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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