The Operations Record Book
Part 1; 10 October 1939 to 30 April 1940
The original Form 540 covering the years 1939 to 1958 was still kept on the squadron in the 1970s and was used extensively in the writing of this book. In the 1990s it was rescued from a skip and handed to Richy Brawn who had it for many years before passing it to me. Thanks to Richy and his wife Denise I can now add more detail to the history of those years. The entries have been typed out, below, exactly as they were written.
10.10.39 00.00 Hrs No 92 Fighter Squadron was on this date re-formed as a Night Fighter Squadron at RAF Station TANGMERE. It is to be equipped with BLENHEIM Aircraft firing 5 guns forward and one gun in the rear turret and powered by two MERCURY VIII engines. The establishment will be 21 officer and airman pilots, 2 non-flying officers and 209 other ranks.
11.10.39 Various airmen were posted totalling in all 98.
12.10.39 F/Lt R.J. BUSHELL was posted to command the squadron with effect from 10.10.39. This officer came from No 601 Fighter Squadron Auxiliary Air Force and is the first A.A.F. officer to be posted to command and form a new squadron. As a result of various conversations with those in higher authority he was able to persuade II (F) Group to allow him to take two officers from his old squadron with him and it was arranged that F/O Patrick GREEN should be posted as the first flight commander and that P/O J. MONROE-HINDS should be the second officer and section leader. F/Lt Bushell spoke to the Station Commander R.A.F. Station Tangmere W/Cdr I. BERTRAM by telephone and arranged to report for duty on 15.10.39.
13.10.39 ) Nothing to report
15.10.39 F/Lt Bushell reported for duty and discovered that the Squadron consisted of himself, 3 airmen pilots, (565197 Sgt Pratt, 741920 Sgt PEARCE and 740822 Sgt ALLEN – the latter two coming from the Volunteer Reserve) and 98 other ranks. The senior N.C.O.’s are 314109 F/Sgt BENNETT, Disciplinarian, 355016 F/Sgt HUGHES, Fitter I who has come from 43 (F) Squadron stationed here, and 362993 F/Sgt LEECH.
There is no office equipment, no aeroplanes and indeed no equipment of any sort. The Squadron is housed in the offices and hangars vacated by No 1 Squadron who have gone with the A.A.S.F. to France.
The other two squadrons stationed at Tangmere are No. 43 (F) Squadron commanded by S/Ldr R. BAINE and No 605 County of Warwick (F) Squadron A.A.F. commanded by S/Ldr Lord WILLOUGHBY DE BROKE M.C. As previously mentioned the station is commanded by W/Cdr IAN BERTRAM.
The C.O. of this Squadron was tonight very hospitably entertained at Tangmere Cottage by Lord and Lady Willoughby de Broke and other members of No 605 Squadron and retired to his bed at a late hour feeling that Tangmere was the best station to be found in the best country in the best of all possible wars.
16.10.39 The C.O. began his duties and constituted himself his own Adjutant, Flight Commander, Engineer Officer, Parachute Officer and Map Officer. In his combined capacity of Adjutant and Flight Commander he visited the Adjutant of No 605 Squadron P/O LONGSDEN who was extremely helpful and lent him a HIND aircraft to give the three Sgt. Pilots some flying on. None of these pilots has any experience at all on twin engine aircraft and efforts are being made to have them sent on a conversion course. The C.O. went by air to Debden with S/Ldr PERRY to collect a Hurricane aircraft for 605 Squadron and there saw P/O LIDDELL-SIMPSON (ex 601 Squadron) whom he is anxious to obtain as his adjutant.
17.10.39 Information received that all equipment will be sent direct from Maintenance Units for the formation of new units. In the meantime there is still nothing and the C.O. and Cpl BURTON of the Orderly Room are scraping along on borrowed and scrounged materials. Stationary and Publication demands have been put in but it is anticipated that considerable delay will ensue before their arrival and in the meantime returns and correspondence are written on any odd piece of paper that can be found. These words are being written on Forms borrowed from 43 Squadron. The Sgt. Pilots fly the Hind which gives them something to do.
18.10.39 The C.O. visited F/Lt WARD (ex 601 Squadron) at Thorney Island where he is in charge of the Coastal Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit with Ansons. He has promised that if pilots are sent over for the day he will give them something to do. This will at least show them what a twin looks like and how it flies. F/Lt WILSON from 11 group visited the station and promised the C.O. that efforts would be made to supply the Squadron with some form of twin for training purposes.
19.10.39 The Sgt. Pilots continue to fly the Hind and are learning the Sector.
20.10.39 F/O GREEN and P/O MONROE - HINDS reported for duty from 601 Squadron and this enabled the C.O. to relieve himself of the posts of Flight Commander and Adjutant which were allocated respectively to the above named officers. There are still no signs of any aeroplanes or equipment. The Squadrons Officers are to be housed partly in Nos 6 & & O.N.Q and the C.O. has taken possession of No 7 O.M.Q. where F/O Green and P.O m Hinds will also live. Indeed the C.O. and his first two officers repaired there in the evening and celebrated with considerable class the rebirth of 92 Squadron, the first born child of 601 (F) Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force. It is devoutly to be hoped that 601 will be proud of her off spring and that the said off spring will grow up in that spirit of hardy independence so characteristic of its parent.
21.10.39 Information received that ten Pilot Officers and three Sgt Pilots are being posted to the Squadron direct from 11 and 13 F.T.S. Children though they be it is hoped that by some divine providence they will have flown twins.
22.10.39 The following pilots reported for duty ex 13 F.T.S. A/P/Os BARTLEY, BRYSON, HILL EDWARDS. All these pilots have experience of twin engine aircraft having flown some 80 – 100 hours on them. Divine Providence has intervened. A signal was received today that F/O V.G.L.D. BYRNE ex 74 Squadron at Hornchurch is being posted as the second flight commander. The C.O. has made arrangements with 11 Group that he be attached to 601 Squadron in order to be converted on to Blenheims. Still no news of any aeroplanes.
23.10.39 The following further pilots reported for duty ex 11 F.T.S A/P/Os FRAZER P.C., WHITMARSH R.J., WILLIAMS D.E. SGTS 565889 EYLES and 566171 HAIGH. All these pilots have likewise had experience on twins. Efforts are now being made to have all these pilots sent on a conversion course to Blenheims. W/CDR MULHOLLAND from Fighter Command visited the station and saw the C.O. He promised that aircraft would be allotted to the squadron immediately and that a dual should be sent to us.
24.10.39 Signal received that six aircraft can be accepted by this squadron forthwith. Things would seem to be moving. The squadron is however still without any equipment and it is feared that a situation may well arise where the Squadron is in possession of aircraft with nothing to maintain them. No stationary or publications have as yet been received.
25.10.39 The C.O. and F/O GREEN went to St. Athan in a Battle where the C.O. saw S/Ldr RHYS-JONES who is in charge of the 11 Group Pool. No pilots are trained on twins at St Athan but a Blenheim conversion flight is being formed at Hendon and as three of the pilots posted to this Squadron with no twin experience are at the 11 Group Pool at the moment the C.O. asked that they immediately be sent to Hendon. The C.O. collected a Hurricane for No 605 Squadron and arranged to exchange the Townsend Ring on the Gauntlet lent to us by 601 Squadron. This important piece of equipment developed a large hole on a flight F/O GREEN made yesterday to collect Lady Willoughby de Brokes furs from Warwickshire.
S.H. CARY reported for duty as squadron adjutant. In the C.O’s absence he was seen by p/o Monroe Hinds and as it appeared that he had been called back from his civilian job at six hours notice and had no uniform he was given a week’s leave in order to put his private affairs in order. The C.O dined extremely well with the Station Commander and then the party went on to one of Lady Willoughby de Brokes’ Soirees at Tangmere Cottage where a good and rough time was had by all.
28.10.39 Signal received that a further five pilots posted to the squadron. This brings us up to our full establishment. If we could only get some equipment we might be able to do something. As it is the squadron has twelve untrained pilots sitting at Tangmere with nothing to do.
29.10.39 The C.O. collected the Townsend ring for the Gauntlet from St. Athan and landed to refuel at Old Sarum on his return. There he learnt that at Andover there are various dual Blenheims in the G.R. conversion flight. Something must be done about this.
30.10.39 The following officers reported for duty : A/P/Os DRUMMOND and M.V. DUGDALE ex 11 F.T.S. and Flight Cadets R.H. HOLLAND, A.R. WRIGHT, and P.H.G. LEARMOND ex Cranwell. These pilots have likewise had experience on twins. The C.O, F/O. Green and P/O Monroe-Hinds attempted to get to Aston Down in the Battle to collect the Blenheims but had to turn back owing to weather.
31.10.39 The A.O.C visited the station and promised to C.O. he would do his best about getting us a dual. The weather was too bad to get to Aston Down. Therefore still no Blenheims. Arrangements have been made to send two Blenheims to Hendon for our pilots on the conversion flight.
Nov 1 F/O Blinton posted as adjutant from surplus to establishment of 605 Squadron. Detailed to Flt Lt Simpson Adj. 43 Squadron for a little general instruction.
3.11.39 General inspection by Sir Charles Burnett. In the absence of the C.O. 92 on leave, questions regarding the formation difficulties etc. Of the Squadron was satisfactorily answered by Flt. Lt. Green Flt Lt Green and P/O Monroe Hinds fetched the Squadrons first two Blenheim Aircraft nos. L6726 and L6727 from Aston Down. They flew down in 605 Sq. Hind which they left at Aston Down.
4.11.39 P/O Monroe Hinds took 605 Sq. Battle a/c No L20818 to Netheravon. He was forced down by bad weather for a short time at Boscombe Down. Flt. Lt Green who had intended bringing F/O/ Monroe Hinds back in a Blenheim was obliged to return to Tangmere by bad weather. F/O Monroe Hinds accordingly spent a fairly comfortable night at Netheravon. During this day instruction without Dual Blenheims was given to non operationally Blenheim trained pilots. P/O Lang reported back for duty, but due to a conversation between C/O 92 and Fl. Lt. Holden at group, this posting is now cancelled.
5.11.39 Sq. Ldr. Bushell, Fl.Lt Green and P.O. Hinds fetched two more Blenheims from Aston Down by flying over together in one Blenheim. One Blenheim waiting for us at Aston Down was found Unsatisfactory in one engine, but this has since been rectified.
6.11.39 A guard on aircraft in hangars was this day instituted. Sq. Ldr Bushell, Flt Lt Green and F/O Hinds attempted to fly 3 Blenheims to Hendon with the idea of leaving 2 there for solo flying by our pilots undergoing Blenheim conversion course when fit to fly solo. However, they were prevented from getting through by bad weather.
7.11.39 Weather still remaining very bad. Pilots lectured on engine care and maintenance in station workshops.
8.11.39 Sq Ldr Bushell, Fl. Lt. Green and P/O Monroe Hinds take 3 Blenheims to Hendon. After leaving two Blenheims there they proceed to Aston Down in the remaining aircraft. At Aston Down they collect one new Blenheim No L2624 and return to Tangmere. Doing local flying later in the day, with Flt. Lt Green flying this aircraft broke its starboard wing flap control and will be unserviceable until new rods can be obtained.
We succeeded in borrowing some tools from Ford to replace 3 broken valve springs in another Blenheim engine.
9.11.39 Torrential rains and S.W. gale. No flying possible in pre-noon, but weather improved later and local flying practice became possible in afternoon.
10.11.39 The weather continued very poor and it was impossible to fetch my new aircraft either from Aston Down or Tern Hill and only local flying practice was possible.
13.11.39 P/O Monroe Hinds did some local flying practise but on landing had difficulty in lowering undercarriage and flaps owing to a leak in the hydraulic system. Sq.Ldr Bushell and Flt Lt Green went to Aston Down in one Blenheim and picked up the last new one from there. Flt.Lt Green returned at once and Sq.Ldr Bushell landed at Filton on the return journey to see the Bristol engine people. They were kind enough to promise to send two engineers with a full set of Mercury tools here for a fortnight to give our men some Mercury experience. On landing at Tangmere Sq Ldr Bushell discovered all the rods on his starboard flap broken.
14.11.39 Sq.Ldr Bushell, Flt.Lt Green and P/O Monroe Hinds attempted to fetch two Blenheims from Tern Hill but were forced by bad weather to return to Tangmere. In the afternoon the weather closed right in and flying became impossible. The two Mercury experts from Bristols arrived.
15.11.39 Sq.Ldr Bushell, Flt Lt Green and P/O Monroe Hinds flew in one Blenheim to Tern Hill and brought back two new Blenheims. The non operationally trained officers did sector reconnaissance in 605 squadrons tutors. In the evening P/O Monroe Hinds, who was flying one of the Blenheims brought this day from Tern Hill, crashed on the north east boundary of the aerodrome. Unfortunately both P/O J. Monroe Hinds and his two passengers, P/O Dugdale and P/O Drummond lost their lives. The cause of the accident is at present under review. The aircraft is a total wreck. The weather at the time was, for once, fine and clear.
16.11.39 No flying at all was possible this day, owing to incessant rain and low cloud. On investigation into the cause of the Blenheim accident during the previous day was carried out by the competent authorities.
17.11.39 Again, no flying was possible all day due to very bad weather. Considerable work was entailed in making the necessary funeral arrangements for the 3 Officers killed on the 15/11. The two crashed engines of the Blenheim were removed to station workshops for inspection.
18.11.39 Weather still very bad. P/O Drummond’s funeral took place at 1100 hrs at Tangmere Church with full ceremonial. No flying was possible in the afternoon owing to heavy rain and low cloud.
19.11.39 Weather improved. Local flying took place all day on Tutors and 1 Magister. P/O Fraser returned from Hendon. Blenheim conversion course. P/O Nailer reported from South Cerney and went off on one weeks leave.
20.11.39 Most of this day was taken up by P/O Monroe-Hinds funeral at Windsor, which was attended by all the Squadron’s Officers. 92 Squadron provided the firing party and Uxbridge the remainder. P/O Bartley returned from Hendon.
21.11.39 A fine day but not very good visibility. Local flying took place all day and the two Hendon pilots P/O Fraser and P/O Bartley flew Blenheim solo. One Tutor and one Magister were flown. Hendon signalled that they were ready for two more pilots and the C.O attempted to fly P/O Bryson and P/O Edwards up to Hendon but had to turn back for fog.
22.11.39 P/O Williams reported back from Hendon Blenheim Conversion Course. The weather was very fine and local flying practise on 3 Blenheims, 1 Tutor and one Magister took place all day.
23.11.39 Very wet, 2 10/10 low cloud. A weather test by the C.O was the only flight.
24.11.39 Slight improvement in weather allowed a considerable amount of local flying practise in the morning, the afternoon being still better.
25.11.39 Reasonable weather lasting most of the day allowed of considerable flying training. Flt.Lt Green fetched with P/O Fraser, another Blenheim from Tern Hill. P/O Bartly took a Blenheim to Hendon for the C.O who had been for 36 hours at Hornchurch attending a court martial.
26.11.39 The C.O attempted to get through to Hendon, but had to turn back owing to low cloud. A certain amount of local flying practise was possible in the morning, but the weather deteriorated very much later.
27.11.39 No flying possible at all in the morning but some local flying practise was possible in the afternoon.
28.11.39 Very fine weather. The C.O. went early to Tern Hill with P/O Williams to collect another Blenheim. He took Flt. Lt Little to collect an aircraft from Hullavington and also collected Flt Lt Hains from Tern Hill. Flying training took place all day. Flt Lt Green took a Blenheim to Portsmouth Aerodrome for a demonstration, lasting until 29.11.39.
P/O Wright, P/O Hill and P/O Holland went to Hendon for their Blenheim conversion course. 501 Squadron arrived in force.
29.11.39 Flt. Lt Green returned from Portsmouth. Local practise flying took place all day and the C.O went to Biggin Hill and returned.
30.11.39 Weather and visibility very poor, but local flying practise possible.
1.12.39 Weather moderate and considerable local flying practise took place.
2.12.39 The C.O., Flt Lt. Green, P/O Williams and P/O Bartley and Sgt Eyles flew to Tern Hill in one Blenheim and collected three more. Weather generally very good.
3.12.39 Local flying practise took place, weather fine.
4.12.39 Weather indifferent, but local flying practise possible
5.12.39 Cold and strong N.W. wind. Some local flying practise and formation by Flt. Lt Green, P/O Bartley and P/O Williams.
Three pilots, P/O Bartley, P/O Williams and P/O Fraser went on Sector reconnaissance; two accomplished the exercise successfully encountering local storms as was expected. P/O Fraser lost himself in a local blizzard and forced landed in a turnip field near Wantage, with the undercarriage up. He was unhurt and the usual damage to his aircraft was sustained, i.e. 2 propellers, possibly longerons etc damaged. P/O Fraser remained at Harwell. Sgt Haigh, who had been left at Tern Hill on 2.12.39 returned with a new Blenheim.
6.12.39 Moderate weather, with cold N.W. wind. Considerable local flying practise took place but P/O Williams failed to reach Harwell in the morning. Later it was possible and he returned with P/O Fraser. At 1400 hours the C.O carried out a very successful test flight for 08. This consisted of flying for 35 minutes on a course of 172 degrees and returning on a reciprocal course at 8000 feet coming down to 1000 feet off the coast. It is understood that this test proved entirely satisfactory. At 1615 hours dusk flying was carried out solo by P/O Williams and Sgt. Eyles. This day P/O Edwards returned from the Blenheim Conversion Course at Hendon.
7.12.39 Weather fine and cold. Plenty of local flying practise took place. Dusk flying was done by P/O Williams, P/O Bartley and Sgt. Eyles. This day Sgt. Patterson was granted a Commission as P/O V. R. with effect from 18.11.39. He was duly informed and initiated.
8.12.39 Torrential rain and no visibility all day made flying quite impossible.
9.12.39 Moderate weather in the morning enabled formation practise with six aircraft to be carried out very successfully, but low cloud and rain stopped a further attempt at formation after about twenty minutes and the dusk landing programme had to be abandoned.
10.12.39 Very fine day and considerable local flying done. Dusk landings were practised by P/O Fraser, P/O Bartley and Sgt. Eyles.
11.12.39 Weather good. Formation practise in the morning and individual flying practise. P/O Strang arrived on posting. P/O Bartley and Sgt Haigh did dusk landings. The C.O and Flight Lieutenant Green each did one hour night flying in very dark conditions.
12.12.39 Weather dull but fine. Local flying practise continued. At 10.30 hrs P/O Nailer and P/O Fraser took off in Avro Tutor K3309 borrowed from 605 Squadron for local flying and landing practise. At about 11.45 hours it was learnt from the Police that a yellow training machine had crashed near Sidlesham. This turned out to be the Tutor K3309. The C.O and Flt Lt Green went at once to the scene of the crash by car and found the aircraft a total wreck in a ditch and both Officers dead. It would appear that their aircraft had been engaged in low flying and on executing a turn near the ground it had lost height, put its port wing tips into the ground and crashed into a ditch.
13.12.39 Weather bad with low cloud 10/10. The only flying possible was a weather test by Flt Lt Green.
14.12.39 Weather only moderate in the morning and local flying was possible. The weather deteriorated in the afternoon and the night flying programme was cancelled.
15.12.39 Low cloud and rain. Quick starting practise was carried out by available pilots and crews. No flying at all possible all day.
16.12.39 Reasonably fine, cold and cloudy. Local flying practise took place, night flying programme cancelled due to bad visibility.
17.12.39 Cold, cloudy but fine. A formation by the C.O and the two Flight Commanders done in the morning. Local flying practise took place in the afternoon but there was no night flying.
18.12.39 Cold and dull, visibility poor with clouds at 1400 feet. Throughout the morning Flt Lt Byrne and Flt Lt Green led formation of 3 aircraft which practised take offs and landings. In the afternoon there was individual local flying and the C.O with the two Flight Commanders did formation flying for ¾ hour. The dusk landings and night flying were cancelled owing to unfavourable weather conditions.
19.12.39 Cold and dull with poor visibility which deteriorated throughout the day. Two weather tests were made, one by the C.O and the other by Flt Lt Byrne. This was the only flying possible due to the weather conditions. Night flying was cancelled due to weather.
20.12.39 Again, cold and dull but visibility quite good in the forenoon and early afternoon. Deteriorated towards evening and prevented night flying. The C.O. gave dual in the morning and Flt Lt Byrne did formation practise with two other a/c. Formation practise was continued in the afternoon. The C.O. collected forced landed Blenheim.
21.12.39 Brilliant sunshine all day long with haze gathering later in the day. Flt Lt. Byrne collected one Blenheim from Aston Down, but had to fly it back most of the way on one engine. General flying practise took place all day and night flying took place on the moor. Sgt. MacDonald went solo by day in a Blenheim.
Flt Lt Green carried out an R.D.F. exercise under somewhat difficult conditions during the afternoon.
22.12.39 Clear, fine, frosty weather with some slight fog. Local flying practise took place all morning. Flt. Lt. Green did another successful R.D.F. test in the afternoon. From 1615 – 2359 hours night flying, including circuits and landings and formation sector reconnaissance was carried out, with a bright moon. The Sector reconnaissance failed to see the marker searchlight beams, probably due to local fog conditions.
23.12.39 Same fine frosty weather. Local flying possible all day but fog conditions prevailing a few miles inland from Tangmere. Night flying programme continued till 2100 hours, when it was abandoned due to increasing fog conditions. This day we were advised of an impending move to Croydon. This news was received without enthusiasm. P/O Wright returned from Blenheim Conversion Course at Hendon.
24.12.39 Still frosty and fine but general fog existing a few miles all round Tangmere. Local flying practise was possible, but night flying had to be abandoned. P/O Holland this day returned from Hendon Blenheim Conversion Course.
25.12.39 Christmas Day. As the Squadron is not yet operational, today was observed as a holiday. We learnt today that our move to Croydon is fixed for 29.12.39 by 1600 hours. In spite of this news a pleasant time was had by all.
26.12.39 P/O Wright went to Croydon to investigate billeting and other problems, but had difficulty in finding the necessary people. W.O Bennett also proceeded to Croydon on the same mission. Weather fine at first but deteriorating. Local flying practise only possible and night flying abandoned on instructions of the Station Commander.
27.12.39 Weather fine and local flying practise carried out. Night flying took place and Sgt MacDonald and P/O Learmond went solo.
28.12.39 The C.O. flew to Croydon but had to return by road due to snow. The advance party of 92 left at 1000 hours. Snow prevented any further flying and the day was spent packing up. 601 Squadrons advance party arrived in the afternoon.
29.12.39 Weather fine, clear and cold. Flt Lt Green flew up to Croydon without landing to investigate conditions, but reported unfit for our move owing to fog. This was confirmed similarly by the C.O. later in the morning. Formation practise of 9 machines took place in the afternoon. 92 Squadron advance party left at 1000 hours.
TANGMERE & CROYDON
30.12.39 Clear, cold and fine. 9 Blenheims flew in Formation at 1100 hours and arrived in good order at 11.45. Visibility only moderate. Main party left by road at 0900 hours and arrived 12.30 hours.
31.12.39 Visibility poor. Only a flight test by Flt. Lt. Green possible. Squadron attended church parade. Adjutant I/C Rear party reported.
This Squadron has carried out 280½ hours flying by day and 36½ hours night flying during the month of December with an average of 6 aircraft.
1.1.1940 Thick fog and no flying in the morning. Weather cleared a bit at 1500 hours and a little flying was possible after a weather test by Flt. Lt Byrne, but a night flying programme had to be cancelled due to weather. The C.O confirmed in Rank this day.
2.1.40 Beautiful day and lots of flying including formation practise. The C.O took Flt Lt Green to Northholt for his Air Fighting Course. P/O Bryson got lost on Sector (?) Reconnaissance and forced landed at Harwich and had to stay the night as weather had thickened. A fine night and night flying began about 1900 hours and continued till after midnight.
3.1.40 A fine cold day with fair visibility. P.O Bryson returned from Harwell. Considerable local and sector flying took place. P.O Learmond flew to Tangmere and back. Night flying continued until about 2100 hours.
4.1.40 Weather not so cold but 10/10 cloud about 1000’. An exercise for guns and interception by Hurricanes over the sector took place. The C.O did an exercise for Bentley Priory Defenses, but was somewhat hampered by thick weather. The night flying programme was abandoned owing to thick weather.
5.1.40 A low shallow belt of fog over Croydon prevented any flying until noon. Four Blenheims left at 1230 for a gun and interception exercise round the Sector. When they returned over Croydon at about 1400 hours, visibility was too bad for landing and they were instructed by R/T to proceed to Tangmere where they landed at about 15.30. No night flying was possible.
6.1.40 Thick fog in the morning which only improved slightly during the day made all flying impossible and the four Blenheims were forced to remain at Tangmere. The remaining pilots made us of the link trainer at Kenley.
7.1.40 Visibility poor and some rain. There was no flying. The five pilots who forced landed at Tangmere returned by train.
8.1.40 Weather extremely bad – fog and low cloud. After lunch it cleared slightly and Flt. Lt Byrne with 4 pilots flew to Tangmere to bring back the four Blenheims which forced landed there last Friday, only two of them got back, so that there are 3 pilots at Tangmere. The C.O. set off to Aston Down but weather forced him to return after reaching Newbury.
9.1.40 In spite of bad weather the 3 pilots still at Tangmere managed to return to Croydon at 1230 hours. Only a little local flying practise was possible at Croydon and no night flying took place.
10.1.40 A good deal of local flying took place in nice weather. The C.O and P/O Bartley collected one Blenheim from Aston Down. P/O Holland went solo at night. Night flying finished at 2030 owing to thickening weather. The C.O. went off on 7 days leave.
11.1.40 Cold fine and sunny. FLt Lt Byrne gave dual to a pilot from 248 Squadron. Only a limited amount of flying possible as there were few machines serviceable. Night flying was held up till 2100 hours due to there being some drifting balloons about. After this it was continued until 0330 hours but one Blenheim flown by Sgt Haigh was damaged on landing.
12.1.40 Flt. Lt. Green returned from his Air Firing Development Course. The damaged Blenheim was brought in to 92 Squadron Hangar. Only one sector reconnaissance was possible as only one aircraft was serviceable.
13.1.40 Weather bad and no flying possible at all.
14.1.40 Thick fog and no flying possible.
15.1.40 Weather improved slightly and Flt. Lt Green and P/O Edwards did AA exercise. They were not however able to return to Croydon as the weather had thickened and landed at Tangmere. No night flying was possible owing to ground mist.
16.1.40 A fine cold morning. P/O Edwards returned from Tangmere. AA exercise took place with three aircraft at 1100 hours also local flying practise and dual for P/O Arthur of 248 Squadron. With 5 aircraft in the air a bad and sudden snowstorm came on at 1530 hours and P/O Wright was forced to land at Gatwick and P/O Bryson at Tangmere. During the day Flt. Lt Green flew from Tangmere to St Merryn Cornwall to fetch the C.O.
17.1.40 Fine but visibility poor. No flying possible, although P/O Bryson managed to get in from Tangmere. P/O Arthur rejoins 248 Squadron, Hendon. Visibility improved a little in the afternoon and local flying took place. The C.O. and Flt. Lt. Green managed to fly from St Eval to Tangmere. No night flying was practical.
18.1.40 The AA exercise was duly carried out I/C P/O Learmond. The C.O. was flown up by 601 Squadron from Tangmere as the Blenheim of 92 Squadron there was not running properly on one engine. Late in the day Flt. Lt Green brought it up. Local flying in the afternoon. Sq. Ldr Roberts from H.Q.F.C. visited the Squadron. A night flying programme was attempted at 2130 but after a test flight by Flt. Lt Byrne disclosed snowy conditions it was abandoned.
19.1.40 A very fine day and warmer. The AA exercise was duly carried out and Flt. Lt Byrne visited Gatwick to inspect the result of the burst water pipes and find out the position generally. Local flying took place in the afternoon. An extensive night flying programme was carried out between 2130 hours and 0330 hours in very fine weather.
20.1.40 The AA exercise was carried out and local flying was possible all day. The night flying programme however had to be abandoned owing to local fog.
21.1.40 Visibility poor but local flying possible. The C.O. attempted to go to Gatwick but had to turn back on account of bad visibility. A snowstorm in the afternoon prevented further flying.
22.1.40 Warmer and clear. Local flying and dual given to Sgt. Fokes who later went solo. Snow and clouds prevented flying after 1530 hours. P/O Whitmarsh, who has been reported to 92 Squadron after illness, reported for duty.The C.O., Officers, Airman Pilots and Senior NCO’s attended the Grand Theatre Croydon at the invitation of Mr Teddy Joyce.
23.1.40 No flying was possible in the morning due to fog, which cleared a bit after midday. The C.O and Flt. Lt. Byrne flew to Gatwick, and Flt. Lt. Green took a formation. Night flying was possible and the C.O. led a formation round the Sector while other pilots did local circuits and landings. Night flying finished at 2330.
24.1.40 Weather warmer and visibility fair. AA exercises carried out. Flt. Lt. Byrne took 3 aircraft and P/Os Wright, Hill, Whitmarsh and Sgt. Fokes to Gatwick, to establish an advanced training base.
P/O Williams, while doing a Sector reconnaissance, had his port airscrew and reduction gear fly off over Brighton, at about 1500'. P/O Williams promptly headed for Gatwick and forced landed there very successfully on the remaining engine. It was later collected by the C.O.
A night flying programme with one aircraft finished at 2230.
25.1.40 Fine weather. Local flying with two serviceable machines. The C.O. visited Gatwick. A night flying programme included an exercise done by the C.O. with 601 at Tangmere in which Tangmere was raided successfully. Sector flying and sector reconnaissance continues with 3 aircraft.
P/O Bartley mistook Ascot Concentration Camp lights for Lingfield and Benson for Croydon and landed there, and spent the night.
26.1.40 P/O Bartley returned early from Benson. The weather was poor but in the morning and early afternoon several pilots flew for half an hour each to keep their hand in for night flying. In the evening there was rain which later turned to snow and the night flying was cancelled in consequence.
27.1.40 There was no flying today because the aerodrome was wet with the thaw. Flt Lt. Green and P/O Bartley travelled independently by road to Gatwick, where needless to say there was no more activity than here. P/O Wright returned from Gatwick. In the evening it froze again and during the night about 4” of snow fell.
28.1.40 Clouds and 700’ visibility very poor. P/O Learmond carried out a weather test but conditions were unfavourable and no more flying took place throughout the day. In the afternoon a party of officers tobogganed on Box Hill regardless of the fact that there was no snow there.
29.1.40 Still more snow overnight, the day is chiefly noteworthy for the many and frenzied efforts made to clear the snow from the tarmac in front of the hangar. P/O Bryson was in charge of operations and was lucky enough to secure the invaluable services of the army.
30.1.40 Snow clearing with two snow ploughs continued and considerable progress made in front of the hangar, and on the runway. Only a little more snow fell during the day.
31.1.40 Snow still lying but thawing. Foggy. No flying possible, but snow clearing on runway proceeded well with over 100 men at work.
CROYDON FEBRUARY 1940
1.2.40 Foggy and thawing. Aerodrome surface very soft. No flying at all possible.
2.2.40 The same weather and no flying.
3.2.40 The same and a lot of the snow now gone.
4.2.40 Snow practically all gone, but foggy and no flying possible.
5.2.40 Warmer and s. westerly wind. Very low cloud 6/10. P/O Bartley did a weather test, which revealed very low cloud and no further flying was considered advisable. Link Trainer practise was continued at Kenley.
7.2.40 Rain and low cloud. Visit paid to the station by the A.O.C. and A.V.N. Welch. P/O R. Scott posted as Air Gunner to the Squadron. Still no flying possible.
8.2.40 Wet and foggy. The aerodrome has dried well and is quite serviceable but no flying possible.
9.2.40 Colder and very thick weather. No flying possible. The Adjutant visited Gatwick to interview the G.P.O. Brighton area telephone representative, with Flt Lt. Byrne.
10.2.40 Fine cold and clear. General immediate aerial activity. The C.O. and Group Captain Moore meet at Gatwick. P/O Bartley fetched the Magister recently allotted from 111 Squadron Northolt. P/O Edwards and P/O Bryson fetched L1257 from Bristol. The rest of the pilots operated from Gatwick during the day and returned later in the afternoon.P/O Learmond took Flt Lt J. Little to Manston and back. 145 Squadron brought off a very curious and lucky midair collision between 2 aircraft. A night flying programme was carried out from 1830 – 2345 hours in a clear but dark night. Total flying time of the Squadron for the day was approximately 40 hours.
11.2.40 A fine day to start with. Flt. Lt. Green led a formation of 3 aircraft on a Sector Reconnaissance, but the weather got thick and they were brought down at Kenley by the Controller with a Hurricane. Later they proceeded to Gatwick. Flying became impossible after midday and the night flying programme was cancelled.
12.2.40 Weather cold and visibility only moderate. Considerable local flying activity at Croydon and Gatwick. The C.O. and P/O Hill went to Tangmere to collect Blenheim L1236. The night flying programme was abandoned, owing to the probability of snow in the weather report.
13.2.40 Snow had fallen during the night, but P/O Hill managed to return early from Tangmere. A little local flying was possible at Croydon and Gatwick, but there was a good deal of snow cloud about which prevented night flying.
14.2.40 Cold and clearer. Local flying and AA exercise carried out. Visibility deteriorated and not much afternoon flying and no night flying was possible.
15.2.40 Cold and 10/10 cloud but 3 aircraft proceeded to Gatwick and two aircraft did AA exercise. A good deal of flying between Gatwick and Croydon and vice versa took place but the weather made night flying impractical.
16.2.40 Cold and fairly foggy weather – cloud 10/10 at 2000’ but considerable aerial activity took place during the day and night. Serviceable aircraft which were so plentiful at the beginning of the month are fast becoming a rare luxury. L1361 has a cracked stern frame and there is nothing right with L1236. All pilots at Gatwick have gone solo. Night flying with 3 machines was carried out between 17.30 hours and 22.00 hours in spite of an adverse weather report and gale warning. The last pilot landed ¼ hour before a young blizzard descended on the aerodrome. The total hours flying during the day were 18 hours 15 minutes and during the night 10 hours.
17.2.40 Snow had fallen during the night, but some local flying was possible. No night flying.
18.2.40 Weather only moderate but local flying and sector reconnaissances were carried out. No exercises and no night flying were done.
19.2.40 No flying was possible at all, due to foggy conditions following the thaw.
20.2.40 Low cloud 10/10 and bad visibility. A weather test by the C.O but no further flying advisable. Another weather test by the C.O. at 1630 hours caused him to cancel night flying.
21.2.40 Weather and visibility still only moderate, but a restricted amount of local flying was possible. The night flying programme was first postponed and finally cancelled. The main Gatwick party returned by road, leaving one aircraft and a small maintenance party.
22.2.40 Weather slightly improved. Sgt Fokes carried out an RDF exercise satisfactorily. General local flying and Flt. Ltd Byrne returned from Gatwick. F/O J. Gillies who had been to us for Blenheim conversion returns to 604 at Northolt after completing his conversion. 145 Squadron have a Blenheim lose one cylinder and all one engine cowling and force land wheels up successfully in a small field to the S.W of Aerodrome. Night flying was carried out in bright moonlight but under somewhat misty conditions till 0400 hours. The R/T course returned from ............(ineligible).
23.2.40 Weather rather poor but local flying possible at times. Flt. Lt Green and crew left on Special Mission to St Athan at 1440 and arrived 1545 in spite of low cloud. Sq. Ldr. Bushell and crew left at 1530 and had to put down at Cardiff due to thick weather conditions. No night flying was possible.
24.2.40 A fine clear day. P/O Sont left for Leconfield with Blenheim L1330 which has been awaiting disposal. Considerable flying activity took place all day and a large number of flying hours were recorded on this, the first fine day for weeks. A night flying programme was started at dusk. The weather was clear beneath high cloud, nearly 10/10. At 1900 P/O Whitmarsh who had just completed about 1 hours night dual, took off on his first night solo. For some reason not yet determined, he crashed from a low altitude into houses on the west boundary of the aerodrome. The machine disintegrated, exploded and burst into flames. P/O Whitmarsh was thown clear and killed instantly. Damage by fire and impact was done to 5 dwelling houses, 3 cars and garages. Two civilians died in hospital a third is seriously injured and 8 more have shock. P/O Whitmarsh was the sole occupant of the aircraft Blenheim L1724. Night flying ceased.
25.2.40 Fine but cloudy. Local flying took place all day and Sgt. McDonald went to Tangmere and back. Night flying was possible only up to 2000 hours when fog came on.
26.2.40 Local flying practise took place in warm but not very fine weather.
27.2.40 Low cloud made much flying impractical. The C.O. weather bound at Catterick. No night flying possible. The inquest on P/O Whitmarch and the two civilians took place.
28.2.40 Local flying took place. The Court of Enquiry into the accident to Blenheim aircraft L1724 began. The C.O returned from Catterick by train owing to thick weather.
29.2.40 Rough but fine weather and general local flying took place.Croydon
March 1 1940 A fine day and strong easterly wind. A lot of flying time was put in. A day exercise for AA Cooperation ws carried out at Newhaven. No night flying.
2.3.40 A very fine day. As much local and sector flying as was possible with our limited aircraft was carried out. Flt. Lt Green and P/O Bartley completed their special duty by arriving from Catterick.
3.3.40 Very fine day but misty near the ground. Flying was, however, possible and local formation practise etc was carried out. P/O Learmond took a navigator officer back to Carew Cheriton.
4.3.40 Very fine and cold wind, but very poor visibility prevented flying before 1100 hours, after which as much flying was done as aircraft permitted. A search light exercise arranged for 2000 hours had to be cancelled, as ground mist came on after sunset.
5.3.40 Station Parade Practise. Fine cold and clear. As much local flying was carried out as serviceable aircraft permitted. Flt. Lt. Byrne took some pilots to Northolt to examine a Spitfire, as this day our allotment for 21 Spitfires was received. 8 from No. 9 M.V. Cosford and 13 from No.27 M.V Shawbury. The Master a/c was also allotted as this day from Reading.
6.3.40 Station Parade. Cold N.W. wind fairly fine. P/O Bartley and Flt. Lt. Green went to Reading (Philips and Powis) to fetch newly allotted Master a/c L7534. The C.O took Flt. Lt. Boyd (145) and Sqd. Ldr. Gifford, 3 Squadron to collect Spitfires. Flt.Lt Byrne Collected 3 pilots from Northolt also to collect Spitfires from Cosford. The C.O. returned with two formations of 7 Spitfires, in all, but the eighth Aircraft was not yet serviceable. One of the Spitfires, P9374 delivered today is now flying again. Ed. See: P9347
7.3.40 Very poor visibility and AA exercise had to be cancelled. Very little flying was possible until the evening when the C.O. and Flt. Lt Green took the Master up.
8.3.40 Fine, but poor visibility. The Master was flown and a lecture on Spitfire flying given by Flt.Lt Boyd of 145 Squadron. Mr Rose of Vickers Supermarine visited the Squadron and also Flt.Lt Healey from 11 Group. P/O Bryson took P/O Holland to Old Sarum and returned alone. In the afternoon the weather and visibility improved and Flt.Lt Green, P/O Learmond, Sgt Fokes and P/O Blomly went solo on Spitfires.
9.3.40 Very fine and clear. General activity with Spitfires continued. P/O Edwards went solo. Sgt. Eyles went on his nose taxying a Blenheim on a bad patch on the aerodrome. P/O Bartley and P/O Edwards went solo on Spitfires. Flying continued until dusk.
10.3.40 Very fine weather and a lot of Spitfire and Master flying was carried out. Also Spitfire formations.
11.3.40 Still fine weather, considerable flying time was put in on spitfires. P/O Bryson took Flt. Sgt. Payne to fetch the 8th Spitfire from Cosford. Orders received from Kenley that no further flying is to be done on Blenheims.
12.3.40 A fine morning which deteriorated into low cloud and rain from midday and prevented flying after that time.
13.3.40 Moderately fine and 7/10 cloud. Some formation practise, with and without R/T. P/O Edwards got lost and forced landed at Rochester, but returned later. Low cloud and later rain stopped flying in the afternoon.
14.3.40 Snow and sleet, which continued until mid afternoon. No flying was possible, but a party of pilots spent the afternoon at the Link Trainer.
15.3.40 Fine and clear. A lot of aviation including Spitfire formation and Master dual. The C.O took Flt. Lt Actkin to Tangmere in the Master. Fighter attacks were practised in formation with a Blenheim as target.
16.3.40 Thick mist. Link Trainer used in the morning. Weather cleared at midday and flying became possible after lunch, including a formation of 5 Spitfires. Squadron Leader H.A. Purion paid us a visit while collecting a Wellington.
17.3.40 Rain and low cloud. No flying possible. Link Trainer used at Kenley.
18.3.40 Rain and low cloud, which cleared about 1100 hours. Formation practise and general flying practise took place, and was continued until dusk. F/O Cazenove reported on posting.
19.3.40 Wind very strong, broken clouds at 2000’. There was flying until approximately 12 o’clock when an aircraft (P ) which F/Lt Green had landed in formation tipped up on its nose while stationary on the aerodrome. It was then decided that the wind was too gusty so that all flying ceased. Towards midnight there was an air raid “flap” and all the aircraft had to be dispersed on the aerodrome. In the darkness and confusion 2 Spitfires were pushed into each other with resulting damage to both the wing tips.
20.3.40 Fine with strong S.W. wind. Three Blenheims loaded with pilots left for Shawbury to collect Spitfires. In all nine were collected. Before their return orders came from H.Q.F.C. for the 92 Squadron to disperse all available aircraft to Gatwick and disperse them there. Order received at 1700 hours before Spitfires had returned but by 1915 hours 14 Spitfires, 2 Blenheims and one Magister were dispersed at Gatwick. About 50 airmen were transported by road. The Adjutant and two officers were left at Croydon.
Croydon & Gatwick
21.3.40 Weather report uncertain and cloud 10/10 at 1000’. In the afternoon Flt Lt Green brought Sgt. Klipsch and a Blenheim and later the C.O. P/O Edwards and P/O Williams arrived in Spitfires and returned to Gatwick after the guns pm two aircraft had been changed. P/O Blomeley left 92 Squadron on posting to 25 Squadron.
22.3.40 Five Spitfires and one Blenheim came up from Gatwick first thing in the morning. The C.O. gave dual in the Master to P/O Hargreaves. F/O Cazenove flew the Magister to Gatwick. P/O Hill, who has been ill with pleurisy for two weeks developed pneumonia and was taken to hospital. P/O Edwards brought a Spitfire from Gatwick to have the guns aligned. The C.O. gave dual in the Master to Sgt. Klipsch. At 1900 hours all Spitfires returned to Gatwick.
23.3.40 Low cloud at first. The C.O. arrived at Croydon in a Spitfire and gave dual in the Master to F/O Cazenove. The C.O. took the Master to Gatwick. F/O Cazenove went solo on spitfires. At Gatwick general flying was arrived out from 1100 hours to 1600 hours, including formation and practise attacks on a Blenheim target. P/O Bryson visited the Squadron in a 604 Squadron Blenheim.
24.3.40 Early morning visit, clearing later, but leaving much low cloud until late in the afternoon. Flying continued from 11.30 hours until 1915 hours. Formation flying and practise attacks on a Blenheim being the main exercises carried out. The C.O. returned from Philips and Powis, Reading in the Master.
25.3.40 A good deal of flying today until 1800 hours when rain stopped flying. Formation flying quick take offs and practise interceptions of the Blenheim were carried out. During an interception exercise Flt.Lt. V. Byrne’s engine was observed to be pouring out black smoke and oil, and he prepared to forced land on a race course near Edenbridge, Kent. Unfortunately, at the last minute the unexpected appearance of horses and riders in the field he had selected, caused him to make a quick 90 degrees turn into a small field alongside, the result being that the Spitfire was written off. Flt.Lt Byrne escaped with a bruised head and a little concussion. A leaking oil pipe is suspected, or the absence of the requisite amount of engine.
Several pilots went to Biggin Hill after their guns had been aligned.
26.3.40 Pouring rain continued all day. Gatwick Aerodrome became very waterlogged.
27.3.40 A little flying was possible during the morning. It was decided not to fly during the afternoon owing to the proximity of Gatwick Race meeting, which was in progress. During the afternoon P/O Wright and F/O Gillies delivered two Blenheims, one to Tern hill and one to Aston Down. F/O Gillies returning by train.
In the evening the Squadron returned from Gatwick to Croydon in a formation of 11 Spitfires. The main party returned by road.
28.3.40 Fine but a strong N.W wind. Flying was possible only with great care taxying. Interception exercise carried out morning and afternoon. Attempt to fetch 4 remaining Spitfires frustrated by only remaining serviceable Blenheim going U/S.
29.3.40 A fine day, a fair amount of flying was done. One interception exercise was carried out.
30.3.40 Interception exercise carried out. Two battle climbs to 27000’. Four more Spitfires were collected from Shawbury.
31.3.40 A new flying programme was started. Pilots divided into five sections. One section at readiness, three available and one released. Interception exercises carried out, and attacks on target aircraft. An AA Co-op exercise was also done. Sgt. Havercroft taxied Spitfire with airman on tail behind two Spitfires running petrol out, airman jumped off tail and went to wing tip. Owing to slipstream of two Spitfires, Sgt. Havercroft’s machine tipped up on nose, badly damaged airscrew.Croydon
1.4.30 A fine day, very strong S.W wind, but a great deal of flying was done. P/O Hargreaves took Blenheim L6126 to Aston Down on allotment and returned by train.
2.4.40 Fairly strong S.W. wind with occasional showers but a good deal of flying time was put in, and some more aircraft guns were fired on the Butts at Biggin Hill.
3.4.40 Group Captain Moore’s parade. Low cloud and rain caused an interception practise to be abandoned. The weather improved later in the day, and flying continued until dusk. Concluding with 3 flights going up to recognise 6 types of friendly bomber in the Biggin Hill area.
4.4.40 Strong westerly wind and rather low cloud, but plenty of flying practise took place, including practise dives on a target on the aerodrome, pilots being instructed to pull out well above 500’. In the evening 3 flights of Spitfires went again to inspect the 6 types of friendly bomber, which exercise was successfully carried out.
5.4.40 Strong northerly wind, but flying practise carried out throughout the day.
6.4.40 Air to ground firing at Dengie Flat range. The first detail left Croydon at 0630 and 14 pilots had three runs each, in spite of bad visibility on most of the flight there and back. The exercise was carried out successfully and only 3 gun stoppages occurred. The Squadron was given the greater part of the afternoon free.
7.4.40 Squadron Church parade. Weather very fine and clear, but clouded up after midday. The usual interception practises, formation, and battle climbs took place.
8.4.40 Air to ground firing at Dengie Flat range started at 0700, but had to be abandoned owing to bad visibility and rain at 0900 hours. The C.O. was obliged to land off North Weald. The weather deteriorated further during the day and all flying had to be stopped during the afternoon.
9.4.40 A Station Parade was held at 1015 hours to enable the A.O.C. who arrived by air to address 145 Squadron and congratulate A.C. Hayes on the subject of his gallantry on the occasion of two Blenheims being in collision in midair on February 10. After this flying practise took place in moderate weather. Wing Commander Broadhurst visited the Squadron.
10.4.40 Very strong northerly wind, but usual flying practise carried on.
11.4.40 Fine and clear. Practise interceptions, fighter command attacks etc carried out.
12.4.40 Low cloud and some rain made flying impossible before noon. After that the usual flying training practises were carried out.
13.4.40 Fine weather, permitting intensified flying training programme.
14.4.40 Fine, with fresh N.W. wind. Normal flying training proceeded all day. The C.O. left for Manston in the Magister at 1800 hours. P/O Bryson went on his nose in a Spitfire, probably due to too slow a landing speed and over application of the brakes. The resultant damage was one airscrew tip and a cracked stem frame.
15.4.40 Fine, but windy, from W, with increasing force, until at 1500 hours rain squalls and high wind stopped flying until 1730 hours.
16.4.40 Very fine and clear, with fresh westerly breeze, but weather deteriorated during the day and somewhat reduced flying practise.
17.4.40 Very fine and less wind. Normal flying training carried out in the morning. From 1230 hours Air to ground firing at Dengie Flats took place, under good conditions. 64 Squadron collected one Spitfire of 92 Squadron’s allotted to them. The C.O. fetched a new tail wheel tube from Philips and Powis Reading.
18.4.40 Overcast, but fairly clear. A visit paid to the Squadron by the Group Captain, who watched flying for a time and inspected the Squadron hangars etc. Flying practise proceeded normally.
19.4.40 Fine, but a strong N.W. wind. Interceptions, little climbs, fighter attacks were carried out. Sqd. Ldr Bultain from Fighter Command paid a visit to the Squadron. W/C Broadhurst and W.C Atcheney also came to see us and G/C Moore said goodbye before leaving Kenley and the Group.
20.4.40 Weather cloudy but fine. General flying took place, interceptions, battle climbs etc. “Blinkers” were fitted to some aircraft in preparation for night flying which took place from 2045 hours to 0330 hours. There was a bright moon, the C.O’s and Blue Section carried out landings and sector reconnaissances successfully. Total night flying hours 12.45.
21.4.40 Fine weather and the usual flying practise was carried out. At night, which was clear, night flying took place, including a formation battle climb.
22.4.40 Fine weather and normal flying training practise took place. Some dusk landings were done but a lot of cloud, and obscured moon made night flying for Spitfires unadvisable and later on the presence of E/A on the Kenley operations board kept our aircraft grounded. However the C.O did a complete sector reconnaissance at 2145 hours, with Sqd.Ldr Norman and Flt. Lt Wallace, to observe lighting conditions in the sector.
23.4.40 Fine but overcast. Normal flying routine proceeded. Two new pilots, P/O R. Mottram and P/O C.H. Saunders who had reported from Kinloss F. .S on20/4/40 were given dual in the Master by Sgt Fokes and the C.O. and later went off successfully in Spitfires. No night flying was attempted.
24.4.40 Low cloud and rain, which persisted all day and prevented any flying by day or night.
25.4.40 Fine all day and the usual amount of flying training practises took place. Most officers of the Squadron attended a cocktail party at Kenley, which was a great success.
26.4.40 Normal flying took place till midday, but in anticipation of a night flying programme flying stopped after midday. However, the weather deteriorated and dusk landings were cancelled. It was hoped that at 0200 hours the rising moon would enable flying to start, but 10/10 cloud made it impossible, although pilots passed the night in the crew room. During the day P/O Bartley took Mr Geke, civilian Croydon engineer, on a tour of camouflage inspection in a Blenheim, including Gatwick and Lympne.
27.4.40 Fairly fine weather but bad visibility at first. Later general flying practise was possible. P/O Mottram, who had taken off at 1430 in a Spitfire noticed that his starboard wheel would not come up, nor would his port wheel go down. After getting into R/T touch with Runick, and through them with the C.O. who made various suggestions to P/O Mottram and after considerable time had elapsed, it was found possible to retract the starboard wheel and hold it up by constant pumping. At 1700 hours with the starboard wheel down about 45 degrees, P/O Mottram made a perfect “ventre-a-terre” landing before a large and enthusiastic audience, doing the minimum amount of damage under the circumstances and with only 10 gallons of petrol left.
28.4.40 Rain and 10/10 cloud, the latter persisting all day and making flying impossible.
29.4.40 Still thick low cloud, which lifted about 1500 hours and enabled flying to proceed. At 1800 hours a Squadron formation of 12 a/c did 1 ¼ hours flying, including flying of Tangmere, Biggin Hill and Kenley. In the evening Wing Commander Price complimented the Squadron by telephone on the quality of their formation.
30.4.40 Low cloud and mist, which persisted all day and made flying impossible. The time was well spent in maintenance work, writing up log books and tidying up generally.