Abbreviations

LZ

Posn

RV

Landing Zone

Position

Rendezvous

 

 

Month and year: March 1945

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Down Ampney

 

Weather:- Fine.  Briefing for operation "Varsity" (Rhine crossing) took place as Gosfield.  12 crews from the Squadron will take part in the operation, and an additional 2 crews will be held in reserve.  The Squadron's task will be to tow Horsa gliders to a position north of WESEL.  Troops of the 6th British Airborne Division will be carried along with general equipment.  The route given to the crews was:-

 

Gosfield -

 

 

 

Code Names

( Altair

( Beta

( Gemini

( Marfak

( Vega

( Kingston

( Yalta North

( LZ

Posn. 51 06' 45" N   01 09' 45" E   R.V.

Posn. 50 51' 30" N   01 38' 30" E

Posn. 50 30' 50" N   02 39' 50" E

Posn. 50 42' 45" N   04 37' 30" E

Posn. 50 58' 50" N   05 04' 30" E

Posn. 51 17' 50" N   05 37' 30" E

Posn. 51 38' 20" N   06 11' 23" E

North of Wesel.

 

Transport Detail:- Again many schedule trips were carried out by Hendon and Croydon crews.  4 trips were made by Squadron personnel from Down Ampney and 7 trips from Northolt to Continental airfields.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Down Ampney

 

Weather:- Fine, visibility good.  Operation "Varsity".  The first aircraft took off at 0625 hrs.  In addition to 271 Squadron an additional two Squadrons (512 and 575) operated from Gosfield.  Lt/Col P.S. Joubert A.F.C. led the Squadron crews and full details of all aircrew taking part appears in Form 541 page 58.  The weather on route was excellent with visibility up to ten miles.  Over the target area visibility was poor due to smoke from the ground.  Eleven of the twelve crews taking part reported successful releases, the other crew reported that the glider pulled off at position 51 03' N  05 03' E but the reason for this is unknown.  No enemy aircraft opposition was encountered at all but moderate, heavy, medium and light flak was experienced over the LZ.  There were no casualties or damaged aircraft.  On the return trip the majority of aircraft landed at Brussels Evere for re-fuelling.  The load carried in the Gliders included troops, Jeeps, trailers, handcarts, cycles, guns and ammunition.  Transport Detail:- 12 crews proceeded to the Continent with mixed freight from Down Ampney and a further 7 trips were made by the Northolt Detachment with passengers.

 

12 Crews took off from R.A.F. Station Gosfield with Horsa Gliders.  The LZ was over the Rhine and just north of WESEL.  On the route and in the vicinity of the LZ no enemy aircraft opposition was encountered.  Moderate, light, medium and heavy flak was encountered in the vicinity of the LZ but no damage was done to any of the aircraft.  Eleven of the twelve crews reported satisfactory releases although the LZ was obscured by smoke from the ground.  F/O Wood reported that his Glider pulled off at position 51 03' N  05 03' E and the Glider Pilot gave no explanation for this.  F/O Wood took his tow rope to B56 where it was dropped for examination by the Engineer Officer.  At briefing, crews were told that they could return to Down Ampney if they had sufficient fuel otherwise a landing was to be made at B56.  4 crews returned direct to Base and the remaining ones landed at B56.  The operation was carried out under ideal weather conditions.  On the route there was no cloud and visibility ten miles.  The visibility over the LZ was reduced to one mile due to smoke from the ground.  The wind was 160/25 at 6000 feet.  The Gliders carried troops of the 6th Airborne Division and an assortment of kit which included jeeps, trailers, handcarts, cycles, guns and ammunition.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.622.  Crew:  Lt.Col. P.S. Joubert AFC, P/O E.R. Hall, F/Lt R. Johnson, F/O H. Daley.  Time Up:  06.25.  Time Down:  14.07.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.562.  Crew:  F/Lt P.A.D. Hollom, F/Sgt Holmes N.K., P/O A. Elliot, F/O G.R. Harvey.  Time Up:  06.25.  Time Down:  14.08.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.406.  Crew:  S/Ldr A.R.T. Beddow, F/O H.T. Hearn, F/O J.S. Dolan, W/O Holt A.G.  Time Up:  06.28.  Time Down:  17.12.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.564.  Crew:  F/Lt J.I. MacNeil (J.21876), W/O Green H., P/O A. McHugh DFM, F/Sgt Talbot H.O.W..  Time Up:  06.29.  Time Down:  17.55.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.500.  Crew:  F/O K.C. Wilson, F/Sgt Somerfield D., F/O J. Foster, Sgt Rumble W.E.P.  Time Up:  06.30.  Time Down:  14.00.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.408.  Crew:  F/O D. Wood, F/Sgt Eisele H.L., P/O K. Carter, P/O T.B. Adamson (Aus. A.425416).  Time Up:  06.30.  Time Down:  12.40.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III FZ.613.  Crew:  F/Lt R.P. Carmody, F/Sgt Thompson H.S., W/O Howes R.D., F/Sgt Fennell D.R. (Aus. A.429940).  Time Up:  06.50.  Time Down:  12.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.378.  Crew:  P/O T. Parfitt, F/Sgt Flanagan M.B., F/O R.A. Davies, P/O F. Richardson.  Time Up:  06.50.  Time Down:  12.50.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.362.  Crew:  F/Lt W.K. Murphy J.21017, F/Sgt Pearson F.R., F/O R.H. Jungwirth (Aus. A.410550), F/Lt J.M. Browne (J.12438).  Time Up:  06.53.  Time Down:  12.43.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III FZ.607.  Crew:  F/O K.P. O'Donnell, F/Sgt Murray L.A., F/O T.R. Holdsworth, P/O G.W.J.G. Watters (J.90661).  Time Up:  06.55.  Time Down:  12.35.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.357.  Crew:  F/O S.E. Norris, F/Sgt Foster G., F/O D.R. Peirce, W/O Laking L.R..  Time Up:  06.57.  Time Down:  13.45.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Dakota III KG.430.  Crew:  P/O H. Farrar, W/O Lewis D.J., W/O Erratt T.J., F/Sgt Proctor J.A.  Time Up:  06.57.  Time Down:  14.20.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Down Ampney

 

Weather:- Slight rain, becoming cloudy.  Operation Varsity proved to be a wonderful success and no Squadron would have to operate on an emergency re-supply mission.  The A.O.C. 38 Group sent the following signal to the A.O.C. 46 Group.  "Please give my thanks to all your Group who took part in the operation whether in the air or on the ground.  Your magnificent serviceability was only equalled by your operational success.  Transport Detail:- 7 schedule transport trips were made to the Continent.  Also 6 crews carried out a special job to transport airborne troops and equipment from WEATHERSFIELD to B86 (HELMONIE).  From Northolt 7 passenger trips were made to the Continent.