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F540 Operations Record Book October 1940 for 420 Flight Middle Wallop.
PRO Kew No. AIR27 Piece 751 Microfilm Row1 Draws 52-71
Place Date Time Summary of Events Refs
Middle Wallop 1/10/40   Harrow II K. 6994 collected from Farnborough.  
             " 2/10/40   Harrow II K. 6994 returned to Farnborough, and brought back the same day after repairs to the starboard generator.   Racks were loaded with 160 L A Ms. and racks hoisted onto aircraft.   Operational flight not possible that night as aircraft was not fitted with I.F.F.  
             " 3/10/40   V.H.F. tuned to Command Guard frequency on channel C. and to operational frequencies of 604 and 609 Squadrons on channels A & B as an emergency measure.   TR9D tuned to 5670 Kcs. and contactor made to operate through that set.   No operational flight possible owing to adverse weather conditions.  
             " 4/10/40   Flight Establishment received.   Application made for Sgt. F.A.E. and a Clerk.  
             " 5/10/40   Test flight carried out in morning.   VHF worked very well on Command Guard and operational frequencies of 604 and 609 Squadrons.   HF moderate but has been improved.   IFF very good.   Aircraft behaved very well and a ceiling of at least 20,000 ft is expected.  
             " 6/10/40   One EMU on aircraft failed and released a mine.   Failed to explode after 10 minutes.   Mr Owen of RAE inspected it and reported:- APPENDIX "A"
Mr Owens report
             " 7/10/40   Flew to Farnborough in morning and showed Armament Dept. RAE the work necessary in one LAM to make it ready for dropping.   They lent services of six of their Armament Staff, who were flown back to Middle Wallop, where they fused one load of mines, thus enabling an operational flight to be carried out that evening (See Form 541 for details of operational flight).  
             " 8/10/40   No operational flight possible owing to moon being too bright.  
             " 14/10/40   No operational flight possible, no target aircraft available.   Suspension bands have been received for the dummy mines, and it will shortly be possible to drop dummy screens on practice runs and when instructing new pilots.  
             " 18/10/40   Harrow II   K. 7020 received from Farnborough.   Not yet operationally serviceable.   Operational flight cancelled owing to low cloud and rain.  
             " 19/10/40   News received that AM will not allow mines to travel fused.   Mr Owen of RAE Farnborough & Mr Hind of Exeter arrived to instruct armourers in fusing operation, but returned to Units as armourers not due to arrive until 21/10/40.   Operational flight cancelled owing to ground fog.  
Farnborough 20/10/40   Unofficial conference discussing rack design by Aircraft Patents Ltd.  
Middle Wallop "   Operational Flight cancelled owing to low cloud.  
             " 21/10/40   F/Lt. Hayley Bell and P/O. Hoy arrived, both solo on Harrows.   Operational flight took place. (See Form 541)  
             " 22/10/40   1 Cpl and 3 A/c Armourers arrived and were instructed in fusing duties.   F/Lt Hayley Bell in Battle P.5248 made "wheels up" landing.   This leaves the flight without fast target aircraft for practice  
Boscombe Down 23/10/40   Further conference to discuss Aircraft Patents Ltd rack.  
Middle Wallop "   Operational flight cancelled owing to low cloud.  
Boscombe Down (britchell)) 24/10/40   Carried out experimental flight, dropping six LAMs.  
Middle Wallop "   Operational flight cancelled owing to defects in the mines  
Danesbury Hill 21/10/40   Further experimental dropping of mines  
Middle Wallop "   No operational flight possible until mines modified  
Danesbury Hill 26/10/40   Further experiments in which Mr. Hind of R.D. Exeter assisted, and he took several mines back with him for further tests.  
Middle Wallop " 18.30 Operational flight carried out.   Harrow K. 6994 damaged by mines which failed to release.   Combat reports and pilots report attached APPENDIX"B"
Worth Matravers " 21.00   APPENDIX"C"
Middle Wallop 27/10/40   Experts from RAE inspected damaged Harrow K. 6994 and rendered a report on the probable causes. APPENDIX"D"
             " 28/10/40   Pilots Notes for LAM operations prepared  
             " 29/10/40   Pilots continued their training.  
             " 30/10/40   Bad weather prevented flying.   Pilots have learnt flying notes of DB.7.  


Form 541 420 Flight Middle Wallop

From 0.01 hrs 1/10/40 to 23.59 hrs 31/10/40

Aircraft Type and No. Crew. Duty. Time Up. Time Down. Details of Sortie or Flight References.
Harrow II K.6994 F/Lt Burke Night Interception 20.20 23.10 No interception attempted, but operational flight afforded valuable experience.   Aircraft attained 20,000 ft in about 45 minutes, and at the end of the patrol had reached exactly 25000 ft.   The "cockerell", VHF heated pitot head and heated clothing all worked very well.   The positioning searchlight at Worth was used very little 7/10/40
K.6994 F/Lt Burke " 18.35 18.45 Operational flight cancelled after 10 minutes flying owing to ground fog. 7/10/40
K.6994 F/Lt Burke " 18.30 21.30 Climbed to 16,000 ft over base.   Proceeded to Worth climbing to 20,000 ft.   Stayed on patrol 190 - 010 until 21.00 hours   Weather clear, visibility very good.   No Enemy aircraft came near patrol line. 21/10/40
K.6994 F/Lt Burke " 18.30 21.00 Patrolling line running due South from Worth Matravers at 19,000 ft.   Was given vector 160, and about 10 minutes later was ordered "Port 90 and fire".   10 secs after releasing switch explosion occurred in rear of K.6994.   Three more explosions occurred irregularly during the next half minute.   When pilot estimated curtain had been laid out, he switched off release switches and asked Worth for homing vector.   Returned to base and landed safely. 26/10/40
APPENDIX "A" to Form 540 for Oct. 1940
REPORT BY Mr. OWEN OF R.A.E.FARNBOROUGH - 6/10/40.
          The detonator was not assembled in the bomb.   The arming loop and screw was not assembled in the bomb and one screw would not go into the bomb.   The Arming loop was not attached to the split ring.   The cable at the side of the cardboard container was not attached to the metal canister.   The 2,000 ft. wire coil was not attached to the bomb.

          The operation of making one mine ready for dropping took approximately 10 minutes under good conditions of light and warmth.   That is 27 men hours work for this operation on one load.

          In my opinion this operation should not be undertaken by untrained crews, and is quite impossible except under good conditions of light and warmth.

(Signed)   ??? OWEN,


          R.A.E. Farnborough.








SECRET.                                                                                                               FORM F.

COMBAT REPORT.


Sector Serial No.................................................................(A)......................................................
Serial No. of Order detailing Flight
or Squadron to patrol..........................................................(B)......................................................
Date................................................................................(C)..22nd December, 1940.......................
Flight, Squadron.................................................................(D)..93 Squadron...................................
Number of Enemy Aircraft.....................................................(E)..2..................................................
Type of Enemy Aircraft........................................................(F)..Not Known......................................
Time attack was delivered....................................................(G)..1907 Hrs........................................
Place attack was delivered...................................................(H)..15 miles S of W.Matravers.................
Height of Enemy.................................................................(J)..16,000...........................................
Enemy Casualties................................................................(K)..One destroyed................................
Our Casualties,   Aircraft......................................................(L)..Nil.................................................
                       Personnel...................................................(M)..Nil.................................................
Searchlights.......................................................................(N 1)..Nil..............................................
A.A...................................................................................(N 2)..Nil..............................................
Range at which fire was opened and
estimated length of burst.....................................................(P)..N/A................................................
General Report...................................................................(R).......................................................


          I was patrolling Worth area at 19,000'.   At 1902 hours I was given a Vector 190 and about 5 minutes later 'Starboard 90 and fire'.   About 30 seconds after firing I saw a reddish flash and about 1 1/2 mins. later four white flashes in succession.   After laying curtain I turned port and about 3 mins after firing I saw two more flashes low down.   I returned to base.

          On the CHL tube two E/A were approaching Worth from 190, one two miles astern of the other.   The first aircraft was intercepted, the echo of the curtain was seen across its track.   Its echo disappeared into that of the curtain.   Only one echo appeared through the other side of the curtain echo and that, so late, that it must have been the second aircraft.   Only one a/c echo passed through the curtain.

          F/O Bruce watching from the cliff edge with glasses and Sgt. Peters from the roof of the CHL but both saw a flash at 1908 hrs followed by two flashes at 1909 followed by two or three flashes at 1910.   Sgt said he saw a glow of 1 - 1 1/2 secs; he stated that this glow in no way resembled the flash of the exploding bombs.


F/Lt Burke


Signature,      P.L.Burke FL/LT                    

(Section                                   
O.C.   (Flight,      Squadron                  
(Squadron.       no.                    



APPENDIX "B" to Form 540 for Oct. 1940

SECRET.      COPY.                                             FORM "F"                APPENDIX "B"
                                                                                                   to Form 540
                                                                                                   for Oct. 1940.

COMBAT REPORT.                       

Sector Serial No.................................................................(A)......................................................
Serial No. of Order detailing Flight
or Squadron to patrol..........................................................(B)......................................................
Date................................................................................(C)..26/10/40........................................
Flight, Squadron.................................................................(D)..One aircraft,   420 Flight...................
Number of Enemy Aircraft.....................................................(E)..?..................................................
Type of Enemy Aircraft........................................................(F)..?..................................................
Time attack was delivered....................................................(G)..2015.............................................
Place attack was delivered...................................................(H)..10 miles 150° from WORTH MATRAVERS
Height of Enemy.................................................................(J)..14,500...........................................
Enemy Casualties................................................................(K)..Unknown........................................
Our Casualties,   Aircraft......................................................(L)..1 Harrow. Cat. 2..............................
                       Personnel...................................................(M)......Nil............................................
Searchlights.......................................................................(N 1)..Nil..............................................
A.A...................................................................................(N 2)..Nil..............................................
Range at which fire was opened and
estimated length of burst.....................................................(P)..Nil..................................................
General Report...................................................................(R).......................................................


          MUTTON patrol at 19,000' reached WORTH MATRAVERS 20.10 hours and received vector 160 Angels 18.   After about 5 minutes received order "Port 90 and fire".   I pressed release switch and after about 10 seconds there was an explosion in the rear of the A/c.   Three other explosions occurred at irregular intervals throughout the next half minute.   As aircraft still seemed airworthy F/Lt. Burke requested homing vector from WORTH and flew slowly losing height and landed safely at base at 21.00 hours.   Examination of aircraft revealed (a) Bullet holes in front of fuselage, and (b) Damage to main structure in centre portion of fuselage, due to mines which having been released but having failed to fall clear, had exploded against aircraft.   No enemy casualties certain, but of 2 plots headed for WORTH district, only one was heard to go overhead.

APPENDIX "C" to Form 540 for Oct. 1940
 
COPY.                                                SECRET.                                                             APPENDIX "C"

to Form 540         

for Oct. 1940.      

From:- Officer Commanding,
          No. 420 Flight,
          R.A.F.Station,
          Middle Wallop.

To:-    Group Captain Operations,
          Headquarters, Fighter Command.

Date:- 27th October, 1940.

Ref:-   420F/S.6/Air.



1.             At about 20.15 hours on 26/10/40, I was patrolling to and fro on a line running due South from Worth Matravers at 19,000' and had just arrived at the North end.   I was given vector 160 and about 10 minutes later I was ordered to "Port 90 and fire."   About 10 seconds after pressing the release switch I felt and heard an explosion in the rear.   Three more explosions occurred irregularly during the next half minute.

2.             When I estimated I had laid my curtain, I switched off the release switches and asked Worth for a homing vector.   I returned to base and landed safely.

3.             Dr. C. L. Smith and P/O Scott, who was sub-controller at Worth visited me today at Middle Wallop.   They said that two enemy aircraft were approaching Worth, and that I was sent to intercept the first.   The curtain gave an excellent "echo" on the tube, and they were very satisfied with the interception.   Only one aircraft was heard to come over Worth.   The plots of the aircraft I had intercepted, obtained from D site, C.H.L. Station at Worth, and those obtained by C.H. station at Worth ceased near the point of interception.   The C.O. of the C.H. Station saw a red glow in the sky.

4.             Dr. Smith is sending in evidence for an against the interception having been successful.

5.             I append R.A.E.s report on the causes of the explosions.





   (Signed)   P. L. BURKE,
              Flight Lieut. Commanding,
              No.         420        Flight.


APPENDIX "D" to Form 540 for Oct. 1940
 
COPY.                                                SECRET.                                                             APPENDIX "D"

to Form 540         

for Oct. 1940.      

R. D. Exeter and R.A.E. Report.

             On examination of Harrow K. 6994 the following defects were found on the carriers.

1.     On the central carrier from the aft compartment the lower rear mine had failed to release.   The two mines immediately above had released, but were prevented from falling clear of the aeroplane due to the one that had failed to release still being in position.

The legs of these two mines had automatically been freed and had pulled out of the upper contents of the mines including the bombs and some of the wire.   Apparently the bombs had exploded on being forced into contact with the framework of the aircraft.

2.     On the starboard carrier in the forward centre compartment the upper rear mine had failed to release.   As this was one of the upper bank of mines, it had not prevented any of the other mines falling clear of the aeroplane, but had remained in position during the flight.


             The two mines that had failed to release were freed by hand, and the whole carrier system was tested by cocking all the release units and operating the automatic release gear.   All the release units operated correctly except one.   This was the one referred to in 2 above.   This one was again individually checked and the defect was traced to a jam in the linkage between the E.M. Unit and the slip.

             The Unit referred to in 1 above functioned correctly in this test, and the conclusion drawn is that the E.M. Unit itself had failed in flight.

             No fault is attributable to the mines themselves.




   (Signed)   ????????
                 ????????

              R.A.E. & R.D. Exeter.