Category Archives: Photo

15/vii/44 – Loss of F/Sgt Howard Scott & F/O Colin Duncan

After completing a Patrol in aircraft MM551 (ME-X), F/Sgt Howard Scott and F/O Colin Duncan, both New Zealanders, were killed when their aircraft crashed in woodland near Holmesley South whilst attempting to land at RAF Hurn in low cloud. There is little information available about the detail of this crash, which resulted in the first losses of the Squadron in almost 4 months.

Both men were interred in the New Zealand Section of Brookwood Military Cemetery on 19/vii/44, with Irwin Skudder and Tom MacKay in attendance representing the Squadron.

The graves of F/Sgt Howard Scott & F/O Colin Duncan. (Brookwood Military Cemetery, New Zealand Section. Plots 8.AA.5 & 8.AA.6)

The graves of F/Sgt Howard Scott & F/O Colin Duncan.
(Brookwood Military Cemetery, New Zealand Section. Plots 8.AA.5 & 8.AA.6)

Their names are duly recorded in the Roll of Honour.


05/vii/44 – Patrol off Cherbourg

5th July 02:25
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scot
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 15082 (Yardley)
N & S Patrol @ 8,000 ft off E coast of Cherbourg Peninsula. Good weather but no activity whatsoever. Landed Hurn.
3:10

10:15
HURN ~ BASE
Cloud at 900 ft.
0:20

14:15
NFT
Quick check with W/O Hughes.
0:30

ME-E was one of 5 aircraft forced to land at RAF Hurn today due to bad weather at RAF Zeals. During late June and early July, aircraft at 488(NZ) Squadron were forced to land at Hurn after patrols on a fairly regular basis. Hurn is located just to the North of Bournemouth, some 30 miles to the South West of Zeals.

Aerial photograph ofRAF Hurn taken in 1947. (Image Source - Royal Ordnance Survey via Wikipedia)

Aerial photograph of RAF Hurn taken in 1947.
(Image Source – Royal Ordnance Survey via Wikipedia)


04/vii/44 – Long NFT

4th July 14:20
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scot
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & FORMATION
NFT on Halifax & Cine on Reliant, Martlet & Albemarle. Excellent weather.
0:55

Another fairly long (certainly by Jack Scott’s standards) NFT with an interesting selection of aircraft including 3 marques I have not come across before.

The Stinson Reliant was a single engine aircraft used by the RAF, USAF and RAAF as a general utility aircraft, predominantly for training and liaison flights.

Stinson Reliant (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Stinson Reliant
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

The Grumman Martlet was the Royal Navy’s version of the USAF F4F Wildcat, used primarily as a carrier-borne fighter.

Grumman Martlet (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Grumman Martlet
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

The Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle was a transport aircraft. Initially designed as (but never deployed as) a medium range bomber, it was used for general transport duties, paratroop transport and glider towing. They were used during the invasion of Normandy for this purpose.

Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle (Image Source: Imperial War Museum ©IWM (CH 12048))

Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
(Image Source: Imperial War Museum ©IWM (CH 12048))


29/vi/44 – Terry Clark DFM

29th June 14:15
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & A/I PRACTICE
First as target for F/O Robinson (Taking F/O Clark DFM to North Weald) – formatted on by a Firebrand. Then head-on practice, NFT & Cine on a Fortress. Finally more cine on clusters. Slightly left-wing low.
0:10

22:25
PATROL – GCI 15082 (Yardley)
Very dull E&W patrol at 8,000ft 10 miles off beaches. Good weather, apart from lumps of cu-nimb. Chased by a friendly fighter, otherwise no joy at all. Cloud right down at base, so landed at Hurn.
3:35

Terry Clark remains something of a legend. As one of the remaining “Few” who flew in the Battle of Britain, he is still regularly referred to in the press.

During the Battle of Britain, he flew in 219 squadron, pairing up with Dudley Hobbis in what was to become a long partnership and deep friendship. Both men were posted out of 219 Squadron into separate training roles, but were were reunited at 488(NZ) Squadron during the Squadron’s time in Ayr. Sadly,  you will remember that Hobbis was killed on 25/xi/43 with Oliver Hills when their Port engine caught fire during a Patrol.

Terry Clark was paired up with Douglas Robinson, and they claimed their first victory together in December 1943. The loss of Hobbis deeply affected Clark. Despite Robinson’s best efforts to help him through his loss, Clark was eventually requested a break from flying, and was transferred to North Weald as a U/T Controller in March 1944. He did make several visits back to the Squadron, as must have been the case today, with Robinson taking him back to his base.

The image below is a crop from the Squadron photo of February 1944, and shows Clark (Top Left) standing next to Broody. On the bottom row is Robinson (left) and Broody’s pilot, Jack Scott.

Terry Clark, Broody, Douglas Robinson & Jack Scott (From the Squadron photo, February 1944)

Terry Clark, Broody, Douglas Robinson & Jack Scott
(From the Squadron photo, February 1944)

During my research, I came across this video from the Rare Tea Company, which features Terry Clark reminiscing about his time with night fighters – A wonderful find, I think.


24/vi/44 – Escape and Evasion Lecture

Although Broody did not fly today, there is an entry in the ORB that I thought I would share.

“…In the afternoon, F/Lt Ricketts, Interrogation Officer from Middle Wallop gave a very interesting and amusing lecture to the Aircrew. He made clear how to behave in the event of anybody falling into enemy hands. F/Lt Ricketts also brought with him two knives of German make, which had come from Aircraft destroyed by the Squadron on the night of 14th May. These souvenirs were much appreciated by the Squadron and particularly by the recipients, the successful pilots of that evening F/Lt JAS Hall DFC and F/O Jeffs.”

As a boy, stories of POW camps, escape and evasion were my thing. In Broody’s collection are a few items that would have been used by Aircrew who found themselves behind enemy lines.

These include: 3 notes of “Invasion Currency”, a set of fly button compasses, a small brass button compass, a seam compass and a shirt stud compass. All to be used to assist in attempts to evade the enemy or escape and return to Allied territory.

Invasion Currency - Issued to Personnel of the Allied Expeditionary Force in 1944

Invasion Currency – Issued to Personnel of the Allied Expeditionary Force in 1944

Brass button compass

Brass button compass

Fly button compass. One button (L) has luminous paint indicating North & South, The other (R) has a small spike that the first compass sits on to allow it to swing freely.

Fly-button compass. One button (L) has luminous paint indicating North & South. The other (R) has a small spike that the first compass sits on to allow it to swing freely.

Fly-button compass in use

Fly-button compass in use

A seam compass which would be hidden in the seams of clothing. When suspended from a thread, it would swing to indicate North.

A seam compass which would be hidden in the seams of clothing. When suspended from a thread, it would swing to indicate North.

A shirt stud compass. Originally, the glass would have been painted over, and only scratched off to reveal the compass needle when needed.

A shirt stud compass. Originally, the glass would have been painted over, and only scratched off to reveal the compass needle when needed.


Stanley Alfred Isham – 463 (RAAF) Squadron

As there is a bit of a lull in Broody’s flying logs for a couple of weeks, I thought I’d go off on a bit of a tangent and share the following story with you.

An old friend commented on a photo of Broody that I posted on Facebook on the 70th Anniversary of D Day. She said:

“My great uncle was a navigator on a Lancaster – part of an Australian squadron – unfortunately he and his crew (3 Aussies, 4 Brits) didn’t make it. He was with 463 squadron. I don’t really know much of his story; he didn’t fly many missions before being shot down at the age of 21. I have his crew list; they are all buried in Liesse Communal Cemetery. One guy was 33 but the others ranged in age from 19 to 23. I have a pic of 6 of the 7 of them standing in front of a Lancaster, and another pic of their graves”

The temptation to delve into the story was too great to resist, so armed only with a name and a place of interment, I set out to see what I could discover about Fg Off Stanley Alfred Isham.

This is what I found:

He enlisted in the RAFVR between Apr/Oct 1941 . His service number was  1610904.

He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer (General Duties Branch) from Leading Aircraftman on 30/04/43. His Commissioned service number was 151994. (Gazetted 13/07/43 – P3162)

He was promoted to War Substantive Flying Officer on 30/10/43 (Gazetted 05/11/43 – P4863)

I could not find any record of him with any Operational Training Units or Conversion Units, but knew from the initial information I had that he was posted to 463(RAAF) Squadron at RAF Waddington. There is no record of his arrival in the ORB for 463 Squadron, but he was not part of C Flight, 467 (RAAF) Squadron who formed the initial core of 463 in November 1943. Based on flights by McKnight as 2nd Pilot in December 1943, it is likely that was his date of arrival.

In total, he flew 7 Operational missions as detailed below. The first 6 were successfully completed, but the final flight on 25/02/44 was sadly the one he did not return from. There are no corresponding Luftwaffe / German AA claims for this aircraft, so most likely cause was a crash due to AC failure

DATE AC SERIAL CODE TARGET TIME UP TIME DOWN
05&06/01/44 DV274 JO-R STETTIN 00:11 09:05
14&15/01/44 JA973 JO-O BRUNSWICK 17:09 22:50
15&16/02/44 LL790 JO-O BERLIN 17:35 00:43
19&20/02/44 DV280 JO-S LEIPZIG 00:01 07:14
20&21/02/44 DV280 JO-S STUTTGART 00:03 06:55
24&25/02/44 LL790 JO-O SCHWEINFURT 20:40 04:26
25&26/02/44 DV274 JO-R AUSBERG 18:45 DNR

The crew of DV274 on 26/02/44, were as follows:

RANK NAME ROLE SERVICE #
PO Kevin Harold McKnight (Pilot) 415347
FO Stanley Alfred Isham (Navigator) 151994
FO Clifford James Johnson (Bomb Aimer) 418425
Flt Sgt Stanley James Nelson (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) 410710
Sgt Leslie William Roberts (Flight Engineer) 1603695
Sgt Thomas Winn (Air Gunner) 938040
Sgt Kenneth Linford (Air Gunner) 1477129

 

All done with the power of the Internet – Thanks to all those who helped! What I did discover is that the National Archives in Australia have made publically available some ORBs for RAAF Squadrons. The national Archives in Kew should take note of this insightful step by the Aussies, as it makes historical research a lot easier and more accessible to all! You can search these records at http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/search/

So now we know a bit more about Stan Isham’s war time service – but can we expand on the story and fill in the gaps between enlistment in 1941, through training and conversion until he joined 463 (RAAF) Squadron in early 1944? And of course there is the photograph that Nic shared with me. The photo is not annotated, but can we identify the others in the picture?

Stan Isham (2nd from right) and his crew-mates in front of aircraft DV274 (JO-R) of 463(RAAF) Squadron.

Stan Isham (2nd from right) and his crew-mates in front of aircraft DV274 (JO-R) of 463(RAAF) Squadron.


11/vi/44 – Patrol over North West France

11th June 00:35
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – Fighter Direction Tender 216
Patrolling Lisieux: Falaise: Vire: St-Lô: Cherbourg area. Much activity – largely apparently friendly stuff bombing Hun targets. 5 bogies – 4 Lancasters & a Mitchell.
2:55

15:30
NFT & CINE-GUN
Cloud at 200ft again & rain below.
1:00

The image below shows the area of this evening’s patrol. The nearest point (Cherbourg) is some 105 miles (as the crow flies) from RAF Zeals, and the total area of the French land mass covered is approximately 2200 miles2!

Broody's patrol area for 11/vi/44

Broody’s patrol area for 11/vi/44


07/vi/44 – Patrolling the invasion beaches

7th June 02:30
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – Fighter Direction Tender 217
Patrolling in Pool 2 & Beach-head area. Completely uneventful – not even the expected FW190’s at dawn. A very draughty aeroplane.
2:30

The image below shows a section of Broody’s flying map for today, showing the location of Fighter pool 2 to the ENE of Pointe de Barfluer and the positions of the 2 Fighter Direction Tenders FDT216 and FDT217 in the Bay of the Seine.

Broody's flying map, showing the positions of Fighter Pool 2, and the FDT craft.

Broody’s flying map, showing the positions of Fighter Pool 2, and the FDT craft.

 

The Operations Record Book describes how the aircraft of 2 crews (W/O Patrick & F/Sgt Concannon and P/O Vlotman & F/Sgt Wood) were damaged. W/O Patrick’s by friendly bombers which disabled the Port engine; and P/O Vlotman’s by Allied flak which damaged the tail plane. In respect of W/O Patrick’s one-engined return to base, the ORB says:

“… the Crew landed their Aircraft safely on one engine at their base; bringing the damaged aircraft back from France was a very meritorious feat on the part of W/O Patrick.”

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (Image Source Wikipedia)

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (Image Source Wikipedia)


06/vi/44 – D Day

6th June 00:30
DH Mosquito XIII HK534 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – Line “BAKER”  – OPERATION “NEPTUNE”
The first “D day” patrol covering airborne landings in Normandy. Patrolling in R/T silence, listening out on Hope Cove (Type 16). Completely uneventful – total observations: 4-6 yellow flares; the same boat twice; & slight A/A activity near Guernsey. 5 patrols completed before returning home.
3:20

14:25
NFT, CINE-GUN & AI EXERCISE III
Crossing contacts with hard evasive by target.
1:00

And so my grandfather recorded his part in the invasion of German occupied France 70 years ago today. Whilst clearing out their house after my grandmother passed away last year, I came across a fuller account of Broody’s recollections of D Day which is reproduced below:

“Some time before dusk on 5th. June, we, as duty Flight, fore gathered at our dispersal hut, with little expectation of any activity. My log book shows that I had not flown operationally since 29th. May, when an unidentified aircraft had turned out to be a Wellington. I should, perhaps explain that the Squadron routine was that each Flight would be available for operations for two consecutive nights, then hand over to the other Flight for the next two. On any given night, eight of the ten crews on a Flight would be on duty – the other two being accounted for by leave, 48 hour passes, sickness and postings. A crew returning from a night or more off, entered the “state” for the night as last off, then climbing up a place per operational night until reaching the “first off” berth. Patrols or operational scrambles were then normally met by taking crews in order: on a busy night in Fighter Command, the first crew or two might well fly twice.

 The first indication we received that anything unusual was in the wind was the arrival of the Squadron Commander, accompanied by armed Service Police, who closed all doors and windows and took up positions outside the dispersal hut. The C.O. then told us that the long-awaited invasion of Europe was to take place that night. Our role was confined to putting up two crews who would, in succession, fly a patrol line from the South Coast to a point close to the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula, in radio silence, keeping a radar watch. Our patrols would be monitored by a G.C.I. station well to the West. It was our assumption that this station would break radio silence if any significant attack were to develop – and, presumably, if we were not seen to have observed it and moved to intercept.

 We took off from Zeals, Wiltshire, half an hour after midnight on June 6th. in Mosquito NF XIII, HK534, of 488 Squadron, piloted by Flying Officer J,H, Scott, R.N.Z.A.F. Jack Scott, my regular pilot, had come from Invercargill in the South Island and was famous on the Squadron for taking every opportunity that came along (and some that he skilfully generated) to get into the air. Zeals was a not too satisfactory grass airfield, close to Mere. One of its less attractive features was a roadway running across the main “runway” (i.e. the path outlined in the grass by runway lighting) which was showing a tendency to break up and throw pieces of debris at the tails of the aircraft. On taking off in a westerly direction, it was necessary to climb fairly hard to clear a ridge, which was succeeded by a valley, notorious for down-draughts, before another and higher ridge. Contrary to normal practice, the first crew on the state was not sent on the first patrol: the Flight Commander selected the two crews, presumably on criteria of experience.

 Needless to say, we were more than pleased to be operating that night. Such was the superiority of R.A.F. night fighter aircraft and equipment at that stage of the War that we had every confidence that we would win any encounter and the occasion seemed to be one on which we must surely meet some opposition. Incidentally, it was not until years later that it became clear that we were, so to speak, right markers to the operation – patrolling on the western boundary of the invasion area and approaches.

 The navigation was interesting. Like the majority of night fighter pilots, Jack cherished his night vision and firmly banned any significant amount of light in the cockpit. Consequently, I carried two torches of the then familiar “No.8” type, one down each flying boot. The first was used for the pre-flight checks of controls and pitot head, but under no circumstances to be lit in the air. When the battery in this torch became weakish, it was transferred to the other, with two thicknesses of pink blotting paper to reduce the light output. With due care, this could be used to look at a map. The solution I used was to make all notes and calculations in black chinagraph pencil, on a map, which made the markings visible – to some extent – in the restricted light. It must be said, however, that the use of a transponder beacon or two, standard equipment at night fighter bases, made position finding at the northern end of the patrol line fairly straightforward and thereafter, such little matters as drifts and turning points became cause for mental arithmetic.

 I have neither record nor memory of our height, but think it was probably 10,000, possibly 15,000, feet. The night was clear on our patrol Line and. Although we saw nothing of the invasion fleet, which would have been some miles to our East, we did see, on each run, South and North, some craft on the water below, frantically circling – or so it seemed to us. We surmised that the crew heard our engines each time and were taking precautions.

 Otherwise the three hours of the patrol were totally uneventful and to us at the time a grave disappointment, although with hindsight we should have been pleased that the element of surprise had been so effective.

 The excitement came when we returned to base just after 0330 hours when, of course, the sky was lightening. Between us and our late supper or early breakfast seemed to be a solid carpet of gliders and tugs, all heading South. In the restricted light, this posed something of a problem – how to get below them without getting involved with their tow-ropes or creating problems for the glider pilots with our slipstream. We certainly avoided the former and hope the latter as well.

 So ended a totally undistinguished contribution to the Liberation of Europe!”

A fascinating read, and peppered with other useful facts about Squadron life and RAF Zeals.

Pasted into his journal is the flying map from the night, showing the patrol line, observations and numerous navigational calculations.

Flying Map showing the patrol line flown by Broody in the early hours of D Day

Flying Map showing the patrol line flown by Broody in the early hours of D Day

It fills me with enormous pride that, as Broody explained, he and Jack were hand picked for the mission over the first crew on the “state” for the evening – Testament to their ability and experience. Although the night was uneventful for 488(NZ) Squadron, D Day was one of the most pivotal days in the entire war, and the fact that my Grandfather played an important part in it is humbling.

Plt Off AJ Broodbank - Hand picked to fly a 3 hour patrol over the invasion beaches on D Day - 06/vi/44

Plt Off AJ Broodbank – The Navigator of one of 2 crews of 488(NZ) Squadron hand-picked to fly a 3 hour patrol just after midnight over the English Channel as the D Day invasion began – 06/vi/44

The internet is awash with D Day resources, especially as we mark the 70th Anniversary. If you want more information about the RAF’s role in Operations Neptune and Overlord, I suggest you look at the resources on the RAF’s website.


02/vi/44 – Stonehenge tourist opportunity?

2nd June 14:00
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & SUPERCHARGER CHECK
Check on Supercharger “S” gear at 13,000ft.Return via Stonehenge.
1:05

A "post World War 1" aerial photo of Stonehenge.  (Source - Wikipedia)

A “post World War 1” aerial photo of Stonehenge.
(Source – Wikipedia)