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1937

211 Squadron Operations Record Book 1937

A transcript of the Squadron’s surviving formal record for the year 1937.

Compiled in long-hand and at least monthly at this period, with the CO signing off the last Form 540 at the end of the year, no Form 541 or other Appendices were submitted in 1937. A retrospective nominal roll of officers plus NCO aircrew was included at year’s end.

The records are held at the UK National Archives, on microfilm and digitised, at reference AIR 27/1302.

Rather than make the text conform to modern usage or site style, what follows is a transcript as written, bar the bulk of the heavy use of capitals. It is not practical to exactly reproduce the original column layout of the paper forms. These are as shown in the illustration: Place, Date, Time, Summary of Events, References to Appendices. The frequent abbreviations and usages are explained in the Glossary.

Form 540, 1937
ORB F540 header04

1937 211 (B) SQUADRON
MILDENHALL 24.6.37
REFORMATION No 211 (B) SQUADRON June 1937
The squadron reformed at MILDENHALL No 3 (B) Group as a medium (B) Squadron on 24th June 1937 under the 1935 RAF expansion scheme, and was to be equipped with Audax a/c which would be (provided) provisional until a more modern type became available.

P/Os D.G. BOEHM & D.A. CAMERON posted to the squadron & 12 airmen. P/O BOEHM assumed charge.

28.6.37 P/Os G.O. MILLS and J.T. BOUWENS posted to squadron

1.7.37 A. P/Os C.S. KEAREY, J.C.G. MACNAB and G.R. MAGILL posted to squadron direct from FT School, also Sgt Pilot R.W. PEARSON from service squadron.

2.7.37 POs G.D. Jones and G.G. Storey posted to squadron. One F/Sgt & one Sgt & 40 airmen posted to date.

5.7.37 S/Ldr R.J.A. Ford posted to command. The first Audax a/c allotted to the squadron taken over from No 13 (AC) Squadron ODIHAM.

8.7.37 ‘A’ flight formed. P/O JONES in command. A further 5 a/c taken over from 13 AC Sqdn to date These were accommodated in hangar space loaned by 149 (B) Squadron MILDENHALL.

19.7.37 ‘B’ flight formed P/O Mills in command, a further 3 a/c collected this date from No 4 (AC) Squadron ODIHAM. P/O BOEHM appointed Squadron Adjutant. P/Os BOUWENS and CAMERON appointed Squadron Navigation and Parachute Officer respectively.

20.7.37 Until this date all flying in the squadron consisted of ferrying, collecting a/c allotted. Owing to lack of equipment it was impossible to carry out operational flights, however, air drill began in earnest & a large proportion of the airmen applied to be considered for training as Air/gunners.

27.7.37 Information received from HQ 3 Bomber Group that the squadron will move to GRANTHAM early in September, also that squadron Audax a/c will be replaced with the Blenheim a/c and these again by Hampden a/c which would ultimately become the squadron standard equipment medium bomber a/c. On arrival at Grantham the squadron will transfer to No 5 (B) Group.

29.7.37 The first photographic flight carried out successfully, a mosaic of MILDENHALL being taken. Weather fine, slight low cloud, air bumpy.

Total hours for month 110, A 75, B 35.
Serviceability 4.2 u/s 3.8
Weather medium
Photographic flights 1

MILDENHALL 8.8.37
P/O A.T.
IRVINE and A.P/O J.H. WILLIAMS. Sgt Pilot G.E. SIDDAWAY posted from FT School.

12.8.37 Final allotment of Audax a/c collected. Two Hind a/c collected from contractors, Hind a/c being allotted to squadron until allotment of Blenheim a/c become available.

15.8.37 P/O KEAREY attached to RAF Station GRANTHAM as Officer i/c advance party & in charge of personnel posted from the FTS to the squadron.

21.8.37 P/O CAMERON attached to RAF Station MANSON for seven day course in the handling and maintenance of parachutes.

28.8.37 General packing & preparations for move to GRANTHAM completed.

30.8.37 Squadron move successfully carried out. Main Party consisting of Officer i/c and 40 other ranks travelled by train. Air Party of 12 a/c left in squadron formation of 3 flights. The flight was made amid exceptional bad visibility.

TOTAL HOURS FOR MONTH 224, A 92, B 132.
SERVICEABILITY 14.4 u/s 2.6
WEATHER average
SPECIAL FLIGHTS Squadron move.

GRANTHAM 4.9.37
The 5 a/c remaining at MILDENHALL & personnel ferried to GRANTHAM. No 113 (B) Squadron also moved to this station & will occupy it. A. P/O D.F. RIXSON posted to squadron from FTS.

30.9.37 Five Hind a/c collected from contractors making a total of 10 such a/c in squadron to date.

TOTAL HOURS FOR MONTH 266, A 134 B 132.
SERVICEABILITY 10.9 u/s 6.1
WEATHER medium
SPECIAL FLIGHTS nil.

8.10.37 A further 2 Hind a/c collected. 6 a/c allotted per flight.

14.10.37 Six Audax a/c allotted to storage depot, RAF Station TERNHILL. These a/c were flown away by our own pilots who were ferried back by the squadron.

15.10.37 One Hind a/c collected total 13 in squadron. 12 Initial Equipment & 1 Immediate Reserve.

21.10.37 First night flying carried out, electrical equipment now being available. Owing to the rise of mist, however, the programme was cancelled on half-completion.

23.10.37 Normal training has been carried out each week, but great difficulty has been experienced in all branches due to lack of initial equipment. All a/c are now fitted with R/T sets & the Squadron & Flight Commanders machines with G.P. sets. A.P/O R.A. Couchman posted from F.T.S.

26.10.37 The new type of ‘box’ formation was practiced with 5 a/c. No difficulty was experienced, though Nos. 4 & 5 find that more practice will be required. CSBS now fitted to all aircraft.

27.10.37 F/O E.M Withy posted to squadron, took over command ‘B’ flight and granted rank of Act. F/Lt.

28.10.37 Tactical exercise in conjunction with squadrons of No. 11 (F) Group. These exercises consist of multi-sided cross-country flights & bombing raids on an objective, course & height being given to (F) Group for interception purposes.

TOTAL HOURS FOR MONTH 266, ‘A’ 134 ‘B’ 132.
AVERAGE SERVICEABILITY 10.9 u/s 6.1
WEATHER medium.

9.11.37 Five Audax a/c allotted to Storage Depot TERNHILL & ferried by squadron pilots.

27.11.37 P/O A.L. Farrington posted to squadron.

30.11.37 TOTAL HOURS FOR MONTH 216, ‘A’ 116 ‘B’ 100.
AVERAGE SERVICEABILITY 11.8 u/s 4.2
WEATHER bad.

GRANTHAM 6.12.37
Command exercise without a/c carried out to test & give practice to Command communications and manning of Operations Rooms. The exercise carried out continuously for 72 hours.

14.12.37 The squadron received instructions from Group to provide 6 a/c & crews, & sufficient personnel for maintenance, to proceed to R.A.F. Station ALDERGROVE on 3rd JAN 1938—31st JAN 1938 for the purpose of flying Air/gunners on training course at A.T.C. [Armament Training Camp, in this case, as opposed to Air Training Corps]

31.12.37 Ground party, consisting Officer i/c & 12 other ranks proceeded by rail and sea to ALDERGROVE. Air party proceeding 1/1/38.

TOTAL HOURS FOR MONTH 97
SERVICEABILITY 11 u/s 2
WEATHER Very bad.
SPECIAL FLIGHTS Nil.

Seen [signature RJA Ford] S/Ldr
OC 211 (B) Sqdn

24th June—31st Dec 1937 ROLL OF OFFICERS & N.C.O. PILOTS

S/LDR

R.J.A. FORD

(5/7/37)

COMMANDING OFFICER

A.F/LT

E.M. WITHY

(27/10/37)

O.C. ‘B’ FLT 27.10.37

P/O

G.D. JONES

(1/7/37)

O.C. ‘A’ FLT

P/O

G.O. MILLS

(28/6/37)

O.C. ‘B’ FLT 19.7.37 – 26.10.37

P/O

G.G. STOREY

(1/7/37)

 

P/O

J.T. BOUWENS

(28.6.37) – (20/12/37)

O.C. NAV. SECT.

P/O

A.T. IRVINE

(8/8/37)

 

P/O

D.G. BOEHM

(28/6/37)

SQDN ADJ.

P/O

DA CAMERON

(28/6/37)

O.C. PARACHUTE SCTN.

P/O

A.L. FARRINGTON

(27/11/37)

 

P/O

G.R. MAGILL

(1/7/37)

O.C. ARMAMENT SCTN

P/O

J.C.G. MACNAB

(1/7/37)

O.C. SIGNALS

P/O

C.S. KEAREY

(1/7/37)

 

P/O

J.H. WILLIAMS

(8/8/37)

 

P/O

D.F. RIXSON

(4/9/37)

 

P/O

R.A. COUCHMAN

(23/10/37)

 

 

 

 

 

SGT.

R.W. PEARSON.

(1/7/37)

 

SGT.

G.E. SIDDAWAY

(8//8/37)

 

SGT.

G.K. STEELE

(4/9/37)

 

 

 

 

Seen [signature RJA Ford] S/Ldr OC 211 (B) Sqdn

Source
211 Squadron Operations Record Book Monthly Summaries (RAF Form 540) TNA AIR 27/1302

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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 2 Mar 2017. Page created 26 Jan 2009, last updated 31 Jul 2012
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