enemy aircraft were seen on the ground or in the air. On the return journey the formation sighted a sailing boat heading North and waving a flag which appeared to be red, white and blue. Two launches were sent to the scene where the occupants, believed to be Frenchmen were taken on board.          A pilot of No.286 Squadron crashed while low flying during an Army Co-operation flight near St. Germans and was killed.

          25th June     The Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group - Air Vice Marshal Steele accompanied by a Group Captain in charge of R.A.F. Exeter Sector visited the Station.          Two Hudson aircraft of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron while on an A.S.R. sortie sighted a landing barge awash but with no survivors on board so they sank it by gunfire. A raft was seen in the vicinity but again there were no survivors.

          26th June     Four Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.183 Squadron and eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron moved early in the morning to R.A.F. Predannack to operate in No.10 Group ' Circus ' number 39.

          27th June     While on patrol off Bolt Head a Spitfire aircraft of No.610 Squadron hit the sea with a wing-tip and went straight in, the pilot being killed.

          28th June     Seven Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron arrived at approximately 1635 hours. At 1830 hours six Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off to escort Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.183 Squadron for an attack on Morlaix Aerodrome.          At approximately 0725 hours one aircraft from a formation of twelve Flying Fortresses which passed over R.A.F. Harrowbeer landed to re-fuel. The crew reported to No.276 A.S.R. Squadron that two Flying Fortresses had gone into the sea and gave their approximate positions. A Walrus aircraft and two Spitfire aircraft took off to search for both crews, one of the latter found a Walrus aircraft from R.A.F. Portreath orbiting two large dinghies containing the crews who were picked up by a rescue launch.

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight :-

          9th June     No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for R.A.F. Station Davidstowe.

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

 

No.183 Squadron :-

          3rd June     Information has been received that the Squadron is to move from R.A.F. Colerne to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          5th June     Four Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The main party went by rail leaving at 1300 hours. A dreary journey which ended at 2100 hours.

          6th June     No flying today, but a busy day never the less. Settling in to our new quarters. In the evening there was a party in the Mess.

          9th June     The weather is not at all what we expected, in Devon, in June - a thick mist covers the hill tops and makes flying impossible in the mornings.

          12th June     The Squadron was detailed to take part in an operation with No.193 Squadron. After the escort was airborne the Squadron Leader's oxygen was found to be unserviceable and although this was rectified the operation was cancelled owing to the delay. Bad luck, but we hope to get cracking soon.

          15th June     A day of some disappointments. At 0530 hours four Typhoon aircraft were bombed up ready and escorted by eight Typhoon aircraft from No.193 Squadron, they were airborne on a armed shipping reconnaissance, but had to return owing to unsuitable weather.          Again at 0935 hours the formation was recalled, owing to the state of the tide.          At 1700 hours they were again airborne, the weather was good, but no target presented itself and the bombs were brought back to base.

          16th June     Another armed shipping reconnaissance was carried out by four Typhoon aircraft, escorted by eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron. Unfortunately nothing was seen and the bombs were jettisoned safely into the sea.

          19th June     Two pilots were airborne on a ' rhubarb ' and made landfall a little further West than planned. They turned Westward to avoid the Brest barrage balloons and sighted two merchant ships in the Goulet de Brest. They attacked them from one hundred and fifty degrees and at mast height scoring two near misses. One bomb actually appeared to hit one of the ships. The Squadron claim two ships category four. One of the bombs failed to release and the pilot brought it back - very annoyed he was too.

          26th June     Four Typhoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron were sent off to bomb Brest - Guipavas Aerodrome escorted by seven Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron. They were airborne from R.A.F. Predannack at 0904 hours. It was a successful operation in which a few FW190 enemy aircraft presumed to interfere. All the bombers got back safely, and although one of the fighters was hit, he got home without much trouble.

          28th June     An attack on Morlaix Aerodrome was carried out today. Four Typhoon bomber aircraft were escorted by six Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron and ten Spitfire aircraft of No.610 Squadron as target support. Bomb bursts were seen on the Eastern end of the Aerodrome, but appeared to drop short of the dispersals. All the aircraft returned safely.

          30th June     The Squadron were up at first light for an armed shipping reconnaissance with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron in the area of Isle de Batz - Sept Isles. Nothing was seen, and bombs were jettisoned five miles from the English Coast.          There was a similar sortie in the evening, this time from the Isle de Brehat and North East between Jersey and Sark. Nothing was seen and all aircraft returned safely.

               The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant A. S. Dredge and Pilot Officer S. I. Williams ( Intelligence Officer ).

 

No.193 Squadron :-

          1st June     The first patrol for No.193 Squadron today was up at 0635 hours and landing at 0745 hours. The weather then became u/s until approximately 1430 hours.

          2nd June     The weather was not too good today so a lot of synthetics and intelligence gen kept the troops busy during the early part of the day. At 1625 hours an anti-rhubarb patrol was carried out.

          3rd June     One section of the Squadron was at stand by and two sections at readiness, although the weather was terrible with visibility at times only half a mile, clearing to three miles. Some practice flying and a patrol was carried out when the weather cleared sufficiently. The patrol saw a convoy off Bolt Head and eight Motor Torpedo Boats off Dartmouth, the trip was uneventful.          The serviceability of the Squadron aircraft was very poor again.

          4th June     The first patrol of the day took off at 0700 hours but had to land at R.A.F. Exeter as the weather at R.A.F. Harrowbeer became u/s. The weather continued to deteriorate throughout the day.

          5th June     Several anti-rhubarb patrols, practice flights and a scramble were carried out today.

          6th June     An early patrol was carried out, but loss of serviceability of aircraft is holding up training.          Two Typhoon aircraft were detailed off at 1312 hours on an anti-rhubarb patrol which was normal until 1350 hours. When the section were off Dartmouth, they were warned of a bogey twenty miles to the South going South West. The section were given a vector of two hundred and forty degrees at angels one, then two hundred and sixty degrees at angels two and then zero ten degrees at angels two. They observed aircraft flying off Torquay North East which proved to be friendly. The section were then ordered to resume normal patrol. The two Typhoon aircraft then saw four small vessels with balloons off Dartmouth, the aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1435 hours.          The weather clamped down from 1500 hours until 1700 hours.          A section of two Typhoon aircraft took off at 1805 hours on an anti-rhubarb patrol, they saw miscellaneous shipping off Dartmouth and passed a Squadron of Spitfire aircraft flying North East. The section landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1920 hours. No.1 of the section reported that Control was using a strange phonetic alphabet!

          7th June     More synthetics for the troops today due to the poor weather conditions.          Red section of No.193 Squadron comprising of two Typhoon aircraft carried out a convoy patrol, they were up at 1843 hours, but they had to pancake at R.A.F. Exeter as the weather was u/s at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.          Another four Typhoon aircraft went out to take over the patrol from the previous section, taking off from R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2002 hours. They also had to pancake at R.A.F. Exeter at 2059 hours without seeing the convoy. Having been vectored South of Plymouth, the convoy with Red section had actually taken a South Easterly course from Plymouth.          Control were using a strange phonetic alphabet tonight!

          8th June     The weather was very bad today with heavy rain and thick mist right down on the deck.          Half of the pilots took their aircraft recognition test today and set up a record for R.A.F. Harrowbeer tests so far, every pilot had one hundred per cent pass.          Flight Lieutenant P. Beake goes to R.A.F. Charmy Down to take a ' Fighter Leaders Course '.

          9th June     Another bad day - to start with bags of rain and a thick haze. Fortunately the weather cleared about noon and by 1400 hours the day proved quite good for flying.

          10th June     A lousy morning with thick mist right down on the deck again.         One section of the Squadron was at readiness and two sections at available during the morning.          Flying Officer R. Hulbert returns from the ' Fighter Leaders Course ' at R.A.F. Charmy Down, looking fit and was soon being heartily congratulated by the troops.          The serviceability of the aircraft is still very poor.          Several pilots of No.139 Squadron left today to go on a Destroyer and take part in convoy duties operating from Plymouth.

          12th June     The Squadron Commanding Officer arrived back from a " spot of leave " plus the " Napier Engine Course ".          The Squadron had eight Typhoon aircraft airborne to escort for Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.183 Squadron on a ' Circus ' operation. After No.193 Squadron had taken off ' No.183 Squadron Leaders ' aircraft went u/s. The defective oxygen supply, which was the cause of the trouble was rectified and the Typhoon bombers took off. There had however been too much of a delay and the operation was cancelled. All aircraft were ordered to return to base.

          13th June     A Flying Officer went out in a Tiger Moth and spotted a parachute hanging from a tree near Plym-bridge. This was reported to the police at Yelverton.

          14th June     The Yelverton police had an unsuccessful search for the parachute. The said Flying Officer got airborne in the Tiger Moth once more and guided the police to the exact spot where it was hanging. It turned out to be a flare parachute.          An early patrol and practice flying was carried out by the Squadron.

          15th June     More patrols carried out with No.183 Squadron, which turned out to be uneventful.          There was quite a clean out of the Squadron personnel with nine postings to other Squadrons taking place.

          16th June     Serviceability of the Squadron's aircraft is still very bad resulting in very little flying being carried out.          The pilots whose postings came through yesterday, cleared the Station today.

          17th June     The airmen who had not had the aircraft recognition test on the 8th June were put through the mill today.           Bad serviceability is again keeping the flying hours down.

          18th June     Rain and thick mist right down on the deck which continued all day.          Several of the pilots visited Plymouth Docks to inspect the various ships with special interest in the Motor Torpedo Boats, sadly there were no M.T.B.'s in dock today. In fact the arrangements to receive and escort the troops around were very disappointing. After two hours tramping around the dockyard without being allowed to go on board any of the ships the pilots withdrew to Plymouth and spent the rest of the evening in lighter vein.

          20th June     Two Typhoon aircraft were ordered off at 1510 hours on an anti-rhubarb patrol. They were vectored onto a " bandit " at twelve thousand feet, ten miles South of Bolt Head. The " bandit " turned before interception could be made. Both Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 1605 hours.

          21st June     Due to the untiring efforts of the ground crew the Squadron managed to muster eleven serviceable aircraft which enabled bags of flying by the non-operational pilots.          Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 1315 hours and vectored onto a " bandit " fifteen miles South of Portland Bill going West. The section were unsuccessful as nothing was sighted. The Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1415 hours.          Another two Typhoon aircraft were ordered off at 1900 hours and carried out a normal patrol until vectored onto a " bandit " due West and chased it by vectors to within fifteen miles of Guernsey. The two Typhoons landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 2010 hours.

          22nd June     One Typhoon aircraft was sent off on a patrol at 0605 hours and spotted thirty small fishing vessels ten to fifteen miles South of Brixham. The patrol ended at 0720 hours with the Typhoon landing back at base.          Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 1350 hours and ordered to patrol ten miles South of Start Point. After ten minutes the aircraft resumed a normal patrol. They saw a small convoy South of Barry Head and numerous fishing vessels off Brixham. The two Typhoons landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1505 hours.

          23rd June     Due to low serviceability it was again synthetics whenever possible.          Three scrambles were carried out throughout the day by No.193 Squadron, two of which involved chasing " bandits " in the Exmouth and Bolt Head areas.

          24th June     Eight Typhoon aircraft from R.A.F. Harrowbeer took off at 1640 hours to act as close escort and high cover to four Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.183 Squadron to bomb Morlaix Aerodrome. The Typhoon bombers bombed the target from twelve thousand feet down to four thousand feet. The No.193 Squadron Typhoons followed the bombers down in their dive. No aircraft were seen on the ground or in the air. The formation returned at sea level sighting one small sailing boat at about 1750 hours. The boat was orbited and fixes given of it's position. It was noticed that the boat contained two men, one of which appeared to be waving a tricoleur. The Typhoon aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1810 hours. The men in the boat were later picked up.

          25th June     Back to the usual R.A.F. Harrowbeer clamp, 11/10 cloud at zero feet.

          26th June     Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron left for R.A.F. Predannack early in the morning to escort No.183 Squadron aircraft on an operation. Only seven Typhoon aircraft were airborne at 0930 hours and set course with the No.183 Squadron Bombphoon aircraft over the Lizard, Cornwall at 0906 hours at zero feet. The formation then climbed to two thousand feet on approaching the French Coast. The formation approached it's target ( Guipavas Aerodrome ) four miles North East of Brest from the East. The No.183 Squadron Bombphoons dropped their bombs and turned out to the Coast, observing a large patch of heavy flak behind them. After leaving the Coast, Blue section was attacked by three FW190's when down at zero feet. Blue No.3 had his starboard main tank punctured by an explosive cannon shell. The attack was broken off when Red No.1 circled and came round behind Blue section. Red No.1 became separated from the main formation and managed to evade the three FW190's by making skidding turns at very high speeds. After crossing two thirds of the Channel Red No.1 was again attacked and escaped by similar tactics. The formation returned and pancaked at R.A.F. Portreath at 1005 hours.

          27th June     Flying training was suspended today in favour of an ' air escape exercise ' in which he Home Guard were well and truly foxed.

          29th June     Perfect weather, although somewhat hot for stand by duties.     The Squadron were required to do very little operational flying and so more training flying than usual took place. Apart from some synthetics, the better part of the day was spent acquiring a Squadron tan.

          30th June     To close the month the Squadron escorted No.183 Squadron on two armed shipping reconnaissance sorties. Take off for the first sortie was a rather intrepid affair, taking place at 0500 hours. Nothing was seen except some rocks at the Sept Isles which looked like a convoy of ships, needles to say it wasn't. The second sortie was uneventful with the exception of some flak hurled up at us from Guernsey.

               The closing of the month without an accident has brought the Squadron record to the amazingly high standard of four successive months without an accident.

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

 

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

          3rd June     The Squadron disposed of two Defiant aircraft now surplus to re-arming.

          5th June     All ' B ' Flight aircraft were put on stand by at 0445 hours today but were back on normal state at 0545 hours. ( Reasons not given ).

          7th June     A Walrus aircraft of No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron escorted by Spitfire aircraft took off from R.A.F. Bolt Head to search for a pilot of No.412 Squadron R.C.A.F. who had baled out North of the Sept Isles. The Walrus landed on the sea and picked up the pilot who had been in his dinghy for eleven hours. They eventually arrived back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer safely. During this rescue operation two Spitfire aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron flown by Flying Officer Hill ( No.1 ) and Sergeant V. Dorman ( No.2 ) were airborne to locate a dinghy, ( the one from the above rescue that would now be empty ). They arrived as the other aircraft were leaving. Flying Officer Hill instructed Sergeant V. Dorman to close up and he went down to investigate the scene. Flying Officer Hill confirmed that the dinghy was there but found that Sergeant V. Dorman was not in formation but he could be heard transmitting for fixes. Flying Officer Hill could make no contact with him. Sergeant V. Dorman was above the clouds by this time and Flying Officer Hill eventually managed to instruct Sergeant V. Dorman to return to base, which he acknowledged, there was no indication that he was in distress. Flying Officer Hill then flew back to the dinghy to sink it with machine-gun fire and then return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. On arrival at R.A.F. Harrowbeer Flying Officer Hill found that Sergeant V. Dorman had not returned to base and is therefore posted as missing.

          8th June     The weather was u/s all day today which prevented any search for Sergeant V. Dorman, missing from yesterdays operations.

          9th June     Squadron Leader Mossford, Officer Commanding No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron and Squadron Leader Lloyd-Jones, No.19 Group Air Sea Rescue Liaison Officer visited the Squadron Headquarters.

          11th June     It was learnt later today from a reliable source that Sergeant V. Dorman reported as missing on 7/6/1943 had been attacked by six FW190's.

          15th June     Squadron Leader Lloyd-Jones paid another visit to the Squadron today.     Group Captain Barraclough, No.10 Group Senior Administrative Officer and Flight Lieutenant Pushman visited the Station today and had talks with the Squadron Commander in the Mess.          Two Spitfire aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron and three Hudson aircraft of No.279 A.S.R. Squadron carried out Air Sea Rescue sorties.

          17th June     During the evening two Spitfire aircraft and one Walrus aircraft were airborne on a rescue sortie. The Spitfire located a pilot floating in the sea wearing his ' Mae West ' surrounded by a large patch of oil. A dinghy and a smoke float were dropped, but before the pilot could get into the dinghy the Walrus had arrived, landed on the sea and after three attempts the pilot was picked up. The Walrus was unable to take off owing to the rough sea but a rescue launch soon arrived and the pilot was transferred to it. The Walrus then started to taxi towards the coast and was met by another launch which guided it into Salcombe.

          19th June     Squadron Leader R. F. Hamlyn spoke at Tavistock ( Wings for Victory ) Week with Squadron Leader Bowring and Wing Commander Ward ( Station Commander ).

          21st June     During the afternoon a Walrus aircraft was engaged on practice landings on the sea in Torbay when orders were received to rescue a pilot who had baled out twelve miles East of Berry Head. The Walrus landed and picked him up then flew the recued pilot to R.A.F. Exeter - which was where he was based. The Walrus next returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.

          24th June     Two Spitfire aircraft were airborne at 1800 hours to locate a sailing boat which had been seen waving a red, white and blue flag. Nothing was sighted. At 2100 hours a Walrus aircraft and two Spitfire aircraft located the sailing boat being orbited by Beaufighter aircraft. Two rescue launches arrived at the scene and the occupants believed to be French were taken on board.

          28th June     At approximately 0725 hours on aircraft from a formation of twelve Flying Fortresses which passed over R.A.F. Harrowbeer landed to re-fuel. The crew reported to No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron that two Flying Fortresses had gone in and they gave the approximate positions. A Walrus aircraft and two Spitfire aircraft took off to search for these crews. One of the Spitfires found a Walrus from R.A.F. Portreath orbiting two large dinghies containing the crews, who were later picked up by a rescue launch.

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

 

No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron :-

         9th June     A detachment of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron ( Hudson aircraft ) arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. The Hudson aircraft were equipped with ' airborne lifeboats '.

          15th June     Two Spitfire aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron and three Hudson aircraft of No.279 A.S.R. Squadron carried out A.S.R. sorties.

          16th June     Two Hudson aircraft of No.279 A.S.R. Squadron carried out A.S.R. sorties.

          20th June     Two Hudson aircraft were airborne at 1300hours to carry out a parallel search for a raft. The aircraft landed at R.A.F. Predannack at 1335 hours. They were airborne again at 1620 hours, nothing was sighted in the search area and the aircraft returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 2230 hours.

          21st June     Three Hudson aircraft were detailed out on an A.S.R. sortie. Two rafts were sighted in the sea but no survivors.

          24th June     Two Hudson aircraft on A.S.R. sorties.

          25th June     Two Hudson aircraft were detailed out on an A.S.R. sortie where they sighted a landing barge awash but with no survivors on board. The barge was sunk by gunfire. A raft was also seen but no survivors.

          26th June     Two Hudson aircraft were airborne at 0615 hours on an Air Sea Rescue search for a float carrying three men. The only thing that was sighted was two Destroyers, their position 493N 0715W. The aircraft returned to land at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1259 hours.

          29th June     Two Hudson aircraft of No.279 A.S.R. Squadron along with four Spitfire aircraft, one Walrus aircraft and an Anson aircraft of No.276 A.S.R. Squadron carried out A.S.R. sorties.          One Hudson aircraft took off at 1302 hours on an A.S.R. search. The aircraft picked up an S.O.S. on a bearing of two hundred and three degrees. Nothing was found. The aircraft landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1514 hours.

          30th June     A Hudson aircraft was airborne at 1114 hours for an Air Sea Rescue search. A  K. G. Class Battleship was sighted on a bearing of one hundred and eighty degrees. Nothing else was sighted. The Hudson returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer landing at 1750 hours.

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

 

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

          24th June     Another unfortunate and fatal accident for the Squadron today.          A Hurricane I aircraft - Serial No.V6725 of the R.A.F. Harrowbeer detachment was engaged on low level attacks of LAA posts in the Plymouth defence are and was observed to nose dive from a low level. The pilot, an Australian Pilot Officer was killed. The aircraft did not catch fire.

               During the month of June No.286 ( AAC ) Squadron carried out ninety one Army Co-operation exercises for No.55 Brigade.     These exercises were undertaken in the Plymouth, Dartmouth, Brixham, Salcombe, Bigbury, Slapton, St. Willows and Gara Point to Start Point areas.     Flying was carried out between three thousand and ten thousand feet for the LAA and HAA consisting of low level, short tows and heavy tows.          The aircraft used were :- two Defiants, Serial Nos.309 and 949, two Hurricanes, Serial Nos.V6725 an 3178 and two Airspeed Oxfords, Serial Nos.134 and 8911.          The Squadron Operation Record Book shows eleven airmen assigned to various flying duties for the month.

The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Flying Officer H. J. Kelly.

 

No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron :-

          3rd June     Three sections of No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron moved to R.A.F. Harrowbeer to act as level escort for an operation.     ( No further details ).

 

No.414 Squadron  R.C.A.F. :-

          1st June     An ' instep ' patrol which had been laid on was cancelled due to bad weather.          Some of the pilots attended at the Intelligence Room and studied aircraft recognition.          No flying was possible all day due to the bad weather.

          2nd June     Late in the evening a signal was received that the Squadron is to move to R.A.F. Portreath. The move to be completed by the 4th June. Seven days doesn't give one time to get bored at a Station.

          3rd June     Six Mustang aircraft carried out an uneventful ' instep ', being airborne for three hours and twenty minutes.          The advance party left by road for R.A.F. Portreath. Packing was speedily completed for the move tomorrow. The Maintenance Section will have to be held here a few days to get the aircraft serviceable.

          4th June     The road and rail party moves were completed by 1300 hours. The convoy went very well considering the difficult types of road, steep hills and sharp bends which necessitated careful handling. Two vehicles were stragglers but arrived within one and a half hours of the main convoy. Settling in at R.A.F. Portreath took longer than usual due mainly to the lack of equipment on the Station.          The pilots and their aircraft had to stay at R.A.F. Harrowbeer due to the bad weather conditions.

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

 

~    ~    ~    ~

 

May  1943 

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

 

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

          Flight Lieutenant Seger  -  No.10 Group Interrogation Officer

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

          Squadron Leader Wallick  -  Fighter Command Security Officer

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

          Flying Officer Hosking  -  Defence Officer

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

          Wing Commander Bromley  -  No.10 Group Signals Officer

          Commander Leeds  -  No.10 Group

          Flight Lieutenant Tanner  -  Air Sea Rescue School Blackpool

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

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

 

Weather

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

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

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

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

          5th May     Weather fair but with poor visibility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sport :- P.T. Recreation

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Entertainment

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

   

No.78 Signals Wing Calibration Flight

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

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

 

No.129 Squadron :-

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

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

 

No.193 Squadron :-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

No.414 Squadron R.C.A.F. :- 

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

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

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

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

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

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

General :-

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

Operational :-     12 Mustang I          2  =  Tomahawk IIB

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

 

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

 

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

 

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April  1943

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

 

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

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

          Wing Commander Smith - Headquarters Fighter Command

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

          Warrant Officer Dyer - P3 No.10 Group

          Flight Lieutenant Lamb - Squadron Gunnery Leader

         Air Officer Commanding Air Commodore Embry - No.10 Group

          Group Captain Woodhall -

          Pilot Officer Hughes - Squadron Gunnery Officer

          Flight Lieutenant Hastings - Squadron Navigation Officer

 

Weather

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

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

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

          4th April     Good weather allowing flying all day.

          5th and 6th April     Quite good weather.

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

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

          10th April     Another good day for flying practice.

          11th April     Very misty in the morning.

          12th April     A duff day - no flying.

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

          14th April     Cracking day with lots of flying taking place

          15th April     Quite good weather although somewhat hazy.

          16th April     Weather again quite good but hazy.

          17th April     Another good day for the pilots.

          18th April     Excellent weather, lots of air activity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          26th April     Very windy with a slight ground haze.

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

          29th April     Impossible weather again haze and rain.

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

 

From the Station O.R.B.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Station Sick Quarters - Form 540 :-

          The Form 540 for April was unsigned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From the Squadron O.R.B.'s

 

No.65 ' East India Squadron :-

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

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

 

No.193 Squadron :- 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

No.263 Squadron :- 

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

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

 

No.276 ( Air Sea Rescue ) Squadron :-  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

No.504 Squadron :- 

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

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

 

No.602 Squadron :- 

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

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

 

No.834 ( Fleet Air Arm ) Squadron :- 

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

 

~     ~     ~     ~




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