211 Squadron Badge

Home
Site summary
The author
World War I
Honour Roll
Gallantry awards
Personnel rolls
RAAF personnel
Squadron movements
Squadron records
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1946
Squadron markings
Hawker Audax & Hind
Bristol Blenheim I
Bristol Blenheim IV
Blenheim armament
Bristol Beaufighter
de Havilland Mosquito
The Middle East
The Sphere...
Across the Styx
The Far East
FEPoW rolls
Sumatra & Java
India & Burma
An airman's album
LW Abbs
W Baird
ART Barnes
RN Bateson
ARG Bax
GW Blake
RD Campbell
G Checketts
CFR Clark
WS Close
JDWH Clutterbuck
EF Cole
A Conrad
EL Cooper
WR Cuttiford
G Davies
RJ Dudman
KCVD Dundas
J Dunnet
WH Edwards
Embros
AL Farrington
TWS Fisher
JE Fryatt
JR Gordon-Finlayson
G Grierson
WP Griffin
CN Hansford
TD Henderson
LC Hill
NAW How
GL Hoyes
FC Joerin
JWB Judge
JJ Kavanagh
G Kearns
JB Keeping
AH Kendrick
GM Kendrick
JR Marshall
GA Mockridge
NH Oddie
RW Pearson
JS Robertson
M Sainsbury
JG Sharratt
HF Squire
W Stack
R Wingrove
H Wright
W Wright
Tatoi today
Burma Boys
NA Bolitho
J Carruthers
Alan Carter
RN Dagnall
IAW Gilmore
A Goodinson
MJC Haakenson
RC Kemp
PF Lockyer
JF Luing
G Manderson
D Marsh-Collis
BB Mearns
JS Mitchell
JH Oblein
LE Ramsay
J Robertson
DA Spencer
Peter Spooner
TD Taylor
ME Walters
E Watts
DE Winton
EL Wood
Maps
Glossary
Sources
Sites & Links
Do it yourself
Enquiries
Site updates
Site search

1941

211 Squadron Operations Record Book: 1941

A transcript of the Squadron’s surviving formal records for the year 1941.

Active operations against Italian and then German forces continued through the Winter and early Spring, until the defenders of Greece were overwhelmed in late April. Evacuation via Crete to Egypt followed, then redeployment to Palestine for the brief campaign against the collaborationist Vichy French in Syria.

The Squadron records at Menidi, and at Paramythia from late January 1941, were kept as typescript Forms 540 and Forms 541 until the end of February 1941. Those pages are now part of the TNA AIR 27/1302 microfilm and digitised record, along with the raid, combat and photographic records in TNA AIR 27/1304, AIR 27/1311, AIR 27/1312 and AIR 27/1313.

Following the urgent withdrawal to Agrinion in April, and later to Menidi, secret papers were ordered to be destroyed before the final evacuation to Crete. Re-established in Palestine by early May 1941, the Operations Record Book was there recompiled afresh, as a typed Form 540 running account for the whole period March to June 1941 (AIR 27/1302). For this period, no Forms 541 were kept for raids, aircraft or crews nor were there any other Appendices.

The Squadron stood down from operations on 5 June 1941, moving first to Egypt to regroup, then South to Wadi Gazouza in The Sudan, where they were to undertake operational training of RAAF Blenheim crews pending expansion of Middle East Operational Training Unit capacity. Ultimately, the Squadron was intended to act as a nucleus for the formation of No 72 OTU at Wadi Gazouza—intended, at least, until the Emperor of Japan threw his spanner in the works on 7 December 1941.

The last entry in the Squadron’s Operations Record Book was at Wadi Gazouza on 18 July 1941, with a later cryptic (non-Squadron) pencil annotation on the Form 540. No Forms 541 nor other Appendices were submitted during the period to 18 July.

The surviving Squadron formal records thus ceased altogether in July 1941. Any pages for their December 1941—January 1942 re-establishment at Helwan in Egypt, or for the long transit thence to the Far East, or for the operations of February and March 1942 in Sumatra and Java were either lost or destroyed in that brief bitter campaign. The Operations Record Book resumed only in late 1943 in India, as they re-formed as a Beaufighter strike unit.

The transcripts of surviving 1941 material are presented in three sets:

    First, the extant monthly Forms 540, ceasing in July 1941
    Next, the daily
    Forms 541, as far as they exist today
    Last, a selection of
    Appendices.

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 feasible to exactly reproduce the original column layout of the various original printed forms. Those for the Form 540 and Form 541 are as shown in the relevant illustrations. The frequent abbreviations and usages are explained in the Glossary.

Forms 540, 1941
ORB header

[January]
Menidi 1/1/41
His Majesty the King, on the recommendation of the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Middle East, has been pleased to award the Distinguished Flying Cross to Squadron Leader JR
Gordon-Finlayson, Officer Commanding, No 211 Squadron.

The CO, Flight Lieutenant Jones, F/O Delaney, F/O Barrett, and P/O Pearson were involved in an MT accident. All occupants were admitted to hospital and F/O Barrett was placed on the DI [Dangerously Ill] list. The remainder received minor injuries which necessitated their admission to hospital.

2/1/41 F/O Delaney discharged from hospital.

3/1/41 F/O DC Barrett died at 2/6 General Hospital Kephissia, as a result of injuries sustained in the accident on 1/1/41.
Three airmen of this Squadron played in a Command Soccer trial.

4/1/41 Nine aircraft took-off to deliver a bombing attack on Durazzo, refuelling on the outward flight at Larissa.
[Over 300 miles NW of Athens, Durazzo was one of the ports in Albania where Italian forces and supplies were disembarked for the front on the border with
Greece, 100 miles or so to the South. ]
One aircraft failed to take off with the Squadron from Larissa owing to Port engine trouble. The sky over Durazzo was completely cloudless. The attack was therefore delivered against military buildings at Elbasan. The aircraft left at Larissa overshot its base when returning and landed at Argos.
The funeral of the F/O DC Barrett took place at Kokkoaia cemetery near Athens. The service was conducted by Rev WA Grice.

5/1/41 A Charity Football Match took place between a team selected from the British Forces in Greece and Athens, the proceeds being for the Greek wounded. Three airmen of the Squadron were selected to play in this representative game. Result: Athens 4 BFG 2.

Menidi 6/1/41
Nine aircraft bombed the foreshore at Valona from 4,000 feet. Our aircraft were intercepted by fighters after leaving the target and cloud cover was sought. The formation leader’s aircraft landed at base with one burst tyre and airscrew pierced by MG fire. An
AA shell which lodged itself in the tail plane of another aircraft piloted by Sgt Marshall exploded 25 minutes after leaving the target but the aircraft was kept under control and returned to base. The aircraft piloted by F/O Delaney was last seen near Kelcyre, losing height with only its starboard engine functioning. F/O Campbell was last seen in cloud South West of Valona. Both these aircraft failed to return.
[Valona was the other principal port used by the Italians to supply their forces, lying some 250 miles NW of Menidi. This raid was recorded tersely by my late father Sgt Observer Nobby
Clark and in more detail by his crewmate in Greece, the late Sgt WOp/AG Bill Baird, both of Sgt Marshall’s crew. Delaney and his crew, Sgt Pollard and Sgt McCord, were all killed. Campbell, with Sgts Beharrel and Appleyard, ditched his aircraft and all were rescued by an Italian vessel to become PoW. Both crews were of ‘B’ Flight].

7/1/41 A complete Blenheim crew, Sgt Davis (Pilot) Sgt Stalder (Observer) and Sgt Trenholm (Air Gunner) was posted to the Squadron from Ismailia.
Flight Lieutenant GD Jones discharged 2/6 General Hospital.
[Appendix] ‘B’ attached.

8/1/41 Flight Lieutenant GD Jones assumed command of the Squadron vice Flt Lieutenant GB Doudney.
Three Wellington aircraft of No 70 Squadron arrived from Egypt for night operations. One Bombay arrived with passengers and mail from Egypt.
Information has been received that Flying Officer Delaney, 745972 Sgt Pollard and 612781 Sgt McCord were killed when their aircraft crashed near Agyrokastron,
Wing Commander Russell SMO paid a visit to the Station.

9/1/41 Pilot Officer Maddock, Equipment Officer, posted to the Squadron from HQ BFG.

10/1/41 Seven aircraft took off to bomb retreating Italians on the Kelcyre—Berat road. Bad weather with low cloud covering the hilltops forced the formation to return before reaching the target.
[Appendix] ‘C’ attached.

11/1/41 Squadron Leader JR Gordon-Finlayson DFC discharged 2/6 General Hospital.

12/1/41 Squadron Leader JR Gordon-Finlayson DFC resumed command of the Squadron.
The AOC [AVM JH D’Albiac DSO], Wing Commander Lord Forbes, and G/Cap AH Willetts arrived in a Percival Q6.
[The Q6 was G-AFMV (c/n Q37), personal aircraft of Wing Commander Lord Forbes. Attached to d’Albiac's British Air Forces in Greece command as an Intelligence Officer, his service using his own aircraft came in for particular mention by ACM Sir Arthur Longmore, the RAF Middle East AOCinC, who noted that Forbes had "carried out many special missions in his Q.6 aeroplane, some of which were of an unusual and hazardous nature." (Report on Middle East Air Operations Jan 1941 to 3 May 1941, London Gazette 17 Sep 1946, 2nd Supplement 19 September). Later formally impressed into RAF service as HK838, surviving until 1943. Forbe’s own later adventures in Greece are recounted by Wisdom, in the Evacuation chapter of Wings Over Olympus]

Menidi 12 /1/41 An air raid alarm lasting half an hour was sounded at 21:00 hours but no raid materialised.

13/1/41 General Sir Archibald Wavell arrived by air.

14/1/41 Wing Commander Lord Forbes left for Turkey in a Percival Q6.
A Court of Enquiry composed as under assembled at Menidi at 09:30 hours to inquire into and report upon the accident involving Ford car WD 16070 in Athens on 1/1/41.

    President: S/Ldr BF Levell
    Members: F/Lt JR Lackham, P/O GM Lewis.

15/1/41 P/O Herbert took off at 09:10 hours to obtain vertical overlaps of Kasos Island. Low cloud down to sea level and icing conditions at 3,000 feet were experienced and the task was abandoned at 11:30 hours.
[Winter conditions made photo-reconnaissance sorties extremely difficult, with poor visibility, very poor flying conditions, severe airframe icing and temperatures low enough to freeze aerial cameras and give the gunners frostbite.]
F/Lt
Farrington attempted a D/F practice but this was cancelled owing to unfavourable weather.
Lieutenant Shield, Medical Officer, gave a lecture to all air crews on 1st Aid.
[Appendix] ‘D’ attached.

16/1/41
The AOCinC Middle East Command, Air Marshall Sir Arthur Longmore, with G/Capt AR Willetts visited the Station. The air crews of both Squadrons [No 84 Squadron and No 211 Squadron] assembled in the Operations Room and were given a short account of operations and tactics employed in the British offensive in Libya. The AOCinC then visited the Officers’ Mess, Sergeants’ Mess, NAAFI, and Station Sick Quarters. He also inspected dispersed aircraft, ammunition dumps, hangars, and the camp site.
F/O
Godfrey has organised a camp cinema which gave its first performance today.
The Greeks have placed a hangar at our disposal for use as a cinema and the cinema equipment is on hire from an Athens cinema.

17/1/41 Three aircraft led by the CO left base at 10:00 hours to bomb military stores and buildings South of the main jetties at Valona. Rainstorms and cloud down to sea level were encountered North West of Levkas and the formation was forced to return to base without having reached the target.
[Appendix ‘E’ attached].

18/1/41 Air Commodore JWB Grigson DSO DFC visited the station.

19/1/41 Nine aircraft left base at 12:00 hours to bomb a military camp at Elbasan. The target was reached but 10/10 cloud below the level of the surrounding hills rendered it dangerous to descend. No bombs were dropped and all aircraft returned to base. An enemy aircraft reported to be Heinkel 111K flying at 25,000 feet made a reconnaissance of Athens, the harbour at Piraeus and Menidi aerodrome. As a result of this reconnaissance, increased vigilance is being maintained by all Observer Posts.
F/Lt GB Doudney, Officer Commanding ‘B’ Flight, was admitted to 2/6 General Hospital.
[Appendix] ‘F’ attached,

20/1/41 An air raid alarm was sounded at 05:00 hours lasting half an hour. No raid materialised.
F/O LB Buchanan took over command of ‘B’ Flight, vice F/Lt GB Doudney.
Five aircraft led by F/Lt Farrington left base at 10:30 hours to bomb buildings South of the jetties at Valona. Bombs fell short of the target. Three CR 42s intercepted the formation as it turned off and two of our aircraft were slightly damaged before cover was reached in 5/10 cloud. On the return journey a CANT [Z]506B seaplane was seen 10 miles South of Corfu and attacked with front and rear guns, severely damaging it and silencing the rear gun.
At 18:00 hours an air raid alarm was sounded. Piraeus was the objective and was attacked by formations of four and five aircraft respectively. One CANT Z1007 was shot down in flames, the crew of five bailing out. One Gladiator crashed when attempting to land ar Hasseni [Hassani] aerodrome, the pilot being killed [PO VAJ Stuckey 41490 of 80 Squadron, in Gladiator I K7902]. A number of civilians were injured, damage was done to civilian property and one cargo ship in the harbour was damaged.
[Appendix] ‘G’ attached.

Menidi 20/1/41 F/O AT Barnes admitted to 2/6 General Hospital.

21/1/41 F/Lt Kelly took over the duties of Officer i/c MT Section vice F/O AT Barnes.

22/1/41 The CO led a formation of six aircraft loaded with 40 and 20lb bombs on an offensive reconnaissance of the Kelcyre—Berat road. Low cloud over the mountains made the approach to the target very difficult but the reconnaissance was carried out though the result was negative. On completion of the reconnaissance, military buildings at Berat were attacked from 6,500 feet. The intervention of a [Fiat] G50 over the town necessitating evasive action prevented observation of results, but a good run-up was made and the results should have been satisfactory. The enemy fighter continued to harass the formation for five to ten minutes [a long time in air combat] after leaving the target and in spite of evasive action taken, four of our aircraft were damaged. A bullet from this fighter set alight a Verey [sic, Very] cartridge in the cockpit of one of our aircraft, filling the cabin with smoke. The crew, F/O Godfrey (Pilot), Sgt O’Neill (Observer) and Sgt Wainhouse (Air Gunner) were preparing to abandon the aircraft when the Observer spotted the ignited cartridge and with great presence of mind, extinguished it with his flying boot. This action saved the aircraft and had the crew attempted to jump they might well have struck a mountain in the action. The fighter was not shot down but at the end of the engagement, and after a burst from one of our rear guns, declined to attack. One aircraft landed at Araxos owing to petrol shortage and the bad condition of the aerodrome was responsible for this aircraft tipping up on its nose. The remainder of our aircraft returned to base.

Menidi 23/1/41 The following aircrew personnel were psoted to the Squadron and were allotted to flights indicated:

    P/O

    JCR Hooper

    Pilot

    ‘A’ Flight

    P/O

    JGM Hooper

    Pilot

    ‘B’ Flight

    Sgt

    Try

    Pilot

    ‘B’ Flight

    Sgt

    Baker [Frank]

    Pilot

    ‘C’ Flight

    Sgt

    Martin

    Observer

    ‘B’ Flight

    Sgt

    Hay [Bob]

    Observer

    ‘C’ Flight

    Sgt

    Geary [Steve]

    Observer

    ‘B’ Flight

    Sgt

    Young

    AG

    ‘B’ Flight

    Sgt

    Checketts [George, “Check”]

    AG

    ‘C’ Flight

    Sgt

    Sharratt [JG]

    AG

    ‘B’ Flight [Rejoining the Squadron]

43 airmen of various trades were posted to the Squadron from the United Kingdom.

24/1/41 One aircraft air tested.

25/1/41 S/Ldr Wynne-Eaton arrived from Egypt in a Lockheed Lodestar to organise a regular mail service between Egypt and Greece.

27/1/41 The Squadron commander led a flight of six Blenheims to carry out a bombing raid on a military camp at Elbasan. The weather was good but cloud cover was scanty over the target. Bombs were dropped from a height of 6,000 feet and direct hits were scored on buildings which were enveloped in smoke as the formation turned away. A G50 fighter was sighted on the run-up to the target but made no attempt to engage our aircraft which employed a new type of formation of five in vic with the sixth closely stepped down in the box.
S/Ldr Wynne-Eaton returned to Heliopolis by air.
[Appendix] ‘I’ attached.

Menidi 28/1/41 Eleven MT vehicles with drivers proceeded to Eleusis to convoy personnel, equipment, kit and rations of No 11 Squadron to Athens railway station where personnel entrained for Larissa.

29/1/41 Flight Lieut GD Jones OC ‘C’ Flight has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The death of General Metaxas the Greek Prime Minister ocurred at 07:00 hours, ensigns were flown at half mast.

30/1/41 W/Cdr Lord Forbes returned to Menidi in the Percival Q6.
=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

    Appendices Attached ‘A’ to ‘L’
    Appendix ‘J’ RAF Form 541
    Appendix ‘K’ Summary of work carried out in Sections
    Appendix ‘L’ RAF Form 765A [Operational Statistical Summary, sadly not present in the AIR 27/1304 Appendix set, which appear to be in order and skip straight from the last folio of January (
    Appendix K f118) into February (Appendix A f119) with no break in the folio numbering sequence.]
    ***********************************

    Signed as having read [GD Jones]

        Officer Commanding
        No 211 Squadron

[February]
Menidi 1/2/41 Six Blenheims led by Squadron Leader Gordon-Finlayson DFC bombed warehouses, timber depot and munition dumps at Valona. Low cloud lay over the target area and at first it was though that the attack would have to be delivered from 800 feet, but an opening was found permitting bombing from 3,500 feet. Photographs show only a small number of bomb bursts which were seen to straddle buildings in the target area. One small building received a direct hit. P/O Clutterbuck was forced to return to base without reaching the objective owing to electrical failure.
F/O Barnes discharged hospital.
See Operation Order, Bombing Reports and Narrative Report attached as Appendix ‘A’.

2/2/41 No 84 Squadron Sergeants’ Mess moved to the new camp site leaving the building previously used as Station Sergeants’ Mess for use of this Squadron’s Senior NCOs. This greatly relieved congestion.
F/Lieut Farrington admitted 2/6 General Hospital.

3/2/41 Six aircraft led by F/Lt Jones DFC left base at 0950 hours to bomb military stores in the Tepelene area.
F/O KC Dundas assumed command of ‘A’ Flight vice F/Lt AL Farrington (sick).
P/O Hogarth carried out duties of Intelligence Officer during the absence of P/O J Williams (on leave).
See Operation Order and Narrative Report, App ‘B’.

4/2/41 Six aircraft took off to bomb supply dumps on Kelcyre—Berat road but bad weather forced the formation to return without delivering the attack.
Appendix ‘C’.

5/2/41 One Blenheim piloted by P/O Thompson DFC left base at 1400 hours to bomb military dumps on road North West Tepelene. Adverse weather rendered the task dangerous and the aircraft returned to base.
Appendix ‘D’.

Menidi 6/2/41 Six Blenheims left base to bomb MT and ammunition dumps in the Tepelene area. Three aircraft left in formation and returned before reaching target owing to unfavourable weather. The remaining three aircraft left individually, one returning without bombing and two (P/O Cox and P/O Herbert) completing the task.
See Operation Order, Bombing Reports and Narrative Report - Appendix ‘E’.

8/2/41 F/O ART Barnes took over duties of Officer i/c MT Section.
F/Lt Farrington discharged hospital and resumed command of ‘A’ Flight
Three airmen (Cpls Johnson &
Goodeve, and LAC Stoves) left Squadron on being selected for pilot’s course.

9/2/41 The Squadron has been ordered to fly six Blenheims to Paramythia with the minimum number of airman to maintain these aircraft for operations. The party consisted of 11 Officers and 40 airmen and the move was completed with the aid of a Junkers [Ju 52 transport aircraft] loaned to us for this purpose by the Greek Air Force.

This detachment was of an experimental nature, being the first time that Paramythia had been used by bomber aircraft of the Royal Air Force. Fighter aircraft (PZLs) of the Greek Air Force were operating from this aerodrome and they, in conjunction with Greek AA and Machine Gun Posts, assumed responsibility for camp defence.

All personnel were accommodated in tents which had been erected by No 33 ASP personnel.
[33 Air Stores Park had been set up at Aboukir in November 1940 shortly before packing up and embarking for Greece. Based at Daphni, they remained there in support of BAFG until 20 April 1941 when they withdrew to Egypt]
Local labour was engaged for the digging of slit trenches and camouflaging of tentage. One Blenheim of No 84 Squadron was detailed daily for ferrying duties, bringing mail, equipment and rations from base. Owing to the possibility of the aircraft being delayed by adverse weather, rations were obtained from RASC Yannina from 18/2/41.

Aeroplanes on becoming operationally unserviceable were flown back to base and a replacement obtained immediately. A petrol bowser was borrowed from the Greek Fighter Squadron at Paramythia for refuelling our aircraft and this proved itself an asset.
[22 and 23 Mira were both at Paramythia at this date, equipped with Polish parasol monoplane
PZL P24 fighters].

Paramythia 9/2/41
Heavy rainstorms with high winds were experienced between 17th and 22nd February but these were mainly during the night and early morning. Although the aerodrome was often soggy during the mornings, it dried up quickly and, with the exception of the 19th February, it remained serviceable throughout the month.

Sick personnel were evacuated to base by air. Water was obtained locally and was chlorinated as a precautionary measure against typhoid.

10/2/41 Pilot Officer Pearson carried out a photographic reconnaissance of an area North West of Tepelene.
See Bombing Report Appendix ‘F1’
The CO led a flight of three aircraft which bombed targets in the Tepelene area at 1520 hours.
See Bombing Report Appendix ‘F2’
Pilot Officer Pearson took a mosaic of the area NW of Tepelene previously photographed unsuccessfully and bombed Tepelene on completion of photography.
See Bombing Report and COs Narrative Report on day’s operations Appdx ‘F3’.

11/2/41 Five aircraft led by the CO took off at 1140 hours and delivered a bombing attack on Salaria and West of Tepelene.
P/O Herbert piloted an aircraft which carried out mosaics of two areas in the Tepelene area. Dukaj was bombed on completion of photography.
Two flights led by the CO and F/O Buchanan bombed Salaria and Duki respectively. 10,000 leaflets were dropped on front-line troops in Tepelene area.
See Bombing Reports and and narrative report on day’s operations by CO – Appendices ‘G1’, ‘G2’ and ‘G3’.

12/2/41 F/O Dundas led a flight of three Blenheims which bombed Duki at 0900 hours.
See Narrative report Appendix ‘H’.

13/2/41 CO led a formation of six Blenheims bombing targets North of Tepelene. The aircraft piloted by F/O Buchanan was intercepted by a G50 and during the ensuing engagement the fighter was shot down into a hillside. The Blenheim was damaged but returned to base. 13 Gladiators of No 80 Squadron patrolled the area during the operation but no interceptions were made.
Appendix I.

Paramythia 13/2/41 Two flights of three aircraft led by the CO bombed Busi at 1515 hours. One Macchi 200 intercepted the formation and concentrated its attack on the rear flight, damaging one Blenheim before cloud cover was reached. All our Rear Gunners were in action and the enemy fighter was hit by tracer.
See Bombing Reports & Narrative Report attached – Appendix ‘G2’
P/O Williams, Intelligence Officer, returned from leave and resumed his duties.

14/2/41 A formation of nine Blenheims comprised of six of No 211 Squadron and three of No 30 Squadron, led by OC No 211 Squadron bombed Busi at 1700 hours.
See Bombing Reports & Narrative – Appx ‘J’
One officer (F/O Barnes) and 21 airmen, comprising the Photographic and Signals Sections, left Menidi by road with 7 vehicles conveying personnel and equipment. This convoy arrived at Paramythia on 17th February. Previous to the arrival of the Photographic Section, films were flown to base and prints returned by the first available aircraft. This was not satisfactory.
[The convoys of Squadron personnel moving up to Paramythia on various dates in early 1941 were photographed by groundcrew members, from the prints in the collections of Len
Abbs, Len Cooper, Mick Dudman, Jim Fryatt, and Mike Sainsbury].
F/Lt GD Jones DFC admitted 2/6th General Hospital.
One Bombay aircraft conveyed equipment from Menidi to Paramythia.

15/2/41 CO led two flights of three Blenheims which bombed Busi at 1700 hours.
Rear Gunners machine-gunned the village. Two Macchi 200s were seen over the target but did not attempt an engagement.
See Bombing Reports & Narrative – Appx ‘K’

16/2/41 Six Blenheims led by the CO left base at 1150 hours to attack MT on the Busi—Gualla road. The formation was escorted by Gladiators of Nos 112 and 80 Squadrons.
See Bombing Reports & Narrative – Appx ‘L’
One Wellington conveyed equipment from base to Paramythia.

17/2/41 An early morning attack was delivered on the villages of Camsisti, Bescist and Dansi by six Blenheims led by the CO.
See Bombing Reports & Narrative – Appx ‘M1’.
A second raid was carried out by five Blenheims on the villages of Bescist and Camsisti which were known to contain considerable amounts of war material and MT.
See Bombing Reports – Appx ‘M2’.

Paramythia 17/2/41 Flying Officer RD Campbell 41373, 751077 Sgt Beharrel JH – Air Observer, and 613211 Sgt Appleyard R – Air Gunner, who were reported “Missing” after a raid on Valona on 6th January 1941 have now been confirmed as “Prisoners of War”. The Squadron were very pleased to learn this.

18/2/41 A formation of six Blenheims led by the CO bombed enemy positions on the road at the West end of the Tepelene—Kelcyre Gorge. The positions were machine-gunned by our Rear Gunners.
See Bombing Reports & Narrative – Appx ‘N.’
A flight of six Hurricanes of No 80 Squadron complete with maintenance crews moved to Paramythia for bomber escort, offensive patrol and interception duties. The services of this flight were invaluable, providing direct escort for bombers while Gladiators usually patrolled to cover withdrawal from the target.
[The celebrated arrival of the six Hurricanes, sweeping in a tight box formation low over the camp, made a splendid photograph first seen in Wings Over Olympus and later in other works].

19/2/41 Heavy rainstorms with low clouds and high winds prevailed, consequently no operations were carried out. This is the first day since arrival at Paramythia that our aircraft have been inactive.

20/2/41 Six Blenheims led by the CO and escorted by six Hurricanes of No 80 Squadron Detachment with 17 Gladiators covering our withdrawal from the target, attacked Berat. Good results were obtained and a large fire started. The Blenheims were attacked by four G50s over the target. These fighters were obviously unaware of our escort for they attacked the Blenheims without hesitation, damaging two of them, but they paid the price for this audacity when the Hurricanes swooped down and destroyed four of them. Three Blenheims of No 30 Squadron and seven of 84 Squadron participated in this raid.
See Bombing Reports, Combat Reports and Narrative attached as Appendix ‘O’.
F/O RV Herbert took over the duties of Officer i/c MT Section vice Flying Officer ART Barnes.

Paramythia 21/2/41 A Flight of three Blenheims led by Sgt James accompanied nine Blenheims of No 84 Squadron which took off at 10:00 hours to bomb enemy positions in the Tepelene area. The bomber formation was escorted by six Hurricanes of No 80 Squadron. Rainstorms and low cloud covering hilltops were encountered before reaching the target and the formation returned without bombing.
F/O ART
Barnes posted to Egypt on medical grounds.
Flight Lieutenant HF
Squire, Medical Officer, ceased detachment to No 30 Squadron and rejoined the Squadron at Paramythia.

22/2/41 An offensive reconnaissance was carried out by five Blenheims, led by the CO, of the Busi—Gualla road. Bombs were dropped on Busi and Gualla and photographs were taken of road from Cautsisti to Camisisti, and Dansi to Bescist.
Bombing & Narrative Reports attached – Appx ‘P’.
An Advanced Operations Wing called “W” [ie Western] Wing commanded by Wing Commander Coote, formed at Yanina.

23/2/41 Six Blenheims led by the CO escorted by five Hurricanes of No 80 Squadron Detachment left base at 10:30 hours to bomb military buildings and MT at Duki.
Bombing & Narrative Reports attached – Appx ‘Q’.

24/2/41 The AOCinC Sir Arthur Longmore KCB DSO, accompanied by the AOC Air Vice-Marshal JH d’Albiac DSO, visited Paramythia, arriving by air from Menidi. The AOCinC congratulated the Squadron on its operational efficiency and excellent maintenance of aircraft in spite of existing conditions.
A bomber formation of six Blenheims of this Squadron and two Mark IV Blenheims of No 11 Squadron escorted by five Hurricanes of No 80 Squadron bombed MT concentrations near the Eastern bridgehead at Tepelene.
Bombing & Narrative Reports attached – Appx ‘R’.
F/O KC Dundas admitted 2/6 General Hospital.

25/2/41 The target chosen on 24/2/41 was again attacked by six Blenheims led by the CO. Three Blenheims of No 11 Squadron accompanied us and the formation was escorted by three Hurricanes of No 80 Squadron Detachment. The aerodrome surface was soggy and as a precautionary measure, aircraft took off individually.
See Bombing & Narrative Reports attached – Appx ‘S’.
Six Hurricanes of No 33 Squadron were flown to Paramythia to assist No 80 Squadron Fighter Detachment during the anticipated intensive operations.
F/Lt GD Jones DFC discharged 2/6 General Hospital.

26/2/41 A formation consisting of six of our Blenheims and three of No 11 Squadron escorted by nine Hurricanes of Nos 80 and 33 Squadrons, bombed targets at Luzati.
Bombing & Narrative Reports attached – Appx ‘T1’.
The CO led a formation of ten Blenheims which included four of No 11 Squadron, to attack military buildings and the Italian GHQ at the town of Fieri. The bomber formation was escorted by seven Hurricanes on Nos 80 and 33 Squadrons, which, in the absence of enemy fighter opposition, machine-gunned three ships off Valona.
Bombing Reports attached – Appx ‘T2’.

27/2/41 An attack was delivered on the aerodrome at Valona by nine Blenheims at 1600 hours. Good bombing results were obtained before the formation was intercepted by approximately 15 CR42s. Our Hurricane escort intervened and shot down seven CR42s, a further two colliding in mid air and crashing in flames.
Three No 11 Squadron Blenheims were damaged by enemy fighter action and two of our Blenheims were slightly damaged, but all aircraft returned to base without sustaining any casualties to personnel.
Bombing Reports, Combat & Narrative Reports attached – Appx ‘U’.
The Squadron has been ordered to move all remaining personnel, aircraft and equipment from Menidi to Paramythia. The Advance Road Party consisting of 24 airmen with Flying Officer
Austin in charge, left Menidi at 0900 hours.

Paramythia [28 Feb 1941] Six of our Blenheims accompanied by three Blenheims of No 30 Squadron and escorted by six Hurricanes of Nos 80 and 33 Squadron bombed enemy positions in villages of Codra and Dragoti [Tepelene area].
See Bombing & Narrative Reports – Appx ‘V’.
A message has been received from Air Officer Commanding in Chief congratulating squadron which took part in the operations on 27th February. See Appendix ‘Z’.
A message has been received from the Greek General Staff at Yanina expressing its gratitude for the support given to the Greek Army. The message is attached. Appendix Z1.
[Neither Appendix Z nor Z1 are present among the Appendices in AIR 27/1304, sadly].
Flight Lieutenant RL Browning, Equipment Officer, attached to the Squadron.
The main Road Party consisting of 6 officers, 180 airmen and 43 vehicles left Menidi for Paramythia at 0700 hours on move of the Squadron. 17 MT vehicles and 21 drivers were laoned to us from other units to complete the move. By the end of the month the Squadron had evacuated Menidi with the exception of the Air Party and a small party of seven airmen left behind to service the aircraft.

GENERAL
Enemy aircraft have frequently flown over or near the camp, but their objective has been Yannina and it is thought that this aerodrome has escaped notice. In this connection, particular care has been taken when proceeding on raids not to give the enemy any indication that our bombers are not operating from a more distant base. Care is taken not to approach or return from the target on a direct course and sufficient time is allowed after leaving the target to enable our aircraft to return were they operating from a more distant aerodrome.
No night flying has been carried out by the Squadron during the month.

SUMMARY OF MONTH’S OPERATIONAL FLYING

    From Menidi: 5 raids comprising 24 sorties and totalling 80 hours
    From Paramythia: 22 raids comprising 114 sorties totalling 126 hours
    3 photographic reconnaissance by single aircraft, 6 hours.

Paramythia GENERAL [continued]
Only one flight of three aircraft was prevented through bad weather from completing its bombing attack whilst the Squadron has been operating from Paramythia. Whilst operating from Menidi four of the five operations attempted were not completed owing to bad weather being encountered. The average duration of an operation from Menidi was approximately 4 hours as opposed to 1 hour from our present base.

    Seen (signature of F/Lt GD Jones DFC)
    Officer Commanding
    No 211 Squadron
    Royal Air Force

    Appendices attached:
    ‘A’ to ‘Z’
    Forms 541 Appendix ‘W’
    Forms 765A Appendix ‘X’ [not in AIR 27/1304 set]
    Photographs Appendix ‘Y’ [AIR 27/1313]

Paramythia March
1st pm Six Blenheims with nine Hurricanes as escort carried out a raid on Italian cruisers and destroyers at Chimarra. Duration of raid 1hr 5min.

7th am Nine Blenheims carried out bombing raid on Tepelene. Duration of raid 1hr 10min.

8th am Nine Blenheims carried out a raid on enemy positions at Bousi. Duration of raid 1 hour 30 minutes.

9th am Nine Blenheims carried out raid on Douki. Duration of raid 1hr 15min.
 pm Nine Blenheims carried out raid on road near Bousi. Duration of raid 1hr 10min.

10th am Nine Blenheims with Gladiator escort carried out raid on positions NW of Bousi. Duration of raid 1hr 20min.

11th am A raid was carried out on troops at Bousi. Duration 1hr 20min.

12th am Eight Blenheims with Gladiator escort carried out raid on Bousi. Duration of raid 1hr 25min.

13th pm Blenheims co-operating with Fleet Air Arm aircraft raided Valona aerodrome. Duration of raid 1hr 30min.

15th am A raid was carried out on Berat. Duration of raid 1hr 20min.
 pm Valona aerodrome was raided. Duration of raid 1hr 25min.

16th One Blenheim did a recco of Durazzo. F/O Pearson & crew were credited with one Cant 506 shot down. Duration of raid 2hrs 10min.

17th A raid was supposed to have been carried out on Valona had to be abandoned owing to low cloud. Duration of flight 15min.

18th The road and buildings N of Bousi were raided. Duration 1hr 15min.

21st One Blenheim reconnoitred the Bousi—Berat road. Duration 1hr 15min.

22nd Paramythia aerodrome was ground strafed by G50s. Two aircraft were destroyed on ground. All serviceable aircraft were subsequently ferried to Menidi.

    [S/Ldr RJC Nedwill assumes command of 211 Squadron]

Menidi 23rd am In conjunction with 84 Sqdn was to have made raid on Berat but this had to be abandoned owing to insufficient cloud cover. Dur. of flight 2hrs 15min.
 pm Escorted by Gladiators raided the Bousi—Berat road. Dur. 2hrs 25min.

25th Aircraft returned to Paramythia.

[26 March Paramythia]

    [Death of 211 Squadron’s new CO, S/Ldr RJC Nedwill, in a 112 Squadron Gladiator accident.

    Neither the posting in of their new CO on 22 March, nor his death in a flying accident while pilot of a 112 Squadron Gladiator over Paramythia on 26 March, were recorded in the 211 Squadron Operations Record Book (as later compiled or recompiled after evacuation from Greece). Brief mentions were made by Squadron members, including my father, while Armourer Jim Fryatt kept a photograph of the funeral party.

    Although the ‘W’ Wing weekly Summaries of Activity for March made no mention of Nedwill either, their Immediate signal of 26 March to AOC BAFG reported briefly:

      “Greatly regret announce accidental death Sqd Ldr Nedwill flying Gladiator who crashed 100yds from aerodrome”

    Fortunately, 112 Squadron left a fuller account in its Operations Record Book for the period, the ‘A’ Flight detachment at Paramythia first noting on 22 March

      “Informal dinner in the Mess to celebrate handing over of 211 Squadron by S/Ldr Gordon Finlayson DSO DFC to S/Ldr Nedwell (sic)”

    Having arrived at Paramythia a little later than 211 Squadron to act as fighter escort with their Gladiators, 112 Squadron were messing with the 211s.

    On 25 March, the 112 Squadron record noted “S/Ldr Nedwell OC 211 Squadron” as joining a ‘C’ Flight Gladiator escort over Kelcyre, no action resulting. W/Cdr Coote, while OC ‘W’ Wing over at Yanina, not only went up with 211 Squadron from time to time “to have a look”, but also flew the odd Gladiator patrol about this time.

    On 26 March, a number of air raid alarms were met by 112 Squadron with repeated defensive patrols over the airfield. After a further alarm late in the afternoon, S/Ldr Nedwill was pilot of one of the five Gladiators sent up at 1720hrs to patrol. Without encountering or engaging the enemy, at 1750hrs the Flight was ordered to “pancake”—it had been the last of a busy day. The 112 Squadron record noted grimly:

      “S/Ldr Nedwell [sic] broke off at 20,000 and dived to 12,000, then went into another dive doing an aileron turn and came straight down from 12,000 feet and crashed. 211 Sqdn have lost a damned fine CO.”

    Later, their CO provided a more detailed account of the accident in a memorandum to HQ RAF ME dated 19 June, as follows

      “...the accident took place at Paramythia aerodrome in North Greece on the afternoon of 26.3.41, when Squadron Leader Nedwell (sic) Officer Commanding No 211 Squadron was flying Gladiator N5910 belonging to No 112 Squadron who had a detachment operating from the same aerodrome. Eye witnesses relate that the machine dived from a considerable height probably 15,000 to 20,000 feet, and no apparent attempt seemed to be made to pull out of the dive. The throttle appeared to be “full open” as an estimate of the speed prior to impact was given as 400mph.

      2. Considerable physical effort would be required to maintain a Gladiator in a dive for such a distance. Myself and several pilots who actually witnessed the accident are at a loss to attribute a cause.”

    These 112 Squadron accounts at or very near the time are reasonably consistent. It seems clear that other accounts that suggest either air combat or aerobatics were simply not correct. On the other hand, it is also clear that Nedwill was CO of 211 Squadron at the time of the accident.

    His AFC had been approved but not yet Gazetted: for his two years, and over 1,000hrs, instructional flying at 4 SFTS as “a most capable pilot” and “excellent exponent of the art of front gun attack”.

    After a longish stint in the UK with 25 Squadron flying Hawker Fury and Demon fighters between 1935 and 1938, Nedwill had been posted to the Middle East as a Flying Instructor with 4 Flying Training School in November 1938 when it was based at Abu Sueir in Egypt. When 4 FTS moved to Habbaniya in Iraq in September 1939, far from any interruptions by the Regia Aeronautica, Nedwill rose to S/Ldr in command of the Advanced Training Squadron. With a variety of aircraft including Hawker Audaxes, Airspeed Oxfords, and Gloster Gladiators (which Nedwill flew regularly), 4 FTS carried out its varied training of pilots and other aircrew. Their Operations Record Book had noted Nedwill’s departure briefly on 14 March:

      “...S/Ldr RJC Nedwill 34169 ... proceeded on posting to Middle East Command [Cairo]”

    On 14 April the 4FTS record did note the award of his Air Force Cross, a fortnight after its Gazettal and seemingly unaware of his decease three weeks earlier.

     Curiously, an RAF typed post-war summary of Nedwill’s Record of Service showed only an undated posting to 112 Squadron, apparently reflecting an error, somewhere in the files, for 211 Squadron.]

Paramythia 27th One Blenheim carried out raid in Tepelene area. Dur 1 hour 15min

28th Squadron raided Italian Fleet (Battle of Cape Matapan), Dur 2hrs 15min.

30th A raid was carried out on Dukati. A photographic recco was also done. Duration of raid 2hrs 20mins.

31st The Bousi—Gualla road was raided. Duration 1hr 20min.

[Paramythia] April
1st Three aircraft carried out raids.

2nd The barracks at Tepelene were raided. Dur 1 hour 5mins.
Four air raid alarms were sounded but no raids materialised.

3rd A raid was carried out on the barracks at Berat. Duration 1hr 20 mins.
There was an alert at 0530 hours and at 0700 hours. The ground defences opened up at at an enemy reconnaissance machine seen overhead. Telephone lines to HQ found out.

4th A alert sounded at 0600 hours. Six Gladiators took off but no enemy aircaft were seen. A raid was carried out by six of the Squadron aircraft. All returned safely.

5th Sgt Richmond constructed his own gun position

6th A raid was carred out on the barracks at Berat. A fighter escort was provided. Duration 1 hour 40mins.

8th One aircraft carried out a reconnaissance.

11th Six aircraft under the leadership of S/Ldr Irvine carried out a raid. All returned safely.

Paramythia April
12th Three raids were carried out on the enemy advancing North of Valona. One in the morning, one at noon, and one at dusk. S/Ldr Irvine led each raid and all aircraft returned safely.

13th Raid carried out on Oukes west of Lake Ochrida. Dur 1 hour 25mins.
Raid on Resan, Yugoslavia. Duration 1hr 25mins.
From both these raids all our aircraft returned safely.

The third raid of the day was carried out on Monastir by six aircraft [inserted in ink]. W/Crd Coote and S/Ldr Cryer took the places of two regular Observers. None of the aircraft returned from this operation.

    [The raid was led by the new CO, S/Ldr Antony Thorburn Irvine 36090.

    He first joined the RAF Reserve in 1933, and rose to Flying Officer in the Reserve before appointment to a permanent commission in the RAF as Pilot Officer in February 1937. One of the Squadron’s originals, from Flying Training School P/O Irvine had been posted in at Mildenhall on 8 August 1937 during the early weeks of working up to establishment and equipping with Audaxes. Promoted Flying Officer that week, soon his Squadron were to re-equip with Hinds and move to Grantham. He went with the Squadron to Egypt in April 1938.

    F/O Irvine was posted to SHQ Amman (in what was then Transjordan) on 15 June 1938 and was still with them as Adjutant in March 1939. In August, he was made Flight Lieutenant. Posted to 14 Squadron at Amman on 21 October, he assumed command of ‘B’ Flight . When war came to the Middle East in June 1940, Irvine was with 14 Squadron at Port Sudan, where they had moved with their Vickers Wellesleys shortly before.

    As ‘B’ Flight commander and quite experienced, Irvine had a certain level of responsibility. The CO, S/Ldr AD Selway, had given some thought to the best tactics for attacking Italian targets across difficult country with the single-engined Wellesleys. At well-defended Massawa on 10 June, the low-level dusk attack by nine aircraft on the airfield fuel dump was highly successful and made without loss.

    Irvine, apparently, had formed a different view. On 14 June, he set out for Massawa again, on a reportedly unauthorised sortie to test the effectiveness of daylight dive-bombing. Irvine returned safely but P/O RPBH Plunkett 40849, who had agreed to take a second aircraft (Wellesley K7743) on the jaunt, did not. Neither he nor his aircraft were ever found. Both men flew alone and were thus wholly undefended from the rear. After this ill-fated initiative, Irvine was posted off the Squadron. On 20 September 1940 he was posted to 113 Squadron in the Desert, remaining with them until 1941. He was promoted to Squadron Leader on 1 March.

    Shortly after the death of Nedwill on 26 March, Irvine was posted in to 211 Squadron as CO, however, his arrival was not noted in the Squadron record as later re-compiled, By 13 April he had led the Squadron on at least four raids without loss, before failing to return in L8478 that day. His Mention in Despatches (the only award that can be recommended posthumously other than a VC), was gazetted on 14 September 1941. By then, the 211s were eating their tinned herrings in tomato sauce at Wadi Gazouza and their formal record had once more fallen into abeyance.

    See also:
    Sgt
    Clark Easter Sunday 13 April entry and notes
    Blenheim I aircraft listing April 1941]

14th F/Lt Griffen [sic: Griffin] assumed temporary command, later being relieved by F/Lt KC Dundas DFC. A Yugoslav aircraft, Dornier 17, arrived from Yugoslavia. Shortly afterwards King Peter of Yugoslavia arrived in an [JKRV Savoia Marchetti) S79 [all photographed by Mick Dudman]. This aircraft was met by an escort of six Gladiators. A Guard of Honour composed of airmen from ‘A’ and ‘C’ Flights was presented. The King said “Tell the NCO i/c that this is the smartest Guard of Honour I have ever had, and most certainly the first on a battlefield.” Later His Majesty left for Menidi in the S79 escorted by a Blenheim. Duration of flight 1hr 25min [see Clark 14 April].

15th A convoy of MT vehicles left for Agrinion with some of the Squadron personnel. This was the commencement of the evacuation of Paramythia. On the 15th, 16th, & 17th April, the remaining Squadron personnel were evacuated to Agrinion, 3 in each aircraft [ie 3 passengers in addition to the 3 crew].

16th Aircraft continued to arrive from Yugoslavia. All remaining MT vehicles left for Agrinion.
[See Clark for notes regarding
JKRV aircraft arrivals and this period generally. See also Abbs, Squire for accounts and photographs of the withdrawal.]

Paramythia April
17th Four Blenheims left for Agrinion. Evacuation of Paramythia by RAF personnel now complete.

Agrinion 18th. Preparations made for evacuating Agrinion.

19th The Squadron aircraft left Agrinion escorting Yugoslav aircraft as far as Eleusis and landed at Menidi [see Sgt Clark’s comments].

Menidi 20th All last night raids were carried out by individual Blenheims. Aerodrome ground strafed by Me109 & 110.

21st All night raids were again carried out by aircraft operating singly. One of the targets was Larissa. Menidi aerodrome was again subjected to low flying machines [sic] attacks by Me 109 and 110s. An order was received to evacuate Menidi. Two MT vehicles with aircrew personnel moved to the Greek coast for evacuation by air (Sunderland).

Heraklion 22nd All available aircraft were engaged in ferrying remaining personnel to Crete. Personnel spent night at Heraklion.

Suda Bay 23rd All aircraft left for Heliopolis. Duration 2 hours 50 mins, Ground personnel went to Suda Bay and spent a night under trees. Suda Bay was dive bombed but no casualties.

24th Remaining personnel left by British Overseas Co-operation [British Overseas Airways Corporation] by flying boat for Egypt. Sir Arthur Longmore AOCinC was a passenger. The party received a good reception in Alexandria.

Kalamata 25th F/Lt Dundas DFC looked for an aerodrome and camp at Kalamata, Greece. This rear party left Kalamata at night in a small Greek boat, F/Lt Dundas & P/O G Lewis remaining at Kalamata.

26th F/Lt Dundas & P/O Lewis left by ship for Egypt.

Aboukir
26th Squadron personnel left by train for Ramleh, Pals [Palestine].

Ramleh 27th Airmen’s kit was made up to scale and orders were received for 25% of Sqdn personnel to proceed on local leave [see JG Sharratt eg].

29th Orders were received for the Squadron to move to Lydda. F/Lt Dundas DFC arrived at Alexandria and went to Cairo.

Lydda 30th Erection of tents began at Lydda. F/Lt Dundas being CO of 211 Squadron for the time being, went to HQME [Cairo] to find the whereabouts of the Squadron.

Lydda May
1st All personnel not on leave went to Lydda and erected tents for housing the Squadron.

2nd The erection of tents was continued.

3rd Squadron given weekend holiday. All personnel kitted out respectably.

5th Outing arranged by F/Lt Austin to Jerusalem was undertaken and over 100 personnel took part, and an enjoyable day was had by all.

6th On instruction received from HQ P&TJ, [Palestine and Transjordan] the move to Lydda was held in abeyance. No work to day.

7th Instruction now received for the Squadron to move to Aqir instead of Lydda. Tent erection suspended pending further orders.

8th Squadron personnel were fitted and kitted ready for the move to Aqir.

9th Orders were received from HQ P&TJ to move to Aqir on 10.5.41. Preparations were made for the move. [Sgt Wright’s Log Book records two operations with F/O Clutterbuck in Mark IVs Z5865 and Z5891 from H4 to Rutbah Fort on 8 and 9 May]

10th Personnel rose early and proceeded in stages to Aquir by road. Move completed by noon. An extremely hot day. Sgt Kavanagh carried out night raids on Rutbah Fort as observer in an Valencia [sic, Valentia] of 216 Squadron. The enemy evacuated during the bombing.

Aqir May
11th No work carried out. Personnel being accommodated at Aqir and familiarising themselves with station routine. Signal Section arrived at Aqir from Greece via Crete, Ramleh & Helwan. Section had been ordered to report to Helwan on arrival. On arrival there they were ordered to go to Pals [Palestine] as no-one knew why they had been [a firm handwritten revision replacing the first part of the typed record] sent to Helwan].
From May the 11th to June 4th the Signal Section attempted to train new aircrews and carry out operations against Syria and Iraq with borrowed aircraft [&] no W/T equipment.

12th F/Lt Austin took over temporary command of the Squadron.

13th Mess meetings held and arrangements made for the Squadron future [sic] while at Aqir. Swimming parades and buses were organised for personnel daily to Tel Aviv [see eg JG Sharratt photographs].

14th No 11 Squadron equipped with Blenheims Mark IV arrived at Aqir. No 250 Squadron equipped with Tomahawk fighters were ordered by Headquarters to return to the Delta area.

15th Four Mark IV Blenheims were allotted temporarily for ‘A’ Flight for No 11 Squadron for operational use in Syria. Owing to the lack of aircrews in No 11 Squadron these aircraft were serviced and prepared for tomorrow. A high level bombing raid was carried out by two aircraft operating separately on Rayak, Palmyra, and Damascus. Duration 2 hours 5mins each [including Marshall Clark and Baird in L4910. Clark and Baird record this as 3:30hrs].

16th Sgt Pilot Marshall with Sgts Clark & Baird in Blenheim L4910 escorted two Tomahawks [F/O Wolsey and P/O Caldwell, 250 Squadron] to Cyprus and took ground guns and ammunition to our forces there. The Blenheim returned the same day [See Clark, 16 May].

17th One Blenheim carried out a raid on Aleppo, Palmyra and Damascus, dur 4hrs 45mins
S/Ldr
Blomfield arrived and took over command of the Squadron. The Squadron was paraded and given a short talk by the new CO. The Squadron organisation was altered from a 3 Flight basis to a 2 Flight basis. ‘A’ Flight being the operational Flight with Mark IV Blenheims and ‘B’ Flight being the training flight with Mark I Blenheims [this and the end of month note both accord with apparent history of some new RAAF personnel, posted to 211 or other ME Blenheim Squadrons without the benefit of a prior OTU course].

Aqir May
17th Odd
Mark I Blenheims were arriving daily from various Maintenance Units [L8667 for example, a dual control aircraft collected by P/O JCR Hooper and P/O Furmage from Abu Sueir that day]

18th Sunday Church Parade. No Flying.

19th Sqd/Ldr Blomfield air tested a Mark IV Blenheim for 40 minutes. This aircraft was to be used for training all remaining pilots who have not hitherto flown Mark IV Blenheims.

20th One Blenheim proceed to H4 prior to operations against Syria.
[H4: a pumping station and landing ground on the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline, 200-odd miles NW in Transjordan. The pumping stations along the major oil pipelines from Iraq to Palestine were convenient navigation and rest-stops for air and overland journeys in pre-war days.]
F/Lt Austin took up P/O Hooper for a flight in a Mark IV to familiarise him with the new type and later P/O Hooper flew solo.

21st P/O Hooper flew solo in a Mark IV Blenheim with his crew [possibly JCR Hooper, flying without crew in V5581: “V5881 (sic) local flying at Aquir]. One Blenheim carried out a reconnaissance of Palmyra. It forced landed 13 miles West of H3 Landing Ground [near Rutbah Fort]. Duration 4 hours.

22-23rd No operations. Time spent servicing aircraft.

24th
1620 Two Blenheims with S/Ldr Blomfield and Sgt Pilot Davies [sic: Davis?] and their crews raided Aleppo aerodrome. The raid was carried out successfully and both aircraft returned safely. Duration 4hrs 10mins.
1400 One Blenheim [
Mark IV N3581?] with P/O [JGM] Hooper, Sgt Geary and Sgt Sharratt as crew carried out a recco of the Homs area. The aircraft was chased by [collaborationist Vichy] French Morane fighters but evaded their attack and returned safely. Duration 3hrs 30mins.
A recco of Telkaaka and the railway from El Quesir to Baalbeck was also carried out by a single aircraft. Duration 3hrs 30mins.

25th F/Lt Austin did two airtests. Eight Mark IV Blenheims are now in ‘A’ Flight from No 11 Squadron.

Aqir 26.5.41 06:00 F/Lt Austin with Sgts Thomson and Inman carried out a reconnaissance of a large area of Syria. The flight was successful in spite of interference by French fighters. Duration 5 hours & 10 minutes.
2 Blenheims piloted by P/O JCR Hooper [Mark IV N3581] and Sgt Marshall bombed the aerodrome at Palmyra. Sgt Page observed direct hits on the hangars. Both aircraft returned safely. .

27.5.41 06:00 Sgt Pilot Davis with Sgt Stalder and Trenholm too off in a Blenheim to reconnoitre Aleppo. The operation was successful and the aircraft returned safely . Duration 4 hours & 50 min,

28.5.41 07:30 Sgt Pilot Davis with the same crew as yesterday took off to carry out a reconnaissance of aerodromes in Syria. The aircraft failed to return and it was later learned the crew had been killed. These were our first casualties in the Syrian Campaign [see also Sgt Clark note re loss of Davis, Stalder and Trenholm this day]

07:50 P/O JCR Hooper with Sgts Page & Kearns [in V5790] carried out a successful offensive reconnaissance of Syria. Duration 5 hours & 10 minutes.

29.5.41 One Blenheim carried out a low level reconnaissance of roads in Syria. Duration 1 hours & 55 minutes.

30.5.41 06:15 P/O JGM Hooper and his crew a successful photographic reconnaissance of Aleppo and Homs. Duration of flight 4 hours 2 minutes. Some fighter opposition was encountered.
12:30 P/O JCR Hooper and his crew carried out a reconnaissance of the pipeline and East Syria. Duration 5 hours & 35 minutes.
08:30 Sgt Pilot Marshall and his crew carried out a photographic reconnaissance of Damascus and Beyrouth. Duration 4 Hours 30 minutes.

31.5.41 05:00 S/Ldr Blomfield and his crew carried out a successful photographic reconnaissance of enemy concentrations in Syria. Duration 5 hours & 15 minutes.
08:35 P/O JGM Hooper with Sgts Geary and Sharratt carried out a photographic reconnaissance. Enemy fighters were encountered at Rayak ad the pilot used plus nine boost for 25 minutes. After somewhat hectic time the aircraft returned safely to base. The Port mainplane was damaged but the crew were uninjured. The enemy made four separate attacks and one of the fighters was damaged and abandoned the flight. Duration of flight 4 hours 20 minutes

[Aquir 31.5.41] pm A high level raid was also carried out on Aleppo aerodrome by 4 Blenheims. Duration of flight 3 hours & 45 minutes.

16:00 S/Ldr Blomfield and his crew carried out a photographic reconnaissance bombing raid on Eastern Syria. Duration of flight 4 hours 2 minutes.

During the month some non-operational Australian air crews were posted to the Squadron, also 6 Armourers. The Armourers were especially welcome as during operations in Greece, the Armoury was short of men. 12 Ground Gunners were posted to the Squadron from the UK. These men have never handled a machine gun and were therefore put under instruction immediately.

[June]
Aqir 1.6.41 Orders received for Squadron to prepare to [move] to The Sudan. Eight Mark IV Blenheims were handed back to No 11 Squadron.

2.6.41 One Blenheim carried out a reconnaissance from Syrian coast to Saida. One Blenheim carrying a Lieutenant Colonel carried out a survey of the border country prior to a land attack on Syria. Duration 2 hours 20 minutes.
Three
Mark I Blenheims are being serviced for the move.

3.6.41 Orders received for the Squadron to move to The Sudan from Port Suez with an Air Party to follow. The Squadron was split up into a Baggage Party and 3 other parties under SNCOs in order to facilitate movement.

4.6.41 Raid by 3 Blenheims co-operating with No 11 Squadron on Beirut Oil Tanks. Direct hits were obtained from 1,000 feet. 3 Hurricane escort. Duration 2 hours 45 minutes.
The Squadron left Aqir under F/Lt
Austin. This officer left the Squadron at Ismailia on posting and F/O Kelly took over command of the Rail and Sea Party. The Air Party remained at Aqir.

5.6.41 The Air party left Aqir for Heliopolis This party consisted of

S/Ldr Blomfield DFC, Sgt Dennis, Sgt Shimmin
F/Lt Dundas, DFC F/Sgt Bagshaw, Sgt Richmond
Sgt Marshall, Sgt Kavanagh DFM, Sgt Chignall,
Sgt Taylor, Cpl Pond, AC Runnacles
[these three last as groundcrew passengers, seemingly - Runnacles was a Flight Mechanic Engines].

Heliopolis 7th June 1941 The Commanding Officer went to Ismailia by air.

8th The Commanding Officer returned from Ismailia.
Aircraft serviceability poor. Arrangements made with Headquarters RAF Middle East for an engine of L8443 to be changed at Abu Sueir.

9th Sgt Pilot Marshall flew this aircraft. Sea Party arrived arrived at Port Sudan.

10th The dual aircraft developed engine trouble and required new HT leads [high-tension ignition leads were a source of trouble in magneto days]. Advance Party and the Sea and Rail Party arrived at Wadi Gazouza.

11th The Air Party flew to Ismailia

Ismailia 12th. The Air Party spent the day sailing on Lake Timsah.

13th Orders were received to return to Heliopolis on 14.6.41.

Heliopolis 14th Air Party arrived at Heliopolis and received orders to go to The Sudan on the following day.

15th Orders of 14.6.41 cancelled. Maintenance work carried out on the aircraft. Sea and Rail Party arrived at Wadi Gazouza having left Port Sudan this morning by rail.

16th F/Lt Dundas DFC remained at Heliopolis to supervise the fitting of a new reduction gear to L8443
Two other aircraft left for The Sudan. After 3hrs 25mins flying, both aircraft developed engine trouble and forced landed at El Alaqi landing ground near the Nile [on the Eastern bank at Wadi Allaqui, some 75 miles to the South of Aswan]. One aircraft was rendered serviceable and took off to obtain food and water for the other crew. This aircraft, piloted by S/Ldr
Blomfield DFC just made the 110 miles to Wadi Halfa. The aircrew was accommodated at the Nile Hotel.

Wadi Halfa 17th June 1941 A Valencia [sic! Valentia] aircraft left for El Alaqi, collected the crew of the forced landed aircraft and returned to Wadi Halfa. The Blenheim at Wadi Halfa was tested and an engine change was found necessary. The weather was extremely hot at this time.

18th The CO left with a ground maintenance crew in the Blenheim which had been made temporarily serviceable. The negines cut during flight and the pilot was only just able to reach the landing ground at El Alaqi. The crew was flown back to Halfa by Valencia [sic].

19th AM A Lysander left Wadi Halfa with spare sparking plugs in an unsuccessful attempt to service one of the two Blenheims at El Alaqui. The Lysander returned with maintenance personnel to Wadi Halfa.

20th F/Lt Dundas DFC landed at Wadi Halfa from Heliopolis.

Atbara 21th [sic!] AM The CO and F/Lt Dundas landed and their crews left by air for Wadi Gazouza where the Squadron is to be located. The aircraft made precautionary landings at Atbara owing to heavy sandstorms.
PM The remainder of the crew left Wadi Halfa by rail.

Wadi Gazouza 22nd 0800 Rail Party arrived at Atbara at 0800 and left at 1800. Weather hot and humid. The first Blenheim I arrived at Wadi Gazouza from Egypt. Time of flight 7hrs 10mins. A fierce storm swept Wadi Gazouza, blowing down the Sergeants living quarters and damaging others. Men accommodated in hastily provided shelters.

23rd 0555 The rail party detrained at Summit Station at 0555 and were conveyed by road to Wadi Gazouza.
The Sea Party had arrived at Wadi Gazouza on 14th June, having left Aquir on 4th June; and reached Port Sudan on 9th June. A W/T Station was erected at Wadi Gazouza with pack sets which were already at that station. The accumulators had not received an initial charge and no acid or distilled water was available. Charged accumulators were obtained from RAF Station Port Sudan. From 12th June an attempt was made to train the 18 WOp/AGs. This work was hampered owing to the shortage of equipment. Ground training was satisfactory but little air training was attempted owing to the lack of aircraft.

24th Sites for Flights were chosen by the Commanding Officer. Buildings which had been left by previous Squadrons were utilised.

25th No further aircraft arrived. Other aircraft destined for the unit became unserviceable en route from the Delta.

29th Australian pupils were posted to the Flights Pilots to ‘A’ Flight, Air Observers and Air Gunners to ‘B’ Flight. Lectures for air crews commenced.

30th There was a rainstorm which penetrated most buildings.

[July]
Wadi Gazouza 1st July 1941 The Squadron received 6 light Fiat lorries. These were not in very good condition but were most welcome owing to the shortage of MT. Physical Training was introduced for 30 minutes each morning commencing at 0555 hrs.

2nd Australian and Rhodesian Pilots were given cockpit drill.

3rd A dual Blenheim arrived on the Squadron - the second machine to reach this Station from Ismailia. The state of serviceability of the machines allotted to this Squadron was appalling and the machines had been badly neglected.

4th Lectures to u/t aircrews continue. The PT is said to be responsible for a distinct rise in the attendance at sick parade - stiff joints etc!

5th The dual aircraft was tested and passed by F/Lt Dundas DFC.

6th Church services for all denominations were commenced today in camp. Sgt Marshall flew the dual aircraft. Sgt Watkins, a pilot instructor recently posted to the Squadron was a passenger, familiarising himself with flying on the right hand side of a Blenheim.

7th F/Lt Dundas took up five pupils in the dual Blenheim to familiarise them with the machine and with the surrounding country.

8th Sgt Marshall took up his four pupils for the same purpose.

9th Sgt Watkins took up his five pupils.

10th Four pupils were given further air experience by Sgt Marshall.

Wadi Gazouza 11th Sgt Watkins took up five pupils for air experience.

12th The C/O S/Ldr Blomfield tested the pupil pilots in cockpit drill.

13th The usual Church services were held.
A concert was given in the evening by The Sudanese Army Band. The performance was held on the terrace of the Sergeants Mess and was very entertaining.

14th F/Lt Dundas gave dual instruction to P/O Furmage [RAAF] and Sgt MacLennan [possibly 404107 Hugh Alexander MacLennan, RAAF, later of 11 Squadron RAF, KIA 9 April 1942].

15th The Squadron was pleased to learn of the award of the DFC to P/O Cox and of the DFM to Sgt Richmond. This brings the Squadron’s total awards to nine. The usual celebrations were held.

16th 0445 Flying commenced at 0445hrs. This was necessary as only one dual Blenheim was available.

17th No flying today owing to sandstorms and poor visibility.

18th [“July 41” pencil insertion by hand] Flying training was carried out in the morning.

July 41 Jan 42 ? [in same hand as date insertion]

NB Mar 42 Disbanded [apparently in same hand]

 

Forms 541, 1941
As previously remarked, the Form 541 daily record of operations survive only for the months of January and February 1941. Aircrew were routinely listed in the order Pilot, Observer, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.

While the formation leader was still usually noted, individual Flight leaders were less often recorded, and then not by the usual Flight ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ notation, but by simple numbering. Although they may have been mentioned in a Pilot’s Flying Log Book, any supernumerary personnel or passengers were not shown in the Squadron record.

Where oddities were readily apparent, the record has been reconciled with available Flying Log Books of participants or other records, as noted, but some discrepancies may remain.

ORB F541 header03

[January]
Appendix ‘J’
Blenheim 4/1/41

L8541

F/Lt Doudney
Sgt
Kavanagh
Sgt
Wright

Bombing of Elbasan

0820

1345

Bombs were seen to straddle East sector of town

Operation Order, Bombing Reports & Narrative Reports attached with photographs – Appendix ‘A’

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt
Stack
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L6657

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Pollard
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

Took-off 15 minutes after formation after refuelling at Larissa and bombed the target independently. Forced landed at Araxos owing to error in navigation on return flight.

 

L8478

F/L Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

F/O Dundas
Sgt Page
Sgt Jones

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [sic:
Dunnet]
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L1487

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

Bombing of Elbasan

0820

1345

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Clarke [sic:
Clark]
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8541

F/Lt Doudney
Cpl Brooks
Sgt
Wright

Bombing foreshores & jetties at Valona

0810

1125

Formation leader.
All bombs were observed to fall well in target area. Formation encountered very accurate and intense AA and were attacked by six low wing monoplane fighters on turning away from target. L8541 landed at base with punctured tyre. L8536 and crew failed to return. Crashed at Argyrokastron, the crew being killed and aircraft wrecked.

Operation Order, Bombing Reports, Combat Reports, Narrative Report, Recco Report & photographs attached – Appendix ‘B’

L8536

F/O Delaney
Sgt Pollard
Sgt McCord

 

 

 

 

 

L1480 [sic:
L1490]

F/O Buchanan
Sgt
Stack
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L1528

P/O Cox
P/O Smith
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

Force landed at Eleusis owing to damaged oil pipe as a result of enemy fighters.

 

L1542

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Richmond
Sgt
Baird

 

 

 

Received direct hit from AA shell over target which lodged in tail plane, exploding 20 minutes later, Aircraft was successfully landed at base.

 

L8536

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

Bombing foreshores & jetties at Valona

0810

1125

 

 

L1487

F/O Campbell
Sgt Beharrell
Sgt
Appleyard

 

 

 

Failed to return. Last seen South of Valona. Beharrell reported on Italian wireless as Prisoner of War.

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Clarke [sic:
Clark]
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/Lt Doudney
Sgt
Kavanagh
Sgt
Wright

Bombing retiring enemy columns on Kelcyre road

1335

1645

Owing to unfavourable weather conditions formation returned to base without reaching objective,

Operation Order & Narrative Report attached – Appendix ‘C’

L6657

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/L Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Page
Sgt Jones

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [sic: Dunnet]
Sgt Hughes

Bombing retiring enemy columns on Kelcyre road

1335

1645

 

 

L8449

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Clarke [Clark]
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [sic: Dunnet]
Sgt Hughes

Photo-graphic re-connaissance of Kasos Island (Dodecanese)

0910

1130

Area not reached owing to bad weather, icing conditions at 3,000 feet [to 15,000 feet], cloud base sea level and heavy rain with poor visibility,

See Operation Order & Narrative Report – Appendix ‘D’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

To bomb military stores at Valona

1007

1130

Target area not reached owing to bad weather. Heavy thunderstorms. Low cloud over sea closing in behind reducing visibility.

See Operation Order & Narrative Report – Appendix ‘E’

L1490

P/O Cox
P/O Smith
Sgt Jones

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

F/L Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

Bombing of military buildings at Elbasan

1200

1540

All aircraft returned without bombing owing to the target area being obscured by cloud. Severe icing conditions were experienced

See Operation Order, Narrative Report attached as Appendix ‘F’

L8478

P/O Cox
P/O Smith
Sgt Hughes

 

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Baird

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Stack
Sgt Jones

 

 

L6657

F/O Austin
Sgt Thomson
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

L8542

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Taylor

 

 

L6634

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

L8449

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

Bombing of military buildings at Elbasan

1200

1540

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Clarke [Clark]
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/L Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

Bombing of military stores near jetties at Valona

1105

1505

Formation leader.
No results were observed.
The formation was intercepted and attacked by three CR42s over the target area. Formation later encountered one CANT 506B seaplane which during a running engagement lasting 10 minutes was severely damaged.

See: Operations Order, Narrative Report Bombing Report & Combat Reports with photo-graphs – Appendix ‘G’

L1542

F/O Dundas
Sgt Page
Sgt Jones

 

 

L6634

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Baird

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Stack
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

CANT 506B attacked with front gun from a distance of 75 yards. Rear gun of CANT was silenced. Slight damage was caused to engine nacelle of L1490

L8449

F/O Austin
Sgt Thomson
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing of military stores North of bridge at Berat

0905

1305

Formation leader.
Results not observed owing to necessity for evasive action that was taken when one enemy fighter attacked formation.
L8478 damaged by MG fire.
L1528 force landed at Araxos due to petrol shortage. Aircraft tipped up on its nose due to boggy nature of surface or aerodrome. Crew safe.
Explosive bullet ignited Verey [sic] cartridge in L8533 which filled cabin with dense smoke. Air Observer extinguished fire with his flying boot.
L8449 hit by AA fire also badly damaged by fighter MG fire.
All crews safe.
 

See:
Narrative Report Bombing Reports Combat Reports and photo-graphs – Appendix ‘H’.

L1528

P/O Cox
P/O Smith
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

L6657

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnet
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

L8533

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

L6657

Sgt James
Sgt Clarke [Clark]
SGt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27/1/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

See particulars overleaf

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/L Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

Bombing raid of military stores south of Elbasan

1240

1555

Direct hits scored on buildings. As Squadron turned away target area seen to be enveloped in smoke.

See Operations Order Narrative Report, Bombing Report and photo-graphs – Appendix ‘I’

L1542

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L6654

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L6634

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm
 

 

 

 

 

 

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= Complete for month of January =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*

[February]
[All the Appendix remarks for February were entered in the hand of The Bish, CO S/Ldr JR
Gordon-Finlayson]
Appendix ‘W’
1/2/41

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
Sgt Baird

Bombing raid on Valona

0935

1205

Leader of bombing formation.
Bombs were seen to fall on target and smoke was seen rising.
AA batteries and town were machine gunned.

Appendix ‘A’

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

P/O Cox
P/O Smith
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L6657

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L6634

F/L Jones
Sgt Dennis
Sgt Shimmin

Bombing raid on military camp North West of Tepelene

0950

1240

Leader of formation.
Target was not reached due to very adverse weather conditions.

Appendix ‘B’

L8440 [sic:
L8449]

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt Hay
Sgt Baker
Sgt
Checketts

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L6657

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

142

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4/2/41*

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing raid on supply depots between Kytsok and Gualla on the Kelcyre Berat road

1045

1345

Leader of the formation.
Formation returned to base without reaching target owing to very bad weather.

Appendix ‘C’

L8478

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt
Clark*
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

[* raid entered in error as 5 February in my father’s Observer’s & AG’s Flying Log Book]

 

L8513

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Page
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L6657[?]

F/O Austin
Sgt Thompson [sic]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8533[?]

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

Raid on military dumps NW of Tepelene

1400

1615

Target was not reached owing to bad weather low cloud, rain with lightning was met.

Appendix ‘D’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Kavanagh
Sgt Pattison

Bombing raid on MT and ammunition dumps NW of Tepelene and military buildings and MT NE of Krahas

1010

1230

Leader of flight. Target not reached owing to bad weather.

Appendix ‘E’

L6657

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

1010

1200

Turned back without reaching the target owing to very bad weather.

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Martin

 

0820

1200

Target bombed but the results were not observed or revealed by photographs.

 

L1481

P/O Cox
P/O Smith
Sgt Baird

 

1010

1420

Target bombed through break in the cloud. Results were not observed owing to this cloud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

Mosaic of area WNW of Tepelene

1048

1348

Only part of the area was successfully photographed. A second attempt is being made to complete the mosaic.

Appendix ‘F1’

L8478

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing targets in vicinity of Tepelene

1455

1555

No 1 bombed Duki scoring hits on buildings

Appendix ‘F2’

L8541

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

No 2 bombed Tepelene scoring direct hits on buildings

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

No 3 bombed buildings 5 miles NW of Tepelene, results were not observed.

 

L8533

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

Photographic
re-connaissance to produce a mosaic of area WNW of Tepelene

1540

1735

Mosaic completed. Bombs were dropped on Tepelene on completion of photography. Direct hits were scored on buildings in the village.

Appendix ‘F3’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing of buildings, stores and MT at Salaria and West of Tepelene

1140

1300

Half bombs were dropped on Salaria where direct hits were scored on buildings. Remainder of bombs were dropped on buildings and MT West of Tepelene, the buildings were straddled and some bombs fell on the Tepelene road.

Appendix ‘G1’

L6634

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L8541

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

Mosaic of areas in the vicinity of Tepelene

1215

1345

Mosaic completed. Bombs were dropped on Duki on completion of photography. Bombs were observed to fall in stick across buildings and on road.

Appendix ‘G2’

L6634

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing of Salaria North and Duki

1630

1730

1st Flight bombed first target, bombs were seen to fall on East of target. Tepelene and an enemy occupied village were machine gunned.

Appendix ‘G3’

L8533

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8513 [sic]

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L8541

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

2nd Flight bombed Duki and bombs were seen to score direct hits on two large buildings. Enemy AA defences on spar [spur?] near Tepelene were machine gunned by leaders rear gunner. 10,000 leaflets dropped on frontline troops.

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

L8513*

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

*Sgt Sharratt’s Log Book agrees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

Bombing of buildings and military stores at Duki

0835

0935

Bombs feel amongst buildings in Southern part of village with some direct hits. The village was then machine gunned. Weather was clear over target.

Appendix ‘H’

L8523

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing of enemy troop positions on an area North of Tepelene

1025

1125

Results were unobserved owing to cloud interference. Rear guns were used whenever suitable targets presented themselves. A small amount of heavy AA pom-pom and MG fire was fired at L8541 and L8533.
L8541 was intercepted in the Tepelene valley by 3 G50s. A running fight lasting 5-10 minutes followed during which one G50 was hit and was last seen diving steeply towards a hillside with black smoke streaming from it engine and cockpit. L8541 was badly shot up, the aircraft was brought back to its base with nil injuries to personnel.

Appendix I1

L1490

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

L1542

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Clark
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

L8541

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

L8513

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing of tentage, guns, dumps and buildings at Bousi

1445

1545

A good target was found and sticks of bombs were dropped across these.

Appendix ‘I2’

L1490

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Davies
P/O Geary

Bombing of dumps, gun positions, MT concentrations and camps at Bousi

1630

1740

Bomb bursts not observed owing to cloud intervention and the extremely bumpy conditions existing, however, the target was so large that damage must certainly have been caused by the large sticks of bombs dropped across it.

Appendix ‘J’

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt Page
Sgt Shimmin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing of gun positions, buildingsand tentage at Buzi and Laitiza

1430

1540

Bombs burst among tents at Laitiza. The target area was machine gunned.

Appendix ‘K’

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

F/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Photographs taken of Buzi-Guala and Buzi-Balli roads and bombing of Buzi

1150

1300

Bombs of No 1 Flight fell on MT on road near Buzi.
Bombs of No 2 Flight hit buildings between Buzi and Guala. Grey smoke was observed issuing from hit buildings.
The formation was escorted by Gladiators of 112 and 80 Squadrons

Appendix ‘L’

L8533

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

F/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [
Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Geary [sic*]

 

 

 

*[This entry for a Sgt Geary as WOp/AG appears to be in error. Sgt Geary was an Observer, usually in the crew of P/O JGM Hooper–as below.]

 

L8513

P/O Cox
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O [JGM] Hooper
Sgt Geary
Sgt Sharratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing of troops and MT concentrations at Camsisti and Besist

0700

0810

Observation of results rendered impossible by heavv ground mist.

Appendix ‘M1’

L8533

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Pearson
Sgt Riddle
Sgt Chignall

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

F/O Buchanan
Sgt Brooks
Sgt Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

P/O Cox
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombng raid on Besist and Camsisti

1340

1452

Ground mist prevented observations of results

Appendix ‘M2’

L8531

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Clark
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

F/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

P/O Cox
Sgt Kavanagh
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing enemy positions on road at West end of Tepelene-Kelcyre gorge

1545

1630

Bombs were seen bursting on road, near road and in river. AA positions were machine gunned.

Appendix ‘N’

L8533

F/O Godfrey
Sgt O’Neill
Sgt Wainhouse

 

 

 

 

 

L8531

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Baird [sic - Clark]
Sgt Clark [sic - Baird]

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

145

L1542

F/O Herbert
Sgt Dunnett [Dunnet]
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

P/O Cox
Sgt Stack
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing raid on bridge at Berat

1500

1630

Bridge was not hit due to an unexpectedly strong SW wind. Western end of town was severely damaged by our bombs and was enveloped in smoke as the formation turned away from the target. A fierce fire was started amongst the military buildings.
The formation was attacked by 4 Macchis or G50s over the target. L8542 was badly damaged before Hurricane escort disposed of them, shooting down the four.

Appendix ‘O’

L8531

Sgt Marsahll
Sgt Clark
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Trenholm [Stalder]
Sgt Stalder [Trenholm]

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

F/O Dundas
Sgt Richmond
Sgt Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

L8542

P/O Cox
Sgt Stack
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8541

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

Bombing enemy positions on road West of Tepelene

1010

1045

Task anadoned before reaching the target owing to very adverse weather conditions.

No Appendix

L8531

Sgt Marsahll
Sgt Clark
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Offensive re-connaissance of Buzi–Guala road

1500

1610

Bombs were dropped on Buzi–Guala. Hits were reported on MT, road and on an encampment.

Appendix ‘P’

L8449

P/O Clutterbuck
[Sgt Stack]
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

P/O Cox
Sgt Martin [sic]
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

L8531

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Clark
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing raid on military buildings and MT at Duki

1030

1140

Bombs were observed to fall and burst amongst buildings and MT at Duki. Bombs fell near AA positions at Duki.
Formation was escorted by 5 Hurricanes of 80 Sqdn.

Appendix ‘Q’

L8478

P/O Cox
W/Cdr Coote
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt Page
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing military buildings and MT near Eastern bridgehead on Tepelene – Kelcyre road

1515

1615

A large fire with columns of black smoke was observed rising from the target. Buildings were also hit in the target area.
Formation was escorted by 5 Hurricanes of 80 Sqdn.

Appendix ‘R’

L1542

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt Page
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8133
[sic L8533]
 

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

L8133 is a typing error - the serial is that of a 16 EFTS Miles Magister I.

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8531

Sgt Marshall
Sgt Clark
Sgt Baird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing enemy encampments and MT concentrations near bridge on Tepelene – Berat road

1300

1415

Bombs burst in field near road and probably damaged some MT though the concentration was not particularly thick at that point. Two bombs burst on road and judging from the black smoke it is probable that either MT vehicles or some material of an inflammable nature was hit. Target not particularly good but persistent bombing, apart from material damage, will probably force the enemy to effect more severe dispersal or possible evacuate the particular area.
Formation was escorted by three Hurricanes of 80 Squadron Detachment.
 

Appendix ‘S’

L8449

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt
Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt Page
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26/2/41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing camps, road and MT at Luzat

0830

0930

A few bombs burst on the road near junction. The main salvo overshot target.

Appendix ‘T1’

L8478

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L1542

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt Page
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing the town at Fier Italian General HQ

1145

1315

Two large fires started in West part of the town. A reconnaissance was carried out of Valona harbour. The Greek AA defences at Sarande opened up as the formation returned over Corfu and damaged L8449.

Appendix ‘T2’

L8478

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

 

 

 

 

 

L8531

Sgt Marshall
Sgt
Clark
Sgt
Baird

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8449

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

L1481

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing raid on Valona aerodrome

1510

1630

Bombs burst on Southern part of runway, on aerodrome. Direct hits were scored on buildings near aerodrome, two a/c on ground were probably destroyed by fire.
13 CR42s attempted to intercept the formation over the target. Our escort intervened and shot down 7 CR42s and two enemy fighters collided in mid-air and burst into flames, making a total of nine. Two of our aircraft were slightly damaged by AA fire.

Appendix ‘U’

L8477

P/O Clutterbuck
Sgt
Stack
Sgt Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

 

 

 

 

 

L8431
[sic: L8531]

P/O [JCR] Hooper
W/Cdr Coote
Sgt Young

 

 

 

[L8431 is not a valid serial. L8531 in JCR Hooper’s Log Book]

147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28.2.41

 

 

 

 

 

 

[L1481]

S/L Gordon-Finlayson
P/O Smith
P/O Geary

Bombing villages at Codra and Dragoti

1245

1245

Bomb bursts mainly unobserved. Some bursts observed in Corda village and across road at village.

Appendix ‘V’

L8477

P/O [JCR] Hooper
Sgt Page
Sgt Young

 

 

 

 

 

L8533

Sgt James
Sgt Bryce
Sgt Waring

 

 

 

 

 

L8513

F/Lt Farrington
Sgt Tickner
Sgt Martin

 

 

 

 

 

L8478

P/O Thompson
P/O Hogarth
Sgt Arscott

 

 

 

 

 

L1490

Sgt Davis
Sgt Stalder
Sgt Trenholm

 

 

 

 

 

Appendices, 1941
[A selection of the submitted narrative reports from early 1941 from AIR 27/1304. Legibility makes mass transcription difficult.]

[Appendix D] Narrative Report On Attempted Photographic Reconnaissance of Kasos Island by One Blenheim Aircraft of No 211 Squadron on 15th January 1941
1. One aircraft of No 211 Squadron took off from Menidi at 0910 hours LT to make a photographic reconnaissance of Kasos Island.
2. I took off and climbed Southward through a layer of cloud at about 3,000 feet and proceeded along track.
3. After about a quarter of an hour this layer closed up. I tried to climb through the cloud but after about half an hour and reaching 15,000 feet I was unable to climb farther owing to ice accretion.
4. I decided to turn back and attempt to reach sea level.
5. I came out of cloud after 20 minutes flying on the return journey and proceeded to sea level through a gap.
6. As the clouds were down to sea level in places I decided that no attempt to reach the area should be made at low level.
7. I landed at Menidi at 1130 hours

          (signed) RV Hebert
          Pilot Officer
          Pilot of Aircraft
          No 211 Squadron RAF

[Appendix F] Narrative Report of No 211 Squadron’s Attempted Raid on Elbasan on 19th January 1941
1. Nine Blenheims of No 211 Squadron left base at 1200 hours LT.
2. A direct course was set for Elbasan.
3. The weather was good as as far as Trikkala after which light clouds 7/10 were encountered at 10,000 feet.
4. From Koritsa this layer became thick 10/10 and an attempt was made to continue the raid below. The visibility became steadily worse until over the target. There was 10/10 cloud from below the level of the hills to 6,000 feet.
5. As it was not possible to penetrate these clouds a further attempt was made to go under this layer along the valley but this was of no avail and the Squadron returned to base.
6. All aircraft returned safely at base at 1540 hours LT

(signed) AL Farrington
Flight Lieutenant
Leader of Formation
No 211 Squadron RAF

No 211 Squadron
19th January 1941

Appendix K to Operations Record Book For the Month of January 1940 [sic 1941]
Engineer Officer
Armour Plating has been fitted on all available aircraft in accordance with AP 1530A Leaflet J13. Owing to the shortage of armour plating, seven aircraft have been fitted in accordance with AP 1530A, Leaflet J12.
Blenheims L1487 and L8536 were reported missing on 6th January, 1941 and two were badly damaged by enemy action. L8541 was made serviceable at the unit for flying to No 53 RSU for repair and 180 hour inspection. L1542 was repaired at this unit.
On 9/1/41 the Port engine on L1528 and Starboard engine on L8542 were changed. Plug adaptor on overhauled engine S.1440/145364, replacing port engine of L1528, was found to be loose on installation.
Blenheims L.1490 and L.8513 were damaged by enemy action on 20/1/41 but were repaired at the unit.
On 22/1/41 Blenheims L1528, L8478, L8449 and L8533 were badly damaged by enemy action. L1528 force landed at Araxos and tipped up on its nose. The remainder were rendered serviceable by this Section.
The starboard magneto of the Port engine of Blenheim L1490 was changed on 24/1/41.
Blenheim L8466 which force larded at Araxos at the beginning of December 1940, and made serviceable by our personnel, was still at Araxos during January 1941, owing to the unserviceable state of the landing ground.
The undermentioned aircraft have been allotted to this unit but have not yet been received:
L8664, L8477, L1496.

(Signed) L KELLY
Flight Lieutenant
Engineer Officer
No. 211 Squadron RAF

Photographic Section
Cameras have been used for all attempted raids during the month of January.
Out of a total of 13 cameras used for 6 successful raids, two failures only have occurred, due in each case to the Observer concerned depressing the pushbutton in the push switch unit before the green light had been extinguished. It is hoped to prevent a recurrence of this difficulty by fitting modified electrical controls.

(Signed) J Loxley Sgt
NCO i/c Photographic Section
No. 211 Squadron RAF

Medical Officer
Lectures on VD have been given to the Squadron this month. These will be carried out monthly.
FFI inspections were also carried out. 100 sheaths were sold at the Station Sick Quarters. Six cases of Venereal Disease occurred during the month, and these were admitted to hospital.
There has been a general improvement in sanitation, 1) by closing the flush WCs and 2) at the same time by the provision of bucket latrines.
Water samples show that the water in the Officers Mess is unfit for drinking without treatment by boiling.
Attendances at sick parades were generally small and those who did attend were genuinely sick.

Officer i/c Signals
A set of specialist W/T vehicles have been received to be used as aircraft frequency channels operating as SHQ for the use of all bomber aircraft on operations, and all aircraft moving to and from Greece. These frequencies were previously operated and controlled by HQ BFG Signals.
Normal routine and operational communications have been maintained satisfactorily but as this Section is working on Station Headquarters basis, signals traffic has been somewhat greater. The arrival of airmen of the trades of WEM, Electrician and Wireless Operator has greatly eased the maintenance and shortage of personnel problems.

Armament Officer
Modification of No 17 Pistols Mk I was carried out as per instruction received. A defect in these Pistols was discovered during the course of the modification. The matter was reported to S/Ldr Mitchell (Command Armament Officer BFG) who is taking action. Small Bomb Containers in the Squadron are being serviced and a modification incorporated by removing one cam from the selector boxes which allows release units to be functioned as often as required. The normal method allows only one attempt to release each release unit.
A system of low level bombing devised by W.O. Fogg in June 1939, and used in the Middle East until the Air Ministry method was received, is being forwarded to higher authority by OC Squadron. The new method allows a sight to be obtained at a lower height and greater speed.

No 72 Operational Training Unit
The formal record for 72 OTU (TNA AIR 29/686) began in late 1941, on the usual Form 540 sheets but not in the usual diary form.

Instead, the account began with a summary narrative of the Unit’s formation in the to-and-fro of changing intent and preparations for training twin-engine bomber crews in the Middle East, written shortly after the OTU formed on 18 November 1941 and covering the period to 15 January 1942.

Of the Appendices attached to the Narrative portion of the 72 OTU Operations Record Book, two are notable:

    Appendix I
    A forthright 211 Squadron assessment of the unsuitability of both
    Wadi Gazouza and nearby Carthago for training 3-man Blenheim crews for day and night operations, submitted as early 21 July 1941.

    Appendix L
    Movement Order from CO 72 OTU, Wadi Gazouza, to CO 211 Squadron, Helwan. Dated 19 December 1941, the Order includes a detailed nominal roll by mustering or trade for the draft of almost 300 ground trades airmen posted from 72 OTU to 211 Squadron. On 20 December the Party left Wadi Gazouza for the railway station at
    Summit, travelling by train Wadi Halfa, thence by river steamer to Shellal Station at Aswan, for the final rail leg on to Helwan and 211 Squadron. The roll has already been transcribed and forms part of the Personnel Rolls account.

 

Sources
4 FTS Operations Record Book and Appendices, January to March 1941 TNA AIR 29/554 & AIR 29/555
14 Squadron Operations Record Book Monthly Summary (RAF Form 540) September 1939 —June 1940 TNA AIR 27/192
72 OTU Operations Record Book TNA AIR 29/686
112 Squadron Operations Record Book Monthly Summary (RAF Form 540) 1941 TNA AIR 27/873
113 Squadron Operations Record Book Monthly & Daily Summaries (RAF Form 540, 541) TNA AIR 27/878
211 Squadron Operations Record Book Monthly Summaries (RAF Form 540) TNA
AIR 27/1302
211 Squadron Operations Record Book Daily Summaries (RAF Form 541) TNA AIR 27/1303
211 Squadron Operations Record Book Appendices January and February 1941 TNA AIR 27/1304
British Air Forces Greece BAFG HQ Operations Record Book (TNA AIR 24/1666)
“W” Wing Reports on Operations Signal 26 March 1941 TNA AIR 23/6382 f51A
Flying Log Books: Baird, Clark, Gordon-Finlayson, Sharratt, Stack

Halliday H: AFC citation AIR 2/8891 Nedwill
King, Derek: Correspondence re Air Britain Percival Q6 paper.
Martyn, Errol: Correspondence and RAF papers re
Nedwill

Air Ministry Air Force List March 1939 (HMSO)
Gunby & Temple RAF Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean Vol 1 1939—1942 (Midland 2006)
Halley RAF Aircraft L1000—N9999 (Air Britain 1993)
Longmore Report on Middle East Air Operations Jan 1941 to 3 May 1941
(
HMSO, London Gazette 17 Sep 1946, 2nd Supplement 19 September)
Martyn For Your Tomorrow Vol I, Vol II Volplane Press 2008
Orange & Stapleton Winged Promises: A History of No 14 Squadron RAF 1915—1945 (RAF Benevolent Fund 1996)

 

www.211squadron.org © D Clark & others 2017
Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 2 Mar 2017. Page created 13 Apr 2011, last updated 31 Jul 2016
Home | Site Summary | Next | Previous | Enquiries | Glossary | Site updates | Site Search