Wing Commander A. C. Stewart remains as Station Commander of R.A.F. Harrowbeer and signed the Station Operation Record Book for the month of May.
Visitors to R.A.F. Harrowbeer included :-
Air Vice Marshal Cole-Hamilton - Air Officer Commanding No.11 Group.
Squadron Leader Frecker - R.A.F. Warmwell ( to conduct a Court of Inquiry ).
Flying Officer Reid - R.A.F. Warmwell ( in connection with the Court of Inquiry ).
Wing Commander Dawson - Equipment Officer from Headquarters No.11 Group.
Wing Commander Colder - Accounts Officer from Headquarters No.11 Group.
Flight Lieutenant Brook - P. I. from Headquarters No.11 Group.
Air Commodore Russell - Air Officer Commanding No.70 Group.
Wing Commander Farmer - R.A.F. Exeter.
Squadron Leader Arnold - Electrical Officer from Headquarters No.11 Group.
1st May A good day allowing plenty of flying to take place.
2nd May Yet another good day.
3rd May The weather today is totally unsuitable for flying. Very bad with poor visibility.
4th May Another day of bad weather.
5th May Very bad weather conditions cancelling all flying from the airfield.
6th May Bad weather with a thick mist and cloud cover lasting most of the day. No flying.
7th May An improvement in the weather today.
10th May A reasonable start to the day but deteriorating as the day progressed with low cloud for most of the afternoon and evening.
11th May A good day weather wise.
12th May A fair day.
13th May Good weather during the day gradually getting worse in the evening and very bad during the night.
14th May A fair start to the day, changing later to a no flying day due to low cloud cover.
15th May The weather clamped down cancelling all flying.
16th May All flying duties cancelled due to low cloud base which continued into the night.
17th May The bad weather again causes cancellation of all night flying.
18th May Weather fair.
19th May The weather today is totally unsuitable for flying.
20th May Another day of bad weather, no flying.
21st May A fair day allowing some flying to take place.
22nd May Heavy rain fell on the airfield all day.
23rd May A good day to start with turning to showers and thick mist at night time.
24th May The weather today is again unsuitable for any flying to be carried out.
25th May Low cloud delayed flying for the day. More low cloud during the night.
26th, 27th and 28th May No record of weather conditions in any of the O.R.B.'s.
29th May Weather fair today.
31st May Flying attempted but cancelled due to bad weather conditions.
From the Station O.R.B.
4th May Squadron Leader K. Marten assumed Command of the Station vice Wing Commander A. C. Stewart. A District Court Martial was held regarding two leading Aircraftmen. No.135 Force ( the liberation of the Channel Islands ) left for the marshalling area.
8th May " V E " Day. A thanksgiving service was held at 1800 hours in the Station Church.
9th May Air Vice Marshal Cole-Hamilton - Air Officer Commanding No.11 Group visited the Station and No.26 Squadron.
10th May No.135 Force left the marshalling area for the Channel Islands.
12th May No.26 Squadron on a dawn patrol over the Channel Islands before the arrival of the main force. A Mustang aircraft of No.26 Squadron crashed on landing involving the death of LAC Mastin.
13th May A special drum head thanksgiving service was attended by all the Station and Squadron Personnel, and also detachments of American Units and personnel from R.A.F. Roborough. There was a march past and salute taken by the Station Commander.
14th May Squadron Leader Frecker and Flying Officer Reid arrived from R.A.F. Warmwell to conduct a Court of Inquiry into the flying accident of the 12th instance.
15th May Wing Commander Dawson ( Equipment ), Wing Commander Colder ( Accounts ) and Flight Lieutenant Brook ( P. I. ) visited the Station from No.11 Group Headquarters.
16th May Air Commodore Russell - Air Officer Commander No.70 Group visited No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron.
18th May A Proctor aircraft of No.26 Squadron crashed at R.A.F. Merryfield.
19th May R.A.F. Cleave reduced to " Care and Maintenance Party " as a satellite of R.A.F. Harrowbeer.
22nd May No.26 Squadron left for R.A.F. Chilbolton.
23rd May Wing Commander A. C. Stewart assumed command of the Station vice Squadron Leader K. Marten. No.135 Force returned from the Channel Islands.
24th May No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron and No.6345 Servicing Echelon arrived from R.A.F. Skaebrae.
31st May Squadron Leader K. Marten assumed command of the Station vice Wing Commander A. C. Stewart.
From the Squadron O.R.B.'s
No.26 Squadron :-
1st May All the Officers of the Squadron flew back to base from Chateau Bernard, France. An advance party of four arriving back at R.A.F. Harrowbeer in a Dakota aircraft shortly after lunch and the main party flying over in Mustang aircraft led by Squadron Leader Roberts DFC during the evening having waited for a weather test.
2nd May Flight Lieutenant Mallorie was detailed to fly to Coventry, but had to return to base because of engine trouble.
3rd May Despite there being poor visibility Flight Lieutenant Mallorie carried out an air test after his Mustang aircraft had had it's engine repaired, he was then able to carry out his flight to Coventry.
4th May An R/T test eas carried out with an H.Q. Ship in Plymouth Harbour.
6th May There was still cloud cover over the aerodrome resulting in a no flying day.
7th May Information has been received that the Squadron may be participating in the Liberation of the Channel Islands. Successful R/T message dropping tests have been carried out.
8th May " V E " Day. Prayers and celebrations.
9th May " V E " plus one day. Hangovers and recriminations. Flying Officer Thornton ( Medical Officer ) left the Squadron on seven days embarkation leave before going to the Middle East.
10th May Ten Squadron pilots flew in formation over the Channel Islands which were just being liberated by ground troops. There was nothing to report and the surrender was being carried out according to orders. White flags were displayed on the Islands and Allied flags were flying.
11th May Air tests and R/T tests carried out by the Squadron.
12th May No.26 Squadron went out on a dawn patrol over the Channel Islands before the arrival of the main force. Six Squadron Mustang aircraft were flown in pairs taking off at 0630 hours on a reconnaissance over the Islands led by Squadron Leader Roberts DFC. One pair flew over Jersey, one pair flew over Guernsey and one pair flew over Alderney. Everything was quiet and this was reported to ships and Operations No.10 Group by R/T. After this had been completed, all six Mustang aircraft formed up and flew back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in formation. On landing one of the Mustang aircraft was caught in a slipstream of the preceding aircraft during the string landing and swung off the runway crashing into a blast bay and killing an airman ( LAC Mastin ). The pilot was unhurt, but the Mustang aircraft was classified as Cat. E.
15th May A day of air tests and fixer tests with Sector Control.
16th May More tests and interception exercises carried out.
18th May Two more air tests carried out by Squadron pilots. Flight Lieutenant Bryans flew to R.A.F. Chilbolton as Officer in Charge of the advance party covering the Squadron's move. A Proctor aircraft of No.26 Squadron crashed at R.A.F. Merryfield.
19th and 20th May Two days of bad weather resulting in no flying activities.
21st May Two pairs of Mustang aircraft from each flight carried out TAC/RS in South Wales, co-operating with Army Units in that area on exercise " Red Rosa ".
22nd May The exercise " Red Rosa " is still going on and the Squadron is supposed to be moving to R.A.F. Chilbolton today. The pilots were briefed to carry out the TAC/RS in South Wales and then return to R.A.F. Chilbolton. The weather was very poor and only two pilots managed to carry out the TAC/RS. One Mustang aircraft had engine trouble and had to turn back. Flight Lieutenant Glover tried to lead a formation of four Mustang aircraft to R.A.F. Chilbolton but the weather was too bad and they had to turn back. The Squadron should have officially left for R.A.F. Chilbolton.
23rd May Seventeen pilots led by Squadron Leader Roberts DFC flew from R.A.F. Harrowbeer to R.A.F. Chilbolton. One aircraft developed engine trouble and had to land at R.A.F. Exeter where the Mustang aircraft was left for repair while the pilot proceeded to R.A.F. Chilbolton by train.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Squadron Leader J. F. Roberts DFC.
No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron :-
14th May Good news for the Squadron today, they were to pull out of R.A.F. Skeabrae and proceed to R.A.F. Harrowbeer. All ground equipment and aircraft are to be taken. Personnel welcome this news as now they may experience better weather.
15th May A signal was received today stating that the move to R.A.F. Harrowbeer has been postponed until 24/5/1945 and will be completed by road, sea and rail. There were no Dakota aircraft available for an airlift. The journey will last two days and will mean thirty hours on the train. Personnel are not looking forward to the journey.
18th May Excitement due to the coming move runs high, but now everybody must have packed and unpacked several times to get into the spirit of things. Personnel are looking forward to bags of outdoor life in Devon, especially with Summer just around the corner.
19th May Everybody's spirits are high, and French and British alike are looking forward to our " Liberation ".
20th May Movement orders have been published and arrangements are now being made in earnest for the journey. Squadron kits will be packed onto the lorries on Wednesday morning and proceed to Stromness for loading onto the boat.
21st May Most of the packing has been completed now and all personnel of both the Squadron and the Echelon will proceed on Wednesday morning at 1030 hours arriving at R.A.F. Harrowbeer at 0420 hours on Friday morning, what a journey.
22nd May The Adjutant with Flying Officer Evans took off in the Squadron's Auster aircraft after planning a seven hop trip. However after landing at R.A.F. Tain and R.A.F. Peterhead they were detained at the latter Station until 1900 hours. Soon after take off they ran into some really thick soup and were forced to land at R.A.F. Turnhouse where they stayed the night.
23rd May The main party left R.A.F. Skeabrae at 1030 hours arriving at Stromness in good time. Their boat sailed at 1145 hours. The ship docked at Thurso and all personnel after disembarking proceeded to a transit camp where they remained until 2300 hours, when they boarded a train ( special ) at Thurso Railway Station and prepared for a long trip. Meanwhile back at R.A.F. Skeabrae the Squadron aircraft took off at 1200 hours, landing at R.A.F. Church Fenton where they were grounded owing to bad weather conditions.
24th May After a night of peaceful slumber ( eight per carriage ) personnel on the train awoke as fresh as daisies and did proceed in great numbers to the toilets where they proceeded to wash away the stains of travel submitting themselves to the usual contortions of washing with one hand continually on the knob of the tap to keep the supply of water in the bowl. Three stops were made for food and although very nourishing to failing bodies, spam and cheese sandwiches became very monotonous and now at the sight of them personnel of the Squadron now became old men in a short time. On the whole journey, although uncomfortable at night, was pretty good and the change in scenery did everybody good. The pilots at R.A.F. Church Fenton however were getting rather cheesed off with the continuous " go's " and " stops ". The Adjutant was a bit tired by now with floating about and decided at Chester to get out and continue by rail, which he did arriving at R.A.F. Harrowbeer in the evening.
25th May The main party of No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron and No.6345 Servicing Echelon arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer ( This is probably Plymouth Railway Station ) from R.A.F. Skesbrae at 0420 hours ( on time ) very tired and grubby and clambered aboard lorries from the camp. On arrival at the airfield they made their way to the Mess where a meal was already waiting and to which everybody did good justice. After this personnel decided to do nothing more but to find billets and beds to pass out on, which operation was successfully and swiftly carried out. The aircraft of No.329 ( Free French ) Squadron arrived at R.A.F. Harrowbeer and were duly serviced by a not too fresh Echelon. Kits were also unpacked from the railway wagons and by lunchtime all kit had been deposited in a large maintenance hangar.
26th May After a well needed rest, all personnel of the Squadron and Echelon proceeded with great gusto to get organised and very soon offices were open and work running smoothly.
27th May Today was again spent on getting dug in. Most of the local pubs had been sorted out and were being patronised by the pilots and crew alike. Some people have already visited Plymouth and generally speaking did not think much of it. Never the less there are quite a few cinemas and dance halls and a very nice N.A.A.F.I. Club, so we aren't so badly off. Some of the boys visited the German submarine docked at Plymouth, quite a novelty.
28th May Nothing of interest today. All personnel are satisfactorily billeted, although the Sergeants are complaining about being packed in, this is to be remedied and everybody should then be comfortable. Twenty one non-operational sorties were made, one sector reconnaissance and such like with a total of 17.30 hours flying for one day.
29th May Nothing of interest occurred during the day, but twenty nine sorties were made with a total of 28.55 hours flying for the day.
30th May The end of the month returns keep the Orderly Room busy. Flying Officer Bush - the Intelligence Officer is acting as Adjutant as Flight Lieutenant Cauvin is on leave. Bags of flying again today with twenty sorties and a total of 19.45 hours flying for the day. The pilots have been informed that they are to attempt at least 20.00 hours flying each per month.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Squadron Leader Henic De Bailos.
No.691 ( A.A.C. ) Squadron :-
1st May A good day for the Squadron, with a fair amount of flying taking place and a program of co-operation duties that was all carried out successfully. This was followed in the evening by a program of dusk and local night flying practice being carried out.
2nd May There were demands for the Squadron to carry out D.F.A. 's for shipping during the day. A searchlight co-operation exercise was called for, but unfortunately the Mustang aircraft had to return early due to 10/10 cloud over R..A.F. Cleave ( the exercise area ).
3rd May Today was a no flying day for the Squadron due to unsuitable weather conditions. The day was spent on the Link Trainer and Dinghy Drill Practice. The bad weather lasted all day and went into the night causing the night flying exercise to be cancelled.
4th May Three flying co-operation exercises were organised for today. One of these was for the Gunnery School and one for Wembury which were carried out successfully. The exercise for Penlee had to be cancelled owing to the poor weather conditions that developed. Again the night flying exercises were cancelled due to the bad weather.
5th May The bad weather continues causing all flying duties to be cancelled.
6th May Again the bad weather creates a no flying day for the Squadron cancelling all flying programs. Even the training program that was laid on could not be carried out due to thick mist over the aerodrome.
7th May A slight improvement in the weather allowed a small co-operation program to be carried out which included a sortie for Captain ' D '.
8th May " V E " Day No flying ( Victory in Europe ).
9th May V E Day plus one - a holiday for all.
10th May A flying co-operation program was partially carried out until low cloud caused most of the afternoons program to be cancelled. A small amount of local night flying was carried out, but the searchlight co-operation exercise had to be cancelled owing to the low cloud.
11th May A good day. All co-operation flights carried out successfully. During the day a navigational trip was carried out across country. There was a dusk flying exercise for Breakwater Fort which was carried out and a searchlight co-operation duty for R.A.F. Cleave which also proved satisfactory.
12th May A good day of flying co-operation exercises carried out successfully including G.C.I. Interceptions for R.A.F. Exeter Control Training.
13th May Only one exercise carried out during the day. The night flying program was attempted but had to be cancelled owing to the bad weather.
14th and 15th May All flying programs abandoned due to bad weather.
16th May The morning flying co-operation exercises were cancelled due to the cloud base over the sea, fortunately this lifted later in the day allowing most of the afternoon program to be completed. The evening searchlight co-operation exercise had to be cancelled due to the weather closing in making it unsafe.
17th May All daytime co-operation exercises were cancelled again owing to bad weather.
18th May Both the day and night flying programs were carried out successfully.
19th May A no flying day, as weather was unsuitable. There was a request for an exercise with the R.A.F. Cleave Searchlight Wing, but this could not be fulfilled owing to the bad weather.
20th May Another no flying day.
21st May Co-operation exercises with No.10 Squadron for air to air firing and also commitments for Breakwater Fort were all carried out. Searchlight night flying exercises were carried out and completed successfully.
22nd May A no flying day due to bad weather, heavy rain all day.
23rd May The day started with exercises being carried out, but later in the day the last sortie and night flying had to be cancelled owing to a thick mist coming down.
24th May No flying from the aerodrome. The pilots spent their time on the Link Trainer.
25th May After a poor weather start to the day, No.691 Squadron were able to carry out D.F.A.'s and dive bombing duties for Breakwater Fort.
26th May A small flying program was carried out, but a co-operation exercise for No.10 Squadron failed as a Sunderland aircraft did not appear..
27th May Today is Sunday and there were no requests for any exercises received.
28th May A full program of exercises carried out without any hitches.
29th May Both flying duties and Link Trainer exercises were carried out by the Squadron.
30th May A full day of co-operation duties carried out. " Shoot " for dropping window designed and patented by Sub. Lieutenant Betts ( R.N.V.R. ) air tested and found to work satisfactory.
31st May Co-operation duties attempted in the morning, but the Mustang aircraft were all recalled due to weather conditions. The aircrew went into Plymouth for Dinghy Drill instruction.
The Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May was signed by :- Flight Lieutenant R. E. Atkinson.
. The Liberation of the Channel Islands
No.135 Force :-
4th May No.135 Force left R.A.F. Harrowbeer for the marshalling area.
10th May No.135 Force left the marshalling area for the Channel Islands.
23rd May No.135 Force returned from the Channel Islands to R.A.F. Harrowbeer.
Taken from the Station O.R.B. for the month of May which was signed by :- . Wing Commander A. C. Stewart.
No.26 Squadron :-
10th May Ten Squadron pilots flew in formation over the Channel Islands which were just being Liberated by ground troops. There was nothing to report and the surrender was being carried out according to orders. White flags were displayed on the Islands and Allied flags were flying.
12th May No.26 Squadron went on a dawn patrol over the Channel Islands before the arrival of the main force. Six Squadron Mustang aircraft were flown in pairs taking off at 0630 hours on a reconnaissance over the Islands led by Squadron Leader Roberts DFC. One pair flew over Jersey, one pair flew over Guernsey and one pair flew over Alderney. Everything was quiet and this was reported to ships and Operations No.10 Group by R/T. After this had been completed all six Mustang aircraft formed up and flew back to R.A.F. Harrowbeer in formation.
Taken from the Squadron O.R.B. for the month of May which was signed by :- . Squadron Leader Roberts DFC.
Knightstone RAF Harrowbeer Archives
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