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F540 Operations Record Book July 1952 NO 4 SQUADRON.
PRO Kew No. AIR27 Piece 2590 Microfilm Row1 Draws 52-71
R.A.F. SYLT 1.7.52   Target speed was raised today to 220 knots.   At the high speed, the Vampire becomes a more stable gun platform; but the change invariably leads to lower pilots' scores at first, until they settle down.   A full day's flying was completed.   Today the Squadron lost one of its P.A.I.s Flying Officer Rigby is posted to No. 20 Squadron.
                                                                              Vampire     34 sorties     16 hours   35 minutes
                                                                              Meteor          3 sorties        1 hour     45 minutes.
  2.7.52   Firing went on all day, except that towards the end of the afternoon, increasing haze began to interfere with our sighting.
                                                                                                  31 sorties     15 hours   55 minutes
  3.7.52   Low cloud, completely obscuring the sky, prevented shooting this morning.   It broke sufficiently at midday to allow flying to start, but closed in again later and cancelled the last detail.
                                                                                                   22 sorties     11 hours   00 minutes
  4.7.52   To date, 387 sorties have been flown, but only 239 of them have been effective shoots.   This gives an abortive rate of just over 38%.   Two aircraft flew an army co-operation mission this afternoon against the gunners at List.   Lieutenant Coulon, who has been attached to the squadron from l'Armee de l'Air, returned today to France.
     Because R.A.F. Sylt are holding their Station Sports tomorrow, the flying programme was interrupted for 48 hours.
                                                                               Vampire     33 sorties     17 hours   15 minutes
                                                                               Meteor          3 sorties        1 hour     00 minutes
  7.7.52   Flag after flag was cancelled - four of them - due to Tempest unserviceability.   This is quite distressing, because we need 120 sorties to complete our task, and the weather is perfect.
                                                                               Vampire     27 sorties     12 hours   45 minutes
                                                                               Meteor          3 sorties        1 hour     20 minutes
R.A.F. SYLT 8.7.52   A steady programme was flown until the towing aircraft broke down at 15.00 hours. Two more of our pilots have now qualified on the Meteor, having completed the necessary amount of asymmetric practice.
                                                                              Vampire     36 sorties     16 hours   15 minutes
                                                                              Meteor           1 sortie                          30 minutes
  9.7.52   This was the worst day. Six Tempests were cancelled, because it was found to be difficult or impossible to start them.
                                                                                                  20 sorties        9 hours   00 minutes
  10.7.52   The last day - 32 effective sorties, with quite good scores, mostly between 8
and 12%.
     In the evening the Squadron took off for Jever, to be followed next day
by the rail parties.
                                                                              Vampire     44 sorties     18 hours   30 minutes
                                                                              Meteor           1 sortie                          20 minutes
  11.7.52   Preparations were made for today for the fly past next Sunday.   Two new pilots
joined the Squadron they are S/Lieutenant Richard and Sergeant Lavoine from the
Armee de L'Air, attached for three months.   They flew on local reconnaissance
in the Meteor with one of the regular pilots.
                                                                              Vampire        1 sortie                          30 minutes
                                                                              Meteor           2 sorties         1 hour   20 minutes
  12.7.52   Eight of No. 4 Squadron's aircraft joined four from No. 112 Squadron and flew to Wahn
under the leadership of Wing Commander Elsdon.   Two spare aircraft came also.
           A rehearsal was planned for 16.30 hours: but it was abortive.   The Jever,
Wunstorf and Gutersloh Wings took off from Wahn and successfully joined the
Wings from Wildenwrath, flying from there to the rendezvous point.   There,
however, radio contact was not established with ground control at Melsbroek.
The formation leader decided against carrying on, due to the large number of
aircraft involved, and indifferent visibility, and ordered all Wings back to base.
                                                                                                     15 sorties     17 hours   20 minutes
  13.7.52   Despite yesterday's fiasco, today's exodus went very well. The N.A.T.O. held its
first air display at Melsbroek Airfield near Brussels, the climax of which was
a flypast by massed formations of the various air forces represented.   The join
up of the Wildenwrath and Wahn formations went according to plan, and the whole
group appeared over Melsbroek just ten seconds ahead of schedule in excellent
formation.   Thereafter individual Wings broke off and returned to their home
                                                                                                       9 sorties      12 hours   55 minutes
  14.7.52   We are battle flight at Jever this week.   Three missions today; the first a
normal encounter between five of our aircraft, and a four from another station.
The second was abortive.   An attempt was made by ground control to bring our
fluid six into contact with the "enemy", but, after climbing through much cloud,
no target was sighted by the flight, which then returned to base.   The last
consisted of P.I.s between the two subsection of three aircraft each.
                                                                                   Vampire   19 sorties       17 hours  20 minutes
                                                                                   Meteor        2 sorties          1 hours  30 minutes
  15.7.52   Eight aircraft from the station were required to be ready for escort duties during
the day.   However, they were not called for normal battle flight duties being
carried out instead.   There were again three missions today.   Controlling is good,
except that occasionally the attacking flight is not very well positioned in
relation to the sun.
                                                                                                      13 sorties       11 hours   55 minutes.
  16.7.52   The first flight this morning was quite normal, successful interceptions being made
of another battle flight.   On the second a curious crisis arose.
Our own four aircraft had completed a couple of attacks against another four, during
the second of which one of the other aircraft became detached.   He was eventually
brought back to the formations, which were then flying in line astern by Ground
Control.   Just as we were about to split up for further interceptions a host of
about 36 Meteors sailed across our bows.   Fortunately, they were stepped up towards
the rear, allowing us to pass beneath the tail of their formation.   The G.C.I.
station apparently had no knowledge of the presence of this formation.
          At noon, Battle Flight was stood down, to allow the Station Sports to be held.
                                                                 14 Sorties 12 hours 20 minutes.
  17.7.52   A programme of rocketing at Nordhorn Range was maintained throughout the day.   The
cloud base was just high enough to permit firing, and came down to 1,600 feet in
particles at the end of the day.   Five pilots who had previously fired with
the Squadron took part today.
                                                             34 Sorties 33 hours 10 minutes.
  18.7.52   There was no flying during the morning, when all pilots attended a lecture by
Wing Commander SUSANS on air fighting in Korea.   Wing Commander SUSANS is from No.
77 Squadron of the R.A.A.F.
          In the afternoon battle flight was resumed.   The first mission was abortive
because one of the four aircraft became u/s through R/T failure after take off, and
a second lost his leader in thick cloud.   Due to difficulty in reforming, continuation
of the interception was abandoned.   The second mission comprised a set of P.I.s
with another battle flight.
                                                                    12 Sorties 9 hours 00 minutes.
  21.7.52   Yesterday and the day before was spent on 48 hours stand down.   All but forty
minutes of our time today was devoted to taking the new pilots up on high and low
level battle formation practice, in twos and fours.   There were six trips to the
low flying area to rehearse the procedures for rocket attacks.   As much practice of
this sort as possible is necessary in view of the imminent exercises, during which
the Squadron will be expected to maintain an intensive rate of ground attack
                                                                    30 Sorties 22 hours 05 minutes.
  22.7.52   A second rocket programme at Nordhorn.   Scores were below standard, but should
improve as our visits to the range become more frequent.
                                                                  34 Sorties 29 hours 55 minutes.
  23.7.52   There was no flying today.   Flying Wing Headquarters were taking part in a mobility
exercise and no facilities were available for flying.
  24.7.52   There was a high level mission today to exercise interception control over the
Low Countries.   Four of our aircraft fitted with long range tanks, flew at 28,000
feet over Amsterdam and Brussels; but not a single interceptor was seen.
         Because of the acute aircraft situation - there is likely to be little or no
flying until next month, aircraft hours thus being saved for the important task of
participating in Exercise 'Spearhead One'.      10 Sorties 9 hours 40 minutes.
) The Squadron packed for the move to R.A.F. Wildenwrath.
  28.7.52   The advance party went by road to R.A.F. Wildenwrath, followed on Tuesday by the
main party.   The convoy took two days, spending one night at R.A.F. Sundern, to
avoid putting too much strain on the Squadron's drivers, none of which had recent
convoy practice.   The 29th and 30th were spent in setting up camp at our dispersal.
  31.7.52   Shortly after lunch the Squadron's aircraft led by Flight Lieutenant Colllins were
flown in.
                                                                   15 Sorties 12 hours 05 minutes.

                                                      SUMMARY FOR JULY 1952
One would be justified in expecting a high rate of effective sorties at the A.P.S.
Sylt during June and July when the weather is fairly good.   Nevertheless dislocation
of daily programmes did arise because the towing aircraft frequently became
unserviceable.   The Squadron's average of 5.2% and 4.2% at 180 knots and 220 knots
respectively is low.   It would have been bettered but for the presence of a group
of new pilots who having had very little previous experience of air to air firing
had perforce to "waste" some sorties each before settling down to the business of
          The Squadron daily average rose from 4% to a peak of 9.4% in the middle of the
first week, the progressive average for this week being 4.9%.   During the second
week the daily average fell from 6.2% to 4%, and then began to rise again, reaching
a progressive average of 5.2% for a towing speed of 180 knots.
          There was no let up in activity after the Squadron left the island.   On returning
to R.A.F. Jever, we immediately sent eight aircraft to R.A.F. Wahn to take part in the
first N.A.T.O. flying display held at Melsbroek airfield.   The display was commemorated
by the issue of a medal to each of the pilots participating.
          Finally, during the last few days of the month the Squadron moved to R.A.F.
Wildenwrath, their operational base for Exercise SPEARHEAD ONE.   Although not called
upon to do so, the Squadron will be housed entirely under canvas, as a test of its
operational capability.   As was expected, several administrative difficulties were
encountered during the move, such as a shortage of transport, in particular specialist
vehicles, and of items of camping equipment: but these minor trials were circumvented
by the exercise of a little ingenuity.
FLYING :              INDIVIDUAL TRAINING                            7.35
                              INTERCEPTION                                     42.05
                              SQUADRON/WING EXERCISE           75.05
                              AIR SUPPORT                                          1.00
                              NAVIGATION                                             8.15
                              WEAPONS                                           171.15
                              INSTRUMENT                                          2.20
                                                     TOTAL VAMPIRE          305.15
                              METEOR                                                 12.05
                                                     GRAND TOTAL            317.20




                          (E.N.H. LACK,)

                                                                  AUTHORISED BY ...signedW.R.Collins........FLT/LT.
                                                                                                    (W.R. COLLINS)
                                                                                                    OFFICER COMMANDING,
                                                                                                    No. 4 SQUADRON.