From the R.A.F. Harrowbeer Station and Squadron Operation Record Books
Wing Commander A. C. Stewart remains the Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer. The Station Operation Record Book for March was signed by Squadron Leader Stansell on behalf of Wing Commander A. C. Stewart.
Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-
Dr. Abbott - Ministry of Education
Professor Duncan - ( R.A.E. )
Mr. Relf - Nat. Phys. Laboratories
Major Bulman - Ministry of Aircraft Production ( MAP )
Air Commodore A. H. Harvey CBE - Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group
Wing Commander Over - ? ?
Colonel J. Hassel - No.10 Group Defence Officer
Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas KCB, MC, DFC - Air Officer in charge
of Coastal Command
Air Vice Marshal Maynard - Air Officer Commanding No.19 Group
Group Captain Sir Archibald Hope - Sector Commander Exeter
Squadron Leader Pymm - O/GL No.10 Group
Flight Lieutenant Jones - Group Fire Officer
Group Captain Scroggs - No.19 Group Headquarters
Mr. Butler - Ministry of Education
Wing Commander A. T. Wynyard-Wright - ? ?
Lieutenant Sutton R.N.V.R. - Auxiliary Vessel Gunnery
Lieutenant Cload - No.1 to the above
1st March Very low cloud lifting later in the day.
2nd March A fine day with a light wind and good visibility.
3rd March Fine weather all day.
5th March Fine but extremely hazy.
6th March Fair Weather
7th March Good weather
8th March Fog and low cloud in the first part of the morning, clearing around 1100 hours.
9th / 10th March Another couple of fine days.
12th March Excellent weather.
13th March Good weather at the start of the day. Later in the afternoon there was low cloud approaching from the south west.
14th March Low cloud in the morning, but improving in the afternoon.
15th March Low cloud and drizzle.
16th March Fog and low cloud early in the morning clearing at 1000 hours.
17th Maech A fair day.
19th March The aerodrome was shrouded in cloud all day.
20th March Weather hazy in the morning, clearing later.
21st March Cloud over base down to one thousand feet.
22nd March A fair weather day.
23rd March A fine day but with strong winds.
24th March Weather fair all day.
26th March Another reasonable, fine day.
27th March Fog and low clouds.
28th March Low cloud and drizzle all day.
29th March Another day of low cloud and drizzle.
30th March A slight improvement in the weather today.
31st March Gales and rain with low cloud.
From the Station O.R.B.
1st March At 2000 hours E.N.S.A. show was held in the Station Theatre - " Carol Lewis Discoveries ".
2nd March A Hurricane aircraft of No.691 A.A.C. Squadron ditched off Drake Island, Plymouth at 1100 hours. The pilot was Flight Sergeant Gledhill. He was rescued and taken to R.A.F. Mount Batten where unfortunately he later died through shock and exposure. Two lines were installed from R.A.F. Harrowbeer via R.A.F. Roborough to Wembury and Breakwater Fort for use by No.691 A.A.C. Squadron. Twin-channel mobile W / T vehicles have been sited at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for use by No.691 A.A.C. Squadron.
4th March An Oxford aircraft of No.691 A.A.C. Squadron while taxiing on the airfield experienced a collapse of the undercarriage, there were no casualties.
5th March At 0900 hours a course for potential junior N.C.O.'s commenced at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for personnel serving at R.A.F. Harrowbeer, R.A.F. Bolt Head, R.A.F. Hope Cove and R.A.F. Exeter ( Sector Headquarters ). The course is to be held each month and each L.A.C. candidate must pass the course before being promoted to Corporal. The first course consisted of twelve R.A.F. and W.A.A.F. L.A.C.'s. Dr. Abbott - Ministry of Education, Professor Duncan - ( R.A.E. ), Mr. Relf - Nat. Phys. Laboratory and Major Bulman - ( MAP ) arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer to inspect the airfield with a view to using it after the war as a Technical Training Centre.
6th March R.A.F. Harrowbeer received Air Commodore A. H. Harvey CBE - Air Officer Commanding No.10 Group who was accompanied by Wing Commander Over, they arrived by air from R.A.F. Exeter at 1400 hours and returned later in the day to proceed to R.A.F. Colerne. A fire practice was held on the airfield. No.691 A.A.C. Squadron moved into the Station Sick Quarters Headquarters which had previously been occupied by No.275 Air Sea Rescue Squadron prior to its disbandment.
7th March Colonel J. Hassel - No.10 Group Defence Officer accompanied by Flight Lieutenant Huddinutt who is posted to R.A.F. Harrowbeer as the Station Defence Training Officer arrived for a Station visit.
9th March A very cartridge fired from the Watch Office started a bush fire on the edge of the aerodrome which was extinguished by the Station Fire Section by 1630 hours. ( Was this the Watch Office ' Knightstone House ' which was used in conjunction with the main watch office until the end of the war and is situated on the airfield boundary ! - M. Hayes the Archivist's opinion ).
10th March A Defiant aircraft when attempting to land was unable to lock the undercarriage down. The pilot bounced the aircraft on the runway which fortunately locked the undercarriage down enabling the Defiant aircraft to land on its next circuit.
11th March Air Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas KCB, MC, DFC - Air Officer Commander in charge of Coastal Command landed at R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Upottery in a Hudson aircraft. A few minutes later Air Vice Marshal Maynard - Air Officer Commanding No.19 Group Landed and they both travelled by road to No.19 Group Headquarters where the Commander in Chief stayed the night. The object of the visit was to inspect all No.19 Group Stations. Information has been received that a mass escape from a German Prisoner of War Camp at Bridgend, Glamorganshire, South Wales has taken place. It is believed that a large number of the prisoners are air crew and therefore likely to make for airfields which would be a source of escape back to Germany. Security at R.A.F. Harrowbeer was incresaed where picquets were increased from one Corporal and six airmen to one Sergeant and twelve airmen. The aircraft were patrolled throughout a twenty four hour period.
12th March Squadron Leader Pymm - O/GL No.10 Group accompanied by the Group Fire Officer - Flight Lieutenant Jones made a visit to the Station, on the 13th March they went to the Satellite Station at R.A.F. Bolt Head.
13th March At 2000 hours an ' Other Ranks ' dance was held in the N.A.A.F.I. which was a great success.
15th March The weather is particularly bad at the moment and at 1230 hours two C47 Dakota aircraft landed for safety reasons. In the evening an E.N.S.A. show was given involving Cossack bands and dancers. It was a top class show which was greatly enjoyed.
17th March The Station football team played the Dartmoor Prison warders with a result of 2 - 2.
18th March A " Drum Head " church service was held outside of No.1 Hangar. This was preceded by an inspection of all ranks by the Station Commander Wing Commander . C. Stewart.
20th March Mr. Butler - Minister of Education and Group Captain Sir Archibald Hope - Sector Commander visited R.A.F. Harrowbeer by road. Wing Commander A. T. Wynyard-Wright came to R.A.F. Harrowbeer where he was to be President of a District Court Martial to be held in the N.A.A.F.I. The accused airman to be tried was a Flight Sergeant on a charge of being A.W.O.L. and for wearing the ribbon of the DFM and the 1939 - 1945 Star, neither of which he was entitled to wear. In the evening there was an ' Opening Dance ' held by the W.A.A.F.'s in the N.A.A.F.I.
24th March A.T.C. cadets of No.793 Flight arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer for a seven day training camp. The Station Hockey XI Team played H.M.S. Raleigh at Torpoint, they were beaten 3 - 0. The Station Soccer Team played an " all American " soccer XI which our boys won 4 - 2. The Americans had a good knowledge of the game.
25th March At 0845 hours a Station Commander's Colour Hoisting Parade was held opposite the Station Headquarters.
27th March An " all ranks " dance was held in the N.A.A.F.I. at 2000 hours, this is the first time an all ranks dance has been held on the Station.
28th March Seventy five per cent of the Station personnel take part in organised games :- golf, tennis, swimming and riding while the remaining twenty five per cent carry out defensive training. The first " Dining In " night was held in the Officer's Mess. This was such a success that in future a similar night will take place on the first Wednesday of each month. The only drawback for the evening was that glasses had to be hired for the port.
29th March At 2000 hours an E.N.S.A. variety show was held in the Station Theatre, one of the acts being " Alfredo and his Band ".
30th March No.7 R.A.F. " Gang Show " came to the Station at 1920 hours and gave a great performance which was enjoyed by all who attended.
31st March No.793 Flight A.T.C. cadets left today after their seven day training camp. A Dakota aircraft was able to locate and land on the airfield in bad visibility through the use of the three inch Pyrotechnic Signal Mortar being fired. ( The Pyrotechnic Signal Mortar is situated next to the bottom right-hand corner of the Signals Squares - M. Hayes, Archivist ).
From the Squadron O.R.B.'s
No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron
1st March Only one short flight carried out owing to poor weather conditions.
2nd March A Hurricane aircraft ( serial No.LF638 ) of No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron ditched off Drake Island, Plymouth at 1100 hours. The pilot, Flight Sergeant Gledhill was rescued and taken to R.A.F. Mount Batten, Plymouth where he sadly died later through shock and exposure. He had just completed an exercise for Breakwater Fort - all commitments had been fulfilled. Two tie-lines were installed from R.A.F. Harrowbeer via R.A.F. Roborough to Wembury and Breakwater Fort for use by No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron. Twin-channel mobile W/T vehicles have been sited for use by the Squadron on the airfielf at R.A.F. Harrowbeer.
3rd March Some formation flying practice carried out during the morning.
4th March A training programme was being carried out by the Squadron but was marred when an Airspeed Oxford 85 aircraft experienced the collapse of its undercarriage while it was taxiing around the airfield. The pilot was a Flight Sergeant who raised the undercarriage prematurely, there were no casualties.
5th March A towing exercise was arranged for three corvettes during the afternoon. The body of Flight Sergeant Gledhill was conveyed by rail to the Regional Cemetery near Bath. Two Officers of No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron accompanied the coffin. A short service was held in the Station Church at which the Station Commander Wing Commander A. C. Stewart DFC attended.
6th March Lieutenant Sutton R.N.V.R. - Auxiliary Vessel Gunnery Officer and his No.1 - Lieutenant Cload visited the Squadron to discuss the marking of anti-aircraft practice. A small programme was requested and carried out without incident. No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron moved into the Station Sick Quarters Headquarters which had previously been occupied by No.275 Air Sea Rescue Squadron before its disbandment.
7th March A fairly large programme of flying exercises were carried out including the usual target drouge towing for Wembury and Breakwater Fort. The Squadron also laid on a target tow for No.566 Regiment.
9th March Two cross country flights carried out to Western Zoyland and Eastleigh. Various target tows put in place for Penlee and H.M.S. Crome plus a late tow for No.10 Squadron ( which had to be cancelled due to weather deterioration ).
10th March A Defiant aircraft belonging to the Squadron was being flown by Flight Lieutenant Atkinson when he found that he was unable to lock off the aircraft's undercarriage in the down position. Flight Lieutenant Atkinson decided to bounce his aircraft on the runway which effectively managed to lock off the undercarriage in the down position and making it safe for him to land on the next circuit
11th March There were no requests received for towing exercises so the Squadron carried out training flights and air tests.
12th March All towing exercises carried out including one for a corvette for Captain ' D '.
13th March Two towing sorties for a sloop and two destroyers were carried out on the instructions of Captain ' D '. On the latter shoot marking was attempted from a Defiant aircraft,but was unsuccessful.
14th March Only one sortie flown today for Wembury.
15th March All flying cancelled due to bad weather conditions.
16th March Squadron Leader Stansell and Flight Lieutenant Ridley Martin flew to R.A.F. Western Zoyland for conversion to the Vengeance aircraft.
17th and 18th March Only training flights carried out.
19th March All flying cancelled owing to bad weather conditions.
20th March Flying exercises carried out for Wembury, Penlee and Captain ' D '.
21st March Attempts were made to provide co-operation exercises but the weather conditions were too bad with low cloud.
23rd March A good day of exercises which lasted all day with the exception of thirty minutes owing to aircraft becoming unservicable.
25th March A.T.C. cadets taken up on flying experience exercises. One cross country flight to R.A.F.. Farnborough by Squadron Leader Stansell.
26th March Exercises carried out for Wembury, Penlee and Breakwater Fort.
27th March Today's flying cancelled due to fog and low cloud conditions. Dinghy drill carried out by airmen.
28th March No flying due to low cloud and drizzle.
29th March Weather still u/s so pilots spent time on the Link Trainer, unfortunately there was no instructor available so Flight Lieutenant Ridley Martin gave the Link instruction to the pilots.
30th March A slight improvement in the weather so a small training programme was organised.
31st March Gales and rain today resulting in impossible flying conditions.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of March was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant R. E. Atkinson.
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Knightstone RAF Harrowbeer Archives
Knightstone, Crapstone Road, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6BT GB
Archivist - Michael Hayes 01822 853679
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