Historical Aircraft

December 1944


Friday, 1 December, 1944

All the boys are excited today.  We are leaving for England to pick up our new kites and we are anxious to find out what they are like.  It’s a pretty sure guess that we’ll be the first Canadian Fighter Squadron to be equipped with these brand new Spitters.

Saturday, 2 December, 1944

Some of the lads left for England yesterday afternoon and the remainder leave today.  We don’t expect to get back Sunday as it will be a good chance to have a good thrash with all the boys together in England for the first time since October.

Sunday, 3 December, 1944

The lads are still away in England.  The place seems sort of deserted now.

Monday, 4 December, 1944

The Squadron came back today and from all reports, the new Spitfires are about the best in anything.  The next thing now is to try them out on ops.  With their improved armament they should be able to blast anything out of the sky in short order.

Tuesday, 5 December, 1944

A show was scheduled for today to try out our new kites but owing to duff weather it was impossible to do.  It will be quite a do and a bad day for Jerry if the boys ever get after him, as they are just raring to go.

Wednesday, 6 December, 1944

No entry.

Thursday, 7 December, 1944

Today saw another veteran of 403 Squadron finish a tour.  F/O Bob Greene has been with the Squadron almost as long as the Adj and he’s been here a hell of a long time.  Good luck Bob and lets see you back with us again for another go at thrashing the Hun in the Western skies.

Friday, 8 December, 1944

First blood to the new Spitfires fell to the guns of F/L Foster, who blasted a ME109 out of the sky in short order this afternoon while on a sweep over Munster.  The other boys got themselves a few trains and transport.  Let’s go 403.

Saturday, 9 December, 1944

After a good show yesterday when we did get into the Hun, duff weather made flying impossible today.  After sitting around in the mess for a while, we were finally released and most of the lads headed for their favourite haunts.

Sunday, 10 December, 1944

We did two shows today and, on returning from the first one, we shot up anything and everything that was moving and also shot up a large factory in the vicinity of Enschede.  We hugged the deck all of the way back to base.  Both sweeps were uneventful.

Monday, 11 December, 1944

Today was to start out with a sweep in the Munster area but the weather made it an abortive effort so we returned to base and sat around for the rest of the day playing the inevitable games of bridge.

Tuesday, 12 December, 1944

The only show today was a two-aircraft escort for a VIP to B78.  The weather, as usual, made further flying impossible.  We played host to a couple of Mustang boys who were forced down at our airfield.  They had been mixing it with Jerry and one of them, F/O Edwards, shot down two ME 109s and damaged a further two.

Wednesday, 13 December, 1944

We welcomed our new Doc to the Squadron today, F/L ‘George’ Carson, who is replacing F/L ‘Doc’ Munroe who left us quite some time ago to go back to England.  Doc Carson hails from Kingston Ontario and, like his predecessor, is a very welcome addition to the Squadron.

Thursday, 14 December, 1944

Duff weather prevented any flying today.  Later in the afternoon, the boys were released for the day and some of them went into town for dinner and a spot of dancing.

Friday, 15 December, 1944

One Fighter sweep of the Rhine area was all of the flying we did today; it proved to be very uneventful and the weather closed in again after we landed.

Saturday, 16 December, 1944

We welcomed another second tour type to the Squadron today, F/O Jack McLeod.  Jack did his first tour with a sister Squadron of the airfield, namely 416 Squadron and, after having a spot of leave at home, returned to our Squadron for his second go at thrashing the Hun in the western skies.  Duff weather prevented us from flying again.

Sunday, 17 December, 1944

What weather, still no flying again today.  Oh for some of the glorious weather we had back in the days when everyone used to give us the date as ‘D Day’ plus something.  This sitting around waiting for good weather is getting rather monotonous.

Monday, 18 December, 1944

The weather cleared sufficiently enough for us to do two patrols today, both of which proved very uneventful.  Evidently the Hun has heard that the “wolf’ Squadron has been equipped with the new type Spitters and is afraid to come up and fight it out.  One good day at Jerry’s kites and the whole Luftwaffe would have to quit.

Tuesday, 19 December, 1944

It’s so foggy out today that even the birds are walking or, at the very least, getting homings.  The fog shows no signs of lifting so there won’t be any flying today.  Good news!  We are going again to England on a dive-bombing course, the sign of things to come.  This time, both the Adj and his clerk are coming with us.  It’ll be the first time off the continent for both of them since arriving here on ‘D Day’ plus 10.

Wednesday, 20 December, 1944

And still the fog persists, no flying once again today.  We spent the day in the mess playing bridge and other card games.  In the evening, some of the brighter sparks of the Squadron went down to town for a little excitement.

Thursday, 21 December, 1944

And here we are still sitting around waiting for the fog to clear and thinking of Christmas which is only four days away.  We’ve got another party planned for Xmas eve.  We wish we could be home for this one but then, in all probability, we will be home for the next and what a time we will have.

Friday, 22 December, 1944

It’s still as foggy as ever and again no flying was done today.  The day was spent playing the inevitable bridge games and some of the brighter spirits went off on a search for spirits for the Xmas eve do.

Saturday, 23 December, 1944

The fog lifted today for the first time in three days and enabled us to get off on a couple of shows which were welcomed by one and all after sitting around for so long.

Sunday, 24 December, 1944

Here it is the day before Xmas.  We managed to get off on a couple of efforts today, the weather being ideal except for a slight ground haze.  Both trips proved to be very uneventful.  After a few drinks in the Mess the lads all departed to their various places of amusement for the evening as the party planned for this evening has been postponed.

Monday, 25 December, 1944

Christmas day and what a day of excitement for this Squadron.  First of all there was the entertainment in the Mess of all of the Senior NCOs then the helping to serve the Airmen’s Christmas Dinner.  Lastly, but by no means the least, our C/O, S/L Collier, destroyed a ME 262 while on a patrol this afternoon.  Quite an Xmas present.  We are not bragging any either but we are almost sure that this is the first Jet Job to be shot down in single combat by any Squadron.  Other ‘Jet Jobs’ have been shot down previously but through the combined efforts of a number of planes and this one was shot done by the CO in a single effort.

Tuesday, 26 December, 1944

The day after Xmas and there are quite a few thick heads around today, but the bigger part of the pilots really did not do much celebrating as they had to be on deck for any show that may come up so most of them contented themselves with a few drinks and an early night.

Wednesday, 27 December, 1944

Tomorrow we were scheduled to leave for England on a dive-bombing course but word was received today that it has been postponed until 3rd January 1945.  Quite a lot of disappointment was created by this news as a lot of the boys were hoping to be able to spend New Years Eve in England.

Thursday, 28 December, 1944

Ground fog and ice kept us on the ground all day.  The day was spent in playing bridge and waiting for the fog to lift but it seemed to get heavier than ever in the late afternoon.  It was so thick that it was impossible to ride home in the truck and everyone had to walk.

Friday, 29 December, 1944

There was heavy fog again this morning but by midday it was lifting some.  Then, after lunch, it cleared right up and the boys thought that they would get in some flying but within a half an hour it closed down worse than before.

Saturday, 30 December, 1944

Fog again today.  This country is worse than England and that’s going some.  So the usual games of bridge were played and later on in the afternoon the lads were released.  Some of them stayed around the Mess with the remainder pushing off to town.

Sunday, 31 December, 1944

The last day of the old year.  We saw it out it style, managing to get in some flying before the boys set off to do a little celebrating.  Hope the New Year turns out to be as good as this year.  The health of the Squadron remains at its same high level.  There were 302 Operational sorties for this month.

403 Squadron Establishment and Flying Times for Month of December 1944

RCAF        USA Personnel        RAF
No. of Officers – Flying    26    Nil        Nil
No. of Officers – Ground    3    Nil        Nil
No. of Airmen – Flying    1    Nil        Nil
No. of Airmen – Ground    12    1             2

Flying Times for the Month

Operational:         29:50 Spit IXB
311:20 Spit XVI
Non-Operational:        8:10     Spit IXB (day)
38:45 Spit XVI
Non-Operational:    Nil    (night)
Auster III:        _     Nil
Total    338:05

Aircraft on Squadron Strength:     15 Spitfire Mk XVI
SM302    SM251    RR256    SM295    SM490    SM312
SM338    SM313    SM294    SM363    SM292    SM315
SM208    SM295    SM291

Our Casualties for the Month: Nil
Enemy Casualties: 1 ME 262 destroyed by S/L Collier Dec 25th 1944
1 ME 109 Destroyed by F/L Foster 8.12.44