Tag Archives: RAF Colerne

Squadron Aircrew List updated

I have just published an update to the Squadron Aircrew list. A few new Christian Names and Service Numbers have been added.

The page can be found here or by navigating through the 488(NZ) Squadron Research tab at the top of the page.

As always, if anyone has any corrections or additions to this list, I would be delighted to hear from you via the contacts page.


RAF Zeals – 1944 Aerial Photograph found

On 04/v/44, 488(NZ) Squadron moved from RAF Bradwell Bay to RAF Zeals.

This move was covered in earlier posts, but I have just found an aerial photo of RAF Zeals dating from March 1944, only weeks before 488(NZ) Squadron arrived.

As a reminder, RAF Zeals is at Grid Reference ST 78018 32945, between the villages of Stourton and Mere, just off the A303. The photograph below shows how the airfield looked on 24/iv/44.

You can see the issues that 488(NZ) Squadron faced with the airfield – no proper runway, just a grass track. In his account of his D Day Patrol, Broody described the state of the airfield at Zeals:

“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”

Aerial photograph of Zeals airfield looking south east, the control tower, technical site and blister hangars are at the top, 24 March 1944. Photograph taken by No. 544 Squadron, sortie number RAF/NLA/80. English Heritage (RAF Photography).

Aerial photograph of Zeals airfield looking south east, the control tower, technical site and blister hangars are at the top, 24 March 1944. Photograph taken by No. 544 Squadron, sortie number RAF/NLA/80. (Image Source – IWM / English Heritage – Original image at – http://www.americanairmuseum.com/media/6185)

Not much remains of the airfield today – it has returned to agricultural use – apart from the old control tower which has been converted into a private residence.

The site of RAF Zeals as it looks today. (Image from Google Earth)

The site of RAF Zeals as it looks today. (Image from Google Earth)

Please note that as the 1944 image was taken from an almost southerly aspect, I have also rotated the Google Earth image for better comparison.


The Broodbank Collection – Catalogue now available!

At long last, I have catalogued the various items in my grandfather’s collection. You can see a complete list of all archive material by following this link.

This is still a bit of a work in progress, as there are currently no links to images etc, but in time this page should allow researchers to view the material in my collection.

As ever, if you want to get in contact about this or any other page on the site, please use the Contact page.


04/ix/44 – Last flight in a Mosquito

4th September 18:10
DH Mosquito XIII MM515 ME-Z (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & A/C TEST
For state with B Flt. Testing with F/O Jeffs in very bumpy weather.
0:50

During his tour, Broody flew in 22 of the Squadron’s de Havilland Mosquitos. 7 of these were Mk.XIIIs, and the other 15, the later Mk.XIII. The final Mossie flight was in ME-Z, the aircraft used by Chris Vlotman on 20/vi/44 when he claimed a Fw190 over Falaise – The last of Vlotman’s 4 victories.

The fantastic photo below shows 3 Mosquitos of 488(NZ) Squadron in formation. I think the aircraft furthest from the photographer is ME-Z.

Mosquitos of 488(NZ) Squadron flying in formation. (Possibly ME-V (MM476) and ME-Z (MM515))

Mosquitos of 488(NZ) Squadron flying in formation.
(Possibly ME-V (MM476) and ME-Z (MM515))
Photo from the collection of Reg Mitchell via Graham Clayton


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.


01/ix/44 – NFT with S/Ldr Watts

1st September 14:40
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT, CINE-GUN & A/I PRACTICE
Camera on Dakotas & practice with S/Ldr Watts, until lost in a cloud. Then target for W/O Green.
1:10


Summary for August 1944

SUMMARY for AUGUST

TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 12H15M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 9H45M
TOTAL WELLINGTON DAY 12H50M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 34H50M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 27H45M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 27H45M

Training on the new A/I Mk. X system saw an increase in day flying hours for Broody this month – up from 9:10 in July. Night Operational hours were also up by just over 7 hours, which equates to an additional 2 patrols this month.

Again, this month was, the most successful to date for the Squadron, with a total of seventeen enemy aircraft destroyed and four damaged.

The ORB reports that this tally is just one less than the previous best month (July 1944), and put 488(NZ) Squadron on top of the leader board for 85 Group.

Enemy aircraft were destroyed by the following pilots during the month.

F/Lt AE Brown – 4
F/Lt GE Jameson – 2
F/Lt  PFL Hall – 2
W/Cdr RC Haine – 1
W/O TGC Mackay – 1
W/O GS Patrick – 1
F/O AL Shaw – 1
F/Sgt TA Maclean – 1
F/Lt JAS Hall – 1
F/O OJ McCabe – 1
F/O RG Jeffs – 1
F/O DN Robinson – 1

(See entries 37 to 53 on the Squadron Victories page for more detail)


29/viii/44 – NFT in good weather

29th August 14:40
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & CINE-GUN
With W/O Hughes in lovely weather. Canary U/S
1:00


28/viii/44 – A/I Mk.X training

28th August 09:40
VICKERS ARMSTRONG WELLINGTON XI MP535 (A/I Mk X)
Pilot: F/Lt Smith RAAF
Instructor: F/O Keating RAAF
U/T Navigator (R): Self
U/T Navigator (R) F/Lt Carcassson
U/T Navigator (R): F/O Earl
U/T Navigator (R): F/S Wyman
A/I Mk X – EXERCISE V
No trouble this time
A/I Mk X – EXERCISE VI
Target taking full evasive action
A/I U/S later on
1:50


27/viii/44 – More A/I Mk.X training

27th August 14:40
VICKERS ARMSTRONG WELLINGTON XI MP535 (A/I Mk X)
Pilot: F/O Collier
Instructor:W/O Blackburn
U/T Navigator (R): Self
U/T Navigator (R) F/O Procter
U/T Navigator (R): F/O Prescott
U/T Navigator (R): W/O Follows
A/I Mk X – EXERCISE V
Much argument between pupil (with finger) & pilot (with his) over the correct technique of following a weave.
2:10

14:15
VICKERS ARMSTRONG WELLINGTON XI MP525/G (A/I Mk X)
Pilot: F/Lt Hollowell AFC
Instructor: F/Lt Clemo DFC
U/T Navigator (R): Self
U/T Navigator (R) P/O Earl
U/T Navigator (R): F/O Prescott
U/T Navigator (R): W/O Follows
A/I Mk X – EXERCISE V
A/I U/S
1:30