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F540 Operations Record Book August 1952 NO 4 SQUADRON.
PRO Kew No. AIR27 Piece 2590 Microfilm Row1 Draws 52-71
1.8.52   Exercise Spearhead One opened today at 17.00 hrs.   The Squadron flew two missions, a reconnaissance of a cumulonimbus cloud over Brussels, followed by an armed recce in the battle area.   The area lies across the Rhine between Wesel and Emmerich - Westland on the left bank, Eastland on the right.   The principle task of the air forces taking part is in support of Westland, but from time to time our aircraft carry out strikes on behalf of Eastland.
                                                         Vampire     16 sorties     11 hours   35 minutes
                                                         Meteor          2 sorties        1 hour     30 minutes.
  2.8.52   The war continued slowly.   Armed reconnaissance are the order of the day, to seek out positions of ground forces moving into the battle area.
                                                         Vampire       8 sorties        4 hours   40 minutes
  3.8.52   Westland, having successfully established a bridgehead over the Rhine yesterday, this evening planned to reinforce it with parachute troops.   The Squadron's first mission was in support of Eastland at dawn, attacking troops being ferried over the river.   This type of mission was repeated later in the afternoon.   In the evening, in support of the airborne assault, the Squadron took part in large scale attacks against Eastland.
                                                         Vampire     18 sorties     9 hours   45 minutes
                                                         Meteor          2 sorties      2 hours     00 minutes
  4.8.52   Today there were no dawn missions for No. 4 Squadron.   Later, the air offensive was directed against the enemy reaction to Westland's bridgehead, which had been successfully reinforced by parachutists.   The Squadrons based at Wildenwrath are being called into action in turn by Wing Operations.   This Squadron has been organised on a three flight basis, with an extra pilot as "stand in".   Each "four" comprises two of the more experienced pilots as flight or subsection leaders, and two of the newer pilots.   Using this flexible system, and dividing the day into four hour periods from dawn, the Squadron has been able to supply a flight at all hours, with reinforcements when called for.   Ground crews have worked in the same way as at A.P.S. Sylt last month, namely on a two flight shift schedule.
                                                          Vampire     22 sorties     9 hours   00 minutes
                                                          Meteor          2 sorties      1 hour    10 minutes
  5.8.52   There were only two flights to the battle area.   The first at 07.25 hrs, was directed against some Eastland forces laagered in a wood.   This attack proved a good example of the use of the sun to conceal aircraft.   The sun was low, shining into mist patches through haze: it is unlikely that the aircraft were seen at all as they dived down sun.   Such an attack is however useless without very accurate briefing, because the haze also greatly reduces one's chances of picking up the target.
The second attack, ten hours later, was abortive, no target being found at the briefed position.
                                                          Vampire     8 sorties     4 hours   20 minutes
                                                          Meteor        1 sortie       0 hours   45 minutes
  6.8.52   The Spearhead appears to have sunk up to the hilt and is being held, still, awaiting the arrival of several Army Staff Offices to watch it being turned in the wound.   There was no flying commitment.   Instead, our Squadron flew three training missions - low level practice in fours.   Training has been continued throughout the detachment to renew pilot's instrument rating's.   Flying Officer Atkins was posted today to No. 234 Squadron.
                                                         Vampire     14 sorties     11 hours   00 minutes
  7.8.52   The turning of the spearhead began this evening with a further river crossing north of the original bridgehead.   A large party of pilots, including four from the Squadron was invited as spectators, and returned early next morning.
                                                          Vampire     15 sorties     7 hours   20 Minutes
                                                          Meteor           1 sorties     1 hour     05 Minutes
  8.8.52   There were three missions before breakfast - all against Eastlands armour.   The activity continued fairly briskly into the afternoon, with five more strikes.   Then the battle stopped. During the exercise, briefing was carried out by a central staff in the Wing Operations Room.   Pilots waited, when so required, in a rest room adjacent to Operations.   On receipt of a Form 'D', the Operations staff called for the flight or sections and briefed them.   They then drove to their dispersal and flew off when ready.   On at least one occasion, this method failed to achieve a successful result, because of the considerable delay involved in traveling from Wing Operations to dispersal.   A flash report resulted in a Form 'D' calling for an attack on seven Centurions.   26 minutes after the Form 'D' was received the strike aircraft were on target.   The target was no longer there.   The system used during Exercise Counterthrust at R.A.F. Wunstorf, namely briefing by telephone to the pilots waiting in dispersal, may be more efficacious in achieving rapid times into action for such targets.   There the strike was often on target 13 to 15 minutes of reception of the phone message.
                                                         Vampire     24 Sorties     11 Hours   00 Minutes
                                                         Meteor           3 Sorties       1 Hour     55 Minutes
  9.8.52   The Squadron prepared to return to R.A.F. Jever.   An advance party was sent by road to help make ready for Tuesday's inspection by the A.O.C.   No flying.  

The Squadron returned to base.

                                                         Vampire         8 Sorties       5 Hours   20 Minutes
R.A.F.JEVER 12.8.52   After strenuous hours of work all through Monday night, the Squadron went on parade with the rest of the Station before the Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group.   There was a station fly past in the afternoon.
                                                         Vampire     8 Sorties     5 Hours   20 Minutes
                                                         Meteor         1 Sortie       1 Hours  45 Minutes
  13.8.52   The Squadron Commander and Adjutant flew to R.N.A.F. Eindhoven for a conference on the forthcoming exchange visit of this Squadron to Holland.   During the morning unpacking of the rear party convoy and servicing of the aircraft continued.   The afternoon was devoted to Station Sports.
                                                          Vampire       4 Sorties    2 Hours   30 Minutes
  14.8.52   The Squadron was scheduled to visit Nordhorn Range.   However, poor weather there prevented the programme from being carried out ; it was canceled and work began to recrystallise and service the aircraft.   All our four channel radio sets are to be changed for ten channel units at Kemble in England.
                                                          Vampire       8 Sorties      3 Hours   55 Minutes

Squadron Standown.
  19.8.52   The Weather deteriorated rapidly this morning to heavy continuous rain.   While long range tanks were being fitted and tested, the Meteor began instrument flying practice;   but even this had to stop when the runway became too slippery.
                                                         Vampire     Nil
                                                         Meteor          2 Sorties        1 Hour    45 Minutes
  20.8.52   Today a double fatal accident occurred.   Shortly after taking off on Task Beef, two aircraft [VX998 and VV451] collided and crashed.   They were flown by Flying Officer R.J. Keyser, R.A.F., and Sergeant M. Lavoine, Armee de L'Air.   Both pilots were killed.   The remaining eight aircraft returned to base and flying ceased for the day.
                                                         Vampire     10 Sorties     6 Hours   25 Minutes
                                                         Meteor           1 Sortie                         55 Minutes
  21.8.52   All available effort is turned to preparation for the funeral tomorrow.
                                                         Vampire        4 Sorties     1 Hour   10 Minutes
  22.8.52   A service was held in the Station Church.   Thereafter the body of Sgt. Lavoine was borne to a Dakota of the French Air Force, and a final salute made by the escort and rifle party of No. 4 Squadron as the aircraft taxied out.   The cortege bearing the coffin of Flg. Off. Keyser drove to Hamburg where he was buried with full military honours, in the British Military Cemetery.  
  23.8.52   Task Beef, delayed, was flown off this morning.   Eight aircraft of the Squadron flew to England.   The task is the conversion of all aircraft of the 2nd T.A.F from 4 channel to 10 channel sets.
                                                                             17 Sorties   14 Hours   35 Minutes
  25.8.52   The return of the aircraft from England was completed in small groups due to minor unserviceability and difficulty in refueling at R.A.F. Tangmere.   Four aircraft reached that airfield from the maintenance unit tonight but could not continue until tomorrow.   Today, in Germany, Plt/Off Evans flew to R.N.A.F. Eindhoven to make ready for the arrival of the Squadron.   The advanced party (ground) set off under Sgt. Kenny.
                                                                                5 Sorties     9 Hours   00 Minutes
  26.8.52   Armoury equipment arrived at R.N.A.F. Eindhoven with the ground party; the remainder of the equipment was flown in by two K.L.M. Dakota's.   Normal Squadron training was carried out at R.A.F. Jever.
                                                                              14 Sorties     9 Hours   20 Minutes
27.8.52   The Main party, in two K.L.M. Dakota's, and the air party, bringing eight Vampires arrived this afternoon.   Very poor weather prevented the Dakota from bringing the remaining personnel.
                                                                                8 Sorties    10 Hours   00 Minutes
  28.8.52   Flying began with sector recces by all pilots.   A fluid six was then sent off on a battle formation, but one dropped out, unserviceable.   They met a pair of Dutch Thunder jets who mad a couple of attacks and finally joined the Squadron and swept over the airfield, forming the outer pair of a Vic of seven aircraft.   The final sortie, later in the afternoon, comprised eight aircraft on battle formation at high altitude.   The Dakota with the remaining Squadron personnel arrived during the afternoon.
                                                                               18 Sorties    17 Hours   25 Minutes
  29.8.52   There were six missions today, aerobatics and tail chases in the morning, and in the afternoon, low level battle formation, practising in particular, breaks from low level.
                                                                                35 Sorties    23 Hours   05 Minutes
  30.8.52   There was no operational flying in accordance with local practice at R.N.A.F. Eindhoven.   The last two of our aircraft arrived from England, from Task Beef.
                                                                                  6 Sorties       3 Hours   30 Minutes
A busy month.   There were two detachments, one to R.A.F. Wildenwrath, the other to the Dutch airfield at Eindhoven.   These provided excellent training in movement by ground and air transport.   The first exercise, Exercise Spearhead 1, called primarily for practice in living in the field and working long hours.   The second provided a measure of cooperation with an Allied Air Force which would be vital to us in any future world war.
The Squadron base at R.A.F. Jever was visited by the Air Officer Commanding on his annual tour of inspection.   Despite being at R.A.F. Wildenwrath the day prior to the inspection, the Squadron put up a creditable performance on the actual day.   Task Beef - conversion of all Vampire radio sets - was carried out between the detachments.   A double fatal accident occurred during operation Beef, resulting in the death of a Royal Air Force pilot and a French pilot attached to the Squadron.

Authorised by



S/LDR for

                       FLYING :                                 HOURS        MINUTES
                              Individual Training              7                   45
                              Interception                           -                      -
                              Squadron Wing Exercise 95                  10
                              Air Support                          54                  30
                              Navigation                          15                   30
                              Weapons                            -                         -
                              Instrument                          -                         -  
                              Total Vampire                  172                   55
                              Meteor                                 10                   45
                              Grand Total                      183                   40