Historical Aircraft

January 1945


Monday, 1 January, 1945

The first day of the New Year and what a way to start it off.  At about 0830 hours this morning we had a social call from Jerry in the form of about 30 aircraft which strafed the drome.  They strafed everything in sight, the aircraft, hangars, dispersals and personnel and what a mess they made of things.  They didn’t get away that easy.  Three of our kites, flown and led by P/O Steve Butte, P/O Mac Reeves and F/S Lindsay respectively were just taking off on a patrol when Jerry appeared over the drome.  Within minutes of becoming airborne, Butte shot down and destroyed three enemy aircraft, two ME 109s and one FW 190.  Mac Reeves shot down and destroyed two FW 190s and Lindsay destroyed one ME 109 and probably destroyed a further ME 109.  Considering the odds against them, it was a damn good show.

Tuesday, 2 January, 1945

A sweep of the Bruhl – Bayern area was all the flying we did today.  Tomorrow we are to leave for England to attend a dive-bombing course at RAF Warmwell; that is weather permitting.

Wednesday, 3 January, 1945

The weather didn’t look very good this morning but this afternoon it cleared sufficiently enough to permit one Dakota carrying some of the ground crew to take off.  The remainder of the Erks and the pilots will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 January, 1945

The weather cleared enough for the pilots and remaining ground crew to take off for England this morning and so here we are in England getting settled into our new quarters and getting ready to commence our course at the earliest possible moment.

Friday, 5 January, 1945

The weather today was very clear and, without ado, we got started on the course.  We can safely say that, if the weather holds good, we should get in lots of flying time.  If today is any indication of the amount of flying that we will be doing while we are here then we’re going to be too tired to get out at night.

Saturday, 6 January, 1945

A party to celebrate our arrival in England was held in the Mess last night and what a party it turned out to be.  About a third of the Erks that came over with us to service our kites managed to get away on a 48-hour pass today.  It’s quite a decent break for them as it’s the first time that they’ve been in England since going to the continent in June.

Sunday, 7 January, 1945

The course goes well and we’ve been told that if we keep up our scores, we will make a record for this course.

Monday, 8 January, 1945

Bags of flying were done today, the weather is holding good so far and instead of beating it for the nearest town at night time we’re quite glad to sit in the Mess and drink.

Tuesday, 9 January, 1945

Bags of flying again today and arrangements are being made for a party in celebration of the forthcoming marriage of F/O Mac MacLaren which is to take place this coming Saturday upon the cessation of this course.

Wednesday, 10 January, 1945

The weather holds good and to date we have made the highest score of any Squadron that completed this particular course.  Good going fellas.

Thursday, 11 January, 1945

The Adj who came over with us from Belgium managed to get away to London for a few days.  He came back today looking a little worse for the wear but nevertheless seems to have done some work in connection with some of the lads promotions. Congratulations are in order to our new F/Ls Red Thompson, Mac McLeod, Tommy Tomlinson, Reg Morris and to our new F/Os Mac Reeves and Dave Leslie.  Good work Adj.

Friday, 12 January, 1945

It was decided last night that a proper celebration be held to wet the new rings of promotion and said celebration was held last night much to the sorrow of the lads this morning.

Saturday, 13 January, 1945

The course finished today and after all of our hard work, we came out on top with the highest score yet.  All of the Squadron attended the wedding of F/O Mac McLeod this afternoon in Dorchester and afterwards the tea at the local hotel.  We think that Mac had a proper send off on his taking the big plunge.  Good luck to you and the wife Mac.

Sunday, 14 January, 1945

The Squadron took off at about 1100 hours this morning for our old stomping grounds at Brussels and, judging from some of the comments from several of the boys, they are only too glad to be going back there.  The ground crew were left at Warmwell to await the arrivals of the Dakotas that are to take them back to Brussels.

Monday, January 15, 1945

After a very uneventful flight yesterday back to the continent, we are eager to get weaving again on operations.  The ground crew are expected back some time today, weather permitting.

Tuesday, January 16, 1945

Still no ground crew have arrived and, as yet, haven’t done any flying since our return from England.

Wednesday, January 17, 1945

In the middle of a blinding snowstorm, the ground crew arrived from England today and judging from some of their comments after sitting around in England for three days waiting for transportation, they are only too glad to be back.

Thursday, January 18, 1945

We are now living on the airfield again, and after being billeted in a private home in Brussels almost ever since arriving here in November last, we find that we’d rather be in Brussels as the transportation effort in this country is pretty horrible.

Friday, January 19, 1945

Today the CO, S/L Collier recommended P/O Steve Butte for an immediate D.F.C. for the very good show he put up in front of Jerry’s effort on New Year’s day.  Congrats Steve we hope you get the gong.

Saturday, January 20, 1945

A sweep of the Munster area this morning of 12 kites was our only flying effort today and then the weather closed down making further flying impossible.  P/O Leslie returned today from two weeks sick leave, the aftermath of catching a severe cold.

Sunday, January 21, 1945

The weather again prevented us from doing much flying today, but however we did manage to get off on a combined fighter sweep and armed recce early this afternoon, it proved very uneventful and all our aircraft returned safely to base.  F/L Gilmartin is off today for seven days leave in the U.K.  Gilmartin, by the way, is the Squadron’s funnyman, and if anything should happen to him we’d feel pretty much lost.

Monday, January 22, 1945

Two fighter sweeps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and an escort VIP to England was the sum total of our efforts for today.  On the fighter sweep this afternoon, the lads on the sweep saw the vapour trails of about six V.2’s, and also shot up a locomotive.  All six kites had a go at the engine and it must have been left pretty much of a wreck after they’d finished with it.

Tuesday, January 23, 1945

The weather was very kind to us today and we managed to do quite a bit of flying.  All very uneventful shows outside of the first one this afternoon when the kites ran into quite a bit of flak over Stadkuyl area, wounding P/O Chuck Shannon slightly in the rear end and in the arm.  He did manage to get his kite back to base and landed OK.  Tough luck Chuck.

Wednesday, January 24, 1945


Thursday, January 25, 1945


Friday, January 26, 1945

The weather closed in again which resulted in no flying for the day.  The boys spent the time playing the inevitable games of bridge in the mess and attending the odd lecture on identification of enemy armoured fighting vehicles.

Saturday, January 27, 1945

The weather, if anything, is worse than ever today and the boys are getting a little browned off with the inactivity.  Some of the brighter spirits went into town for the evening and came back slightly more hilarious than when they left.

Sunday, January 28, 1945

Duff weather again prevented us from doing any flying, but the best news of the day was the notification of the award of an immediate D.F.C. to P/O Steve Butte for his outstanding show on New Year’s day when Jerry decided to pay us a visit.  Good show Steve and congratulations for a well-earned gong.

Monday, January 29, 1945

What a war, no flying as usual today.  The weather is against us and it’s a very dirty day outside.  The boys are more than browned off with sitting around and playing cards and writing letters.

Tuesday, January 30, 1945

More lectures on enemy fighting vehicles, more card playing and letter writing was the sum total of our war effort today.  The weather, as usual, was no good for flying and the warmest place is indoors.  The weather here has a very familiar tinge of Canada to it.

Wednesday, January 31, 1945

A big thaw set in today and prevented us from getting airborne.  Then, later on in the evening when F/L Dick Reeves went into town to pick up the CO, two unidentified soldiers in U.S. uniforms tried to steal the Squadron jeep and in preventing this, Dick was shot in the left foot.  Tough luck Dick; guess you’ll be out of this war for good now.  Dick had almost finished his second tour of operational flying and was ‘A’ Flight Commander.