Historical Aircraft

August 1941


Friday, August 1, 1941

Weather overcast 10/10ths cloud and mist. Inquest held on Sgt German at Cosford.  Various flying.  Orders to proceed to Hornchurch Monday 4.8.41.

Saturday, August 2, 1941

Weather sunshine and haze.  Various flying.

Sunday, August 3, 1941

Weather fine and sunny with haze and broken cloud.  Very little flying.  Squadron Echelon left today.

Monday, August 4, 1941

19 Spitfire IIs left Tern Hill for Hornchurch 1045 hours, landing at Hornchurch at 1130 hours.  Squadron was issued with Spitfire Mk VAs and VBs at Hornchurch.  Sgts Spencer and Case posted to 615 Squadron Valley.  Main party left 1000 hours in charge of P/O Barrass and P/O Hyde by special train (87 men and 2 officers).  It arrived at Hornchurch at 1715 hours with no undue hitches.  F/O Roberts and P/O Anthony went by road.  F/O Tomkin (Medical Officer) posted to the Squadron.  F/O Reason (Engineering Officer) posted to the Squadron.  ‘Get together’ party with AVM in the mess.

Tuesday, August 5, 1941

Weather in the morning squally, broken cloud.  Convoy patrols, F/O Price and P/O Ford 0930 to 1040 hours.  F/O McKenna and Sgt Rainville 1005 hours.  F/L Cathels and P/O Wood 1105 to 1215 hours.  P/O Dick and Sgt Sones 1140 to 1240 hours.  Circus, 11 Spitfires 1810 to 1930 hours, Low Squadron of High Cover Wing over St. Omer.  No action.

Wednesday, August 6, 1941

Weather in the morning cool, broken cloud, squalls.  Squadron formation flying.  P/O Colvin to Northolt and return.

Thursday, August 7, 1941

Weather am bright and sunny, visibility good broken cloud 5/10ths.  Convoy patrols F/L Christmas and Sgt Collinson 0720 to 0830 hours.  Sgt Sones and Sgt Grigg 0720 to 0830 hours.  Circus, 11 Spitfires and Wing Commander Stapleton, Low Squadron of High Cover Wing over St. Omer 1030 to 1205 hours.  Not in action, all returned OK.  Circus 11 Spitfires and Group Captain Broadhurst, DSO, DFC AFC.  Diversion Wing over St. Omer and Dunkirk.  F/L Christmas and P/O Ford sighted enemy and had a squirt at long range.  No claim.  All returned OK 1700 to 1835.

Friday, August 8, 1941

Weather am rain.  Squadron at 30 minutes readiness till 1700 hours.  1130 hours, talk by W/C Stapleton on Tactics etc.  F/L Pike (Signals) addressed Squadron on R/T.  Nil flying.  Bad weather all day.  Squadron released at 1700 hours.

Saturday, August 9, 1941

Weather am fine and sunny, visibility good, 3/10ths broken cloud.  Barrow Deep Patrol, F/L Cathels and Sgt Rainville 0610 to 0715 hours.  Convoy Patrol P/O Ball and P/O Dick 0625 to 0740 hours.  Line Patrol P/O Anthony and Sgt Collinson 0648 to 0742 hours.  Convoy Patrol F/O Price and Sgt Crist 0710 to 0825 hours; P/O Gilbertson and Sgt Ryckman 0740 to 0855 hours.  Circus, 11 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton, Target Support Wing to Blenheims over Gosnay 1045 to 1225 hours.  P/O Anthony 1 ME109F probable.  P/O Wood aircraft damaged, cat 1.  AVM greeted pilots on return.  Offensive Sweep 11 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton, Low Squadron, Leading Wing 1710 to 1840 hours, via Hardilot, Poret Dieppe out by Gravelines.  P/O Waldon missing believed to be killed.  P/O Anthony, tail plane shot off.  Doug Waldon, huge feet and slim face that broke out into a slow grin when he kidded you enough.  There may be kinder and more sincere types in the world but we haven’t met them.  He was a schoolteacher in Canada in civil life, and during an unguarded moment admitted that he was a scoutmaster.  One thing is certain, to the community in Canada that he belonged to; he will be as great a loss as he is to us.  It would be impossible to say more.

Sunday, August 10, 1941

Weather am 7/10ths cloud squally.  Barrow Deep Patrol, Sgt Sones and Sgt Grigg 1855 to 2005 hours, F/O McKenna and P/O Dick 1935 to 2055 hours, P/O Ball and Sgt Collinson 2010 to 2110 hours.  Weather PM sunshine.  Offensive Sweep 11 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton, Dunkirk to St Omer 1215 to 1340.  Nil result.

Monday, August 11, 1941

Rain.  Squadron released from camp.

Tuesday, August 12, 1941

Weather am 5/10ths cloud, squally.  Convoy patrol F/O McKenna and P/O Colvin 0627 to 0740 hours, F/O Price and P/O Ball 0700 to 0755 hours.  Circus 12 Spitfires, CO leading, close escort 6 Hampdens to St. Omer 0945 to 1125 hours.  Nil result.  Offensive Sweep, 11 Spitfires, CO leading, Le Touquet, Frugges, St. Omer, St. Inglevert, 1710 to 1842 hours.  Nil result.  PM, Squadron visited by Godfrey Winn.  Line patrol, Squadron 1228 to 1355 hours, N. Foreland and Clacton.

Wednesday, August 13, 1941

Weather am cold, heavy rain.  Squadron released till 1300 hours.

Thursday, August 14, 1941

Weather am 9/10ths cloud, sunshine.  Circus 11 Spitfires 1331 to 1513 hours and W/C Stapleton.  Nil result.  Circus 11 Spitfires, 1637 to 1812 hours.

Friday, August 15, 1941

Rain.  Squadron released all day.

Saturday, August 16, 1941

Weather am fine, sunshine and squally.  Sweep 10 Spitfires 0725 to 0850.  CO crashed at Shingle Bay owing to engine trouble.  Aircraft likely to be cat 2 or 3.  CO uninjured and returned to Hornchurch.  Circus, 12 Spitfires and W/C Stapleton 1208 to 1325 hours.  Nil result.  Bomber Cover, 11 Spitfires 1741 to 1910 hours.  P/O Gilbertson returned 1840 hours, petrol gauge faulty.

Sunday, August 17, 1941

Weather am fine, 9/10ths cloud, sunshine with squalls later and rain threatening.  Dull later with heavy cloud.  Eight Convoy patrols were carried out but nothing of interest reported.  Escort cover to three Blenheims attacking tanker at Le-Touquet 1855 to 2010 hours.  Nothing of interest to report.

Monday, August 18, 1941

Weather am rain.  1030 hours sunshine 3/10ths cloud.  Circus 78, 12 Spitfires.  Escort cover to Lille 1410 to 1605 hours.  P/O Anthony landed at Manston 1542 hours.  F/O McKenna landed Rochford 1545 hours.  Squadron acted as Middle Cover to 12 Blenheims, in company with 613 and 611 Squadrons.  Sgt Rainville returned owing to oil leak from prop.  Very little seen on the show.  Circus 80, 11 Spitfires as middle escort cover to 12 Blenheims attacking Lille.  No combat and nothing of interest to report.

Tuesday, August 19, 1941

Weather am fine and sunny, 3/10ths cloud.  Circus 81, 12 Spitfires as Close middle cover Target support (Independent Wing) to six Blenheims bombing Gosnay.  When between Poperinghe and Cassel an attack was made on 15 ME109F’s flying below and Squadron Leader Morris led the Squadron and dived on the enemy aircraft.  He personally opened fire on tail of one e/a and this disintegrated in mid-air.  The attack was continued on another enemy aircraft which he damaged.  P/O Ball followed in line astern and attacked the rear of a ME109F which went down in smoke and flames.  P/O Wood made several attacks on an enemy aircraft which went into a steep dive and was obviously out of control.  This is claimed as a probable.  Sgt Rainville damaged another ME109F which went into a steep dive.  P/O Dick attacked a single e/a which was attacking F/O Price but only scared this one off.  He then pulled out in a steep dive and saw three ME109F’s in line abreast above him.  He shot the centre one down in flames and it exploded in mid-air.  Levelling out he saw six ME109F’s above and then dived for cloud cover.  He then saw a Spitfire being attacked and destroyed the e/a with a 4 second burst of browning guns.  The e/a was last seen going down in flames over Gravelines.  After attacking another one without result, he was himself fired on by two e/a.  His port wing was hit and his starboard wing shot off.  He was again attacked and broke away in a left-hand dive, losing 3,000 feet with no starboard aileron and his cockpit full of smoke, but escaped.  Within sight of Dover, his engine failed and he baled out at 1,800 feet.  He was in the sea for about ten minutes before being picked up by a Rescue Boat and duly rejoined the Squadron after a good show.  P/O Anthony is unfortunately missing from this operation and nobody saw what happened to him.  Total claims four ME109F’s destroyed, 1 ME109F probable, 1ME109F damaged, 1 ME109E damaged.  Most of the other pilots had a squirt in this action but make no claims.  Ken Anthony came from Toronto and was with the Squadron right from the start.  Young, slim, dark, and I’m afraid handsome, he must have been the image of what romantic maidens would expect a fighter pilot to look like.  He was full of dash, and we are confident that he did some dirty work among the Jerries before they got him.  He will be difficult to replace; they don’t make Ken’s type in duplicate.

Wednesday, August 20, 1941

Weather am fine, 5/10ths cloud.  Squadron released for training flying PM.  1545 hours heavy rain and thunder.  Squadron released 1740 hours.

Thursday, August 21, 1941

Weather am sunny, 5/10ths cloud.  Circus 83, high Cover with bombers to Bethune 0832 to 1010 hours.  S/L Morris led the attack on 12 to 15 ME109F’s South of Mardyck near Cassel and damaged 1 ME109F.  Sgts Grigg and McDonald also claim one 1 ME109F damaged in this action.  P/O Ball followed the Squadron Commander and succeeded in getting a probable ME109F.  F/O McKenna was seen to bale out over France, whilst engaged by the enemy with his aircraft out of control.  F/O McKenna was from Ontario.  Steady old Mac with a granite jaw and a habit of making everybody see the best side of things.  At 31, he was the oldest pilot in the Squadron and was so full of moral that he could have stopped a rabble of Italians from stampeding.  He inspired unlimited affection among all who knew him.  Circus 84, Escort cover to bombers to Choques 1305 to 1445 hours.  S/L Morris and Sgt McDonald were, presumably, engaged by enemy aircraft over the target, but were lost from these operations.  S/L Morris (Bungy) was appointed to Command of the Squadron on its formation. Previous to this, he had commanded 308 (Polish) Squadron from its inception.  308 have since distinguished themselves considerably and it is sad to think that ‘Bungy’ could not be with us to share the honour that this Squadron hopes to win.  He will best be remembered for his tremendous keenness to get into the battle and for his great fear – that of sent back into armament duties – a subject on which he was an expert.  Sgt McDonald was a US citizen with a slow Louisiana drawl, he had only been with the Squadron a short while but he had gained everyone’s respect, and he had a reputation of sticking to his number one like glue.  We can be sure that he was right with the Squadron Commander when whatever happened – happened.

Friday, August 22, 1941

Weather am fine, 5/10ths cloud.  Scramble 12 Spitfires, patrol base 10,000 feet, 1221 to 1340 hours.  Nil result.

Saturday, August 23, 1941

Weather am 10/10ths cloud, rain.  Squadron released for day.  Squadron Leader Lee-Knight posted to Squadron.  Sergeants Cranham and Belcher posted to Squadron.

Sunday, August 24, 1941

Weather am fine, 7/10ths cloud.  Squadron visited by Group Captain McLeod and Canadian Press.  General ‘get-together’ talk and photographs taken.  Scramble 0929 to 0940 Sgts Sones and P/O Carrillo.

Monday, August 25, 1941

Squadron moved from Hornchurch to Debden.

Tuesday, August 26, 1941

Weather am fine 5/10ths cloud.  Various formation and practice flying.

Wednesday, August 27, 1941

Weather am fine 6/10ths cloud.  Circus 86, 11 Spitfires left Debden 0603 hours for Hornchurch as Cover escort to bombers attacking Lille.  They refuelled at Hornchurch and 10 took off 0715 hours (P/O Ball unable to take off owing to unspecified trouble with aircraft) plus W/C Stapleton, DFC S/L Lee-Knight, Sgt Rainville and Sgt Grigg put back between Manston and Southend with engine trouble.  Whilst over Lille area, W/C Stapleton and P/O Wood attacked three ME109E’s which were attacking a Spitfire and destroyed one each.  P/O Dick collided with a Hurricane over the Channel, but made a forced landing at Manston and was unhurt.  Unfortunately F/L Cathels is missing form this operation.  F/L Cathels is a Canadian from British Columbia, who has been in the Royal Air Force some years before the war broke out.  He had been stationed in the Near East before coming to the Squadron as Flight Commander to replace Trevena.  Ted soon became popular in the Squadron and was known for his tremendous fund of good humour.  He will be greatly missed.

Thursday, August 28, 1941

Weather am squalls, 9/10ths cloud.  P/O Ball, F/O Gilbertson, P/O Ford, Sgts Sones, Belcher Crist, Collinson and Ryckman did convoy patrol at the mouth of the Thames.  Nothing encountered.

Friday, August 29, 1941

F/L Christmas, P/O Ford, P/O Price, P/O Ball, Sgts Ryckman, Collinson and Cranham did convoy patrol at the mouth of the Thames to Graton on the morning.  General flying in the afternoon.

Saturday, August 30, 1941

Weather fair and sunny.  F/L Secretan (English) posted to Squadron from Biggin Hill as Flight Commander ‘A’ Flight.  P/O Hyde, Intelligence Officer, posted as supernumerary to Station.  CO, F/L Christmas, F/L Secretan, P/O Ball, P/O Ford and Sgt Sones went to Manston to do a sphere, i.e. patrol between Ostend and Bethune.  No enemy sighted, but flak encountered near Cap Gris Nez.

Sunday, August 31, 1941

Weather fair.  CO, F/L Secretan, F/O Price, P/O Ford, P/O Gilbertson and Sgt Collinson flew to Manston to stand ready for escort of air/sea rescue Lysanders.  Sgt Collinson wrote a Spitfire off in a taxiing accident at Manston.  Sgt Smith (English) reported to the Squadron for flying duties.