Historical Aircraft

November 1944


Wednesday, 1 November, 1944

After getting nicely settled in to our billets, we hear that we will be moving again very shortly to a neighbouring airfield.  So that means packing up and getting things organized again.

Thursday, 2 November, 1944

We are really getting in some 3-ton truck time in these last days.  Everything is so far dispersed, between the billets, mess and dispersal, that we spend quite a lot of time just getting around.

Friday, 3 November, 1944

Well after a great deal of flap and talk, we moved to our new airfield today and now we are more dispersed than ever before.  Not very much flying these days, just the odd cover for Mitchells as duff weather precludes much flying.

Saturday, 4 November, 1944

Our new billet is really good.  It is situated in a modern house on the outskirts of Brussels and we really intend to make a real place of it.  We are going to set up a bar, scrounge some furniture and make our home there until further notice, which we hope, won’t happen for quite some time.

Sunday, 5 November, 1944

After our experiences in Holland, Brussels seems like paradise, being able to hop in there every night after working hours and have a good time and last but not least a hot bath.

Monday, 6 November, 1944

It seems as if this place is ‘Fly-bomb alley’, we hear them go over at all times of the day and night.  There is generally a rush to the windows if one is heard to see if one can see it.  After seeing some of them shot down by the ack-ack boys and feeling the blast of the explosion, we’re quite happy to see them pass over our heads and continue on their way.

Tuesday, 7 November, 1944

It gets more like winter every day; we certainly don’t envy the boys up front out in weather like this.  Rumour has it that we’re going to have a house warming party this coming Monday night and a party for the ‘Erks’ the following Friday.

Wednesday, 8 November, 1944

Dirty weather prevented us from flying today and it’s darn cold out too.  It has been raining and snowing alternately all day.

Thursday, 9 November, 1944

We finally managed to get off on an escort job today, but it was damn cold.  We escorted the plane conveying the Grand Duke of Luxembourg up to Luxembourg Airfield.  Talk about rain and mud; we had quite a time getting down on the field and a much worse time getting off.

Friday, 10 November, 1944

Dirty weather again was responsible for calling off a show again today, so the time was spent playing Bridge and scrounging furniture and things for our new home.

Saturday, 11 November, 1944

We really got into some heavy flak today while on two escort jobs over the Rhur Valley, or as it is better known ‘Happy Valley’.  Now we now what the bombers boys have been going through.

Sunday, 12 November, 1944

Everybody is in a flap rushing around getting things set for our house warming party to be held at our new billets tomorrow night.  So far we’ve managed to scrounge a goodly supply of liquor and we also hope to be able to get some eats for the night.

Monday, 13 November, 1944

What a party, there isn’t a sober person present at nine o’clock and the night is still young.  I can see some big heads in the morning and also the party carrying on until morning.

Tuesday, 14 November, 1944

We were supposed to go off on a leaflet dropping effort this afternoon but due to dirty weather we were unable to get off.  Perhaps it’s just as well because a lot of the boys are still suffering from the effects of last night, which was really a bang-up party.

Wednesday, 15 November, 1944

There was no flying again today because of dirty weather.  If this keeps up it’s going to take an awful long time for some of the boys to finish a tour of Ops.  As usual, the boys headed for their favorite hang-out after working hours, namely the local pub near the billets and spent the evening playing cards and drinking.

Thursday, 16 November, 1944

Same thing today with dirty weather and no flying, so we spent the day in the mess in a state of readiness in case the weather let up enough to get some patrols off.

Friday, 17 November, 1944

Finally we managed to get off in a couple of patrols this morning before the weather closed in again.  Both patrols turned out to be very uneventful despite intense flak.

Saturday, 18 November, 1944

One patrol and one leaflet dropping effort was the sum total of our flying today.  After work a bunch of the lads got together for the inevitable crap games and bridge while others headed for the local.

Sunday, 19 November, 1944

Things are buzzing with activity as the party for the Squadron ‘Erks’ draws closer.  The date has been set for this coming Wednesday at a local dance hall which, at present, has been taken over by the Royal Canadian Legion.  It is expected to be a gala affair as it’s been quite some time since the pilots and the ‘Erks’ have gotten together for a binge.

Monday, 20 November, 1944

No flying today as the weather has been against us.  The day was spent playing bridge in the mess, writing letters and the odd few jobs that needed to be done around the billet were taken care of.

Tuesday, 21 November, 1944

Everything is all set for the big party tomorrow night.  I hope that it comes up to our expectations and the ‘Erks’ have a good time.  Patrols were the flying effort put in today and very uneventful they were too.

Wednesday, 22 November, 1944

Well tonight is the night for the big party; all of the boys are getting shined p in anticipation of making good impressions on some of the Belgian girls who will be there and others are getting all set for a good binge.

Thursday, 23 November, 1944

What heads some of the lads have this morning and what a time they had last night.  There were bags of beer, eats, women and a good time was had by all.

Friday, 24 November, 1944

After raining incessantly all day which, prevented us from flying, we finally got back to the billets and decided to get a good nights sleep to make up for the lack of one the night before.

Saturday, 25 November, 1944

Today saw three of the old-timers of the Squadron finish their Tour.  This included our CO, S/L Wood, who has now finished two tours of Ops, F/L Orr, ‘B’ Flight Commander, and F/L Hill, the 2i/c for ‘A’ Flight.

Sunday, 26 November, 1944

Our new CO, S/L Collier, formerly ‘A’ Flight Commander, took over his new duties and this choice has the approval of all of the boys as we feel that Jim Collier will make a good CO.  F/L Reeves assumes the duties of ‘A’ Flight Commander while ‘Cap’ Foster of 421 Squadron takes over the duties of ‘B’ Flight Commander.  ‘Cap’, by the way, did his first tour with 403 Squadron.

Monday, 27 November, 1944

Rumour has it that we will be going to England soon to re-equip with Spitfire Mk XVIs.  Good Show.  We can hardly wait to get our hands on those new kites.  A party is in the offing for our former CO, S/L Wood, before he leaves for England.

Tuesday, 28 November, 1944

Two patrols of six kites; each was the sum total flying effort today and very uneventful as nothing was seen.  The weather for the remainder of the day made flying impossible and this resulted in the usual Bridge games in the mess to pass the time away.

Wednesday, 29 November, 1944

The usual front line patrols again today, which were uneventful.  On Saturday we go to England to pick up our new kites.

Thursday, 30 November, 1944

Tomorrow night is a big night again, this time a party for the former CO and it sounds as if it’s going to be a gala affair according to all reports and by the amount of liquor being bought for the said do.  The health of the Squadron remains at its same high level.

403 Squadron Establishment and Flying Times for Month of November 1944

RCAF        USA Personnel        RAF
No. of Officers – Flying    24    Nil    Nil
No. of Officers – Ground    2    Nil    Nil
No. of Airmen – Flying    3    Nil    Nil
No. of Airmen – Ground    11    1        2

Flying Times for the Month

Operational:         303:25
Non-Operational:    11:55     (day)
Non-Operational:    Nil    (night)
Auster III:        _     Nil
Total    315:20

Aircraft on Squadron Strength:     17 Spitfire Mk IX B
ML177    MJ387    MK628    NK315    NH263    NH758
MJ444    MJ664    MK228    MK251    MK695    MJ752
MH486    MK764    MK947    MJ187    MJ388

Our Casualties for the Month: Nil
Enemy Casualties: Nil