Monthly Archives: April 2014

Summary for April 1944

SUMMARY for APRIL

TOTAL BEAUFIGHTER DAY 00H45M
TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 16H40M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 2H35M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 20H00M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 26H40M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 26H40M

Another busy month for Broody, with 4 more Operational hours flown than in March.

The ORB summary for the month states:

“A quiet month with very little enemy activity in our Sector. The destruction of two Huns on the only night of a large scale raid reflect great credit on the Squadron, and the first success of an all New Zealand aircrew acted as a tonic to the Squadron.

Practices in formation flying have resulted in a high standard and the exercise ‘London’ proved our ability to cope in this unaccustomed role”

The victories referred to were a JU.88 apiece on 18/iv/44 for Johnny Hall (his 4th victory to date, putting him at the top of the Squadron’s leader board at the end of the month), and the all Kiwi crew of WO Rod Bourke and Fg Off Irwin Skudder. (See entries 17 & 18 on the Squadron Victories page)

Other interesting snippets from the ORB for the month include:

“The Squadron aircrew plus the Adjutant and M.O moved into tents today. Quite a Boy Scout air and a good deal of ‘scrounging’ apparent” (08/iv/44)

“B Flight visited Westcliffe Baths for a Dinghy Drill and a good time was had by all” (21/iv/44)

“We maintained a continuous patrol over a Walrus which was taxying in with an overload of rescued American aircrew” (22/iv/44)

The overloading of the Supermarine Walrus, a  single-engine amphibious biplane does not appear to be an unusual occurrence. An article from the Alton Evening Telegraph from 26/iv/44 tells this particular story.

“An RAF Walrus seaplane rescued eight survivors of a Flying Fortress which crashed in the North Sea but the Walrus was so overloaded it had to taxi 70 miles home — an all-night job in stormy waters which threatened to sink the plane—it was disclosed today. At the start of the long journey — just off an enemy-occupied coast – the British craft was under attack by a German Ju-88, but a couple of fighters from a Germany-bound air armada swooped down and drove the big Nazi plane away. The Fortress itself had been on a mercy trip scanning choppy seas for another crew reported forced down. Flames enveloped the cockpit of the big bomber, which crashed into a wave and quickly settled. Two gunners went down with the ship, but the pilot and 7 crewmen clambered into a dingy. For 12 hours the airmen wallowed in the seas, vainly signalling with flares to the planes rumbling overhead. It was almost dusk when the Walrus spotted the American airmen. The British plane came down and picked up all eight and began the long wet trip home. The men bailed with hats, boots and bare hands through the night to keep the plane from sinking. At dawn a British patrol boat came alongside and took the Americans aboard. They were treated for exposure and sunburn and sent back to their base.”

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30/iv/44 – Advance trip to RAF Zeals

30th April 11:25
Airspeed Oxford II T1018
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: F/O Robinson
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/L Westcott MBE
BASE ~ CROYDON ~ SOUTHAMPTON ~ ZEALS
Compass U/S
1:15

14:40
Pilot: F/O Robinson
Navigator: Self
Passenger: Lt Doyle USAF
Passenger: F/O Ashwood
ZEALS LOCAL

0:15
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: F/O Robinson
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/L Westcott MBE
ZEALS ~ CROYDON ~ BASE
1:05

Although the Squadron’s ORB does not record the order to move to RAF Zeals until 01/iv/44, it is likely that the move was known about, hence today’s advance trip to Zeals and a very quick local flight around the airfield.


29/iv/44 – Clocking up flying hours in ME-E

29th April 14:10
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII
L)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN, A/I EXERCISE II & VHF B/A
Hard evasive by target in all planes. B/A U/S again.
1:10

22:00
G.L IFF CHECK (CLACTON G.D.A)
PATROL – Trimley
PATROL & C.H.L PRACTICE – Foreness
1 run: 1 contact: 1 visual: 1 murder
Bit of everything to fly hours of A/C, ready for Minor. Trimley having R/T trouble on all channels
3:25

Clacton G.D.A was a Gun Defended Area – simply an Artillery installation on the coast.


28/iv/44 – Operational flights at either end of the day

28th April 04:00
DH Mosquito XIII HK534 (A/I Mk.VIII
L)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
SCRAMBLE – Searchlights
After intruders, but none our way.
2:10

14:20
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIIIL)
NFT, A/I EXERCISE V & FORMATION
Following a “dirty dive” & formation with F/L P.F.L.Hall, to Cryalls (Kent) & return – Via Gravesend & W.Malling
1:00

23:15
PATROL & GCI PRACTICE – Trimley
1 run: 1 contact: 1 visual: 1 murder
2:45

Almost 5 Operational hours flown in one day, starting at 04:00 in the morning, with the final landing 22 hours later. You can only imagine the levels of fatigue as a result of such a long day – the adrenalin, concentration and stress that the crews must have been subject to.


26/iv/44 – Scramble under Trimley GCI

26th April 00:15
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII
L)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
SCRAMBLE & GCI PRACTICE – Trimley
The usual lack of joy
3 runs: 4 contacts: 3 visuals: 3 murders
2:50


25/iv/44 – Scramble & NFT

25th April 04:00
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII
L)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
SCRAMBLE – Foreness & Searchlights
Foreness completely clueless – two vectors on a bogey & no information. Otherwise no joy.
1:45

14:50
NFT, CINE-GUN & VHF B/A
B/A
[Beam Approach] U/S again owing to excessive interference.
1:00


24/iv/44 – Lucero calibration with RAF Foreness

24th April 14:45
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII
L)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE- GUN, LUCERO TEST & CALIBRATION – Foreness C.H.L
Calibration above cloud at 6,000ft
1:15

RAF Foreness was a “Chain Home Low” radar station which provided early warning for low-flying enemy aircraft approaching the Thames estuary and London.


New page added to Research area

A new page has been added to the 488(NZ) Squadron research area, with a list of all 488(NZ) Squadron’s victories displayed in tabular form.

Thanks must go to Graham Clayton for the initial collation of this data – I have just re-formatted it to suit the web.

You can jump to the page here.


23/iv/44 – Lucero test

23rd April 11:00
DH Mosquito XIII MM519 ME-F (A/I Mk.VIIIL)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
EXERCISE “ERIC SPECIAL”, LUCERO TEST & CINE-GUN
Testing two new types of “window” over the North Sea, North of the Wash. Ciné on various bombers – Stirlings, Wellingtons & a Whitley. Lucero excellent
2:20

Lucero was a British homing system carried by some Mosquitos for homing in on Kettenhund jammers, carried by some Luftwaffe aircraft to jam the Allied Eureka navigation system.


21/iv/44 – Early Morning Scramble & Formation Exercise “London”

21st April 04:45
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
SCRAMBLE – Trimley: VHF B/A
Early morning scramble from bed for a Hun hurrying home from reconnaissance over Newcastle – no joy. Back home at dawn for a few beam runs.
1:25

14:55
EXERCISE ”LONDON” & NFT

1 W/C R.C.HAINE F/L A.P.BOWMAN ME-M
2 F/L P.F.L.HALL F/O R.d’A.MARRIOTT ME-D
3 F/L W.R.COOK F/O L.W.WARNER ME-L
4 F/O J.H.SCOTT F/O A.J.BROODBANK ME-E
5 S/L R.G.WATTS F/O J.L.HUNT ME-F

Exercise for aerodrome A.A defences (see over)
[IMAGE REPRODUCED BELOW]
Followed by normal NFT
Formation take-off – 4 A/C on runway together
1:35

21:55
PATROL & GCI PRACTICE – Trimley
2 runs: 2 contacts: 2 visuals: 2 murders
Bad weather – not at all a pleasant trip
2:40

Extract from A.J Broodbank's journal, showing details of Exercise "London" - 21/iv/44

Extract from A.J Broodbank’s journal, showing details of Exercise “London” – 21/iv/44

Another busy day for Broody, which started with a Scramble from bed. After almost an hour and a half on operations, he and Jack had 9 hours off before taking off again as one of 5 aircraft flying in formation for Exercise London. The information about this exercise provides fantastic detail, and is one of the very few references to aircraft tail codes. Also interesting is that the 5th aircraft in the formation, flown by Ron Watts had Leslie Hunt the Squadron’s Intelligence Officer in the Navigator’s seat, not Roger Folley who was Ron’s regular Navigator.

In total, Broody flew 5 hours and 45 minutes today – 4:10 of these were Operational!