Tag Archives: RAF Zeals

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.


Summary for July 1944

SUMMARY for JULY

TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 8H05M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 1H05M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 9H10M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 21H35M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 21H35M

As reflected in Broody’s flying hours for the month, Squadron activity increased in July after a lull in June on account of poor weather. In the early part of the month, many crews were forced to land at either Hurn or Ford on account of poor visibility at Zeals.

On 28/vii/44, the Squadron moved some 25 miles north to RAF Colerne. Aircrew were billeted in tented accommodation.

July also saw the Squadron’s longest period of “no activity” – it was not until 29/vii/44 that any success was recorded. In all, 7 enemy aircraft were destroyed by 488(NZ) Squadron in July:

Peter Hall & Dick Marriott  – 2 Kills

“Robbie” Robinson & Terry Clark – 1 Kill

Norman Crookes & Jamie Jameson – 4 Kills

 

 

 


31/vii/44 – NFT

31st July 18:30
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT
Hazy. Generator U/S, so back in after one circuit & an overshoot for a Spitfire.
0:10

20:50
NFT
With P/O McCabe. All OK this time
0:40


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


19/vii/44 – NFT with F/O Robinson

19th July 18:50
DH Mosquito XIII MM439 (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Robinson
Navigator (R): Self
NFT
Quick test with W/Cdr Haine in thick haze.
0:30


17/vii/44 – Seine Estuary Patrol

17th July 02:35
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scot
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 16121 (Legion)
Instrument take-off in shallow layer of fog. One bogie right at the beginning – no contacts thereafter. N & S patrol across Seine estuary & no activity, Ground R/T failure. Tried Hartford Bridge, but sent to Ford. Landed after one unsuccessful attempt in fog.
2:45

13:00
FORD ~ BASE
Cloud at 50ft at Ford, but clear by Winchester.
0:20


16/vii/44 – NFT & WEATHER TEST

16th July 14:25
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & WEATHER TEST
Low stratus – test very low between hills with F/Sgt Green. Mild local beat-up
0:25


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.