Historical Aircraft

July 1944


Saturday, 1 July, 1944


There were no highlights in the days flying today.  F/L Finley, ‘B’ Flight Commander and F/L Logan finished their tour of Ops today.  We received two new Pilots, Sgt Campbell and F/O O’Kelly; welcome chaps.


Sunday, 2 July, 1944


We started the day off with a bombing do with good results.  A few hours later, the Squadron was sent off on a patrol and for the first time in ages and we ran into about 40 ME 109s.  When the show was all over and we counted up, we found that the nine aircraft of the Squadron that took off, six ME 109s were shot down with six damaged and without the loss of one of our aircraft, nor even a scratch for that matter.  F/L Lindsay got three of them; F/L Gordon one, F/L MacKenzie one and F/L Hill one F/O Greene shared one.  Our CO, S/L Wood got 3 damaged, F/L MacKenzie damaged another as did F/O F.W. Thompson and Gordon.  Tally –ho!


Monday, 3 July, 1944


Early readiness and rain was the order for today.  We did manage to get a sweep in later on but it was uneventful.


Tuesday, 4 July, 1944


Early readiness again at the unheard of hour of four AM.  After considerable waiting six aircraft were sent off on a patrol but again the same old story of nothing doing on Jerry’s part.  After dinner, another patrol was sent out and still nothing was seen.


Wednesday, 5 July, 1944


It rained again today, which it always seems to be doing.  We did manage to get airborne after dinner and we ran into 12 FW 190s but sadly, old Jerry made such good use of cloud cover that we could only manage two damaged.


Thursday, 6 July, 1944


Patrols, patrols, and more patrols were what we flew from dawn to dusk.  Not a Hun to be seen anywhere as we patrolled between Bayeaux and Cherbourg.


Friday, 7 July, 1944


Today Sir Archibald Sinclair and Sir Charles Portal, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, visited with us at Intelligence.  After a round of handshaking and such we were told what a wonderful job we were doing, then to round the day off we did armed recces with very little to report.  Several hundred Lancasters really plastered Caen this evening.


Saturday, 8 July, 1944


After being called up at 0530 hours this morning and placed on 15 minutes readiness, we finally managed to get off on an armed recce at about 10 o’clock only to return without having fired our guns.  Three more armed recces finished off the days flying with practically the same results.  Caen is still smoking from the pounding it got last night.


Sunday, 9 July, 1944


Once again it was early to rise.  We now have a system worked out for this early rising which will mean that we won’t have to get up so early so often.  The flying for the day again proved rather dull and uneventful.


Monday, 10 July, 1944


We got the day off today and, in the future, should get one day off in nine (or so they say).  So nearly everybody decided to go up to the front line, namely Caen.  The result is that we now have the best-furnished Dispersal on the Airfield.


Tuesday, 11 July, 1944


Today we saw the departure of one of the oldest members of the Squadron. F/L Gordon, whose tour of Ops finished today.  We were up very early and the day started with a bang on a bombing do.  Due to the cloud being so low, a secondary target was chosen and once the bombs were away, we carried out a sweep at deck level, which didn’t prove to be very exciting outside of a few hot flak places.  The remainder of the day was spent in Intelligence and dodging the showers that passed through.


Wednesday, 12 July, 1944


Bayeux to Cherbourg; the good old milk run once again.  It was just backwards and forwards all day long.  Good, safe operational time for anyone who want it that way but otherwise very dull and monotonous.


Thursday, 13 July, 1944


After the milk run yesterday, an armed recce at 1930 hours this evening gave us a chance to blow off some steam.  Old Jerry paid by having some of his precious transport shot up and destroyed.


Friday, 14 July, 1944


An armed recce flown at 1400 hours was a rather unfortunate and costly affair for we lost one of our boys, F/O Don Shapter to Hun Flak.  Then again at 2000 hours we set off on another armed recce and WO1 Powers, who has only been with us a very short while, had his engine pack up and was last seen near Cauont.  Two lost in one day isn’t very good going.


Saturday, 15 July, 1944


Today, we did not get off the deck until 2100 hours on another armed recce.  Nothing much was seen other than lots of flak.


Sunday, 16 July, 1944


Today we really made up for our loss of two days ago as we really got into the Hun this time.  We set off on an armed recce at about 0700 hours and at 0810 hours we ran into two gaggles of 50 plus ME 109s.  F/L MacKenzie added two more ME 109s to his score, one ME 109 went to F/L Collier, two ME 109s and one probably destroyed went to F/O Boyle and 1 ME 109 probably destroyed and one damaged went to F/O Garland.  What a lovely day but in the melee, F/O O’Kelly, new to the Squadron, went missing and was last seen about eight miles East of Fleurs.


Monday, 17 July, 1944


Only one show today, which took off at about 1600 hours.  We went off on an armed recce after dropping bombs on a railway and bridge near Sourdeval.  A lone Jerry had enough nerve to attack us out of the sun, swoop down on F/L Commerford who was lagging a little.  Jerry shot up and slightly wounded F/L Commerford before he dived for the nearest cloud cover and made off.


Tuesday, 18 July, 1944


Seven do’s today but just the good old milk run over the front lines.  Hardly anything was seen except this morning when the Lancasters really pounded Jerry.


Wednesday, 19 July, 1944


Patrols and more patrols.  In the afternoon, F/O Thompson, who was leading a section of six aircraft in the vicinity of Isgny, was shot up and slightly wounded.  Three others in his section were also shot up and had to force land, without injury.  The two remaining aircraft of the section made it back to base, one of which was shot up pretty badly, and all by American flak.  Those guys must be really twitchy.


Thursday, 20 July, 1944


We had the day off so we spent the time getting ourselves cleaned up and writing letters.


Friday, 21 July, 1944


The weather was really duff so we are in luck again today.  It is so wet and miserable outside that we spent the day in the mess playing cards and loafing around in general.



Saturday, 22 July, 1944


We were up bright and early this morning, at least four of us were at any rate, to go off on the god old milk run again.  This was followed by two more patrols and a scramble in which 20 aircraft were seen and were believed to be Jerry but we could not get close enough to tell.  And so ended another day.


Sunday, 23 July, 1944


Another day spent in flying patrols.  Nothing seen.


Monday, 24 July, 1944


A welcome change today with three armed recces.  Some MET was seen and shot up.  F/L MacKenzie and F/L Lindsay are now nearing the end of their respective tours and expect to finish at the end of the month.


Tuesday, 25 July, 1944


We flew the good old milk run again and then finished up on an armed recce at approx 1617 hours.  There was lots of flak around Mezidon and we saw some Jerry transport on the roads, which we proceeded to shoot up.


Wednesday, 26 July, 1944


Three armed recces today and not very much MET seen.  There was some intense and accurate light flak encountered around T.7523.


Thursday, 27 July, 1944


One armed recce was carried out today in the morning and then there were three front line patrols followed by six high Eastern patrols.  Just the milk run again, all the patrols were uneventful.


Friday, 28 July, 1944


There were two front line patrols in the morning which both proved uneventful.  In the evening the Squadron went out on an armed recce.  It too was uneventful.


Saturday, 29 July, 1944


Six High Eastern Patrols were carried out by this Squadron today and they all proved to be uneventful.  The weather has been quite good lately and everyone is enjoying the sunlight for a change.  Though when the airfield is quite dry the dust raised by the aircraft when they take off is quite heavy.


Sunday, 30 July, 1944


Early in the morning, the Squadron was on a bomber support and patrol which was uneventful as most of our patrols have been for some time.  In the afternoon, an armed recce was carried out but none of our aircraft fired their guns as there was not much seen.


Monday, 31 July, 1944


Our only operation was an armed recce today; the other Squadron carried bombs on this one and bombed a train at bridge U.7844 scoring near misses.  More sunlight was being absorbed by everyone yesterday and some of the ground crews went swimming in the sea.  The health of the Squadron has been very good this month with was only one admission to the hospital, which was for less than a seven-day period.



403 Squadron Establishment and Flying Times for Month of July 1944


RCAF             USA Personnel            RAF

No. of Officers – Flying            21                            Nil                      Nil

No. of Officers – Ground            2                            Nil                      Nil

No. of Airmen – Flying               5                            Nil                      Nil

No. of Airmen – Ground             7                             1                         2


Flying Times for the Month


Operational:                                   898:40

Non-Operational:                             28:35 (day)

Non-Operational:                                 Nil (night)

Auster III:                                     _     Nil

Total                       927:15



Aircraft on Squadron Strength:          21 Spitfire Mk IX B

ML262            MK693            MJ953             MJ237             MK730            ML411

MK918            MJ348             MJ784             MK628            ML183            MK695

MK964            MJ955             MK780            MK810            MJ752             MJ664

MK299            MJ187             MH779


1 Auster III MJ 667


Our Casualties for the Month:            14-7-44 F/O D.J. Shapter – missing

14-7-44 WO1 W.C. Powers – missing

16-7-44 F/O M.B. O’Kelly – missing



Enemy Casualties:                  2-7-44 1 ME 109 destroyed F/L MacKenzie

2-7-44 1 ME 109 destroyed F/L MacKenzie

2-7-44 3 ME 109 destroyed F/L Lindsay

2-7-44 1 ME 109 destroyed F/L Gordon

2-7-44 1 ME 109 destroyed F/L Hill and F/O Greene


2-7-44 1ME 109 Probably destroyed and 2 ME 109

damaged S/L Wood

2-7-44 1 ME 109 Damaged F/O Thompson

2-7-44 1 ME 109 damaged F/L MacKenzie

2-7-44 1 ME 109 damaged F/L Gordon

5-7-44 1 FW 190 damaged by F/O Orr

5-7-44 1 FW 190 damaged by F/L Lindsay

16-7-44 2 ME 109 destroyed 1 probably

destroyed by F/O Boyle

16-7-44 2 ME 109 destroyed by F/L MacKenzie

16-7-44 1 ME 109 destroyed F/L Collier

16-7-44 1 ME 109 probably destroyed 1 ME 109

damaged F/O Garland