Abbreviation

081730

A/B

a/c

Admin

AirTps

Amn

A/T

Bks

Comd

Comp

Coy

Div

DZ

Equipt

Fm

Gren

OC

Ord

Pan

Pdr

RASC

Rds

RHU

Tps
Tpt

W/T

8th June, 1730 hrs

Airborne

Aircraft
Administrative

Airborne Troops

Ammunition

Anti-Tank

Barracks

Commander

Composite

Company

Division / Divisional

Drop Zone

Equipment

Farm

Grenade

Officer Commanding

Ordnance

Pannier

Pounder

Royal Army Service Corps

Rounds

Reinforcements Holding Unit

Troops

Transport
Wireless / Telegraphy

 

Month and year : June 1944

Commanding Officer : Major A.C. Bille-Top

 

2nd June 1944

Place: Harwell Transit Camp

 

1100 - Informed today is D-3.  Called together Coy Comds of 518, 634 and 636 Coys and made arrangements for reporting of transport on following to units to pick up equipt etc for loading aircraft.

 

3rd June 1944

0900 - All Transport reported to Div Units to convey personnel and equipt for loading of aircraft and gliders.  Transport re-assembled at OAKLEY WOOD by evening and remarshalled preparatory to moves to units following day.

 

4th June 1944

1100 - Transport reported to Units of 6 Airborne Div to convey personnel to Airfields for emplaning.  Approx midday notification received that D-1 was postponed 24 hours and all Transport ordered to return to OAKLEY WOOD where it was remarshalled again for following day.

 

5th June 1944

1100 - Transport reported to units of 6 A/B Div to convey personnel to airfields.  Announced approx 1400 hours that today is D-1.  Troop carrying Tpt released by approx 0100 hours 6 Jun 44 after all aircraft had taken off from airfields.  Tpt returned to OAKLEY WOOD and preparation made for move of 634 and 636 Coys to GRANTHAM.

 

6th June 1944

0900 - Move of 634 Coy to Grantham.

 

1000 - Move of 636 Coy to Grantham.

 

0900 - Transport of 518 Coy reported to Units of 6 Airlanding Brigade to convey them to airfields.  Released approx 2200 hours.  O.C. 518 Coy, on instruction D.D.S.T. Airborne Tps, dispatched transport to Grantham area in batches of 20 lorries at intervals of half hours during night 6/7 June.  Loading of 63 Coy Transport during morning preparatory to re-supply.  All aircraft loaded by 2100 hours.

30 Aircraft.

10 Aircraft.

10 Aircraft.

Blakehill Fm.

Broadwell.

Down Ampney.

 

Details of re-supply attached.  Aircrews provided by 63 Coy. RASC.  Take off 2220 hours.

 

7th June 1944

Aircraft from re-supply return approx 0115 - 0150 hours.  Debriefing of aircrews completed by 0400 hours.  Reports attached.  Casualties.  5 a/c with 20 RASC despatchers.

 

1600 - HQ at 104/503049 closed and returns BULFORD.  Further re-supply.  Airfield Fairford.  No of Aircraft employed 6.  Details of load.

 

RASC Amn

Ord

Totals:

Panniers.

-

24

24

Containers.

59

88

147

 

8th June 1944

Arrangements for formation of General Transport Coy completed.  Transport being provided from residues of units in 6 A/B Div.  20 Casualties from 63 Coy replaced by posting 10 Dvrs from 398 and 10 Dvrs from 716 Coy.  Further re-supply arranged.  Airfield: KEEVIL.  No of Aircraft employed 12.  Aircrews provided by 1 Airborne Div.  Take off 1951 hours.  Bad weather prevailed and four aircraft only reached DZ.

 

9th June 1944

Information during day of further re-supply.  14 Aircraft operated from Keevil Airfield.  6 Aircraft operated from Tarrant Rushton.  Take-off 0449 hours.  Standard packs dropped by these missions on nights 8/9 - 9/10 June included.

 

RASC Amn

Ord

Totals:

Panniers.

20

10

30

Containers.

289

77

366

Jeeps.

6

-

6

6pdr A/T Guns.

6

-

6

 

10th June 1944

Improvised Coy 6 A/B Div formed at Figsbury Bks.  Operating from Fairford Airfield 3 aircraft carried out further re-supply despatching.

 

RASC Amn

Ord
Newspapers & Stationery

Totals:

Panniers.

6

-

6

12

Containers.

23

49

-

72

 

12th June 1944

Containers remaining on Airfields and surplus to requirements of "Jettison" drop collected and returned to Figsbury Bks.  20 Reinforcements posted from R.H.U. Camp and allocated 10 each to 398 Coy RASC and 716 Coy RASC.

 

14th June 1944

Re-supply  Take-off 2025 hrs.  Airfield Fairford.  No of Aircraft 5.  Despatched Standard Packs as under.

 

RASC Amn

Ord
Newspapers, Mail etc

TOTALS:

Panniers.

-

17

3

20

Containers.

9

111

-

120

Amn. Nature

75 Grens

9mm Parabellum

 

No of Rds.

216

10800

 

15th June 1944

Tpt and personnel as under reported to HQ. Airborne Troops.  Warned and equipped for service overseas and attached f.a.p. to H.Q. AirTps.

    398 Coy. RASC.  2 x 3 ton Austin G.S. 4 x 4 - 2 Dvrs.

    716 Coy. RASC.  5 Cars 5cwt 4 x 4 and 5 Trailers - 5 Dvrs.

 

18th June 1944

Re-supply mission from FAIRFORD.  Number of Aircraft operating 18.  Despatched following Standard Packs.

 

ORD
Mail & Newspapers

SIGS

TOTALS:

Panniers.

56

4

-

60

Containers.

427

-

5

432

Bundles

12

-

-

12

43 Containers were returned.  Owing to bomb released mechanism being defective these could not be dropped.  63 Coy RASC took no part in this mission.

 

23rd June 1944

18 Aircraft operating from KEEVIL carried out further re-supply and despatched Standard Packs as under.

 

ORD
Mail & Newspapers

Typewriters, stationery & Equipment

TOTALS:

Panniers.

70

-

2

72

Containers.

429

2

1

432

Faulty bomb release mechanism necessitated the return to base of 10 Containers.  63 Coy RASC did not take part in this re-supply mission.

 

30th June 1944

Further re-supply mission from KEEVIL.  21 Aircraft operating.  Time of Departure 1900 hrs.  Details of Standard Packs not yet available.

 

 

REPORT ON SUPPLY DROP - 6/7 June 44

 

1.  AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE

The following aircraft were placed at Airborne Troops disposal for Supply by Air on night 6/7 June 44:-

 

        BLAKEHILL FARM    - 30 Dakota A/C

        DOWN AMPNEY       - 10       "        "

        BROADWELL             - 10       "        "

 

The Aircraft at Blakehill Farm were known to be available the day before the drop was due to take place; and loading was commenced on evening of 5 June.  However this did not prove to be a saving of time as the loading list issued was not in accordance with the requirements of 6 Airborne Div, and had to be changed.

 

The necessary alterations to loads were made on the morning of June 6, and vehicles arrived at BLAKEHILL FARM by 11.00 hours.

 

Loading of vehicles for the other two Airfields, proceeded well.  There was a last minute alteration to the Aircraft loads for DOWN AMPNEY, but this was successfully dealt with.

 

2.  AIRCRAFT LIAISON SECTIONS.

Sections were set up as follows:-

 

63 Coy.   - BLAKEHILL FARM and DOWN AMPNEY.

253 Coy. - BROADWELL

 

All sections had routes well sign-posted, and were well established.  Messing arrangements were quite satisfactory, and all despatch crews carried a thermos flask of tea in the Aircraft with them.

 

Parking of vehicles on Airfields was satisfactory, but if permission could be obtained from the appropriate authorities for vehicles to be parked close to Aircraft Dispersal Bays: much time would be saved on return.  This is because in nearly all cases, a member of the Despatch Crew, is also the Driver of the vehicle.

 

De-briefing after the flight was greatly held up, because of this parking.  No vehicles are allowed on the perimeter track until all aircraft have returned: although this is a rule which is not carried out by the R.A.F., as the Aircrews themselves were collected very soon after these aircraft came in.

 

De-briefing can be, and will be speeded up by having more than one officer on the job.

 

3.  AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT

Roller conveyor were already fitted to aircraft before arrival of R.A.S.C. vehicles.  There were several minor deficiencies in equipment at DOWN AMPNEY which were made up before the aircraft were loaded.

 

Static lines were not attached to the centre strong point in the majority of cases.  The changing over does not entail much work, but the R.A.F. prefer to do it themselves, and this can entail a delay if the personnel are not available.

 

4.  DESPATCHING OF LOADS

Interrogation reports have already been forwarded, giving details from each Despatch Crew.

 

Free drop bundles causes a certain amount of difficulty in a number of cases.  This is to be overcome by packing them in panniers.  The panniers will not be harnessed, but will be [free?] dropped method of despatching from Aircraft and will be daisy chaining a free drop pannier to a harnessed one.  This will, of course, reduce the aircraft load, as previously the bundles were carried in excess of the 16 panniers.

 

5.  GENERAL

Considering that this was the first occasion on which a supply drop on this scale has ever been attempted in action, it went very well.  The fact that five Aircraft with all their Crew and Despatchers are missing, is deeply regretted, and from all accounts, it seems that they never reached the D.Z.

 

One Aircraft was badly hit and made a forced landing on the South Coast.  The Crew however, despatched their load over the D.Z.  One of them (Dvr LYTHE), having been already wounded in the thigh.

 

The confidence and morale of all Despatchers was very high: both before and after the flight.

 

(Sgd) D.J. Bradley

Major, R.A.S.C.

O.C. 63 Coy, R.A.S.C. (Airborne Div Comp).

A.P.O.

England

8 June 44

DJB/GS

 

 

ACTION REPORT ON SUPPLY DROP - 6/7 June 1944.

 

UNIT:- 63 Coy, RASC.  (Airborne Div Comp).

 

1.  CASUALTIES.

20 Despatchers Missing

1 Despatcher evacuated to Hospital with shell splinter wounds.

 

2.  DEFECTS IN PARACHUTES, CONTAINER RELEASE OR OTHER EQUIPMENT.

Roller Conveyor Equipment installed by RAF.  Certain deficiencies had to be made up.

 

One Container was not released, because Second Pilot failed to operate necessary switch.

 

General Complaint that free bundles were too bulky and caused trouble.  This is to be rectified by packing in panniers.

 

Static Lines in majority of cases not attached to centre strong point.

 

3.  ANY UNUSUAL BEHAVIOUR OF A/C.

One or two A/C took violent evasive action, after the Red light had come on.  This caused loads to shift, but they were righted in time for despatch over D.Z.

 

4.  REMARKS - PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS.

Very satisfactory.  Loading of vehicles, admin arrangements and loading of A/C worked smoothly and efficiently.

 

5.  GENERAL REMARKS.

The fact that the vehicles have no driver, as he is also a member of the Despatch Crew, means that a long wait occurs before Crews can be collected for de-briefing after planes touch down.

 

R.A.F. DOWN AMPNEY were late in providing Aircraft for loading.

 

In several cases no RED was shown after GREEN.

CREW

CREW COMMANDER LOAD DROPPED FAILURES & RETURNS REASONS COMMENTS REMARKS

1.

Cpl. Owen.

No.

Whole load.

Shot down.

A/C No.251.  A/C and crew missing.

2.

Cpl. Hoult.

Yes.  (2 runs) 1st run PORT side & two pans.

-

1st pair of starboard side capsized due to faulty board assembly of ORD sups.

Bundles O.K.  25 and 15 secs.  Saw flak.  No sickness.  Lights unnecessary.

3.

Cpl. Stannard.

No.

Whole load.

Shot down.

A/C No.253 and crew missing.

4.

Cpl. Wilson R.

Yes.

-

-

Bundles O.K.  20 secs.  No flak.  No sickness.  No lights.  Saw A/C 251 and 253 in flames.

5.

Cpl. Brown A.

Yes.  (2 runs) 1st run all PORT & 1 pair S'board.

Roof damaged due to evasive action of plane.

-

Bundles difficult.  25 and 5 secs.  Hit by flak before DZ.  No sickness.  No lights.

6.

L/Cpl. Jones.

No.

Whole load.

No green sig given.  Saw either A/C 251 or 253 on fire on s'board.

Hit by flak.  No sickness.  Lights available.

7.

L/Cpl. Slack.

Yes.

-

Roller conveyors sticky.

Bundles - slight difficulty.  19 secs despatch.  No Flak.  No sickness.

8.

L/Cpl. Avis.

Yes.

-

H piece broke on release.

Bundles O.K.  19 secs despatch.  Slight flak over D.Z.  No sickness.  Dim lighting.

9.

L/Cpl. Law.

Yes.  (2 runs) 1st run all PORT and 2 s'board

-

-

Bundles difficult.  25 secs and 3 secs.  Slight flak (ships).  No sickness.  Dimmed lighting.

10.

L/Sjt. Crossman.

Yes.

-

-

Free drop over tail.  23 secs despatch.  Stretcher too long.  No sickness.  Dimmed lights.  Flak dense tho' light small.

11.

Cpl. Finlay.

Yes.

-

-

Bundles - slight difficulty.  22 secs despatch.  Dense flak - hits.  No sickness.  No lighting.

12.

L/Cpl. Green.

Yes.

-

Severe banking to avoid collision.

Bundles difficult.  22 secs despatch.  Flak on coast.  No sickness.  No lighting.

13.

L/Cpl. Preskey.

Yes.  2 runs 1st run all except 1 pair on starboard

-

Caught in searchlight.

Bundles right over tail.  25 secs.  Little flak over D.Z.  No sickness.  Dimmed lighting.

14.

Dvr. Cross.

Yes.

-

-

Bundles difficult.  22 secs despatch.  Flak over sea.  One O.R. sick.  No lights.

15.

L/Cpl. Morgan.

Yes.

-

-

Bundles difficult.  15 secs despatch.  Hit by flak near D.Z.  No sickness.  No lights needed.  Flak from sea.

16.

L/Cpl. Shadbelt.

Yes.  2 runs 1st run 10 pens.

-

4 pans capsized due to steep bank.

Bundles difficult.  24 secs despatch.  Saw dense flak.  No sickness.  No lighting.

17.

Dvr. Attwood

Yes.  2 runs.  1st run PORT only.

-

Panniers capsized due to plane's evasive action.

Bundles difficult.  25 and 23 secs despatch.  Saw flak from sea.  2 sick.  Dvr. Wardel sick & prostrate.  Lights available.

18.

Cpl. Simpson.

Yes.

-

-

Bundles - slight diffy.  30 secs despatch.  Saw flak.  No sickness.  Dimmed lighting.

19.

Dvr. Law.

Yes.  2 runs.  1st run PORT & 2 prs.

-

Bundle caused delay on starboard side.

Bundles - difficulty.  25 and 5 secs despatch.  Flak over coast.  No sickness.  No lighting.

20.

Dvr. Gaffney.

Yes.  3 runs.  1 - 6 prs.  2 - 2 prs.  3 - 2 prs.

-

Bundles and stretchers gave difficulty.

Bundles - difficult.  25, 20 & 3 secs.  Some flak near DZ.  No sickness.  No lighting.

21.

Cpl. Jones. W.G.

Yes.

-

-

Bundles - O.K.  12 secs despatch.  Flak over D.Z.  1 O.R. sick.  Dimmed lighting.

22.

L/Cpl. McRory.

Yes (2 runs).  Complete drop less one free drop.  1st - PORT.  2nd S'BOARD.

Free drop.

Too light to despatch on its own.

Bundles - slightly diffy.  Saw flak - SAA.  No sickness.  No lighting.

23.

L/Cpl. Falconer.

Yes.

-

Wireless aerial over tail.

Bundles - slight difficulty.  22 secs despatch.  Saw flak.  One slightly sick.  Dimmed light.

24.

Lieut. Knief

Yes (3 runs).  1 - PORT.  2 - NIL.  3 S'BOARD.

-

Bundles caused delay.

Free drop difficult.  10 mins despatch.  Light flak.  No sickness.  No lighting.  BUNDLES CAUSED DELAY.

25.

L/Cpl. Williams.

Not known.

? ? ?

A/C failed to return.

A/C No. 275 and crew failed to return.  No information from other A/C.

26.

Dvr. Young.

Yes.

-

-

22 secs despatch.  Hit by flak past D.Z.  No sickness.  No lights (torch only).

27.

Cpl. Stackhouse.

Yes.

-

-

25 secs despatch.  Flak lively - SAA over D.Z.  No sickness.  No lighting.

28.

L/Cpl. Cameron.

Yes (2 runs).  1 - 12 pans.  2 - 2 pans.

-

Lashing impeded panniers.

25 and 12 secs.  Flak - hit on tail over sea.  No sickness.  No lights except torch.

29.

Cpl. Nixon.

Yes.

-

-

Free drop difficult.  25 secs despatch.  Flak lively - A/C hit.  No sickness.  No lighting.

30.

L/Cpl. Wilkinson.

Not known.

-

-

Flak encountered as green light was shown.  Direction of fire - left of D.Z.  Dvr. Lythe casualty with wounds in right thigh.  Forced landing on return.

 

 

REPORT ON SUPPLY MISSION FROM KEEVIL AERODROME ON 8/9 and 9/10 June 44

 

To:- O.C. 63 Coy R.A.S.C. (Airborne Div Comp)

From:- Airfield Liaison Officer

10 June 44.

 

Reference Log attached.

 

The duties to be completed on the mission under reference were varied and it appeared at no period was there ample time available.

 

In chronological order the matters to be considered and accomplished were as follows:-

 

1.  Vehicles did not arrive until nearly 081730.  Loading was commenced in full swing at 1750 hrs.  Take-off time was scheduled for 1946 hrs.  Loading, a meal and briefing had to be fitted in between these hours.  This commitment was carried out, with the exception of the stowing of 4 containers.  Take-off time was amended to read 1951 hrs.

 

2.  Accurate records were difficult to compile for only prior to take-off a vehicle bearing Ordnance of an urgent nature had to be distributed over all the aircraft; it took some time to straighten things out.  There not being a loading schedule impeded this collation of details.

 

3.  At 2135 hrs the A/C returned to base, but complications arose for certain A/C had been diverted to FORD and one other had "Jettisoned" its load.  What the loading position of the FORD A/Cs was difficult to ascertain.  More difficult was this task since, as previously stated, no load schedule was in my possession.

 

4.  Early in the morning, 9 June, SABOT amn had to be packed and loaded into craft.  Little if any information was forthcoming from Station HQ concerning this commitment.  However, by 0640 hrs, two crafts were loaded.  Unfortunately, one of the A/C had already part of a load.  This was off-loaded and the SABOT completed.

 

5.  A greater part of 9 June was spent in determining the load position, further complicated by certain craft becoming unserviceable.

 

6.  A warning order was received to proceed on a further mission sometime after 0001 hrs, 10 June.  The Battle Order included A/Cs still at FORD and weather conditions were bad, and not until the late evening 9 June did these A/C return to base.  However, re-allotment of crews to A/C was completed by 2340 hrs 9 June.  Take-off at this time was scheduled for approx 0315 hrs, 10 June.  Take-off was subsequently timed for 0449 hrs.  At 0345 hrs, 10 June, two craft loaded with SABOT had to be changed.  This did not allow sufficient for one of the craft to be completely loaded and this one craft set off with only 16 containers.

 

7.  The last orders received were to the effect craft would be marshalled, similar to the previous night.  But owing, I understand, to the dawn take-off, the risk of marshalling was considered, and craft took off with the aid of W/T from the Dispersal Bays.  Owing to this the despatch crews did not all find their craft, and it was considered unsafe for them to meet their craft at the take-off point.

 

However, all loads with a few odd exceptions were finally despatched.

 

Total returns were:-

11 containers... SABOT amn

13 containers... Amn - Ord mixed.

 

(Sgd)

101621B