Category Archives: Night Flying

02/ix/44 – Last Patrol of the Tour

2nd September 14:10
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & A/I PRACTICE
With S/Ldr Watts. A/I rather poor
1:00

21:00
PATROL – GCI 15083 (Radox)
10m off Normandy coast, between Avranches & Le Havre. At 6000ft over cloud. Bright moon & not a thing about.
3:55

And so almost a year to the day that he arrived at RAF Bradwell Bay to join 488(NZ) Squadron, Broody flies his last Operational Patrol of the tour. Today is also his final flight in “The Mighty E”.

In all, Broody has now flown a total of 176 hours 5 minutes on Operations. Of these, all were night operations apart from 35 minutes of daytime ops when he was scrambled to search for lost B17 Fortresses of the 8th USAF in January.

In that time, although he never had any “success” in destroying an enemy aircraft, the countless bogies discounted as friendly due to his interceptions played a valuable part in the war effort. There were, of course, some hairy moments. He was shot at a number of times (by allied aircraft); suffered mechanical failure; got coned in a German searchlight; and had a near miss with the French coast.

There are still a few more entries in the journal, and another month with the Squadron, but the Operational side is over – Broody has survived his war.

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24/viii/44 – More A/I Mk.X training and a patrol off Le Havre

24th August 14:20
VICKERS ARMSTRONG WELLINGTON XI MP535 (A/I Mk X)
Pilot: F/O Collier
Instructor: F/Lt Clemo DFC
U/T Navigator (R): Self
U/T Navigator (R) F/O Skudder
U/T Navigator (R): F/S Brock
U/T Navigator (R): Sgt Tuffill
A/I Mk X – EXERCISE II
Crossing flights – target straight & level
2:00

19:50
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & A/C TEST
All Ok.
0:35

23:45
PATROL – GCI 15121 (Legion)
On North & South line, South East of Le Havre at 8000ft. Lively sea activity, but nothing in the air.
2:40


21/viii/44 – Patrol in very bad weather

21st August 03:20
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL
– GCI 15121 (Legion)
Le Havre & Liseaux area. Mostly at 7000ft, but between 5 & 12,000ft trying unsuccessfully to get out of Cu & Cu Nimb clouds. Very bumpy & severe electrical storm. Two bogies – both discounted on IFF before contact. Down to 500ft over Isle of Wight & rest of the way home. Bumpier still!
3:50

20:00
NFT
With W/O Moore, in poor weather.
0:30


18/viii/44 – Patrol off Le Havre with F/Lt Cook

18th August 03:20 
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/Lt Cook
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 15121 (Legion)
N & S Patrol @ 8,000 ft on a 20 mile line Soth East of Le havre. Nothing at all in the air, but much ground activity.
Starboard CSU fully coarse (1800rpm) while setting course for home – linkage broken. All Ok.
3:25


09/viii/44 – Patrols at either end of the day

9th August 01:20
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – COL 15074 (Tailcoat One)
St Malo & Mont St Michel area at 5,000ft. One bogey – Stirling which kindly fired on us, without effect.
GCI 16081 (Tailcoat)
Rennes & Laval area at 4,000ft. Two bogies – a Stirling & a Lancaster. Otherwise very dull.
3:40

14:15
NFT, CINE-GUN & FORMATION
With F/O Robinson. Long run as target for W/O Addison DFC DFM & then formation beat-up of Robbie’s house & formation home. A/I switching circuit U/S on the way home.
1:15

21:40
NFT & IFF CHECK
On Robbie again – his IFF apparently U/S
0:15

PATROL – COL 15073 (Yardley One)
Cap de la Hague & Alderney area. No activity whatsoever.
2:50


06/viii/44 – Avranches patrol

6th August 03:20
DH Mosquito XIII MM622 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 15081 (Tailcoat)
At 8,000 ft East & West in Avranches area. No activity whatsoever.
3:10
(1 Do217 destroyed by F/Lt PFL Hall & F/O Rd’A Marriott
1 Do217 destroyed }
1 Do217 damaged } by F/S TA MacLean & F/O BC Grant)

This morning’s victories for the squadron came off the back of 9 kills already recorded for the month, and overtook the Squadron’s previous “monthly best” a mere 6 days into the month. Peter Hall’s victory was his eighth since joining the Squadron, and MacLean’s was his first.

The Do217 damaged by MacLean was a “freelance” attack after they lost contact with the GCI station following their earlier kill.


04/viii/44 – Starboard engine fire

4th August 14:50
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & A/C Test
A/C just out from a minor. Nice afternoon. NFT on a Lancaster & Supercharger test at 8,000ft, 50 miles SW of base. Tried to feather starboard motor. Prop feathered instantaneously & went into full fire. Losing 500 ft/min & just managed to get in on 1100yds downhill at Lulsgate Bottom. New motor & CSU!
0:40

AIRSPEED OXFORD II X6863
16:30
Pilot: F/O McKenzie
2nd Pilot: FIS Instructor
Passengers: F/O Scott & Self
LULSGATE BOTTOM ~ BASE
A lift home
0:40

DH Mosquito XIII MM515 ME-Z (A/I Mk.VIII)
18:20
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & FEATHERING TEST
Check with W/O Mallon. This on OK
0:35

22:10
PATROL – COL 15074 (Tailcoat One)
At 4,000ft in Alderney, Cap de la Hague, Jersey & Guernsey area. No activity at all. BUT we had swapped patrols with F/O Shaw owing to the un-serviceability of his A/C
(1 Ju88 destroyed by W/Cdr RC Haine DFC & F/Lt AP Bowman
1 Ju88 destroyed } by F/O AL Shaw & F/Sgt L Wyman
1 Ju88 damaged }
2:45

Another drama filled day! Once again, an aircraft test just after a service resulted in a near catastrophic situation. The approximate position given by Broody of 50 miles South West of RAF Colerne puts him just north of Taunton when the engine caught fire. From there it is 30 miles North East (and most likely with favourable South Westerly winds)  to RAF Luslgate, which is nowadays better known as Bristol international Airport. The airport is less than 7 miles as the crow flies from where I sit writing this!


02/viii/44 – Patrol off Le Havre

2nd August 01:30
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 15083 (Radox)
In Le Havre & Caen area. No activity in the air but much on the ground. Recalled owing to weather & landed at Ford
(1 Ju88 destroyed by F/Lt PFL Hall & F/O Rd’A Marriott)
1:50

11:20
FORD ~ BASE
Weather quite fair
0:35

AIRSPEED OXFORD II T1018
14:25
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/O Folley
BASE ~ SOUTH CERNEY
Roger going on a 48
0:20

14:50 (Less F/O Folley)
SOUTH CERNEY ~ NEWCHURCH
Missing the anti-diver balloons (on the left) & guns (on the right)
1:15

18:00
With F/Lt Carcasson & S/Ldr ??? RCAF (MO) as Passengers
NEWCHURCH ~ HESTON
To drop the S/Ldr
0:45

18:50
(Less S/Ldr ???)
HESTON ~ BASE
0:45

In addition to a one and a half hour long patrol in the early hours of the morning, Broody flew an additional 400 odd miles during the day!


30/vii/44 – 4 kills for F/Lt Jameson & F/O Crookes

The loss of Bunting and Spedding no doubt overshadowed the jubilation that was felt back at base after the return of F/Lt George “Jamie” Jameson DFC and his Nav/Rad F/O Norman Crookes DFC, who had claimed 3 enemy aircraft destroyed and one probably destroyed during one 4 hour patrol.

Jameson’s “Personal Combat Report” makes for fascinating reading.

“I proceeded on the vector of 100 degrees at Angels 5 and the controller asked me to make my Turkey Gobble and told me that he could not give me much assistance. I saw light anti-aircraft fire 2 miles ahead and almost immediately a contact was obtained ie 05:02 hours range 2 miles 10 o’clock height 5,000 ft head on.

I obtained a visual on a Ju88 range 1 mile against the dawn still approaching head on and at the same height. My navigator using Ross night-glasses confirmed the identification. Meanwhile I turned hard to port after the enemy aircraft following it by means of A.I as the enemy aircraft skimmed through the cloud tops.

I closed in to 300 yards range at full throttle as the enemy aircraft was then doing 260 ASI. Meanwhile I saw a series of explosions on the ground caused I believe by the enemy aircraft dropping its bombs. Visual was obtained in a clear spot (with no cloud) and I closed in and gave the enemy aircraft 2 short bursts from dead astern.

Strikes were seen on the fuselage causing a fire in the fuselage and port engine. The enemy aircraft went down through the clouds vertically and well alight and about 20 seconds later hit the ground with a terrific explosion. I reported the kill to Tailcoat and gave him a fix. The enemy aircraft was destroyed 5 to 6 miles S of Caen at 05:05.

When I was doing a port orbit over the scene of the kill much window was seen and a contact almost immediately obtained ie 05:06 range 2 miles 11 o’clock height 5,000 ft. A visual was obtained very quickly on an enemy aircraft flying slightly above cloud. This aircraft was also skimming the cloud tops.

I gave chase at full throttle to overtake. His speed was approximately 280 ASI. While giving chase another Ju88 came up through the cloud dead ahead one mile range and flying in the same direction as the former aircraft. I closed in rapidly to 400 yards range and confirmed the identity of the aircraft as that of a Ju88.

The enemy appeared to see me and turned very hard to port diving towards a thick cloud layer. I followed on the turn and closed in to 350 – 400 yards when I opened fire from dead astern. Strikes were observed which caused a large fire in the starboard engine. The enemy aircraft was well alight and disappeared vertically through the cloud.

At this moment I saw two aircraft approaching me through cloud and as I was satisfied that the former combat had ended in a kill and that the Ju88 would inevitably hit the ground I did not follow but turned towards the two aircraft whom I suspected to be customers. I closed in on both of them and I identified them as Mosquitos.

Sub/Lt Richardson a navigator of 410 squadron (Bungle 33) confirms my first kill having seen the E/A well alight and hit the ground and he saw the second E/A well alight. I reported the second combat to Tailcoat. The combat took place 5/6 miles south of Caen

Almost immediately after identifying the Mosquitos referred to above, I obtained a freelance visual on an aircraft 4000’ range same height 5000’ crossing starboard to port. I closed to 2000’ dead astern and identified the aircraft as a Ju88 which identity was confirmed by my Navigator. When I was about 300 yards behind the E/A it dived steeply to port towards cloud.

I followed and gave two short bursts and I observed strikes from one of the bursts on the fuselage. The E/A took advantage of the cloud cover and I followed with the use of A/I though it was taking violent evasive action and dropping large quantities of window. When we were almost at treetop height visual was regained range 4000ft dead astern. The enemy had ceased evasive action.

I closed in to 250 yards dead astern and gave it a short burst from which strikes were observed. The E/A pulled up almost immediately and turned to port with debris falling and sparks issuing from it. The enemy stalled and dived into a 4 acre field and exploded. The kill took place 5 miles S of Lisieux.

I climbed to 5000 ft called Tailcoat and reported the kill and at my request was given a north westerly vector back to the scene of enemy activity. I once again saw A.A fire ahead above cloud and I headed towards it and at 05:22 hours contact was obtained on two aircraft and much window. (a) at a range of 4 miles 10 o’clock (b) 2 miles 10 o’clock.

I decided to intercept the nearer of the two and obtained a visual dead astern at a range of 4000 on a Do217. The E/A must have seen me for almost immediately it dived into cloud and took very evasive action and threw out large quantities of window for several minutes in cloud. I followed through cloud using A/I and the E/A eventually straightened up at cloud base.

Visual was regained at a range of 2000’ dead astern and below. I closed to 300 yards and fired a short burst. Strikes were seen on the fuselage which began to burn furiously. The E/A turned gently to starboard, pulled his nose up and the dorsal gunner opened fire a wild burst which headed in the wrong direction. The E/A dived into the ground in flames and exploded.

Claim: 2 Ju88’s destroyed. 1 Ju88 probably destroyed. 1 Do217 destroyed.

Ammunition: PI 89. PO 90. SI 94. SO 91.”

(PI = Port Inner, PO = Port Outer etc. For a photo of the Hispano cannon arrangement, see this post)

Location of Jameson & Crookes' 4 kills (Image from Google Earth)

Location of Jameson & Crookes’ 4 kills
(Image from Google Earth)

Information later provided by the 410 Squadron navigator, Sub/Lt Richardson enabled the “probable” to be confirmed as a kill. By strange coincidence, this was the very same Sub/Lt Murray Richardson who, along with 5 colleagues from the Fleet Air Arm, had been seconded to 488(NZ) Squadron earlier in the year!

I think Jameson & Crookes’ successes tonight may be one of the greatest (but least well known) stories of the air war. In 30 minutes, and with the expenditure of only 90 rounds per cannon, 4 enemy aircraft were identified, tracked through cloud using A/I and destroyed. F/Lt George “Jamie” Jameson returned to his native New Zealand in August 1944 with a total of 11 enemy aircraft destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 1 damaged, leaving him as the leading New Zealand night fighter ace of World War Two!

In addition, the aircraft in which they flew, MM466 ME-R holds the honour of being the Top Scoring Mosquito fighter during the war, also with a total of 11 enemy aircraft destroyed. 6 of these were while she was with 488!

Norman Crookes (L) and "Jamie" Jameson (R) standing in front of ME-R. (Image source, http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Norman Crookes (L) and “Jamie” Jameson (R) standing in front of ME-R.
(Image source, http://www.telegraph.co.uk)


20/vii/44 – Patrol in Cherbourg area

20th July 00:20
DH Mosquito XIII MM439 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Robinson
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 15801 (Tailcoat)
West of Cherbourg Peninsula & Bay de Mont St.Michel area. Several bogies – One Havoc, one Halifax, two broken off by control as friendly before contact & one no-contact suspected Hun almost out of GCI coverage. Down through 8,000 ft of cloud to land at base for a change.
2:55