National Archives catalogue number WO 171/5129.

 

Abbreviation

197487

2 i/c

AA

A/C

Adjt

Adm

Admin

Air

Airfd

Airldg

A/L

Amb

Amn

Armd

Asst

A Tk

Att

Bde

Bdy

Bldg

Bn

Br

Brit

Bty

Cas

CGP

Cmdr

CO

Comd

Comn

Coy

CRASC

DADOS

Def

Det

Div

Est

Ex

Fd

Flt

Fmn

Fwd

GOC

Gp

HGCU

i/c

Incl

Int

IO

Infm

Instrs

Int

Junc

Ldg

Lt

LZ

Med

OC

Offr
O Group

OO

Op

OR
Ox & Bucks

Pdr

Pl

Posn

Pt

PW
RA

RAPC

RASC

Rd

Ref

Regt

Res

Rly

RUR

RV

S

Sec

SP

Sqn

Sta

Strat

Tac

TEWT

Tk

Tp

Tpt

u/s

VRD

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

Anti-Aircraft

Aircraft

Adjutant

Administration

Administration

Airborne

Airfield

Airlanding

Airlanding

Ambulance

Ammunition

Armoured

Assistant

Anti-Tank

Attached

Brigade

Boundary

Building

Battalion

Bridge

British

Battery

Casualties

Commander Glider Pilots

Commander

Commanding Officer

Commander

Communication

Company

Commander Royal Army Service Corps
Deputy Assistant Director Ordnance Services

Defence

Detachment

Division / Divisional

Established

Exercise

Field

Flight

Formation

Forward

General Officer Commanding

Group

Heavy Glider Conversion Unit

In-Command

Including

Intelligence

Intelligence Officer

Information

Instructions

Intelligence

Junction

Landing

Light

Landing Zone

Medium

Officer Commanding

Officer

Orders Groups

Operation Order

Operation

Other Ranks

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Pounder

Platoon

Position

Point

Prisoner of War

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Pay Corps

Royal Army Service Corps

Road

Reference

Regiment

Reserve

Railway

Royal Ulster Rifles

Rendezvous

Scottish

Section

Self-Propelled / Support (if lower case)

Squadron

Station

Strategic

Tactical
Tactical Exercise Without Troops

Tank

Troop

Transport

Unserviceable

Vehicle Reserve Depot

 

Headquarters

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Lieut-Colonel IA MURRAY DSO.

 

2nd March 1945

Place: Base

 

Exercise RIFFRAFF took place.

 

3rd March 1945

Place: Base

 

Main Party of Wing HQ moved from MARKS HALL to GARSTON MANOR, GARSTON, WATFORD.  Capt JB BOTTOMLEY rejoined from Int Course.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Exercise RIFFRAFF II took place.

 

12th March 1945

Place: Base

 

A TEWT took place.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Exercise VULTURE took place.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Sqn Comds conference took place at HQ COMD GLIDER PILOTS.

 

26th March 1945

Place: Base

 

The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Member British Empire to Captain B MURDOCH of 'D' Sqn.  The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the British Empire Medal to 3131087 SSM JOHNSTONE SF.

 

15th March 1945

Place: Garston

 

0900 - Planning by Wing HQ for op VARSITY commenced.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Garston

 

1400 - Crews provided by Wing HQ plus 2 Adm personnel moved to take-off airfd at EARLS COLNE.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

0700 - Wing HQ Crews as listed below took-off on op VARSITY.

Lieut-Colonel IA MURRAY DSO (99246)

Capt PN FLETCHER (299274)

Lt CHD MICHELL (72247)

4122908 RSM MEW K

Capt JB BOTTOMLEY (74469)

1455126 S Sgt STREETER AH (2 Wing)

1623693 Sgt STEAD R (RAF) (B Sqn)

6463311 S Sgt ASHLING CP.

 

Place: Hamminkeln

 

1036 - All LZ area obscured by smoke - visibility bad - ldg plan hampered.  Capt FLETCHER landed on LZ as briefed.  Lt MICHELL landed on correct LZ but not in tac fmn.  Lieut-Colonel MURRAY landed on LZ 'P' instead of LZ 'R'.  No news received of RSM MEW.  Flak of all calibres was encountered, and this combined with the bad visibility caused a number of ldg accidents.  Most of the loads survived, however.

 

1330 - After initial confusion the situation cleared and tac HQ 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT was est in Farm 197487.

 

1400 - CO, with IO, visited G Sqn, School 207487 in HAMMINKELN 2048.  This Sqn had a considerable number of pilots unaccounted for.  Employed on guarding PW and Civilians in HAMMINKELN.

 

1500 - CO, with IO, visited E and F Sqns est at house 217485 and camp 214493 respectively.  Both Sqn Comds report posns satisfactory after some cas on ldg.

 

1600 - CO, with Adjt, visited A B and C Sqns est at 189479, 187486 and 189479 respectively.  All employed as briefed and suffered light cas on ldg.

 

1800 - Stand-To.

 

1900 - CO, with IO, visited HQ 6 AIRLDG BDE.  Employment and withdrawal of Glider Pilots not yet decided.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

0600 - Stand-Down.

 

0900 - CO, with Adjt, visited HQ 6 AIR DIV.  Withdrawal of Glider Pilots arranged for 26 MAR 45.

 

1000 - Orders for the withdrawal prepared for issue to Sqns.

 

1100 - CO, with Adjt, visited E and F Sqns - locations unchanged.

 

1300 - Message sent to OC A, B, E and F Sqns requiring these Sqns to report on state and quantity of Gliders on all LZs, except LZ 'A'.

 

1400 - IO sent to BISLICH 1342 on East bank of R RHINE to confirm arrangements for evacuating of Glider Pilots across the river.  This offr contacted Capt B MURDOCH MBE (73111) Det Flt D Sqn at 157473.  His Flt had light cas on ldg.

 

1630 - OC D Sqn reported to Wing HQ from area LZ 'B' and reported his Comd landed successfully with some cas.

 

1730 - CO visited HQ 6 AIR DIV.  Orders issued postponing evacuation of Glider Pilots indefinitely.

 

1800 - Stand-To.

 

2000 - Returns received from A, B, E, and F Sqns showed state of Gliders on LZs to be as follows:- Undamaged 88; Repairable for retrieval 92; Extensively damaged 179; Burnt-out 37.

 

26th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

0600 - Stand-Down.  CO, with Adjt, went on recce of gliders on LZ in area SOUTH of rd KOPENHOF 189479 - HAMMINKELN 2048 in order to ascertain reasons for large number of ldg accidents.  IO, and Asst Adjt went on similar recce of LZs NORTH of the same rd.

 

1200 - CO and Adjt returned from recce.

 

1315 - IO and Asst Adjt returned from recce.

 

1430 - CO visited HQ 6 AIR DIV and received permission for withdrawal of Glider Pilots on 27 MAR 45.

 

1630 - Message to all Sqns ordering COs O Group for 2000 hrs.

 

1800 - Stand-To.

 

2000 - CO held O Group.  Instrs for withdrawal to area of BISLICH 1342 given to all Sqn Comds and OC Det Flt of D Sqn.  CRASC representative visited Wing HQ at this time and stated tpt available for this move.  Arranged that Sqns should march to BISLICH in alphabetical order until met by this tpt coming from the river.

 

27th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

0600 - Stand-Down.

 

0615 - CO and IO left for BISLICH.

 

0700 - CO arranged crossing of RHINE by all Sqns with Dispersal Control at BISLICH.

 

1330 - Last lorry load of Glider Pilots crossing 'DRAGHUNT' br to WEST of RHINE.

 

1800 - Glider Pilot Sqns reached 12 CORPS Transit Camp at TWISTEDON.  Total number of Glider Pilots and Adm personnel reported here, Offrs and ORs, was 587.

 

28th March 1945

Place: Twistedon

 

0900 - Wing Parade.

 

1000 - CO and IO depart for HELMOND (HOLLAND).

 

1530 - CO and IO arrive at DOWN AMPNEY by air.

 

29th March 1945

Place: Twistedon

 

0900 - All Sqns leave for 8 CORPS REST CAMP at HELMOND (HOLLAND).

 

1200 - All Sqns arrive at 8 CORPS REST CAMP from TWISTEDON.

 

Place: London

 

1230 - CO reported to CGP in LONDON.

 

Place: Marks Hall

 

1530 - IO reported to GII (Air) at HQ CGP.

 

30th March 1945

Place: Down Ampney

 

1600 - Main body of Wing arrived at DOWN AMPNEY by air, less 1 Offr and 39 ORs of G Sqn, from EINDHOVEN.

 

31st March 1945

Place: Down Ampney

 

1600 - Remainder of Glider Pilots (personnel of G Sqn) arrived at DOWN AMPNEY by air.

 

1st April 1945

Place: Base

 

14 days leave granted to personnel of Wing HQ who took part in op VARSITY.

 

 

"A" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Major H.T. Bartlett

 

1st March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  27 Day lifts - 18 hrs. 25 mins.  9 Night lifts - 1 hr 45 mins.

 

2nd March 1945

Place: Base

 

Exercise "RIFF-RAFF" took place.  F/O Cook overshot landing area, damaged aircraft slightly.  No injuries.  37 Day lifts - 52 hrs 30 mins.  14 Night lifts - 2 hrs 30 mins.

 

3rd March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  32 Day lifts - 16 hrs 20 mins.  13 Night lifts - 2 hrs 10 mins.

 

4th March 1945

Place: Base

 

F/Os Lodge and Wardlaw promoted A/F/Lieuts.  16 lifts - 13 hrs.

 

5th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine - 19 lifts - 21 hrs 40 mins.

 

6th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Major H.T. Bartlett returned from leave.  18 lifts - 18 hrs 30 mins.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Exercise "RIFF-RAFF II".  45 lifts - 51 hrs 30 mins.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  23 lifts - 41 hrs 25 mins.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  21 lifts - 40 hrs 40 mins.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  20 lifts - 39 hrs 50 mins.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  10 lifts - 20 hrs 15 mins.

 

12th March 1945

Place: Base

 

TEWT at WINDSOR - 13 lifts - 26 hrs 35 mins.

 

13th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  10 lifts - 23 hrs 45 mins.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  Exercise "VULTURE" - 35 lifts - 98 hrs 30 mins.

 

15th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  No flying.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  10 lifts - 17 hrs 15 mins.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Major H.T. Bartlett proceeded to MARKS HALL for briefing.  Exercise "TOKEN" - 16 lifts - 17 hrs 50 mins.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Preparations for briefing.  6 lifts - 11 hrs 25 mins.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  7 lifts - 14 hrs.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  13 lifts - 10 hrs 30 mins.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.  8 lifts - 8 hrs 25 mins.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Base

 

Briefing of crews for Operation "VARSITY".  No flying.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Base

 

Preparation for operation.  No flying.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Base

 

0700 - 60 crews took off on operation "VARSITY".

 

1030 - Crews landed on LZs P, R & U.  Firing from the enemy continued for two hours, and then gradually died as the situation became more settled.  Several Gliders caught fire from tracer and unloading of them was not carried out.  A large number of Gliders were damaged on landing, due mainly to thick pall of smoke over LZs.

 

2300 - Stand to.  German patrol passed South of HQ.  1 Serjeant from "C" Sqn killed by spasmodic firing.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Div HQ

 

Quiet day.  Contact definitely established with 15 (S) DIV.  Quiet night.

 

26th March 1945

Place: Div HQ

 

Captain AGC Turner, MBE, i/c 2 Flight and F/O Rushworth i/c "X" Flight returned to HQ.  Quiet day.

 

27th March 1945

Place: Div HQ

 

0630 - Evacuation commenced.  Marched to BISLICH.  Taken in lorries across RHINE to Transit Camp at TWISTEDEN.

 

28th March 1945

Place: Twisteden

 

Nothing to report.

 

29th March 1945

Place: Twisteden

 

1400 - Taken in lorries to Rest Camp at HELMOND.

 

30th March 1945

Place: Helmond

 

0930 - Taken to EINDHOVEN Airfield.  Ferried in Dakotas to Down Ampney and brought by lorry to KEEVIL.

 

31st March 1945

Place: Base (Keevil)

 

Debriefing - no flying.  Total casualties in Operation - Killed 3 RAF, 3 Army.  Missing 4 RAF, 3 Army.  Wounded 3 RAF, 7 Army.

 

1st April 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.

 

2nd April 1945

Place: Base

 

Normal Routine.

 

3rd April 1945

Place: Base

 

Half the Squadron proceeded on leave.  Six crews to RAF Station, Booker, for Refresher Course.  22 lifts - 3 hrs 40 mins.

 

 

"B" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Major T.I.J. Toler, D.F.C.

 

1st March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Initiative Scheme carried out by personnel not engaged on flying.  Tiger Moth flying and 16 Light Horsa circuits carried out.

 

2nd March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Exercise 'Riff-Raff' involving 13 Hamilcars and 12 Horsas.  2 Hamilcars force landed due to flying difficulties, but both made successful landings undamaged.  Lieuts A.E. Wood and S. St John returned after having completed H.G.C.U. Course.

 

3rd March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Co. J.G. Chatterton D.S.O., Commander Glider Pilots, flew light Horsa with General Gowan as passenger.  25 Heavy Horsa lifts (day) and 7 light Horsa circuits (night) were carried out.

 

4th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Course for Squadron Intelligence Officers commenced at Wing HQ.  F/O C.E. Simpson attended.  29 Heavy Horsa lifts by day, and 2 light Horsa night circuits carried out.

 

5th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Lieut J.F. Hubble returned from H.G.C.U. Course.  29 Heavy Horsa day circuits done.  Night flying cancelled owing to bad weather conditions.  6 Officers returned from Infantry Course at Oxford.

 

6th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Ground and air demonstration for photographer of 'Illustrated' magazine.  Exercise 'Omnibus' involving 13 Hamilcars.  Light Horsa day circuits and night flying carried out.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Group Exercise 'Riff Raff II' in which 24 light Horsas were flown.  19 Horsas ferried from Gt Sampford.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Station Exercise 'Bee-Wood' - 19 Light Horsas.  Lecture and film on security given in Station Cinema.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

12 Mark II Horsas ferried from Netheravon.  20 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Station Exercise 'Ian' involving the mass landing of 8 heavy and 15 light Horsas at Base.  Two flights used the Middlewick Range.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Squadron and Flt Commanders on a T.E.W.T.  35 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.

 

12th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Station Exercise 'Ian II' - 13 light and 7 heavy Horsas.  14 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.

 

13th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Briefing for Group Exercise 'Vulture'.  Loading of Oxs and Bucks Light Infantry.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Station briefing for Exercise 'Vulture'.  Exercise carried out by 35 Horsas (2 of which were light).  One glider cast off at Gosfield, and remainder were diverted to Keevil, due to bad weather conditions at Base.  Two Horsas were damaged in landing.

 

15th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

29 Horsas retrieved from Keevil.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

19 Heavy Horsa circuits flown, and two more gliders retrieved from Keevil.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

10 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.  Exercise 'Token' involving 2 light and 2 heavy Horsas on cross-Channel flight.  19 Horsas (5 Heavy) on Station Exercise 'Nosmo'.  Demonstration circuit flown, with Stanley Maxted of the B.B.C. as passenger.  Squadron Commander briefed at Wing HQ for Operation 'Varsity'.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

39 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.  2 Horsas retrieved from Keevil.  Preparation of briefing material for Operation 'Varsity' commences.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

33 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

5 Mark II Horsas ferried from Gosfield, and 2 Light Horsa circuits flown.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

11 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.  Camp sealed from 1200 hrs in preparation for Operation.  Squadron general air and military brief.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

4 Heavy Horsa circuits flown.  Flight Commanders briefed their Flights and loading commenced.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Crews allotted a period in which to study maps, photos etc., in briefing room.  Main briefing of tug and glider crews.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Earls Colne

 

Operation 'Varsity' (See attached report) involving 60 Horsas from this Squadron.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln area

 

Operation 'Varsity'.

 

26th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln area

 

Operation 'Varsity'.

 

27th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln area

 

Evacuation to Cornucopia Camp, Twisteden.  Squadron HQ and Admin Staff moved from Earls Colne to R.A.F. Station Keevil.

 

28th March 1945

Place: Twisteden

 

Awaiting evacuation by air.

 

29th March 1945

Place: Twisteden

 

Personnel conveyed by vehicles of 6 Airborne Div to Helmond Rest Camp.

 

30th March 1945

Place: Helmond

 

Personnel conveyed to Eindhoven Airfield, where evacuation by air was carried out by Dakotas of No.46 Group, which landed at Down Ampney.  Conveyed to R.A.F. Station, Keevil, by road transport.

 

31st March 1945

Place: Keevil

 

Organization on new Station, and commencement of re-equipping.

 

1st April 1945

Place: Keevil

 

"A" & "B" Squadrons attended Church at Steeple Ashton.  Capt. J. Mack officiated.  Major T.I.J. Toler DFC addressed the Squadron and promoted a discussion on the Operation ("Varsity").

 

2nd April 1945

Place: Keevil

 

8 R.A.F. Officers, 10 R.A.F. N.C.Os, 10 Army N.C.Os detached to "H" Sqn, Earls Colne for Hamilcar flying.  Colonel J.G. Chatterton DSO addressed "A" & "B" Squadrons briefly on the results of Operation "Varsity".

 

3rd April 1945

Place: Keevil

 

The remainder of 3 and "Y" Flights proceeded on Leave.

 

 

"C" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Lieut. Col. I.A. Murray DSO

 

6th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

F/O Leyland and F/O Randalls return from Pl. Cmdrs. Cadre Oxford.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Repeat EX RIFF-RAFF 24 Combinations Halifax/Hamilcar took off 1030 hours.  Landed 1430 hours successfully.  Report rendered.  F/O Barton posted to "B" Squadron.  F/O Randalls left for KEEVIL.  Decided remainder of untrained RAF Crews to go on to Heavy Horsa training.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Major Norriss (DADOS SP & Dorset District) visited the Squadron re Mob.  Lieut. Wilkinson (RAPC) visited the Squadron re Mob.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

85 stolen from the Squadron Strong Box.  Police informed.  S/Sgt. Channell undershot and injured 3 R.A.F. personnel who were passengers in the glider.  Major J.A. Dale DFC and Bar, returned to the Squadron and attached pending issue of posting instructions.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

All Flight Cmdrs on T.E.W.T.  10 Army Crews from No.2 Wing arrived.  2 Officers posted out and 1 F/Lieut. posted in.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

All Flight Cmdrs returned from T.E.W.T.  Sqn. re-organised as per att List(i).

 

14th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Ex VULTURE 33 Horsa/Halifax combinations, 2 Hamilcar/Halifax Combinations.  Advance party under Capt. Akenhead went to WOODBRIDGE.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Squadron on a 16 mile Route march.  4 R.A.F. 2nd. Pilots taken on strength.  Squadron re-organised as per attached list (2).

 

17th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

3 Sgts. and 1 Tpr. posted to "H" Squadron, No.2 Wing.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

54 Crews ferried Hamilcars and Horsas to WOODBRIDGE.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

6 Crews ferried Hamilcars to WOODBRIDGE.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Started briefing for Operation Varsity.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Briefing for Op. Varsity, all day.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

OPERATION VARSITY - Take off 0720 hours - 60 Combinations - 48 Hamilcars - 12 Horsas.

 

25th to 31st March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Squadron on Operation Varsity.

 

 

"D" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : S/Ldr. G.L. Huntley

 

1st March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Capt. Strathern returned to Squadron from Conversion Course with 2nd Pilot (Sgt. Astor).  4 Army Crews from 2 Wing, Mushroom Farm. Lieuts De Mey and Smith and 2 Sgts posted to No.2 Wing.

 

2nd March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Ex "Riff-Raff I" took place.  24 Combinations landing at Gr. Sampford.  23 successful - 1 damaged on landing.

 

3rd March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

No.1 Wing HQ moved from R.A.F. Marks Hall to Garstom Manor, Watford.

 

4th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

2 Flights attended Field Firing Range at Fingrinhoe.

 

5th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

4 R.A.F. Offrs. returned from Course at Oxford.  F/O's Halley DFC and Gray promoted F/Lt.  F/Lt. Halley to assume command of 21 Flight.  F/Lt. Gray to command "Z" Flight.  I.O. to Course at Wing H.Q.

 

6th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron attended demonstration and Drill parade at R.A.F. Station, Earls Colne.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Ex: "Riff-Raff II" 24 Combinations, 4 forced landings, no injuries.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Normal Training: Lieut's Abbott and Palmer posted to Squadron.  F/Lt. White posted to "C" Squadron.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Progress report on Vehicles and Equipment to Wing.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Normal Training.  S/Ldr. G.L. Huntley, Squadron Commander, joined Squadron.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron Commander & 4 Flight Commanders attended a T.E.W.T. at Wing H.Q.  P/O. Harris joined Squadron att at Oxford.  Sgts. Symes and Plant to 1 weeks Course (Snipers) at Wing H.Q.

 

12th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron mobilized at 0001 hrs.  Preliminary instructions for Ex. "Vulture" Ox & Bucks a/1 Bn to Chadacre Transit Camp.

 

13th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

New Transport collected from 52 V.R.D.  Loading for Ex "Vulture" commenced.  32 Gliders, 4 spare.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Ex: "Vulture" 35 Combinations.  4 Forced landings, 2 did not take off, 1 crashed on end of runway - no injuries.  2 Army Crews and 2 R.A.F. Crews to "G" Squadron attachment.  Lieut. Dobbs joined Squadron.

 

15th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

4 R.A.F. 2nd Pilots posted from No.2 Wing.  4 Army 2nd Pilots posted to "H" Squadron.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Capt. Murdoch B. awarded the M.B.E.  Requirements (crews) for Operation "Varsity" received.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron Commander to C.G.P.  4 crews on 4 hr. oversea Glider trial.  Operation orders for "Varsity" received.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron Commander to H.Q. 6th a/l Bde.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

I.O to C.G.P.  Training flying ceased.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron re-organized for "Varsity" Capt. Strathern & 28 crews 8 Flight Squadron Commander and Squadron H.Q. with Capt. Hick and 13 Flight and 17 crews.  Capt. Murdoch M.B.E. with F/Lt. Halley D.F.C. and 21 Flight 15 crews.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

0930 - Capt. Murdoch and 21 Flight to conference with Ground Troops at Wethersfield.

 

1100 - Capt. Hick, Squadron Commander and 13 Flight to conference with Ground Troops at Shudy camp.

 

1700 - Squadron Commander and Capt. Strathern to conference with ground troops at Mushroom Farm.

 

1715 - S/Sgt. Stocker and 2nd Pilot (pick up Crew) returned from Netheravon.  Squadron confined to camp.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

0930 - Loading commenced.

 

1350 - Capt. Strathern and 8 Flight briefed by Station Commander.

 

1500 - S/Ldr. Huntley and Capt. Murdoch with 13 and 21 Flights briefed by Station Commander.

 

1600 - Col. Chatterton D.S.O. visited Squadron and spoke to all crews.  Crews briefed for Operation "Varsity" by Squadron Commander and I.O.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

1200 - Loading completed.

 

1800 - Final briefing.  An order of the Day from Lt. Col. Murray D.S.O. was read out to all crews.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

0658 - Take-off for Operation "Varsity".  28 crews under Capt. Strathern to LZ "P".  17 Crews and Squadron H.Q. under S/Ldr. Huntley and Capt. Hick to LZ "B".  15 Crews under Capt. Murdoch MBE to LZ "A".

 

Failures:- Chalk No. 309 Returned to Base (air line fractured).  Chalk No.289 Forced Landed nr. Downham Market (rope broken - slipstream trouble).  Chalk No.438 Forced landed in Sea off French Coast (all safe).  Chalk Nos.440, 413, 421, 292 Forced landed in France (Reasons unknown) Crew and passengers of all are safe.  Chalk No.291 Forced landed at Lille (rope pulled out from glider nose).  Chalk No.313 Forced landed West of LZ on West bank of Rhine (no further news).  Chalk No.302 No news - Tug missing.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

0900 - Advance Party sent to new Station at Fairford.

 

0930 - Chalk No.302 F/Lt. Gray safely landed on LZ with Tug.

 

26th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Loading for move.  S/Sgt. D'Eath and Sgt. Phillips returned to Squadron after ditching.

 

27th March 1945

Place: Shepherd's Grove

 

Squadron moves to Fairford.  2 R.A.F. 1st Pilots and 1 R.A.F. 2nd Pilot return from Great Dunmow.

 

28th March 1945

Place: Fairford

 

Preparations made for return of Crews from Operation "Varsity".

 

29th March 1945

Place: Fairford

 

Normal Routine.

 

30th March 1945

Place: Fairford

 

1500 - Crews return from operations landed at Down Ampney.

 

31st March 1945

Place: Fairford

 

0900 - De-Briefing and kit check.  Squadron state:-  Disemplaned  Army 1st Pilots 24 Army 2nd Pilots 19 R.A.F. 1st Pilots 20 R.A.F. 2nd Pilots 18.  Casualties.  Army Killed 1 Missing 4 Wounded Nil.  R.A.F. Killed 3 Missing 23 Wounded 5.  Total Squadron State now available  27 Army 1st Pilots 22 R.A.F. 1st Pilots.  21 Army 2nd Pilots 22 R.A.F. 2nd Pilots.  O.C., 2 i/c, 1 Flight Commander returned.  Capt. Strathern killed and 2 Flight Commanders missing.  Capt. Murdoch bullet wound in nose.

 

1st April 1945

Place: Fairford

 

Capt. Hick previously reported missing, now located in LEICESTER General Hospital.

 

2nd April 1945

Place: Fairford

 

2. Flights sent on dis-embarkation leave.  Lt-Col I.A. Murray. DSO visited Squadron 11.00 hrs.

 

1700 - Col. G. Chatterton. DSO visited Squadron.

 

 

"E" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Major B.H.P. Jackson

 

1st March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

Lieut. G.A. Hockley, Lieut. I. Abbott, & Lieut. B. Palmer returned from No.1 Conversion Course.  Lieut. I. Abbott & Lieut. B. Palmer posted to 'D' Squadron.

 

4th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

F/Lieut Eddy, F/O Phillips, F/O Kyle, and F/O Whetter DFC returned from OXFORD Course.

 

6th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

"Balbo", 28 crews commanded by Capt. J.W.M. Graham.  2 Lifts.  F/Lt. R.N. Eddy. posted to "H" Squadron, as Squadron Leader, Commanding.  F/O Phillips promoted to F/Lt commanding No.11 Flight.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

"Balbo" 30 crews commander by Major. B.H.P. Jackson, duration 2 hrs.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

R.A.F. Element of the Glider Pilot Regiment becomes subject to Military Law.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

Squadron Completes Mobilisation in every aspect.  New vehicles arrive, G.1098 equipment brought up to scale.  Inoculations completed.  Strict Censorship introduced. Group "Balbo" 35 crews commanded by Major. B.H.P. Jackson.  Duration 2 hrs.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

Advance party moves to RAF Station, BIRCH, Colchester, Essex.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

Main party moves to RAF BIRCH to prepare for operation 'VARSITY'.  Pilots move by Air, Admin. personnel and stores move in convoy by road, Small rear party remain at BLAKEHILL.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Birch

 

Operation 'VARSITY' takes place.  No. of Crews 60.  Two parties, one commanded by Major. B.H.P. Jackson, the other by Capt. J.W.M. Graham.  Take-off 06.18 hrs.  One incident en route, Glider tow rope snaps, and glider lands safely on B55 aerodrome.  Otherwise all Gliders reported to have pulled off on L.Z.  Squadron returns to RAF BLAKEHILL FARM.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

Advance party proceeds to RAF SHOBDON, Nr. LEOMINSTER.

 

27th March 1945

Place: Blakehill

 

Squadron moves to RAF SHOBDON.  Capt. R.C. Robinson commanding "M" Squadron No.2 Wing, moves into BLAKEHILL FARM.  Elements of 'H' Squadron still remain at SHOBDON for flying purposes.

 

28th March 1945

Place: Shobdon

 

Preparations made for return of crews from operation 'VARSITY'.

 

30th March 1945

Place: Shobdon

 

Pilots disemplaned at RAF station DOWN AMPNEY, and proceeded by road to RAF SHOBDON.

 

Nos.

Missing Personnel

Army

Officers 7

Officers 1

Army

N.C.O's 21

N.C.O's 18

R.A.F.

Officers 8

Officers 11

R.A.F.

N.C.O's 41

N.C.O's 13

 

2nd April 1945

Place: Shobdon

 

Nos. 12 & 25 Flights proceed on 14 days disembarkation leave.

 

 

"F" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Sqn Leader Reynolds DFC

 

12th March 1945

Place: Gosfield

 

A TEWT took place.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Gosfield

 

Exercise VULTURE took place.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Gosfield

 

Sqn Comds conference took place.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Gosfield

 

0500 - Final briefing for Op VARSITY.

 

0600 - Take off for Op VARSITY.

 

Place: Hamminkeln

 

1015 - Gliders commenced landing on Landing Zones 'O' and 'U'.  Visibility bad with moderate to concentrated anti aircraft fire.  Many A/C crashed on landing, or were destroyed by fire, resulting in 44 casualties to the Sqn.  Opposition was moderate, and all positions were captured and held in three hours with substantial numbers of prisoners.  The Sqn made its way in crews to the rendezvous where it commenced to dig in under S/Ldr Reynolds.  Some crews remained with 'E' Sqn under Major Jackson.  The remainder of the day was quiet but for sniping.  Fuller details are contained in the de-briefing summaries prepared by F/O Marsh of K Sqn now at Broadwell.

 

24th to 25th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

1900 to 0700 - Sqn in def, half East of railway station half west of railway station.  During the night the enemy infiltrated about 50 men and an S/P gun into the area to attempt to find out strength, but they were driven out by daybreak.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

0700 - Sqn in def in similar positions.  Enemy attempted to force bridge held by Airborne troops with three tanks and infantry.  The tanks were forced away, two of them being destroyed.  The Sqn was not called upon to engage the enemy on any scale.  At 1700 hrs the whole Sqn dug in East and West of the railway station, thus bringing 'E' and 'F' Sqns into separate forces.

 

25th to 26th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

1900 to 0700 - Enemy infiltration broken up by artillery fire.  2nd Army armour passed across Sqn front at night.

 

26th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

0500 - Sqn moved out of perimeter through town in sections order.  Three 88mm shells on road but no casualties.  Squadron took up position in farm about 1 mile West of town.  Weapons cleaned and personnel shaved and cleaned-up.

 

27th March 1945

Place: Hamminkeln

 

0700 - Sqn marched five miles towards the Rhine and were embussed.  They crossed the river via pontoon bridge and proceeded to Camp Cornucopia at Twistedon for rest.

 

28th March 1945

Place: Twistedon

 

0700 - Sqn Inspection and arms inspection and cleaning.  Weather too bad to fly.

 

29th March 1945

Place: Twistedon

 

0700 - Sqn on standby to move.  5, 15, 16 Flights moved to Helmond at 1700 hrs.  19 Flight remained.

 

30th March 1945

Place: Helmond

 

0700 - Sqn proceeded to Eindhoven aerodrome.

 

0930 - In truck loads by flights, 5 flight started at 0930 hrs, the Sqn including 19 flight, which arrived at Helmond at 1200 hrs was flown to RAF Down Ampney.

 

Place: Down Ampney

 

1320 - The Sqn landed and after a light meal proceeded to RAF Fairford by transport.

 

31st March 1945

Place: Fairford

 

Re-organisation commenced checking equipment, kit of killed and missing, and G1098 stores.

 

1st April 1945

Place: Fairford

 

0800 - Programme as for 31 MAR 45.  Satisfactory progress.  Capt McMillen MC assumed 2 i/c vice Capt Carr deceased.  Lt Chapman OC 15 Flight, Capt Ford OC 19 flight, F/Lt Ince OC 16 Flight Lt Ballam OC 5 Flight.

 

2nd April 1945

Place: Fairford

 

0800 - Sqns re-organising.  Sgt Brockbank RAF under close arrest on charge of Cowardice.  Guards detailed.

 

3rd April 1945

Place: Fairford

 

0800 - Sqn Leader Reynolds DFC on leave.  Capt McMillen MC assumed command.  F/O Arnold assumed duties of IO vice F/O Atkinson, wounded.  5 and 19 flights proceeded on leave until 16 April 45.  7 crews and 1 1st pilot detached to RAF Booker.  Crews from sqn flew on dual checks.

 

 

 

"G" Squadron

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Major M.W.D. Priest

 

1st March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Briefing for Exercise "Riffraff".  Flying training with Airborne Corps.

 

2nd March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Exercise "Riffraff".  24 Crews from Great Dunmow take part and all land safely on L.Z.  One glider written-off through a glider from "D" Squadron landing on top of it.

 

3rd March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Arrival of 4 New Army Crews.  Retrieval of gliders from Great Sampford.  New crews taken up on Test Flight.

 

4th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Tactical Exercise on Fingeringhoe Range.

 

5th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying programme.  Attend rehearsal of Wing Parade at Earls Colne.

 

6th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying programme.  Attend Wing Parade at Earls Colne.  F/Lt. Sherwood becomes 2 i/c, F/Lt. Parsons Comd. 14 Flt., F/Lt. Haig Comd. 24 Flt.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying Programme.  Exercise "Riffraff" II.  All aircraft landed safely except one which was extensively damaged and Pilot injured.  One undershoot during night flying, Glider extensively damaged.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Retrieval of Gliders from Great Sampford.  Flying and Ground Training Programme.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying and Ground Training Programme.  9 Flight on Open Range.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying Programme.  6 Gliders on 2 Hours Cross Country.  One returned to Base because of Controls, landed badly.  Another at bassingbourn for the same reason.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Series of Short Exercises in Horsa II's (6 at one time) to get Glider Pilots accustomed to flying them.  Lieut Hick posted to "D" Squadron.

 

12th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying Programme.

 

13th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Loading of Glider for Exercise "Vulture III" Briefing by Major Priest.  9 Flight and elements of the other three Flights detached to Matching.  Exercise Vulture III. postponed for 2. Hours.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Exercise Vulture III took place with a thick ground haze.  26 Gliders land on L.Z.  2 forced landed on other Dromes.  8 Lost a/d after cast off and forced landed around the Airfield.  Crews arrive on attachment.

 

15th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flying Programme.  Crews arrive on attachment.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

10 Flight on Fingeringhoe Range.  Leave Camp at 16.00 Hours and dig Slit Trenches etc. to stay overnight.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

14 & 24 Flights on Fingeringhoe Range.  Leave Camp at 09.00 Hrs. and dig trenches to stay overnight.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Flight return from the Range.  Information and Maps arrive for Operation "Varsity".  Security measures taken to ensure that no unauthorised persons enter Briefing Room.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

I.O. from "K" Squadron arrives.  4. Sgts proceeded to No.5 Conversion Course.  Begin preparations for briefing Operation Varsity.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Briefing Preparations continue.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

General Briefing of Squadron.  Talk by Commander Glider Pilots.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Camp sealed as from 12.00 Hours.  Individual Briefing of Crews.  Briefing of R.A.F. Crews.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Final issue of Maps, Escape Packs and Equipment.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

80 Crews take off on Operation Varsity.  60 Crews from Dunmow.  20 from R.A.F. Station, Matching Green, Essex.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Gt. Dunmow

 

Remainder of Squadron prepare to move to Glider Pilot Depot, Larkhill.

 

26th March 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Advance Party of Squadron arrive at Glider Pilot Depot.

 

27th March 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Move of Squadron to Glider Pilot Depot completed.

 

28th March 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Preparations made for return of Pilots from Operation "Varsity".

 

29th March 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Sgt. Wright returns from Operation "Varsity", having recovered from slight head Injuries.

 

30th March 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

First Party of Glider Pilots return to Squadron from Operation Varsity, 59. Strong.

 

31st March 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

De-Briefing Begins.  36 more Pilots return, including Major Priest.

 

1st April 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

De-Briefing completed.

 

2nd April 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Squadron settling in.

 

3rd April 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Bulk of Squadron prepares to go on leave.  10 Flight goes to Matching for Flying duties.

 

4th April 1945

Place: G. P. Depot

 

Remainder of Squadron, with the exception of Admin. personnel, goes on Leave.  Sgt. Kennington & P/O Potter return from Op. "Varsity".

 

 

REPORT ON OPERATION 'VARSITY'

 

BRIEFING.

Squadron Commanders were briefed on D-7 and briefing material issued to Squadron Intelligence Officers on the same day, which gave sufficient time to have the Squadron Briefing Room ready by D-3 when the crews were briefed.  In this Squadron all crews were given a general air and military brief by the Squadron Commander on D-3.  Flight Commander then briefed their flights individually on D-2.  On D-1 all crews were allotted a further period to study maps, photographs and model in the briefing room, to which tug crews were invited.  R.A.F. specialist briefing had started on D-2.  On the evening of D-1 the main briefing of the tug and glider crews took place, and on the morning of D day, the final briefing.

 

Briefing material was quite adequate and in fact, in some cases redundant, and was received in plenty of time.

 

The following suggestions were made:-

        1.  When a tactical landing is required the exact place in which the Military Commander requires each of the gliders or blocks of gliders to land must be decided when he makes his military plan and Squadron Commanders must be told at their initial briefing i.e. landing zones must be sub-allotted to Squadrons by Wing.

        2.  A time must be found for the individual glider pilot or at least Section Commander to meet the sub-unit Commander of the load they are carrying, before flight briefing, to discuss the military plan.  This can be simplified if the form 'A' can be made so that the minimum of units fly from one aerodrome.  In this Squadron we were carrying four different units, and it was impossible to contact all of them.

        3.  Much time is wasted in sticking together the individual photographs.  It would be a great advantage if the following could be supplied.

                (a) A complete oblique showing the run-in, release area, and landing zone, as seen from the run-in.  Also an oblique of the objective.

                (b) Vertical mosaic of the above.

                (c) Individual photographs for stereo-pairs of the actual landing zone and military objective.

 

TAKE-OFF, FLIGHT AND LANDING.

Take-off was satisfactory, the first thirty combinations being pre-marshalled.  The flight was uneventful except that in some cases the sun was very trying when in the low tow.

 

Out of 60 combinations 59 reached the release areas.  4 Intercomns were u/s all being in the last 30 combinations which were not pre-marshalled.  3 C.A.I's were u/s owing to the string being twisted round the rope in the Mk II.

 

On reaching the release area heavy and light flak were encountered, and the landing zone was obscured by smoke or haze.  The detailed results of the landing have already been given in the de-briefing summary.

 

In most cases opposition was met on landing, but was generally reduced by the American parachutists who had dropped on the landing zone, prior to the glider landings, in error.

 

The following points are made:-

        1.  SMOKE OR HAZE.  No pilot had any direct evidence that this was of enemy origin, but whatever the cause it obscured the ground and caused very many gliders to fail to make their briefed position.  On the other hand it probably reduced casualties from enemy flak.  To combat this possible counter-measure in future operations it is considered by this Squadron that a calculated course and turns from an accurate release point for each glider is required, in which case, it is essential that gliders are fitted with a G.D.I. - the magnetic compass being useless owing to deviation caused by the load, and acceleration and deceleration errors.

        2.  UNLOADING.  It was not discovered until afterwards that it is possible to jettison the hinge of the Mk II nose in the event of the lock jamming.  More handbooks and information on the Mk II's are required.  Tail jettisoning bolts on the Mk II were invariably so stiff as to be impossible to move.  A much sharper point is required on the tommy bar to lever the split nuts apart.  There were not enough 'copers bolt' (or wire cutters), or saws in the Mk II's.  25 POUNDER.  Great difficulty was experienced in both loading and unloading this special load, and more trials are required before it is operationally satisfactory.  In spite of this the 25 pounder was brought into action and was instrumental in indicating targets to the Typhoons.

        3.  OPPOSITION.  There was no direct evidence that the enemy was expecting an airborne landing at that place and time although prisoners state that they had only moved into that area three days previously.  Also the British newspapers had forecast a landing in that area.

        4.  The controversial question as to whether to land your force on the objective or at some distance away was discussed, and the general opinion was that the tactical landing on the objective was the best, but it was essential to land either paratroops or troop-carrying gliders first, and overcome the opposition on the landing zone very rapidly, before flying in the equipment gliders.  If the American paratroops had not been on our landing zone first, our casualties would have been much heavier.

 

MILITARY SITUATION.

Immediately upon landing and having unloaded my glider I proceeded to the R.V. (188486) which was only 50 yards away, and found that it was in our hands.  Approximately 16 pilots of "B" Squadron were there.  I left them to take over the house and proceeded with my load to the next farm R.V.2. (191487) which was also in our hands.  Here there were about 100 prisoners and I allotted glider pilots to search and guard them and also to defend R.V.2. which was the 53rd Light Regt HQ.  Civilians were being guarded in a room in the house.  There were large quantities of food in both farms which I took charge of and put under guard.  Lieutenant James of "C" Squadron who had become detached from his Squadron joined the party in R.V.2.

 

During the afternoon I went to Divisional HQ and contacted Major Bartlett and noted his dispositions.  I decided to occupy a farm (193485) behind R.V.2. which had been evacuated by the Americans and in which there were 14 civilians at large who I put under guard.

 

At night Capt Millar organised patrols to collect ammunition for the Light Regiment.  During the night of 24th/25th at approx 1848, a company of 74 Germans approached R.V.2. and on being fired on by a Bren gun, they put down their arms and gave themselves up.  As well as this, four other Germans gave themselves up during the night at various times.  On interrogation the party consisted of:-

        1 Hauptfeldwebel.

        1 Feldwebel.

        3 Unteroffizer.

        34 P.W. - 84 Div.

        3 - 7 Para Div.

        1 - 8 Para Div.

        10 - 1096 G.H.Q. Artillery Bty.

        26 - Artillery Regt, Elbe.

 

On D+1 prisoners were taken to Divisional Headquarters, but orders were received from Div HQ that civilians could be released.  However, I did not consider that we could allow them access to our positions, so continued to guard them.

 

7th Para Bn who were in reserve now put up their HQ in house adjoining R.V.1 (188485).

 

I made contact with Lieutenant Percival of "D" Squadron who was in command of approximately 17 pilots of "D" Squadron who had landed on the landing zone on 'P'.  He was in position approx 185487, and as this fitted in with 7 Para Bn dispositions I ordered him to remain there.

 

The enemy put half a dozen mortars on to the gun position by R.V.2. without inflicting any casualties, but the Troop immediately moved its position.

 

I contacted F/O George of "G" Squadron who was with approx four crews of "G" Squadron and a 4.2" Mortar in position of the farm (195486).

 

On the night of D+1 the area around the farm at D+1 was attacked by an enemy aircraft believed to be a Ju88, who fired several bursts of cannon and machine-gun fire within 30 yards of the position.

 

On D+2 I concentrated the Squadron in the farm behind R.V.2 (193485) leaving a Flight in R.V.2., all other Squadron pilots returning to their Squadrons.

 

The following points are made:-

        1.  RUCKSACKS.  Almost without exception all pilots suggest that we go back to the small pack and battle order which are what all other airborne troops carry.  The smock being modified locally to carry certain articles of clothing.

        2.  WEAPONS.  Once again everyone is in agreement that the American .300 carbine is the weapon which is most likely to be of value to us, even more than the rifle or Sten, and it is suggested that it be issued in place of both.

        3.  YELLOW TRIANGLES.  Would more definite instructions be issued as to when to display these.  Americans were wearing them and also Gunners.

        4.  WIRE CUTTERS.  The wire cutters in the gliders are much too cumbersome and heavy for normal use in the field.  Normal Infantry wire cutters should be issued to as many crews as possible.

        5.  ESCAPE PACKS.  The two escape packs appeared superfluous in this Operation.

        6.  OTHER WEAPONS.  Brens, 2" Mortar, Piat, and Snipers' Rifles all appear adequate on the present scale and should be retained.

 

EVACUATION

The Squadron moved out of Farm (193485) at 0700 hrs on D+3, passed the check point at Divisional Headquarters at 0715 hrs and marched to cross-roads (169462) where we embussed on 6th Airborne Div transport, in which we were taken to the Transit Camp at Twisteden where we stayed the night.

 

On D+5 transport arrived (8 lorries) to take a party to an airstrip approximately 5 miles away.  I sent off "A" Squadron and part of "B" Squadron.  Shortly afterwards they returned as the weather was too bad.  At mid-day I was informed that no aircraft would take off that day, but that transport would take all pilots to Helmond Rest Camp.  I sent off the 8 lorries with 'A' Squadron and part of "B" Squadron after lunch.  Later, 13 lorries of 3 Corps R.A.S.C. arrived, and I sent off the remainder of "B" Squadron, "C" "D" "E" and part of "F" Squadron to Helmond, leaving approximately 160 pilots who spent another night at Twisteden.

 

On D+6 12 lorries arrived at approx 0930 hrs, and I embussed the remainder of "F" Squadron, "G" Squadron, and all stragglers and myself, and proceeded to Helmond.  Arriving there at approx 1300 hrs, we were given a meal and organized into parties of 20/24.  The first 5 parties proceeded by lorry to EINDHOVEN airfield, emplaned in Dakotas of No.46 Group at 1545, and landed at DOWN AMPNEY at 1845.  Major Priest and two parties of "A" Squadron remained behind at Helmond to be lifted the following day.

 

On arrival at Down Ampney we were given tea and dispersed without any delay to our various aerodromes.  I arrived at Keevil at 2230 hours.


As far as the last part was concerned I consider the arrangements for evacuation from TWISTEDEN to Base were excellent, and no time was wasted anywhere.

 

[Signed Toler] Major,

Commanding "B" Squadron, No.1 Wing,

The Glider Pilot Regiment.

3.4.45.

 

 

APPX 'A' TO HQ 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT WAR DIARY - MAR 45

 

NOT TO BE TAKEN ON OP

1 GLIDER PILOT REGT
O.O. Number 6

SECRET

URGENT

OP "VARSITY"

V/O/1/2

17 MAR 45

 

Ref Maps GSGS 1:25,000 Sheet 4025, 1:100,000 Sheets P1 and Q1

 

1.  INFM

(a) Enemy.  See 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT INT REPORT Number 6A dated 17 MAR 45.  Further infm will be issued as available.

(b) Own Tps

        (i) 12 CORPS  15 DIV is carrying out an assault crossing of the RHINE between WESEL 2240 and HAFFEN 1149 at H hr on D Day, and subsequently exploiting all towards DINGDEN 2252 and relieving 6 AIR DIV.  1 COMMANDO BDE is to assault NORTH of WESEL 2240, at H-2 hrs on D day and is to take this town.

        (ii) 30 CORPS  Is to assault RHINE in the vicinity of REES 0752.  No O of B is available.

        (iii) NINTH (US) ARMY  To co-operate, principally by fire, from area SOUTH of WESEL on WEST bank of the RHINE.

        (iv) 18 (US) AIRBORNE CORPS  To consist of 6 BRIT and 17 US AIR DIVS and is to land at P hr on D day EAST of the RHINE on 12 CORPS front with right, 17 US AIR DIV, left 6 BRIT AIR DIV.

        (v) 6 BRIT AIR DIV  To land in order, 3 PARA BDE, 5 PARA BDE, 6 AIRLDG BDE.  3 PARA BDE is to seize, clear and hold the SCHNEPPENBERG feature 1646.  5 PARA BDE is to seize and hold the ground astride the rd from incl rd junc 197493 to incl rd junc 187497.  Div tps, plus 2 lt tk tps of 6 AIR ARMD RECCE REGT, will be in area HEGGEMANSHOF 1848.

        (vi) 6 AIRLDG BDE  with under comd 3 AIRLDG A Tk Bty RA (6 x 17 pdrs), det 591 PARA SQN RE and 195 FD AMB RAMC, and in sp a Med Regt RA and a bty of 53 AIRLDG LIGHT REGT RA will seize and hold the brs over the River ISSEL at 223485, 217497 and 216500 and will seize and hold the small town of HAMMINKELN 2048.  1 RUR will seize br at 223485 and rd and rly crossing at 217486.  1 RUR will prevent enemy infiltration to HAMMINKELN 2048 from EAST and SOUTH within their bn bdy.  2 OXF BUCKS will seize brs at 217497 and 216500 and will hold rd junc 212495 2 OXF BUCKS will prevent enemy infiltration to HAMMINKELN 2048 from EAST and NORTH.  12 DEVONS will contain and then clear HAMMINKELN 2048 and will then go to Bde res.

        (vii) Air sp  Details not available, but known to incl strat bombing, and isolation of the battle area by the bombing.  Rocket TYPHOONS will sp the div Flak posns are to be harassed and destroyed from H hr on D Day.

 

2.  INTENTION

(a) 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT will fly in all Airldg elements of 6 AIR DIV to LZs in area NORTH, SOUTH, EAST and WEST of HAMMINKELN 2048.  See Appx "C".

(b) 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT will provide bn res for all bns of 6 AIRLDG BDE and will also fill certain special tasks as detailed.  See also Appx "D".

(c) After release by GOC 6 AIR DIV, 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT will be withdrawn to UK.

 

3.  METHOD

(a) Flt Plan  As laid down in HQ 38 Gp RAF O O for Op "VARSITY".  Run-in and LZs are shown on Appx "C".

(b) Ldg Plan

        (i) Alternative plans according to wind direction will necessitate either 90 and 270 turns.  This fact must be taken into account when considering most likely finishing point of any glider's landing.  Pilots will be briefed for both eventualities.

        (ii) Tac ldgs are at Sqn Comds discretion, who will allot ldg points to ALL crews in conjunction with comds of glider-borne units (See Appx A).

        (iii) OC E Sqn will detail 15 (+2 spare) Army crews for the ldg of one coy of 1 RUR (7 gliders) and one coy of 2 OXF BUCKS (8 gliders) as "coup-de-main" parties.  Ldg pts to be arranged with appropriate COs.

        (iv) Strips for ldg of HAMILCARS (as shown on Appx "C") will be kept clear of all other gliders commitments when arranging tac ldgs with airldg unit comds.

        (v) No ground aids will be shown.

        (vi) Glider allotment is shown at Appx "E".

(c) Ground plan

        (i) Command  Sub-division of command on the ground is given in Appx "B".  1 GLIDER PILOT REGT Sub-units will come under direct op comd of the Airldg units to which they are att on ldg, until withdrawal into res.

        (ii) RVs  Sqn Comds will arrange Flt and Sqn RVs in conjunction with the OsC of units being carried.

        (iii) Tasks  See Appx "D".

        (iv) Special Tasks

                A Sqn crews flying HQ 6 AIR DIV on to LZ "P" will be employed to patrol area between LZ "P" and large wood 1947 SW of the LZ.

                B Sqn crews flying 53 Lt REGT RA on to LZ "P" will collect at Bty RVs and will be employed to patrol area up to the line of HT Cables to the West of the LZ.  OC B Sqn will report to Regt Comd when the area is cleared of enemy.

                OC C Sqn will arrange for the 4 gliders carrying amn for 53 Lt REGT RA to have the fin and rudder of each glider painted YELLOW.

                G Sqn crews flying a coy of 12 DEVONS on to LZ "R" may be required to hold the village of HAMMINKELN 2048 after its capture.

 

4.  ADM

(a) Maps  To be issued on the following scale, through RAF channels and to be collected from RAF Sta Int Offrs:-

        For Sqn HQ  1:250,000 3 sets of appropriate area.  1:50,000 7 sets of appropriate area.  1:25,000 2 sets of appropriate area.

        For each crew  1:250,000 50 sets of appropriate area.

(b) Photographs  To be issued through Army channels, immediately they become available, on the following scale:-

        High altitude oblique of LZ .. 1 per crew

        Small vertical of LZ .. 1 per crew

(c) Defence Overprints  To be issued through Army channels, immediately they become available, on the scale of 1 set per Sqn HQ.

(d) General  To be issued separately as Op Adm Instr Number 6A.

 

5.  INTERCOMN

(a) Definitions

        (i) H hr is the time for the assault of 12 CORPS.

        (i) P hr is the time for the assault of 18 US AIR CORPS.  To be notified later.

(b) Recognition  The Recognition sign between airborne tps and ground forces will be the displaying of yellow celanese triangles.  Tps of 15 DIV and 17 US AIR DIV are similarly equipped.

(c) Passwords  To be issued when available.

(d) Code names

        (i)

A Sqn

B Sqn

C Sqn

D Sqn

E Sqn

F Sqn

G Sqn

HQ 1 WING

HUGH
TED

ALEC
HUNTER
PETER
REX
DEACON
IAN

        (ii) Code names for airldg units will be issued when available.

(e) HQs

        (i)

Tac HQ 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT

HQ 6 AIRLDG BDE
HQ 12 DEVON

HQ 2 OXF BUCKS

HQ 1 RUR

- Bldgs 204486

- Bldgs 204486

- Area 202486

- Area 214495

- Wood 217484

        (ii) Locations of other HQs will be issued when available.

        (iii) Sqns will fwd locations of proposed HQ to Wing HQ as soon as the decision is made.

(f) Signals

        (i) Comn with Wing HQ by Sqns will be on 6 AIRLDG BDE net.

        (ii) Comn with Flts will be by runner.

 

 

Appx A to 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT OO Number 6.

 

OP VARSITY.

Sqn

A

B

O

P

R

U

A

-

-

-

DEVONS (6)

Div HQ (25)

DEVONS (15)

RUR (11)

B

-

-

-

Lt Regt (30)

HQ 6 A/L Bde (15)

3 A/T Bty (5)
Lt Regt (3)

Fd Amb (7)

-

C

HQ 3 Para Bde (3 H)

5 A/T Bty (12)

5 A/T Bty (8 H)

HQ 5 Para Bde (3 H)

-

3 A/Tk Bty (2 H)

Lt Regt (4 H)

AARR (8 H)

Div HQ (12 H)

REs (2 H)

3 A/T Bty (6 H)

-

D

HQ 3 Para Bde (12)

Lt Regt (1)
REs (2)

HQ 5 Para Bde (12)

Lt Regt (3)
REs (2)

-

Lt Regt (28)

-

-

E

-

-

OXF BUCKS (32)

-

-

RUR (28)

F

-

-

OXF BUCKS (33)

-

-

RUR (27)

G

3 A/T Bty (6)

5 A/T Bty (6)

-

3 A/T Bty (9)
Lt Regt (9)

AARR (Mortars) (6)

DEVONS (44) X

-

 

Notes:- 1. Figures in brackets denote quantity of gliders.  2. H after figure in brackets denotes HAMILCAR.  X. Includes 20 from RAF Sta MATCHING.

 

 

APPX B to 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT OO NUMBER 6

 

OP VARSITY

 

A Sqn HQ will land on LZ "P" and will assume comd of:- 34 crews of A Sqn, 28 crews of D Sqn.

B Sqn HQ will land on LZ "P" and will assume comd of:- 30 crews of B Sqn, 24 crews of G Sqn.

C Sqn HQ will land on LZ "P" and will assume comd of:- 38 crews of C Sqn.

D Sqn HQ will land on LZ "B" and will assume comd of:- 17 crews of D Sqn, 23 crews of C Sqn, 6 crews of G Sqn.

E Sqn HQ will land on LZ "U" and will assume comd of:- 28 crews of E Sqn, 27 crews of F Sqn, 11 crews of A Sqn.

F Sqn HQ will land on LZ "O" and will assume comd of:- 33 crews of F Sqn, 32 crews of E Sqn.

G Sqn HQ will land on LZ "R" and will assume comd of:- 44 crews of G Sqn, 15 crews of A Sqn, 30 crews of B Sqn, 6 crews of C Sqn.

An Independent Flt HQ of D Sqn will land on LZ "A" and will assume comd of:- 15 crews of D Sqn, 3 crews of C Sqn, 6 crews of G Sqn.

 

 

Appx D to 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT OO Number 6.

 

OP VARSITY

Sen Comd

on LZ

Sqn of Origin

and number

of crews.

Unit carried.

LZ.

Task.

A

A 6

A 28

D 28

12 DEVONS

6 Air Div HQ

53 Lt Regt, RA

P

P

P

RV Div HQ.

SPECIAL TASK.

Remains with unit.

B

B 30

G 9

G 9

G 9

53 Lt Regt RA

3 A Tk Bty RA

53 Lt Regt RA

AARR (Mortars)

P

P

P

P

SPECIAL TASK (see METHOD)

)

) Remain with units.

)

C

C 2 (H)

C 4 (H)

C 8 (H)

C 12 (H)

C 2 (H)

3 A Tk Bty RA

53 Lt Regt RA

AARR

6 Air Div HQ

RE

P

P

P

P

P

Remains with unit

RV Div HQ

RV Div HQ

RV Div HQ

RV Div HQ

D

D 12

D 3

D 2

C 12

C 8 (H)

C 3 (H)

C 6

HQ 5 Para Bde

53 Lt Regt, RA

RE

5 A/Tk Bty RA

3 A Tk Bty RA

HQ 5 Para Bde

5 A Tk Bty RA

B

B

B

B

B

B

B

RV Bde HQ

Remain with unit

RV Bde HQ

Remain with unit

Remain with unit

RV Bde HQ

Remain with unit

E

E 28

F 27

A 11

1 RUR

1 RUR

1 RUR

U

U

U

)

) Remain in Bn Res

)

F

F 33

E 32

2 OXF BUCKS

2 OXF BUCKS

O

O

)

) Remain in Bn Res

G

G 44 X

A 15

B 15

B 5

B 3

B 7

C 6 (H)

12 DEVONS

12 DEVONS

HQ Airldg Bde

3 A Tk Bty RA

53 Lt Regt RA

18 Fd Amb RAMC

3 A Tk Bty RA

R

R

R

R

R

R

R

)

) Remain in Bn Res

  )

  )

  ) Local protection Bde HQ

  )

  )

Independent

Flight HQ

ex D Sqn.

D 12

D 1

D 2

C 3 (H)
G 6

HQ 3 Para Bde

53 Lt Regt RA

RE

HQ 3 Para Bde

3 A Tk Bty RA

A

A

A

A

A

)

)

) Remain in Bde Res

)

Stay with Guns.

 

X includes 20 from MATCHING.

(H) denotes HAMILCARS.

 

 

Appx E to 1 GLIDER PILOT REGT OO NUMBER 6

 

OP VARSITY

Unit

A/B Block Number

Take-off Airfd

GLIDER PILOT Sqn

Quantity of Gliders

Glider Chalk Number

Time of Landing

LZ

12 Devons

26

RIVENHALL

A

6

147-152

10.33

P

3 A Tk Bty RA

35

WOODBRIDGE

C

2 (H)

245-246

10.48

P

53 Lt Regt RA

37

WOODBRIDGE

C

4 (H)

255-258

10.51

P

AARR

38

WOODBRIDGE

C

8 (H)

259-266

10.53

P

6 Air Div HQ

39

WOODBRIDGE

C

12 (H)

267-278

10.55

P

RE

42

WOODBRIDGE

C

2 (H)

285-286

11.00

P

53 Lt Regt RA

43

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

28

287-314

10.48

P

6 Air Div HQ

44

RIVENHALL

A

28

315-342

10.51

P

53 Lt Regt RA

45

EARLS COLNE

B

30

343-372

10.54

P

3 A Tk Bty RA

48

GREAT DUNMOW

G

9

385-393

10.57

P

53 Lt Regt RA

49

GREAT DUNMOW

G

9

394-402

10.57

P

AARR (Mortars)

50

GREAT DUNMOW

G

6

403-408

10.57

P

HQ 3 Para Bde

40

WOODBRIDGE

C

3 (H)

279-281

10.58

A

3 A Tk Bty

47

GREAT DUNMOW

G

6

379-384

10.57

A

HQ 3 Para Bde

44

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

12

409-420

11.00

A

53 Lt Regt RA

45

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

1

421

11.00

A

RE

46

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

2

422-423

11.00

A

1 RUR

18

GOSFIELD

E

7

9-15

10.21

Coup-de-Main

1 RUR

22

GOSFIELD

E

21

73-93

10.27

U

1 RUR

23

BIRCH

F

27

94-120

10.30

U

1 RUR

24

RIVENHALL

A

11

121-131

10.33

U

2 OXF BUCKS

26

GOSFIELD

E

8

1-8

10.21

Coup-de-Main

2 OXF BUCKS

26

GOSFIELD

E

15

16-30

10.22

O

2 OXF BUCKS

26

BIRCH

F

33

31-63

10.24

O

2 OXF BUCKS

26

GOSFIELD

E

9

64-72

10.27

O

5 A Tk Bty RA

33

WOODBRIDGE

C

12

227-238

10.45

B

3 A Tk Bty RA

36

WOODBRIDGE

C

8 (H)

247-254

10.49

B

HQ 5 Para Bde

41

WOODBRIDGE

C

3 (H)

282-284

10.58

B

5 A Tk Bty RA

46

GREAT DUNMOW

G

6

373-378

10.57

B

HQ 5 Para Bde

47

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

12

424-435

11.00

B

53 Lt Regt RA

48

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

3

436-438

11.00

B

RE

349

SHEPHERDS GROVE

D

2

439-440

11.00

B

12 DEVONS

25

RIVENHALL

A

15

132-146

10.33

R

HQ 6 Airldg Bde

27

EARLS COLNE

B

15

153-167

10.36

R

3 A Tk Bty RA

28

EARLS COLNE

B

5

168-172

10.36

R

53 Lt Regt RA

29

EARLS COLNE

B

3

173-175

10.36

R

195 Fld Amb RAMC

30

EARLS COLNE

B

7

176-182

10.36

R

12 DEVONS

31

GREAT DUNMOW

G

24

183-206

10.39

R

12 DEVONS

32

MATCHING

 

20

207-226

10.42

R

3 A Tk Bty RA

34

WOODBRIDGE

C

6 (H)

239-244

10.46

R

 

Note:- H after quantity of gliders denotes HAMILCAR.

 

 

Appx

 

Briefing Prior to Operation.

 

1.  Owing to the time allowed this was most satisfactory but if a tactical landing is required, the time allotted should not be curtailed.

 

2.  The handing-over of the detailed planning to the Wing Commander was most satisfactory, and with the help of the Staff of Commander Glider Pilots on technical matters, no difficulties arose.

 

3.  Consideration of the following points, however, would greatly assist in future planning.

        (a) Air-landing units to decide exact glider positions as early as possible and avoid change once these are selected.

        (b) The positioning of Low-priority gliders at the bottom of the Form 'A' worked well..

        (c) The Operation Order concerning the main landing plan, from Commander Glider Pilots should be issued as early as possible.  Amendments can always be added, if necessary, later.

        (d) It is the general opinion that Glider Pilots are not required at full R.A.F. Briefing and that the time could be more usefully employed.

        (e) If available, models of the L.Zs. for Wing H.Q. and Squadrons, would be most helpful.

        (f) The Wing Commander should hold a Squadron Commanders co-ordinating conference on the evening of D-2.

        (g) Wing H.Q. as well as Commander Glider Pilots should be on the distribution list of all orders from Airborne Division units.

        (h) Certain briefing materials were received by Squadrons direct from H.Q. Commander Glider Pilots without the knowledge of Wing H.Q.

        (i) The final military briefing should be attended by the Wing Commander and not the Squadron Commanders concerned.  Any new information can be passed by the Wing Commander to the Squadrons concerned.  Squadron Commanders are usually very busy at this stage on last minute Squadron planning.

        (j) Obliques are considered the most valuable photographic aids and should be supplied, if possible, as follows:-

                (i) A complete oblique of the run-in, release area and landing zone as seen from the run-in.

                (ii) A vertical mosaic of the same area.

                (iii) Individual photographs as stereo-pairs of the actual landing zone and military objectives.

        (k) Difficulty of Censorship and the "sealing" of camps was found through the R.A.F. not enforcing their restrictions.  It is suggested that the "sealing" of camps at various times other than prior to operations would assist security.

        (l) Incorrect loading was caused by air landing units putting ammunition in the trailers after the loading manifest had been completed and without the Glider Pilots knowledge.

 

The Flight and Landing.

 

1.  Generally the flight was uneventful and no enemy fighter opposition experienced.  Bunching on the final approach was evident and Tug Pilots did not stick to the briefed time and heights at L.Z. with sufficient accuracy.  A result of this was that the Gliders carrying Div troops arrived 8 minutes early and the Coy of 12 Devons, who had been allotted the task of clearing the L.Z. had insufficient time to do so.  This caused unnecessary casualties to the Gliders and personnel of Div H.Q.

 

2.  The following points should be noted for future operations.

        (a) Pilots should take anti-glare glasses as issued.

        (b) The C.A.I. on Mark II Horsa was not satisfactory.

        (c) It is not generally known that there are jettison hinges on the nose of the Horsa Mark II.  More handbooks should be issued.

        (d) Considerable difficulty was experienced in loading and unloading the 25 pdr gun.

        (e) R.A.F. Glider Pilots should wear Airborne Berets.  R.A.F. Berets can easily be mistaken for the German Field Grey.

        (f) Glider pilots should be used, more than has been the practice in the past, for the salvaging of equipment.

        (g) The present scale of G.1098 equipment proved most satisfactory.

 

3.  The tactical landing was greatly hampered by the poor visibility over the L.Z.  There is sufficient evidence to show that this was deliberately laid by the enemy who was expecting a landing in that area.  Reasons for this conclusion are as follows:-

        (a) P.O.Ws. statement that they had moved into the area 3 days before.

        (b) A system of signalling to indicate direction of stream for AA gunners.

        (c) Smoke canisters seen by pilots and shown in air photos.

        (d) The area was clear soon after landing.

        (e) A captured map showing run-in and approx L.Zs.  This map was handed to H.Q. (Int. Sec) 6 AIRLDG BDE.

 

4.  In spite of the poor visibility a large percentage of gliders reached their allotted areas.  It is possible that the smoke hindered accurate AA fire and also gave some cover during unloading operations.

 

5.  There was no evidence of AA gun positions having been previously dealt with.  This may have been due to earlier smoke screens or artfulness on the part of the enemy.

 

6.  It appeared that a great many glider crashes were caused by excessive landing speeds.  In spite of apparently cleared spaces gliders were found wrecked against houses and in woods and orchards.  Some of these may have been through controls being shot away but the impression was that the landing speed was excessively high in many cases.

 

7.     (a) To sum up it is generally considered that a tactical landing, although causing higher casualties in the initial stages, is more sound from the military point of view and ultimately means less casualties.

        (b) It is, however, doubtful whether these is sufficient advantage in landing Div troops in tactical formation.  Providing the area can be cleared in time there is a definite advantage in the Div troops being landed in a comparatively small area.

        (c) From all the evidence collected the gliders that suffered worse were those carrying equipment and explosives.  In opposed landings the first wave should carry troops only and the heavy equipment put down after the opposition is distracted or overwhelmed.

 

Action on Ground and Withdrawal.

 

1.  Owing to little opposition after the first phase, Glider Pilots were not used to any great extent in action.  They were employed in many roles and thus relieved the AIRLDG units to a great extent.

 

2.  In the initial phase it was obvious that the R.A.F. Glider Pilots were not fully prepared for the ground battle.  This was rapidly overcome and in many instances their conduct showed courage and determination.  Considering the short period of military training they have had it was only expected that they would be unnerved.  It is, however, considered that more battle inoculation should be given in the future.

 

3.  Withdrawal was effected by the Squadrons passing a check point at hour intervals and embussing on the East of the River RHINE.

 

The whole withdrawal was well organised and every effort was made for the mens' welfare at 12 Corps Transit Camp at TWISTEDEN and 8 Corps Rest Centre at HELMOND.

 

The Custom Officials at DOWN AMPNEY had been asked and had agreed to let Glider Pilots through customs on the signature of the senior officers.  This was not adhered to and some delay was caused by each Glider Pilot having to complete forms, luckily after some 300 had done so, they ran out of forms.