Historical Aircraft

411 Squadron

 

No. 411 Squadron
Badge A bear rampant
Motto Inimicus inimico (Hostile to an enemy)
Authority King George VI, October 1942
The bear is a fierce fighter and is found in Canada Formed at Digby, Lincolnshire,
England on 16 June 1941 as the
RCAF’s sixth – fourth Fighter –
squadron formed overseas, the unit
flew Spitfire aircraft on offensive and
defensive air operations, and in support of ground forces in North-West Europe. The squadron’s leading scorer was FIL R.J. Audet, who set an RAFIRCAF record on 29 December 1944 by destroying five enemy aircraft in two minutes of actual combat. The unit also had the distinction of scoring the RCAF’s last victory of the war when FIL’s D.F. Camp­bell and T.L. O’Brien shared in the destruction of a He.111 northwest of Flensburg, Germany on 4 May 1945. After hostilities in Europe, the squadron served as one of four RCAF day fighter units in the British Air Forces of Occupa­tion (Germany) until disbanded at Utersen, Germany on 21 March 1946.
Brief Chronology Formed at Digby, Lines., Eng. 16 Jun 41. Disbanded at Utersen, Ger. 21 Mar 46. Y Title or Nickname “Grizzly Bear”
,f Adoption Parkdale Lions Club, Toronto, Ont. Commanders
SIL P.B. Pitcher 16 Jun 41 – 16 Dec 41.
SIL P.S. Turner (Can/RAF), DFC and Bar 17 Dec 41 – 11 Feb 42.
SIL R.B. Newton (RAF), DFC 12 Feb 42 – 27 Sep 42. SIL N.H. Bretz, DFC 28 Sep 42 – 21 Mar 43.
SIL D.G.E. Ball 22 Mar 43 – 12 Apr 43 KIA.
S/L B.D. Russel, DFC 16 Apr 43 – 7 Jul 43.
SIL G.C. Semple 8 Jul 43 – 25 Sep 43 OTE.
SIL l.C. Ormston, DFC 26 Sep 43 – 20 Dec 43 inj.1
S/L J.D. Mcfarlane 21 Dec 43 – 9 Apr 44.
SIL N.R. Fowlow, DFC 10 Apr 44 – 19 May 44 KIA. SIL G.D. Robertson 20 May 44 – 4 Aug 44 OTE.
SIL R.K. Hayward, DFC 5 Aug 44 – 9 Oct 44.
SIL E.G. Lapp, DFC 10 Oct 44 – 10 Dec 44.
SIL J.N. Newell 19 Dec 44 – 25 Jun 45.
S/L B.E. Innes, DFC 19 Sep 45 – 21 Mar 45.
Higher Formations and Squadron Locations
Fighter Command:
No. 12 Group,
Canadian Digby Wing,
Digby, Lines. 16 Jun 41 – 18 Nov 41.
No. 11 Group,
Hornchurch, Essex 19 Nov 41 – 5 Mar 42.
Southend, Essex 7 Mar 42 – 29 Mar 42.
No. 12 Group,
Canadian Digby Wing,
Digby, Lines. 30 Mar 42 – 21 Mar 41.
No. 11 Group,
Canadian Kenley Wing,
Kenley, Surrey 22 Mar 43 – 7 Apr 43.
Redhill, Surrey 8 Apr 43 – 4 Jul 43. Second Tactical Air Force:
No. 83 (Composite) Group,
No. 17 (RCAF) Sector (disbanded 13 Jul 44),
No. 126 (RCAF) Wing,
Redhill, Surrey 5 Jul 43 – 6 Aug 43.
Staplehurst, Kent 7 Aug 43 – 12 Oct 43.
Biggin Hill, Kent 13 Oct 43 – 15 Apr 44.
No. 15 Armament Practice Camp, Peterhead, Scot. 24-29 Feb 44.
Tangmere, Sussex 16 Apr 44 – 18 Jun 44.
No. 11 Armament Practice Camp, Fainvood Common, Wales 17-22 Apr 44.
B.(Base) 4 Beny-sur-Mer, Fr. 19 Jun 44 – 7 Aug 44.
B.18 Cristot, Fr. 8 Aug 44 – 31 Aug 44.
B.24 St Andre, Fr. 1 Sep 44.
B.26 Illiers l’Eveque, Fr. 2 Sep 44.
B.44 Poix, Fr. 3 Sep 44 – 6 Sep 44.
B.56 Evere, Bel. 7 Sep 44 – 20 Sep 44.
B.68 Le Culot, Bel. 21 Sep 44 – 3 Oct 44.
B.84 Rips, Neth. 4 Oct 44 – 19 Oct 44.
No. 17 Armament Practice Camp, Warmwell, Dorset., Eng. 15-23 Oct 44.
B.80 Volkel, Neth. 20 Oct 44 – 5 Dec 44.
B.88 Heesch, Neth. 6 Dec 44 – 11 Apr 45.
B.108 Rheine, Ger. 12 Apr 45 – 14 Apr 45.
B.116 Wunstorf, Ger. 15 Apr 45 – 13 May 45.
B.152 Fassberg, Ger. 14 May 45 – 4 Jul 45.
No. 17 Armament Practice Camp, Warmwell, Dorset, Eng. 21 May – 7 Jun 45
B.174 Utersen, Ger. 5 Jul 45 – 15 Jul 45.
British Air Forces of Occupation (Germany)
No. 83 (Composite) Group
No.126 (RCAF) Wing
B.174 Utersen, Ger. 16 Jul 45 – 21 Mar 46.
Representative Aircraft (Unit Code DB)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IA (Jun – Jul 41, not on opera­tions)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.HA (Jul – Oct 41) P7595 G P7697 F P7694 W P7703 Z P7880 Q P7914 D
P7915 B P7923 R P7926 N P7966 LIP
P7985 P P8076 MIT P8136 S P8172 A
P8263 C P9657 V P8663 X
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB (Oct 41 – Oct 43)
P8715 0 R6897 Z W3215 C W3853 C X4257 J AA833 L AA836 S AA839 E AA840 D AB181 A AB268 B AB284 L AB365 R AD117 F AD195 M AD259 N AD261 V AD264 A AD292 R AD299 Q AD356 R AD509 W AD557 G AD847 T
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXB (Sep 43 – Sep 44) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXE (Sep 44 – May 45)
MK434 R EN574 S JL373 L
Supermarine Spitfire L.F.Mk.IX (Apr – May 45) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI (May 45, not on operations) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV (Jun 45 – Mar 46, not on operations) RM873 R RM928 N RM864 P
Operational History: First Mission 21 August 1941, 2 Spit­fire IIA’s from Digby – uneventful scramble.’ First Offen­sive Mission 20 September 1941, 12 Spitfire IIA’s from Digby – part of the Canadian Digby Wing with Nos. 401 and 266 (RAF) Squadrons, rear cover to a bombing force.(Seven previous wing assignments had been cancelled because of weather conditions). First Victory 27 September 1941, 12 Spitfire IIA’s from Digby – top cover to a Cana­dian Digby Wing fighter sweep by Nos. 412 and 266 (RAF)Squadrons. While patrolling from Merks-de-Mer to Mon­treuil, squadron attacked a mixed gaggle of Fw.190’s and Bf.109’s. One Spitfire lost; pilot bailed out and was rescued. PIO R.W. McNair in P8263 DB-Y credited with one Bf.109 damaged. 13 October 1941, 10 Spitfire IIA’s from Digby – part of a Canadian Digby Wing fighter sweep with Nos. 412 and 266 (RAF) Squadrons over France. PIO R.W. McNair in P7679 DB-F credited with a Bf.109 destroyed and a second probably destroyed 5 to 10 miles off Boulogne. McNair himself was shot down but bailed out over the Channel and was rescued, and returned to Digby. Triple Victories 29 December 1944, 11 Spitfire IXE’s from Heesch – fighter sweep in the Rheine area. F/L R.J. Audet in RR201 DB-A credited with 3 Fw.190’s and 2 Bf.109’s destroyed. 3 Last Mission 4 May 1945, 10 Spitfire LF/IXB’s from Wunstorf – armed reconnaissance in the Elmshorn-Flensburg-Sylt-Friedrichskoog area. Summary Sorties: 10,747. Operational/Non-operational Flying Hours: 15,502/16,335. Victories: Aircraft: 84 destroyed, 3 probably destroyed, 44 damaged. Ground: dropped 291 tons of bombs, destroyed/ damaged 367 /353 motor vehicles, 26/65 locomotives. Casualties: Operational: 48 aircraft; 48 pilots, of whom 4 were killed, 4 wounded, 19 presumed dead, 4 POW; 17 missing, proved safe. Non-operational: 4 aircraft; 5 personnel killed, 2 wounded. Squadron Aces FIL R.J. Audet, DFC and Bar 10½-0-1. FIL H.C. Trainor, DFC and Bar 6½-1-0. FIL J.J. Boyle, DFC 5½-0-1. S/L E.G. Lapp, DFC 5-0-1. F/O M.G. Graham, DFC 5-0-1. Honours and Awards 1 DSO, 2 MBE’s, 2. bars to DFC, 19 DFC’s, 1 MiD. Battle Honours Defence of Britain 1941-1944. English Channel and North Sea 1942-1943. Fortress Europe
1941-1944: Dieppe. France and Germany 1944-1945: Nor­mandy 1944, Arnhem, Rhine. ‘Crashed taking off on an operational flight.
‘One of the pilots was P/O D.J.M. Blakeslee (P8657 DB-X), an American
in the RCAF who later commanded No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron. Transferred
with this squadron to the USAAF, he rose to the rank of lieutenant­colonel and commanded the famed 4th Fighter Group.
3
F/L Audet was awarded an immediate DFC for this action. In January
1945, he scored an additional 4½ Fw.190’s and 2 Me.262 (jets) destroyed and 1 Me.262 damaged, and was awarded a bar to his DFC. On 3 March
1945 he was killed while on a strafing mission.