27/v/44 – Fighter Direction Tender Exercise

27th May 14:00
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Robinson
Navigator (R): Self
Three fair runs off the Devon & Dorset coast. Out over AFV
[Armoured Fighting Vehicles] School, Bovington. A Hun turned up right down on the deck but we were NOT allowed to go for it.

Fighter Direction Tenders were, in effect, floating command and control centres. They were the eyes and ears for the large scale invasion forces off the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944. There were 3 Fighter Direction Tenders designated FDT 13, 216 & 217.

Amongst the equipment on board was CGI radar, and these ships would have controlled the aircraft of 488(NZ) Squadron in a similar way to the land based GCI Stations we have already come across.

During the D Day Invasion, FDT217 was located off the British beaches (Sword, Juno and Gold) in the Eastern half of the assault area for the control of those British and American fighters detailed to operate in this sector.

You can read more about these craft at the Combined Operations Command website.


Fighter Direction Tender (FDT216) © IWM (A 21922)

3 responses to “27/v/44 – Fighter Direction Tender Exercise

  • Pierre Lagacé

    Reblogged this on Lest We Forget and commented:
    Short posts on this blog but always interesting information.

  • firestartertim

    My Dad was on FDT 216,he passed away in 2013.During his life he never mentioned the war really and certainly no details of his time in the RAF.In the 10 years before Dads passing i would ask him the odd thing then started to search on the computer.Dad did have things around from his time in the forces and his experiences stayed with him to the end.I managed to trace the navigator from 216 and he and Dad chatted for a few minutes on the phone.Dad described the bombardment on D Day and the noise of shells being fired,it was amazing hear Dad tell me this after saying nothing for so long,it must have been a release for him in some way.After D Day 216 was on its way to Italy,on 7th July it was attacked by a Junkers 88 at just gone midnight,the order was given to abandon ship,lives were lost but Dad was picked up by HMS Burdock after being in the water covered in oil and other substances.As he jumped ship he took a live shell as a souvenir,this was deactivated and mounted to sit in the house for nearly 70 years,i only found out a month or two before Dad passed away when he ended up in a home and the house had to be cleared.He told me about taking the shell but not to tell anyone as he was frightened of being court martialed.

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