Abbreviations

A/B

A/C

A/G

CO
DZ

F/Eng

LF

LZ

MG

Nav

W/Op

Air Bomber
Aircraft

Air Gunner

Commanding Officer

Drop Zone

Flight Engineer

Light Flak

Landing Zone

Machine Gun

Navigator

Wireless Operator

 

 

Month and year: March 1945

 

20th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Today began the job of transferring the squadron to its temporary home at Woodbridge & the following crews each took a loaded glider - F/L Rampling, P/O Goss, P/O Louch, W/O Ussell, F/S Davis, F/L Jones, F/O Turnbull, P/O Barr, F/S Hughes, F/S Selfe, W/O Oliver, W/O Bailey, F/O McConville, W/O Ashworth, W/O Jacques, F/S Stokes, F/O Woodhouse, P/O Sinclair, S/L Nichol, F/O O'Dea, F/S Black, W/O Parker, W/O Gray, F/O Roberts, F/O Shapley, F/L Archibald and W/C Archer.  P/O Louch, W/O Ashworth and W/O Jacques returned to base in a Dakota & brought another tug & glider next day.  Air tests were carried out early in the morning by F/O McConville, F/S Black, W/O Parker & F/O Roberts.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Bad visibility over base during the morning delayed the take-off of the remainder of the squadron until lunch-time.  W/O Christian, P/O Louch, S/L Scott, W/O Jacques, W/O Ashworth, G/C Cooper & F/O Blake each took a loaded glider & with their arrival at Woodbridge, the whole squadron had been moved.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

A day of rest for the aircrew but the ground crew were busy clearing up any snags which had developed during the journey from base.  The N.C.Os. who were unfortunately obliged to live in tents, had by now adopted a philosophical outlook towards their discomforts.  During the afternoon there was a lecture by the glider pilot C.O., Colonel Chatterton, and then came the main briefing for airborne operation 'Varsity'.  This involved a lift of 48 Hamilcars and 12 Horsas in the first day, with a possibility of resupply afterwards.  The L.Zs. were approx 10 m across the Rhine between Emmerich & Wesel.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

The weather was again perfect and showing every sign of continuing in the same way for the great day.  During the afternoon gliders and tugs were marshalled on the runway and it only remained to hope that nothing would upset the plans.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

A perfect day from the point of view of weather and the operation 'Varsity' was definitely on.  The combinations commenced to take-off at 07.20 and all became airborne with only one hitch.  P/O Barr's glider unfortunately hit a slipstream and the tow rope was unable to stand the strain.  At first the formation was very loose but after a while the stragglers had caught up and had packed themselves in to make a compact bunch.  The presence of a smoke screen along the East bank of the river made it very difficult for the glider pilots to pick out their L.Zs.  However, apart from one glider who released himself on the West bank all pulled off on their respective release points.  The amount of flak experienced was not severe, the main danger being falling ropes & risk of collision with other aircraft.  Unfortunately F/O McConnville & F/S Hughes failed to return and up to the moment there has been no news of them.  It has since been learned that F/S Hughes and his crew were killed when their aircraft crashed on the West bank of the Rhine after carrying out their mission successfully.  Three direct flak hits were sustained on F/O Christian's aircraft but there was no damage to personnel & the aircraft was flown back to base.  Subsequent reports show that the whole operation was definitely a success.  During the day P/O Barr ferried two combinations from Woodbridge to base & G/C Cooper also brought one.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'J' NA636.  Crew:  F/S Black J.R. (Pilot), Sgt Kirby J.H. (Nav), F/O Freeman B.O. (A/B), Sgt Wesley T. (W/Op), P/O Rodgers J.C.A. (A/G), Sgt Tyson W.T. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.47.  Time Down:  13.30.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1045.  Glider load - 1 Bulldozer D4 & spares.  No enemy action.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'F' MZ960.  Crew:  W/O Ashworth A.S. (Pilot), F/S Stannard D.A. (Nav), F/O Redmond J.H.J. Aus.428823 (A/B), W/O Beckley R.B. (W/Op), W/O MacRae J. (A/G), F/S McCarthy B. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.46.  Time Down:  13.09.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  As a/c prepared to cross Rhine as briefed, glider released 1043 hrs.  A/c circled and then returned to base.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'H' MZ957.  Crew:  F/L Archibald W.W. (Pilot), F/Sgt Collard C. (Nav), P/O Udall E. Can.J.28334 (A/B), F/S Shelton C. (W/Op), F/O Cox R.M. (A/G), F/S Wallace T. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.44.  Time Down:  13.11.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1044.  Glider load - Carrier trailer & 15 panniers.  Gun fire seen in area.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 9U'C' NA336.  Crew:  F/O Blake V.J. Can.J.25281 (Pilot), P/O Darling F.R. Can.J.21752 (Nav), P/O Gillies E.A. Can.J.89625 (A/B), F/O Deacon W.S. Can.J.24860 (W/Op), W/O Smith J.E. Can.R.178518 (A/G), F/S Harris H.S. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.44.  Time Down:  13.13.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1041.  Glider load - Bren trailer, 15 panniers.  Flak seen four miles away.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 2P'H' NA351.  Crew:  S/L Scott H. (Pilot), P/O Hayard W.A. Can.J.25037 (Nav), P/O Cole J.H. (A/B), P/O Sharples R. (W/Op), F/S Jones C. (A/G), W/O Cardall C. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.43.  Time Down:  13.04.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Glider load - Carrier, trailer, 15 panniers.  Medium flak encountered.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 5U'A'' NA666.  Crew:  W/O Jacques R. (Pilot), W/O Tough B.R. (Nav), P/O Gordan G.A. (A/B), F/S Leith J. (W/Op), F/S Henry J.M. (A/G), Sgt Stone A.F. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.42.  Time Down:  13.43.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1044.  Glider load - Carrier, trailer, 15 panniers.  Light accurate flak between Rhine & L.Z.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 5J'H' MZ981.  Crew:  P/O Sinclair L.H. Aus.42818 (Pilot), W/O Borthwick P.W. NZ.428758 (Nav), F/S Barrett D.G. (A/B), F/S Smithson S.J. (W/Op), F/S Rhodes E. (A/G), F/S Howden A. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.40.  Time Down:  13.45.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1041.  Glider load - Carrier, trailer, 15 panniers.  Moderate, accurate L.F.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'L'.  Crew:  W/O Parker A.F. Can.R.225072 (Pilot), P/O Sutton L.N. (Nav), F/O Harvey D.G. (A/B), W/O Smith W.F. (W/Op), W/O Welch A.E. Can.R.204095 (A/G), Sgt Crane H.H. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.39.  Time Down:  13.10.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1041.  Glider load - Carrier, trailer, 15 panniers.  No enemy action.  Smoke screen over D.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 9U'S' NA353.  Crew:  P/O O'Dea K. Aus.409735 (Pilot), F/S Purdon G.B. (Nav), F/S Harris A.W. (A/B), F/S Cran W.S. (W/Op), F/S Cass E.E. (A/G), F/S McBurney J. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.38.  Time Down:  13.27.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1043.  Glider load - Carrier, trailer, 15 panniers.  Slight L/F east of L.Z.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'E' MZ967.  Crew:  F/O Roberts J.V. (Pilot), W/O Squire H.C.F. (Nav), F/S Anderson E. (A/B), F/S Hall W. (W/Op), W/O Bateman N.J. (A/G), Sgt Porter R.S. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.37.  Time Down:  13.33.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1039.  Glider load - carrier, trailer, 15 panniers.  No enemy action.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 9U'O' NA339.  Crew:  P/O Woodhouse W. (Pilot), F/S Eagle B.C. (Nav), F/O Dexter A. (A/B), W/O Pears G.H. NZ.424973 (W/Op), W/O Campbell M.R. NZ.424968 (A/G), Sgt Parrott E.J. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.36.  Time Down:  12.51.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Glider load - T9 Locust Tank.  Continuous flak seen.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 9U'R' NA314.  Crew:  F/O Shapley E.D. (Pilot), F/O Minchinton N.G. Aus.410612 (Nav), W/O Tregoning B. (A/B), F/S Needham K.B. (W/Op), F/S Podd S.W.F. (A/G), F/S Turnbull W.J.C. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.35.  Time Down:  12.56.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Glider load - T9 Locust Tank.  Medium flak seen.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 2P'Z' NA340.  Crew:  F/L Jones K.W. (Pilot), F/L Garrity P.H. (Nav), F/S Chamberlain B.E. (A/B), W/O Allchurch T.R. (W/Op), F/S Banks J. (A/G), P/O Morris J.R. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.33.  Time Down:  12.59.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1037.  Glider load - T9 Locust Tank.  Medium & light flak.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'H' MZ962.  Crew:  P/O Louch M.J.N. NZ.414644 (Pilot), W/O Bellis C.J. (Nav), F/O Carter H.C. (A/B), W/O Nye W.A. Aus.405652 (W/Op), F/S Baker V.L.P. (A/G), Sgt Donaldson J.N. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.32.  Time Down:  12.50.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Glider load - T9 Locust Tank.  Light & Heavy flak seen.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 2P'E' NA344.  Crew:  F/L Rampling E.F. (Pilot), P/O Giblin A.G. Aus.408365 (Nav), F/L McQuaker R.G. (A/B), F/S Dunn N.H. (W/Op), W/O Bainbridge W. (A/G), F/O Young J.P. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.30.  Time Down:  13.35.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Glider load - 44 x 350 lb panniers.  Medium flak N of landing area.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'O' MZ969.  Crew:  W/O Oliver V.R. (Pilot), F/O Butterill G.C. Can.J.24205 (Nav), F/O Inachin B.O. (A/B), F/S Martin G.N. (W/Op), W/O Brown R.S. Can.R.208646 (A/G), F/S Quincy K. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.29.  Time Down:  13.21.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Glider load - 44 x 350 lb panniers.  Medium flak N of landing area.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 2P'X' NA357.  Crew:  F/O Turnbull A. (Pilot), P/O Mitchell W.R. (Nav), F/S Tuckett G.A. (A/B), F/S Naylor A. (W/Op), F/S Weightman T.H. (A/G), F/S Bassett G.A. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.28.  Time Down:  12.19.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider cast off after hitting slipstream 5108N 0521E.  2700'.  1009 hrs.  Reason for cast-off unknown.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'V' NA102.  Crew:  W/O Bailey J.C. (Pilot), F/S Woods A.G. Aus.435024 (Nav), F/O Hewitt R. (A/B), W/O Denton A.H. (W/Op), F/S Dowleswell A.E. (A/G), F/S Miles A.M. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.27.  Time Down:  13.10.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1039.  No enemy action.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'T' MZ959.  Crew:  P/O McConville H. Aus.422630 (Pilot), F/O Locke D.R. (Nav), F/S Munro A.S. (A/B), P/O Bruce K.R. Aus.422400 (W/Op), F/S Harris J.H. (A/G), F/S Smith R.H. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.24.  Time Down:  N/A.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Aircraft Missing.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'R' NA656.  Crew:  W/O Christian  H.J. NZ.421833 (Pilot), W/O Roberts H.A. NZ.425939 (Nav), W/O Hay R.E. NZ.425900 (A/B), Sgt Southworth J. (W/Op), P/O MacDougall R.L. Can.J.92838 (A/G), F/S Roberts W.T. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.24.  Time Down:  13.18.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1039.  Smoke screen over L.Z.  Tug hit three times by flak but returned safely to base.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'P' MZ970.  Crew:  F/O Goss A.N. (Pilot), F/S Taylor W.C. (Nav), F/S Falk P.R. (A/B), F/S Middleton M. (W/Op), F/Sgt Webb E. (A/G), Sgt Bilson R.H. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.23.  Time Down:  13.23.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1037.  Flak seen but not encountered.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'Q' NA284.  Crew:  W/O Ussell L.E.J. (Pilot), P/O Keedy D.J. (Nav), W/O Fidler H.J. (A/B), F/S Gover G. (W/Op), F/S Thomas G.F. (A/G), F/S Deffen R.J. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.21.  Time Down:  12.53.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1038.  Medium & heavy accurate flak seen.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 2P'G'.  Crew:  P/O Barr H.W. Can.J.90644 (Pilot), P/O Howlett W.D. Can.J.92866 (Nav), F/S Smith E.A. (A/B), F/S Greenstock J.B. (W/Op), W/O Sanders J.J. Can.R.196205 (A/G), F/S Barnett A. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.20.  Time Down:  N/A.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider cast-off immediately after take-off on instructions from tug captain.  A/C out of control on entering previous a/c's slipstream.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 9U'D' NZ338.  Crew:  W/C Archer E.L. (Pilot), F/O Master R.P. (Nav), F/O Whelan J.C. Can.J.87919 (A/B), P/O Pearce R.C. (W/Op), F/L Cooper J.P. (A/G), W/O Thomas J.H. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.19.  Time Down:  13.07.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - 17 pounder gun & Dodge truck.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1040.  Flak seen high over L.Z. area.  Smoke screen over area.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'S'.  Crew:  F/S Davis E.A. (Pilot), F/S Jones M. (Nav), F/S Page W.G. (A/B), P/O Moreton F. (W/Op), F/S Clark J.T. (A/G), Sgt Stevens B.G. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.55.  Time Down:  13.12.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - Jeep & 6 pounder gun.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1037.  L/F and M/G fire encountered.  Starboard inner engine damaged.  A/C returned safely to base.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 2P'M'.  Crew:  F/S Hughes J.P. (Pilot), F/S Nicholson T.B. (Nav), Sgt Attewell L.W. (A/B), F/S Lawrence W.G. (W/Op), Sgt Dutton L.A. (A/G), Sgt Main C. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.54.  Time Down:  N/A.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - Jeep & 6 pounder gun.  AIRCRAFT MISSING.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 2P'J'.  Crew:  F/S Selfe L.H.J. (Pilot), Sgt Holmes R.E. Can.J.43530 (Nav), F/O Ramsay L.W. (A/B), Sgt Beck J.E. (W/Op), Sgt Fryer N. (A/G), Sgt Barron S.C.O. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.53.  Time Down:  13.29.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - Jeep, trailer, light motor cycle.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1037.  Fairly accurate light flak encountered.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'M'.  Crew:  F/S Stokes S. (Pilot), F/S Ross D. (Nav), F/O Hughes D.E. (A/B), F/S Lovett R. (W/Op), Sgt Hoyle A. (A/G), Sgt Clark A. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.51.  Time Down:  13.05.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - Jeep, trailer, light motor cycle.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1037.  Medium flak bursting in L.Z. area.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax III 9U'G' MZ964.  Crew:  W/O Gray P.M. (Pilot), Sgt Artingstall G.A. (Nav), F/O Hulme J.A. (A/B), Sgt Ward B.V. (W/Op), F/S Wells A.N. (A/G), Sgt Gray J. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.50.  Time Down:  13.20.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - Jeep & 6 pounder gun.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1036.  Medium & light flak seen to N of L.Z.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

Aircraft Type & Number:  Halifax VII 9U'Q' NA549.  Crew:  S/L Nickel W.H. Can.J.12774 (Pilot), F/L Langton E. (Nav), W/O Gough R. (A/B), F/S Sutherland J.P. (W/Op), F/S Ebbels D. (A/G), F/S Parker W.L.T. (F/Eng).  Time Up:  07.50.  Time Down:  12.48.  AIRBORNE OPERATION 'VARSITY'.  Position of L.Z. - East of Rhine near WESEL.  Glider load - Trailer & light motor cycle.  Glider released on appointed spot at 1036.  Flak in L.Z. area.  Smoke screen over L.Z.

 

25th March 1945

Place: Tarrant Rushton

 

Today was spent in getting all aircraft serviceable & giving them a daily inspection - a rather longer job than usual due to the fact that some of the ground crew were still at Woodbridge.