403 Squadron Operations Record Book
No. 403 Squadron
Badge A wolf’s head erased
Motto Stalk and strike
Authority King George VI, October 1943
The wolf is a fierce and powerful antagonist, indigenous to most parts of Canada.
Formed at Baginton, Warwickshire, England on 1 March 1941 as the first of 35 RCAF squadrons to be formed overseas – third Fighter squadron in
service – the unit flew Spitfire aircraft on offensive and defensive air operations, and in support of Allied ground forces in North-West Europe. The
squadron was disbanded at Fassberg, Germany on 10 July 1945.
Brief Chronology Formed at Baginton, War., Eng. 1 Mar 41. Disbanded at Fassberg, Ger. 10 Jul 45.
Title or Nickname “Wolf”
Adoption City of Calgary, Alta.
S/L B.G. Morris (RAP) 6 Mar 41 – 21 Aug 42 POW.
S/L R.A. Lee-Knight (RAP), DFC 23 Aug 41 – 27 Sep 41 KIA.
S/L C. E. Gray (RAP), DFC and Bar 28 Sep 41 – 29 Sep 41.
S/L A.G. Douglas (RAP), DFC 30 Sep 41 – 11 Jan 42.
S/L C.N.S. Campbell (RAP), DFC 12 Jan 42- 27 Apr 42 POW.
S/L A.C. Deere (RAP), DFC and Bar 30 Apr 42- 12 Aug 42.
S/L L.S. Ford, DFC and Bar 13 Aug 42- 21 Apr 43.
S/L C.M. Magwood, DFC 22 Apr 43 – 12 Jun 43.
S/L H.C. Godefroy, DFC and Bar 13 Jun 43 – 11 Aug 43.
S/L W.A.G. Conrad; DFC 12 Aug 43 – 17 Aug 43 MIA. 1
S/L F.E. Grant .. 27 Aug 43 – 4 Sep 43 KIA.
S/L N.R. Fowlow, DFC 5 Sep 43- 5 Oct 43.
S/L R.A. Buckham, DFC and Bar 6 Oct 43- 14 Jun 44.
S/L E.P. Wood, DFC 16 Jun 44 – 15 Nov 44.
S/L J.E. Collier 26 Nov 44- 15 Feb 45. 2
S/L H.P.M~ Zary, DFC 16 Feb 45 – 16 May 45.
S/L A.E. Fleming 17 May 45- 10 Jul45.
Higher Formations and Squadron Locations
No. 9, Group, .
Baginton, War. 1 Mar 41 – 29 May 41.
Ternhill, Salop. 30 May 41- 3 Aug 41.
No. 11 Group,
Hornchurch, Essex 4 Aug 41- 14 Aug 41.
Debden, Essex 25 Aug 41 – 2 Oct 41.
Martlesham Heath, Suffolk 3 Oct 41 – 21 Dec 41.
North Weald, Essex 22 Dec 41 – 1 May 42.
Southend, Essex 2 May 41- 2 Jun 42 ..
Martlesham Heath, Suffolk 3 Jun 42 – 18 Jun 4.2.
No. 13 Group,
Catterick, Yorks. 19 Jun 42- 22 Jan 43.
4 aircraft, West Hartlepool, Durham 19 Jun 42 – 22 Jan 43.
No. 11 Group,
Canadian Kenley Wing,
Kenley, Surrey 23 Jan 43 – ·4 J ul 43.
Second Tactical Air Force:
No. 83 (Composite) Group,
No. 17 (RCAF) Sector (disbanded 13 Jul 44).
No. 127 (RCAF) Wing,
Kenley, Surrey 5 Jul 43 – 6 Aug 43.
Lashenden, Kent 7 Aug 43- 19 Aug 43.
Head com, Kent 20 Aug 43 – 13 Oct 43.
Kenley, Surrey 14 Oct 43- 17 Apr 44.
No. 16 Armament Practice Camp, Hutton Cranswick,
Yorks. 24-29 Feb 44.
Tangrnere, Sussex 18 Apr 44- 15 Jun 44.
B.(Base) 2 Bazenville, Fr. 16 Jun 44- 15 Aug 44.
B.26 Illiers l’Eveque, Fr. 26 Aug 44- 21 Sep 44.
B.68 Le Culot, Bel. 22 Sep 44- 30 Sep 44.
No. 11 Armament Practice Camp, Fairwood _Common, 5.
Wales 22 Sep- 3 Oct 44.
B.82 Grave, Neth. 1 Oct 44- 20 Oct 44.
B.58 Melsbroek, Bel. 21 Oct 44- 2 Nov 44. ·
B.56 Evere, Bel. 3 Nov 44- 1 Mar 45.
Pilots to United Kingdom to re-equip with Spitfire XVI’s
2-4 Dec 44.
No. 17 Armament Practice Camp, Warmwell, Dorset., Eng.
4-14 Jan 45.
B.90 Petit-Brogel, Bel. 2 Mar 45 – 30 Mar 45.
B.78 Eindhoven, Neth. 31 Mar 45- 10 Apr 45.
B.100 Goch, Ger. 11 Apr 45- 27 Apr 45.
B.152 Fassberg, Ger. 28 Apr 45 – 10 JuL 45.
Representative Aircraft (Unit Code KH)
Curtiss Tomahawk Mk.I & IIA (Mar- Jun 41) AK878 H
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I (May- Jul 41) N3066 N
P7129 A R6611 T R6984 F R7058 0 R7065 X
R7066 E R7068 G R7140 D X4026 J X4319 M
X4329 C X4674 R X4766 H X4856 L
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIA (Jul – Sep 41) P7280 N
P7352 B P7355 W P7368 J P7422 0 P7438 G
P7505 C P7529 C P7552 Q P7622 M P7743 Q
P7744 E P7746 K P7756 U P7776 S P7818 T
P7905 P P7911 B P7915 W P7979 Z P8017 Z
P8090 H P8171 A P8233 L ·
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB & VC (4-21 Aug 41)
P7220 F P7235 C P7310 B P7342 A P7343 D
P8740 E P8744 P P8792 Y R7260 T R7266 J R7273 L
R7279 S W3114 R W3436 X W3438 G W3446 V
W3453 M · W3502 K W3573 K W3630 Z
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB (Sep 41 -Jan 43)
P7438 G R6890 H W3170 V W3318 N W3426 D
W3421 F W3564 K W3650 X W3822 Q W3823 S
W3938 J AA834 B AA927 H AB190 Z AB364 U
AB799 J AB865 T AB981 Z AD114 W AD191 W
AD199 H AD206 R AD207 0 AD208 L
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX (Jan 43 – Feb 44)
BS509 H MA575 P
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXB (Feb – Dec 44)
MJ352 Q MJ355 H MJ480 R MK859 T
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI (Dec 44 – Jul 45)
Operational History: First Mission 11 May 1941, 2
Tomahawks from Baginton – base patrol at 25,000 feet.
First Offensive Mission 5 August 1941, 11 Spitfire VB’s
from Homchurch – low squadron of high cover wing for
Blenheims bombing St Orner, France. First Victory 9 -~~
August 1941, 11 Spitfire VB’s from Hornchurch – target
support wing for Blenheims bombing Gosnay. P/0 K.H.
Anthony in K3573 KH-K credited with a Bf.109F probably
destroyed. 19 August 1941, 12 Spitfire VB’s from Homchurch
– dose-cover target support (independent wing) for
6 Blenheims bombing Gosnay, engaged 15 Bf.109’s.
Squadron credited with 4 destroyed, 1 probable and 2
damaged for the loss of 2 Spitfires. (One pilot listed as
missing in action; the other, P/0 Anthony, rescued from
the Channel.) S/L B.G. Morris (RAF), in K3438 KH-G,
credited with 1 destroyed, 1 damaged. Triple Victory 2 July
1944, 12 Spitfire IXB’s from Bazenville – front line patrol
east of Caen, France; encountered 20-plus Bf.109’s and
credited with 9 destroyed, 3 damaged, without loss. F/L
J.D. Lindsay leading a flight assigned to high cover; while
climbing through cloud, engaged a second group of 15-plus
Bf.109’s and credited with 3 destroyed. Last Mission 8
May 1945, 6 Spitfire XVI’s from Fassberg- escorted
Dakotas to Copenhagen. Two of the Spitfires had
mechanical trouble and landed at Kastrup. Summary
Sorties: 13,004 (29 on Tomahawks). Operational/Nonoperational
Flying Hours: 17,728/13,253. Victories: Air,.
craft: 123 (plus 7 shared) destroyed, 10 probably
de~troyed, 72 (plus 1 shared) damaged. Ground: dropped
70 tons of bombs, credited with 17 rail cuts; destroyed or
damaged 50 locomotives, 150 freight cars, and almost 130
vehicles (including 30 armoured). Casualties: Operational:
85 aircraft; 76 pilots, of whom 4 were killed, 40 presumed
dead, 21 POW (1 escaped, 2 died), 11 evaded capture.
Non-operational: 19 personnel killed, 1 seriously injured.
Squadron Aces F/L H.D. MacDonald, DFC and Bar
7Yz-1-2. F/L J.D. Lindsay, DFC 6Yz-O-S. S/L L.S. Ford,
DFC and Bar 6-0-2. S/L H.C. Godefroy, DFC and Bar
5-0-1 Honours and Awards 4 Bars to DFC, 16 DFC’s, 1
Military Medal, 3 3 MiD’s. Battle Honours Defence of
Britain 1941-1944. English Channel and North Sea 1942.
Fortress Europe 1941-1944: Dieppe. France and Germany
1944-1945: Normandy 1944, Rhine.
Saturday, April 1, 1941
Dull weather, visibility poor. Little flying was done during the day.
Sunday, April 2, 1941
Dull cloudy day, little flying.
Monday, April 3, 1941
Overcast during morning. Three Tomahawks to Audley to be tested. F/L Trevena flew to Eastleigh in a Tomahawk.
Tuesday, April 4, 1941
Fine. F/L Trevena back from Eastleigh. Some formation flying during the afternoon.
Wednesday, April 5, 1941
Dull, visibility very poor. No flying. S/L Morris gone on two days leave.
Thursday, April 6, 1941
Cold overcast day. P/O Carter and Sgt Pelton in Magister to Eastleigh; P/O Carter returning with another Tomahawk and Sgt Pelton with Magister. Squadron did some searchlight co-operation and cross-country flying.
Friday, April 7, 1941
Cold and overcast. P/O Carter and F/L Trevena in Battle to Eastleigh. Sgt Pelton and Sones follow in Magister. P/O Carter and Sgt Sones return with two more Tomahawks. Local formation flying was done by the Squadron during the day.
Saturday, April 8, 1941
Local formation flights and cross-country flights to Hereford. F/L Trevena to Eastleigh in Lysander to bring back another Tomahawk.
Sunday, April 9, 1941
Heavy blitz on Coventry again during the night. F/L Trevena and Sgt Wood leave two Tomahawks at Eastleigh for modifications and return with two more.
Monday, April 10, 1941
Fair in the morning. All pilots did a high climb to 26,000 ft. During the afternoon, three aircraft to Bramcote for siting at butts. One marksman shot a hole through his prop. Another Blitz on Coventry and Birmingham during the night.
Tuesday, April 11, 1941
A blitz on Coventry again during the night for the third time running. Nine craters on the aerodrome near our dispersal points; a suggestion is noted to start a Squadron golf course but craters are filled in before decision is reached. The C in C inspected the Squadron during the morning. Practice attacks were carried out during the afternoon as well as general flying.
Wednesday, April 12, 1941
Quite night. Dull overcast morning. General flying.
Thursday, April 13, 1941
Dull and overcast all day. The AOC accompanied by GP C Oliver visited the Squadron during the afternoon. Little flying done.
Friday, April 14, 1941
Raining all the morning, cleared up in the afternoon. S/L Morris with F/L Gillen and Sgt Sones did some low altitude attacks and dive-bombing. Sgt Sones and Wood did some formation flying.
Saturday, April 15, 1941
Fine sunny morning. Sgt Pilots Pelton and Walker, both Canadians, posted to Uxbridge. Cross-country flying.
Sunday, April 16, 1941
Fine morning, clouding a little during the afternoon. Formation flying. The following pilots, posted to the Squadron, arrived at Henley at 3:30 PM: P/Os Fannon, Colvin and Murray, Sgts Wickham, Thomas, Rogers, Tomlinson, Morrison and Griggs. With the exception of P/Os Fannon and Colvin, and Sgts Wickham and Thomas, they are all Canadian.
Monday, April 17, 1941
Fine day. F/L Gillen, P/O Carter, Sgts Wood and Sones did practice flights. P/O Carter made a forced landing in a field near the aerodrome.
Tuesday, April 18, 1941
Cloudy and dull all day. Mostly local flying. Sgt Sones flew at various times to Bassingbourne and returned. Sgt Tomlinson made a forced landing at Bassingbourne, damaging the plane slightly in doing so, but without injury to himself except for the extra spell of duty pilot which he collected as a reward for his performance.
Wednesday, April 19, 1941
Raining all the morning. No flying. In the afternoon, F/L Trevena took off for Digby but returned owing to the weather. Very little flying.
Thursday, April 20, 1941
Sgt Sones made a battle climb to 15,000 ft. P/O Colvin in a vectors flight, landed at Upper Heyford owing to the weather. Mostly vectors and cross-country flights.
Friday, April 21, 1941
Fine day, mostly formation flying. P/O Carter and Sgt Sones flew to Eastleigh and back.
Saturday, April 22, 1941
Misty all day. Little flying during the morning due to fog on aerodrome. P/O Carter flew to Bramcote and back. S/L Morris to Bramcote and back after lunch. Lt Allison and two Sgts of the United States Air Corps arrived today, his mission being to watch for points from the maintenance angle – and of the actual combative possibilities of Tomahawk aircraft. Some Air Corps buttons and several tips on maintenance have already been exchanged.
Sunday, April 23, 1941
Cloudy and cold. Six aircraft from the Squadron gave a display for the Forest of Arden War weapons week and in the words of the Station Commander, ‘rang a bell’ with the onlookers. Pilot Officers Anthony, Ball, Ford, Gilbertson, Gubb and Waldon, all Canadians arrived from 52 OTU Debden for general duties.
Monday, April 24, 1941
Fair but cold. Squadron got in about 23 hours of flying today, mainly formation attacks and sector recco’s.
Tuesday, April 25, 1941
Fine. S/L Morris did an air-firing test above 20,000 ft.
Wednesday, April 26, 1941
Fine and windy. P/O Reynolds, the Squadron Intelligence Officer, posted to Speke.
Thursday, April 27, 1941
Cold and fair. Both flights to Speke for air firing. P/O Barr has arrived for service as Squadron Engineering Officer. P/O Murray made a forced landing near the golf course at Waltham. Pilot uninjured, plane slightly damaged.
Friday, April 28, 1941
Fair and calm. Jamboree day. Two pilots form a committee to welcome the new Engineering Officer. First member, Sgt Morrison, overshot on landing at Bagington and hit a gun post, damaging the starboard wing and undercarriage. The second member, P/O Anthony, also overshot but improved on the first performance by colliding with another Tomahawk and mounting his machine on top of it; the result being slightly suggestive and a rumour has now gone about that production of aircraft is being speeded up by breeding planes. The Squadron Engineering Officer is very gratified with the welcome. Both members of the committee uninjured – as yet.
Saturday, April 29, 1941
Overcast and cold. Some flying, mainly formation and attack practice. P/O Gubb and Sgt Rogers to Brize Norton for night visual test.
Sunday, April 30, 1941
Fine. Lt Allison of USA Corps off to London today. Anglo-American relationship stock very high. Sgt Tomlinson went into a spin while doing a battle climb and bailed-out. Plane written off and Sgt Tomlinson suffering from slight concussion.
Monday, May 1, 1941
Dull. Some formation flying and fighter attacks were done by the Squadron. Nothing of importance to note today.
Tuesday, May 2, 1941
Formation flying and fighter attacks.
Wednesday, May 3, 1941
Bright morning, overcast later. The usual training flying done today. Nothing of importance to report.
Thursday, May 4, 1941
P/O Gubb posted to 96 Squadron, Cranage for night flying duty. The Squadron did some high flying above 20,000 ft.
Friday, May 5, 1941
F/L Trevena, P/O Colvin and P/O Waldon travelled to Lossiemouth by train to collect 3 Tomahawks. Air to Air firing done by the Squadron.
Saturday, May 6, 1941
Fine and sunny. Squadron training continues, formation flying and attacks etc.
Sunday, May 7, 1941
Nothing of importance to report.
Monday, May 8, 1941
Nothing of importance to report.
Tuesday, May 9, 1941
Fine and sunny. Squadron training continues, formation flying and attacks etc. F/O Oatey attached to the Squadron for armament duties from Air Ministry.
Wednesday, May 7, 1941
Nothing of importance to report.
Thursday, May 8, 1941
Nothing of importance to report.
Friday, May 9, 1941
Sgt Morrison flying Tomahawk AH. 879 crashed on landing at Bagington. Pilot very shaken although without external injuries.
Saturday, May 10, 1941
Formation flying, air to air firing and some flying above 20,000 ft were done by the Squadron.
Sunday, May 11, 1941
One of the great days as 403 Squadron became operational from 11th May. The flying for the day was not very great, as the weather was only moderately fair with visibility 3-4 miles. At 1330 hours, S/L Morris and P/O Anthony did a patrol at 25,000 feet, which lasted until 1440 hours. About an hour later, F/L Gillen, P/O Ford and Sgt Sones who had taken off for firing practice at 1440 hours, were diverted to intercept an enemy raider. They did not succeed in making an interception and landed at 1530 hours to the annoyance of F/L Gillen who thought he saw a smoke trial from the e/a. The remainder of the days flying consisted of firing at Bramcote by two pilots, a practice interception with 308 (Polish) Squadron and some aerobatics by one of the pilots. So the first operational day for the Squadron was comparatively uneventful. No aircraft were damaged, but when starting off on patrol, the CO was delayed in taking off by the fact that the inertia starter failed to operate.
Monday, May 12, 1941
The day broke fine and clear but, as the morning wore on, the weather deteriorated until by 1100 hours the cloud base was at 3,000 feet and visibility was only about 3 miles. At 1100 hours, 2 aircraft took off on patrol over the base at 15,000 feet, an enemy aircraft being plotted over the aerodrome at that height. They were not successful, however, in making an interception and returned to base at 1215 hours with no untoward incidents. At 1140 hours, another section of 2 aircraft took off also to patrol base at 15,000 feet. They had no luck either and landed again at 1220 hours. Both these patrols were done by ‘B’ Flight. In the afternoon, ‘A’ Flight put in a number of section attacks, some local flying and aerobatics. Sgt Thomas who went up to practice cloud flying bent one of his wing tips on landing, but the damage to the aircraft was not serious.
Tuesday, May 13, 1941
The day broke moderately fine. The Squadron was not on operations and, as the weather slowly deteriorated until the cloud base was down to 1,000 feet, not a great deal of flying was done. Six pilots flew from Wales for firing practice. Three pilots carried out some formation flying. Apart from this, there was no other flying done except for a test flight and some low flying practice done by two pilots.
Wednesday, May 14, 1941
The weather was poor, with visibility less than a mile and cloud level down to 800 feet. Two aircraft took off on a patrol over base at 1410 hours. There was little other flying for the day, as the weather showed no improvement. Three aircraft did formation flying practice for 35 minutes, and two weather tests were also carried out.
Thursday, May 15, 1941
The weather was again bad. No operational flying took place. Some R/T practice was done by two pilots. In addition, formation flying, section attacks, and quarter attacks were done later in the day as the weather improved.
Friday, May 16, 1941
The weather improved and a considerable amount of training flying was put in without incident, but no patrols of any kind took place. Eight pilots went over to Speke for air firing and put in about 20 hours flying on the job. Apart from this, four pilots, including the CO, did section attacks at 8,000 feet and two pilots did some formation flying. F/Os McKenna and Price joined the Squadron for flying duties. F/L Christmas was posted from 400 Squadron for flying duties as a Flight Commander. All three are Canadians.
Saturday, May 17, 1941
The weather broke fine and clear. A patrol was maintained over Lichfield at 20,000 feet from 1540 hours until 1650 hours, but no interception was made although an enemy aircraft was believed to be in the vicinity. This was the only operational flight, but training flights were on a considerable scale. A Squadron formation was done by 12 aircraft. A number of section attacks were made by nine aircraft at different times and other local flights were carried out.
Sunday, May 18, 1941
The weather continued fine. Interception practice was carried out by three aircraft for one hour in the morning. Section attacks were carried out by six aircraft in the afternoon. Four aircraft flew to Debden and back putting in one hour and ten minutes flying.
Monday, May 19, 1941
There was no flying possible owing to weather. Rain persisted all day and cloud level was as low as 150 feet. P/O Gibbs attached under training to Squadron as Intelligence Officer.
Tuesday, May 20, 1941
There was no flying owing to the weather, which showed little improvement, cloud level being at about 500 feet for most of the day. P/O Barnes, Squadron Intelligence Officer, was posted to North Weald to Operational duties.
Wednesday, May 21, 1941
Weather improved slightly, little flying in the morning; only three aircraft took off, one for a weather test and the other two for local flying formation. At 1900 hours a patrol of two aircraft was maintained over the base at 10,000 feet and lasted until 1935 hours. Lt Zemke, USA Air Corps attached to the Squadron as an observer for the US Government. At 2110 hours, two aircraft of ‘B’ Flight were sent on patrol by mistake to patrol base below cloud by operations. These should have been sent to intercept paratroopers who were to be dropped on the aerodrome. Patrol returned at 2120 hours. At 2155 hours, two aircraft were sent to intercept enemy aircraft carrying paratroops. These enemy aircraft were intercepted at 750 feet and would have been shot down. The weather by this time had deteriorated badly and persistent rain and low clouds were experienced all the evening. Patrol returned at 2140 hours. The paratroops were landed on the aerodrome at 2130 hours and adequate precautionary action was taken by aerodrome’s defences.
Thursday, May 22, 1941
The weather only improved slightly and there was little flying. In the afternoon three aircraft of ‘A’ Flight flew to Rhyl for a firing practice and four aircraft of ‘B’ Flight did formation flying. Cloud level was 1,200 feet.
Friday, May 23, 1941
The weather improved slightly and there was a great deal of flying. Seven aircraft of ‘A’ Flight did formation flying in the morning and six aircraft did Squadron formation in the afternoon. Six aircraft of ‘B’ Flight made a formation flight (Sections Blue, Black and Green) in the morning. A section formation by four aircraft and a Squadron formation by six aircraft were made in the afternoon.
Saturday, May 24, 1941
Weather conditions were still bad, low cloud ceiling for most of the day and rain in the early afternoon. In the morning, ‘B’ Flight did Squadron formation flying and so did ‘A’ Flight. At 1545 hours three aircraft took off to patrol base at 10,000 and returned at 1645 hours. Two more aircraft were told to patrol base at 1820 hours but there were no incidents and they returned to base at 1830 hours. Apart from this, there was some low flying and a demonstration flight to Lutterworth by three aircraft.
Sunday, May 25, 1941
Weather still very bad; cloud base at 2,000 feet and poor visibility. At 1225 hours two aircraft were sent up to patrol base at 8,000 feet. Rain was encountered at 2,000 feet. Sgt Sones stated he thought he saw a smoke trail up at 20,000 feet but no enemy aircraft were intercepted. Both aircraft returned to base at 1315 hours. Again at 1230 hours two further aircraft were sent up to patrol, they landed at 1355 hours.
Monday, May 26, 1941
The weather was still very bad, cloud and rain encountered at 2,500 feet. A certain amount of flying formation was carried out.
Tuesday, May 27, 1941
Weather improved slightly; there was a fair deal of cloud and low flying carried out by ‘A’ Flight in the morning and afternoon. F/L Trevena was obliged to land after 15 minutes in the air owing to the fact that his oil cap came off. At 1405 hours two aircraft of ‘A’ Flight were told to patrol Kidderminster at 10,000 feet. These returned at 1525 hours. No interception was made. The weather was fair, cloud at 2,500 feet 8/10ths cloud.
Wednesday, May 28, 1941
The weather improved slightly. Cloud 7/10ths at 2,000 feet. There was a great deal of local flying as the Squadron was using Spitfires for the first time. Both ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights were flying the new planes in the afternoon. At 1330 hours, two aircraft of the section were told to patrol Worcester; these landed at 1715 hours. Both patrols were unable to intercept enemy aircraft. P/O Hyde arrived for intelligence duties.
Thursday, May 29, 1941
Nothing of interest to report during day. The Station gave a party for the Squadron during the evening. Lt Zemke found a sheep in his room about 0400 hours and a certain pilot fell in the pond at Henley; in general a good time was had by all.
Friday, May 30, 1941
Dull rainy weather. No flying. Squadron moved to Tern Hill. Advance party consisting of armourers and rearms and personnel from one flight left at 0800 hours. Main party should have left at 0900 hours but did not get away until 1100 hours owing to the baggage lorries reporting to Bagington instead of Henley. Consternation was caused owing to an order being received to the effect that servicing echelon is to be taken with the Squadron. Luckily sufficient transport had been ordered and the movement was completed without too many hitches. The air party could not take off from Bagington owing to weather.
Saturday, May 31, 1941
Weather fine but rather hazy. 7/10ths cloud. Squadron busy moving in. Squadron Headquarters are located in an old cottage next to the dispersal hut; this should be a considerable advantage in many ways. Nine Spitfires of the Squadron left Bagington at 1944 hours, arriving Tern Hill 2015 hours, and eight Tomahawks left at 1710 hours and arrived at 1755 hours.
Sunday, June 1, 1941
Weather hazy, 7/10ths cloud. Base patrol and local reconnaissance. Three scrambles during the day at 1137 hours, 1330 hours, and 1753 hours. No interceptions were made. Pilots went to High Ercall for training flights on Spitfires.
Monday, June 2, 1941
Weather dull 10/10th cloud. Improving towards midday. Aerodrome partly unserviceable. Pilots went to High Ercall for training flying. Flying from Tern Hill, mostly circuits and landings on new type (Spitfires).
Tuesday, June 3, 1941
Cold and overcast. Aerodrome still unserviceable. Pilots went to High Ercall for flying. One section operational at Tern Hill. P/O Murray turned a Spitfire over on Landing; P/O Waldon broke the undercarriage of another Spitfire on making a heavy landing at Tern Hill. P/O Fannon completed an unfortunate day by undershooting, ploughing his way through some trees and landing in a duck pond. One scramble during the day; interception made with friendly aircraft.
Wednesday, June 4, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud. One scramble during the day; nil result. Squadron did some formation flying. P/O Dick and Sgt Rainville, both Canadians, posted to the Squadron for flying duties. Two pilots flew to Bagington and returned.
Thursday, June 5, 1941
Weather fair during the early part of morning when some sector reconnaissance and local formation flying was done. Heavy rain later and bad visibility made flying impossible and the pilots attended films and a lecture. P/O Fannon posted to Speke for AA Co-operation.
Friday, June 6, 1941
Weather overcast 10/10ths cloud. One scramble during the day with nil result. Little of interest to report.
Saturday, June 7, 1941
Fair and hazy 8/10ths cloud improving to 5/10ths during the afternoon. Squadron did some formation flying, cross-country and local reconnaissance etc. P/O Murray and Gilbertson collected two Spitfires from Kirton-on-Lindsay.
Sunday, June 8, 1941
Thick haze during morning. Thunder and wet during the afternoon. No flying.
Monday, June 9, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud, rain in the afternoon. No flying.
Tuesday, June 10, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud. Rain. No flying. F/L Trevena returned from leave with a wife, having been married in Scotland without much publicity.
Wednesday, June 11, 1941
Weather sunny, about 5/10ths cloud. Six Tomahawks to Bagington, returning with Spitfires. Change over from Tomahawks to Spitfires now nearly completed. No scrambles during the day. Sgt Wood to Air Ministry for interview regarding commission.
Thursday, June 12, 1941
Sunny. W/C More, late Station Commander at Bagington where the Squadron was formed, arrived to take over duties as Sector Commander. Squadron did some cross-countries, formation flying and other training flights. P/O Colvin went to Bagington with Tomahawk and returned with a Spitfire.
Friday, June 13, 1941
Fine with gusty winds. Blue Section (F/L Christmas and P/O Ford) took off on a scramble over Shrewsbury at 1011 hours, Ford landing at Wolverhampton for petrol. No results. Squadron formation flying and cloud formation flying done during the day. Sgt Wood granted commission.
Saturday, June 14, 1941
Weather overcast, rather windy, 10/10ths cloud. One scramble during the day at 1322 hours (P/O Price and P/O Ford) no interception made. Sgts Thomas and Wickham posted from Squadron.
Sunday, June 15, 1941
Overcast and gusty. Three scrambles were made during the day without result. P/O Waldon went to Reading and came back in the Magister.
Monday, June 16, 1941
Sunshine, slight haze, visibility good, 5/10ths cloud. One scramble at 1501 hours P/Os Carter and Ball patrolled base at 20,000 feet without result. Squadron practice attacks etc. completed.
Tuesday, June 17, 1941
9/10ths cloud, visibility good. One scramble, F/L Trevena and P/O Gilbertson, took off at 1416 hours and returned at 1525 hours without having made an interception. Six planes from 402 (Canadian) Squadron arrived at the aerodrome from Digby during the afternoon and left about 1700 hours. Four Spitfires flew to Speke for air firing.
Wednesday, June 18, 1941
Weather fine, 7/10ths cloud, visibility good. Sgts Sones and Grigg in a scramble at 1451 hours. No result. W/C More flew to Cranage in Magister.
Thursday, June 19, 1941
Weather fine but hazy 9/10ths cloud. W/C More flew to Preston in Spitfire. Combat practice and formation flying.
Friday, June 20, 1941
Weather fine but hazy. Sgt Morrison rejoined the Squadron, having had a medical board at Cosford. Sgt Sones and Rainville in scramble at 1729 hours. No result. Four Spitfires, W/C More leading, took off at 1140 hours to make low flying attacks on troops in a local army co-operation exercise.
Saturday, June 21, 1941
Thick haze, visibility limited to one mile. Sunshine and slightly clearer in the afternoon. F/O McKenna and P/O Colvin in scramble at 1810 hours. No interception made. Blue, Green, Black, Yellow and White Sections did some Squadron formation flying. F/Ls Trevena and Christmas flew to Digby to attend Canadian Squadron part to celebrate the completion of these Squadrons first years in England.
Sunday, June 22, 1941
Weather fine but hazy, 5/10ths cloud. F/O McKenna and P/O Colvin in scramble at 1159 hours. Nil result. F/Ls Trevena and Christmas returned from Digby. Accounts of party slightly hazy but appear to have been a wow!
Monday, June 23, 1941
Weather fine and sunny. No scrambles during the day. Blue, Green Black and White Section did some Squadron formation. W/C Isherwood and P/O Gilbertson in Magister to Preston with P/O Gilbertson bringing it back.
Tuesday, June 24, 1941
Fine and sunny. No scrambles. Blue and Green Sections did a beat up in aid of army at 1045 hours, followed by Black and White Sections at 1052 hours. Red Section went to Speke for air firing.
Wednesday, June 25, 1941
Fine and sunny. 5/10ths cloud, visibility good. F/L Trevena posted with effect from 30th to take Command of 412 (Canadian) Squadron. Great rejoicing at his promotion. F/L Cathels, who is to replace him as Flight Commander ‘A’ Flight, visited the Squadron today. F/L Cathels is a Canadian who has served in the RAF some years before the war and has just returned from the near east. Two scrambles during the day. No results. S/L Morris to Sealand in Magister.
Thursday, June 26, 1941
Fine and sunny. Two scrambles. F/O McKenna and P/O Carter at 1053 hours. P/O Carter and P/O Ball at 2009 hours. No interceptions made. Sgt Tomlinson is now fit for full flying duties. S/L Morris returned from Sealand. Deputation from Squadron to Market Dray to buy a present for F/L Trevena (Sash) on leaving Squadron foxed owing to it being early closing day. Deputation stays to have a swim. Squadron stag party held in Shrewsbury as send off for (Sash) F/L Trevena. Adjutant tied up by domestic affairs arrived late. Misses all and holds celebration alone.
Friday, June 27, 1941
Fine and sunny 8/10ths cloud. F/O McKenna and P/O Murray in a scramble at 1549 hours. Nil result.
Saturday, June 28, 1941
Overcast, visibility bad, improving slightly in the afternoon. One scramble (P/O Price and P/O Ford). No interception was made.
Sunday, June 29, 1941
Weather hazy and visibility bad, improving later. S/L Morris flew to Hornchurch after lunch. Squadron pilots made up a baseball team to represent Tern Hill against Cosford, and won 7 to 3. Very little flying done owing to weather conditions.
Monday, June 30, 1941
Sunshine in the morning, changing to thick haze, visibility bad, and thunder all day, some rain during the afternoon. P/O Waldon in Magister to Hamble and return.
Tuesday, July 1, 1941
Weather dull, visibility bad, little flying.
Wednesday, July 2, 1941
Fine and sunny. Visibility good. F/L Cathels and P/O Waldon in a scramble at 1100 hours and F/O Price and P/O Ball in a scramble at 1530 hours, both without result.
Thursday, July 3, 1941
Dull. One scramble during the day, no interception made. Squadron’s first night flying programme completed without a hitch.
Friday, July 4, 1941
Dull. Nothing of importance to report.
Saturday, July 5, 1941
Bright and sunny. P/O Wood’s undercarriage would not come down during a practice flight and, after circling the aerodrome a few times, was ordered to land at Bagington, where he made a satisfactory emergency landing.
Sunday, July 6, 1941
Bright and sunny. Nothing of importance during the day.
Monday, July 7, 1941
Dull. Three scrambles during the day. Red Section (P/O Wood and Anthony) at 1414 hours, Yellow Section (F/L Cathels and Sgt Ryckman) at 1434 and White Section (P/O Price ad P/O Waldon) at 1455 hours. No results. W/C Moore crashed in a Beaufighter near Shrewsbury and was taken to the Royal Infirmary there. It is understood that his injuries are not serious. P/O Carter posted to an OTU.
Tuesday, July 8, 1941
Dull. Usual training flying. S/L Morris flew to Redhill and returned.
Wednesday, July 9, 1941
Sunny. P/O (Pappy) Gilbertson to Air Ministry for medical.
Thursday, July 10, 1941
Fine. One scramble (F/L Christmas and P/O Ford) at 1100 hours. Nil result.
Friday, July 11, 1941
Weather fine but visibility limited by ground haze. P/O Murray posted to 161 Squadron Tangmere. Five aircraft from ‘B’ Flight (F/L Christmas. P/O Ford, P/O Dick, Sgt Sones) took off for Valley at 1737 hours led by the CO who returned to Tern Hill later that evening. P/O Price and P/O Ball went by road with advance party. Scramble (F/O McKenna and P/O Gilbertson, 1635 to 1810 hours. Nil result.
Saturday, July 12, 1941
Weather – Heavy mist – poor visibility. Squadron visited by AVM (SMO). Nil flying except weather test, 10 minutes.
Sunday, July 13, 1941
Weather hot and sultry with haze. Nil flying.
Monday, July 14, 1941
Weather overcast 7/10ths cloud – brighter later. Sgt Morrison attached to No 3 Delivery Flight. ‘A’ Flight scramble (F/O McKenna and P/O Anthony) ‘B’ Flight scramble (F/L Cathels and P/O Waldon). Nil results. 1 Spitfire Mk1 received from 5 M.U. Three Spitfires Mk IIAs received from 36 M.U. One Spitfire Mk IIA received 8 M.U. One Spitfire Mk IIA received 9M.U. CO flew to Valley in Spitfire and returned. Various other flying conducted.
Tuesday, July 15, 1941
Weather overcast and 10/10ths. Scramble (P/O Wood and P/O Gilbertson). Nil result. Various other flying. Sgts Ryckman, Collinson and Crist posted to 403 from 61 OTU.
Wednesday, July 16, 1941
Weather in the morning was cool 10/10ths cloud with cross winds. Scramble (F/O McKenna and Sgt Rainville) nil result. F/L Cathels force landed a Spitfire Mk IIA ½ a mile south of drome. P/O Waldon flew to Valley and returned. One Spitfire Mk IIA delivered from 37 M.U. 1 Spitfire Mk IIA delivered from 8 M.U.
Thursday, July 17, 1941
Weather cool bright and sunny 7/10ths cloud. CO took off for Hornchurch 1230 hours. The following pilots returned from Valley – F/L Christmas, P/O Price, P/O Ford, P/O Ball, and Sgt Sones. Various types of flying. 1 Spitfire Mk IIA delivered from 14 M.U.
Friday, July 18, 1941
Weather in the morning – heavy rain with 10/10ths cloud and ground haze. Weather in the afternoon was sunshine and improved visibility. One Spitfire Mk IIA delivered from 12 M.U. F/L Cathels, Mac, Big Bad Wolf, Timber, Pappsy, Doug, and Hidy Ho visited Wrekin and its breath taking beauties. All returned safely to bass + Table, one.
Saturday, July 19, 1941
Scramble (F/O McKenna and Sgt Rainville) nil result. Various other flying.
Sunday, July 20, 1941
Various flying. Visit from Observer Corps. ‘Farewell Party at Dorth’s – Oh boy!’
Monday, July 21, 1941
Dull cold 10/10ths cloud. Various flying conducted.
Tuesday, July 22, 1941
Weather bright and sunny. One Spitfire from 30 M.U. received and CO returned from Hornchurch intact. Various other flying.
Wednesday, July 23, 1941
Bright and Sunny. Sgt Rainville made a brilliant attack on a stray balloon at Operations request and shot it down. Two Spitfires did dive-bombing attack at Tidesley in Army co-op exercise.
Thursday, July 24, 1941
Fine and sunny. Whole Squadron on 15 minutes readiness to go South to reinforce. Squadron stood by all day and was eventually released at 2255 hours.
Friday, July 25, 1941
Fine and Sunny. S/L Morris to Speke and returned in Spitfire. Squadron did cine-gun attacks. No scramble today and nothing of interest to report.
Saturday, July 26, 1941
Fine and sunny. Sgts German and McDonald, both Canadians, reported to the Squadron for general duties. Squadron is still concentrating on cine-gun attacks. No scramble during the day.
Sunday, July 27, 1941
Fine and sunny. More cine-gun camera practice. P/O Ball went to Digby and returned. No scramble during the day. P/O Carrillo (Canadian) posted tot he Squadron for general duties, also Sgt Case (Canadian).
Monday, July 28, 1941
Day commenced fine and sunny and later turned overcast with rain and mist. Scrambles – F/O McKenna and Sgt Rainville, P/O Ball and Sgt Collinson, P/O Price and P/O Ford. Nil results. Various flying.
Tuesday, July 29, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud, overcast. Various flying.
Wednesday, July 30, 1941
Weather overcast and squally. Sgt Spencer posted to the Squadron. Sgt German was killed when his Spitfire crashed at Safwal.
Thursday, July 31, 1941
Weather overcast, with haze, rain and mist. Another farewell party at ‘D’s’ Bad show.
Friday, August 1, 1941
Weather overcast 10/10ths cloud and mist. Inquest held on Sgt German at Cosford. Various flying. Orders to proceed to Hornchurch Monday 4.8.41.
Saturday, August 2, 1941
Weather sunshine and haze. Various flying.
Sunday, August 3, 1941
Weather fine and sunny with haze and broken cloud. Very little flying. Squadron Echelon left today.
Monday, August 4, 1941
19 Spitfire IIs left Tern Hill for Hornchurch 1045 hours, landing at Hornchurch at 1130 hours. Squadron was issued with Spitfire Mk VAs and VBs at Hornchurch. Sgts Spencer and Case posted to 615 Squadron Valley. Main party left 1000 hours in charge of P/O Barrass and P/O Hyde by special train (87 men and 2 officers). It arrived at Hornchurch at 1715 hours with no undue hitches. F/O Roberts and P/O Anthony went by road. F/O Tomkin (Medical Officer) posted to the Squadron. F/O Reason (Engineering Officer) posted to the Squadron. ‘Get together’ party with AVM in the mess.
Tuesday, August 5, 1941
Weather in the morning squally, broken cloud. Convoy patrols, F/O Price and P/O Ford 0930 to 1040 hours. F/O McKenna and Sgt Rainville 1005 hours. F/L Cathels and P/O Wood 1105 to 1215 hours. P/O Dick and Sgt Sones 1140 to 1240 hours. Circus, 11 Spitfires 1810 to 1930 hours, Low Squadron of High Cover Wing over St. Omer. No action.
Wednesday, August 6, 1941
Weather in the morning cool, broken cloud, squalls. Squadron formation flying. P/O Colvin to Northolt and return.
Thursday, August 7, 1941
Weather am bright and sunny, visibility good broken cloud 5/10ths. Convoy patrols F/L Christmas and Sgt Collinson 0720 to 0830 hours. Sgt Sones and Sgt Grigg 0720 to 0830 hours. Circus, 11 Spitfires and Wing Commander Stapleton, Low Squadron of High Cover Wing over St. Omer 1030 to 1205 hours. Not in action, all returned OK. Circus 11 Spitfires and Group Captain Broadhurst, DSO, DFC AFC. Diversion Wing over St. Omer and Dunkirk. F/L Christmas and P/O Ford sighted enemy and had a squirt at long range. No claim. All returned OK 1700 to 1835.
Friday, August 8, 1941
Weather am rain. Squadron at 30 minutes readiness till 1700 hours. 1130 hours, talk by W/C Stapleton on Tactics etc. F/L Pike (Signals) addressed Squadron on R/T. Nil flying. Bad weather all day. Squadron released at 1700 hours.
Saturday, August 9, 1941
Weather am fine and sunny, visibility good, 3/10ths broken cloud. Barrow Deep Patrol, F/L Cathels and Sgt Rainville 0610 to 0715 hours. Convoy Patrol P/O Ball and P/O Dick 0625 to 0740 hours. Line Patrol P/O Anthony and Sgt Collinson 0648 to 0742 hours. Convoy Patrol F/O Price and Sgt Crist 0710 to 0825 hours; P/O Gilbertson and Sgt Ryckman 0740 to 0855 hours. Circus, 11 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton, Target Support Wing to Blenheims over Gosnay 1045 to 1225 hours. P/O Anthony 1 ME109F probable. P/O Wood aircraft damaged, cat 1. AVM greeted pilots on return. Offensive Sweep 11 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton, Low Squadron, Leading Wing 1710 to 1840 hours, via Hardilot, Poret Dieppe out by Gravelines. P/O Waldon missing believed to be killed. P/O Anthony, tail plane shot off. Doug Waldon, huge feet and slim face that broke out into a slow grin when he kidded you enough. There may be kinder and more sincere types in the world but we haven’t met them. He was a schoolteacher in Canada in civil life, and during an unguarded moment admitted that he was a scoutmaster. One thing is certain, to the community in Canada that he belonged to; he will be as great a loss as he is to us. It would be impossible to say more.
Sunday, August 10, 1941
Weather am 7/10ths cloud squally. Barrow Deep Patrol, Sgt Sones and Sgt Grigg 1855 to 2005 hours, F/O McKenna and P/O Dick 1935 to 2055 hours, P/O Ball and Sgt Collinson 2010 to 2110 hours. Weather PM sunshine. Offensive Sweep 11 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton, Dunkirk to St Omer 1215 to 1340. Nil result.
Monday, August 11, 1941
Rain. Squadron released from camp.
Tuesday, August 12, 1941
Weather am 5/10ths cloud, squally. Convoy patrol F/O McKenna and P/O Colvin 0627 to 0740 hours, F/O Price and P/O Ball 0700 to 0755 hours. Circus 12 Spitfires, CO leading, close escort 6 Hampdens to St. Omer 0945 to 1125 hours. Nil result. Offensive Sweep, 11 Spitfires, CO leading, Le Touquet, Frugges, St. Omer, St. Inglevert, 1710 to 1842 hours. Nil result. PM, Squadron visited by Godfrey Winn. Line patrol, Squadron 1228 to 1355 hours, N. Foreland and Clacton.
Wednesday, August 13, 1941
Weather am cold, heavy rain. Squadron released till 1300 hours.
Thursday, August 14, 1941
Weather am 9/10ths cloud, sunshine. Circus 11 Spitfires 1331 to 1513 hours and W/C Stapleton. Nil result. Circus 11 Spitfires, 1637 to 1812 hours.
Friday, August 15, 1941
Rain. Squadron released all day.
Saturday, August 16, 1941
Weather am fine, sunshine and squally. Sweep 10 Spitfires 0725 to 0850. CO crashed at Shingle Bay owing to engine trouble. Aircraft likely to be cat 2 or 3. CO uninjured and returned to Hornchurch. Circus, 12 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton 1208 to 1325 hours. Nil result. Bomber Cover, 11 Spitfires 1741 to 1910 hours. P/O Gilbertson returned 1840 hours, petrol gauge faulty.
Sunday, August 17, 1941
Weather am fine, 9/10ths cloud, sunshine with squalls later and rain threatening. Dull later with heavy cloud. Eight Convoy patrols were carried out but nothing of interest reported. Escort cover to three Blenheims attacking tanker at Le-Touquet 1855 to 2010 hours. Nothing of interest to report.
Monday, August 18, 1941
Weather am rain. 1030 hours sunshine 3/10ths cloud. Circus 78, 12 Spitfires. Escort cover to Lille 1410 to 1605 hours. P/O Anthony landed at Manston 1542 hours. F/O McKenna landed Rochford 1545 hours. Squadron acted as Middle Cover to 12 Blenheims, in company with 613 and 611 Squadrons. Sgt Rainville returned owing to oil leak from prop. Very little seen on the show. Circus 80, 11 Spitfires as middle escort cover to 12 Blenheims attacking Lille. No combat and nothing of interest to report.
Tuesday, August 19, 1941
Weather am fine and sunny, 3/10ths cloud. Circus 81, 12 Spitfires as Close middle cover Target support (Independent Wing) to six Blenheims bombing Gosnay. When between Poperinghe and Cassel an attack was made on 15 ME109F’s flying below and Squadron Leader Morris led the Squadron and dived on the enemy aircraft. He personally opened fire on tail of one e/a and this disintegrated in mid-air. The attack was continued on another enemy aircraft which he damaged. P/O Ball followed in line astern and attacked the rear of a ME109F which went down in smoke and flames. P/O Wood made several attacks on an enemy aircraft which went into a steep dive and was obviously out of control. This is claimed as a probable. Sgt Rainville damaged another ME109F which went into a steep dive. P/O Dick attacked a single e/a which was attacking F/O Price but only scared this one off. He then pulled out in a steep dive and saw three ME109F’s in line abreast above him. He shot the centre one down in flames and it exploded in mid-air. Levelling out he saw six ME109F’s above and then dived for cloud cover. He then saw a Spitfire being attacked and destroyed the e/a with a 4 second burst of browning guns. The e/a was last seen going down in flames over Gravelines. After attacking another one without result, he was himself fired on by two e/a. His port wing was hit and his starboard wing shot off. He was again attacked and broke away in a left-hand dive, losing 3,000 feet with no starboard aileron and his cockpit full of smoke, but escaped. Within sight of Dover, his engine failed and he baled out at 1,800 feet. He was in the sea for about ten minutes before being picked up by a Rescue Boat and duly rejoined the Squadron after a good show. P/O Anthony is unfortunately missing from this operation and nobody saw what happened to him. Total claims four ME109F’s destroyed, 1 ME109F probable, 1ME109F damaged, 1 ME109E damaged. Most of the other pilots had a squirt in this action but make no claims. Ken Anthony came from Toronto and was with the Squadron right from the start. Young, slim, dark, and I’m afraid handsome, he must have been the image of what romantic maidens would expect a fighter pilot to look like. He was full of dash, and we are confident that he did some dirty work among the Jerries before they got him. He will be difficult to replace; they don’t make Ken’s type in duplicate.
Wednesday, August 20, 1941
Weather am fine, 5/10ths cloud. Squadron released for training flying PM. 1545 hours heavy rain and thunder. Squadron released 1740 hours.
Thursday, August 21, 1941
Weather am sunny, 5/10ths cloud. Circus 83, high Cover with bombers to Bethune 0832 to 1010 hours. S/L Morris led the attack on 12 to 15 ME109F’s South of Mardyck near Cassel and damaged 1 ME109F. Sgts Grigg and McDonald also claim one 1 ME109F damaged in this action. P/O Ball followed the Squadron Commander and succeeded in getting a probable ME109F. F/O McKenna was seen to bale out over France, whilst engaged by the enemy with his aircraft out of control. F/O McKenna was from Ontario. Steady old Mac with a granite jaw and a habit of making everybody see the best side of things. At 31, he was the oldest pilot in the Squadron and was so full of moral that he could have stopped a rabble of Italians from stampeding. He inspired unlimited affection among all who knew him. Circus 84, Escort cover to bombers to Choques 1305 to 1445 hours. S/L Morris and Sgt McDonald were, presumably, engaged by enemy aircraft over the target, but were lost from these operations. S/L Morris (Bungy) was appointed to Command of the Squadron on its formation. Previous to this, he had commanded 308 (Polish) Squadron from its inception. 308 have since distinguished themselves considerably and it is sad to think that ‘Bungy’ could not be with us to share the honour that this Squadron hopes to win. He will best be remembered for his tremendous keenness to get into the battle and for his great fear – that of sent back into armament duties – a subject on which he was an expert. Sgt McDonald was a US citizen with a slow Louisiana drawl, he had only been with the Squadron a short while but he had gained everyone’s respect, and he had a reputation of sticking to his number one like glue. We can be sure that he was right with the Squadron Commander when whatever happened – happened.
Friday, August 22, 1941
Weather am fine, 5/10ths cloud. Scramble 12 Spitfires, patrol base 10,000 feet, 1221 to 1340 hours. Nil result.
Saturday, August 23, 1941
Weather am 10/10ths cloud, rain. Squadron released for day. Squadron Leader Lee-Knight posted to Squadron. Sergeants Cranham and Belcher posted to Squadron.
Sunday, August 24, 1941
Weather am fine, 7/10ths cloud. Squadron visited by Group Captain McLeod and Canadian Press. General ‘get-together’ talk and photographs taken. Scramble 0929 to 0940 Sgts Sones and P/O Carrillo.
Monday, August 25, 1941
Squadron moved from Hornchurch to Debden.
Tuesday, August 26, 1941
Weather am fine 5/10ths cloud. Various formation and practice flying.
Wednesday, August 27, 1941
Weather am fine 6/10ths cloud. Circus 86, 11 Spitfires left Debden 0603 hours for Hornchurch as Cover escort to bombers attacking Lille. They refuelled at Hornchurch and 10 took off 0715 hours (P/O Ball unable to take off owing to unspecified trouble with aircraft) plus W/C Stapleton, DFC S/L Lee-Knight, Sgt Rainville and Sgt Grigg put back between Manston and Southend with engine trouble. Whilst over Lille area, W/C Stapleton and P/O Wood attacked three ME109E’s which were attacking a Spitfire and destroyed one each. P/O Dick collided with a Hurricane over the Channel, but made a forced landing at Manston and was unhurt. Unfortunately F/L Cathels is missing form this operation. F/L Cathels is a Canadian from British Columbia, who has been in the Royal Air Force some years before the war broke out. He had been stationed in the Near East before coming to the Squadron as Flight Commander to replace Trevena. Ted soon became popular in the Squadron and was known for his tremendous fund of good humour. He will be greatly missed.
Thursday, August 28, 1941
Weather am squalls, 9/10ths cloud. P/O Ball, F/O Gilbertson, P/O Ford, Sgts Sones, Belcher Crist, Collinson and Ryckman did convoy patrol at the mouth of the Thames. Nothing encountered.
Friday, August 29, 1941
F/L Christmas, P/O Ford, P/O Price, P/O Ball, Sgts Ryckman, Collinson and Cranham did convoy patrol at the mouth of the Thames to Graton on the morning. General flying in the afternoon.
Saturday, August 30, 1941
Weather fair and sunny. F/L Secretan (English) posted to Squadron from Biggin Hill as Flight Commander ‘A’ Flight. P/O Hyde, Intelligence Officer, posted as supernumerary to Station. CO, F/L Christmas, F/L Secretan, P/O Ball, P/O Ford and Sgt Sones went to Manston to do a sphere, i.e. patrol between Ostend and Bethune. No enemy sighted, but flak encountered near Cap Gris Nez.
Sunday, August 31, 1941
Weather fair. CO, F/L Secretan, F/O Price, P/O Ford, P/O Gilbertson and Sgt Collinson flew to Manston to stand ready for escort of air/sea rescue Lysanders. Sgt Collinson wrote a Spitfire off in a taxiing accident at Manston. Sgt Smith (English) reported to the Squadron for flying duties.
Monday, September 1, 1941
F/O Davies (IO) posted to the Squadron.
Tuesday, September 2, 1941
Weather am – fine 5/10ths cloud. Various training flights. Sgt Grigg took Magister with Squadron IO to Hawkinge and back.
Wednesday, September 3, 1941
Weather am – sultry, 10/10ths cloud with haze. The Squadron instructed to stand to in the am in readiness to participate in Circus Operation 95, their function being to cover the withdrawal of the bombers. After two or three postponements, the operation was cancelled altogether, owing to the unfavourable weather conditions. Consequent upon this, some pilots were released from duty and others carried out flying training.
Thursday, September 4, 1941
Weather fine but hazy. P/O ‘Pappy’ Gilbertson did some flying in the morning for the benefit of the local AA batteries. Various flying training also done. Some members of the Squadron attended at the Station Intelligence Office to see films on Aircraft identification, which was considered to be most interesting. Station Intelligence Officer provided tea for ‘the boys’, nice work but the tea was cold. Orders came through for Squadron to refuel at Manston at 1600 hours to cover withdrawal of bomber forces, if found necessary. F/L Secretan, P/Os Dick, Ford and Carrillo and Sergeants Rainville and Crist participated in the operation, taking off from Debden at 1459 hours. Squadron eventually patrolled at 5,000 feet as high cover to Lysander patrol and escort South of Dover, but owing to unceasing haze and sea mist returned from patrol, the visibility becoming very bad and the Squadron could not keep Lysander and escort in view. Squadron landed from patrol at Manston at about 1900 hours. A concert, organized by the Padre, was attended later in the evening. This turned out to be a very good show and it was all the more enjoyable because all the artistes who took part were stationed locally. The Station Dance band made a definite ‘hit’ and the Padre equally enhanced his reputation.
Friday, September 5, 1941
Weather dull and misty in the early morning, clearing towards noon. P/O Wood returned form leave looking none the worse, despite his experience of ‘taking himself a wife’. P/O Hyde left on embarkation leave prior to going out East. Film entitled ‘Records of Combat’ shown at the Station Intelligence Office. Weather in the morning unfit for flying, but improved in the afternoon when various flying training was done. P/O Dick took up member of ground crew for a ‘flip’.
Saturday, September 6, 1941
Weather 10/10ths clouds and dull. No flying today. Films on Dinghy drill and Aircraft Identification shown in the Photographic Section. F/L Secretan, P/Os Ford, Carrillo, Dick, Wood (Timber) and F/O Davies (IO) went to Duxford to inspect Aircobra. Attendant American Engineer extremely anxious to impress capabilities and performance of A/C. Party quite impressed with lines and neatness of aircraft. Whirlwind and variety of other aircraft seen. Not impressed with Typhoon. Great disappointment was felt that JU 88 and HE111 not available for inspection – the former having been taken to Farnborough. ME109E seen. Drizzle in the afternoon. F/L Christmas, P/Os Carrillo, Gilbertson (Pappy) accompanied S/L Lee-Knight (CO) to Digby where Canadian Squadron located. Prime Minister and some Canadian notables there too.
Sunday, September 7, 1941
Weather fine 2/10ths cloud. Various flying training carried out. House party held at mess in the evening, which was patronized by a goodly gathering. Those present included AOC Canadian Squadrons, Air Commodore Stephenson and S/L Gracie from Cotishall (CO 601 Squadron). F/L Fitzgerald and F/O McLean (IO 91 Squadron Hawkinge) who was flown over by P/O Donoghue.
Monday, September 8, 1941
Weather fairly good – 5/10ths cloud. Cloudier late in the morning and clearing by afternoon. F/L Christmas, P/Os Ford, Ball, Sgts Rainville, Crist and Collinson took off 0720 hours for Manston to refuel at 0900 hours in readiness to provide escorts in conjunction with Circus 95. P/O Carrillo carried leaves off some tress and scared into complete stiffness some of the AA gun crews during AA co-operation flying in the morning. F/O Whitby DFM posted from 59 OTU. He saw active service in France before the collapse. Film on ‘Daily inspection of Spitfire’ shown to some of the ‘boys’ in the afternoon. P/O Dick flew F/O Bailey to Aston Down and back. The six pilots above referred to returned in the late afternoon from Manston having done some Convoy Patrol, but nothing of interest to report. P/O Wood (Timber) did some aircraft testing.
Tuesday, September 9, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud. Some flying training done. Weather cleared towards noon, but visibility poor. ENSA concert in the evening, variety entitled ‘Take Your Choice’. Rather an intriguing title and undoubtedly attracted a considerable number. Whether or not title worked out in practice with the fair sex (the artistes) of the party not known!
Wednesday, September 10, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud clearing towards noon. Some formation flying training done in the morning and afternoon. F/O Reason (Jimmy) posted to the East. Pending actual posting, acting as supernumerary Engineering Officer to the Squadron.
Thursday, September 11, 1941
Weather dull 9/10ths cloud. Various flying training done. F/L Christmas, P/O Ford and Sgt Collinson had a ‘beat up’ with two Tomahawks north of Cambridge this morning. Ford (Henry) highly elated; said he had them beaten to a ‘frazzle’. F/L Secretan posted to 54 Squadron at Hornchurch and left today. Although he had been with the Squadron for but a comparatively short time, he had established himself as a popular and enthusiastic member of the Squadron and the news of his abrupt departure was received with regret and disappointment. F/L Christmas, P/Os Ford, Dick, Gilbertson, Sgts Collinson and Ryckman took off at 1415 hours for Martlesham to escort Blenheims in search for pilots in the Channel. Owing to the weather, Black Section (Gilbertson and Ryckman) only sighted Blenheims. Nothing to report. P/O Ball and Carrillo went on leave.
Friday, September 12, 1941
Weather 8/10ths cloud, dull, clearing a little towards noon. Squadron equipped with 18 Spitfire Mk VB. P/O Amer posted to the Squadron as Engineering Officer. F/L Christmas and P/O Ford posted. F/L Christmas hailed from Montreal and was one of the original members of No 1 (Canadian) Squadron, now 401 (Canadian) Squadron, before being posted to 403 (Canadian) Squadron. He was amongst those fighter pilots who had the privilege of participating in the battle of Britain, during which he destroyed 2 ME109s, damaged one HE 111 and DO215, and had a one third share in the destruction of a JU 88. P/O Ford was a native of Liverpool, Nova Scotia and prior to enlistment was a student of Philosophy at Dalhousie University. F/L R.B. Newton and F/L R.G. Clouston (New Zealand) posted in, the former from 72 Squadron at Biggin hill and the later from 258 Squadron Martlesham. F/L Newton is Flight Commander of ‘A’ Flight and F/L Clouston Flight Commander ‘B’ Flight. Various flying training was done during the course of the day. F/L Clouston went up on Sector Reconnaissance in the evening. P/O Whitby DFM posted to SHQ Debden. He had a ‘bag’ of 6 and ½ enemy aircraft destroyed and 1 enemy aircraft probably destroyed.
Saturday, September 13, 1941
Weather 2/10ths cloud. Various formation flying training. Allotment of crews to new Spitfires in the morning. Rearrangement of personnel making up the flights (‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights). F/L Newton flew on Sector Reconnaissance in the afternoon.
Sunday, September 14, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud. Church Parade at 0825 hrs. Raining in the afternoon and Squadron released off Station. Usual Sunday Party in the evening. Amongst those present were Mrs. Townsend, wife of S/L Townsend, DFC, members of an Eagle Squadron, S/L Thomas, S/L Holden, DFC, and P/O Gaze DFC. One cherubic looking Eagle pilot, with twinkling eyes and constant smile, from ‘down Texas way’, was convinced that the ME 109F was faster than the Spitfire V, but conceded that the Spitfire was more manoeuvrable! His behaviour made it difficult to know whether he meant what he said or was simply jesting.
Monday, 15 September, 1941
Weather dull 8/10ths cloud. Flying training in the morning. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights dispersal separated. S/L Lee-Knight, F/L Newton, F/L Clouston, F/O Price, P/Os Gilbertson (Pappy), Wood and Dick and Sgts Crist, Ryckman, McDonald, Collinson and F/S Sones went off on formation practice flight. Took off 1540 hours and made Harwich and return.
Tuesday, 16 September, 1941
Weather fine 5/10ths cloud. S/L Lee-Knight as Dinkie Leader; Red Section – F/L Newton, P/O Gilbertson, Sgts Crist and Ryckman. Dinkie 3 and 4 – P/O Wood and Sgt McDonald; Blue Section – F/L Clouston, P/O Dick, F/O Price, Sgts Sones and Sgt Collinson took off from Debden at 1025 hours for Manston to refuel prior to going on an offensive patrol to Le Havre and Boulogne. All except Sgt Crist took off from Manston at 1730 hrs. When about 15 miles inside France, they were warned of a large Hun plot in the St. Omer area. A wide orbit to come round South of St. Omer was made and 30 plus ME 109s were seen at about 8,000 feet above and well South of St. Omer. Owing to the ‘soppy’ Spitfires IIA which could not get to height, the Squadron zigzagged its way across the sun at 19,000 feet and made land at Dover. No convoys or flak seen. No casualties suffered or inflicted. During the patrol, several formations of Spitfires seen possibly engaged in combat. Eleven aircraft landed at Debden at 1900 and 1915 hours. Sgt Crist also landed at the same time from Manston. CO was of the opinion that, had the Squadron been equipped with Spitfire V’s, there would have been good hunting that afternoon.
Wednesday, 17 September, 1941
Weather beautifully sunny and warm, 2/10ths cloud and hazy. S/L Lee-Knight DFC and Sgt Crist Dinkie 1 and 2. F/L Newton and P/O Gilbertson, Red 1 and 2; P/O Wood and Sgt McDonald, Dinkie 3 and 4; F/L Clouston, P/O Dick and F/S Sones and Sgt Collinson as Blue Section, took off from Debden at 1245 hours on diversionary operation to Circus 95 with orders to rendezvous at Hastings at 1315 hours. This was made and the Squadron proceeded to Berck-Sur-Mur at 14,000 feet and flew inland for approximately 20 miles. S/L Lee-Knight saw 40 plus ME 109s about 5,000 to 6,000 feet below and 15 miles north climbing in to sun behind the Squadron. Other formation of ME 109s observed. Enemy aircraft attacked out of sun as Squadron was re-crossing the French coast, but as they came into range Squadron broke into main formation completely disorganizing the enemy formation. Squadron ordered down to sea level and made landfall at Hawkinge. Desultory burst of fire aimed at enemy aircraft but no results seen. Heavy flak in vicinity of Le Touquet but no shipping seen. Excellent weather slight haze 2/10ths cloud over France. All the aircraft flown were Spitfire IIAs. All landed at Hawkinge 1400 to 1409 hours. S/L Lee-Knight, P/O Wood, Sgt Crist, P/O Gilbertson, F/L Newton, Sgt McDonald, Sgt Collinson, P/O Dick and F/S Sones took off Hawkinge 1510 hours to escort Rescue boats searching for a pilot in the Channel. Patrolled up sun of Rescue boats between 500 to 5,000 feet in twos and fours. S/L Lee-Knight and P/O Wood observed enemy aircraft diving to attack rescue boats. Orders were given to attack and 4 plus ME 109s were identified. Camouflage of enemy aircraft noted to be remarkably effective – silvery grey toning blended perfectly with the sea, at times large black crosses only to be seen. S/L Lee-Knight singled out and attacked 2 ME 109s and P/O Wood attacked three enemy aircraft, also ME 109s, with the result that S/L Lee-Knight destroyed one enemy aircraft which was seen to descend in flames, P/O Wood destroyed one ME 109E and probably destroyed another. The enemy aircraft destroyed by P/O Wood (Timber) was seen to dive into the sea, and the one probably destroyed was seen to pour out smoke (white and black) from the engine; fragments were flying off the enemy aircraft and it was observed to wallow from side to side in its course. The whole of Timber’s combats and results were observed by Sgt McDonald and S/L Lee-Knight observed the enemy aircraft destroyed crashing into the sea. Tallyho! Remaining enemy aircraft disappeared and Squadron continued on patrol until ordered to land at Hawkinge to refuel. Combats took place 5 to 6 miles off Cap Gris Nez at heights varying from 1,000 feet to 50 feet. All the aircraft landed safely at Hawkinge at 1638 hours. No flak was experienced or convoys seen. Our casualties, thank heaven, were nil. The weather was excellent, slight haze low down only being experienced. Having ‘tasted blood’, with the exception that F/L Clouston replaced P/O Dick, all those who were in on the first kill again went off again at 1750 hours from Hawkinge to patrol Calais area at 10,000 feet. After zigzagging up and down the French coast for about 40 minutes, during which many friendly but no enemy aircraft were seen or flak experienced. P/O Dick also landed a few minutes earlier from Hawkinge. The end of a most successful and encouraging day’s work!
News was today received by telegram from the International Red Cross Society, quoting Berlin information, that P/O Waldon (J.3750) had died and was reclassified as ‘missing believed to have died of wounds’. This officer was a member of the RCAF, joined the Squadron on the 22nd April 1941 from 52 OTU and was reported missing on the 9th August 1941. The news was received with deep regret by all those who knew him. F/L Riddell (RCAF) posted to the Squadron as the MO.
Thursday, 18 September, 1941
Weather fine, another sunny and warm day, 2/10ths cloud with haze. Various flying training done. Cannon firing testing of Spitfire V aircraft carried out at Hollesley bay, South of Orfordness. Battle climbs up to 34,000 feet also made. A signal was today received from AOC, 11 Group (Air-Vice Marshall T.L. Leigh Mallory) congratulating the Squadron on its achievement yesterday. P/O Carrillo and P/O Ball returned from leave. P/O Gilbertson went on leave. Chef Clerk went up to Group HQ Uxbridge. F/O Carlyle (RCAF) posted to Squadron as supernumerary Adjutant.
Friday, 19 September, 1941
Weather dull, 7/10ths cloud. Cannon firing testing of Spitfire Vs carried out at Hollesley Bay.
Saturday, 20 September, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud, clearing towards midday. News received that the late CO of the Squadron (S/L Morris – ‘Bungy’) is a prisoner of war. S/L Lee-Knight DFC, P/Os Colvin and Wood, F/L Newton, Sgts Cairns and Rainville (‘A’ Flight), F/L Clouston, F/O Price, P/Os Dick, Ball and Carrillo and F/S Sones (‘B’ Flight) took off from Debden at 1605 hours on offensive patrol. Squadron crossed the coast near Ramsgate at 10,000 feet and patrolled at this height from Dungeness to Cape Gris Nez and down Channel to Boulogne. Returned to Cap Gris Nez and thence to Debden landing at 1725 hours. No shipping, enemy aircraft or flak seen. Weather, cloud patches 2/10ths to 3/10ths thick haze 3,000 to 4,000 feet.
Sunday, 21 September, 1941
Weather fine but hazy. Sgt Belcher went on search for unidentified aircraft, but no trace was found. At 1415 hours, CO, P/O Colvin, F/L Newton, Sgt Cairns, P/O Wood and Sgt Rainville (‘A’ Flight); F/L Clouston, P/O Dick, F/S Sones, Sgt Cranham, P/O Ball and P/O Carrillo (‘B’ Flight) took off for North Weald to refuel prior to operational flight as high escort cover to Circus No 102. Owing to accumulator trouble, Sgt Cranham remained behind at North Weald, but the remainder of the Squadron took off from there at 1523 hours, rendezvousing with the wing over Manston. Red marker flak and accurate normal flak experienced en-route to the target area at Lille where tremendous box flak encountered. Many ME 109s were seen, some with yellow fuselages and others camouflaged silver grey. Determined but unsuccessful attacks made against the bombers, all of which returned undamaged, which provides eloquent testimony to the effectiveness of the escort provided. Its mission fulfilled, the Squadron returned, and P/O Wood (Timber) again ‘bagged’ an ME 109, which was seen to catch fire and dive out of control. This is Timber’s second destroyed (apart from a probable) within a week. On the CO’s orders, F/S Sones returned to base during the course of the operation, and the remainder of the aircraft landed safely at Hawkinge at 1655 hours. Enemy casualties – 1 ME 109 destroyed (P/O Wood). Our casualties nil. Another good day’s work completed! … 6! Unfortunately no party in the evening to celebrate the event. F/O Gillespie posted to the Squadron from No. 402 Squadron, Rochford.
Monday, 22 September, 1941
Weather fine but hazy, cloud towards noon. Bright and sunny afternoon. CO, (S/L Lee-Knight) P/O Wood, F/L Newton and Sgt Rainville (‘A’ Flight) and F/L Clouston, P/Os Dick, Ball and Carrillo and Sgt Sones (‘B’ Flight) took off from Debden at 1315 hours for Hornchurch to provide escort cover with Hornchurch Wing on Circus 103B, the target being the Bully Power Station at Maingarbe, which is to be bombed by six Hampdens. The operation was, however, cancelled and the Squadron returned to Debden at 1505 hours. CO went to town to attend formal investure by HH the King. Cannon firing testing was carried out during the course of the day.
Tuesday, 23 September, 1941
Weather dull, thick mist; no flying. Squadron went to Duxford by charabane during the afternoon to inspect various types of aircraft. HE111 and ME 109 seen; also Typhoon and Aircobra. HE 111 impressed one as being a well made aircraft. It forced landed in Scotland during the early part of the war, practically undamaged. The pilot was killed and control was taken over by the Observer. Apparent defects of the aircraft are – (a) vulnerability of pilot’s cockpit to attack through the Perspex, (b) poor defensive armament, although it must be remembered that this aircraft was one of the earliest versions of the HE 111. In the evening, some of the members of the Squadron went to a dance at Bishops Storfford, whilst others attended the ENSA concert on the Camp. F/O Tomkin, the Squadron MO was posted to West Africa. This news was received with regret, as he was a most popular member of the Squadron. His presence and manner suited him admirably to the office that he occupied so efficiently, in his quiet and unassuming way.
Wednesday, 24 September, 1941
Weather dull with heavy mist. No flying. Weather cleared in the afternoon and, eventually, it developed into a lovely afternoon. A football match (Association) was arranged between ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights and was (after a great deal of searching and running about for equipment, which delayed the kick-off) contested with considerable vigour. As a number of the participants were unfamiliar with the rules of Association football the game was without a dull moment, some of the ‘incidents’ being most comical. A number of ‘scores’ were ‘evened’ in a most amiable way, a few bruises serving to provide a constant reminder of this. In other cases, ‘differences’ were ‘flattened out’ to full length on the turf. Eventually ‘A’ Flight emerged victorious by 5 goals to 1. It was indeed a most enjoyable and exhilarating afternoon.
Thursday, 25 September, 1941
Weather misty in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. Hazy 5/10ths cloud. S/L Lee-Knight returned from London. Some formation and practice flying was done. P/O Wood, Colvin, and Dick went on leave.
Friday, 26 September, 1941
Weather misty, clearing later. Some formation flying and aerobatics. S/L Lee-Knight, F/L Newton, F/L Clouston, F/O Price, P/Os Gilbertson, Ball and Carrillo, and Sgts McDonald, Crist, Ryckman, Collinson and Sones took off from Debden at 1503 hours on offensive patrol. Swept Channel. Apart from 3 small boats stationary off Hardelot and 12-14 small vessels off Le Touquet, nothing to report. Eight Spitfires landed Debden 1640 hours, the remaining four arriving later from Tangmere. The late arrivals were F/L Clouston, F/O Price, Sgt Collinson and F/S Sones.
Saturday, 27 September 1941
Weather fine, 4/10ths cloud, hazy. Encouraging news received that P/O Anthony is a prisoner of war. S/L Lee-Knight, F/L Newton, F/L Clouston, F/O Price, P/Os Gilbertson, Ball, Carrillo, Sgts McDonald, Crist, Ryckman, Rainville and Collinson took off Debden at 1330 hours for Hornchurch to refuel in readiness to provide escort cover to Blenheims on Circus operation No. 103B. Rendezvous with bombers was made at Manston at 1410 hours and they escorted them as far as Cassel, when the Squadron was attacked by enemy aircraft. Individual dogfights ensued, as a result of which 3 ME 109s were destroyed and 1 ME 109E was damaged. The three destroyed were claimed by F/L Newton, P/O Ball and Sgt Crist, whilst F/L Clouston claimed the enemy aircraft damaged. This was a most excellent performance and was marred only by the distressing fact that the CO, S/L Lee-Knight, failed to return from the operation. Information is very scanty as to what happened or as to what misfortune befell him to cause his disappearance. Sgt McDonald, who was the CO’s No 2, last saw him when he followed him in a turn to starboard. As Sgt McDonald was hit by flak, he lost sight of his leader, and that was the last seen of him by any member of the Squadron. Sgt McDonald sustained superficial injuries to his right foot. S/L Lee-Knight was undoubtedly a fine leader of Squadron in flight, and was acknowledged as a fighter pilot of above average capabilities. It is to be hoped that news will eventually be received that he is, at any rate, a prisoner of war, and uninjured. All the bombers escorted returned safely. Sgts McDonald and Crist’s aircraft were damaged to such an extent that they were classified as Category 2. All the other aircraft and personnel returned safely. P/Os Ball and Carrillo’s aircraft being slightly damaged and classified as Category 1.
Sunday, 28 September, 1941
Weather fine 2/10ths to 3/10ths cloud. Formation flying and aerobatics. The new Squadron Leader, C.F. Gray DFC and Bar, arrived to assume control. He was a member of No. 1 Squadron stationed at Tangmere. Usual Sunday evening party, the band having returned from leave.
Monday, 29 September, 1941
Weather dull, raining in the morning, clearing towards midday. Flying training done. Sgt Crawford posted here from 412 Squadron, Digby, a member of the RCAF. Films on ‘Tactical use of Cloud Cover’ and (Met film) on ‘Pressure and Wind’ shown at Station Intelligence Office this morning. Disappointing news received that new CO being re-posted to his old Squadron (No. 1) as Squadron Commander. Although his stay was but of a short duration, he had impressed all who met him as possessing the qualities of an ideal Squadron Commander. His departure was, therefore, regretted all the more. He had the amazing record of 17 ½ plus 1/5th enemy aircraft destroyed and 9 ½ probably destroyed! Truly an achievement to be proud of.
Tuesday, 30 September, 1941
Weather dull, 9/10ths cloud. Formation flying and proactive dog fights. Aerobatics and low flying. S/L Douglas arrived. P/O Price took S/L Gray to Tangmere in the Magister.
Wednesday, 1 October, 1941
Weather was dull with 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. F/L Newton, P/O Gilbertson, Sgts Crist and Ryckman (‘A’ Flight) and F/L Clouston, P/Os Ball and Carrillo and F/O Price (‘B’ Flight) left Debden 1050 hours for Manston landing there at 1215 hours. Patrolled Calais – Cap Gris Nez area offshore at 15,000 feet just below cloud base, but nothing to report. Later, the Squadron took off from Manston at 1355 hours to patrol base at 5,000 feet and, after about 30 minutes, were vectored to intercept bandits at 15,000 feet, which were identified as four ME 109s and these were followed by the Squadron. On coming out of cloud, enemy aircraft attacked and went down to sea level towards France. It then appeared that there were more than four enemy aircraft, and that their object was to entice the Squadron towards France at low level. Some desultory bursts were fired by the enemy aircraft and the Squadron, but no casualties were suffered or claimed. One aircraft of the Squadron was chased over France by three enemy aircraft before being able to take evasive action and return. Flak experienced from the direction of Calais. Seven aircraft landed at Manston at 1510 hours and one landed at Hornchurch. P/O Dick returned from leave.
Thursday, 2 October, 1941
Weather misty in the morning, clearing later in the day. Various flying training. News received that the Squadron was being moved to Martlesham, and that 258 Squadron was moving from Martlesham to Debden. Consequent beehive of activity. Joyful news received that F/L Cathels is a prisoner of war and is unwounded. Information came through the International Red Cross Society. P/Os Wood and Colvin returned from leave.
Friday, 3 October 1941
Weather sunny with 3/10ths to 4/10ths cloud. The Squadron moved to Martlesham, arriving at 1430 hours and ordered on Convoy Patrols in the late afternoon, but nothing of particular interest to report. P/O ‘Don’ Ball saw a patch of oil from a tanker that he saw some days before, still burning. F/O Morris from Station Intelligence Office addressed the pilots, giving some general information as to the Station, convoy patrols and low flying areas etc.
Saturday, 4 October 1941
Weather 8/10ths cloud and misty. Various flying training. Convoy patrols, but nothing of interest to report. P/Os Ball, Gilbertson and F/O Price went on 48 hours leave.
Sunday, 5 October 1941
Weather thick mist, 10/10ths cloud, and visibility nil. No flying in the morning although some sections were on readiness. Various flying training in the afternoon. F/L Newton took Sgt Belcher on formation flying training. CO went to Debden to see Wing Commander Churchill in connection with proposed rhubarb operations over Holland and North Sea. Wing Commander Wilkinson (Station CO) addressed pilots on the type of work they would undertake at Martlesham, discipline and general routine and organisation.
Monday, 6 October, 1941
Weather misty in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. W/C Churchill visited the Squadron and addressed the pilots on the subject of convoy patrols. Convoy patrols were done today but nothing of interest to report.
Tuesday, 7 October, 1941
Weather thick mist, visibility nil, no flying. ‘B’ Flight released in the afternoon. ‘A’ Flight (Red Section) at readiness.
Wednesday, 8 October, 1941
Weather thick mist again, visibility nil. No flying. Lecture on Station Defence given to all personnel, except pilots, at 1415 hours, at Station Gymnasium by S/L Fowler, Station Defence Officer. Blue Section of ‘B’ Flight at readiness. ‘A’ Flight released. Sgts Ryckman and Collinson on leave (48 hours). Sgts A.J. Monserez and D.R. Wiseman posted to Squadron from 58 OTU Grangemouth.
Thursday, 9 October, 1941
Weather 9/10ths to 10/10ths cloud, raining all day. No flying. ‘B’ Flight at readiness. In the afternoon, a sports meeting was held at which F/L Clouston, F/L Ridell, F/O Davies and AC May were present. It was decided that ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights and Echelon should convene general meetings to appoint their committees, who would be responsible for the organisation of sport for their own particular section. It was the unanimous feeling of those present that every step possible should be taken to encourage sport amongst the Squadron personnel, so far as this was consistent with the demands and exigencies of the service, as it would conduce to the well being of the Squadron in general.
Friday, 10 October, 1941
Weather was dull, 9/10ths to 10/10ths cloud, clearing somewhat in the afternoon. Cannon firing testing. No convoy patrols. High altitude and formation training carried out. All the officers and Sgt pilots of the Squadron (with the Officers and Sgt pilots of the Station) were addressed by the Station Commander on ‘Discipline and Bearing’. He also stated that during the coming period, all personnel would be required to undergo a certain amount of drill and PT, to preserve and develop bearing and physical fitness. Sgt F. Higgins posted to the Squadron from 411 Squadron Digby. Sgt A.J. Schmitz posted from 412 Squadron Digby.
Saturday, 11 October, 1941
Weather bright intervals 5/10ths to 6/10ths cloud. Strong wind in the afternoon. Convoy patrols but nothing of interest to report. Various flying training also done. In the afternoon, P/O Carrillo and Sgt Crawford experienced mishaps. The former’s engine was packing up and he made a belly landing, and the latter ground looped, breaking one of the legs of the aircraft’s undercarriage. An association football match was played between a combined team from ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights versus the Echelon. The game was keenly contested and some promising talent was disclosed. The Flights emerged the victors 6 goals to nil. P/O R.G. Hall posted to the Squadron from 400 Squadron, Odiham.
Sunday, 12 October, 1941
Weather 7/10ths cloud, bright intervals. Convoy patrols. Nothing to report. In the afternoon, the Squadron was visited by the Inspector General of the RCAF (ACM Sir Arthur Longmore). He was accompanied by Wing Commander M.L. Robinson, DSO DFC, lately Wing Commander (Flying) at Biggin Hill.
Monday, 13 October, 1941
Weather 7/10ths cloud, bright intervals. Uneventful convoy patrols carried out during the day. Squadron visited by F/Lt Bestwistle, Senior Intelligence Officer, Debden, and F/Lt McCelland (RCAF) posted to 412 Squadron RCAF at Acklington as Intelligence Officer.
Tuesday, 14 October, 1941
Weather dull, 9/10ths cloud. Slight drizzle in the afternoon. P/O Gilbertson and F/O Price posted to 53 and 57 OTUs, Llandow and Howarden, respectively. P/O Gilbertson was affectionately known as ‘Pappy’ and, with F/O Price, was one of the original members of the Squadron when it was formed at Bagington. In private life, ‘Pappy’ was a stockbroker by profession and hailed from Simcoe Ontario. F/O Price was a native of Montreal Quebec, and was intimately called either ‘Prixis’ or ‘Sarah’. Both possessed idiosyncrasies peculiar to themselves only, and had a rather sophisticated outlook upon life. Their affection for their home country was deeply rooted and, naturally enough, there was no place like Canada. Both enjoyed a colossal fund of humour and were argumentative by nature, although a great deal of the latter undoubtedly amounted to nothing less than an opportunity for good humoured leg pulling. At heart, they were sincere and staunch friends, and their generosity knew no bounds.
Wednesday, 15 October, 1941
Weather dull in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. Convoy patrols were undertaken but nothing of unusual interest to report. P/O D.G. Ball was posted to 58 OTU, Grangemouth. ‘Don’ was a native of Edmonton, and prior to enlistment was an Art Student at Edmonton University. He joined the Squadron from 52 OTU on the 22nd April 1941, and was one of the most successful pilots in the Squadron. ‘Don’ was a popular member of the Unit. Inclined to be retiring by nature, he nevertheless has a keen sense of humour and, once known, was a true friend and a good companion. It was with genuine regret that the whole Squadron learnt the news of his departure. An Association football match was played between the Armoury and ‘A’ Flight. The game was keenly contested, the Armoury being the victors by 2 goals to nil. P/O Ball and Sgt Smith went on patrol to search for a lost aircraft but found nothing. S/L Douglas (CO) and Sgt Somers went in search for a Whitley bomber, located it and escorted it safely to Martlesham. They were complimented by the Controller for the efficient expedition.
Thursday, 16 October, 1941
Weather dull, 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. Convoy patrols carried out but nothing of interest to report. P/O Carrillo posted to Lysander Unit, Tangmere, Air/Sea Rescue duties. P/O Carrillo was retiring by nature, and a most likeable fellow. Of artistic tastes, he possessed considerable intellect and was an interesting conversationalist. He was of that type who ‘hide their talent under a basket’
Friday, 17 October, 1941
Weather 6/10ths to 7/10ths cloud, bright intervals. One dawn patrol and convoy patrols carried out, but nothing of interest to report. Formation and cloud flying practice carried out. B Flight carried out a scramble.
Saturday, 18 October, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud in the morning with high wind blowing. In the afternoon, 3/10ths cloud and sunshine. Convoy patrols. P/Os Colvin and Wood carried out camera gun practice. ‘B’ Flight carried out two scrambles. CO, S/L A.G. Douglas went on Sector Reconnaissance. Green Section of ‘B’ Flight, Sgts Collinson and Somers, whilst on convoy patrol observed a JU 88 at sea level two miles away from convoy to S.E. but enemy aircraft turned away to the east when section turned towards it. Green Section overtook enemy aircraft which took evasive action by throttling back at sea level. Green Section also throttled back to avoid over-shooting and fire was opened at 200 yards by both aircraft in a series of short bursts, which was seen to enter the fuselage of the enemy aircraft. Return fire was experienced, hitting the windscreen of one of the aircraft. The engagement was broken off inconclusively and the section returned to the convoy and proceeded with the patrol. A hockey match between the Squadron and RAF Felixstowe was played in the afternoon, the Squadron winning handsomely by 4 goals to 1.
Sunday, 19 October, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud and rain in the morning. The afternoon was 7/10ths cloud with sunny intervals. Convoy patrols, local formation and cloud flying practice carried out. P/O Gillespie went on a weather test. ‘A’ Flight on a scramble.
Monday, 20 October, 1941
Weather 5/10ths to 6/10ths cloud. Bright intervals in the morning, sunny all afternoon. Convoy patrols and formation flying training. P/O Parr and Sgt Munn carried out camera gun practice. Sgts Rainville and McDonald went to Harwich to board a ship for their trip with a convoy. In the afternoon, a football match was played between ‘A’ Flight and ‘B’ Flight, the latter emerging the winners by 6 goals to 1, thus exacting just retribution for the trouncing which they suffered at the hands of ‘A’ Flight in the previous game. These inter-flight games are becoming very popular, and keen rivalry is shown. In the evening, a number of the Squadron personnel attended a most interesting and illuminating lecture dealing with ‘Russia and Germany’, given by Sir Paul Luke.
Tuesday, 21 October, 1941
Weather fine all day with 3/10ths to 4/10ths cloud. P/O G.H. McPharlin posted from 71 Squadron, North Weald. Convoy patrols. Practice interception on Blenheims was done by P/O Gillespie and Sgt Smith. P/O Dick carried out aircraft test. Whilst on convoy patrol, the CO, S/L A.G. Douglas, came across an aircraft which he unhesitatingly identified as a Beaufort. It possessed all the correct markings and standard camouflage of that aircraft. On reflection however, the behaviour of the aircraft gave rise to suspicions in the CO’s mind as to whether its designs and intentions were genuine. It was thought possible that it was a British aircraft in the hands of the enemy. The CO was in no doubt as to its correct identity as a Beaufort. A report was, accordingly sent to Group so that the matter could be investigated. P/O Wood (Timber) carried out practice dive-bombing and low level attacks on destroyer in Harwich harbour. His efforts were most satisfactory and he earned the congratulations of the CO and the SOO at Harwich for his praiseworthy performance.
Wednesday, 22 October, 1941
Weather 4/10ths to 5/10ths cloud. A fine day with a rather strong wind blowing in the afternoon. Convoy patrols. Sgt Somers and Sgt Collinson went on camera gun practice. Sgts Schmitz and Crawford on Sector Reconnaissance. Practice formation flying also carried out. Sgt Cairns went on Sector Reconnaissance, also Sgts Menerez, Higgins, and P/O hall. Various flying training. A Squadron dance was held in the evening in the Station Gymnasium. It turned out to be quite a successful function, both socially and financially. About 200 people attended and it is hoped to net 3 or 4 pounds into the Squadron ‘kitty’, a hitherto non-existent creation in this Squadron.
Thursday, 23 October, 1941
Weather 4/10ths to 5/10ths cloud. Fine all day until the late afternoon when it became overcast and dull, followed by local showers. Convoy patrols. Sgts Cairns and Wiseman did camera gun practice. P/O Gilbertson (Pappy) paid a fleeting visit to the Squadron en-route from Southend to Llandow. Various flying training and ‘A’ Flight scrambled in the afternoon.
Friday, 24 October 1941
Weather 6/10ths to 7/10ths cloud, showers with bright intervals. Air firing practice carried out at Sutton Bridge. Uneventful convoy patrols. Sgts Rainville and McDonald returned form their trip with the convoy. This was carried out on HM Destroyer Cotswold, which left its base at Harwich at 0900 hours on October 20, 1941. The destroyer escorted the convoy as far as Grimsby, and escorted from there on the return journey a southbound convoy. Owing to choppy sea and weather, no enemy action was seen but both Sergeants describe the trip as most enjoyable and interesting.
Saturday, 25 October 1941
Weather 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud, dull and heavy rainfall. Air firing practice was carried out at Sutton Bridge. Convoy patrols, but nothing of interest to report. Various flying training. F/L McMullen, DFC and Bar, of 266 Squadron stationed at Wittering took off from Martlesham on rhubarb operation to Oostvoorne in the afternoon. Later, he landed having probably destroyed a ME 110 – his 20th victim. Stout work!! He came across five ME 110s flying on a course at right angles to his path of flight. He singled out the rearmost and fired both cannons and machine guns. Large chunks of both wings (mainplanes) and fuselage were seen to fly off, and thick black and white smoke poured out from both engines. As the odds were 5 to 1, he decided to beat a hasty retreat, so that he was unable to see exactly the outcome of his attack. Film on recognition shown to pilots at Station Photographic Section at 6:30 PM.
Sunday, 26 October 1941
Weather 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. Heavy showers with bright intervals. Convoy patrols, but nothing of interest to report. Air firing practice carried out at Sutton Bridge.
Monday, 27 October 1941
Weather was 8/10ths to 9/10ths cloud with bright intervals. Convoy patrols. Sgts Rainville and Munn went on camera gun practice. In the afternoon, Blue Section of ‘B’ Flight (P/O Dick and Sgt Smith) who were carrying out camera gun practice, saw what appeared to be a bomb aimed at a ship not in convoy. The ship was not hit. Immediately afterwards, an unidentified aircraft was seen disappearing into the cloud about a mile away to the east of Green Section. Being unaware of the scramble, Green section did not identify the aircraft as being hostile. Later in the afternoon, Sgt Higgins ‘pranged’ an aircraft returning from convoy patrol. Fortunately he escaped uninjured. Various camera gun practices were carried out by different pilots during the course of the day.
Tuesday, 28 October, 1941
Weather 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud, high wind. Formation and local flying done. Convoy patrols and camera gun practice carried out. In the afternoon, the pilots were addressed on the subject of ‘Convoy Patrol’ by Commander Newman OBE (RNR). The talk was most interesting and elucidating, and it gave the pilots an insight in the view taken of aircraft protection by crews of ships convoying and those convoyed. The information given should prove very useful. F/L Newton went on seven days leave. Two scrambles were carried out during the day, neither of which bore result.
Wednesday, 29 October, 1941
Weather gusty, 5/10ths cloud. Bright intervals and a fall of snow overnight which soon cleared off the ground. Further snow and rain during the day. Sgt Rainville went on leave. Convoy patrols and camera gun practice during the day. Nothing of interest to report.
Thursday, 30 October, 1941
Weather cold, 4/10ths to 6/10ths cloud. Bright intervals between showers. P/Os Parr and Gillespie went to Harwich to join a Destroyer on convoy protection. CO went to Debden to see W/C Churchill reference night flying training proposed to be undertaken by the Squadron from Debden. An association football match between ‘B’ Flight and Armoury Section was played during the afternoon, ‘B’ Flight winning 2 goals to 1. A strong wind was blowing, so much so that the elements did not conduce to the best football being played. Good ball control was difficult under the conditions referred to. Nevertheless, the game was keenly contested and enjoyed by all. Convoy patrols, camera gun practice and a practice attack carried out by P/Os Gillespie and Sgt Somers on a Wellington, constituted some of the other activities of the day. P/Os Colvin and Hall went on formation flying practice.
Friday, 31 October, 1941
Weather 5/10ths to 7/10ths cloud, warmer in the day. Air firing practice was carried out at Sutton Bridge in the morning. P/O Amor (EO) went on leave. CO returned from Debden. In the afternoon, there was a scramble, 24 plus enemy aircraft reported to be approaching a convoy off Orfordness. No enemy aircraft were, however, seen and the ‘boys’ returned greatly disappointed at the abortive nature of the expedition. Congratulations were received from Group and the Controller, Debden for the prompt manner in which the scramble had been carried out. It was stated that the patrol area was ‘filled with Spits’. No doubt the enemy got wind of this and beat a hasty retreat. Convoy patrols and camera gun practices were also done during the day.
Saturday, 1 November, 1941
Weather 8/10ths cloud, dull. Air to air firing at Sutton Bridge by ‘B’ Flight in the morning and ‘A’ Flight in the afternoon. In the afternoon, ‘Timber’ (P/O Wood) broke all records by scoring 83 points – wizard shooting. ‘Tim’ must have an eye like a hawk. He’s a killer and he possesses the most unassuming and unsophisticated manner despite his acknowledged powers as a fighter pilot. ‘B’ Flight went on an abortive scramble in the afternoon. CO stated that the proposed visit to Debden by the Squadron for 10 days to carry out night flying practice was ‘washed out’.
Sunday, 2 November 1941
Weather overcast 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud in the morning and early afternoon with rain. Bright intervals in the late afternoon, cloud being 5/10ths to 7/10ths. Scrambles during the day but to no avail. ‘B’ Flight to Sutton Bridge for air firing practice. F/L Clouston and Sgt Smith carried out cine-gun practice. Convoy patrols also undertaken during the day, but these were uneventful.
Monday, 3 November, 1941
Weather 7/10ths to 9/10ths cloud. Dull in the morning, clearing a little before noon. Bright intervals during the afternoon with 6/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. Rain intermittently during the early part of the day. Convoy patrols and scrambles were carried out but bore no fruition. P/Os Hall and Parr returned from their liaison voyage with a convoy. Gillespie was on board the COTSWOLD and Parr the EGLINGTON, both of which were 1,000-ton destroyers. They had a most interesting trip, being bombed on three occasions. They both summarized their impressions and expressions as follows: “When our patrols were overhead – nothing doing. Immediately when our fighters returned homewards the B——s would attack.” Jerry must have some effective organization for knowing of the presence or absence of our fighter escort.
Tuesday, 4 November, 1941
Weather dull 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud. Biting wind. Convoy patrols and scrambles during the day. The CO, S/L A.G. Douglas, took off at 1025 hours on a convoy patrol and sighted a DO 217 flying towards the convoy. The CO and his No. 2 (Sgt Munn) chased the bandit, the CO getting in an eight-second burst with cannon and M/G from 400 yards closing to 250 yards. Flashes seen from fuselage and between port engine and the fuselage of the enemy aircraft before it disappeared into cloud, jettisoning its bombs in the cloud. As a result of this combat, the enemy aircraft is being claimed as damaged. This is the first casualty claimed by the Squadron since it has been on convoy patrols and it is hoped that it is but the forerunner of many others. The ‘kill’ has proven to be a stimulant to the other members of the Squadron as well as a source of encouragement, which should reduce any tendency there may be for the pilots to become bored by the monotony of constant, uneventful patrols.
Wednesday, 5 November, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud. Dull in the morning, clearing a little towards noon. In the afternoon 8/10ths to 9/10ths cloud. Cold wind blowing all day. Flight formation practice carried out by ‘B’ Flight. P/O Hall and Sgt Higgins on camera gun practice. Abortive scrambles and convoy patrols carried out during the day.
Thursday, 6 November, 1941
Weather – sunny and fresh – a grand day! 3/10ths to 6/10ths cloud. Nicest day for ages. CO went on leave for 14 days. P/O Gillespie went on 48 hours leave. F/L Newton and P/O Hall carried out weather test. Convoy patrols and three non-productive scrambles during the day. F/O Davies (IO), on behalf of the CO, officers and pilots of the Squadron today handed a cheque to F/L Clouston as a wedding present. The old ‘blighter’ got spliced quietly, and without acquainting anyone with his intentions whilst on leave; typical of John’s unostentatious and matter of fact manner. He has the very best wishes of all the members of the Squadron.
Friday, 7 November, 1941
Weather 2/10ths to 3/10ths cloud, hazy. Another grand day, with a fresh breeze blowing. Convoy patrols, and one scramble without result, took place during the day. P/Os Hall and Parr of ‘A’ Flight on cine gun practice, F/S Sones, P/O McPharlin, Sgts Schmitz and Grigg of ‘B’ Flight also did cine gun practice. F/L Clouston took an aircraft up for an R/T test. F/L Newton carried out Army Co-op at Colchester; dive-bombing and a general beat up. In the evening, F/L Carlyle (Adjt) F/O Davis (IO), P/Os Hall and Colvin, F/L Clouston and F/O Brisley went to a service concert held at RAF Station Felixstowe. The concert was given by an all-service personnel band and was really excellent, and thoroughly enjoyed by all; it was well worth the journey. As some of the party was to be on readiness at dawn, an early exit was made so that some ‘shut eye’ would refresh them for their early morning activities. This was regretted by the other members, as arrangements had been made by SO Webber (a charming person) for ‘lubrication’ to be obtained, so as to make the return journey appear a little more smoother than it normally is in a 30 cwt Bedford lorry! However, an enjoyable evening was spent and the soundness of the policy adopted was not to be denied.
Saturday, 8 November, 1941
Weather. A glorious day. No cloud, only a slight haze. A nip in the air after a rather heavy frost overnight. Sgt Grigg (‘B’ Flight) carried out an aircraft test. Convoy patrols, but nothing of interest seen. The day’s activities culminated in gloom after Sgt Higgins was killed when his a/c crashed on the drome returning from convoy patrol at 1755 hours. The aircraft stalled turning into the wind, when coming in to land, owing to insufficient speed. Sgt Higgins was a native of Niagara Falls, and had only been with the Squadron since the 10th of October. He was quiet and retiring by nature and popular with all of his colleagues. His untimely and tragic end is deplored by all.
Sunday, 9 November, 1941
Weather. Fine and clear all day. Heavy frost overnight. F/L Newton, P/Os Wood, Colvin and Sgts Munn and McDonald (‘A’ Flight); F/L Clouston, P/O Gillespie, F/S Sones, P/O McPharlin and Sgt Cairns (‘B’ Flight) went to Colchester in the afternoon to carry out Army Co-operation. Sgt Rainville carried out airframe and engine test. No convoy patrols today.
Monday, 10 November, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud, dull and raining. What a change from the last two days! Two scrambles in the morning but uneventful. F/ Davies (IO) went on seven days leave.
Tuesday, 11 November, 1941
Weather cloudy and raining. Convoy patrols. During one of these, F/L Clouston, as Green 1 damaged a DO17. Good work! Cloud flying by Sgt Wiseman. P/O Gillespie and Sgt Griggs on camera gun practice. F/S Sones on aircraft test. F/L Clouston went on cannon test, in consequence of the stoppages experienced during the combat earlier in the day. It was found that the defect arose as a result of an oversize round and a misfeed.
Wednesday, 12 November, 1941
Weather cloudy all day. Sgt Higgins was given an Air Force funeral and buried at Ipswich today. No flying apart from two uneventful scrambles over Orfordness. A soccer match was played between ‘A’ Flight and Armoury Section. ‘A’ Flight won 5 goals to 4.
Thursday, 13 November, 1941
Weather unfit for flying. F/L Clouston posted to 111 Squadron Debden.
Friday, 14 November, 1941
Weather shocking, again unfit for flying. F/L McColl posted from 401 Squadron Biggin Hill as ‘B’ Flight’s new Commander vice F/L Clouston.
Saturday, 15 November, 1941
Weather clear earlier in the day, followed by sleet in the afternoon and evening. F/L Clouston left for Debden. Clouston is a native of Wellington, New Zealand and is a brother of S/L A.G. Clouston, one time CO of 258 Squadron. ‘Johnny’, as he was affectionately known, was unrevealing by nature, except to those with whom he was well acquainted. He was a ‘glutton’ for work, there being no more enthusiastic and keener a person in the Squadron than he. His manner may have been somewhat abrupt, but he was generally popular with everyone.
Uneventful scrambles and convoy patrol tool place during the day. Sgts Collinson, Schmitz, Crawford and Wiseman on air to ground firing practice at Dingie Flats and later, F/S Sones, Sgts Somers, Grigg, Schmitz, Crawford and Wiseman, and P/O McPharlin also carried out further air to ground firing practice.
Sunday, 16 November, 1941
Weather dull and raining. Uneventful convoy patrols and one more scramble. P/Os Dick and Wood (Timber) went to Harwich to board a Destroyer on convoy patrol.
Monday, 17 November, 1941
Weather clear in the morning, deteriorating in the afternoon. Rain in late afternoon and evening. Convoy patrols. Sgts Collinson and Somers on cine-gun practice. Sgts Schmitz and Smith did some formation flying. F/L McColl did some practice gun firing.
Tuesday, 18 November, 1941
Weather 3/10ths cloud. Fine day. Convoy patrols. P/Os Dick and ‘Timber’ Wood returned from their convoy trip aboard a Destroyer. The entire voyage was uneventful apart from the fact that they suffered a ‘rough passage’. Even the Captain felt the effects of the swell! F/O Davies returned from leave.
Wednesday, 19 November, 1941
Weather misty and dull in the morning, improving latter in the day. There was a scramble in the afternoon, during which P/O Gillespie and Sgt Crawford (Blue Section) sighted a bandit believed to be a JU 88, 4 miles ahead and 2,000 feet above. They gave chase, gradually overtaking the enemy aircraft which, unfortunately however, disappeared into cloud three-quarters of a mile in front of the Section. They searched in the clouds for about 20 minutes but were unsuccessful in sighting the e/a.
Thursday, 20 November, 1941
Weather thick mist in the morning, clearing later. Convoy patrols, but nothing of interest to report. Two abortive scrambles. CO returned from leave. A soccer match was played this afternoon between ‘A’ Flight and Echelon. The game was drawn, each side scoring 1 goal.
Friday, 21 November, 1941
Weather 7/10ths cloud. Convoys and a scramble were done today. P/O Gillespie carried out a weather test. In the evening, all the officers, except those away on leave, attended a Cocktail party held in the Officer’s Mess. Including guests, about 150 people were present and a very enjoyable and refreshing evening was spent by all. Among the guests present were W/C Churchill and F/L ‘Johnny’ Clouston.
Saturday, 22 November, 1941
Weather 5/10ths cloud with bright intervals. Convoy patrols but nothing of interest to report. P/O Wood and Sgt Belcher carried out practice interception under GCI Control at Waldringfield. P/O McPharlin did some cloud flying and Sgts Collinson and Somers some cine-gun practice. F/L McColl went to carry out R/T co-operation with naval vessels off Harwich. A meeting of the Association Football Section Committee was held and a Squadron Association Football Committee was formed consisting of one representative from each section. The function of the Squadron Committee being to deal with all matter entertaining to the Squadron Association Football. As there were many promising players in the Squadron, it was felt that the activities of the Squadron in Association Football should be extended and a team representing the Squadron chosen from time to time to play against outside teams. Up to the present, the Squadron’s activities had been confined to inter-flight and section matches. To achieve this objective the Squadron Committee was formed, and it is hoped that its efforts will be successful.
Sunday, 23 November, 1941
Weather fine, 5/10ths to 6/10ths cloud in patches. One uneventful scramble by ‘B’ Flight. Camera-gun practice carried out by F/L McColl, Sgts Collinson, Cairns, Somers, Schmitz and P/Os Gillespie, McPharlin and Dick. A/C test by Sgt Crawford. Cloud flying done by Sgt Colvin. Cine-gun practices also done by Sgts Rainville, McDonald, Ryckman, Menerez, Crist, Belcher and P/O Wood.
Monday, 24 November, 1941
Weather dull 9/10ths to 10/10ths cloud. Uneventful convoy patrol and one scramble – no bandits sighted. A Squadron soccer trial match was played during the afternoon with ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights playing a combined team from Armoury and Echelon, the former emerging the victors by 3 goals to 1. A good clean spirited game was played and was enjoyed by all participating and some good talent was displayed, two or three players being especially promising.
Tuesday, 25 November, 1941
Weather dull, 10/10ths cloud, raining. Sgts Collinson and Munn went on leave. Also Sgts Menserez and Griggs. F/S Sones did some cloud flying. Convoy patrols were uneventful. Two scrambles which proved interesting and profitable respectively. On the first scramble, P/O Gillespie and Sgt Grigg as Black Section, took off at 0835 and were vectored on to an aircraft of which they were uncertain as to its identity. After some deliberation and comparison of silhouettes, coupled with the information given to Gillespie by the Controller at Debden that a message had been intercepted to the effect that two Spitfires had been sighted by the aircraft and that he was making for home, it was decided that its features corresponded to those of the FW 187 rather than any other aircraft. Subsequently, however, it transpired that a Whirlwind was in the vicinity at about the time that the section was on patrol and doubt thereupon arose as to whether the aircraft had in fact been mistaken for a Whirlwind. Enquiries are being made as to the source of the intercepted message and the language in which it was given. This should assist to establish its correct identity. On the second scramble, Red Section (F/L Newton and P/O Hall) was vectored on to a bandit (DO 215). Cannon strikes and an explosion were seen in the forward part of the fuselage on the starboard side, in addition to M/G strikes on the fuselage, part of the wing and tail unit, all of which were scored by F/L Newton. This e/a was therefore, claimed as ‘Damaged’. Actually this e/a was fortunate to have gotten away at all. Both Newton and Hall, in their anxiety to have a pop at him before they first entered cloud cover, had expended their ammunition. Subsequently, they found themselves in an ideal position to rake the e/a, but they were in the exasperating position of being without ammo to take advantage of their manoeuvre. Had this not been the case, the e/a would undoubtedly have been a ‘probable’ or ‘destroyed’. However that’s the luck of the game.
In the evening, a snooker match was played between unofficial sides representing the Station and the Squadron. S/L Newton Douglas, F/L Newton, F/O Davies and P/O Amor turned out for the Squadron and S/L Blainm S/L Geoghegan, F/L Hepsey and P/O Baker represented the Station. Needless to say, the Squadron won. Had the Black and Bonzo counted a hundred and fifty points, the Station might have stood a chance to win.
Wednesday, 26 November, 1941
Weather thick ground mist in the early morning, clearing later. Fine in the late morning and early afternoon, but it became overcast later. Cloud cover ranging from 4/10ths to 8/10ths. P/O ‘Timber’ Wood went on cannon test firing at Hollesley Bay. P/O Hall and Sgt Belcher did some camera gun practice. S/L Douglas did some local flying. A Squadron team chosen by Corporal Swan beat the Station Signals 3 – 1 at Association football this afternoon.
Thursday, 27 November, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud. P/O Wood went on altitude test. The CO did local and cloud flying. Uneventful convoy patrols. Sgts Somers and Smith did air to sea firing. F/L McColl and P/O Magwood (posted today from 53 OTU Llandow) carried out local flying. Sgts Somers and Wiseman did some cine-gun practice. News was today received from 11 Group by Signal via the International Red Cross Society quoting Berlin sources, that S/L R.A. Lee-Knight (late CO) had been killed; official category ‘missing believed killed in action’.
Friday, 28 November, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud. No flying today. F/L Newton posted to 72 Squadron at Gravesend wef 29/11/41. He returns to his old Squadron as Flight Commander. His departure is 403’s loss and 72’s gain. Newton enjoyed universal popularity and commanded the respect of everyone under his leadership. Scrupulously fair, a hard worker and extremely conscientious, he was an ideal Flight Commander. In the field of recreation, he was above the average as a ‘snooker’ player and could also play a good round of golf; the fact that he hailed from Lytham St Anne’s probably counted for the latter. Whilst this posting is unwelcome, he has the very best wishes of everyone in his old surroundings. In the evening, a farewell party was given at the Crown Hotel, Woodridge. P/O Wood is promoted to F/L and ‘A’ Flight Commander wef 29/11/41. His promotion is well deserved and it is hoped that success will attend his new responsibilities.
Saturday, 29 November, 1941
Weather dull with 10/10ths cloud in the morning. It cleared a little in the afternoon, 8/10ths to 9/10ths cloud. F/L Newton left for Gravesend; F/L Wood took over as ‘A’ Flight Commander. CO and F/L Wood went on an abortive scramble in the afternoon. F/S Sones and Sgt Smith did a weather test. The pilots and IO attended, at the Photographic Section in the afternoon, the following films- ‘JU 88’ (Recognition), ‘Dinghy Drill’ and ‘Tracer Method of Air Sighting’.
Sunday, 30 November, 1941
Weather again dull with 10/10ths cloud. Cold and raining in the morning. ‘B’ Flight carried out cine-gun interception. Sgt Crawford did some local flying and Sgt Schmitz did some cloud flying. ‘A’ Flight had one abortive scramble. Sgts Rainville, Belcher, Ryckman and Munn did some camera gun practice. P/O McPharlin left for a trip aboard a Destroyer on convoy patrol. He joined the ship at Harwich.
Monday, 1 December, 1941
Weather misty with 8/10ths cloud overcast clearing to fine later in the morning. F/L (Timber) Wood carried out a weather test. Sergeant Ryckman and F/L Wood went on cannon test firing. Sgt Crawford and F/L McColl went up on a weather test, the latter also doing some local flying. In the afternoon, the Squadron Soccer team beat the AA Flight by 3 goals to 2. The game was keenly contested and, at times, extremely robust. Although rather weak in finishing in front of the goal, at least two occasions which should have produced two certain goals were spoilt, the Squadron team was undoubtedly the better side of the two. Given further games in which to develop complete understanding between the individuals, they should make a really good team. NCOs and airmen of the RCAF were lectured to by F/O Davies in the evening on the subject of ‘Disclosure of Official Information’. S/L Douglas was away at 11 Group HQ. P/O Hall and Sgt Wiseman attached to PDC Padgate pending posting wef today. Hall hailed from New York. Wiseman was a native of Moose Jaw, Sask.
Tuesday, 2 December, 1941
Weather misty clearing to a fine day. The CO returned from London. Convoy patrols. P/O Colvin, Sgts Rainville, McDonald, and Belcher carried out cine-gun practice. F/L McColl, P/O Magwood, P/O Dick, Sgts Collinson and Smith did some formation flying. F/L Wood on weather test. F/S Sones and Sgt Collinson did some cine-gun practice.
Wednesday, 3 December, 1941
Weather misty, 810ths to 9/10ths cloud and dry. Compass swinging and rearming practice carried out. The CO, F/O Davies (IO), and F/O Morris (Assistant IO) attended a conference today with W/C Wilkinson (Station Commander) to receive instructions regarding ‘QO’ operations.
Thursday, 4 December, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud with mist. No flying. The Armoury Soccer team (7 aside) beat 25 Works Flight in the Station Knockout Competition by 1 goal to nil. Signing up of orders done by pilots in the morning and practice rifle firing on the Station rifle range. Film shown in the afternoon. P/O McPharlin returned from his trip on a Destroyer on convoy escort. The voyage was uneventful and most enjoyable. The crew showed him extreme hospitality.
Friday, 5 December, 1941
Weather dull, 10/10ths cloud again today. Convoy patrols. F/L McColl did a weather test. F/S Sones and Sgt Schmitz did cloud flying, Sgt Crawford aerobatics and cloud flying. P/O Magwood did some local flying while P/O Dick did some low-level flying. P/O Gillespie went on leave as well as F/L Wood and Sgt Somers. In the semi-final of the Knockout Competition, Armoury beat Sussex LI by one goal to nil. They now play the Ground gunners in the final.
Saturday, 6 December, 1941
Weather 9/10ths to 10/10ths cloud. ‘QO’ operations commenced today. S/L Douglas, P/O McPharlin, Sgts Grigg and Schmitz took off at 0850 hours on QO operations, returning at 1025 hours. The CO and Sgt Grigg were Blue Section and P/O McPharlin and Schmitz, Green Section. They picked up the flotilla of approximately 10 Minesweepers about 2 miles east of Harwich. The flotilla was heading in an ESE direction. Blue and Green Sections patrolled as escort cover from 800 to 1,500 feet until recalled. Apart from sighting southbound convoy ‘Arena’, there was nothing to report. Convoy patrols during the day with nothing of interest to report except that a strong wind approaching gale force out at sea caused at least four barrage balloons to break their moorings from ships in the convoy. Sgt Crawford and P/O Colvin carried out aircraft tests.
Sunday, 7 December, 1941
Weather windy with 7/10ths high cloud. Bright intervals. Cold with frost overnight. S/L Douglas, P/O Colvin, F/L McColl, P/O Dick, P/o McPharlin, F/S Sones, Sgts Schmitz, Rainville, Munn, Ryckman, Crist and McDonald did some practice Squadron formation flying. The Squadron is changing from the old non-weaving formation to the new formation of three lines of four aircraft, line astern, with all the pilots, except the leader, weaving. This formation is considered to be more flexible than the old formation and nearly all No 11 Group Squadrons have adopted it. P/O Colvin and Sgts Sones, P/O Magwood, and Sgts Crawford and Smith carried out camera-gun practice and F/S Sones and F/L McColl a practice dog fight. In the afternoon, the Armoury was beaten 7 to nil by the Ground Gunners in the final of the Station Soccer Knockout Competition.
In view of the memorandum today received from the RCAF Headquarters, containing suggestions as a general guide to the selection of subject matter which should be included in the Operations Record book, the following information has been collected and is appended hereunder.
Other Personnel Airmen
Total Hours Flown
Aircraft on Charge
Spitfire Mk I
Spitfire Mk I
Spitfire Mk IIA
Spitfire Mk IIA
Spitfire Mk VB
Spitfire Mk IIA
Spitfire Mk VB
Spitfire Mk VB
Monday, 8 December, 1941
Weather cold, overnight frost. 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud at 1,500 to 2,000 feet. Bright intervals. Uneventful convoy patrols. Sgt Smith posted to 607 Squadron, Manston today. Sgt Smith hailed from Bristol and was a member of ‘B’ Flight. The echelon Soccer team played the Royal Suffolk Regiment this afternoon and drew 3-3.
Tuesday, 9 December, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud at 1,000 feet. Dull. A Squadron Soccer Committee meeting was held in the morning. Sgts McDonald and Belcher did some cloud flying. F/S Sones carried out a weather test. P/Os Dick and McPharlin went on a scramble – patrolled the cloud base with nothing to report. Uneventful convoy patrols. F/L McColl was posted to No 1 RAF Depot, Uxbridge, pending posting overseas. He hailed from Waterdown, Ontario and was an experienced pilot having previously served in the near East. McColl’s ‘bag’ consisted of one Caproni 132 destroyed. P/O Magwood was attached to No 2 School of Air navigation for 6 weeks Instructor’s Course at Grange wef today.
Wednesday, 10 December, 1941
Weather dull 10/10ths cloud with a base at 500 feet. P/O Colvin and Sgt Crist went on the weather test. Uneventful convoy patrols and a scramble. P/O Dick also went on a weather test. Sgts Collinson and Crawford did cloud flying.
Thursday, 11 December, 1941
Weather 7/10ths cloud with a base varying from 1,000 feet. Bright intervals. Sgts Belcher, Rainville and Munn and F/L Wood carried out cine-gun practice. P/O Colvin and Sgt Menserez went on cloud flying formation practice. F/L Wood did GCI test at Debden and an air test. Sgts Crist, Cairns, Grigg, Schmitz and P/O Dick did some cine-gun practice. Sgt Collinson went on a weather test. Further cloud flying and cannon firing practice was carried out during the day, also Squadron formation practice with the CO leading.
Friday, 12 December, 1941
Weather dull, 10/10ths cloud and raining. It improved towards noon, cloud 8/10ths. Sgt Cairns and Crawford did weather tests. Drogue firing carried out off Orfordness. Cine-gun practice by Sgts Rainville, Munn, Crist, Monserez, Belcher, F/L Wood and P/O Colvin.
Saturday, 13 December, 1941
Weather very dull 8/10ths cloud all day. Drogue firing off Orfordness. Cine-gun practice by Sgts Rainville, Belcher and Monserez. Convoy patrols and one abortive scramble were also done today. F/Sgt Sones went on a weather test. Sgt Collinson, F/S Sones, Sgts Schmitz and Crawford went on air firing and cine-gun practice. P/O Colvin and F/O Davies went on a convoy trip.
Sunday, 14 December, 1941
Weather 10/10ths cloud. Dull all day. Rain in the morning and the afternoon. F/L Wood went on weather test, otherwise no flying.
Monday, 15 December, 1941
Weather cloudy with 9/10ths in the early morning improving later. Clear day from late morning onwards. Sgt Crawford went on a weather test. Drogue firing off Orfordness. One scramble by ‘B’ Flight which was uneventful. Sgts Crawford and Schmitz went on cine-gun practice. Further 10 airmen today commenced a 7-day course of training as ‘backers up’. Course includes rifle and bayonet drill and hand grenade throwing.
Tuesday, 16 December, 1941
Weather 3/10ths to 4/10ths cloud, fine and sunny. F/S Sones and Sgt Somers did a practice dogfight. Two Squadron formation flights were carried out. Sgt Collinson did an aircraft test flight. Sgt Somers did cine-gun practice with P/O Dick. Sgts Ryckman, Crist, McDonald and Monserez also carried out cine-gun practice. P/O Colvin and F/O Davies returned from their convoy trip. Sgt Monserez did some local flying and aerobatics. Sgt Beurling reported today from 57 OTU Howarden, posted wef 9.12.41.
Wednesday 17 December, 1941
Weather 8/10ths to 9/10ths cloud at 1,000 feet. Sgt Hubbard posted to Squadron from 123 Squadron, Castledown, wef 15.12.41. F/L Wood went on Sector Recco. P/O Colvin did some aerobatics. Sgt Crist went on aircraft and cloud test. Various flying training including Squadron formation practice carried out during the day. Squadron Soccer team lost by 4 goals to 3 against Army Liaison team. Sgt Olmsted posted from 412 Squadron, arriving today. Posting wef 15.12.41.
Thursday 18 December, 1941
Weather dull in the early morning with 9/10ths cloud, clearing later. Afternoon bright and sunny with 6/10ths cloud. Sgt Rainville went on an aircraft test. Two uneventful scrambles, one over Claxton at 10,000 feet and the other over the base. Various flying training during the day. Formation flying, aerobatics and cine-gun practice. A sports meeting was held to discuss the general organization of the various sports in the Squadron.
Friday 19 December, 1941
Weather thick ground mist all day. No flying. The pilots attended at the Photographic Section to see their cine-gun films and two films on aircraft recognition (ME 110 & JU 87). The AOC, 11 group (Air Vice-Marshall Leigh-Mallory) visited the Squadron this morning. P/O McPharlin went on 7 days leave today. Weather prevented air to air firing at Alderton Range allotted to the Squadron today and tomorrow.
Saturday, 20 December, 1941
Weather thick ground mist again preventing flying. A Squadron Association Football Committee meeting was held this morning. A signal arrived this morning concerning the Squadron’s move to North Weald to take place on the 22nd. This afternoon, all the pilots attended at the Photographic Section to see films of the German Navy and Italian aircraft.
Sunday, 21 December, 1941
Weather ground mist, but bright and clear overhead. F/L Wood carried out circuits and landings with Sgt Hubbard. F/L Walker posted to the Squadron as ‘A’ Flight Commander from 402 (Canadian) Squadron.
Monday, 22 December, 1941
Weather – dull, heavy mist. Ground personnel of the Squadron today moved to North Weald. Weather unfit for the pilots to leave. F/L Wood went on leave. P/Os Cawsey and Hurst posted to the Squadron from 61 OTU Heston. During the course of the removal, one of the Squadron lorries was run into by an Army lorry at Martlesham and, as a result, AC Nattrass sustained injuries that proved fatal.
Tuesday, 23 December, 1941
Weather Dull in the morning. Fine later in the day. Pilots still unable to leave Martlesham owing to the unfavourable weather conditions. P/O Zoochkan posted to the Squadron from 53 OTU Llandow.
Wednesday, 24 December, 1941
Weather fine all day with 3/10ths cloud. The pilots were able to leave Martlesham today and arrived at North Weald at 11:30 hours. Sector Recco during the day. P/O Dick and Sgt Rainville flew to Hunsdon.
Thursday, 25 December, 1941
Weather dull, 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. Sector Recco and convoy patrols were carried out during the day. F/L Walker did an aircraft test. The airmen were given a five-course Christmas dinner and ample beer, which was provided by the Officers and the NCOs.
Friday, 26 December, 1941
Weather heavy mist and dull. Sgt Crist did an aircraft test at Brize Norton. P.O Colvin carried out a weather test.
Saturday, 27 December, 1941
Weather 7/10ths to 8/10ths cloud. Dull day with rain at intervals. F/S Sones, P/O Gillespie and P/O Dick did an aircraft test each. Air firing at Sutton Bridge was carried out. F/L Walker did some local flying. Sgt Collinson crash landed – overshot. Aircraft washed out but fortunately he was unhurt.
Sunday, 28 December, 1941
Weather heavy frost overnight. Fine all day. Wispy cloud of 2/10ths to 3/10ths thickness. Sgt Grigg posted to 79 Squadron Bagington. F/O Davies posted to 418 Squadron, Debden wef 15.1.42. Convoy patrols but nothing of interest to report. Sgt Rainville went to Hunsdon in a ‘Spit’, the CO, P/O Gillespie, Sgts Ryckman and Crist following by car. Owing to the extent of the activity on the Station, it was impracticable for the party to carry out any night flying practice.
Monday, 29 December, 1941
Weather thick mist, after heavy overnight frost. No flying. Gas lecture was given to the pilots by P/O Pratt. P/O Dick went on leave.
Tuesday, 30 December, 1941
Weather heavy mist prevented flying again today. A lecture on ‘the use of Anti-gas clothing’ given to the pilots. The Squadron was visited by the Under Secretary for Air (Capt Balfour) accompanied by the Station CO, G/C Pain, and W/C Nove DFC (W/C/ Flying). The CO lectured on ‘Formation flying’ and ‘Flying accidents’. In the afternoon, the pilots were shown films on the ‘HE 111’, ‘The us eof Oxygen in high flying’ and ‘Records of Combats’, the latter film proving of exceptional interest by reason of its factual character. P/O Colvin went on leave. F/L Wood returned from leave.
Wednesday, 31 December, 1941
Weather overcast and misty again. No flying today. In the evening an ENSA concert and a Station dance were visited and thoroughly enjoyed.
RCAF Officers – Aircrew 8 RAF Officers – Aircrew 4
– Ground crew 3 – Ground crew 2
RCAF Airmen – Aircrew 15 RAF Airmen – Aircrew 1+1 Can in RAF
– Ground crew 73 – Ground crew 118 – 2 Can
One RNZAF Sgt Pilot (Sgt Cairns) on strength
Operational flying time – 197.50
Training flying time – 240.10
18 Spitfire Mk VB on Strength