Tuesday, 1 December, 1942
Weather was cloudy all day with slight rain and a visibility of 6 to 12 miles. The Squadron carried out local flying and range estimation exercises.
Wednesday, 2 December, 1942
Weather was fine all day with no cloud and a visibility of 7 to 15 miles. The Squadron carried out air to air firing, local and aerobatics flying.
Thursday, 3 December, 1942
The weather was fine all day but for a slight fog early in the morning. 7/10ths cloud was based at 3,000 to 4,000 feet. The Squadron carried out air to air firing and local and aerobatics exercises. During the afternoon, part of the Squadron carried out a beat-up on a road convoy exercise.
Friday, 4 December, 1942
Weather was fog all day with 10/10ths cloud on the surface. Squadron activities were restricted by the weather but several pilots managed to carry out some air to air firing. Flying Officer McGill reported in today to take over the duties of the Squadron Intelligence officer.
Saturday, 5 December, 1942
It was cloudy all day with a slight rain, 10/10ths cloud based at 1,000 to 3,000 feet with conditions improving slight in the afternoon. The Squadron carried out air to air firing and local flying exercises.
Sunday, 6 December, 1942
It was fine all day, with 4/10ths to 6/10ths cloud at 4,000 feet and 4 to 6 miles visibility. A weather test, high and low formation flying, local flying, cine gun exercise, tail chase and aerobatics were flown by several of the pilots. While taxiing on the runway shortly after landing, the undercarriage of P/O H.J. Dowding’s Spitfire collapsed. P/O Dowding was uninjured and slight damage occurred to the aircraft.
Monday, 7 December, 1942
Weather was cloudy all day with a light drizzle and 10/10ths cloud based at 1,500 to 2,000 feet. A weather test and some local flying were carried out today. S/L Bennions destroyed a drifting balloon in the afternoon.
Tuesday, 8 December, 1942
Weather was cloudy all day with showers and a cloud base of 8/10ths to 10/10ths at 2,000 to 3,000 feet. The Squadron performed cine gun and formation exercises, both above and below 5,000 feet with some pilots doing local flying and air to air firing. Pilot Officer C.G. Cumming reported in to the Squadron today and is attached to ‘B’ Flight for flying duties.
Wednesday, 9 December, 1942
Weather was cloudy all day with 8/10ths to 9/10ths cloud based at 3,000 to 4,000 feet and 6 miles visibility. The main activities of the Squadron were air to air firing, formation and tail chase above 5,000 feet and a Wimpy beat-up with some cloud flying. The Tannoy sounded at approximately 1545 hours for the Squadron to come to readiness. The Squadron was ordered to take-off and was airborne at 1634 hours, led by S/L Ford. Twelve planes took off, destination unknown. One, who apparently had some difficulty getting his engine started, was late getting airborne and was ordered to return. The eleven planes departing from Catterick were joined by two planes from Thornaby. The 13 pilots are all members of 403 Squadron and were: S/L Ford, F/L O’Leary, F/L Magwood, F/O Marshall, P/O Dowding, P/O Connacher, Sgt Bednarz, F/O Wozniak, Sgt Gillis, Sgt Abbotts, Sgt Dunbar, F/S Chute and Sgt Goudie. F/L Hill has been posted supernumerary to 331 Squadron, effective 15-12-42 and is slated to go East; the Squadron all wish him the best of luck.
Thursday, 10 December, 1942
The visibility was good in the early morning but deteriorated later to the poor distance of 600 yards. It was mainly 10/10ths cloud with rain that became heavy by midday. P/O Olmsted left in the early morning in the ‘Master’, accompanied by P/O J.R. Hamankiewicz so that the latter could join his new Squadron at Digby. Sgt Goudie returned to Catterick by train.
Friday, 11 December, 1942
The visibility was fair today, starting at 900 yards at 0900 hours and increasing to 4,000 yards later in the day. A heavy rain fell during the day until 1500 hours. As the Squadron has not yet returned and the weather is poor, everything here is very quiet.
Saturday, 12 December, 1942
Weather: visibility started out as poor but cleared by the mid-afternoon and then later became poor again. P/O Olmsted returned in the Magister during the afternoon, having left P/O Hamankiewicz at Digby with the Squadron, which has yet been in action. Sgt Goudie was married today at 1130 hours to Miss Katherine Coyne. The ceremony took place at Middlesborough, Yorkshire and F/L C. Black (MO) acted as the best man. The Squadron’s best wishes go with them.
Sunday, 13 December, 1942
It was cloudy with a slight rain until 1100 hours. The weather cleared at midday only to cloud over again in the afternoon. The Squadron returned early in the afternoon, considerably fed-up, as they did not get into action. With the exception of F/O Marshall, P/Os Wozniak and Dowding, the Squadron landed at Digby, North Weald, Wittering and then back to Digby before returning to Catterick. The pilots mentioned landed at Digby, West Mallings, Wittering and then back to Digby before they too returned to Catterick. It speaks well for the ability and efficiency of the Squadron that, while these operations were carried out at night and in very bad weather conditions, there were no accidents of any kind.
Monday, 14 December, 1942
The weather was cloudy with a 5/10ths to 10/10ths based at 2,000 to 3,000 feet in the morning, with a fog that descended to the surface by 1400 hours. Local flying and cine gun exercises as well as range estimation exercises were carried out today.
Tuesday, 15 December, 1942
The morning saw rain and fog until 1000 hours with 10/10ths cloud based at 400 to 1,500 feet and visibility between 800 to 1,500 yards. It cleared up for a short time and then continued with rain and fog for the remainder of the day. There was no flying on account of the weather conditions.
Wednesday, 16 December, 1942
It was cloudy all day with 10/10ths based at 300 to 1,500 feet and visibility of 1,500 to 2,000 yards. No flying was done today due to the weather.
Thursday, 17 December, 1942
It drizzled or rained from dawn with visibility going up to 1,500 yards. Sgts Bednarz and R. Rogowski were posted effective today. No flying was done due to the weather conditions.
Friday, 18 December, 9142
Fog all day with a maximum visibility of 300 yards and a minimum of 50 yards reported. No flying because of weather conditions. Sgt WT Lane’s commission, effective 9-11-42 came through today.
Saturday, 19 December, 1942
Fog all day until 1900 hours when t cleared to fair conditions. Only one flight, a weather test, was done today.
Sunday, 20 December, 1942
The weather was fine until mid-day, with 6 miles visibility. Mist and fog moved in later along with 7/10ths low cloud. Flying consisted of a weather test, ZZ approaches, air to air firing and sector reconnaissance. In the late afternoon, F/O R. Wozniak cracked up after landing; the plane was washed out but ‘Wozy’ was unhurt, for which we are all thankful. Sgt Dover’s commission to P/O, effective 26-11-42 came through today. Congratulations to Pilot Officer Dover. F/O K.P. Marshall was scrambled at 1200 hours but no contacts were made and he landed at 1210 hours.
Monday, 21 December, 1942
The winds were gusty and southerly all day. Visibility was fairly good with a maximum of 6 miles and a minimum of 1,000 yards. A mist closed in at dusk. Cine gun exercises, formation practice, air to air firing, range estimation and a weather test were carried out today.
Tuesday, 22 December, 1942
The weather was cloudy until mid-day when it became fine. P/O Connacher and F/S Chute scrambled at 1040 hours. No contacts were made and they were down at 1110 hours. Squadron formation practice was done in the afternoon and eight pilots did a night flying exercise. S/L Ford took part in the night flying exercise and made several contacts with the opposition. Sgts G.R. Brown, J.D. Edwards, W.C. Uttley and W. McGarrigle joined the Squadron today and are most welcome additions.
Wednesday, 23 December, 1942
Visibility was fair today, with a minimum of 1,100 yards and a maximum of 12 miles. The Cloud base was 9/10ths at 8,000 feet for nearly all of the day. Cine gun exercises, formation practice, ZZ approaches, aerobatics and a sector recco were carried out today. F/L O’Leary took part in a Co-op exercise with some Wellingtons. F/S Chute and P/O Cumming went on a scramble at 1430 hours. No contacts were made and they landed at 1450 hours.
Thursday, 24 December, 1942
Weather included 5/10ths low cloud with visibility between 400 to 3,000 yards. Activities consisted of a weather test, formation flying, ZZ approaches and a sector reconnaissance.
Friday, 25 December, 1942
Heavy fog all day with a maximum visibility of 200 yards. No flying due to the weather.
Saturday, 26 December, 1942
Fog all day with visibility from 50 to 500 yards. There was a frost today at dawn. No flying was done today. Owing to the extremely foggy weather, the Squadron has been able to relax somewhat during the last few days and a most enjoyable Christmas has been had by all. The personnel are now getting slightly browned off and are yearning for action.
Sunday, 27 December, 1942
Fog all day, visibility from 200 to 600 yards. No flying was done today.
Monday, 28 December, 1942
The weather was much improved with visibility varying from 4,000 yards to 6 miles. The cloud base was 6/10ths to 9/10ths at 2,000 feet. The Squadron was pleased that the weather had lifted and got in some air to air firing, local formation, sector recco, and aerobatics.
Tuesday, 29 December, 1942
There was a continual improvement in the weather throughout the day with visibility of 12 miles and 3/10ths to 6/10ths cloud at 2,000 feet. The Squadron carried out formation exercises, aerobatics and cine gun practice.
Wednesday, 30 December, 1942
The visibility, which started out at 12 miles, deteriorated to 4 miles by evening. Cloud base of 6/10ths to 8/10ths was at 2,000 feet. Flying consisted of sector recco, local and ZZ approaches plus formation flying and cine gun.
Thursday, 31 December, 1942
Weather: visibility 12 miles all day and no low cloud. The Squadron finished off the year with slightly more than 40 hours for the day, making a good total considering all of the very poor weather. The highlight of the day was a Squadron formation practice and a beat-up with 4 ‘Whimpys’ taking part. There was also some air to air firing and local flying done today.
Personnel and Flying Times for December 1942
No. of Officers – Flying 13 1
No. of Officers – Ground 6 –
No. of Airmen – Flying 12 1
No. of Officers – Ground 83 20
Operational Flying Times: 3:00
Total Non-op time:
Spitfire Day 387:40
Spitfire Night: 15:10
Tiger Moth: 3:40
Grand total for Month 409:30
Aircraft on Squadron Strength: 18 Spitfire Mk VB
1 Tiger Moth
Casualties for the Month: NIL
Accidents for the Month of December: 2