Wing Commander the Hon. E. F. Ward was the Commanding Officer for R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of May.
Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-
Air Commodore Peake - Director of Airforce Welfare.
Reverend Group Captain A. McHardy - Staff Chaplain.
Air Vice Marshall A. H. Orlebar - Air Officer Commanding H.Q. No.10 Group.
Squadron Officer Nichol - H.Q. No.10 Group.
Brigadier Bush - Commander of No.55 A.A. Brigade.
Sector Commander C/G O. C. M. James DFC, AFC - Commanding Officer of R.A.F. Exeter.
Lieutenant General Grasett - VII Corps Commander.
The weather at the beginning of May was very poor with mist, drizzle and strong winds. Towards the middle of the month the weather improved allowing more flying practice and training flights to be carried out.
Strength of R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer personnel :- R.A.F. = 875 Army = 82
No.302 ( Poland ) Squadron moved from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Heston on the 7th May 1942.
No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer from R.A.F. Fairwood Common on the 1st May 1942.
Two Polish airmen were killed in a flying accident.
On the 4th May 1942 Squadron Leader F. Constable was posted as Medical Officer to R.A.F. Station Harrowbeer.
On the 27th May 1942 a Lancaster bomber aircraft from No.207 Squadron crashed at Standen Hill, near Tavistock. A rescue party from R.A.F. Harrowbeer attended the accident, bringing the occupants back to base.
30th May 1942 the new W.A.A.F. Site was occupied for the first time.
No.16 Squadron :-
On the 28th May 1942 No.16 Squadron were operating out of Weston Zoyland. On this day VII Corps Commanding Officer -, Lieutenant General Grasett was flown to R.A.F. Harrowbeer and then back to R.N.A.S. Yeovilton. ( The purpose of this visit is not known ).
No.271 Squadron :-
3rd May A Harrow ( transport ) aircraft, Serial No.K6962 took off from R.A.F. Fairwood Common at 13.20 hours for R.A.F. Harrowbeer with twenty airmen and their kit of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron. After unloading the Harrow then left ( empty ) at 14.55 hours and returned to R.A.F. Fairwood Common.
Another Harrow aircraft - Serial No. K7000 took off from R.A.F. Fairwood Common at 13.25 hours for R.A.F. Harrowbeer loaded with fifteen airmen and their kit of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron. After they had unloaded the Harrow flew ( empty ) to Doncaster, taking off at 15.45 hours.
6th May A Harrow aircraft - Serial No.K6970 took off from R.A.F. Perranporth at 17.00 hours and flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer ( empty ). Possibly to refuel ! At 18.45 hours the Harrow took off ( empty ) for R.A.F. Warmwell.
On the same day Harrow - Serial No.K7005 took off from R.A.F. Perranporth at 17.45 hours and flew to R.A.F. Harrowbeer empty. The Harrow then flew empty to R.A.F. Warmwell taking off at 18.40 hours.
No.276 Air Sea Rescue Squadron " B " Flight :-
A large amount of flying activity carried out during the month of May which was spent mainly on ferry duties, air tests, experience flights for new pilots and air to air firing practice.
There were seven A.S.R. sorties carried out during the month.
4th May A Walrus aircraft was ordered off to search for a dinghy in the sea thirty two miles off the Lizard Point, Cornwall. The aircraft took off in good weather but later experienced mist with poor visibility. A square search was carried out but nothing found. The search was abandoned on instructions from the Controller.
4th May A Lysander aircraft at readiness was scrambled to search for an aircraft in the sea approximately half a mile from Maidcombe Bay, Torquay, Devon. All that could be found was a large oil patch, there was no sign of any wreckage or aircrew. The search included several M.G.B's and M.L's but the search was unsuccessful.
5th May An Air Sea Rescue conference was held at R.A.F. Harrowbeer's Station Commander's Office. The position of No.276 A.S.R. was reviewed and suggestions of improvements based on the previous six months experience formulated. The number of aircraft distribution was discussed and it was decided that each detached flight should consist of three Lysanders or Defiants and one Walrus. A pool of four Lysanders was to be held of which two would be at R.A.F. Warmwell, Dorset and two at R.A.F. Harrowbeer, Devon.
6th May Lysander aircraft, serial No.T1698 was damaged on landing.
9th May Three Defiant aircraft arrived at Squadron Headquarters, ( R.AF. Harrowbeer ).
19th May No.276 A.S.R. Squadron dispersal was invaded by press and film photographers who made a film of Air Sea Rescue work. The film was later shown at a Plymouth cinema.
19th May A Lysander aircraft was sent off to search for a barge proported to be carrying two men. The area was thoroughly searched but there was no trace of a barge. What was found was a number of small fishing vessels in the area. Later in the day a Walrus aircraft was ordered off to search for two men in a small boat eighteen to twenty miles off Bolt Head. A rescue boat and an armed vessel were discovered. It would appear that the occupants of the small boat had been picked up y one of these vessels.
No.286 ( A.C.C. ) Squadron :- ( A.A.C. = Army Air Co-operation )
No.286 ( A.C.C. ) Squadron moved from R.A.F. Colerne to R.A.F. Lulsgate Bottom on the 30th April 1942 and on the 1st May 1942 a detachment was sent to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. This consisted of two Miles Magister aircraft which were flown by Flying Officer Wilton to be used on Army C-operation flights with No.55 Brigade in the Plymouth area.
The detachment was closed down on the 26th May 1942
No.302 ( Poland ) Squadron :-
1st May Aircraft from No.302 ( Poland ) Squadron which were still at R.A.F. Harrowbeer returned to R.A.F. Warmwell, Dorset in the morning to continue with their air firing practice.
5th May Orders were received for No.302 ( Poland ) Squadron to move to R.A.F. Warmwell and then to R.A.F. Heston. At 1920 hours a large van was at Warmwell's railway station loaded with the Squadron's tool kits and on the 6th May a train was loaded along with twenty five airmen and their kit for onward travel to R.A.F. Heston.
6th May At 0630 hours five Officers and ninety airmen of No.302 ( Poland ) Squadron left R.A.F. Harrowbeer by rail for R.A.F. Heston.
6th May A Miles Magister aircraft en route from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Warmwell and then onto R.A.F. Heston crashed a few miles from R.A.F. Warmwell killing both the pilot and passenger.
7th May Seventeen aircraft left R.A.F. Warmwell for R.A.F. Heston after their air firing practice course.
No.302 ( Poland ) Squadron information from other sources
Archivist Michael Hayes
6th May Sergeant Stanislaw Wyskowski ( pilot ) was flying a Magister aircraft, Serial No.N 3980 with Sergeant Tadeus Radowski as a passenger. Both were members of No302 ( Poland ) Squadron. They were flying to R.A.F. Heston for a course from the Squadron's new posting at R.A.F. Warmwell. Before they got to their destination the aircraft crashed a few miles from R.A.F. Warmwell killing both of them the aircraft was burnt out. Sergeant S. Kyskowski and Sergeant T. Radowski are both buried in Northwood Cemetery, London. May they rest in peace.
No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron :-
7th May At 1415 hours sections of " A " Flight took of from R.A.F. Perranporth along with two more sections taking off at 1515 hours ( R.A.F. Perranporth ) their duty was to patrol twenty miles east and west of R.A.F. Harrowbeer. On completion of their duty they all landed at R.A.F. Exeter. The first section landing at 1600 hours and the second section at 1700 hours. In addition to this two sections of " B " Flight ( No.310 ( Czech ) Squadron ) took of from R.A.F. Exeter at 1730 hours and returned at 1920 hours. Two more sections took off from R.A.F. Exeter at 1825 hours and land back at 2025 hours. These flights were also patrols to the east and west of R.A.F. Harrowbeer ( X 9691 ). It is understood that the purpose of all these patrols were in connection with the visit to Plymouth today of Their Majesties the King and Queen.
No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron :-
The aircraft being operated by No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron at this period of time was the Spitfire VB.
The Squadron Commanding Officer was Squadron Leader J. Cermak.
An advance party arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer on the 1st May 1942, followed by a road and rail party.
On the 4th May the Squadron was at readiness in six sections from 0540 hours and carried out four shipping convoy patrols and one scramble.
6th May Nine scrambles carried out today.
Sections of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron were being sent daily to operate from R.A.F. Bolt Head on stand-by duties until 12th May 1942.
On the 8th May five sections were detailed to patrol in an area north of Plymouth from 1100 hours. These patrols were intended to cover the area where the Royal Family were visiting.
17th May A detachment of the Squadron was sent to R.A.F. Warmwell, Dorset for a group practice camp ( air firing practice ) with a road and rail party following up on the 18th May. The detachment returned to R.A.F. Harrowbeer on the 30th May.
31st May Practice wing formations with No.310 and No.154 Squadrons were carried out.
The total number of flying hours for No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron for the month of May 1942 was 376.25 hours. Most of this time was spent carrying out shipping convoy patrols, cross country flights, familiarization flights, scrambles and air tests.
No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron information from other sources
Archivist Michael Hayes
19th May Spitfire VB aircraft ( Serial No. AR319 ) of No.312 ( Czech ) Squadron piloted by Squadron Leader Cermak was involved in a flying accident while landing at R.A.F. Warmwell. He was in collision with another aircraft. Squadron Leader's Aircraft was noted as Category B.
Knightstone RAF Harrowbeer Archives
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Archivist - Michael Hayes 01822 853679
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