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F540 Operations Record Book December 1956 NO 4 SQUADRON.
RAF Museum Hendon. Holds 2nd copy of F540 1945 to 1970.
PLACE DATE TIME SUMMARY OF EVENTS                     COMPILING OFFICER   __Flying Officer I. Madelin.___ Refs
      ianmadelin.jpg, 1289 bytes  
R.A.F. JEVER 1.12.56        Airfield colour date red until 11.00 hrs - an inauspicious start to this month.
After this the Squadron flew two details, a high level battle three and a cine pair.
                                          5   sorties                 3:00  hours
  3.12.56        Amber conditions prevailed until 13.00 hours.  As usual when flying is restricted to
pairs we took this as a convenient chance to catch up on cine exercises.  There was an
incident of a starboard brake failure on landing during the afternoon.  Fg.Off A. Armitage
was able to turn the aircraft off into the S.W. dispersal after landing, but there,
unfortunately, he found a cable drum blocking his way and so was forced to run into the
grass.  It took some time to extricate the aircraft which had sunk fairly deep, but
no damage was caused.  Fg Off G.H. Slaney flew his first Hunter sortie with the
squadron  Flt.Lt J. Ewens returned to the Squadron for two weeks reinforcement
training from the Fighter Weapons School at Leconfield where he is a staff P.A.I.
                                  21   sorties                          16:20  hours
  4.12.56        One of our rare off-days in the way of serviceability, and only two aircraft were
available until mid-day; the airfield was 'red' for the first hour, and restricted for the rest
of the day.
     A 98 Squadron aircraft [XE669] crashed in the vicinity of the airfield just before 15.00 hrs
[Click to see report of accident in Flight Comment.]
and since all the crash vehicles were sent out, a pair of our aircraft was diverted to
Ahlhorn.  They returned an hour later.
                                       18   sorties                        13:50  hours
  5.12.56        Weather restricted operations again, and we flew a weather check and seven cine
                                     16   SORTIES,                 12  HOURS.
  6.12.56        A very active flying day, exercises including high level battle fours, cine pairs
aerobatics and low flying.  There were also some sorties of night flying which were
unfortunately curtailed when an aircraft from another squadron ran off the runway into
the French drain on landing.
[Report from Flight Comment not in F540:   Pilot converged on to the edge of the runway on a
night landing - fortunately he managed to hold the aircraft straight for most of the journey
down the "French drain".  A drainage cover proved too much to cope with and the aircraft
swung on to the grass coming to rest without damage.  98 or 118 Sqns?]
                                          46   SORTIES,         34:10  HOURS.
  7.12.56        Bad weather kept the wing on the ground all day.  Sqn.Ldr T.G. Dobie was visiting
the Station from the school of Aviation Medicine at Wildenrath and he chatted to the
pilots in the crew room on the trend of development in this field.  Flying was definitely
called off after lunch, and those who weren't busy played games.
                                     /   SORTIES.                 /  HOURS.
  8.12.56        A thick 'clamp' is still clinging to the area.  After an Aircraft Recognition test
in the Wing Briefing Room, the pilots spent the morning on secondary duties and the
ground crew did trade training.
                                          /   SORTIES.             /  HOURS.
  10.12.56        Apart from three cine sorties in the afternoon, weather again prevented flying.
Fg.Off D. Watt lectured the Wing on 'Principles of Guns and the 'Aden Gun' in the morning,
and some of the pilots attended G.C.T. Lectures in the afternoon, on atomic defence.
Flt.Lt J.M.D. Sutton, 'B' Flight Commander returned to the Squadron today after
successfully finishing the Day Fighter Leaders course at C.F.E., West Raynham.
                                         6   SORTIES.               4  HOURS.
  11.12.56        The airfield colour state started 'green', then gradually deteriorated, and spent
most of the day on the red fringe of Amber 3.  Later in the afternoon operations were
somewhat hampered by cloud which went solid to 35,000'.  The C.O. was startled and
a little disappointed by the performance of one or two of the pilots on blindfold
cockpit checks today.
                                     18   SORTIES.               13:25  HOURS.
  12.12.56        A full working day to compensate for the coming long week-end, when the Station
Rugby team are competing in the final of the Command championships.  Unfortunately the
weather permitted us to get just three aircraft up, and these were diverted to Sylt.
Flt.Lt J.M.D. Sutton gave a lecture to the Squadron Pilots in the afternoon on high -
level Hunter Operations.
                                           3   SORTIES,              2  HOURS.
  13.12.56        Todays Exercise 'Guest' was probably the most successful of the series.  At least
from the Squadron's point of view, it was more operational than any previous ones,
although weather called a premature halt to our activities at 15.45 hrs - about three
hours early.  The Squadron had originally been told-off for the role of low-level anti
'rat' defence of the base, with the G.C.A. search 'scope' providing early warning
However, these orders were cancelled yesterday, and we reverted mainly to the high
level interceptor role, with an additional few low-level missions patrolling the
approaches to Gutersloh and the No 4 low flying area, and operating from Wunstorf.  Our
claims for the day included an F.84F and a B45 ; Hunters, Canberras and N.F. 11s.
     An incident; leading a pair in the break Lt. R. Parkinson R.N. encountered a large
flock of gulls on the approach and four of these struck his aircraft on the port wing
canopy and intake causing Cat 2 damage.  The landing was without incident, and since
an engine change was about due anyway it is hoped that the aircraft will soon be back
with the Squadron.   [Reported in Flight Comment Dec56 not in F540: "An aircraft was
damaged on rejoining the circuit, by a flock of birds".]
                                                       28   SORTIES,               21:55  HOURS.
  14.12.56        After flying a few high level battle details, and a low level cross country
rendezvous, the Squadron stood down at lunch time until Monday.  A number of the pilots
and some of the ground crew left to spend the weekend at Munchen Gladbach as supporters
of the Station Rugby Team.
                                        16   SORTIES.              12:35  HOURS.
  17.12.56        A full days flying, devoted almost entirely to practice interceptions with high
level fours under G.C.I. control.
                                        26   SORTIES          22:15  HOURS
  18.12.56        High level battle formation was again the main exercise of the day, though in
addition a strike was carried out on a disused airfield in the low flying area with
four aircraft.  In the afternoon an S.T.I. was issued calling for a check of part of
the hydraulic lines where chafing had been reported.  For this reason, the Squadron
stopped flying at 1500 hours in order to clear enough aircraft for a night flying
programme of three details, which began at 1700 hrs.
                                                25   SORTIES          19:35  HOURS
  19.12.56        The airfield was fog bound all day and there was no flying.  The pilots spent most
of the morning in the Wing Briefing Room and heard lectures on 'Sarah' and 'The
Organisation of the Russian Air Force': and saw a recent American film on Guided Missiles.
In the afternoon Flt.Lt J.M.D. Sutton supervised the planning of a low level strike by
the Squadron pilots.
                                               /   SORTIES                 /  HOURS
  20.12.56        Bad weather continued to prevent flying.  In the morning there was a lecture on
personal safety equipment ; and another on G.C.A. by Flt.Lt P.D.F. Drummond-Hay, who had
recently completed a tour at C.F.S. on this equipment.  In addition a long and very
boring film on the R.A.F. signals service was screened.
     Most of the pilots spent the afternoon in fancy dress acting as hosts at the
children's Christmas Party, which was held in the Officers' Mess.
                                                        /   SORTIES            /  HOURS
  21.12.56        Restricted flying began at 1045 hrs and the squadron flew cine pairs for the rest of
the day.  Fg.Off R.W. Blakey who has been attached for Hunter conversion from No
Squadron (Venoms) at Celle flew his first sortie.  His detachment ended today and was
thereby just saved from being abortive.
                                              19   SORTIES,            14:25  HOURS.
  22.12.56        Three details were flown, two of high level battle, and the third - a low level
formation of three aircraft, dropped Squadron Christmas Cards on the dispersal at
Leeuwarden.  Before close-down at lunch time the pilots entertained the ground crew
to beer in the crew - room, and presented a gift to George, the Squadron's German
caretaker.  He has been on the strength for over five years, making him by far the
oldest inhabitant.
                                            12   SORTIES           9:15  HOURS.
  27.12.56        Squadron activities over the past few days have been many, though not particularly
various ; being confined simply to parties and more parties.  Back to work this morning
the weather was hazy, the airfield Amber, and the Squadron flew cine pairs all day.
There was no night flying.
                                             19   SORTIES       13:50  HOURS.
  28.12.56        The Christmas break rather upset the even schedule of primary inspections and for
this reason only two aircraft were available for flying.  In addition the weather
added a severe restriction, and the airfield was 'red' for part of the morning.  For
the rest, six cine pairs were flown.  Three pilots visited the new radar control and
reporting site (T.80) which has just started operating in our area.
                                              12   SORTIES,     9:0  HOURS.
  29.12.56        Although the local weather was acceptable at the start of the day, the ground
temperature was well below freezing, and a belt of rain was moving towards the airfield.
It began to fall at 09.30 hours and soon the surface was covered with ice.  There was no
flying and the pilots devoted their time to Squadron duties.
                                              /   SORTIES                 /  HOURS
  31.12.56        Freezing rain fell during the night covering all concrete surfaces with an even
and tenacious sheet of ice.  Flying was quite out of the question, but this gave a
useful opportunity for completing log books, stats, and end of month returns.  The pilots
and many of the ground crew spent the afternoon on the runway with shovels aiding the
snow ploughs.
                                               /   SORTIES                 /  HOURS
(J. R. CHAPMAN)                 
Squadron Leader,               
Officer Commanding          
Number 4 Squadron