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F 540 July and August 1944


Tortorella now considereed serviceable for our aircraft to land there so this morning 12 aircraft went over there where we found No. 318 (POLISH) SQUADRON, who were very hospitable and helpful and gave us breakfast, a very welcome gift to the gannets who had already had one breakfast of bacon and two eggs, before leaving! In the inttervals between swimming and sunbathing time was found to carry out a couple of escort jobs, one to MARAUDERS and the other to BALTIMORES, both bombing LUGO marshalling yards and both groups dropping their bombs in the open fields outside the target. In the now customary fashion we heard at 2200 hours tonight that the advance party was to leave tomorrow morning for PERUGIA!


Plenty of flying today. Some 22 sorties in area cover sweeps of RIMINI, FAENZA, IMOLA, BOLOGNA areas, where KITTYHAWKS and MUSTANGS were busy pranging railway lines and marshalling yards. At the moment the HUN has not got his flak organised so the mission of the whole area was “a piece of cake!” meanwhile “A” Party, led by F/O. A.R. EVANS, left at 1000 hours for PERUGIA, where they arrived aftter a 10-hour journey, mostly crawling along through 10/10ths dust, and just having time to get an evening meal before it was dark.


Ten aircrft went over FERMO this morning escorting 12 MARAUDERS from here to IMOLA marshalling yards, which received a good concentration of bombs and after a further job taking 12 BALTIMORES in the afternoon to PORTO CORSINI, where dock installations were well covered, the aircraft landed at PERUGIA. Remainder of aircraft came over from FABRICA in the afternoon, while the OPERATIONS and PARACHUTE SECTIONS arrived in the evening. Majority of us slept put tonight between the rows of vines where the camp is sited. A glorious, bright, moonlight night, so no hardship.



We managed to get in one escort job in the morning — MARAUDERS going to FAENZA — before a heavy thunderstorm broke over the ‘drone and we were released. Opportunity to visit PERUGIA was seized and we found an OFFICERS’ CLUB where we were able to get tea and dinner. Not much to buy in shops, “TEDESCHI” having taken it all before they left, but what little was there was cheap enough. “B” Party arrived this morning after a very dusty ride. F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE was today awarded a DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS and we congratulate him heartily on a well-deserved honour.


Squadron at 30 Minutes Availability till 1200 hours when four aircraft carried out a spot of Tac/R work between SIENA and FLORENCE, looking for bridges broken and unbroken, troop movements and M.T.Pilots returned confirmed in the opinion that Tac/R is a specialised job for they had seen “none of those things.” Our second and last show of the day was an escort to 12 KITTYHAWKS out on a shipping strike in the RAVENNA area. The small port of COTTOLICA was dive-bombed and a small barge in the river was also hit. F/O. A.D. TAYLOR force landed successfully just after take-off and was located some two miles South of the ‘drome by supernumerary Flight Lieutenants SMITH and D. WRIGHT, who orbited him in the AUSTER. “SMITHY” fired red Verey cartridges to guide he ground rescue party to the spot — signals which took the gharry straight into the ditch running across a field! However no harm was done and “AL” returned a little shaken but otherwise O.K.



Twenty sorties on bomber escorts, in course of which KITTYHAWKS cut railway lines at LAVAZZOLA, while MARAUDERS appeared to drop their bombs in the centre of FAENZA. Bandits were reported airborne in the EMOLA area during the day but no contact was made.We learned today that we shall be commencing bombing practice in the near future. Once this is completed all Squadrons in the Wing will be bomber operational.


More escorts up to the North East again today — 8 aircraft taking MARAUDERS up to IMOLA where bombs fell in the Northern part of the town and a further six aircraft taking BALTIMORES to PORTO CORSINI. Enemy fighters were reported between RAVENNA and FERRARA, but no attempt was made to attack the bombers which dropped their load about one mile inshore on the North side of the canal. That completed our quota for the day and in the evening a number of us paid a visit to ASSISI — a gem of medieval architecture — where there is an excellent club with wine (or rather “hooch” which burned with a blue flame!) women, and song! Squadron released for 48 hours for bombing practice.


Bombing practice commenced today. Each pilot is to drop 4 x 500 lb. bombs. Florescene can markers used for targets. Practice bombing area roughly between CIOSTA VECCHIA and ORBEVELLO. Officers attended a party given by GROUP CAPTAIN B. KINGCOME, DSO DFC and BAR at WING Mess this evening to celebrate his first anniversary in command of the Wing.


Bombing practice continued today and all pilots after initially finding it rather more difficult than they had expected, have made excellent progress, are proficient and await the testing time with confidence.


Up to lunch time we were released from operational calls in order to complete our bombing practice, but thereafter we were let loose on a couple of targets near SAN GIOVANI. The object in this case was to cut the roads effectively, but though 31 sorties in all were flown one road remained unharmed, whiile theother received direct hits. However the barrage from light and heavy flak in the area was intense, so the change over from practice conditions was drastic. LIEUTENANT L.G. LLOYD, FLEET AIR ARM, arrived today for liaison duties, and we were glad to see F/O. J. LONGSTAFF back after 10 days absence with malaria.


An early morning bombing mission was cancelled owing to low cloud and bad weather over the target, but following a weather recce in the afternoon of the AREZZO – PONTASIEVA area, 11 sorties were flown to the San GIOVANI area where a road junction just East of the River was the target. Once again the light flak gunners put up a carpet of fire and though several near misses were scored the road remained uncut. So manybombs have been aimed at this point that it just isn’t true. Sub Lt. D.S. ROBINSON, FLEET AIR ARM, left us today to return to GIBRALTAR, while two POLISH pilots, F/LIEUTENANTS O. SZARZYNSKI and J. PREIMS reported today for flying duties.


Eight aircraft were rushed off at short notice earlythis morning to attack 50 M.T. that some keen but hopelessly clueless type had thought he had located in a wood near PELAGO, about 10 miles east of PONTASIEVA. When they got there, they found a densely wooded area and though a a number of haycocks were visible among the trees not more than a few widely dispersed vehicles were about. Bombs were dropped but no results observed. At lunch time and at intervals for the rest of the day we were out bombing strategic road junctions at BADIA, TEDALDA, IESI, ACQUALONGA and SAN GIOVANNI (whose inhabitants God preserve!) with some measure of success. A NAAFI ration of beer was issued this evening, while the airmen received in addition a supply of champagne. “Sounds of revely by night” re-echoed through the camp.


BADIA TEDALDA was attcked twice today; first by three aircraft, later by eight aircraft, two direc thits being scored on the road junction while a third fell on a road-fork about five miles South-West of the target. A road junction at MERCATELLO was also bombed during the course of the day and two direct hits scored. A generous supply of greengages and peaches (for this our thanks go to the ADJUTANT and Cpl. BROOKES, his henchman) appeared at dinner in the Mess

Tonight and it was forthwith suggested that the COMMANDING OFFICER open up a greengrocery department in his trailer to be run conjointly with his “hooch” store.


Heavy bombing programme. Some 28 sorties over selected targets. Road cuts effected near BORGO PACE, three direct hits on road intersection followed two attacks on ACQUALONGA, while two direct hits were scored on the road near PIAN- Di MELETO and the railway line was cut five miles South of URBINO. A search for a suspected Do 217 and six M.T. near SENEGALLIA was ineffective. Twelve sorties were also flown in support of BALTIMORES bombing ammunition dumps camouflaged in fields and trees midway between PISTOIA and FLORENCE but no apparent results were visible from the air. On the last show of the day four of our aircraft which had been asked to bomb the electric railway between FORLI and CESENA and at the same time provide area cover to six MUSTANGS bombing CERVIA found the whole area covered with thunderclouds down to 3,000 feet so returned and dropped their bombs on a road junction near FEMMIGNANO. The COMMANDING OFFICER flew down to MALTA today on very important business!


Between first light and 0930 hours this morning 20 bombing sorties were carried out on;- PIAN- Di MELETO where two bombs fell on the Eastern outskirts of the town, flak opposition coming from guns mounted on the roof tops; ACQUALONGA wher the road leading South out of the town was hit; BADIA TEDELDA; St. ANGELO where two bombs fell on buildings in the town; and OSTRA where a road junction receive one direct hit. In the evening MEREATO and St. LORENZO were each attacked by four aircraft, while eight aircraft dropped bombs on ammunition and store dumps near the railway station at BIBBIENA


BADIA TEDALDA and St. ANGELO were attacked at first light with moderate success and W/O.  A.T. CONDON and F/O. R.T. HUTCHINSON followed up the bombing attack by straffing an armoured car near SASSOCORVORA. OSTRA on the ADRIATIC front, was twice attacked , two direct hits being scored on the junction and on the road South-West of the town, while four moe of our aircraft finding URBANIA too heavily defended, attacked PIOBBIO wher the approaches to a bridge over a river were hit. The last show of the day was an eight aircraft attack on the main road between POPPI and PONTESIEVE. Weather conditions were not particularly favourable for bombing for visibility was poor while intense flak did not ease the task.


Twenty sorties were flown today with the object of cuttting the railway line from BOLOGNA to the ADRIATIC coast. The point selected for attack was some five miles North-West of IMOLA and in all three direct hits were scored on the main line.


Targets for the first light patrols were the road junction four miles West of FOSSOMBRONE and BADIA TEDALDA. Heavy cloud obscured the FOSSOMBRONE area so our aircraft unloaded on the main road some ten miles North Of PIEVE SAN STEPHANO where they scored two direct hits, while the road junction in BADIA TEDALDA also received two direct hits. At 1100 hours we received instructions to detach one Flight (consisting of eight aircraft and 12 pilots) over to CECINA on the west coast for an unspecified length of time. By 1530 hours the road party of some 18 vehicles, stores trailer and 70 men, led by F/O. A.R. EVANS, set out. Heavy thunderstorms hampered progress but we managed to reach ORVIETO more or less intact by 2100 hours and we spent the night in the empty AERONAUTICAL COLLEGE in the centre of town. Meanwhile, an afternoon patrol led by FLIGHT LIEUTENANT B.L. GARNER betweeen IESI and the ADRIATIC coast located 30 to 40 M.T. near OSTRA and attacked with bombs scoring three direct hits on the road in the centre of the transport. Another four aircraft who went out a little later joined in the fray, bombing and straffing. In the evening two attaks were made on a bridge near FIUMESCINO on the coast but though the railway line and road nearby were both hit, the bridge itself was undamaged.


Two attacks — eight sorties in all — were made on road junctions in the BADIA TEDALDA area during the morning, after which an exceptionaly violent thunderstorm made flying impossible. Very heavy rain flooded the airfield and camp site and hailstones a quarter of an inch in diameter wrecked the maize field. The Discip. tent blew down and amidst the chaos five bottles of “champers” were broken! In the meantime the “A” party were having their own spot of bother — on the road by 0630 hours we intended to strike the coast road (Highway 1) by taking the lateral route via St. LORENZO, PITIGLIANO and MANCIANO (Highway 74). Unfortunately, at PITIGLIANO we learned that a bridge had been blown that morning and it was impossible to get through, so eventually, after passing  and re-passing through one little village no less than three times to the amusement and delight of the whole population who cheered lustily on the last occasion, we found a through route via CANINO striking Route 1 North of TARQUINIA. Here we were an unscheduled convoy in “FIFTH” territory so had to take “pot-luck.” The AMERICANS however were very co-operative and we were able to reach FALLONICA before bivouacing for the night — only one vehicle missing, this we learned later had been separated from us earlier and had made its own way via SIENIA.


From FALLONICA “A” party obtained a ‘schedule’ to CECINA where they arrived at 0830 hours. Our dispersal lies in the North-East corner of the ‘drome and we picked a camp site between the railway and the road — well back from the ‘drome which is exceptionally dusty. Pilots and aircraft arrived by 1130 hours and the Commanding Officer having approved the site, tents were erected. Through the good offices of FLYING OFFICER ‘LOBBY’ LUNN (from down FOGGIA way) we have taken over five rooms in a largish house from the ITALIANS and here we use a large ground floor room for lounge and bar and remaining rooms for Officers’ quarters. It is wonderfully cool and airy here but our sleep is somewhat disturbed by night flying BOSTONS and BALTIMORES of 232 WING. As for our job here; we are A.C.I controlled by 886 A.M.E.S. (Squadron Leader Mission) and our object is the interception and destruction of enemy recce kites flying down the coast from the North. During the day we shall have two aircraft on radiness, and two aircraft on 15 Minutes, while at dawn and dusk we shall have two aircraft on patrol and two on Readiness. This afternoon minesweepers were operating off the coast from LEGHORN so we brought two aircraft to readiness at 1500 hours. At 1940 hours F/Lt. B.l. GARNER and F/O. R.T. HUTCHINSON carried out a dusk patrol. Meanwhile at PERUGIA the rest of the Squadron was released for the day and in the afternoon two liberty runs were arranged, one to ASSISI visiting ancient churches and buildings, the other to PERUGIA visiting “modern dens of iniquity.”. Both outings were popular. The following pilots are on detachment at CECINA:- S/ldr. G.J. COX DFC, F/Lt. B.L. GARNER, F/Lt. D. WRIGHT, F/Lt. J. PREIHS, F/lt. O. SZARZYNSKI, lt. V. BOY, Lt. M.H.D. LAWTON, Lt. E. MANNE, F/O. R. C. HUTCHINSON, W/O. J. LANE, W/O. M.J. DORAN, Sgt. C. SMITH. Also there are F/Lt. R.m. GALVAN (MEDICAL OFFICER), F/O. J. LUNN (EQUIPMENT OFFICER), F/O. A. P. EVANS (INTELLIGENCE OFFICER)


A real fillip to morale today, for the COMMANDING OFFICER, S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC and Lt. E MANNE intercepted a Ju 188 towards the end of the dawn patrol and eventually shot it down a few miles South East of the ‘drome to our great delight for we were able to see the final attacks which sent the big bomber down in a vertical dive from 10,000 feet with the starboard engine in flame. Brilliant controlling enabled  our aircraft to attack out of the sun and the advantage was pressed home by the commanding officer who crippled the enemy aircraft in his first attack. Two aircraft were scrambled in the afternoon but the plot faded and the dusk patrol North-West of LEGHORN was uneventful except for the persistent aggressive attitude of two SPITFIRES of No. 93 SQUADRON. If they only knew how near they were to death! This evening we went over with S/Ldr. MUSSON (SENIOR CONTROLLER, No. 886 A.M.E.S) to inspect what was left of the Ju 188 and if possible to find a “bony finger” for SQUADRON LEADER N.F. DUKE, DSO, DSF, and BAR of No. 145 SQUADRON! Wreckage was scattered over a wide area and what of interest had escaped destruction had been collectedd by some AMERICANS who had handed papers over to their WAR GRAVES COMMISSION.We shall have to chase them up. Lt. E. MANNE flew over to PERUGIAin the morningto collect mail and returned in the afternoon. Ten sorties were flown from PEERUGIA today, in the course of which a road junction near BAGNO received a direct hit while two fell in the woods nearby . P/O. D. KING and F/Sgts. J. PEACOCK, F.M.P. HANSON, and H.V. BUGDEN left today on the conclusion of their operational tour — the last two FLIGHT SERGEANTS cheered by the news which arrived this morning that they had been recommended for commissions by the A.O.C. In the evening the PRINCIPAL MEDICAL OFFICER, GROUP CAPTAIN PIMLEY, paid us the doubtful honour of a visit of inspection. The ADJUTANT, a sadder, and we hope a wiser man, was later seen at ASSISI apparently tying to drown his sorrow in the saintly atmosphere of the Officers’ Club. F/Lt. E.R.H. WHITE reported today for flying duties.



The morning patrols were uneventful but in the evening F/Sgt. B.L. GARNER and his No. 2 patrolling West of LEGHORN at 27,000 feet tallyhoed a silvery single-engined aircraft flying at 30,000 feet. He chased it South as far as ELBA before losing it in the haze — later at about 2030 hours he obtained a visual on an aircraft some 20 miles away flying West to East over the sea. He started to cut it off but it went into a dive at high speed and was lost. In view of the fact that the recce kites were coming in higher, it has been decided to step up patrol height to 30,000 feet. WING COMMANDER S. TURNER. DSO, DFC, and S/Ldr. N.F. DUKE, DSO, DFC, and BAR, came over to see us todayand after lunch and a swim the COMMANDING OFFICER accompanied them back to PERUGIA for WING COMMANDER H. DUNDAS, DSO, DFC, birthday party! We understand a good time was had by all and that some of the E.n.S.A. girls who were there extended their repertoire  og songs quite considerably in the course of the evening. Meanwhile the remainder of the Squadron was busy up at RAVENNA today making a couple of attacks (eight sorties in all) on road junctions some three miles North-West of the City, and following up these with a six aircraft attack on the marshalling yards. As we should not like to embarrass “the bomber boys” we will forbear to talk of the results! Still they had their thrill for the day when MISS NITA COLE, lovely E.N.S.A artiste in a very decolette gown took afternoon tea in the Mess. Certain officers we hear immediately betook themselves to ops. Thoughtfully rubbing their unshaven chins and those who remained were suffering from eye-strain in the evening!


Four aircraft, in relays of two, patrolled between LEGHORN and GORGONA ISLANDS from first light to 0800 hours — the first section at 30,000 feet, the second at 15,000 feet — but apart from the interception at 0700 hours of a B.25 flying North, the patrols were uneventful. A state of readiness of two aircraft was maintained throughout the day — pilots reclining in a couple of dinghies finding what shelter they could from the boiling sun in the lea of the Ops. gharry. An evening patrol at 30,000 feet was carried out West of LEGHORN but shortly after reporting a bogey “Recruit” failed and nothing was seen. We were pleased this morning to see the ADJUTANT, F/Lt. G.L. TRAVIS and F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE. DFC, who had flown over in the AUSTER to pay us a visit. Today we learned that we were to move to ROSIGNANO AIRFIELD on 25th JULY — a blow after we had got so well organised. F/O. J. LUNN was taken into Hospital this evening wih suspected malaria. NAAFI supplies, in the shape of whiskey, gin, cordials, etc., arrived by truck tonight from PERUGIA. From PERUGIA four aircraft attacked a road junction some three miles West of RAVENNA during the morning scoring one hit on the side of the road and in the evening in the course of an armed recce by six aircraft two diret hits were scored on the main SPEZIA – REGGIO road, about six miles East of PIUIZNANO


Early morning patrols between 23,000 and 25,000 feet in the area of  CAPRAIA ISLANDS were without incident but in the aftrnoon two aircraft were scrambled to intercept a recce kite flying South down the coast. After reaching the CECINA area the plot faded and was not picked up again, and after a short patrol at 25,000 feet off CAPRAIA, the aircraft pancaked. The enemy was obviously out to get all possible information for the evening patrol, led by F/Lt. B.L. GARNER, tallyhoed  a twin-engined aircraft about 30 miles North-West of LEGHORN flying South at 31,000 feet some six to eight miles away. F/Lt. GARNER and his No. 2, F/Lt. D. WRIGHT, gave chase using every trick they knew and extracting every ounce of power from their machines, but though they succeeded in reducing the gap to 1,000 yards as it (probably an Me 410) turned South-West, the enemy aircraft steepened its dive, turned to the North and drew away! Vectors throughout were excellent but the old SPITFIRE VIII just could not hold the Me. Two other aircraft  which had been scrambled climbed to 18,000 feet and then were told to pancake as their services were not required. At PERUGIA the Squadron was released for the day — and they call this “the rest camp!”


Four aircraft, in relays of two aircraft, maintained constant patrol from first light until 0800 hours. The first section patrolling uneventfully — 32,000 to 30,000 feet — from GORGONA ISLANDS to 40 miles NORTH; the second patrolling from GORGONA and LEGHORN at 20,000 feet. Shortly before 0700 hours a “bogey” was reported flying South but it turned back before contact could be made. In the course of the day we moved camp to ROSIGNANO AIRFIELD where the COMMANDING OFFICER had selected a very pleasant site among the vines in the South-East corner of the ‘drome well back from the dust. Operational commitments remained unimpaired throughout and tonight we sent off four aircraft on a dusk patrol in a determined effort to catch the recce kite. Once again it made its appearance, both sections obtaining a tally-ho, but once again its high speed enabled it to avoid combat though its mission was probably foiled. Seventeen sorties were flown today from PERUGIA in attacks on bridges, one midway between Forli and CESENI, another 20 miles North-East of BOLOGNA. The bridges remained intact but roads in the area were cratered. S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC, returned to PERUGIA where his presence had been axiously awaited, arriving there at 1200 hours and at 1345 hours some 90 members of the Squadron were assembled outside the Ops. tent and paraded on the edge of the runway. Two DC 3’s landed and a few minutes later HIS MAJESTY THE KING drove past. The spontaneous cheering that ensued was led by the COMMANDING OFFICER. Three USA NCO’s were our guests this evening.


Uneventful morning and evening patrols in the LEGHORN – SPEZIA area. Excellent bathing is available at ROSIGNANO and gharries run to the beach each afternoon. From PERUGIA a total of ten sorties were flown — four against a bridge some 10 miles North of LUCCA; six against a bridge at CESANATICO on the coast south of CERVIA. An excellent coverage of this latter target was obtained, direct hits were made on the bridge itself, the approaches to it and on the railway itself.


The dawn patrols — 31,000 feet to 25,000 feet between LEGHORN and GORGONA ISLANDS were uneventful apart from a little trouble over call signs — some confusionn between “SPENCER” and PYREX” which caused us much amusement later. A gharry arrived from the other side during the morning bringing us additional tentage of which we were sadly in need. Actually now that it has come everyone is too lazy to move and for the time being we remain where we are. F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE, DFC, came over in the evening and we enjoyed listening to a solid hour’s “line shoot” on the “stupendous achievements” of our “bomber boys!” The Hun was about this evening on the last light patrol being reported eight miles off PISA, coming South at 25,000 feet, but though we were vectored all over the sky we saw nothing of him. Towards the end of the patrol an aircraft did a calibration test flying over the drome at 34,000 feet making magnificent vapour trails. The COMMANDING OFFICER flew over to PERUGIA this morning. Today we came under the operational control of M.O.R.U. “B” — “PYREX” — “Good old Pyrex, Pyrex of the Sangro” as a rather affected voice told us over the phone last night. What with an abundance of plums, pears and tomatoes the “DOC” is very busy these days with fly-traps, pot-perming and sprays and we must say his efforts have been rewarded for the mess is pleasantly free from flies — the fruit is uncontaminated, while the cookhouse and its environs are cleaner than they have been for many a long day. No mean achievement that! No. 600 SQUADRON, who moved up to this airfield today, shot down a Ju 87 in the vicinity of the ‘drome tonight. From PERUGIA four aircraft on a First Light patrol attacked a road junction five miles North-West of FIRENZUCIA, scoring two direct hits on a road, while 14 sorties were flown in attacks on the main line railway between PRATO and CASTIGLIONE. The Rest Hotel at ASSISI for officers opened hospitable doors aided by one Italian beauty (one destroyed reported, no probables and no damaged!)


A Hun “SHUFTI” kite about at first light this morning but cloud layers from 25,000 feet to 32,000 feet masked him effectively from our SPITFIRES. Two aircraft who were waiting to take off on the subsequent patrol were scrambled but shortly afterwards resumed normal patrol from GORGONA ISLAND to within ten miles of SPEZIA. A couple of aircraft were scrambled in the course of the morning to investigate the vapour trails in the LEGHORN area, while at last light F/Lt. B.L. GARNER and No. 2 carried out the usual patrol. No HUNS about but plenty of shipping activity in and near SPEZIA for four large and 12 small ships were seen passing through and proceeding South beyond the boom. A report was made but whether any further steps were taken we have been unable to ascertain. F/O. “LOBBY” LUNN rejoined us at lunch time in a somewhat dazed condition after a quiet few day in an AMERICAN HOSPITAL, where he had consumed pills at a rate of 48 a day! We have arranged to re-fuel Tac/R SPITFIRES of No. 225 Squadron the lob in ROSIGNANO and we are feeding seven men from a No. 285 WING detatchment. S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC, returned this evening from PERUGIA, where 14 sorties had been flown on a railway bridge near LUCCA which however remained unimpaired in spite of their efforts. The COMMANDING OFFICER’S trailer has been repainted. It s hard to believe that two years ago it tumbled through the streets of CAIRO in the road which led to ALAMEIN.



The early morning patrols were without incident. In the afternoon at an informal meeting in the Mess between WING COMMANDER S. TURNER DSO, DFC, SQUADRON LEADER G.J. COX DFC and SQUADRON LEADER MUSSOM tactics for dealing with “shufti kites” were discussed. For the evening patrol it was decided that one section should patrol the LEGHORN area as usual at 30,000 feet and be vectored on to any “bandit” flying South, while the second section taking off some 20 minutes later were to patrol off SPEZIA at 30,000 feet, keeping a watching brief and intercept the enemy as he turned North for home. These tactics however could not be tried out. For one thing the “shufti” did not appear, and the other, Lt. V. BOY returned early with oxygen trouble so the COMMANDING OFFICER and F/Lt. J. PREIHS carried out the normal patrol, North to South off LEGHORN at 28,000 feet. F/Lt. B.L. GARNER returned to PERUGIA today. “The bomber boys” attacked a railway bridge today some five miles South of ARGENTA, one bomb dropping very close to the North end of the bridge on the railway line. A power house in the same area was also straffed. This was actually the only mission of the day for rain storms set in and no further flying took place. F/Lt. B.L. GARNER concluded his tour and F/Lt. J.E.L. SMITH was reposted to us as FLIGHT COMMANDER.


F/Lt. D. WRIGHT led the dawn patrol at 30,000 feet just East of GORGONA ISLAND, 15 to 20 miles off coast, and after his No. 2 had returned with engine trouble, a “bogey” was reported to the North-West. Various vectors were given, but later it was decided that he had ben chasing himself! In the early afternoon the two Standy-by aircraft were scrambled but almost immediately were told to pancake as the plot turned friendly. The evening patrols were quite uneventful. WING COMMANDER H. DUNDAS DSO, DFC, came over to ROSIGNANO this afternoon. F/O. W.R. FAIR flew F/O. J.R.M. LONGSTAFF over in his AUSTER this afternoon. F/O. LONGSTAFF brought us news that the Squadron was getting silver SPITFIRES in the near future. The COMMNADING OFFICER returned to PERUGIA with the WING COMMANDER. A gharry arrived from PERUGIA in te evening bringing kit for the pilots who are coming over  for a spell of fighter work and NAAFI supplies including beer for the men. Late tonight “Y” Service gave us a tip that a Ju 88 would be taking off from BERGAMO early in the morning to do a recce down the coast! From PERUGIa six aircraft bombed a railway bridge six miles East of BOLOGNA, one bomb falling on the embankment 10 yards from the bridge. Later five aircraft returned on a second mission and obtained one near miss.


The dawn patrol led by Lt. V.V. BOY, took off in a state of high anticipation, but unfortunately the Ju 88 failed to materialise and both this and the subsequent patrol were quite uneventful. The evening patrol of two aircraft at 30,000 feet between GORGONA ISLAND and VIA REGGIO was carried out without incident. Lt. V.V. BOY and F/O. Hutchinson returned from ROSIGNANO in the AUSTER while F/Lt. J. PRIEHS and F/Lt. G. SZARZYNSKI flew a couple of SPITFIRES to PERUGIA and then were piloted to ROSIGNANO by P/O. D.A. STEVENSON and P/O. C.F. HACKETT who arrived in the afternoon. F/Lt. J.E.L. SMITH flew to ROSIGNANO to take charge of  the FLIGHT. Tonight in the Mess we spent a very pleasant evening, celebrating W/O. G. SANDERSON’S “birthday”(so he said!) and listening to Sgt. J. SCROGGIE’S masterly handling of te “squeeze-box.” F/O. “TUBBY” FAIR, who has aspirations that way, sat in wrapt amazement at the melodious strains,so different alas!, from his own “jangling chords!” Surgery jokes from the “Doc”, songs by various members of the party, and F/Lt. J.E.L. SMITH’S inimitable rendering of a celebrated Irish wrangle kept the party going until the early hours. From PERUGIA four aircraft bombed railway lines North of SAN GIORGIO. Later our two POLISH pilots (F/Lts. J. PRIEHS and SZARZYNSKI) carried out a weather recce in the FAENZA- BOLOGNA-RAVENNA- PESARO area. P/O. C.D. YOUNG and F/Sgt. G. CUNNINGHMA-LENY repeated the recce later, bad weather still continuing. Later in the day F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE DFC, led six aircraft on an armed recce and ultimately bombed FIVEZZANO starting a fire and minor explosions, believed to be an ammunition dump. During the month 546 operational sorties totalling 660 hours 15 minutes, and 204 non-operational sorties totalling 173 hours were flown; and one Ju 188 was destroyed.




A recce kite came down the coast this morning when Lt. M.H.D. LAWTON (SAAF) who led the dawn patrol was flying off LEGHORN at 27,000 feet. He was vectored all orer the sky between LEGHORN and CORSICA after the HUN without however seeing him, though he turned him on no less than three oocasions and was once within half-a-mile of him. Another section which was at Readiness on the ground was scrambled and climbed to 23,000 feet off SPEZIA but they too saw no sign of the E/A; as it turned North, though the plotting board showed it heading straight for them. The whole thing remains something of a mystery for visibility thoughout was excellent. Lt. LAWTON returned a rather puzzled and sad man. This was our only piece of excitement today for the evening patrol was uneventful. W/O. LANE flew back to PERUGIA today, while SQUADRON LEADER G.J. COX, DFC returned from PERUGIA in the evening. Thee ADJUTANT (F/Lt. G.TRAVIS) and F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE DFC, came over to see us in the morning and spent the afternoon swimming down at the beach. From PERUGIA six aircraft took off in the morning to bomb gun emplacements East South-East of FOSSOMBRONE — the guns were observed butt no hits obtained though the bombs fell in the general area. An armed recce in search of transport on roads West and North-west of  FLORENCE was carried out in the evening and a road was bombed 15 miles North of PRATO. Lt. V.V. BOY who thought he had been hit by "flak" jettisoned his bomb, while F/Lt. O. SZARZYNSKI, after considerable trouble managed to drop his "safe" in LAKE TRASIMENO.



F/Lt. D. WRIGHT and his No. 2 made an "igri" take-off this morning to investigate vapour trails in the area, but these turned out to have been made by a P.38. Shortly after resuming normal patrol at 20,000 feet, the guns reported a Me 210 flying towards LEGHORN 50 feet above the water, and while Section lost height rapidly to investigate, Lt. E.M. MANNE and his No. 2 were scrambled and flew at high speed 10 miles North of LEGHORN — but the HUN was not seen. In the evening four aircraft gave assistance in an air-sea rescue search off SPEZIA for a dinghy with three oocupants who were being shelled by GERMAN shore batteries. Cover was given to a WALRUS and a WARWICK which were carrying out the search, but though the patch of fluoresine was quite visible, there was no sign of a dinghy, and it is believed that the GERMANS picked up the dinghy earlier in the afternoon before the search could be organised. The Last Light anti-recce patrol was uneventful. WING COMMANDER H. DUNDAS and SQUADRON LEADER NICHOLLS came over to see us (or perhaps we should say, to have a bathe) in the afternoon, while in the evening F/O. LONGSTAFF returned to PERUGIA in the AUSTER piloted by F/O. HUTCHINSON who had come over in the morning bringing "Laddie" over. F/O. LUNN and F/O. STEVENSON spent most of the day roaming round SOLVE in search of “rest-houses" for us - and returned with offers of several rooms in different houses in the Via Mussolini! It is believed that the inhabitants mistook them for estate agents! PERUGIA - After an early morning weather recce of the RIMINI- FERRARA- BOLOGNA area, two

separate attacks - one in the morning by six aircraft - the other in the afternoon by five aircraft - were made on a railway bridge ten Miles South-West of FERRARA, in all two bombs five yards from the North-West end of the bridge, one bomb five yards from the South-East end, one bomb in the river below the bridge, while four bombs scored direct hits on the railway line.


This morning we put up two sections – one led by SQUADRON LEADER G.J. COX DFC, patrolling at 600 feet off LEGHORN, the other led by F/O. FAIR doing a similar job at 28,000 feet - hoping in their way to deal with any type of tactics the HUN might use. This morning he came down the coast at 18,000 feet flying South to LEGHORN, before turning South-Weat towards CORSICA climbing to 30,000 feet. "Tubby" FAIR'S section was vectored with a view to cutting him off as he North-East off CAP CORSO, but the chase was called off  and nothing was seen. In the evening two aircraft carried out the usual patrol off LEGHORN at 29,000 feet while two were at Stand-by readiness on the ground. The HUN however did not appear. F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE DFC flew over from PERUGIA this morning — returning there with S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC, in the evening, while W/O. DORAN also flew there in the morning. At PERUGIA the squadron was released for the day.             ...


An uneventful day - only four operational sorties – two in the morning, two in the evening – both patrolling off LEGHORN. On each occasion two aircraft were at Stand-by Readiness with instructions that if scrambled they were to climb to 20,000 feet and patrol five miles South-South-East of SPEZIA POINT with a view to intercepting the HUN as he turned North for home base. However they were not required. PERUGIA, vey cloudy in the morning, followed by a thundestorm in the afternoon. No operational flying. 


The ETON not come down this morning but in the evening F/Lt. SMITH and his No.2 flying at 25,000 feet off LEGHORN got a visual on an Me 210 or 410 some 4,000 feet above them but as soon as it saw them, it turned North and dived into the cloud – which stretched from 22,000 feet to 26,000 feet. We chased it through cloud getting quite close on one occasion according to the Controller but nothing more was seen of it and the chase had to be abandoned. W/O. DORAN and Sgt. C.P.K. SMITH returned to PERUGIA today to exchange with two of the "bomber" boys - one of whom F/Lt. S.M. JONES came over in the afternoon. S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC, returned late in the evening in "merry mood", and a 'gharry’ bringing NAAFI supplies - and a sack of fresh potatoes - arrived shortly after. But where is our mail? PPERUGIA - Four aircraft setting out at first light an an armed recce North of FLORENCE found the area covered with 10/10ths cloud and bombed the road midway between PARMA and FIDENZA. One direct hit was scored and a fire was started among the trees which lined the verges. Heavy black smoke came up and it is thought that M.T. may have been hit. Only one other mission was carried out - a weather recce by two aircraft over RIMINI - RAVENA - FERRARA - BOLOGNA. Heavy cloud from the deck up to 16,000 feet covered much of the area, but a gap in the cloud enabled them to bomb midway between RAVENA and CEROLA. Demolitions were also observed at PESARO, An invitation to No. 417 SQUADRON’S open air cinema show was well attended and after ten breakdowns the show finally finished at midnight!        _


A Me 210 came down off LEGHORN at deck level this morning while our aircraft were busy patrolling at 20,000 feet but though they lost height rapidly and flew up the coast as far as VIA REGGIO they could see nothing of him - neither for that matter was there any sign of a couple of gun boats the BOSTONS claimed to have "pranged" during the night a mile South of the harbour. But never mind! S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC, took the evening patrol flying off SPEZIA at 29,000 feet, but the HUN did not venture forth again. F/Lt. SMITH has arranged with the AMERICAN SPECIAL SERVICE DIVISION (attached to UNITED STATES 34th. DIVISION) for a number of airmen and officers to attend film shows each day at SOLVE – a most excellent piece of work. PERUGIA - Heavy cloud hampered operations today, two aircraft (carrying bombs) went out at first light to see what weather conditions were like in the RIMINI - RAVENNA - FERRARA - BOLOGNA area and found thick cloud up to 12,000 feet. An effort was made in the afternoon to get things going but the six aircraft that set off for the allotted target found it obscured by cumulus cloud so bombed a level crossing 10    

to 12 miles North of BOLOGNA scoring one direct hit. Unfavourable weather put paid to further operations.              


This morning we had four aircraft up on the dawn patrol — two flying at 16,000 feet between LEGHORN and GORGONA ISLANDS, and two aircraft flying at 500 feet South-West of SPEZIA. A bogey was reported on one occasion but nothing was seen. In the evening, however, a recce came down and was picked up when it was 15 miles South of SPEZIA at 25,000 feet. F/O. W.R. FAIR and his No. 2 were patrolling in the SFEZIA area at the time,     were vectored South-West, while F/Lt. D.WRIGHT and P/O. D.A. STEVENSON who were at stand-by were scrambled and told to climb to 20,000 feet over base. Meanwhile the enemy aircraft came down W.S.W. of LEGHORN turned West for CORSICA with R/O. W.R. FAIR and his No. 2 some four to five miles behind. As they began to close, the HUN first turned North-West jinking hard, then North-East climbing above cloud and though shortly afterwards he was reported directly above our aircraft it was impossible to see him. Lt. E. MANNE and Lt. M.H.D. LAWTON returned to PERUGIA today and F/Lt. E.R.H. WHITE and W/0. A.T. CONDON arrived “for a spell of high altitude work." The ADJUTANT (F/Lt. G.L. TRAVIS) came over this morning in an unsuccessful attempt to “dun” us for our mess bills and at the same time brought the news that F/O. J. LUNN had been posted to No. 114 M.U. From PERUGIA - six aircraft bombed a railway bridge some 15 miles South of FERRARA at mid-day today scoring one direct hit on the centre of the bridge, one on the southern end adjoining the embankment and two near misses. Shortly after the return a heavy thunderstorm broke over base and no more flying was possible.    


Enemy “shufti” kites came down low today — F/Lt. D. WRIGHT and W/O. A.T. CONDON patrolling at 30,000 feet early this morning from GORGONA ISALND to some 15 miles West of VIRREGGIO were vectored after an enemy aircraft which they eventually saw six to eight miles ahead slightly above them. It was a twin-engine job but they were unable

to identify it though they went full out after it. The HUN gradually drew away. A patrol off LEGHORN at 500/1,000 feet at much the same time was without incident. The evening patrol too was packed with incidents — first of all a couple of Me 109’s flying overland and hitting the coast just South of the mouth of the ARN0, turned North flew up to VIAREGGI where they turned inland again. The C.O.  S/Ldr. C.J. COX, DFC and P/O. C.D. YOUNG who were patrolling at 30,000 feet off SPEZIA were vectored after them but it was too late. However shortly after resuming their patrol a bogey was reported coining North-South from the direction of CORSICA and after a aeries of vectors, the C.O. S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC, saw an Me 410 flying North above 1000 feet above. Unfortunately each time our aircraft tried to climb the enemy aircraft dived slightly and gained relatively, so we stayed below some 2000 yards behind. The HUN headed for GENOA, crossed the coast at right-angles — at the same time firing a double red, and as petrol was short and to follow meant going slap over the A.A. defences at 11,000 feet the C.O. broke off the chase, landing in the dusk with only 18 gallons in his tank. From PERUGIA we made two attacks using ten aircraft in all, on a target near PORTO-MAGGIORE but all bombs fell wide for we were hampered by heavy cloud which partially obscured the target. In the evening bombs were dropped on gun positions in the wooded hills near SAN GORGIS and our aircraft were met with an intense barrage of light flak. All returned safely. F/O. G.H. MEAGHER reported today for flying duties from No. 87 SQUADRON.


S/Ldr. JOHN of  No. 260 SQUADRON came over this morning to discuss with the C.O. forthcoming collaboration between SPITFIRES and MUSTANGS and later in the day four MUSTANGS and six pilots with ground personnel arrived and will be staying with us for at least seven days. As a MUSTANG is much faster in a dive than a SPITFIRE, between them they should manage to deal with the old "shufti" kites. The dawn patrol was uneventful but five minutes after they had landed the "stand-by" section was scrambled, but while they were still climbing the bogey turned out to be a P.39 and they "pancaked” at once. During the day there were a couple of scrambles but on neither occasion was anything seen, and in the evening one section of  MUSTANGS patrolled off LEGHORN while the C.O. led three aircraft on a patrol off SPEZIA, the idea being that No. 3 (P/O. D.A. STEVENSON) should act as “Joe” flying several thousand feet below to assist in locating the enemy and directing the other two on to him. Actually nothing of interest occurred while they were patrolling    at 9,000 feet off SPEZIA, but when they were returning they saw a B.26 flying up from the Southwest at deck level. Turning to investigate it because no markings bould be seen, they followed it North-West towards GENOA — the rear upper gunner opening fire sporadically    on the C.O. as he pulled up over him in an arc. However it eventually turned towards CORSICA so we abandoned the chase and returned to base where a night landing was made, the C.O. making a spectacular landing with petrol almost exhausted, while W/O. A.T. CONDON came down with flaps unserviceable. We adjourned to the Mess almost immediately where shattered nerves were speedily repaired. F/O. R.T. HUTCHINSON flew over in the morning bringing same long- awaited mail and magazines from PERUGIA, while S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC, who had gone over to the other side in the morning arrived back in the evening just in tine to take off his "Groppi's" suit and leap into a kite to lead the last light patrol. From PERUGIA —  Four of our aircraft went over to FALCONARA L.G. this morning and operating from there provided top cover to 12 aircraft of No. 145 SQUADRON escorting 18 MARAUDERS bombing ROVIGO. On the way up the coast F/Lt. O. SZARZYNSKI’S (POLISH) engine out and followed by the remainder of the section which had been ordered to detach itself from the formation he flew out to sea and shortly after giving a ‘MAYDAY’ his aircraft was seen to crash in the water. Lt. V.V. BOY went down to see if he could see any sign of F/Lt. SZARZYNSKI but all he could find was a parachute billowing in an oil patch where the aircraft had crashed. A sad loss, for “OSSIE” as we always called him, was a most charming and gifted man — and the model aircraft that he used to make, complete down to the last detail, will long he remembered for the brilliant craftsmanship.



A most terrific series of thunderstorms broke over the ‘drome  during the night making the aircraft U/S for flying till the evening, so in the afternoon we betook ourselves to the AMERICAN cinema at SOLVE where we saw “THE SONG OF BENADETTE” In the evening two sections, each consisting of one SPITFIRE and one MUSTANG, took off. The C.O with F/Lt. BAGSHAW (No. 260 SQUADRON) patrolled off SPEZIA at 32,000 feet, while F/Lt. D. WRIGHT and his No. 2 (also from 260 SQUADRON) flew North to South from GORGONA ISLAND at 28,000 feet. F/Lt. WRIGHT’S No. 2 got seperated and with his R/T U/S he was plotted as a hostile and the others were vectored onto him. What fun for all concerned, and what a disappointment to F/Lt. WRIGHT who tally-hoed in a perfect position for a kill! After the patrol S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC, F/Lt. J.E.L. SMITH, F/Lt. D. WRIGHT, F/O. A.R. EVANS and several officers of No. 260 SQUADRON weree the guests of S/Ldr. MUSSON (M.O.R.U. “B”) who gave us the interesting information that “Y” Service had overheard two GERMAN fighters who sighted our aircraft yesterday morning in the SPEZIA-GENOA area give each other the comforting information, “It’s alright they can’t see us, They are flying too high.” What a confession for the once proud LUFTWAFFE to make! From PERUGIA — No operational flying today.



A completely uneventful day — four sorties in all. Two at dawn, two at dusk, in conjunction with the MUSTANGS with nothing reported. F/Lt. O.H.E. JONES took aircraft "B" over to PERUGIA today for inspection followed in the afternoon by S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC, while P/O. C.P. HACKETT returned from PERUGIA bringing newspapers and a limited supply of mail. From PERUGIA — three of our aircraft out on an armed reocc of the railway line between BOLOGNA and FERRARA found a stationary train, consisting of an engine with 20 trucks coupled to it, on the RAVENNA - FERRARA railway, near ALFONSINE and attacked. W/O. F.R. NEWMAN scored a direct hit in the centre of the train cutting it in half but the other bombs fell wide.                                         


The HUN did not appear during the dawn patrol, and though a couple of our aircraft were scrambled in the late afternoon to investigate a high flying aircraft     travelling South towards CORSICA, it proved to be friendly. However shortly after    

8 o’clock at night, when S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC, and W/O. A.T. CONDON were patrolling off SPEZIA at 30,000 feet 

“PXREX” reported a bandit some 20 miles South of them on the deck flying North about 45 miles West of LEGHORN. Vectored on a North-Westerly course after a few minutes flying, the C.O. spotted a Ju 88 flying just above the water, way down below, and keeping it on the line the sun was making on the water, he went down, finishing up dead astern. The Ju 88 inmediately turned towards GENOA, but the C.O. was unable to reduce the gap to less than 1,000 yards, and having fired all his cannons and experienced red and grey tracer from the HUN rear-gunner, he could do no more, so the Ju 88 escaped crossing the coast over CASSRIA, midway between SPEZIA and GENOA. As our aircraft returned they came across the B.26 again — and its anything but friendly, for the rear-gunner fired the colours of the day followed by a burst — all in one! The C.O. returned from PERUGIA during the afternoon with the news that the rest of the Squadron was coming over, and at 1700 hours GROUP CAPTAIN B. KINCOME, DSO, DFC, and BAR, came over to spend the night with us. A party held in the Mess was attended by WING COMMANDER STILES and several other officers of No. 600 SQUADRON. From PERUGIA — Four aircraft parried out an armed recce of the BOLOGNA – FERRARA area, but finding no transport bombed a bridge ten miles South of FERRARA soaring two direct hits and one near miss on the embankment — all in the face of  most intense light flak. The aircraft of F/Lt. l.J. MONTGOMERIE DFC was hit and his oxygen bottles exploded! On the way back two six-wheeler trucks going North near PENNABILE were straffed: one was set on fire, the other left smoking and four "JERRIES” that leapt into a ditch by the side of the road were given a burst. There was another four aircraft show in the afternoon when gun positions eight miles North of FLOENCE were attacked. Our aircraft straffed as they came down to bomb. All bombs fell in the target area, one hitting a house to the North of the target.


A low level patrol off LEGHORN at dawn was uneventful and we had aircraft at Readiness and two aircraft at 15 minutes Availability until 1200 hours when MUSTANGS of No. 260 SQUADRON took over. In the evening while two MUSTANGS of No. 260 SQUADRON patrolled the LEGHORN area, we sent off four aircraft to carry out  high level and low level patrols off SPEZIA. And we were rewarded for shortly after 2000 hours P/O. C.D. YOUNG and P/O. D.A. STEVENSON, who were patrolling at 30,000 feet across sun off SPEZIA POINT, saw an aircraft crossing the coast about 30 miles to the North-West and heading South for CORSICA. They at once proceeded to cut it off and after closing and identifying it as an Me 410, they shot it down into the sea about 20 miles West of SPEZIA. Unfortunately P/O. STEVENSON was hit while making his attack and was forced to bale out. However he got into his dinghy and our other SPITFIRES covered him. Meanwhile a launch had set out from PIOMBINO and two P.39's and a BEAUFIGHTER were on their way, and as soon as the P.39's arrived our aircraft returned. P/O. STEVENSON spent the night in his dinghy, while the “JERRY” pilot he had shot down who was only about half-a-mile away treated him to a fine display of Verey lights most of the night. From PERUGIA — Four aircraft, along with four aircraft of No. 4 SAAF SQUADRON, operating from FALCONARA L.G., escorted 12 MARAUDERS bombing a bridge at ROVIGO, and that done our aircraft returned to base and there we a no further operational flying.


The search for P/O. STEVENSON continued this morning — four of our aircraft patrolling off SPEZIA, and shortly after 0700 hours he was sighted by F/Lt. O. H. E. JONES and his No. 2, who guided the launch to him. A change of clothes and rum did him a world of good and when he returned in the afternoon after being picked up by the “DOC” in the ambulance at LEGHORN, he looked little the worse for his night’s outing. Six pilots of No. 601 SQUADRON, who had come over to lend a hand with the air-sea rescue operations, returned after breakfasting in the Mess at 1100 hours. Meanwhile there was a gathering of the Squadrons at ROSIGNANO, the remainder of our SQUADRON and the whole of No. 145 SQUADRON. Ground and air parties arrived in the course of the afternoon and early evening and GROUP CAPTAIN B. KINGCOME DSO, DFC, and BAR, who flew over 1800 hours, briefed the combined Squadrons in the Mess telling us about the forthcoming invasion of SOUTHERN FRANCE. Though there was general disappointment that No, 244 WING was not participating in this invasion, having merely to patrol the general area, CUNEO, GENOA, IMPERIA, which lies along the general line of approach of enemy fighters based in the TURIN - MILAN area to the troop carrier lane. The GROUP CAPTAIN was able to assure us that there was still an important job for us to do in the near future. The usual anti-recce patrols by four, of    our aircraft were maintained tonight, but both these and a scramble by two of our aircraft at mid-day were quite uneventful. From PERUGIA —  Before coming over to ROSIGNANO six of our aircraft bombed over 100 railway trucks in the marshalling yards at MODENA. Apart from one near-miss all other bombs fell in the target area.    



Led by S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC, 12 aircraft took off at dawn this morning and    patrolled the GENOA - IMPERIA - CUNEA area at 16,000 feet, while at 0800 hours GROUP CAPTAIN B. KINGCOME, DSO, DFC, and BAR, took a similar patrol over the same area. Both thesepatrols and a further patrol of 12 aircraft led by WING COMMANDER H. DUNDAS, DSO, DFC, and BAR, in the late afternoon were entirely without incident, the HUN making no attempt to interfere with the fleets of transport and gliders moving across to the TROPEZ and FREJUS areas. The usual anti - recce patrols took off in the evening F/Lt. SMITH leading one, F/Lt. BANNER of No. 145 SQUADRON with F/O. FAIR as his No. 2 took the other, and though a bandit was reported in the LEGHORN - PISA area it turned North before we could make contact.    



We relieved No. 145 SQUADRON on the GENOA - CUNEA - IMPERIA patrol, and when our 12 aircraft returned at 0930 hours, No. 244 WING had fulfilled its asigned task in the invasion, and shortly after, a signal came through recalling half of our Squadron and the whole of No. 145 SQUADRON to PERUGIA. The ground party packed with all speed and were on

their way by 1400 hours while eight of the pilots after a quick swim down at the beach, returned to PERUGIA shortly after 1700 hours, F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE, DFC, remaining behind to take charge of the flight. The following pilots are now at ROSIGNANO;-  F/Lt.    L.J. MONTGOMERIE, DFC, F/Lt. E.R.H. WHITE, F/Lt. O.H.E. JONES, F/O. W.R. FAIR, F/O. A.D. TAYLOR, P/O. D.A. STEVENSON, P/O. C.D. YOUNG, P/O. C.F. HACKETT, W/O. A.T. CONDON, and W/O. F.R. NEWMAN. In addition six pilots and four MUSTANGS of No. 260 SQUADRON with the "anti – shufti” work, and tonight when two SPITFIRES and two MUSTANGS were on patrol, the MUSTANGS chased an Me 410 from 30,000 feet down to 2,000 feet where it disappeared in cloud. W/O. R.S. FRY rejoined the Squadron today for his seccnd tour,    P/O. F. MOSEDALE also reported for flying duties.                    


F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE DFC, and W/O. a.T. CONDON carried out the early moning patrol off SPEZIA at 20,000 feet but though there were several bogeys about, nothing hostile was identified and the evening patrol between SPEZIA and GENOA at 4/5,000 feet was entirely uneventful. This afternoon CAPTAIN PIPER, SAAF, brought us over the preliminary report on the interogation of the HUN pilot that P/O. STEVENSON and P/O. "SID" YOUNG had shot down. It appears that he was a “Cadet" - the equivalent to our Warrant Officer - and his Wireless Operator who did not survive the baling-out, an L.A.C. Both were comparatively inexperienced for the pilot had no "War Flights" badge. The C.O. returned fron PERUGIA in the evening, while W/O. A.T. CONDON and P/O. C.D. YOUNG both made trips to and from PERUGIA in the course of the day bringing back mail and newspapers — both very welcome. F/Lt. J. PREIHS returned to No. 318 SQUADRON (POLISH). Prom PERUGIA — Only one show today, this being carried out by four aircraft on an escort missian to 12 KITTYHAWKS bombing PORTO-MAGGIORE. In the evening an invitation from No. 417 SQUADRON to the cinema show was well attended by officers and men.



Heayy thunderstorms and “dirty” weather generally over the whole area put paid to the early morning patrol and weather was still unsettled when four of our aircraft patrolled in the LEGHORN - SPEZIA area in the evening. S/Ldr. G.J. COX DFC and F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE DFC, flew over to CORSICA today, the former to visit 324 WING, the latter 322 WING. The C.O. returned this evening and shortly after took off for PERUGIA. No. 260 SQUADRON DETACHMENT returned to base this morning so the SPITFIRES will have to cope by themselves. Mess now has electric light. Biscuits and cheese organised for 2100 hours each evening. From PERUGIA — The ADJUTANT and Lt. V.V. BOY went out today to

MERCATELLO where they found the remains of the airoraft in which Lt. J.H. HARDING crashed on 15th JUNE. After a talk with some of the local peasants they established HARDING’S identity and learnt that he had been buried in the MILITARY CEMETERY at PERUGIA. P.O. D.E. FOULGER, Sgt. S.M. SMITH and Sgt. R.S. SELLARS reported today for flying duties. After a very quiet day we were given a bombing mission in the evening. The target was a gun position ata point 15 miles West of SENIGALLIA. The guns were not observed but the area was bombed and straffed, one bomb, one bomb causing a column of white smoke.         ,        



From roughly mid-day till 1700 hoars we had two aircraft on patrol over the LEGHORN area as Mr. CHURCHILL was visiting the 5th ARMY. As far as the routine patrols went it was by no means an uneventful day for bogeys were about at both dawn and dusk. But though our aircraft were vectored all over the aky and scanned every section of it "with that old-young look" peculiar to fighter pilots, nothing was seen of the HUN though on one occasion in the evening "PYREX" maintained they had vectored us right on to him. However the plotting board and the sky are vastly different media in which to work — so too are counters and aircraft! A common-place enough observation but one too often forgotten. From PERUGIA — Quite a busy day for us. From 1000 hours to 1120 hours F/Lt. SMITH led four aircraft on "Cab Rank" duties. This is done with a controller, who from his look-out point on the front line, directs the waiting aircraft to the target requiring attention. In this case it was a gun position and a house in a village 10 miles North of PERUGIA that had the honour of being chosen. No guns were seen but the house had a direct hit, while two other bombs dropped into the village. At 1215 hours four aircraft led by Lt. LAWTON were detailed to bomb a bridge near LAVEZZDA. This they did with deadly effect, scoring one direct hit and three near misses. After bombing Lt. LAWTON and Lt. MANNE strafed a weapon

Carrier, carrying 10 bods, causing it to crash into a house in BAGNACAVALLO. Lt. LAWTON also strafed a house with an attachment resembling a Rad/R grid. At 1520 hours F/Lt. SMITH again led four aircraft this time to bomb a bridge at PORTO MAGGIORE, bad visibility prevented this so they bombed a bridge at LAVEZDA scoring one near miss. At 1900 hours Lt. LAWTON led another four aircraft bombing guns at MONDAIO. No guns were observed so they bombed a house near pin point scoring three direct hits.


Bogeys were again active on both dawn and dusk patrols but though PYREX gave bags of  vectors and instructions and sent an aircraft across the sky in all directions nothing was seen. Actually today it was very hazy up to 30,000 feet and visibility was restricted throughout. Apart from the eight sorties flown on the anti-recce patrols we put up a section in the afternoon to look for a dinghy reported to be in the sea about 20 miles South-West of SPEZIA point. A couple of  P.39’s No. 62 WING were seen but there was no sign of a dinghy. P/O. C.D. YOUNG took aircraft "E" to PERUGIA for inspection this morning and returned in aircraft “H”. But in other ways this was a red-letter day for we had fresh butter for breakfast and plenty of tinned peaches and fruit cocktail for lunch!! For these delicacies our thanks go out to Cpl. BROOKES who organised them for us. May we have many more such triumphs. From PERUGIA — at 0730 hours F/Lt. J.E.L. SMITH led five aircraft on an armed recce of the MODERNA- BOLOGNA rilway line. Nothing of interest was seen so the aircraft bombed a railway bridge just North of BOLOGNA, scoring one near miss. Intense heavy Ack-Ack was experienced from BOLOGNA and it is believed F/Lt. WRIGHT was hit by this, as shortly afterwards he called up saying that his oil temperature was going off the clock. He was later seent o bale out, and land safely in a valley south od VORGATO. It is reported by an authentic source next day that he was being taken care of and was in good hands. At 1220 hours four aircraft provided an escort for six KITTYHAWKS of No. 3 SAAF SQUADRON, bombing SAN GIOVANI. After leaving the KITTYHAWKS, 20 plus railway trucks were seen in LAVEZZDA marshalling yard s but shortage of petrol prevented us giving them any attention. At 1620 hours Lt. LAWTON led four aircraft bombing a railway culvert near SAN GIORGIO. No hits were scored, but direct hits were obtained on a level crossing and nearby road. In Lavezzola marshalling yard many strikes were seen on an engine and also on some waggons nearby.


Shortly after take-off this morning our "anti-shufti" patrol was vectored due    North towards SPEZIA but the recce turned away and made off overland without our aircraft seeing him. He was down again at night too and one of our sections was vectored fairly close to him, but he must have "got wind" of their presence for he started to weave and dive to the North. W/O. A.T. CONDON and F/Lt. E.R.H. WHITE then began a long chase crossing the coast at CHIAVARI and continuing inland as far as BOBBIO before breaking off. Once again     it was very hazy below 25,000 feet and with visibility down to five or six miles it was hardly surprising that the HUN was not seen. No "grog" in the Mess tonight, our limited supplies have been heavily taxed recently, so F/O. LUNN rather than see us drinking    Chlorinated water, brought out a bottle of Whiskey. A very enjoyable evening - ending with  F/O. LUNN giving easy lessons in Italian conversation to F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE and F/O. A.D. TAYLOR, both of whom are very keen to learn the "lingo" to improve their social contacts! From PERUGIA — We were on Readiness today from dawn to dusk and except for P/O. D.E. FOULGER and Sgt. S.M. SCETH dropping practice bombs it was a very quiet day. In the evening I/O Sections were briefed by the ADJUTANT on the forthcoming "secret" move.


Two early morning patrols (four sorties in all) were uneventful, but shortly after 0800 hours W/O. A.T. CONDON and his No. 2 were scrambled to intercept a bandit some 20 miles West of SPEZIA coming South East at 30,000 feet. Unfortunately the E/A soon turned North East and then East and after a short patrol between LEGHORn and SPEZIA in case he came back, our aircaft pancaked. F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE and his No. 2 F/O. Fair had to make an “igri’ take off this evenig as at 1915 hours a couple of me 109’s were reported coming down the coast about 10 miles North of LEGHORN. The soon turned North-East however and made off inland above PISA with ou aircraft following some eight to ten miles behind. Some miles North east of PARMA they abandoned the chase and returned. Menwhile our black section patrolling North from GORGONA ISLAND Had been vectored to the South and South-East but saw nothing. S/Ldr. S.J. COX DFC, arrived back today after a trip to Southern France and a sweep with No. 111 SQUADRON up the RHONE VALLEY to VALENCE! F/Lt. O.H.E. JONES who took the old aircraft “G” for a 240 hour inspection yesterday returned today with the new “G”, while F/Lt. E.R.H. WHITE after negotiations with AMGOT officials in LEGHORN returned with a piano in the back of No. 8 (15cwt.) a useful acquisition, provided we can find someone to tune it and play it! Yes Mr. Fair, I said “Play it” and I mean play it! Sgt. R.S. SELLARS arrived tonight from PERUGIA by road. PERUGIA — Squadron packed up and marshalled at 2000 hours for a “Hush-Hush” move, and moved off at 0300 hours on the 23rd. First light saw four aircraft airborne on weather recce’s, flying in two sections of two’s, one section inspected the RIMINI – FERRAR – BOLOGNA area, while the other visited the area to the west of FLORENCE – BOLOGNA. F/Lt. O.H.E. JONES who was leading the second section strafed a small car and had the satisfaction of seeing two ‘bods” hurl out. In the late afternoon six aircraft after bombing the bridge 15 miles South-West of FERRAR split up for strafing forays, with the following results, one three ton lorry damaged, one three toner a flamer, strikes on other M.T., strikes on a small bus, one staff-car hit and ditched, one staff-car and one M.T. flamer.


Recce kites again made abortive attempts to come down the coast early this morning, getting as far down as 12 miles South East of SPEZIA before turning North folowed by S/Ldr. G.J.COX, DFC. and F/Lt. L.J.MONTGOMERIE, DFC, who chased them, without however seeing them, to the promontory just South-East of GENOA before breaking off. A second section that had been scrambled climbed to 23,000 feet before being told to resume patrol off SPEZIA at 30,000 feet. Both evening patrols were without incident, the weather probably being much too hazy to make it worth while for the HUN to come down.     Lt. M.H.D. LAWTON came over from PERUGIA in the morning with an urgent message from the GROUP CAPTAIN for the COMMANDING OFFICER to return at once. P/O. F. MOSEDALE flew over aircraft “D” this evening and is remaining here with the flight. Much of today F/Lt. E.R.H. WHITE has been busy tuning his new toy and is making a remarkably good job of it in spite of very indifferent tools. Our thanks go to F/O. W.R. FAIR for putting a carton of "Sweet Caps"    at the disposal of the Mess. Damn good of you Tubby! Squadron arrived at LORETO on the ADRIATIC COAST at mid-day and established the camp site the same afternoon, in the South-West corner of the ‘drome. From PERUGIA — The small rear party tht had been left at PERUGIA had quite a busy day. At 1000 hours F/Lt J.E.L SMITH led six aircraft bombing a railway bridge at a point East of BOLGNA scoring one direct hit on the bridge and one on the railway track.



W/O. F.R. NEWMAN and P/O. C.F. HACKETT were vectored on to a couple of Me 109's on the early morning patrol but the 109’s which were about 3,000 foot below dived away and were lost in the thick haze before they could be caught. Forty-five minutes later when W/O. A.T. CONDON’S section was on patrol 109's were reported in the LEGHORN area but nothing was seen of them. However at night F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE, DFC, and F/O. A.T. TAYLOR returning from patrol off SPEZZIA were vectored on to a couple of 109’s, one of which attacked by F/O. TAYLOR from almost head-on and slightly above and hit in the cockpit, went spinning down vertically from 10,000 feet. F/O. TAYLOR followed it down to between 2/3,000 feet before pulling out and did not actually see the HUN hit the sea. But there was enough disturbance in the water to assume that it had gone in. Unfortunately we can do no more than claim one Me 109 probably destroyed. Good show Al! Your first sight of the HUN too! Unfortunately our delight over this success was marred bynews that Sgt. R.S. SELLARS had crashed in a ploughed field at CECINA MARINA while on a training flight receiving severe injuries.

The cause of the accident is a mystery. A very sultry day today and attempting to slake our thirst tonight in the Mess with some newly acquired vino-bianco we found it 99% water and 1% vino! With nothing else to drink it was early to bed. MAJOR P.W. VENTER took over Command of the Squadron today vice SQUADRON LEADER G.J. COX, DFC, (O.T.E.). While everyone at LOBETO was busy attending to camp duties the rear party at at PERUGIA were keeping the flag flying, Sgt. W. TAYLOR and his staff of four kept up the usual high standard of serviceability, while Cpl. A.C. PENNY and three stalwarts whipped up the bombs and ammo, with amazing alacrity. At 0830 hours six aircraft, led by Lt. M.H.D. LAWTON were airborne on another bombing mission. The target this time was railway lines South of SAN GIORGIO. Although no direct hits can be recorded two near misses are believed to have cut the line. On a low level straffing attack East of BOLOGNA out of a total of four M.T. found we claim one flamer, one smoker and two hit without results observed. At 1545 hours six aircraft led by F/Lt. J.E.L. SMITH scored one near miss an a railway culvert North of SAN GIORGIO. After bombing they straffed the RAVENNA area, scoring one heavy M.T., one motor-cycle, two    

cars and a three-tonner as flamers, and a three-tonner a smoker.    



F/lt. MONTGOMERIE DFC, and F/O. A.D. TAYLOR took off on the early morning patrol and almost at once were vectored on to two Me 109's between SPEZIA and PISA. The 109's a few hundred feet above did not see us and were cunningly stalked until as they turned out to sea, they noticed the SPITFIRES below. The No. 1 at once dived away but the

No. 2 after a shallower dive, levelled out, obviously thinking he had shaken us off.    Unfortunately for him we positioned ourselves slightly below and as he crossed the coast East of SPEZIA, F/Lt. L.J. MONTGOMERIE, DFC. closing to 200 yards, gave him a three to four    second burst and sent him spiralling down into the deck. This is the fourth Me 109 F/lt. MONTGOMERIE has destroyed since joining us and theSquadron score now stands at 3l6½ destroyed — one more victim and we shall be the second top scoring Squadron in the R.A.F. Of the     six other operational sorties carried out today all were uneventful. Sgt. R.S. SELLARS died in No. 8 U.S.A. EVACUATION HOSPITAL during the early hours of this morning. F/O. W.R. FAIR flew aircraft “H” over to the other side os maintenance could work on it, and after some difficulty found the Squadron at LORETO. S/Ldr. G.J. COX, DFC, flew over in the afternoon from PERUGIA, collected his remaining belongings, wished us goodbye and was away again just after 1830 hours – giving us one of his most spectacular “beat-ups” before setting course. LORETO — The PRIME MINISTER landed here this afternoon in a D.C. 3 - preparing a short address to the crowd that gathered round his plane with the words “God bless you all.”  F/O. D.A.W. HASTINGS, Equipment Officer arrived. Today the aircraft operated from FALCONARA L.G. We were detailed to be airborne on an escort mission to 12 BALTIMORES at 0815 hours, but at 0800 hours the aircraft wars found not to have been re-fuelled We managed to get off at 0830 hours, and found the BALTIMORES after they had bombed heading South-West for AREZZO. Again in the afternoon five aircraft provided escort to five BALTIMORES bombing the marshalling yards at FORLI. Just before dark the aircraft landed at LORETO.

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