Abbreviations

ASL

Bgde

Bn

Div

DZ
RASC

Above Sea Level

Brigade

Battalion

Division

Drop Zone

Royal Army Service Corps

 

 

Month and year: June 1944

 

2nd June 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Day flying 3.00 hours.  Night flying -.  S/Ldr. Russell flew to Pershore with all crew members who had not had their photographs taken recently for identity purposes.  At 14.00 hrs. today the camp was sealed, no person, correspondence, or telephone calls being allowed off the camp.

 

3rd June 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Day flying 00.55 hours.  Night flying -.  2 aircraft were given an air test today.  32 crews were briefed all day for operation "Tonga".

 

4th June 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Day flying -.  Night flying -.  No flying all day.  All crews taking part in "Tonga" had further briefing all day.

 

5th June 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Day flying -.  Night flying -.  It was learned at 17.00. hrs that the operation had been postponed 24 hrs. and that tonight it was to take place.  Marshalling and final briefing took place during the evening.

 

6th June 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Day flying  .  Night flying  .  Operation "Tonga" took place in the early hours of the morning and all aircraft returned safely to base.  18 crews were engaged on glider reinforcement operation "Mallard" in the evening.  S/Ldr. Rae, leading was badly shot up and had to ditch in the Channel.  All crew safely picked up within 15 minutes.  At midnight 5 crews were engaged on re-supply operation "Rob Roy".  While approaching the French coast the formation was shot at by the Navy.  F/Lt. Carter and F/O. Brennan failed to return.

 

OPERATION "TONGA"

The intention of the operation was to drop the 9th Parachute Bn. of the 3rd Para. Bgde. of the 6th Airborne Div. by moonlight on a selected D.Z. behind enemy lines in enemy occupied Europe.  The D.Z. was located 3 miles inland from a coastal entry point approximately half-way between Cabourg and Ouistreham on the coast of Normandy.  It was the intention of the 9th Bn. to destroy a heavy coastal battery situated approximately 2 miles to N.W. of the D.Z.  575 Squadron were to drop troops of the 13th Bn. on a D.Z. south west of D.Z. "V" used by 512 Squadron and it was the intention of these troops to gain and hold intact two bridges, one over the canal and one over the river, north of the city of CAEN.  Zero hour was timed for 07.00 hrs. when operation "Neptune" was to take place on the beaches of the Bay of the Seine.

 

Wing Commander Coventry leading, took off at 23.15 hrs. followed immediately by the rest of the squadron, 32 aircraft in all, who formed up in vics of 3 aircraft, each vic flying at 30 second intervals.  Following the route as briefed, Enstone, Fair Oaks and Worthing, the squadron set course on time over the beacon at Worthing flashing the letter "V".  Visibility was quite good although 10/10ths up till now had obscured the moon and map-reading was not too easy.  Our next turning point was a D.R. position some miles off the N.W. tip of Capt d'Antifer from where we were to make the run up into the coastal entry for D.Z. "V".  When about 12 miles from the English coast all lights were switched off and as the cloud still obscured the moon, formation flying was none too easy but the black and white stripes which had been painted on the mainplanes and all around the fuselage were certainly an advantage.

 

We had been informed that a force of 100 Lancasters would bomb the coastal battery, which was the objective of the 9th Bn. about 20 mins. before our arrival and sure enough while on the final run in, several very large explosions were seen ahead.  A small amount of light flak was seen coming from the direction of Le Havre but fell too short to interfere with the formation.  Two other streams of aircraft were to enter the coast on our starboard side and as we were running up to entry point "V" some light flak was seen away to starboard and an aircraft was seen to crash in flames on the coast.  The D.Z. was located by most crews on the first run in and troops were dropped on time across the centre of it.  One or two crews had to make second runs.  W/Cmdr. Coventry was obliged to make 3 runs as on the first two, one of the troops slipped in the doorway and the red light was on before he could recover and jump.  By this time there was terrific congestion in the air around the D.Z. and several crews reported having nearly collided with other Dakotas.  Altogether there were approximately 250 aircraft dropping troops in the area at the same time!  00.50 hrs. was the deadline for the squadron and apart from the extra runs all troops were dropped on time.  Altogether 568 troops were dropped.  Most formations broke up after the drop and proceeded back to base individually via Fecamp.  No interference from flak or enemy aircraft was experienced.

 

The operation was extremely successful all crews landing at base, uninjured and with no damage to the aircraft.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.392 V.  Crew:  W/Cmdr Coventry, F/Lt Marshall, F/Lt Williams, F/O Lee.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  03.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.390 E.  Crew:  S/Ldr Southgate, F/Lt Saunders, F/Lt Bryan, F/O Parry.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.422 B1.  Crew:  F/Lt Thomas, Sgt Dawson, F/O Corlett, F/S Bergin.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.647 H.  Crew:  F/O George, Sgt Burgess, F/O Hemming, F/O Hicks.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.322 C.  Crew:  F/Lt Clarke, Sgt French, F/O James, W/O Anderson.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.55.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.314 C1.  Crew:  F/O Strenz, Sgt Cunnell, F/O Hurd, F/O Ware.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.480 G.  Crew:  F/Lt Carter, W/O Northall, F/S Trewin, F/S Woodcock.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.373 B.  Crew:  F/Lt Hyde, Sgt Anderson, F/S Blundell, W/O Campbell.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.486 A1.  Crew:  F/O Garvin, W/O Seal, W/O Grant, W/O Fuller.  Time Up:  23.24.  Time Down:  02.49.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA XG.407 D.  Crew:  W/O Proctor, F/O Holland, Sgt Dyer, W/O Sabourin.  Time Up:  23.25.  Time Down:  03.40.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.324 A.  Crew:  F/S Perry, W/O Gilbert, F/S Barritt, W/O Friend.  Time Up:  23.25.  Time Down:  03.05.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.333 N.  Crew:  S/Ldr Russell, P/O Hemmings, F/Lt Petrie, F/O Briscoe.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.30.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.649 J1.  Crew:  F/O Buchanan, Sgt McDonald, F/O Cole, W/O Hubbert.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.610 O.  Crew:  F/O Payne, Sgt Parratt, F/O Mattocks, W/O West.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.694 R.  Crew:  F/Lt Reed, F/O O'Connell, F/O Jones, W/O McLeod.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.651 J.  Crew:  F/O Fitzgibbon, F/S Parsons, W/O Fox, F/S Herbert.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.55.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.344 L.  Crew:  F/Lt Gough, F/O McNicol, F/S Tibbles, Sgt Hubbard.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  03.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.348 K.  Crew:  F/Lt Worts, Sgt Bruce, F/S Bradley, Sgt Goodall.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.658 M.  Crew:  F/S Masini, Sgt Johnson, F/O Dowell, W/O Kidd.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.40.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.696 Q.  Crew:  Lt Offenhiser, F/S Garvin, F/O Smith, W/O Bevington.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.15.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.609 P.  Crew:  W/O McLaughlin, Sgt England, F/S Houston, Sgt Placentine.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.30.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.656 K.  Crew:  P/O Lewis, F/S Robinson, P/O Coonan, Sgt Canning.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  03.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.377 S.  Crew:  S/Ldr Smulian, F/O Ring, F/O Tomlinson, W/O King.  Time Up:  23.18.  Time Down:  03.15.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.368 Y.  Crew:  F/O Pearson, Sgt Tyson, F/O Vardy, F/O Miechel.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  03.15.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.323 U.  Crew:  F/O McLean, F/O Cox, Sgt Turner, W/O Mercert.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  03.15.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.418 T.  Crew:  F/Lt Alexander, F/O McLintock. Sgt McHugh, F/O Rechenue.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  02.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.371 X.  Crew:  F/O Seary, W/O Pickering, P/O Griffiths, W/O Blue.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.55.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.330 T.  Crew:  F/Lt Matthews, Sgt Thompson, W/O Bromige, W/O Tonner.  Time Up:  23.15.  Time Down:  03.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.347 S1.  Crew:  F/O Brennan, F/O Coombe, Sgt Seager, P/O Toyne.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  02.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.361 U.  Crew:  F/Lt McLeod, W/O Corby, F/O Butcher, Sgt Claydon.  Time Up:  23.20.  Time Down:  03.33.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.379 W.  Crew:  F/Lt Roberts, F/O Appleton, F/Lt Starr, W/O Perry.  Time Up:  23.14.  Time Down:  02.41.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.354 Z.  Crew:  F/O Shaw, F/O Close, Sgt Bryant, W/O Thayer.  Time Up:  23.35.  Time Down:  03.00.

 

 

Operation "MALLARD"

The intention of the operation was to land a force of gliders on D.Z. "N" at 21.00 hrs. with the purpose of reinforcing the 6th Airborne Division who were dropped in the early hours of the morning.  The gliders fully loaded with varying cargoes, jeeps, guns, ammunition, supplies and some of them carrying troops were piloted by officers and N.C.O.'s of "F" Squadron who have been attached to us since the early days of training.  All crews attended briefing in the afternoon and aircraft were marshalled on runway 01, in good time.  At the time of take off there was a strong crosswind blowing at 20 m.p.h. from the port side at 80 to the runway.

 

S/Ldr Rae, leading the Squadron was airborne at 18.40 hrs.  Unfortunately the rope broke in the third combination just as F/O Garvin commenced to take off and a valuable 10 minutes was lost while he taxied back into position and had a new rope attached.  From then on each take off was fairly regular and all combinations were successfully airborne.  Plenty of time had been allowed before setting course over base in pairs, line astern and those combinations that were late were able to catch up.  All captains deserve commendation on the take off under such difficult circumstances.

 

The formation set course from Littlehampton for a D.R. position some miles to the N.W. of Cape D'Antifer and then altered course to cross the Normandy coast at Ouistreham.  Occasionally some crews glimpsed some of the 21 fighter squadrons who were escorting the formation.

 

The leading glider, piloted by Capt. Thomas pulled off soon after crossing the coast and went in to land on the L.Z. while S/Ldr Rae flew on to the rope dropping area which was just south of the L.Z.  As he turned away to starboard the aircraft was coned by light flak from 3 flak ships lying in a small harbour off the canal, north of CAEN.  The aircraft was very badly holed, the navigator F/O Cullingford and the wireless operator, F/Sgt Standen being hit but not seriously wounded by shrapnel.  The starboard engine failed and the port engine was running spasmodically.  Gradually losing height and spotting 2 air/sea rescue launches ahead, S/Ldr. Rae made a masterly ditching just about 12 miles off the French coast.  The crew took to a dinghy and were fortunately picked up without about 15 minutes.  It is interesting to note that the Dakota, despite the multitude of holes in it, floated for about 15 minutes.  The remainder of the formation, seeing what had happened dropped their gliders on the L.Z. and turned port, dropping their ropes at the same time.  Even so a few aircraft returned with shrapnel and bullet holes in the fuselage and wings and luckily no casualties.  No fighter opposition was encountered and aircraft returned to base individually.  On the return, S/Ldr. Rae was seen to ditch by several crews and F/O Fitzgibbon flew low over them and dropped a dinghy in case they should need one.  All remaining aircraft landed safely at base.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.690 E.  Crew:  S/Ldr Rae, F/Lt Williams, F/O Cullingford, F/Sgt Standen.  Time Up:  18.40.  Time Down:  21.10.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.647 H.  Crew:  F/O Chatfield, Sgt Garson, F/O Craske, F/S Munsen.  Time Up:  18.40.  Time Down:  22.15.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.332 C.  Crew:  F/O Garvin, W/O Seal, W/O Grant, W/O Fuller.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.407 D.  Crew:  F/O Wright, Sgt Horsburgh, P/O Harris, Sgt Ramsey.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.20.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.314 C1.  Crew:  S/Ldr Southgate, F/Lt Saunders, F/Lt Bryan, F/O Parry.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.658 M.  Crew:  F/O Campbell, Sgt Pearce, W/O Heyes, F/S Britten.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.373 B.  Crew:  F/Lt Hyde, Sgt Anderson, F/S Blundell, W/O Campbell.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.30.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.377 S.  Crew:  S/Ldr Smulian, F/O Hill, F/O Tomlinson, W/O King.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.20.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.371 X.  Crew:  F/O Seary, W/O Pickering, P/O Gillette, W/O Blue.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.25.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.694 R.  Crew:  P/O Waltham, F/S Ekers, P/O Burden, Sgt Evans.  Time Up:  18.50.  Time Down:  22.30.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.323 U1.  Crew:  F/O McLean, F/O Cox, Sgt Turner, W/O Mercert.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.696 Q.  Crew:  Lt Offenhiser, F/S Carvin, F/O Smith, W/O Bevington.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.30.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.651 J.  Crew:  P/O Fitzgibbon, F/S Parsons, W/O Fox, F/S Herbert.  Time Up:  18.45.  Time Down:  22.40.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.348 K1.  Crew:  F/Lt Worts, Sgt Bruce, F/S Bradley, Sgt Goodall.  Time Up:  18.50.  Time Down:  22.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA FZ.649 J1.  Crew:  W/O McLaughlin, Sgt England, F/S Houston, Sgt Placentine.  Time Up:  18.50.  Time Down:  22.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.379 W.  Crew:  F/Lt Roberts, F/O Appleton, F/Lt Starr, W/O Perry.  Time Up:  18.50.  Time Down:  22.55.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.368 Y.  Crew:  F/O Benson, Sgt Williams, F/O Harrison, W/O Oxley.  Time Up:  18.50.  Time Down:  22.40.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.354 Z.  Crew:  F/O Davis, F/O Savage, F/O Ring, F/S Sowersby.  Time Up:  18.50.  Time Down:  22.40.

 

 

OPERATION "ROB ROY"

The intention of the operation was to re-supply the 6th Airborne Division with ammunition by panniers and containers on D.Z. "N" by night.  The first two aircraft carried 6 containers and 10 panniers each while the remaining 3 aircraft carried 16 panniers each.  4 despatches from R.A.S.C. were carried in each aircraft.

 

F/Lt. Gough leading the formation was airborne at 22.25 hrs. setting course over base at 22.35 hrs. with Nos. 4 & 5, making up the second vic. at 30 sec. intervals.  The first turning point was Littlehampton where both the pundit and Eureka beacon were identified.  All lights were extinguished about 15 miles off shore and formation keeping was found to be a little easier as the cloud was breaking and light from the moon made the other aircraft visible.  Course was set from the same D.R. position for the Normandy coast as on the two previous operations and height gradually reduced to 800' A.S.L.

 

While running up to the coast a considerable amount of light flak was seen coming up all along the line of the coast.  Then when only a mile or two offshore, running up on the Eureka beacon which was set up on D.Z. "N", the formation was caught in a concentration of cross fire from naval vessels on either side of the trach.  Immediate evasive action was taken and the colours of the period fired.  It was not until another series of lights had been fired that the Navy's fire ceased and it was possible to make an unmolested run up to the D.Z.  In this action it is regrettably presumed that both F/Lt. Carter and F/O. Brennan were hit as neither crew returned.  One aircraft was definitely seen burning on a sandbank off the mouth of the River Orne.  In taking evasive action F/S. Perry jettisoned his load over the sea but the remaining two crews succeeded in locating and dropping their supplies on the D.Z.  Both Holophane lights and Rebecca were identified on D.Z. "N".  Three of the five crews landed safely at base without injury.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.344 L.  Crew:  F/Lt Gough, F/O McNicol, F/S Tibbles, Sgt Hubbard.  Time Up:  22.25.  Time Down:  01.30.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.324 A.  Crew:  F/S Perry, W/O Gilbert, F/S Barritt, W/O Friend.  Time Up:  22.25.  Time Down:  01.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.347 S1.  Crew:  F/O Brennan, F/O Coombe, Sgt Seager, P/O Toyne.  Time Up:  22.25.  Time Down:  Missing.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.480 G.  Crew:  F/Lt Carter, W/O Northall, F/S Trewin, F/S Woodcock.  Time Up:  22.25.  Time Down:  Missing.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  DAKOTA KG.610 O.  Crew:  F/O Payne, Sgt Parratt, F/O Mattocks, W/O West.  Time Up:  22.25.  Time Down:  01.30.