Squadron Leader K. W. Marten took over command of R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer on the 31st May 1945 from Wing Commander A. C. Stewart DFC and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of June.
Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-
Squadron Leader Warner - Group Transport Officer.
Flight Lieutenant Gerrard - Lecturer ( Air Ministry ).
Mr. Parncutt - No.18 Works Area.
Air Commodore Lumley - P.M.O.
Captain Verrett - French Headquarters, London.
1st June Weather good allowing a large amount of flying to take place.
2nd June Reasonable weather today on the aerodrome.
3rd June A very wet day.
4th June Cloudy all day.
5th June Weather bad, totally unfit for flying.
6th June Another bad day concerning the weather conditions.
7th June Bad Weather, heavy rain all day making today a no flying day.
8th June A reasonable day on the airfield.
9th June The weather is unsuitable for flying.
10th June Again very wet weather today.
11th June Very bad weather, again no flying from the aerodrome today.
12th June Scattered low cloud and showers, deteriorating in the afternoon.
13th June Weather much better today.
14th June Excellent weather until the late afternoon when low clouds rolled in.
15th June The weather was not too good again today, hill fog and showers.
17th June A really beautiful day.
20th June Magnificent weather at last.
21st June A reasonable start to the day, fair weather.
22nd June Sunshine everywhere - but not at Harrowbeer.
23rd June The weather is not too bad today on the aerodrome.
25th June A fine day with the weather.
28th June Low cloud with showers throughout the morning.
29th June A reasonable start to the day but deteriorating later on as the day progressed.
From the Station O.R.B.
3rd June An Anson aircraft force-landed in bad weather at Bonnington Farm nearby. The pilot was unhurt.
5th June Wing Commander A. C. Stewart DFC assumed command of the Station vice Squadron Leader K. W. Marten.
6th June Squadron Leader Warner - Group Motor Transport Officer visited the Station.
8th June An Oxford aircraft of No.691 Squadron crashed at South Brent. The pilot, Sergeant Bakas ( Polish ) and his passenger LAC Heap were both killed.
9th June Flight Lieutenant Gerrard ( Air Ministry ) visited the Station to give a lecture on the " Far East ".
12th June Squadron Leader K. W. Marten and Flying Officer Butterell visited R.A.F.Cleave. There was a service in the Station Church for LAC Heap ( killed on the 8th June ). His body was despatched to Liverpool for a private burial.
13th June A requiem mass and funeral parade was held for Sergeant Bakas with the internment at Weston Mill Cemetery, Plymouth. No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron flew to France to take part in General De Gaulle's " Air Pageant " on the 18th June. Mr. Parncutt - No.18 Works Area visited Squadron Leader K. W. Marten.
19th June No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron returned from France.
26th June Air Commodore Lumley - P.M.O. visited the Station.
27th June Inter-section rifle shooting competition.
29th June Office's Mess dance.
From the Squadron O.R.B.'s
No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron :-
1st June The weather was good today allowing a large amount of flying to take place. The total hours for the Squadron was 30.5 hours.
2nd June The was only flying carried out in the morning. The Station is on ' peace-time ' basis, whereby sections close down at noon on Saturdays until 0830 hours on Monday morning.
3rd June Sunday - A day of rest for the pilots.
4th June The weather was cloudy today but all the aircraft were able to carry out flying exercises giving a total of 32.30 hours of flying time.
5th June The weather is bad today making it a no flying day.
6th June The first anniversary of " D "Day. The pilots who were with the Squadron this day a year ago were given a half day off, most of them visited Plymouth in the afternoon and evening. There was no flying undertaken today.
7th June The weather is bad, so there was no flying today. The Squadron watched aircraft recognition films during the afternoon.
8th June A practice " Ramrod " was flown today. Ten of the Squadron's Spitfire aircraft took off at about 0950 hours to intercept a formation of Mosquito aircraft being escorted by Mustang aircraft. Three of our Spitfire aircraft had to return to base with oxygen trouble. Our Spitfire aircraft intercepted the Mustang aircraft over the English Channel. As the Mustang aircraft did not take enough evasive action the exercise was made too easy for us and no " claims " were made, similarly no " loses " were reported.
9th June Captain Verrett from the French Headquarters in London visited the Squadron spending the next three days with them. The pilots attended a lecture by Flight Lieutenant Gerrard of the Air Ministry on the " Japanese War ". There was a small amount of flying carried out during the morning.
10th June Sunday - A day of rest with very wet weather
11th June In the afternoon a film program was organised, followed by a newsreel. The film title was " You can't do that to me ".
12th June A delegation of four Squadron pilots attended the funeral of a Polish pilot from No.691 Squadron ( who were Stationed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer ). A practice " Rodeo " was held today with ten Squadron Spitfire aircraft. The opposing fighters were not seen so both flights were vectored onto a Lancaster aircraft which was promptly shot down without loss to the Squadron.
13th June The Squadron took part in a practice " Rodeo ". Cross country flights were also carried out by the Squadron in the afternoon.
14th June Capitaine De Berdas departed for Paris around mid-day to obtain particulars concerning the forthcoming celebrations in connection with the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Free French movement. He returned the same evening to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.
16th June Today No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron flew to France to take part in General De Gaulle's " Air Pageant " on the 18th June. The Commanding Officer of the Squadron briefed all air-crews on the " Air Pageant " to be held in Paris on the 18th June in which the Squadron is to take part. Sixteen Spitfire aircraft took off after lunch and flew to Dreux Airfield ( about fifty miles west of Paris ). All the aircraft flew in formation and arrived safely/ On the way they flew a practice Croix De Lorraine over the sea. Arrangements were made to billet all personnel out in the village. Dreux is an American airfield chock full with Americans, needless to say with Paris so near and the show not until the 18th, all pilots went to Paris in an American truck. Meanwhile back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer the Adjutant and the Intelligence Officer plus sixteen ground-crew enlisted a Dakota aircraft to take them to France, but nothing arrived.
17th June Still no Dakota aircraft for the French trip, so the Adjutant contacted No.11 Group who managed to find a Dakota aircraft for them. They arrived at Dreux at 1725 hours. The Officers were billeted out while the ground-crews slept in tents. The billets were rented in Paris and a visit made to the " Marider Inter Allied Club " where friends from No.145 Wing were met.
18th June The Great day - weather magnificent. People were waiting in the Champs Elyses all night. Crowds gathered in the streets and everybody was happy. The procession of troops started at 0900 hours, but we hear from our small contingent of pilots who were in the parade that they had been up since 0500 hours. The Air Force flew over led by three Squadrons of Mitchel aircraft in perfect Croix De Lorraine formation, also Thunderbolt aircraft, Lightning aircraft and Spitfire aircraft including No.329 ( Free French) Squadron. The Adjutant and Spy ( Intelligence Officer ) spotted them. In the evening there was a reception at the " Marider " where everybody was presented to the French Minister for Air and General Transport. General Vallis also held a reception at his own private house.
19th June The Squadron returned from France. They took off from Dreux Airfield at 1445 hours, landing back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 1515 hours. The Adjutant, Spy and Echelon were left behind to await a Dakota aircraft.
20th June The Squadron carried out some practice formation flying during the morning until the weather clamped down so badly that all flying was cancelled. Anyway it's Wednesday which means sports afternoon. Our Doc. Capitaine Chamagne is becoming an expert fisherman
21st June Everyone on the Squadron thought that the weather in Skeabrae was bad enough, but the glorious Devon beats them all. One minute bright sunshine, next cloud down on the deck followed by more cloud and drizzle. This morning was reasonable, enabling intensive dive-bombing and formation practice, this is very much enjoyed by the pilots.
22nd June Sunshine is every where except at Harrowbeer.
23rd June A total of27.45 hours of practice flying carried out today including formation, camera gun and attacks on decoys.
24th June Sunday a day of rest.
25th June More practice flights today such as battle formation flying, Squadron formations and dive-bombing. A total of thirty flying hours carried out.
26th June The Squadron took part in a practice " Rodeo " and also practice battle formation flying and G.C.I. interceptions, a total of 26.55 flying hours for the day. Squadron Leader Maze ( our scribe for the Squadron scrapbook ) has cut his hand badly - a razor blade was in his cake of soap, so that has put him u/s for a while. We shall miss his wit and drawings in the scrapbook.
27th June 23.55 hours of practice flying today.
29th June A grand dance was held in the Officer's Mess. Just the right number of people. The decorations were good and the buffet excellent.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Squadron Leader Henic De Bailes.
No.691 ( A.C.C. ) Squadron :-
1st June A good program of co-operation exercises carried out by the Squadron.
2nd June A small co-operation program plus two cross country flights carried out.
3rd June Sunday - no flying today.
4th June All co-operation duties had been planned for today were carried out successfully.
5th June A no flying day for the Squadron. Link Trainer exercises undertaken by the pilots.
6th June The bad weather prevented any flying. Squadron Leader Stansell ceased attachment to No.70 Group.
7th June Heavy rain caused all flying to be cancelled. All air-crew attended training film shows in the afternoon.
8th June A fair program of co-operation exercises completed, plus two cross country flights. A fatal accident - Sergeant Bakas ( pilot ) and LAC Heap ( passenger ) crashed while returning to base from a gunnery school course.
( From the Station O.R.B. ) - 8th June An Oxford aircraft of No.691 Squadron crashed at South Brent. The pilot Sergeant Bakas ( Polish ) and his passenger LAC Heap were both killed.
9th June The weather was unsuitable for co-operation exercises, but a course for Capt. " D " was able to be carried out.
10th June Sunday - no flying, a rest day.
11th June A no flying day owing to poor weather conditions. The pilots carried out Link Trainer practice in the morning and watched a film show in the afternoon.
12th June Co-operation exercises were held in the morning until the weather closed in which resulted in the cancellation of all afternoon exercises.
( From the Station O.R.B. ) - 13th June There was a requiem mass and funeral parade held for Sergeant Bakas with the internment at Weston Mill Cemetery, Plymouth.
14th June Again morning exercises were carried out until the weather clamped down cancelling any further activities.
15th June Hill fog and showers lasted for most of the day and into the evening causing a searchlight co-operation exercise to be cancelled.
16th June A small program of exercises carried out in the morning plus two cross country flights in the afternoon.
17th June Sunday - no flying.
18th June A full day of co-operation exercises carried out successfully. Local night flying practice undertaken.
19th June A very good day with a large program of duties which was completed apart from one sortie for Capt. " D ".
20th June A fair program of exercises was laid on for the day. Flying Officer Reid was the first pilot to take off for a Wembury co-operation but the weather closed in very suddenly and he was unable to make it back to base. Flying Officer Reid was diverted by Flying Control to R.A.F. Exeter where he carried out a controlled descent through cloud, breaking cloud at nine hundred feet over Exeter. He pancaked O.K. The cloud remained all afternoon but lifted sufficiently in the evening for Flying Officer Reid to return to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. Link Trainer exercises were laid on for pilots but for unknown reasons had to be cancelled.
21st June A co-operation program was carried out which included two sorties for the gunnery school.
22nd June Various exercises were attempted during the morning but could only be partly completed owing to the poor weather conditions.
23rd June A small program of co-operation exercises were completed including co-operation duties for the Searchlight Wing.
24th June Sunday - no flying.
25th June A good days program was carried out today which included an exercise requiring the dropping of " smoke puff bombs ". This was carried out quite successfully.
26th June Squadron Leader J. Stansell attended a conference at Mount Wise House on the firing area in the Plymouth area. An excellent day of co-operation duties given which included exercises for Wembury, Commander " A.P. " and two dummy fighter attacks.
27th June A full days program of exercises including night flying practice successfully carried out.
28th June Due to weather conditions there was only one sortie carried out today which was for Breakwater Fort once the weather had lifted sufficiently.
29th June There were several requests for co-operation exercises, but when they were attempted all aircraft had to be recalled owing to the bad weather conditions.
30th June A small program was completed during the morning. Squadron Leader J. Stansell attended a group conference.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of June was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. Stansell.
Knightstone RAF Harrowbeer Archives
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Archivist - Michael Hayes 01822 853679
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