Historical Aircraft

September 1942


Tuesday, 1 September, 1942

Weather, mainly cloudy, visibility good with a moderate southwesterly wind.  No operational flying was done today.  Formation practice, tail chase and aerobatics were carried out.

Wednesday, 2 September, 1942

Weather cloudy with slight rain and moderate visibility.  Formation flying was carried out.  ‘B’ Flight returned to Catterick and ‘A’ Flight went off to West Hartlepool.

Thursday, 3 September, 1942

Weather was cloudy with showers and moderate to good visibility.  BBC recording engineers visited Catterick to obtain recordings of Spitfires in flight, for which our aircraft gave them the necessary co-operation during the afternoon.

Friday, 4 September, 1942

Weather, mainly cloudy with good visibility all day.  Practice flying was carried out and there were two scrambles of 2 aircraft each from West Hartlepool.  The first took off at 1325 hours and landed at 1430 hours and the second was up at 1340 hours.  No enemy aircraft were seen.

Saturday, 5 September, 1942

Weather, 9/10ths cloud at 1,800 feet with considerable amounts at 600 to 800 feet during the morning with intermittent slight rain and mist.  The weather generally improved in the early evening, being fine with no low cloud.  No operational flying was done today with only practice flying carried out in the evening.  P/O JAW Gunn and P/O JT Murchison were posted from 412 Squadron to us wef 5-9-42.

Sunday, 6 September, 1942

Weather, partly cloudy with slight showers and good visibility.  At 1138 hours, Blue Section (P/O C.F. Magwood and Sgt C.A. Jackson) scrambled to intercept an approaching hostile raid and ‘A’ Flight from West Hartlepool was also ordered up.  No enemy aircraft were seen and the boys, after patrolling at 30,000 feet, returned thoroughly frozen!  Word was afterward received that a Typhoon Squadron from Acklington had shot down two JU 88s.  Formation practice flying was carried out during the afternoon.  S/L AC Deere paid a visit to the Squadron, bringing with him the combat films of the Dieppe show, which were shown to the pilots in the Station Intelligence Office.

Monday, 7 September, 1942

Weather cloudy all day with moderate to heavy rain.  Some formation flying was done during the morning.  P/O J.T. Murchison and P/O J. Gunn arrived on posting from 412 Squadron and P/O N.R .Fowlow and F/L C. Black both went on leave; the former going to London to replace kit that he lost when he baled out into the sea off of Malta and the later to work on a farm in Kent.  W/O R. Taylor went to the Air Ministry to be interviewed for a commission.

Tuesday, 8 September, 1942

Weather cloudy, visibility good with moderate West winds that were, at times gusty.  Practice formation flying and dog fighting were carried out by the Squadron.

Wednesday, 9 September, 1942

Weather, just a trace of cloud at 3,000 to 4,000 feet and good visibility.  Practice formation flying was done during the morning and, in the afternoon; ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights joined in a practice Squadron formation flight.

Thursday, 10 September, 1942

Weather, fog till 0800 hours and no low cloud.  There was good visibility for the remainder of the day.  Black Section carried out a practice during the morning in readiness for the tank beat-up that is arranged for tomorrow.  Squadron formation was flown in the afternoon.  S/L Harris, Liaison Officer to the Battle School, visited to discuss with F/L C.V. Hill the beat-up fixed for tomorrow.  P/S HS Anderson returned from the Medical Board at Edinburgh and is off operational flying for three months (until December 8th).  P/O J. Hawkins was posted to 412 Squadron on completing 25 hours with 403 Squadron.  Sgt C.F. Sorensen left for embarkation leave prior to his posting.

Friday, 11 September, 1942

Weather, partly cloudy all day with a base at 2,500 to 4,000 feet.  Black Section, consisting of F/L C.V. Hill, P/O N.R. Fowlow, P/O C. Magwood and P/O H.S. Anderson, took off at 1055 hours to do the beat-up on the tanks belonging to the school of Infantry at Bernard Castle.  Machine guns only were used and the attacks were made no lower than 300 feet.  F/L Hill reported a successful attack with smoke being seen to come from one tank that collided with another.  S/L AC Deere, who had intended to observe this operation from the air, was unfortunately delayed and arrived late with the AOC in a Moth just before lunch.  A very enjoyable dance was held in the Officer’s Mess this evening.  It was also intended as a farewell to the Station Commander, G/C Ecles, and speeches were made in his honour, including a very short and amusing one from S/L AC Deere.  A number of the boys from 410 Squadron at Scorton attended and a good time was had by all until the small hours.  F/O J. Wiejski left on two days leave.

Saturday, 12 September, 1942

Weather fair to cloudy with early morning fog.  There was no cloud at first then 4/10ths to 10/10ths formed at 1,500 to 3,000 feet and the visibility varied from 600 yards to 4 miles.  F/O C.M. Magwood and Sgt A. Thomas flew to Matlack, Norfolk, in the Magister and Sgt Thomas brought the aircraft back by himself in the afternoon.  Sgt M.K. Fletcher was up for 55 minutes during the afternoon and this amounted to the total flying that was done today.  Several of the pilots of ‘A’ Flight who had come over yesterday for the dance were unable to return to West Hartlepool on account of bad weather between the two aerodromes which was right down to the deck.  S/L Deere had to turn back due to the weather conditions and made his return to Group headquarters by train.  F/L Don Carlson (Canadian Padre) went on seven days leave.

Sunday, 13 September, 1942

Weather, mainly cloudy with 6/10ths to 9/10ths at 3,000 to 4,000 feet and very good visibility.  Practice flying was carried out which included formation, tail chases, Halifax beat-ups and cine gun practice.  P/O H.S. Anderson went off to Wittering for the Blind Approach Course.

Monday, 14 September, 1942

Weather, heavy ground haze all day, which restricted flying to approaches at Scorton by single aircraft.  Sgt C.F. Sorensen went to Group Headquarters for a commissioning interview.  P/O Olmsted is at the Catterick hospital for the next five days.  Sgt Jackson is posted to 402 Squadron on completion of 25 hours with 403.

Tuesday, 15 September, 1942

Weather, clear all day.  18 air firing sorties were carried out by ‘A’ Flight in the morning at West Hartlepool. At 1415 hours, the Squadron did formation practice for one hour over West Hartlepool.  ‘B’ Flight had a full day, formation cine gun, and approaches, the latter by S/L Ford and F/L Hill.  Sgt J Hawket was confined to Fencote Hall for several days due to a slight injury that he incurred in a bus accident.

Wednesday, 16 September, 1942

Weather, 6/10ths and another good flying day.  ‘A’ Flight carried out six air firing sorties.  One section also did cine gun and dog fights.  ‘B’ Flight did 20 sorties in the morning, including formation and cine gun.  No operational sorties were made by either flight.

Thursday, 17 September, 1942

Weather clear and warm with 4/10ths cloud.  Air firing was carried out at West Hartlepool. No scrambles were ordered and 26 sorties were flown for 25:20 hours from Catterick including cine gun, approaches and dog fighting.  Sgt C.F. Sorensen was granted his commission and was advised by telephone to go to London in time to acquire his new uniform etc before leaving for Overseas.  F/O C.M. Magwood left for Sutton Bridge for a one-month course in Gunnery Leader instruction.  The good news was received that S/L L.S. Ford has been awarded the Bar to his DFC as a result of the fine leadership he showed at Dieppe.  F/L O’Leary entered the Catterick military hospital today for observation.

Friday, 18 September, 1942

Weather, clear in the morning, changing to 5/10ths cloud by night.  General flying was done by both flights.  An Army beat-up by one section of ‘A’ Flight went off at 1300 hours near Bernard Castle.  The section consisted of P/O K.F. Marshal and P/O R. Wozniak.  At 1500 hours, four attacks were made on Halifaxes above Topcliffe by pre-arrangement.  Lord Trenchard, Marshall of the Royal Air Force visited Catterick today, stayed for lunch and gave an interesting talk to the pilots and NCOs in the lecture Room at 1400 hours.  His enthusiasm over the Royal Air Force and his confidence in attaining the ultimate victory were reflected in his remarks.  The Squadron dance was held at the cinema at 2000 hours.  Around 400 attended.  It was the first Squadron dance ever held at Catterick and it was an unqualified success.

Saturday, 19 September, 1942

Weather 4/10ths to 8/10ths cloud around 3,000 to 4,000 feet.  Air firing was done most of the day at West Hartlepool, interrupted only by the Squadron Formation practice held from 1415 to 1455 hours.  ‘A’ Flight carried out aerobatics, local flying formation breaks and attacks.

Sunday, 20 September, 1942

Cumulus cloud was on the ground all day with intermittent rain and fog.  All flying and other activity was suspended for the day and the Army exercise at Northallerton was cancelled.

Monday, 21 September, 1942

A full day of flying was done by both flights with the weather clearing during the day.  General flying included air firing at West Hartlepool, cine gun, dog fights section attacks and approaches which were carried out by ‘A’ Flight at Scorton.

Tuesday, 22 September, 1942

Weather 5/10ths to 10/10ths cloud at 4,000 feet.  20 air firing sorties were carried out by ‘B’ Flight.  ‘A’ Flight did some formation, cine gun and local flying as well as a flight in affiliation with two Wellingtons from Dishforth at 1100 hours.  In some obscure manner, one of the Wellingtons collided with a Spitfire piloted by Sgt John Norman at about 3,000 feet near Pickering.  The tail section of the Spit was torn off and what appeared to be the gun turret from the Wellington was seen falling away.  All five crewmembers of the Wellington and Sgt Norman were killed instantly when both aircraft crashed out of control.  All will be buried at Dishforth.

Wednesday, 23 September, 1942

Weather 5/10ths to 10/10ths cumulus cloud at 3,000 to 4,000 feet.  Twenty air firing sorties were flown out of West Hartlepool.  Aerobatics, formation and cine gun were flown by ‘A’ Flight with attacks carried out on three Halifaxes at 1200 hours.  Sgt Fletcher went to Newcastle today for an interview regarding his possible commissioning.

Thursday, 24 September, 1942

Weather 6/10ths to 10/10ths cloud at 4,000 feet and rain squalls late in the day.  It was generally cold and disagreeable today.  Routine flying consisted of air firing, drogue towing approaches, formation and aerobatics.  Affiliation flying with Halifaxes were done at 1200 hours.  At approximately 1100 hours, Sgt Ken Root, who was carrying out flying exercises near Bernard Castle, apparently went into a spin from 5,000 feet and crashed into the side of a cliff at the edge of the river.  The aircraft was written off and Sgt Root was instantly killed.  It has been an unfortunate week for the Squadron, as both Norman and Root were not only pilots of the type that the service can ill afford to lose, but each had the cheerful and friendly temperament so necessary in keeping the Squadron morale at a high level.

Friday, 25 September, 1942

Weather 10/10ths cumulus clouds all day with very poor visibility and intermittent rain and mist.  All flying activities were suspended today.  Sgt Norman was buried at Dishforth this morning, together with the five crewmembers of the Wellington who were killed in the same accident.  F/L Carlson and a group of pilots from 403 Squadron attended the service.

A court of inquiry has been held to determine, if possible, the cause of the collision.  P/O J. Long, Squadron Intelligence Officer, has been taking an Aircraft Recognition Course on the Isle of Man for the past week.  On his return to Catterick, he has taken ill and his return will be delayed for about a week.

Saturday, 26 September, 1942

Weather 5/10ths to 8/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet in the morning, developing into heavy ground haze and fog by the evening.  It was a routine day at West Hartlepool with air firing, aerobatics, cloud flying and no scrambles.  There was restricted activity at Catterick with a weather test and some local flying.  Sgt Root was buried in Catterick cemetery at 1000 hours.  F/L O’Leary was in charge of the parade and 403 Squadron supplied the bearer party.  F/L Carlson conducted the service.

Sunday, 27 September, 1942

An excellent flying day as the weather was clear and warm with a slight breeze from the NE.  Air firing and local flying was done at West Hartlepool.  ‘A’ Flight carried out local flying , aerobatics and approaches.  At 1115 and 1230 hours, two sections affiliated with Army and Civilian authorities at North Allerton to do a beat-up of ground forces.  Affiliation flying was also conducted with a Halifax between 1530 and 1645 hours.

Monday, 28 September, 1942

Weather, heavy ground haze during the morning, which cleared sufficiently to allow for local flying in the afternoon.  Showers started shortly after dark.  All of the RAF personnel on strength of the Squadron were trade tested for reclassification.

Tuesday, 29 September, 1942

Weather, quite foggy in the early morning, lifting around 1030 hours with a wind of 5 to 10 mph from the East.  It was about 7/10ths overcast during most of the day.  ‘A’ Flight moved to West Hartlepool and ‘B’ Flight to Catterick.

Wednesday, 30 September, 1942

Weather, heavy ground haze most of the day with a little cloud at about 4,000 feet.  Activity was restricted to local flying in the afternoon only.

Summary for the Month of September 1942

Flying                Establishment-Air Crew    Ground Crew

RCAF    Others    RCAF    Others
Scrambles    15:00 hours    Officers – 13         2        4    1
Total Ops    15:00 hours    Airmen –  13        nil        98    35
Magister     20:10 hours
Non-Ops    648:00 hours
Total        684:00 hours