Monthly Archives: September 2013

15/ix/43 – Loss of F/Lt Gunn & F/O Affleck

15th September 15:50
Bristo Beaufighter VIII MM868 (A/I Mk VIIIA)
Pilot: F/O Hall
Navigator (R): Self
Navigator (R): F/Sgt Riley
A/I Practice
Mk VIII Practice – Weapon Bent

Sadly 15/ix/43 saw the first casualties of Broody’s tour. Jimmy Gunn and Jock Affleck were killed during an exchange of fire with a Heinkel bomber. Leslie Hunt recalls in his history of 488 Squadron “Defence until Dawn” that Gunn and Affleck’s hunt for the enemy aircraft was being monitored on the radio in dispersal. There was enthusiasm all round as Gunn first engaged the target. The Heinkel’s loss was witnessed by airmen at a coastal Radar station, and the news passed back to 488’s dispersal to great excitement. Sadly, nothing further was heard from Gunn, and it soon became aparent that they would not return.

All casualties of 488 Squadron during Broody’s tour appear in the Roll of Honour

14/ix/43 – First night flight in a Mosquito

14th September 20:10
DH Mosquito XII HK233 (A/I Mk VIII)
Pilot: W/Cdr Hamley AFC
Navigator: Self
Night flying practice
Dusk map-reading, pundit-crawling & landings

A pundit crawl was a night navigational exercise which consisted of flying to four or five aerodromes in a sequence. Every aerodrome in the country had a tiny red beacon (pundit) mounted on it or near it. At dusk each pundit would begin flashing low-powered signals – usually a combination of two letters in Morse Code – enabling pilots who had an up-to-date list of the various call signs to identify the aerodrome.

(Source – A Thousand Shall Fall by Murray Peden)

10/ix/43 – 2 attempts at landing

10th September 17:45
DH Mosquito XII HK228
Pilot: W/Cdr Hamley AFC
Navigator: Self
Local flying and VHF Beam pratice. Low flying
Extra circuit and landing after first “bouncer”

09/ix/43 – First ride in a Mosquito

9th September 14:30
DH Mosquito III HJ899
Pilot: W/Cdr Hamley AFC
Navigator: Self
First ride in a Mosquito – map reading over 6-8/10 cloud. Excellent trip! Practice homings & low-flying. Also a certain amount of ‘driving’

The de Havilland Mosquito T MkIII was a training variant of the Mosquito. It was based on the  Mosquito Fighter MkII, except it was fitted with dual controls and was unarmed.

De Havilland Mosquito TIII G-ASKH (As RR299 'HT-E') British Aerospace Yeovilton 5.9.70

de Havilland Mosquito MkIII (Photo ©Robin A Walker)


5th September 09:40
Bristol Beaufighter VI V8517 (A/I Mk.IV)
Pilot: W/Cdr Hamley AFC
Navigator: Self
Map-reading via North London

Overshot Elstree in poor visibility & homed on A/I Beacons

488 (New Zealand) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Broody joined 488 (New Zealand) Squadron on 04/ix/43 with W/Cdr Peter Hamley AFC, who he had paired up with for the majority of his time at 51 OTU. W/Cdr Hamley was joining the squadron as it’s new Commanding Officer, replacing W/Cdr. P.R.Burton-Gyles who was moving on to take command of 23 Squadron in Malta.

Despite the fact the squadron badge carries the name “Royal New Zealand Air Force”, it was not a RNZAF squadron. 488 (New Zealand) Squadron was in fact a squadron of the Royal Air Force formed under article XV of The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (1939).

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was drawn up to address a shortage of aircrew, and to circumvent the difficulties of training up the large number of aircrew required by the Royal Air Force in the UK by establishing overseas training schools to provide commonwealth aircrew who would go on to serve with the Royal Air Force in squadrons formed under article XV. In a nutshell – Commonwealth countries would provide aircrew who would be administrated by, fly for, and be paid by, the Royal Air Force in squadrons generally populated by citizens of that country. In reality, many of these squadrons were manned by a mixed bag of commonwealth citizens. Other New Zealand squadrons of the Royal Air Force formed under article XV were 485, 486, 487, 489 & 490

488 Squadron had previously operated as a separate entity between September 1941 and March 1942 in Singapore as a Day Fighter Squadron equipped with Brewster Buffaloes. The squadron was reformed in the UK in June 1942 as a night fighter squadron, initially equipped with Beaufighters and operating in an offensive “intruder” role. The unit switched to a defensive role in August 1943, operating De Havilland Mosquitos. The squadron was based at several UK airfields until it moved to France, and then Holland before disbanding in April 1945.

The squadron’s motto “Ka ngarue ratau”, translates from Maori to “We shake them”

488 crest

488(NZ) Squadron RAF’s crest


RAF Bradwell Bay

RAF Bradwell Bay was an RAF base located on the Essex coast  (Grid Reference TM 00485 08178). The base was used during the war between 1941 and 1945. 488 Squadron moved to Bradwell bay on 3rd August 1943, and remained there until a move to RAF Colerne in May 1944.

The images below show (from Broody’s collection) an aerial view of the airfield as it looked during the war, and an image from google maps of the airfield as it look today. The site is now home to the Bradwell Nuclear Power Station.

Bradwell Bay 1943

RAF Bradwell Bay (1943)

Bradwell Bay 2013

RAF Bradwell Bay as is looks in 2013
(Source Google maps)