Monthly Archives: October 2013

Flying Summary for October 1943

SUMMARY for OCTOBER

TOTAL BEAUFIGHTER DAY
TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY
1H00M
3H50M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 4H50M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 3H45M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 2H50M
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487(NZ) Squadron also in action on this day

The linked post below is from The People’s Mosquito blog, and records a daylight precision attack on the Gestapo Headquarters at Aarhus in Denmark by 487(NZ) squadron who operated Mosquito FB.Mk.VI’s

This mission took place on 31/x/44

487(NZ) Squadron raid at Aarhus


31/x/43 – New pilot, new plane, and first Operational Patrol

31st October 14:30
DH Mosquito XIII HK365 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: P/O Scott
Navigator: Self
NFT
1:00
Weapon bent

18:35
DH Mosquito XII HK227 (A/I Mk.VIII)
[THE MIGHTY “E” The First]
NFT
0:55
Dusk – Dark NFT on target’s nav. lights

20:15
PATROL – Trimley
Uneventful at 26,000ft for 2 hrs, apart from both engines cutting on changing tanks (owing to petrol feed freeze), then chasing Huns in small circles over Ipswich. One fleeting contact (probably a phoney). Returned with mistaken “petrol shortage”
2:50

After months of training and familiarisation with the Mosquito NF and A/I Mk.VIII, Broody finally flies operationally for the first time. An “uneventful” patrol under the control of Trimley Ground Control Interception (GCI) station which featured a loss of both engines (albeit briefly), a fleeting contact of what both Broody and Scott suspected may have been a German aircraft and an early return with suspected fuel shortage. This does not sound like an uneventful flight in my mind – perhaps an indication of the high levels of training and professionalism shown by our RAF crews!

Today’s pilot, John Hancock Scott (Jack) was to become Broody’s regular pilot for the rest of the tour.

The aircraft used for the 2nd and 3rd flights of the day HK227 was to become Scott & Broodbank’s regular aircraft. The nickname “The Mighty E” comes from the tail code ME-E (ME was the 488 Squadron identifier).


29/x/43 – F/Sgt Chris Vlotman

29th October 16:45
DH Mosquito XII HK121 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/Sgt. Vlotman
Navigator (R): Self
NFT
0:55
Very poor weather

Christiaan “Chris” Vlotman was a Dutch pilot. During his time in the RAFVR, Vlotman shot down 4 enemy aircraft and was awarded the DFC in August 1944, and the Dutch DFC (Vliegerkruis) in October 1944. He ended the war as one of Holland’s top-scoring pilots. Vlotman passed away aged 96 in September 2011.


21/x/43

21st October 10:40
DH Mosquito XIII HK368 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: W/Cdr Hamley AFC
Navigator: Self
Base ~ Elstree ~ Northolt
0:25
Pouring rain & low cloud – very bumpy landing

15:30
Northolt ~ Elstree ~ Base
0:25
“Granny” Homing


20/x/43 – More Mosquito familiarisation & A/I VIII Practice

20th October 14:20
DH Mosquito XIII HK368 (A/I MkVIII)
Pilot: W/Cdr Hamley AFC
Navigator: Self
NFT, A/I Practice & Low Flying
1:05


16/x/43 – Loss of P/O Green & F/Sgt Creek

On 16/x/43, P/O Green and F/Sgt Creek were killed when their aircraft crashed into the River Blackwater near Bradwell Bay.

P/O Green was buried in his hometown of Boston, Lincs on 22/x/43 with members of the Squadron in attendance. The body of F/Sgt Creek was never recovered, and his name is recorded on the Runnymede Memorial.

Their names are duly recorded in the Roll of Honour


Gone the Dark Night – Graham Clayton

Before I found my Grandfather’s journal, I had tried to research 488(NZ) Squadron and my grandfather’s role in the squadron through the power of google. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed to find that there is not much in-depth information readily available about the squadron. There seemed to be far more about the Squadron’s first incarnation in Singapore than their time in the UK.

Through a New Zealand forum, I was eventually put in touch with Graham Clayton, son of Bert Clayton who had served as groundcrew with 488(NZ) Squadron. Graham has written a book on the Squadron’s time in Singapore (Last Stand In Singapore). This book is the oft-quoted point of reference for that period of the Squadron’s history.

Graham was able to give me some great pointers in my research, and I am grateful for the help he has given me. He is currently writing a book with the working title “Gone the Dark Night” and covers the entire history of 488(NZ) Squadron in narrative form from its inception in the UK until Wars end in 1945.

Graham would be most interested to hear from anyone who may be able to provide information for this book, especially relatives of squadron members who may be able to provide “eye-witness” information to bring the book to life. You can contact Graham at this email address.


09/x/43 – Loss of F/Lt Ball & F/O Kemp

09/x/43 saw the third and fourth casualties of Broody’s tour. Edward “Cecil” Ball of Kinsdale, Ireland and his navigator and best friend, scotsman William “Jock” Kemp were killed after their aircraft crashed onto trees near Tiptree in Essex having developed engine trouble while returning from a patrol. Ball was the Squadron’s most experienced pilot, and he was serving his second tour with 488. He had also completed two tours with bomber squadrons, the second with No.75 Squadron. Kemp had also completed previous tours with night-fighter and bomber squadrons.

Kemp and Ball were interred at Maldon Cemetery with military honours on 13/x/43

Their names are duly recorded in the Roll of Honour


488(NZ) Squadron Operations Record Book

A couple of weeks ago, in a moment of idle curiosity, I ran a search for “488 Squadron” on the National Archives database. One of the items that came up was the Operations Record Book. It took a couple of days for the NA to quote for monochrome copies of the books, delivered on a CD-ROM, but I am now in posession of the Squadron’s ORB for both inceptions of the Squadron during the war. All for £10. A great service for anyone else researching family history.

I was never really interested in history at school. I’m not sure why, and it certainally wasn’t for a lack of good teachers. One history teacher, Jonny Taylor, would always remind us that history is only as good as your sources. “Sources are everything to the historian” he would say. I expect he would be suprised to know that I remember his words 25 years on – but he was spot on!

The more sources I lay may hands on, the more my grandfather’s story comes alive. So the more interested I get. The deeper I dig. The more sources I lay my hands on……