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F540 Operations Record Book March 1954.
RAF Museum Hendon. Holds 2nd copy of F540 1945 to 1970.
PLACE DATE TIME SUMMARY OF EVENTS                     COMPILING OFFICER   __Fg. Off. B. Watson___ Refs

BrianWatson.jpg, 6056 bytes

JEVER 1.3.54   JEVER
          The run of poor weather continued to-day and with the Sabre Conversion course only
one day off a series of questionnaires and quizzes were held to test the knowledge of
the squadron on the new aircraft.   As a background to this the usual end of the month
returns, log book and annual summaries were completed.
                   No Flying
  2.3.54   JEVER 
          All four available pilots flew on the first sortie of the morning.   Midway
through the trip a recall was sent out by A.T.C. due to a heavy snowstorm, which was
around the airfield.   Despite the poor visibility all aircraft returned and
landed quite safely.   The remainder of the day the airfield state was "red" and the
night flying programme was cancelled.   Two officers were taken for a "surprise" check
on certain non-public funds.   The check was by order of the Station Commander.
Sour-Lieutenant Blanchart, our Belgian Air Force visitor, is still with us as Sylt
has been "red" all day.   The total number converting on the first course at Wildenwrath
is sixteen; three left last night by car and the remainder by train from Jever this
morning.                         Vampire hours   1.45    Sorties     3
  3.3.54   JEVER
          At the start of the day the airfield state was exactly the same as yesterday.
The met. section gave a forecast for the day of 800 yds. visibility and a cloudbase
of 100 ft.   By 1000hours we had 10 miles and 1800 ft!   All four pilots flew one sortie
each, but towards lunch the airfield regained its old colour and a sports afternoon
was declared.   As the conditions at Sylt did not improve we still have our visitor.
WILDENRATH                             Vampire hours  2.40  Sorties   4
          After Met. Briefing at 08.45 this morning an immediate start was made on the
two days of lectures prior to first flights on the Sabre.   There is now no doubt in
anybody's mind that for a single seat fighter it is an exceedingly complicated aircraft.
the intricacies and the various reserve, emergency and alternate systems on the aircraft
require a great deal of application to understand at the first hearing.
  4.3.54        JEVER
     A very late start due to administrative matters prior to the move to Ahlhorn.
After a poor days flying night flying was attempted but soon cancelled because of
rain and low cloud.                   Vampire hours  7.35     Sorties     10

     WILDENRATH            The second and last day of lectures was ended to-day by a small written quiz of
eighty-six questions, which amounted to a precis of the pilot's notes.   After two hours
of writing most pilots were amazed more by the amount of knowledge they had gained over
the past two days than failed to understand.   By stages the issue of new flying kit
continued to-day.   The opportunity for an amusing squadron photograph was missed
unfortunately, for as yet the wearing of the crash helmet and 'G' suit by most of
the squadron is nothing short of comic.
  5.3.54   JEVER 
     There was very little time to spare for normal flying, as 5 vampires were being
prepared to be ferried back to England (Not by 4 Squadron pilots !).
Eventually the 5 vampires stayed at Jever due to the non-arrival of the Sabres.
     WILDENRATH                                          Vampire hours 4.30  Sorties 6
     It had been hoped to start flying this morning but low cloud and poor visibility
restricted the course to supervise engine starts checks and taxying.   Since there is
nothing automatic in the timing of the Sabre starts, as in the Vampire, a few practice starts
are essential as great damage can be done to the engine by mishandling.   The sensitivity
of the nose-wheel steering took a little time to get used to but its obvious advantages
over the system we have been using before makes perseverance worthwhile.
  6.3.54        JEVER
    The Station Commander's parade was held in quite bad conditions with rain and low
cloud.   The clearance came too late to make flying worth while and the morning was
spent working on the Vampires allotted out.   The ferry pilots, plus our Sabres have
till not arrived.
Wildenrath      It was intended that everybody should solo to-day but after Sqn. Ldr. Gilpin and Flt.
Lt. Hughes
(Station Flight)had got airborne, failing visibility cancelled further
flying.   The first two took off under the critical but jealous eyes of the rest.
   At once one could see the extreme sensitivity of the ailerons.   The first sortie
comprises a climb to 10,000ft. for stall and steep turns followed by flying at reduced
airspeed, 160 knts, at 2000ft before a final landing.   Taking advantage of the weekend
No. 4 Squadron dispersed to Brussels Dusseldorf and Geilenkirchen.
                                                                 Sabre hours     1.00         Sorties     2
JEVER 7.3.54        JEVER
    Day off!   It rained heavily all day !
  8.3.54   JEVER
      Two rocketing sorties and one meteor ferry trip made up the days flying.   At
lunchtime 4 Sabres appeared in the circuit.   The first to land was flown by Flt.Lt.
, ex- 4 squadron pilot.   Unfortunately he ran off the end of the runway by about
10 yards.   However, there was no damage done.   Although the Vampires were ready to
fly away to England, the destination airfield would not accept them.   So they made an
overnight stay at Jever.
                                                             Vampire hours 2.10  Sorties  3
                                                             Meteor hours  1.20    Sorties  2
     Due to a static defence exercise at Wildenrath no further first solos were flown
to-day.   Sqn.Ldr. Gilpin and Flt.Lt. Hughes flew once more.
                                           Sabre hours  1.20    Sorties       2
  9.3.54   JEVER
          Good weather at last enabled us to share the range for rocketing with 93 Squadron
during the course of which we recorded 5 direct hits.   We did a little night flying
but due to bad weather in England the ferry pilots did not get away today.
                                                       Vampire hours Day 5.40  Sorties  9
                                                       Vampire hours Night 2.45 Sorties 4
     The weather clerks could not have chosen a better day to let the bulk of the course
off solo.   From 08.30 hours until 17.00 hours the line of the Conversion Unit was
almost kept clear of aircraft.   All flights went off smoothly although there were many
exaggerations and graphic accounts of the 'experience','adventure' or 'nightmare'.
There is no doubt however that powered controls and trim rob one of a sense of feel which
can be disconcerting and lead to such remarks as 'I flew it by proxy'.
     The Squadron heard to-day that it is moving to Ahlhorn while the runway at Jever
as being resurfaced.   If the weather continues kind the course should be finished by
                            Sabre hours  19.00    Sorties       31.
  10.3.54             JEVER
          A warm cloudless day with very poor visibility curtailed flying, but the ferry
pilots managed to get away to U.K. with five of our vampires.   Flying stopped
at midday for sport.
     The weather was very good again to-day although flying stopped at 12.30 hours for
a sports afternoon   It is now merely a case of time before the pilots get used to their
new aircraft for the novelty is already waeting off.   The conversation in the crew-
room is now the tactics to be used on the squadron when in battle formation at high
level.   Criticism is also creeping in about the poor climbing speeds and the time
to height with drop tanks.   All these are a sign that we are getting back to normal.
          Sabre hours 15.05   Sorties     19.
  11.3.54   JEVER
          Once again, good weather but poor visibility, a little flying was possible and we
got rid of one more Vampire to the Command Support Unit at Buckeburg.
     Today a definite date for the next conversion course arrived.   They are to go on the
13th of this month.   The extra places on the course are to be filled by 93 Sqn.
The three pilots on leave have been recalled.   The groundcrew were busy preparing the
aircraft and lorries for the move to Ahlhorn.
                                                                                             Vampire hours     4.20   Sorties    6
                                                                                             Meteor hours    2.10       Sorties  4
     With only seven sorties of six hours required per pilot Sqn Ldr. Gilpin and
Flt.Lt. Hughes finished the course to-day and returned to Jever.   The weather seems to
have settled for summer now and after waiting until 1030 hrs. because of poor visibility
flying continued uninterrupted to 18.30 hrs.   Each successive sortie is of longer
duration and includes more exercises.   New to most of us is the Radio Compass.   Included
in the exercises are homings and let-downs using it.   Each pilot has at least once
flown the unslatted Sabre on the unit, as it is with this aircraft that we are to be
equipped.   As an indication of the runway length at Jever flags were placed along the run-
way at the 2000yd point this morning,   One or two aircraft 'overshot' but most managed
to pull up in the length by making the approach carefully and paying particular
attention to speed.
                                  Sabre Sorties  23     Sabre hours   20.35
  12.3.54   JEVER
          Mist precluded all possibility of ferrying the aircraft to Ahlhorn, but the
advance party left by road.   The day was spent loading the lorries of the main party
which will leave when the aircraft have flown out.
     Again to-day poor visibility delayed the start of flying.   Gradually the
course is petering out and as each pilot finishes he entrains for Jever enroute for Ahlhorn.
Most of the Sonic booms are over and rather lengthy trips with filled drop tanks have
taken their place.   Wildenrath has cathode Ray D/F equipment which makes the quality
of the controlled descents very high.   It is most unfortunate that it is not installed
at Jever.
                            Sorties    28    Sabre hours   32.05
  13.3.54         JEVER
     The cloudbase was 400 ft. and the visibility 2000 yards this morning and hope was not
abandoned until after lunch.   Then all aircraft were pushed in and tomorrow is to be a
full working day, when it is hoped to get the Vampires away.
     Sqn.Ldr. Gilpin, Fg.Off. Beaton and Fg.Off. Richardson have now returned as fully
qualified Sabre pilots.   Unfortunately Fg. Off. Gray had to come back with ear trouble,
but he hopes to be able to join the course leaving tomorrow.
     During the morning Group Captain Donaldson (S.A.S.O.) paid a visit to the Squadron
accompanied by the Station Commander.
     Only Plt.Off. Maycock and Watson remained to fly to-day.   Each had one sortie to
complet of 1.15 and .55 respectively.   The visibility was very poor again at first
but improved later.
                          Sorties     2          Sabre hours 2.00
  14.3.54        This morning the remainder of the Squadron travelled down to Wildenrath to take the
Conversion Course there.   The exceptions to this party were the two who are sick and the
two who are away on compassionate leave.   Travelling with us was a party of No. 4
S.N.C.O's and airmen, who hope to learn something about servicing sabres which
the pilots are converting .
The weather although poor was sufficiently good for limited flying.   The first team
took off for Ahlhorn at 13.30 hours local.   10 pilots of both squadrons returned
by road to ferry down the remaining 4 Squadron aircraft, 7 of which we cannot fly
as they are allotted away.
                       Sorties        5       Vampires    1.15
       B' Flight pilots arrived at Ahlhorn from Wildenrath today except for three who
remained behind to ferry in 3 Sabres allotted to us.
     Lectures all day, so the poor weather did not bother us.
  16.3.54   AHLHORN
            On our first days flying at Ahlhorn only 4 aircraft are serviceable out of
the 7 available to fly.   The weather after being foggy in the morning was fit for
flying after 14.00 hrs. and a limited night flying programme was completed.
                      Vampire Sorties 10 day 6 night   Vampire hours 8.30 day 4.50 night
     On the second day of our lectures the weather was still u/s.   In the afternoon we
went along to the Equip. section and collected our new items of kit- "G" Suits,
crash helmets and masks.   Unfortunately there were not sufficient sets in stores
and so we are to share for a few days.   We had a written test on our knowledge of
the Sabre.   This will assist our own memory and at the same time allow the instructors
to see and correct any errors peculiar to individuals.   First solos should take
place tomorrow weather permitting.
  17.3.54   AHLHORN
          Sports day and so we flew in the morning only.   Due to a prang on the runway at
Oldenburg 16 Sabres of the Oldenburg wing were diverted here.   This meant that no
flying was possible after they arrived because all the ground crew were fully employed
refuelling them and getting them away again
                 Vampire Sorties     4             Vampire hours 3.30
     Bad weather forced an additional days, lectures; this may not be such a bad thing !
The entire afternoon was declared a sports afternoon and so our people mostly retired to
the Mess to think things over and wait for tomorrow.
  18.3.54   AHLHORN
            Very foggy, but the weather was just good enough for a pilot to take off for
Wildenrath to deliver some documents.
                         Vampire Sorties    1          Vampire hours .30
     At last we have a day of good visibility and no cloud,   So by 1000 hours the first
Jever people were ready to fly.   For the first take-off ( by the Wing Commander
Flying) there was a 100% attendance on the airfield and from that time onwards there
was a steady stream of Sabre solos.   Although towards the end of the day the visibility
decreased rather rapidly, everyone had flown at least once.   Having waited since last
Saturday, the three pilots who were to ferry the Sabres from Geilenkirchen to Ahlhorn,
finally discovered that the aircraft were not after all to go to 4 Squadron.
During the day two more 4 Squadron pilots arrived here at Wildenrath.   One, who left the
last course due to ill-health, has to complete the conversion, and the other has
brought some airmen's pay books from Ahlhorn,.   The latter had to make an overnight stay
due to weather deterioration at Ahlhorn.                   Sabre hours 9.4.5           Sorties  13
  19.3.54   AHLHORN
            Fog and rain.   The day was spent in Squadron ground duties, and in instructing
No. 93 Squadron pilots in the characteristics of the Sabre.
     In the early hours of the morning the three who formerly had hopes of carrying out
a Sabre formation flypast at Ahlhorn, returned very disappointedly by train.   There was
a continuance of bad weather at Ahlhorn and so the Vampire is with us still.   However,
there was little to complain about at Wildenrath and, so after the early morning haze
had cleared away, we were all approaching our third sortie.
                               Sabre hours 9.20           Sorties  14
  20.3.54   AHLHORN
     Just a few sorties this morning before cease work for the week-end.   Many people are
going back to Jever to play sport or to see their wives.
                     Vampire Sorties      8     Vampire hours 5.20
     There was limited flying here this morning.   Although there was complete cloud
cover and frequent rain showers, the general cloud base was quite high.   However very
few sorties were flown before the rain increased and stopped flying for the rest of the
morning.   There is to be no flying this weekend and so at lunch time everything closed
down.   After lunch the weather cleared up and we had a wonderful warm, sunny afternoon.
                                  Sabre hours      1.25      sorties        2
  22.3.54   AHLHORN
     Weather fair.   On the range all day.   Included in the range air to ground programme
were some operational attacks, of which wea have done all too few lately.
                       Vampire   Sorties    28         Vampire hours   15.20
          From the start of the day there was full flying under cloudless, sunny skies.
Everyone has now completed five trips and there are two more to go, ?????????????????by con- tinuance of the good weather we should finish by tomorrow lunchtime evening or by Wednesday
lunchtime at the very latest.
                                              Sabre hours      16.40      Sorties   17
  23.3.54   AHLHORN
          Our four aircraft were flown to their limit today.   AHLHORN G.C.A. has
established themselves at Jever and single aircraft have been doing calibration
trials with them all day.   The remaining flying has been very high level, (for Vampires)
in our attempt to accustom ourselves to high altitude flying prior to our flying our
own Sabres.   A little more night flying was also done.
                   Vampire Sorties 18 day 6 night Vampire hours   16.45 day  4.35 night.
          After a full day of flying most had completed the course and were ready to return
to Jever.   Those with one more sortie to fly are to stay down here and follow
us to Jever as soon as possible.
                             Sabre hours      22.55  Sorties 21
  24.3.54   AHLHORN
          Weather good.   Two sorties were flown on G.C.A. trials at Jever and other sorties
on low level cross-countries.   A sports afternoon was held and the majority of the
squadron personnel participated in organised softball games.   Flying Officer Sanders
left for England and his forthcoming marriage taking with him the best wishes of every-
                            Vampire Sorties 7      Vampire hours   6.35
          At 0615 hours in the morning the main party departed for Jever.   Looking
at the weather there was little hope for those remaining behind for their last
sortie to be flown today.   The ones who were complete at Wildenrath arrived at Jever
at 16.00.                       Sabre hours        2.55      Sorties     4
  25.3.54        Again the weather was good but the only two serviceable aircraft went unserviceable
during the morning.   Two Sabres arrived at Ahlhorn, one of us, and the other for 93
          Vampire Sorties     5  Vampire hours  3.00
          All three who stayed at Wildenrath successfully completed the course today
and are ready to return to Jever.   Those already at Jever used the day to clear up
any outstanding duties around the station.
  26.3.54             AHLHORN
     The weather was very poor and just allowed six of our Vampires to be ferried out
to U.K.   Everyone returned to Jever by road during the afternoon, to attend a Guest
night.   The Squadron stood down for the weekend.
  29.3.54   AHLHORN
          The Squadron pilots returned to Ahlhorn early in the morning to find that another
5 Sabres had arrived from U.K. over the weekend.   A further six Vampires were ferried
out to Wunstorf and we now have only three Vampires on strength.   No flying was done
and the majority of the pilots returned to Jever in the late afternoon to attend a
Cocktail Party, at which several American Naval Officers were our Guests.
  30.3.54   Again an early return to Ahlhorn, but after one Vampire had been flown out to
Oldenburg we had no serviceable aircraft.   Four Sabres were flown in from Oldenburg,
by Squadron pilots, but these were immediately put on acceptance checks.
                         Vampire Sorties   1               hours     0.15
                         Sabre Sorties        4              hours     2.10
  31.3.54   Weather poor.   The Squadron groundcrew are working hard on the new Sabres to complete
acceptance checks.   The Squadron stood down for a sports afternoon.
                                               No. flying
     There was a negligible amount of Vampire flying at the beginning of the month,
but an improvement to this state of affairs was noticeable in the last dozen days.
   All but three pilots (Mitchell, Robinson, & Williams) completed the necessary
6 hours Sabre conversion.   Of these non converted types two, Mitchell and Williams
were sick, Robinson being at home on compassionate leave.
     Both the bad weather and aircraft position served to keep our hours down.

                                                            Day              Night
SABRE                                           146.25
VAMPIRE                                          93.05          13.00
METEOR (TRAINING)                    1.30                          
TOTAL                                        241.00.             13.00

                                                                               Compiled By....PRMolden Fg.Off..(FOR PLT.OFF WATSON)
                                                                     Squadron Commander...JSMCWallace..Flt.Lt.
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