Wing Commander J. Butterworth remains the Station Commander for R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer, but the O.R.B. for December was signed by Squadron Leader J. M. Littler.
Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-
Wing Commander Hatcher - Headquarters A.D.G.B. ( Air Defence of Great Britain )
Squadron Leader Jones - Headquarters Maintenance Command
Flight Lieutenant Harris - Headquarters No.10 Group
Squadron Leader Modley - Officer Commanding R.A.F. Station Bolt Head
Group Captain Alexander - R.A.F. Mount Batten
Group Captain Hobb - Dartmouth
Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes - Headquarters No.19 Group
Flight Lieutenant Mount - D.A.P.M.'s Department
Squadron Leader Bradley - R.A.F. Station Davidstow
Flight Lieutenant Maniston - Command Catering Officer, Headquarters A.D.G.B.
Flying Officer Daniel - Command Salvage Officer, Headquarters A.D.G.B.
Wing Commander Sissmore - Headquarters No.19 Group
Various un-named Army Officers - British and American
1st December The weather today was reasonable with 5 / 10th cloud and visibility fair to good.
2nd December The weather is duffing up a bit - 10 / 10th cloud and rain showers, but visibility still holding at fair to good.
3rd December Bad today with rain and 8 / 10th cloud.
4th December Quite a reasonable day for this part of the country although vert cold and windy. 10 / 10th cloud about but with good visibility.
5th December The Weather remains much the same although the wind has increased, the temperature is freezing but visibility fair, Any aircraft taking off for flights is finding the landing of the aircraft quite hazardous.
6th December Today is pretty bad and generally uninviting being very cold with low clouds, strong winds and rain showers.
7th December The weather seems to be improving with quite a reasonable morning. 3 / 10th cloud, cold and clear.
8th December A grim day. No flying. Heavy rain and visibility less than one mile.
9th December The weather was bad this morning, clearing in the afternoon in the Harrowbeer area.
10th December Today the weather remained bad for the whole of the day, 10 / 10th cloud down to the hills. The " OCC " in with a vengeance. No flying.
11th December " OCC " still in, though lifting in the afternoon but not enough to permit any flying, remaining cold with good visibility.
12th December The weather is still bad. There were a few flights in the morning but nothing again in the afternoon.
13th December The morning started hazy and freezing, 8 / 10th cloud, clearing in the afternoon eventually.
14th December The " OCC " tried very hard today but only managed to get as far as ' Spooner's Feature '. Thick haze from the south, east and south west but remained reasonably cold and clear around the aerodrome.
15th December Not at all pleasant today, 7 / 10th clouds at two thousand five hundred feet and cold with thick fog beneath.
16th December The " OCC " in with a vengeance, practically no visibility, 10 / 10th low cloud and therefore no flying.
17th December The " OCC " is still with us. Wet and cold, still no flying today.
18th December The weather is starting to clear a little, 5 / 10th cloud with visibility fair to good.
19th December Back to another grim day, 10 / 10th cloud. Visibility at times less than two miles.
20th December Starting to clear up again, fine with good visibility.
21st December Today started pretty poorly, rain all morning, but is improving as the day progresses.
22nd December Quite a reasonable day for a change. 5 / 10th cloud with visibility fair to good.
23rd December A moderate kind of a day, but becoming duff as the day continues. 10 / 10th low cloud down to the hills all morning, clearing for a short spell in the afternoon.
24th December Not a very satisfactory day so far as the weather is concerned, frosty, but there were a few bright intervals, however the weather clamped down eventually towards evening.
25th December Yet another duff day. Weather totally unfit for flying.
26th December Another miserable day with the usual thick fog and intermittent rain storms making flying impossible.
27th December The usual mist prevails with visibility down to one thousand yards. 10 / 10th low cloud, weather u/s for flying for most of the day.
28th December Today is much better at last. 10 / 10 cloud
29th December Another reasonable day but no good for flying.
30th December Today was pretty average, 6 / 10th cloud with visibility fair to good.
31st December The weather today is fairly good although there are patches of haze about, 7 / 10th cloud with good visibility.
1st December Wing Commander Hatcher from Headquarters A.D.G.B. ( Air Defence of Great Britain ) visited the Station in connection with armament matters.
6th December Squadron Leader Jones from Headquarters Maintenance Command visited No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron.
7th December Flight Lieutenant Harris from Headquarters No.10 Group visited the Station in connection with equipment matters.
11th December A ' Station Gas Defence Exercise ' took place on the Station to which the reaction of all personnel was entirely satisfactory. Squadron Leader Modley - the Officer Commanding R.A.F. Station Bolt Head visited the Station.
12th December A ' Station Defence Exercise ( Eros ) ' was held on the Station. The exercise was attended by a number of Army Officers, both British and American as well as Group Captain Alexander of R.A.F. Mount Batten, Group Captain Hobb from Dartmouth and Wing Commander Milroy-Hayes from Headquarters No.19 Group.
13th December Flight Lieutenant Mount of D.A.P.M.'s Department visited the Station as well as Squadron Leader Bradley from R.A.F. Station Davidstow.
15th December Flight Lieutenant Maniston - Command Catering Officer from Headquarters A.D.G.B. and Flying Officer Daniel - Command Salvage Officer ( H.Q.A.D.G.B. ) visited the Station in connection with their respective departments. The road and rail parties of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron left R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer, the Squadron having been posted to R.A.F. Station Bircham Newton. Their departure is generally regretted and the Station will always be pleased to see them whenever they are in this part of the world.
18th December The Air Party of No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron took off for R,A,F. Bircham Newton.
25th December Christmas Day. The day was kept as a holiday as far as the exigencies of the service would permit, and the usual Christmas procedure was observed. The Sergeant's Mess was invited to the Officer's Mess at 1100 hours, a goodly number of gallons of beer disappeared, and a pleasant time was had by all. After this the Officers and Sergeants adjourned to the Airmen's Mess and carried out the time honoured custom of serving the Airmen and Airwomen Christmas dinner. The latter including :- turkey, pork, a notable variety of vegetables and trimmings, plum pudding, jellies, cheese and biscuits, beer and ten cigarettes per head - not to mention Father Christmas carrying the Christmas pudding ( in flames ) round the hall. From reports received it can be stated without fear of contradiction that no one went away empty. After the Officers were entertained in the Sergeant's Mess and in the afternoon there was a first class E.N.S.A. show which was much appreciated. This was followed by a terrific tea and in the evening when there was a Station Dance. Everything went well and a great credit is due to all who were responsible for organising the festivities. It should also be recorded that, contrary to the usual practice, the Officers had their Christmas dinner followed by a dance on Christmas Eve, this making it possible for Mess staff to join in the general celebrations of Christmas Day.
30th December Wing Commander J. Butterworth ( the Station Commander ) departed for Scotland for a fourteen day course on Combined Operations. Squadron Leader J. M. Littler ( Officer Commanding No.279 ( A.S.R. ) Squadron ) assumed the duties of the Station Commander. Wing Commander Sissmore from Headquarters No.19 Group visited the Station.
Appendix " A "
Station Defence Exercise ' Eros '
This exercise took place on Sunday morning 12th December 1943 and was designed to test the defence of Yelverton sub-sector and in particular R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer.
One Battalion of an American combat team was the ' enemy ' and it's job was to overwhelm the strongpoint for the defence of R.A.F. Harrowbeer, vis :- Spooner's Feature and then consolidate. The counter attack by another complete American combat team was to be put in.
The defence of Spooner's Feature were in the hands of four Flights of the Station personnel - Lion, Tiger, Leopard and Puma, and two platoons of the Home Guard. In addition - Panther Flight was to originally concentrate near the Station Small Arms Stores where there were other Home Guard and a few R.A., C.M.P. and Pioneers in the vicinity.
The opening of the attack for both sides was supposed to be signaled by the dropping of one hundred and fifty Airborne troops. Action was not to start before 0900 hours, but unfortunately owing to the weather this part of the scheme was delayed and eventually abandoned. This caused confusion and while the defences were told to wait, the enemy started to move in. This was made worse by some deliberate cheating, " B " Company of the enemy moved in at about 0800 hours and had over-run one strong Home Guard area and the Small Arms Store before the exercise was due to start. At 0919 hours defensive news of the start of the exercise was given and the R.A.F. defences were immediately manned. The enemy who started early, unfortunately over-ran some positions on Spooner's Feature by 0930 hours before the defences arrived and R.A.F. personnel were never properly organised, because as each man arrived he was hurled into battle. The ground crew of Squadrons and Echelons were unable to take part, as they were engaged on local protection of the airfield, although nearly thirty members of No.276 ( A.S.R.) Squadron arrived to give valuable help.
Aircraft of No. 266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron took off immediately at 0919 hours and sent back valuable information of the enemies movements and ground strafed the enemy aircraft and troops on the ground, send back information and when ammunition was exhausted they were to fly to R.A.F. Exeter or another safe airfield. It was estimated that seventy five per cent of the aircraft would have got off in this manner. This side of the ' battle ' was run by the Commanding Officer from Flying Control.
The main attack developed on the east and south of Spooner's Feature and the R.A.F. and Home Guard were slowly pushed back. Tiger Flight suffered heavy casualties and were reinforced by Puma Flight ( the reserve on the Feature ) being sent to help them.
As soon as the extent of the threat was known, orders were sent out for our troops outside to concentrate on Spooner's Feature. The remnants of Panther Flight, Home Guard, R.A. and C.M.P.'s from areas which had been over-run arrived to help. In particular about one hundred men of ' E ' Company Home Guard from Bere Alston arrived from the west. There they contacted detachments of Lion Flight and the Home Guard and joined up with them.
At 1055 hours the Controllers decided that the resistance on Spooner's Feature must cease so that the remainder of the exercise could be continued, At that time there was still R.A.F. and Home Guard sniping, about fifteen men of Lion Flight were undiscovered apart from the ' E ' Company and R.A.F. of about one hundred and thirty men referred to above who now counter attacked the Feature from the west. They were making excellent progress, but unfortunately the umpire had to rule out at about 1115 hours in order that the enemy be given proper opportunity to consolidate. The Battle Headquarters was never found by the enemy.
Th enemy consolidated and were counter attacked by one Battalion of Infantry and one Regimental Artillery of the supporting combat team which had been considerably delayed by road mining, etc. The counter attack was ruled successful by 1300 hours and the exercise concluded.
While the umpires had many criticisms to make - some of them were caused by their being unfamiliar with R.A.F. conditions and were unjustified. An example being the lack of field telephones in all A.A. Posts, the distribution of arms and ammunition, the necessity for the Station to remain on an operational basis - however both they and the enemy praised the fire discipline of the R.A.F. The R.A.F. reached Spooner's Feature in excellent time and in spite of delay in the issue of field telephones and Browning machine guns caused by the Control staff the positions that had not been over-run were manned in a maximum of thirty minutes. As Spooner's Feature is two miles from the Communal and Technical Sites this was a fine performance.
In spite of the unfair advantage taken by the enemy at the start, their greater numbers and the necessity for a ' scramble ' by the R.A.F. it must be recorded that the official verdict was that the defence of Spooner's Feature was held.
Signed by :- H. Moorland Major L.D.A. Harrowbeer
Appendix ' B '
Physical Fitness and Entertainment for Form 540 December 1943
December has seen a reorganisation in P.T. on the Station, Echelons and Dispersal Points being visited by P.T.I.'s. Air crew ( in accordance with the recently circulated command letter ) are now scheduled to a minimum of eight hours P.T. per month in the Station Gymnasium.
Soccer :- A Station XI played in the Plymouth Combination League weekly and occasionally friendly games as arranged with nearby units for section teams, in many cases leading to social functions. An inter - section league has great support for most sections.
Rugby :- Matches have been played when operations permit by No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron who are extremely keen on the game.
Badminton :- One of the few indoor sports available continues to increase in popularity.
Squash :- Air crew make full use of all facilities for this game on the Station, there is some shortage however of racquets.
The following is a brief summary of entertainment on the Station
Cinema :- E.N.S.A. 3 shows
Station 4 shows
Cinema in the Officer's Mess 4 shows
Stage :- E.N.S.A. 3
Whist Drives 4
Gramaphone Concerts 4
Padre's Social Hour Weekly
Wall Newspaper :- This feature ' The Typhoon ' has been extremely popular and contributions are greater than the space available.
Station Sick Quarters - Form 540
1st December The strength of the Station including Unit R.A.F. Bolt Head and Units attached for medical administration :- R.A.F. = 1599 W.A.A.F. = 414 Army = 135
3rd December Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :- R.A.F. = 20 W.A.A.F. = 11 Army = 3
3rd December A Sapper on leave at Horrabridge from No.2 Posting Depot B.N.R.E. Halifax was admitted to Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital, Plymouth with a ' bullet wound to his right foot ' caused when his rifle ' went off ' when he was cleaning it.
3rd December A Liberator aircraft crashed at Steeperton Tor - an ambulance from No.115 Station Hospital co-operated and all casualties were admitted to the Station Hospital.
10th December Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :- R.A.F. = 7 W.A.A.F. - 9 Army = 2
17th December Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :- R.A.F. = 12 W.A.A.F. = 0 Army = 2
21st December A Typhoon aircraft crashed at Colcharton Farm. The pilot was admitted to the Station Sick Quarters suffering from bruises and shock.
24th December Number of patients admitted to the Station Sick Quarters and Hospital for week-ending today :- R.A.F. = 9 W.A.A.F. = 2 Army = 1
25th December A Flying Fortress aircraft crashed at Shelstone Tor. The casualties were admitted directly to No.115 Station Hospital.
27th December A Liberator aircraft crashed at Hamel Down. The casualties were admitted direct to the U.S. Army Hospital, Stover.
28th December A Liberator aircraft crashed near Black Tor. The casualties were admitted direct to No.115 Station Hospital, U.S. Army.
28th December A Typhoon aircraft had engine trouble whilst at R.A.F. Harrowbeer. It turned over and caught fire. The pilot was removed by personnel in the vicinity and was transferred for burns to his face, he was then admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth.
The Form 540 for the month of December was signed by :-
Squadron Leader F. Constable, Senior Medical Officer.
No.193 Squadron :-
1st December Four Typhoon aircraft of ' B ' Flight flew to R.A.F. Predannack at 1045 hours and later took off from there to act as anti-flak cover for two Mosquito bomber aircraft being escorted by eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron attacking a ship in the Ile de Groix. Only one of the Mosquito bombers took off. No.193 Squadron acted as anti-flak at the northern end of the Isle. Two aircraft attacked a minesweeper and observed good results. The Mosquito bomber attacked and scored a near miss and later flew into the sea. On the return journey one of the pilots saw a JU88 ( German aircraft ) which was attacked and destroyed. One of the No.193 Squadron pilots was forced to bale out into the sea thirty miles south of Land's End, Cornwall and was rescued by a H.S.L. ( high speed launch ) after about one and a half hours. This is No.193 Squadron's first enemy aircraft. The remaining three No.193 Squadron aircraft landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1315 hours.
2nd December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron represented our share of the ' Harrowbeer Wing ' and escorted twenty four Boston Bomber aircraft to a target south of Cherbourg. One of the Boston aircraft had one engine put out of action by flak, but managed to return safely.
3rd December Eight Typhoon aircraft indulged in a fighter sweep in the Rennes area.
4th December Four Typhoon aircraft of ' A ' Flight were airborne with No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron on a sweep in the Rennes area. Bad weather on the other side of the Channel forced the aircraft to keep low.
5th December The ' Harrowbeer Wing ' is airborne to cover the withdrawal of two hundred Liberator aircraft from a mission in the Lorient area.
6th December Eight Typhoon aircraft were airborne and flew to R.A.F. Predannack in the late morning on stand by duties.
7th December The eight Typhoon aircraft returned from R.A.F. Predannack.
9th December Bad weather in the morning, clearing in the afternoon when flying practice could be carried out including a small amount of bombing practice off Dawlish.
10th and 11th December Two days of no flying due to bad weather conditions.
12th December Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled after a ' bogey ' ( enemy aircraft ) which turned out to be friendly.
13th December ' A ' Flight took over the state of readiness early in the afternoon to allow No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron to do a Squadron " Balbo ".
16th December Another no flying day.
17th December A Roadstead with torpedo Beaufighter aircraft was laid on, but at dawn this was cancelled because of the weather conditions.
18th December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron and eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron were airborne at 1100 hours as withdrawal cover to torpedo Beaufighter aircraft being escorted by aircraft of No.183 Squadron. The target being a ship - the ' Pietro Orecle ' of four thousand seven hundred tons laying off Concarneau. The weather over France prevented the ' Wing ' from flying at twelve thousand to seven thousand feet. Landfall was made at Ile de Batz and from there to Concardeau, the ' Wing ' flew at deck level and returned via Penmarche Point, Seine Isles and Ushant. Rain, low cloud and low visibility being encountered all the way from Concardeau. Control vectored the ' Wing ' to R.A.F. Predannack where a landing under very adverse conditions was made. There was great disappointment by all concerned as the party and house warming at Whistley ( the Squadron's Mess ) was missed.
19th December The eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron that were at R.A.F. Predannack returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer and the party and house warming took place in the evening to the satisfaction of everyone.
20th December Ten Dakota aircraft dropped paratroopers near Yelverton in the morning and then landed on the aerodrome. ' B ' Flight on state have two scrambles, but see nothing. Seven Typhoon aircraft took off at 1455 hours to fly to R.A.F. Predannack in the early afternoon and later carried out a sweep with No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron from Raz Point to Rennes. The aircraft flew to within six miles west of Ushant, climbing to twelve thousand feet in a gentle turn. Diving they crossed the French Coast at Raz Point and then flew at deck level near to Rennes and then turned north returning to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 1640 hours.
22nd December Quite a reasonable day with two operations. Both operations required No.193 Squadron and No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron to escort Typhoon bomber aircraft of No.183 Squadron who would attack the installations at Martinvast near Cherbourg. The first trip in the late morning gave very good bombing conditions with moderate flak experienced, the bombs were not seen to explode. The second trip in the middle of the afternoon gave bad bombing conditions, the bombers diving through a small gap in the clouds and all the bombs were seen to explode.
23rd December Local practice flying including air tests, camera gun work and formation flying.
24th December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron went off to escort six Bombphoons ( Typhoon bomber aircraft ) of No.183 Squadron. This Ramrod operation was carried out from R.A.F. Predannack and went according to plan. No enemy aircraft were seen.
25th December Christmas Day ( on the moors ) heralds another duff day, no flying.
26th December Yet another miserable day making flying impossible. This evening and on a moderate scale, a very happy party continued, celebrations in the Officer's Mess, before sojourning to ' Whistley ' for the usual discussions and commentaries.
27th December The Squadron is on state this morning, but heavens knows why ! The usual mist prevails with visibility one thousand yards.
28th December Another day of practice flying, which was marred by a terrible aircraft accident. Unfortunately on just getting airborne, three quarters of the way along the runway one of the pilots had his engine cut out on his Typhoon aircraft. He had not the time to get both undercarriage wheels up and attempt a belly landing, with the result that he came a nasty cropper just beyond the end of the runway. The port undercart which had stayed down when he hit the ground caused the aircraft to turn over onto it's back. One of the Typhoon's long range fuel tanks immediately burst into flames and soon the greatest part of the aircraft was ablaze. As the cabin hood had not caved in it looked a bad show for the pilot, however to the amazement of most and with a little assistance the pilot was out and smiling through his burns and bruises in a matter of seconds. It is expected that the pilot will make a full recovery quite soon. The Commanding Officer and one or two of the other pilots paid him a visit during the evening and found him enjoying the atmosphere of the Plymouth Royal Naval Hospital, the nurses having proved most attentive and efficient.
29th December Today marks the first anniversary of the history of ' No.193 Squadron '. The Squadron was formed at this Station ( Harrowbeer ) a year ago today and looking back over the previous twelve months there is quite a lot to be proud of. The only disappointment has been the atrocious bad lick of the Squadron pilots in not meeting enemy aircraft. The total of half a JU88is not an imposing record, so far as enemy aircraft destroyed is concerned, but there is a dozen ships that have been damaged during sweeps.
The Squadron started with no aircraft and most of the pilots came from O.T.U.'s ( Operational Training Units ). These pilots have been trained and despite postings are operational on Typhoons.
A very happy celebration was held tonight, starting at the ' Skylark ' around 2000 hours, pilots and all ground staff of ' No.193 Squadron ' had a very satisfactory time. After the ' lubricating ' period at the ' Skylark ' all congregated at ' Whistley ' - the Squadron Mess and continued until well after midnight. The Commanding Officer took the opportunity of dishing out cigarettes, cigars and various South American foods - including a special type of cheese ! ! To all concerned these ' dainties ' had kindly been sent by our Brazilian God - Parents from the Embassy in London.
30th December In the afternoon eight Squadron Typhoon aircraft carried out a Rodeo at zero feet. No enemy aircraft were seen. Two Squadron aircraft were hit by flak. One had a terrific hole just behind the cockpit, the port wing bearing several holes and the steel cable rudder controls cut. The aircraft is classified as Category ' B '. The second aircraft managed to complete the sweep with a badly damaged starboard wing. Today saw the arrival of new Typhoon aircraft incorporating the latest type of sliding hood. This is the first of it's kind to reach the Squadron. Much favourable comments made and it is to be hoped that more will be arriving in the very near future.
31st December This is the last day of 1943. At 0938 hours eight No.193 Squadron Typhoon aircraft took part in Ramrod No.118. The operation was carried out as planned, making landfall north of Morlaix at eight thousand feet. They swept above the cloud to south west of Morlaix to Guipavas, re-crossing the coast at Pontuval. No enemy aircraft or shipping were sighted. There was moderate heavy flak experienced from the Guipavas area. All aircraft landed back at base at 1104 hours. At 1554 hours four Typhoon aircraft were sent off on an Air Sea Rescue search twenty miles, east to west out from the English Coast to Guernsey. No trace could be found of a dinghy, Two barrage balloons were seen and there was light flak from the north east corner of Guernsey, otherwise the search was uneventful. The sweeping search was carried out at different heights between zero and five hundred feet. All four Typhoons landed back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1709 hours.
So it's " good-bye " 1943 and here's to 1944.
A special tribute is paid to two members of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron ground crew who by their quick action and disregard of possible injury enabled the pilot of the Typhoon aircraft that overturned and was burning on the 28th December 1943 to be rescued.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of December was signed by :-
Flight Lieutenant P. H. Beake.
No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron :-
1st December Eight Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Predannack with four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron and one Mosquito aircraft on a Roadstead to attack a motor vessel of four thousand tons near Groix Island. The formation flew at zero feet and when approaching Groix Island saw the large merchant ship and several armed trawlers or minesweepers. No.193 Squadron acted as anti-flak cover and attacked the ships, but the Mosquito aircraft dropped it's bombs a bit short then hit the sea itself and went in. At this moment Red Section ( four aircraft ) saw a JU52 ( German enemy aircraft ) ( Raus I ) fitted with a mine detecting ring flying at three hundred feet. Two of the pilots of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron attacked the enemy aircraft which was seen to hit the sea., they are claiming one JU52 destroyed ( shared ). Red Section then continued flying east round the Island coming out to the south and getting a lot of flak from ships and the Island. Blue Section of No.266 ( Rhodesia ) Squadron went to the south of the Island and attacked two minesweepers then turned for home. As they approached Cap Chevre with two Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron they saw two JU88 ( German enemy aircraft ), one of them escaped into the cloud and the other was attacked by a pilot of No.193 Squadron setting it's starboard motor on fire. Two of the No.266 Squadron pilots each fired at the JU88 and sent it into the sea. The enemy aircraft is claimed as destroyed and shared as one half to No.193 Squadron and one half to No.266 Squadron. As this combat was taking place a section of No.266 Squadron aircraft flying near Gienan Islands saw another JU88, one of the pilots attacked pressing his attack home at very short range. The other pilot saw strikes on the enemy aircraft and the attacker broke away, this was the last time that this No.266 Squadron pilot was seen. It is assumed that he was hit by the JU88 rear gunner. The enemy aircraft was further attacked by the three remaining No.266 Squadron Typhoons which was hit several times and eventually crashed into the sea. The aircraft is claimed as one JU88 destroyed by four pilot ( one quarter each ).
2nd December Four Typhoon aircraft flew to Ushant and Raz Point searching for the downed No.266 Squadron pilot from the 1st December 1943, but nothing was found. Seven Typhoon aircraft took off on Ramrod No.111 at 1140 hours from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to escort twenty four Boston Bomber aircraft with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron to bomb a special target, ( Martinvast ) south of Cherbourg. The formation made a rendezvous with the twenty four Boston Bombers over Portland Bill. They then escorted the Boston Bombers to the target area where they saw the target as a large brown patch among green fields. The bombing looked good. There was moderate to intense heavy flak directed at the bombers. The bombers were escorted over the target and then back to base where all aircraft returned safely landing at 1335 hours.
3rd December Eight Typhoon aircraft took off at 1425 hours to sweep to the north of Gael - Rennes district, but at ten thousand feet there was too much cloud to see anything. There were no enemy aircraft seen and no flak experienced. There were no incidents of any kind. All aircraft returned safely landing at 1620 hours. Back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer an attempt was made by six Typhoon aircraft to carry out air to air firing but the drogue was shot away.
4th December Four No.266 Typhoon aircraft took off from R.A.F. Predannack along with four Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron to sweep Gael - Rennes - St. Malo area. They flew at zero feet making landfall west of Ushant. The operation went without incident and one hour later four Typhoon aircraft with four Bombphoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron carried out an armed shipping reconnaissance at zero feet into Douarnenez Bay and flew out between Ushant and the mainland. There was no sign of enemy aircraft or shipping.
5th December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron ( of which two returned early ) flew with six Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron and eight aircraft of No.257 Squadron to a point on the south coast of the Brest Peninsular ( Moklan - Sur - Mere ) at twelve thousand feet. They were to rendezvous with two hundred and forty Flying Fortress aircraft and together with various Spitfire Wings escort them safely home. A few minutes before rendezvous a large unescorted formation of sixty to eighty Liberator aircraft were seen at the same height, twelve thousand feet, as the Flying Fortresses were going to be. They were escorted back to Portland. No Flying Fortresses were seen. No enemy aircraft were seen and no flak.
6th December Seven Typhoon aircraft flew to R.A.F. Predannack in bad weather conditions to take part in an operation, but it was cancelled. These seven Typhoon aircraft were unable to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer due to bad weather.
7th December The seven Typhoon aircraft stranded at R.A.F. Predannack yesterday returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer today. The Squadron were released in the afternoon and most of the pilots played rugger, some went into Plymouth.
8th December No flying today due to the poor weather conditions. There was a party in the Rock Hotel in the evening.
9th December Only limited practice flying carried out, again due to the terrible weather conditions.
10th December Again no flying today owing to the bad weather, there were low clouds down on the hills.
11th December No operational flying, but practice flying was carried out including :- battle formation, air to sea firing, air to ground firing at the Bolt Head ranges and a practice attack on a Sunderland Flying Boat.
12th December The airfield was attacked by ground troops and mock attacks were carried out on them by two Typhoon aircraft. The ground personnel formed pockets of resistance around the drome until being wiped out. A practice scramble was also undertaken. ( See Appendix ' A ' )
15th December Two Typhoon aircraft were scrambled at 1250 hours and flew to Bolt Head. They were then instructed to orbit and finally told that the enemy aircraft had returned to their base. The two Typhoons were re-called to R.A.F. Harrowbeer, landing at 1320 hours.
16th December The weather for the past four days has been terrible with only a limited amount of practice flying taking place. The afternoon today was taken up by clearing up the ground around our dispersal areas, we all got very wet and dirty. As it was ' Dingaar's Day ' most of the Squadron went to the ' London Inn ' at Horrabridge and had a wild party.
17th December Again no flying today. It was a big day on aircraft recognition for the Squadron.
18th December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron along with Typhoons from No.193 Squadron took off at 1115 hours and were to make rendezvous with six torpedo carrying Beaufighter aircraft. They made landfall at Ile de Batz at ten thousand feet, they then flew overland to Concarneau Harbour at five thousand feet and saw the target ship off Jument Point along with several small boats. The Beaufighter aircraft were to attack the M24 ( the Piettro Orsealo ) a four hundred and fifty foot long motor vessel. No.266 and No.193 Squadrons were dead on time for arrival at the rendezvous with the ship which was seen, but the Beaufighters were twenty minutes late. We swept over the area and returned by the sea route around Ushant landing at R.A.F. Predannack at 1320 hours via the Brest Peninsular. There were no enemy aircraft and no flak. We later heard that the Beaufighters scored two torpedo hits, but the boat is still afloat. The eight No.266 Squadron pilots got weather-bound at R.A.F. Predannack and had to spend the night there, much to their annoyance as there was to have been a party at R.A.F. Harrowbeer
19th December The eight Typhoon aircraft flew back from R.A.F. Predannack today landing in very poor conditions.
20th December Eleven Squadron Typhoon aircraft took off at 1450 hours from R.A.F. Predannack and crossed the French Coast at Raz Point at ten thousand feet. They swept east losing height in bad weather to near Gael Airfield and then at zero feet over St. Brieuc Airfield crossing out at Minnard Point and so to home. There was no shipping and no enemy aircraft seen throughout the operation. Very little flak was experienced.
21st December No operational flying today, only practice flights consisting of flight formation and cine camera gun work, One of the pilots had his engine cut out when at three thousand feet, but he brought off a successful crash landing near Tavistock. The Typhoon aircraft was smashed but the pilot unhurt. The cause was lack of petrol to the engine, the reason has not yet been discovered. If this is a failure on behalf of the aircraft it is the first for a long time.
22nd December Twelve of the Squadron's Typhoon aircraft along with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron took part in an operation where they were to act as escort in two attacks by No.183 Squadron Bombphoon aircraft on a special target at Martinvast. On the first attack the aircraft took off at 1050 hours and rendezvoused over base before flying to the target area, which they managed to identify. The Bombphoons were seen making their bombing run but it was not possible to see any of the bomb bursts. There was slight medium flak from the target area. No enemy aircraft were seen. Two Typhoon aircraft had to return early landing at 1110 hours as one of the aircraft had developed engine trouble. The other ten aircraft landed at 1220 hours. The second operation involved nine Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron which took off at 1455 hours from R.A.F. Harrowbeer with eight Typhoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron to escort eleven Bombphoon aircraft of No.183 Squadron to bomb a special target at Martinvast. 8 / 10th cloud was found over the Cherbourg Peninsular. The bombers were able to dive through a gap in the clouds and carry out their bombing run. The escort did not see anything of the target or any of the bomb bursts due to the cloud. There was very little flak and no sign of any enemy aircraft. All aircraft landed back at base at 1615 hours.
24th December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off at 1220 hours from R.A.F. Predannack escorting six Bpmbphoon aircraft of No.193 Squadron on Ramrod No.116 to bomb Guipavas Airfield. The aircraft rendezvoused over base before crossing the French Coast near Pontsuval and swept over Guipavas from east to west on a bombing run. The results of the bombing appeared to be very good, bomb bursts were seen among the Station buildings, dispersal areas and landing ground. Hits were observed on the buildings and Hangars, but no enemy aircraft were seen on the ground or in the air. Moderate inaccurate flak was experienced. All aircraft landed back at base at 1345 hours. There was a large scale party in the Officer's Mess to which ladies were invited. There was dancing and much singing - a very good party.
25th December Christmas Day. Weather unfit for flying and all the Squadron were released. The Sergeants were invited to the Officer's Mess and then the Officers served dinner in the Airmen's Mess. An extremely good dinner too. This was followed by a party in the Sergeant's Mess and then gentle parties for the rest of the day. A good time was had by all.
26th December The weather u/s again. A visit to the Moorland Links Hotel before lunch and then continued a very amusing session in the Mess until a late lunch. Five pilots of ' B ' Flight are ill with very bad colds, but they are still bearing up.
27th December Still no flying due to the weather conditions. The Squadron was released again in the afternoon when nearly all of them attended a dance at the Moorland Links Hotel.
28th December A pilot of No.193 Squadron crashed his Typhoon aircraft at the end of one of the runways. One of his long range fuel tanks came off and exploded causing a large fire. His aircraft went on a few yards further thus getting out of the worst of the fire, but it was burning slightly upside down with the pilot trapped inside. Two ground crew from No.266 Squadron were first at the scene and somehow got the jammed door open and they pulled the pilot out, not too badly hurt. A good effort by those two lads.
29th December Another no flying day, most of the pilots spent most of the day shooting at the small firing range.
30th December Eight Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron took off at 1320 hours from R.A.F. Predannack and flew west of Ushant round Dankmarch Point towards Kerlin Bastard, when ten miles west of Ile de Croix a JU52 German aircraft with a minesweeping ring was seen flying west at zero feet. Two pilots attacked the JU52 and it fell in flames into the sea. The other six No.266 Squadron aircraft were lined up behind waiting to take their turn in the attack. The Squadron are claiming one JU52 destroyed. The formation then dived over Kerlin Bastard meeting intense flak and returned at three hundred feet overland to R.A.F. Predannack where one of the pilots had to make a wheels up landing as his hydraulics had been damaged by being hit by a piece of debris from the JU52. We heard later that had the Squadron returned by the sea route they would have met several FW190 German aircraft off Brest. A pity, but still a JU52 is something to be going on with.
31st December Seven Typhoon aircraft took part in a big operation as fighter sweep. The intention was to fly to Kerlin Bastard, but the operation was abandoned when twenty miles inland of France as the leader's radio transmitter could neither send or receive. A second sweep was carried out at 1410 hours ( Ramrod No.118 ) by six Typhoon aircraft of No.266 Squadron to Guipavas and St. Brieuc. They flew at zero feet until about ten miles from the French Coast where they started to climb. They found 10 / 10th cloud over France at three thousand feet and carried on climbing up to ten thousand feet. The formation then swept south of Lannilis to Brest, they then turned north east to Guipavas and out by St. Brieuc Bay where the formation dived down to sea level and then headed back to base. Flying Fortress aircraft were seen at twenty thousand feet over Morlaix and Guipavas with one straggler being escorted by Spitfire aircraft. There were no enemy aircraft seen and no flak experienced. The Typhoon aircraft landed back at base at 1550 hours. A number of pilots went off to the Moorland Links Hotel and had an excellent evening where they saw the " New Year " in, in great form.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of December was signed by :-
Flight Lieutenant J. D. Wright.
No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron ' B ' Flight :-
1st December ' B ' Flight from R.A.F. Harrowbeer carried out a standing patrol twenty miles south of Bolt Head.
16th December Air crew carried out a liaison visit to the Air Sea Rescue launches at Salcombe.
31st December From 1030 hours this morning Spitfire aircraft from ' B ' Flight flew continuous patrols south of Bolt Head until 1745 hours. The section on patrol from 1525 hours sighted a red star light about thirty miles south of Bolt Head and on investigating found two dinghies tied together containing four occupants. Spitfire No.2 dropped a flame float while No.1 climbed to get a ' fix ' and then flew off to locate the H.S.L. ( high speed launch ) which had been contacted and given a course to the dinghies. A further section was then ordered off to relieve the section and reached the position just as they were leaving. The dinghies were again marked by flame float and after ascertaining that the H.S.L. was on it's correct course they returned to base as the weather was closing in. The occupants of the dinghies were picked up at 1800 hours.
There were seven definite no flying days from R.A.F. Harrowbeer during the month, and a further four days when only practice flying could take place. The majority of the rest of the month of December was spent on practice flying which consisted of :- cine camera gun practice, air to air firing, air to ground firing, sector reconnaissance, circuits and landings, sea landing practice and local cross country flights.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of December was signed by :-
Squadron Leader J. M. Littler.
No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron :-
There are no records of rescue sorties or details of work carried out on Form 540 or Form 541
for No.279 Air Sea Rescue Squadron for the month of December.
In the summary noted at the end of December 1943 it states :-
Movements :- The Squadron detachment ceases on the 14th December 1943 and except for a few left behind for servicing purposes the personnel re-joined the parent unit of R.A.F. Bircham Newton.
The net movements in air crew personnel were :- six Pilots, four Navigators, thirteen Wireless Operators ( air ), five Gunners and two F.M.A. ( A,G, ) posted out.
This summary was signed by :- Wing Commander B. G. Corry DFC.
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