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F540 Operations Record Book October 1952 NO 93 SQUADRON.
PRO Kew No. AIR27 Piece 2636 Microfilm Row 1 Draws 52-71 from Duncan Curtis
PLACE DATE TIME SUMMARY OF EVENTS                    COMPILING OFFICER  Sqn. Ldr. S. M. McGREGOR.         REF. TO
APPENDICES


JEVER
October 1952.
1st
  1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesOPERATIONS
The weather was favourable to flying - there was a cloudbase of about 3,000 feet
with rain below it.  Tops were up to 30,000 feet and the four pilots on 'Battle Flight'
experienced icing on their 'snake' climb and descent.  Only one trip was flown by them,
this being P.I.'s at 33,000 feet in and out of cloud even there.  Plt. Off.'s STANDISH
and SPEARMAN went to BUCKEBURG and GUTERSLOH on a round communications
flight.  As it was Wednesday, flying ceased at midday to make way for sport.  Flt. Lt.
PATERSON
assumed command of the Squadron today when Sqn. Ldr. McGREGOR proceeded on leave.
 
  2nd.      A weather test was necessary before 'Battle Flight' could fly and this they did once
only this morning and once again in the afternoon before the weather became too bad,
even for single Air Tests.  In the afternoon the four aircraft on 'Battle Flight' were
all flown by N.C.O. pilots.  'Rusty' the Southern Area G.C.I. was only working one
cabin and so interceptions were limited and an early return to base was given.  A few
scattered targets were found during these two trips.
   Tanks were fitted to the aircraft in readiness for the first phase of exercise 'ARDENT'.
Two other sorties were flown, one being a low level cross-country and simulated
rocket attack, the other a communications flight to BUCKEBURG.
 
  3rd.      In the morning the airfield was 'Red'.  'Battle Flight' did not move from the hangar
and were put at one hours readiness from the very start.  This provided an opportunity
to recrystallise for 'ARDENT'.
   At 08.30 hours the Wing Commander gave a general brief on this exercise and at
13.45 a more detailed one on the practice Snakes and Q.G.H. which took place
at 14.45 hours the same day.  24 aircraft were to have taken part but two dropped
out.  On the whole it was not a great success since the many alterations given on the
last run in of the Q.G.H. proved difficult to follow for more than two pairs in line
astern.  The weather had cleared after the trough went through and left enough cloud to give good simulated conditions.
One aircraft of No. 112 Squadron was damaged on landing and ran onto the grass.
   Later in the afternoon a pilot of No. 4 Squadron forced landed his aircraft in the
overshoot lights on '11' runway and was seriously injured.  [The pilot was Plt.Off. Francis Anthony Fletcher, in Vampire FB.5 VZ834.  He subsequently died of his injuries on 8Oct52..  Click to see aircraft details.]
 
  4th.      After an uncertain morning occasioned by the bad weather reports from England, the
Wing finally took off and 'bombed' NORWICH, returning to WAHN for the night, ready for
the next days attack.  Meteors, Venoms and Sabres all made successful interceptions
on the raid and the Venoms got in some especially good attacks.
 
  5th.      In the morning pilots carried out their own pre-flight inspections and the Wing again
went to England, this time attacking ODIHAM and landing at MERRYFIELD for lunch.
The weather there was very good and even warm (as was discovered it had been the
previous day in spite of Met. reports received at JEVER 1).  Again the raid was
plentifully intercepted and attacked, if not repulsed.
   The return journey was uneventful and a snake Q.G.H. was successfully carried out
at JEVER because of prevailing cloudy conditions.
   The spare aircraft all returned safely to base, having helped out OLDENBURG Wing
with their raids.  So ended the first phase of Exercise 'ARDENT'.
 
  6th.      In the morning there was little flying.  What there was, took the form of a reconstituted
cine programme.  The whole series of exercises has been recast and pilots are going
back to the beginning again.  One aircraft went to FASSBERG for re-spray and another
came back.
   In the afternoon the weather really deteriorated and an aircraft recognition lecture
was held, along with a test.  Compass swings were brought up to date, as far as
possible, in the rain.
 
  7th.      From early morning a programme was adhered to and worked smoothly.  Cine,
formation aerobatics and Q.G.H.'s all had their places in it.
   Fg. Off. HARDCASTLE and Sgt. WEBSTER were in Flying Control revising their
Q.G.H. ground procedure since it may be necessary on the TREVISO detachment which
is to take place this month.  On the whole it was a good days flying, with bright patches
between the showers, and plenty of aircraft available.
   Some cine flights were flown in the afternoon and Battle Formation was flown in
pairs with the new pilots simulating a No. 3.  One aircraft had long range tanks left on,
and was able to practice a sensible number of G.C.A.'s in this manner at WUNSTORF.
 
  8th   The pre-arranged 'programme' is now established and although the day started with
take-offs a little late the programme soon took shape, and proved much more pleasant
for both ground and aircrew.
   The day itself was showery and cold with a layer at 4,000 feet and some cu-nimbus
embedded in it.  A similar programme to the previous day's was flown.  The new pilots
flew this time as Nos. 2 and 4 in sections of four in Battle Formation.  The afternoon
was a sports afternoon and a cross-country run was organised for Flying Wing.
 
  9th      The airfield was 'amber' all day owing to poor visibility and an unreliable Homer.
Thus flying was restricted later in the day as conditions deteriorated.  Some formation
aerobatics were flown and G.C.A.'s at WUNSTORF.  In the afternoon two formations of
6 aircraft were put up one after another to do low-level - high-speed Battle Formation.
This proved excellent station keeping practice and was enjoyed by all.  The
approaching cold front finally put an end to flying for the day.
 
  10th      An unstable high pressure area behind the previous night's cold front gave bumpy
conditions with frequent showers.  Air to Ground sorties were flown all day to
NORDHORN in three sets of four.  Scores were very low, especially on the operational
attacks which everyone did on all but their first sortie.  This programme finished at
15.30 after 3,500 rounds had been expended.
   Preparations were then made for the morrow.  Dinghies and safety equipment were
checked and changed.  Tanks were fitted and the aircraft ground run.
   Plt.Off. SPEARMAN took part in the Air-to-Ground programme having flown Vampires
before; but Plt.Off. STANDISH's lack of hours prevented him from also being on it.
 
  11th.      As on the previous phase of 'ARDENT' the Wing went off to England in the same
formations, but this time landed at MERRYFIELD after a rendez-vous with FASSBERG
Wing.  The target was SCUNTHORPE and once again interceptions were made both
over Holland and before even reaching the English coast.
   This time a lot of 'D-door' trouble was encountered and this proved very hindering to
the 'bombers'.
 
  12th.      From JEVER the Wing went this time to bomb LAKENHEATH - the intensity of
interception was much greater and the Venoms were much in evidence, in some
cases proving extremely dangerous.  The Wing went over at 36,000 feet, and at this
height the Venoms proved to be equal to, if not better than the Sabres, and extremely manoeuvrable.
   A last minute diversion took the Wing to WEST RAYNHAM for refuelling, where the
Venoms are based.  On the return journey, one section of four under the lead of
Sqn. Ldr. WILLIAMSON, returned alone low-level, while the rest came back at 30,000 feet.
   This ended 2nd A.T.A.F.'s part in 'ARDENT'.  Unserviceability had been very low
throughout the Exercise and the next serious hinderance had been the 'D-door' trouble
with long-range tanks fitted.  Sgt. GARRATT today got news that his Short Service
Commission has been granted subject to passing an O.C.T.U. Course.
 
  13th.      It was announced that eight aircraft were to go to England to give a rocketting
demonstration.  These were to be the best eight rocketting pilots on the Wing, and so
they began practicing right away.  From 93 Squadron, Fg.Off. STURMAN,
Fg.Off. WALLACE and Sgt. GARRATT were picked for practice.  They had their aircraft
and flew from No. 112 Squadron Hangar all day.
   The rest of the Squadron flew cine, cross-countries and G.C.A.'s.  In the afternoon
Flt.Lt. PATERSON, Fg.Off. WOOD, Fg.Off. HARDCASTLE, and Sgt's. THOMAS and
WEBSTER were innoculated in preparation for TREVISO, along with the Groundcrew N.C.O.s and airmen.
   A night flying programme was flown from 18.00 to 20.30 hours.  The new pilots flew
dusk sorties and altogether 14 sorties were flown.  Q.G.H.'s gave
Fg.Off. HARDCASTLE and Sgt. WEBSTER practice at controlling.
 
  14th      All day the weather was completely unfit for flying and so apart from compass swings
there was nothing to do but commence the winter ground training syllabus.  In the
morning Major SMITH and Sqn.Ldr. BOLTON gave lectures on Ground Liaison and
Intelligence respectively.  In the afternoon Sqn. Ldr. MITCHUM gave a lecture on V.D.
and sundry other things.
   Fg.Off. HARDCASTLE went in an Anson to GUTERSLOH on the first stage of his
journey to TREVISO.
 
  15th      Again the weather was poor.  The Squadron Charts - which incidentally are
increasing in number and complexity daily - were the subject of much labour.  Then a
most interesting and informative lecture on the Russian Armed Forces and the Slav
Intellect in general was given by Sqn. Ldr. BOLTON.
 
  16th      After Met. had informed everyone of very poor weather and made it quite clear that it
was going to be unfit for any flying - the Squadron settled down in fair conditions
to a full days training.  Rocketting practice continued and Fg. Off. WALLACE was
dropped from the team.
   On a low-level cross country Sgt. THOMAS hit a bird and the aircraft sustained Cat.3
damage to the starboard intake.  The new pilots did practice Mach runs.
   The weather was cloudy but fine, and above the cloud cine exercises were carried
out all day.
 
  17th      Altogether it was a pleasant day, with well broken cloud, very little flying was
achieved - mainly because the flow of aircraft available was temporarily halted.
Fg.Off. STURMAN and Sgt. GARRATT flew two trips each before going to U.K. and
tanks were fitted to both the Italian and rocketting aircraft.
   The Valettas arrived for the airlift to TREVISO and were packed ready for an early
Take off.  The ground crews worked hard and late.
 
  18th      A day of great activity.  The Valettas were off early for Italy and came back in the
late afternoon.  The rocketting aircraft got airborne at 11.30 after one false start
owing to radio trouble on the part of No. 112 Squadron's aircraft.
   The weather was overcast but not by any means bad.
   On the return trip of the Valettas one had a set of oiled up plugs.  The Station was
re-opened and Fg.Off. WOOD made a night trip to BUCKEBURG for spares.  These
were fitted and by dint of much hard work by the ground crew the Valettas were both
ready for the morrows' air lift.
 
JEVER
&
TREVISO (Italy)
19th   93sqnpic253.jpg, 24845 bytes
   At 10.50 after the Valettas had again made an early take-off, four Vampires left on
their journey to Italy via MUNICH.  On the first leg little cloud was encountered, and
it was just as well, because the American Fixer Service, although anxious to help, was
not easy to contact.
   The first stage ended at NEUBIBERG outside MUNICH in surprisingly bad
haze.  Here Fg.Off. WOOD had a brake sac on his aircraft burst.  This meant he had to
be left behind and the other three continued to TREVISO, where they were homed,
greeted and let down by Fg.Off. HARDCASTLE.  Camp had been pitched on the lawns
of the Officers' and Sgts' Messes.  The Ground Crew were enthusiastic about the
weather, which soon, however, deteriorated and gave drizzle by the evening.  The short runway was short-but manageable but interesting!!
Appendix 'A'.
No.93Squadron
Operation Order 10/52.
  20th      The morning was spent organising flight tents and camping sites etc.  The weather
gradually deteriorated until it finally rained continually for the rest of the day.  A
trip to VENICE was organised but damped by the rain.  However, a lot of people saw
the sights and the break fortified everyone for the next day.
 
  21st      This was a miserable day of rain, rain and more rain.  Trenches were perforce dug
between the tents some of which had to be moved.  All camp equipment was
sheltered as much as possible and the cooking lean to had to be moved from its pond to higher ground.
   During the day the C.-in-C. 2nd A.T.A.F. visited the detachment and was genuinely
interested in the mens' welfare.  On leaving he granted the detachment Aid for the
alleviation of their discomfort.  This eventually provided each man with some extra
money to get away from camp and forget his woes.
   No flying was possible all day.
 
  22nd      A much more pleasant morning with a little mist which soon cleared.  The first pair
went off at 12.00 hours on a strike on a very distinctive pin-point near a town called
GABROVIZZA.  Nothing was found, so the secondary target, the Autostrada, was
attacked.  Only a few vehicles were seen and very little movement.
   Sgt. THOMAS, meanwhile, went on a Sector Reconnaissance, and later flew the
second pair with Flt. Lt. PATERSON.  Their target was obscured by cloud and again
secondary targets were attacked.  A lot of M.T. was seen moving North.
   For this phase of the attack we were fighting with Northern troops and heading South.
In the existing terrain spotting of ground equipment and troops proved exceedingly
difficult.  The scrub and rocky outcrops provided excellent natural camouflage.
During the rest of the day two more pairs were flown against vehicles and troops -
mainly on the Autostrada.  Sgt. THOMAS climbed up in the spare aircraft to 34,000 feet
whence he was able to contact NEUBIBERG (R/T being the only available
communication) and got news of Fg. Off. WOOD's aircraft.  JEVER were sending
down a spare for him to bring to Italy - the pilot of the spare taking his original one back when serviceable.
 
  23rd      A fog in the morning failed to clear until late in the day.  After being stood down
the air forces were brought to readiness at 15.30 hours for a strike.
   By this time all the troops were concentrated in the very Northern Sector of the area.
The attack was a last gesture because the battle finished early the next morning.  The
visibility was very bad and occasioned some anxiety on return to the airfield.
 
  24th      The day was devoted to packing and clearing up.  With relief and a certain amount of
celebration preparations were made for departure.  The Valettas arrived and the Air Lift
was commenced.  Although it was dull the day was free from rain.
 
  25th.      In low cloud and rain the Vampires left at 10.30 hours to climb over the Alps and let
down to NEUBIBERG in a clear patch, just before the arrival of a front giving very bad
conditions.  By the time they were airborne again, after very much delay contacted
MUNICH Control, the weather was very bad, and they did not find and clear until they
were well above 35,000 feet.  Strong winds made their progress slow, but they
reached JEVER in pleasant conditions and landed safely.
   At NEUBIBERG Fg.Off.'s WOOD and WALLACE were met on their way back to
base.  The weather had been against them, and neither of their aircraft had finally reached Italy.
4sqnpic199.jpg, 27579 bytes
Shot taken from the Support Valetta over the Alps from the 4 Sqn visit to Treviso the following year.   (Thanks to Norman Giffin)  [Map and photo not in original F540.]
 
  26th      The kit arrived and was unpacked.  Some of the ground crew also came up.  Once
again they were working late and losing much of their time off.
   The Squadron soccer team played No.30 (L.A.A.) Squadron in the afternoon and won
by 2 goals to 1.
 
  27th      This was a day off for the Squadron to make up for the long-weekend they had
missed.  The last of the ground crew and equipment arrived from Italy.  In the afternoon
the rocketting aircraft returned from England.  They had not had good weather either -
two practices were all they could manage - and then the actual demonstration on
Wednesday, 22nd, at WEST DOWN had perforce to be cancelled owing to the
weather.  The secondary practice and demonstration at IMBER on Thursday 23rd was
satisfactorily completed, but again the weather shut down and prevented the return to
JEVER.  During the practice Fg.Off. Lack's aircraft (4 Squadron [WA313]) sustained serious
debris damage - while Sgt. GARRATT had the misfortune to strike a bird with the port
mainplane.  This aircraft also suffered Cat.3 damage, but was repaired temporarily and flown back to JEVER.
   While belting up ammunition one of the armourers struck the percussion cap of a 20
mm round and the subsequent explosion injured his hand.  The incident is the subject
of an enquiry.
 
  28th      The last party of airmen to return from Italy had the day off.  There was no flying
all day, as it turned out except for one delivery to FASSBERG and return with a newly
resprayed aircraft.  This makes the last one to be resprayed in
camouflage colours.  The weather was extremely poor.  Since the Squadron was on
Battle Flight in place of No. 4 Squadron, and no call was made on it to fly - no flying
was attempted.  Directly after lunch an Air Traffic Lecture was given by Flt. Lt. STOKER? and attended by all pilots.
   In the morning Fg. Off. STURMAN went to FUHLSBUTTEL, in the Tiger Moth, but
subsequent deterioration of the weather prevented his return the same day.   Preparations are afoot for the Officers Ball, and furtive figures can be glimpsed at
odd times carrying a weird assortment of pieces of wire, beaverboard etc., all destined
to become part of the decorations.
   Sgt. WALKER is now back with the Squadron on flying duties, having been upgraded
after his 6 months grounding subsequent upon a Spontaneous Pr???o Thorax.
 
  29th      Sqn. Ldr. McGREGOR returned from leave this morning.  Normal squadron training
recommenced with cine.  A strong gusty cross-wind made landing tricky and once
more Fg.Off. STURMAN was prevented from returning by air, it being far too windy for
Tiger Moth flying.  As at the end of each month charts were made up and returns commenced.
   The afternoon was devoted to sport and the Squadron Football team played a league
match against No. 33 (L.A.A.) Squadron and won by 3 goals to 1.
 
  30th      Although a poor morning at first, it soon cleared up, and some general flying was
carried out.  Sgt. WALKER flew to BUCKEBURG and thence to GUTERSLOH and
base.  Cine occupied the other trips.  In the afternoon there was no flying at all, since
work had to be hurried up on the Officers' Mess decorations for the Halloween
Ball.  Night flying was cancelled.
 
  31st      From the very first flying was cancelled.  All aircraft were pushed into the Hangar and
cleaned, while servicing was brought up to scratch.  Sgt. WEBSTER was on loan to
No.4 Squadron to help with Battle Flight, but although the weather became fit and they
flew once, he did not go because his aircraft went unserviceable.
   Fg.Off. HARDCASTLE returned from TREVISO and Flt. Lt. PATERSON proceeded on leave.
 
           Total hours flown            -1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes330.00 Vampire.        1:50 Meteor.
     Sorties flown                    -1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes377           "                  2        "

     Ammunition expended  -        20 m.m.           3,300 rounds.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes-1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesRockets1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes92.
 
              ADMINISTRATION
     This has been a very active month for the Squadron with two detachments taking
place in addition to committments for the U.K. Air Defence Exercises.
     Reorganisation has taken place to meet continuation training committments for
ex-A.F.S. pilots on the Wing.
 
              MOVEMENTS 

1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesSqn. Ldr. S.M. McGREGOR.     -  Leave  1st to 28th October, 1952.
1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesSgt, J.E.M. WALKER.1px-trans.gif, 43 bytes-  returned to Unit w.e.f. 26th October, 1952.
 
      1px-trans.gif, 43 bytesNOMINAL ROLL OF PILOTS

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