Monthly Archives: March 2014

Summary for March 1944

SUMMARY for MARCH

TOTAL BEAUFIGHTER DAY 3H40M
TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 12H55M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 4H10M
TOTAL TIGER MOTH DAY 1H30M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 22H15M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 22H00M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 22H15M

March 1944 was Broody’s busiest month to date. By comparison, during January and February, he only flew a combined total of  14 hours and 50 minutes of Night Operations. Indeed, March was a good month for the Squadron as a whole. The ORB summarises the month thus:

“This has been the most successful month in the Squadron’s history – 6 enemy aircraft destroyed – 3 by S/L E.N.Bunting, DFC, 2 by F/Sgt Vlotman. C.J and one by F/L J.A.S.Hall – ‘B’ Flight in each instance.

This makes 16 destroyed, 1 Probable & 1 Damaged since our arrival at Bradwell Bay, a very satisfactory score indeed.

We had two unfortunate losses, the crash of F/Sgt Anderson and the unexplained loss of the F/O’s Wilson.

The Squadron spirit remains high and the many congratulatory messages show that our efforts are appreciated in high places.”

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31/iii/44 – NFT & A/I Exercises

31st March 14:35
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & A/I EXERCISE III
Crossing contacts on target with gentle evasive.
0:35


30/iii/44 – Aerobatics in a Tiger Moth

30th March 11:30
DH TIGER MOTH N6965
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: Self
LOCAL DUAL & AEROBATICS
Various aerobatics by 1st Pilot & excellent demonstrations of how not to try to land by 2nd Pilot.
1:30

A completely different day today, with Broody and Jack taking to the air in an open cockpit Tiger Moth for local flying and aerobatics. An hour and a half of fun, and light relief I should think; and a welcome break from operational flying.

I was delighted that Google managed to come up trumps on a search for this aircraft, and below are a couple of images of the very Tiger Moth that Broody took to the skies in 70 years ago today!

 

De Havilland Tiger Moth N6965. (Photo © George Baczkowski)

De Havilland Tiger Moth N6965. (Photo © George Baczkowski)

De Havilland Tiger Moth N6965. (Photo © George Baczkowski)

De Havilland Tiger Moth N6965. (Photo © Simon Palmer)

George Baczkowski, who took the top photograph was kind enough to give me a brief update on the whereabouts of this aircraft now.

He says: “According to local legend, she went over to France with the British Expeditionary Force for reconnaissance and liaison duties etc. The bulk were burned on the evacuation of France but N9695 was ‘nicked’ by a couple of pilots and flown to the UK. Officially struck off charge as lost in France she wandered around the UK without a permanent home until placed on the civil register.[…] Currently the Tiger is in storage at Tibenham and hidden away – it was rebuilt over a long period after an accident, but the rebuild did not match up to the now very stringent CAA requirements, and unfortunately the owner died at the completion. The Tiger passed to his son, but all currently in limbo.”


29/iii/44 – Return to base from West Malling

29th March 13:45
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
WEST MALLING ~ BASE & NFT
Through Gravesend
0:35


28/iii/44 – Diverted to RAF West Malling in poor weather

28th March 15:00
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & A/I Exercise II
Hard evasive action in all planes by target
0:55

22:15
PATROL & GCI PRACTICE-Trimley
3 runs: 3 contacts:3 visuals: 3 muders
Weather clamped at base, so diverted to Castle Camps. Had a couple of tries there & Flying Controller got windy & pushed us off to West Malling, where weather was OK.
2:00

RAF West Malling was an RAF Station approximately 40 miles South West of Bradwell Bay.


27/iii/44 – NFT and Scramble

27th March 14:15
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & A/I Exercise II
Mild evasive action in all planes by target
0:50

22:45
SCRAMBLE – Searchlights
Round & round various orbits – with the usual amount of success.
2:00

In his journal, Broody has made a note of the various A/I exercises, a great point of reference to understand what “Exercise II” entailed.

 

A/I Exercises, as recorded by Broody in his journal

A/I Exercises, as recorded by Broody in his journal

Broody & Jack few another 2 Operational hours under the control of the Searchlight team. The ORB records no joy for any of the Squadron’s crews tonight, as all the enemy activity was “… unfortunately, outside our area.”


25/iii/44 – Loss of F/O C.M. Wilson & F/O A.W. Wilson

Early in the morning of 25/iii/44, Pilot Chisholm Martyn “Chris” Wilson and his un-related namesake and Navigator, Alan William “Kiwi” Wilson went missing while on a coastal patrol in Mosquito HK222. Information from the GCI Sector Operations confirmed that they were closing in on a fleeing Luftwaffe aircraft, and as Hunt puts it, “… just as the ‘Tallyho’ was expected, the plots ceased and nothing more was heard from our crew.” 

Their last known position was off the North Foreland (near Ramsgate in Kent). The ORB later reported that there was “…no evidence available to account for the loss of this crew. A sad blow to ‘A’ Flight and to the Squadron”.

The bodies of the Wilsons, both New Zealanders, were never recovered; and so their names are recorded on the RAF Memorial at Runnymede (Panel 263).

Fg Off Chisholm Martyn "Chris" Wilson, RNZAF

Fg Off Chisholm Martyn “Chris” Wilson, RNZAF

Fg

Fg Off Alan William “Kiwi” Wilson, RNZAF

Their names are duly recorded in the Roll of Honour

(Both photos are from the “The Weekly News”sourced from http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/)


24/iii/44 – NFT & Patrol

14th March 14:05
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT &WEATHER TEST
Weather OK
1:45

21:10
PATROL & GCI Practice – Trimley
2 runs: 2 contacts: 2 visuals: 2 murders – then frantically recalled for weather. While on the way back, Huns put in an appearance, but we were not told & pancaked as the others scrambled.
1:30

As time goes on, the lack of success in engaging the enemy appears to become a source of frustration for Broody.


23/iii/44 – Exercise ERIC & Patrol

23rd March
DH Mosquito XII HK227 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & EXERCISE “ERIC”
Excellent weather. Plenty of fun @ 15,000ft. Eventually finished over Brighton with French coast clearly in view. Returned via New Addington & Gravesend, in time to see P/O McCabe dispose of his new aeroplane (F) by overshooting 2500yds on one engine & parking next to a minefield. Crew unhurt.
1:10

22:35
PATROL -Trimley
One short run as far as contact to check weapon & another practice run later on abandoned on account of weather. All the Huns in other back-gardens.
1:55

The ORB shows that this was the 2nd Exercise “Eric” the Squadron took part in during March. Today, 11 of the Squadron’s aircraft took part, and managed to intercept and “destroy” 50 odd Stirlings and Lancasters.


22/iii/44 – A/I Mk.VIII Demonstrations

22nd March 14:40
Bristol Beaufighter VIII MM868 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: F/S Hughes
Navigator (R): Self
U/T Navigator (R): F/S Emerton
A/I PRACTICE &DEMONSTRATION
Free-lancing & demonstration for F/S Hughes
1:00

16:10
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
Passenger:F/Lt Field
A/I DEMONSTRATION
Setting-up, presentation & interception demonstration for Jurby GCI Controller. 2 runs on Fortresses.
0:30

A day of A/I training and demonstration for 2 new arrivals to the Squadron in F/Sgt Hughes and F/Sgt Emmerton plus a GCI Controller from Jurby, who was able to see for himself the way in which information passed to the aircraft from the GCI stations was used.