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F540 Operations Record Book May 1957 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. Carr.___ Refs
      iancarr.jpg, 1569 bytes  
R.A.F. JEVER 1.5.57      The fire power demonstration for the B.B.C. Television Film Unit was held today
at Nordhorn range.   The Squadrons contribution was two sections of four, led by the
Commanding Officer and 'B' Flight Commander Respectively  The aircraft were due on target at 10.00 hours for an operational strike on four old army vehicles.  The out-
come of the strike was of great interest to the Squadron as for the first time in Hunters
we were firing all four guns with the new high velocity high explosive ammunition.
The choice of doing the operational attack was marred by the fact that numerous dummy
runs had to be made for the cameras.   Eventually the Squadron came in to the attack as
briefed in two sections.  The result was, as ground observers put it, quite over-
whelming.  after the first section had passed the second section had nothing but plumes of smoke and flame at which to aim.
After the attack was over Fg.Off's Carr, Boyle & Oswell who had been down to the range to
observe the effects, examined the targets and reported that they had been utterly
destroyed.  The Squadron now eagerly awaits its debut on T.V.
                                             10   SORTIES         6:20  HOURS
  2.5.57      Flying was restricted to pairs as the weather alternated between Amber 3 and
Amber 2 conditions all day.  Despite this, the Squadron managed to carry out a varied
programme including cine and green salad exercises, after flying there was a meeting of
the Wing at F.W.H.Q.  The Station Commander had called the meeting to say that the
team of P2. officers from Air Ministry had been to settle this question of repatriation
due to the cut in Forces in Germany.
The news shocked the Squadron, all personnel who did not have any financial or
compassionate grounds for staying in Germany were to be repatriated in the next few
months.  Of those who had bought cars, they were being permitted to stay until the car
was custom cleared for England.  No definite dates were given, but it was obvious that
the Squadron would be undergoing a radical change in the near future  It was a very
depressing end to the day.
[Web Master's Notes: Customs required that you owned the car overseas for at least one year or they charged you tax on it - which was a large amount of money.   Because of this policy change, personnel from the disbanded squadrons were moved to the remaining squadrons and no more fresh officers were posted out from England.  This really distorted the profile of experience on the squadrons.   I personally realised this when I arrived at Jever to join 93 Sqn with Peter Martin, who one the Sword of Honour in our Entry from Cranwell, who joined 4 Sqn in May 1958.   We were the first young pilots seen at Jever for nearly two years.]
                                  23   SORTIES         16:05  HOURS
  3.5.57      Today dawned bright and clear, and as an antidote to yesterday, the Squadron plunged
into a day of high level Battle Formation and P.I.s.  The P.I.s today proved to be of
value, as there was a variegated amount of 'trade' available and many interesting dog -
fights ensued.
                                    33   SORTIES               25:10  HOURS
  4.5.57      All personnel were up early for the Station Commanders Parade which was being held
outside No 1 Hangar.  The kindly intervention of a large thunderstorm caused the parade
to be postponed and finally cancelled.  The Squadron played host to the majority of
officers who had taken refuge in the Crew Room.
    The remainder of the morning was taken up with extraneous duties.
                                   NO   SORTIES                NO  HOURS
  6.5.57      With 6 aircraft available and fair weather the Squadron today concentrated on low
level exercises comprising of low level strikes and rendezvous cross countries  These
were interspersed with occasional cine sorties and aerobatic details.  It had been some time since low level strikes had been carried out and it was realised that these
would have to be carried out more frequently so as to enable us to keep in current
                                        32   SORTIES        25:15  HOURS
  7.5.57      Today dawned overcast and filled with drizzle, and so again we were restricted to
pairs in Amber 3 conditions carrying out a cine programme.
    After lunch however, the weather began to improve steadily, but as all the aircraft
were out of phase it was considered more expedient to continue the programme in pairs,
so the intensive cine programme was continued until 16.00 hours when day flying
ceased.  The night was overcast but fine and the Squadron did three sorties of four
aircraft on local night flying.  Flying ceased at midnight.
                                     DAY     26   SORTIES         20:50  HOURS
                                NIGHT     12   SORTIES            7:45  HOURS
  8.5.57      With only four aircraft and a low overcast only eight sorties were possible in the
Amber 3 conditions.  These consisted of 6 cine sorties and 2 sorties of P.I.s with
'Difficult Red' section.
                                                    8   SORTIES                6:20  HOURS
  9.5.57      The day dawned bright and clear, and from 7.00 hours the Squadron had 4 aircraft
standing by for Exercise Argus.  This exercise comprised of intercepting streams of
Canberras, with the aid of the local G.C.I. station.  Apart from the aircraft on
exercise, the Squadron flew another 3 on a variety of exercises including cine and
formation aerobatic details.  At 1100 hrs Fg.Off Oswell burst his port tyre on take
off.  He managed to get airborne safely but as we were using runway 11 with the G.C.A.
in that position. it was considered expedient to remove the G.C.A. before Fg.Off
Q. Oswell
came in to make a safe landing.  Through the fear that the runway might
become blocked green section were diverted to R.A.F. Oldenburg.
During the afternoon Sqn.Ldr J. Chapman took his aeroplane to Schleswigland to try the
runway for landing Hunter 6s on, as we re due to go there on detachment for the summer
                                                  26   SORTIES         18:35  HOURS
  10.5.57      Another fine clear day with the Squadron flying fours and pairs on High Level Battle
and doing tests and exercises on the D.M.E. Mk 8.
This entailed flying down to the Gutersloh area and switching the D.M.E. on at certain
times.  At least two aircraft had to be over the beacon transmitting all the time, so
a relay was arranged.  Apart from this normal exercises were carried out, the accent
again being on cine training.
                                                  29   SORTIES         23:25  HOURS
  11.5.57      Due to the cancellation of the Station Commanders Parade last week, it was held
again this morning in much more clement weather.  During his address the Station Commander
impressed upon all the need to make the forth coming Anglo - German week
a great success.  After the parade extraneous duties were carried out for the rest of
the morning.
During this time the Squadron bought, on a 'pay as you drink it' scheme, a large
Coca Cola refrigerator, and arranged for a regular supply of 'oke'.
Three Hundred and forty five crates have to be drunk before the 'frig' is the Squadrons
outright property.
                                             NO   SORTIES         NO  HOURS.
  13.5.57      Fine weather and a good flying day.  Working with an average of four aircraft,
about forty sorties were flown, mainly in pairs on cine quarters, low level recces, and
high level practice interceptions under G.C.I. control.
Fg.Off A.J. Bendell was posted onto the Squadron from No 67 Squadron which is just
closing down at Bruggen.
                                               29   SORTIES         22:35  HOURS
  14.5.57      Fine weather continues and a full programme of flying was carried out, consisting of
high and low level formation, and a few singles.  The heats for the flying Wing Sports
were run off in the late afternoon, and in consequence, our night flying detail was
     A flying order prohibiting supersonic flight and dog fights was published
today.  The latter stipulation restricted our training programme considerably and is a
course of some indignation to Squadron and Flight Commanders alike.  No reason was given
though since the order applies to all stations, and to our knowledge to at least two
types of aircraft - it is assumed that it must be in the interests of flying safety.
                                               23   SORTIES            16:30  HOURS
  15.5.57      The day began with a brief for all pilots on this months 'Exercise Guest' which is to
take place tomorrow ; consequently there was no early detail.  The Squadron is to
operate in high level interceptor role, and two two turn - rounds and scrambles will be
made from the hangar.  In addition we have a few high level cross country missions at
maximum range, flying to the southern extremity of the 2nd T.A.F. area, turning round at Geilenkirchen and returning by the same route.
    This briefing occupied the best part of the morning, only leaving time for six
sorties before lunch.
   Flying Wing Sports were held in the afternoon on the athletic field in warm
sunshine  4 Squadron were easy winners in comfortable style.
   The Squadron Commander started three weeks leave today and Flt.Lt J. Sutton assumed
his duties.
                                                    8   SORTIES             6:40  HOURS
  16.5.57      Our first four aircraft were ready at 07.00 hrs local, and the first scramble came
twenty minutes later.  The weather however was not good, and the control and reporting
systems were apparently hampered by cluttered radar presentations.  Hence it came as no
surprise when, at 11 oclock, the Squadron was released from the exercise and our
cross country missions were cancelled, instead we continued normal training flying.
The C.O. of Flying Wing, who is at present on leave, is spending a busman's holiday
flying regularly with the Squadron.
   In the evening the Squadron provides seven aircraft - two pairs and a three - for
Exercise 'Kingpin', high level interceptions of a large Canberra stream, on route from
the U.K. to Cuxhaven bombing range.  The first pair were scrambled at 19.55 and the
last three landed at 20.00 hrs ; trade was brisk, the evening was clear and pleasant
and most enjoyable time was had by all.
                                                               37   SORTIES         28:35  HOURS
  17.5.57      Summery weather permitted a good days flying.  After an early detail of Battle
at 50,000' and a low level strike with four aircraft, the rest of the day was
devoted mainly to solo sorties.
   There is considerable activity on the ground at present as well, in preparation
for a Pre A.O.C.s inspection next week.  The Station is to have no A.O.C.s inspection
as such this year ; instead there will be an Anglo - German week - a week of joint
celebrations, ceremonials, displays, sports and social functions.
          The Station closed in the evening for a long week - end.
                                      30   SORTIES         21:35  HOURS
  20.5.57      To the relief of some of the pilots,who have been frantically tidying up their
departments, the pre A.O.C.s has been postponed.  Todays flying programme was arranged
mainly for single aircraft.
     The Squadron begins a week of primary Battle Flight tomorrow morning.
                                                          18   SORTIES      13:10  HOURS
  21.5.57      Our first four were at readiness for Battle Flight at 8 am, Most of the 2 Group area
was affected by a marked occlusion and there was no take - offs until 10.30 hrs.
Thereafter the Squadron flew two fours, and four pairs - mainly on airborne patrols.
                                                  19   SORTIES       13:55  HOURS
  22.5.57      The whole concept of the Battle Flight in 2nd. T.A.F. has been changed radically
and in a way affects not only the duty Squadron and flying wing, but almost everybody on
the Station.  From now on the Battle Flight must have a pair at 5 minutes readiness from
dawn till dusk, and another pair at thirty minutes available.  At this time of the year
this implies a 19 hours day for the Squadron, for seven days running ; which will call
for some very intricate organisation.
    For the present the pilots and ground crew have been divided into three groups
one each for the early and late 'shifts' and the third for the normal daytime working hours.
In a test this afternoon it was found that two pilots can scramble from the crew room
in less than six minutes, and we have therefore been released from the onerous prospect
of hours at stand - by, strapped in the cockpits.
Obviously 'pioneering' is not something confined to the Squadron's history - as this
month's records will testify.
                                                13   SORTIES             10:00  HOURS
  23.5.57      So, at 3 am, the day begins - sombre and rainy with low cloud, solid to 30,000'.  We
now have permission from Group Ops to fly;y all our aircraft (except the pair at stand by)
provided they remain under close radar control.  However with today's weather, only
eight pairs were airborne.
Towards evening the weather closed in the entire 2nd T.A.F. area - with the unfortunate
exception of Wunstorf, so that the Battle Flight still had to stand by until dusk.
21.15 hours.                                             16   SORTIES      12:10  HOURS
  24.5.57      By dawn, the weather had cleared almost completely.  Since very few flight services
are available before 06.00 hrs it is not intended to fly battle flight before this time
unless it is necessary.  However, the details which stand - by in the evening will
probably fly, when conditions are right.  Eleven pairs flew today, the last two landing at
20.25 hours.
                                           25   SORTIES                         17:25  HOURS
  25.5.57      The Wing is engaged for the next three days on Exercise 'Vigilant'.  This is an
exercise mainly for the air defences of the U.K. and takes the usual form of a series
of high level 'raids' towards the British Coast.  Half the Wing will be operating from
     Since Battle Flight is our main commitment and is commanding most of our resources
it is unlikely that the Squadron will play a very large part in the exercise.  In addition
to this, it is seen that some of our sorties are at the Hunter Sixes maximum range, and
can only be accomplished with the aid of excellent weather at base.
   Today, one pair flew a mission on 'Vigilant'  The rest of our flying, up to 21.10
hours, was on battle flight - one of whose scrambles was for an actual interception
Deleted line?
                                             13   SORTIES         10:45  HOURS
  26.5.57      The Squadron took advantage of battle flight and the fact that the rest of the
Command is engaged in Vigilant, by making this an ordinary flying day.  Between 6 am
and 6.30 pm, twenty one sorties were flown - three on the exercise.  The weather was
perfect, and the flying most satisfying.
                                             21   SORTIES       17:00  HOURS
  27.5.57      Missing or there was a stand down?
                                                SORTIES           HOURS
  28.5.57      A day for recuperating.  A number of aircraft were due for primaries.  In addition
to this, the Squadron is providing a vic of Hunters to take part in a farewell flypast
at Munchen Gladbach for the C in C.  The formation consists of twenty seven aircraft
of seven different types from 2nd A.T.A.F.  Our three spent the afternoon at Bruggen
for a rehearsal thus leaving the remaining pilots very little opportunity for Hunter
flying.  Some of them took the chance to fly a few ground crew in Vampires -
something which we rarely have time to do, unfortunately.
                                                     16   SORTIES     10:30  HOURS
  29.5.57      Apart from an early detail of high level battle formation the only flying was the
return of our four aircraft to Bruggen where they will remain until Friday, the day of
the flypast.
                                             3   SORTIES            2:45  HOURS
  30.5.57      The Squadron stood down for the day.  
  31.5.57      After completing a solo tactical descent in XG270 on the first sortie this morning,
F.S. T. Ratcliffe was climbing away when his engine siezed.  He broke cloud at 2000'
crossing the coast on a North-Easterly direction and decided to eject.  However the
canopy failed to jettison properly and he thought it more prudent to make a forced
landing on the beach of the island of Baltrum.  Unfortunately the port wheel failed to
come down, but apart from this the landing was smooth and successful.  The aircraft
came to rest just below the high water mark, with the tide coming in  A Chipmunk which
flew over the spot shortly afterward reported that the Flight Sergeant had found a team
of horses from somewhere and these were harnessed to the aircraft being exhorted to tow
it clear.  It proved too much for them, but luckily, high water only just lapped the wheel hubs.
(Click here to see 2nd T.A.F. Flight Comment Magazine Report).

       baltrum2.jpg, 19663 bytes

                                                           Six Horsepower Hunter F.6
The unfortunate F.6 XG270 D of 4 Sqn at Baltrum on 31 May 1957 (top) showing the skillful
support of the port wing constructed by a local builder, and (lower) , that despite the valiant
efforts of the builder and the rescue team, including six willing horses, the sea claimed
one very valuable Hunter! (Thanks to Gunter Kipp and Roger Lindsay's great book
"RAF Hunters in Germany" and the original photographers top G. Hindersmann and
bottom Ray Chapman).   (Not in F540).

       baltrum3.jpg, 10274 bytes

Hunter F.6 XG270 D of 4 Sqn being dismantled after an emergency landing on the mud flats
south of the North Sea island of Baltrum on 31 May 1957, caused by an engine failure.
(See map below).   Its pilot Flt. Sgt. T. E. (Ginger) Ratcliffe, survived unhurt, only to be killed
while flying a 4 Sqn Hunter FR.10 on 24 January 1967.   XG270 had to be written off as it was swamped by the in-coming tide before it could be moved to higher ground which was
unfortunate because it had only been delivered to the squadron on 28 February 1957 and was
virtually brand new with few airframe hours. (Thanks to Gunter Kipp and Roger Lindsay's
great book "RAF Hunters in Germany" and the original photographer J Harms).   (Not in F540).        baltrum.jpg, 19683 bytes
                    Map showing Island of Baltrum in relation to Jever Airfield.   (Not in F540)

At midday the Squadron sent up a high level four under ground control
successfully intercepted D.F.L.S. which is visiting Oldenburg.
                               12   SORTIES               8:10  HOURS
Flight Lieutenant,                                              
Officer Commanding,                                        
Date: 4th June, 1957                                                           Number 4 Squadron