427 Squadron Wartime Log - March 1944
Weather: Fair to cloudy with a few occasional snow showers towards
evening. Visibility good.
Things started. off with a bang this month as the Squadron was called upon for operations. We were not caught napping by any means and had sixteen crews detailed and raring to go. Everybody concerned was disappointed when operations were scrubbed, especially the men behind the wrench - the ARMOURERS.
Weather: Mainly fine with good visibility. Three degrees of frost.
With a nice tinge of frost in the air it uas uncomfortable to stand around so it is not surprising that a great deal of flying was done this date. There were three cross-countries during the day in order to familiarize the crews with the new H.2.S.equipment. One aircraft was employed on Fighter Affiliation practice and one on one air firing. This with a few air tests kept all personnel busy and warm.
Weather: Fair to fine with good visibility. 4 degrees of frost.
As we were not called upon for operations this date, everyone seemed to get down to an intense training programme resulting in five aircraft taking off after dinner on cross countries, two aircraft on air to air firing, one aircraft on practice bombing and a number of air tests. There is no doubt, that full advantage was taken of the good ueather conditions this date.
Weather: Fine becoming cloudy with some slight snow after
dusk. Visibility good. Six degrees of frost.
The weather man is definitely doing his best to prove us Canucks that we can still have a winter in England today. For the third day in a row the Squadron has been free of operations. Nevertheless, this definitely didn't stop us from becoming airborne and today five aircraft were detailed for cross-countries, six for air-to-air firing, and a number of air test and local flying practice.
Weather: Cloudy with good visibility. One degree of frost.
The boys of the Squadron are beginning to wonder whether the Squadron is still operational or whether we are changing over to an O.T.U. because today again, no word of operations, so the opportunity of giving the crews that had not been on an H.2.S. training exercise was taken and five aircraft were detailed for cross-countries. Three aircraft carried out practice bombing exercises and one air to air firing. Flight Lieutenant R.C. DEEGAN an ex-LiON paid a hurried visit to the Squadron in the late afternoon and it was noticed that he was still flying a "Y" Yorker as he did with us. DEEGAN looked and admitted that he was a little homesick for the boys, which is a very good sign of the Squadron spirit.
Weather: Visibility poor. Wind very light.
Although this is the "moon period" the Squadron happily received the news this morning that we were called upon for operations. We provided fourteen aircraft with ease. The target was TRAPPES and its marshalling yards. Only thirteen aircraft took off because "J" Johnny piloted by F/SGT KING was a non-starter due to engine trouble. First aircraft attacking report 2/10th cloud which quickly dispersed and all other crews reported no cloud with good visibility. P.F.F. markers were on time and appeared to be accurately placed, several crews being able to see the yards and to bomb the actual target in the absence of T.I. markers. Several crews stated that they saw sticks of bombs straddling the target. Attack was well concentrated and very good results are expected. CAN.J19588 P/0 B.C. Scobine and Can.R136520 F/S Foster DF, and their crews reported to the Squadron from 1659 Con. Unit.
Weather: Cloudy without rain, becoming fine. Visibility becoming
very good, light northerly wind.
The Squadron was detailed for operations again today and we provided 14 aircraft. Target for bombing was LE MANS. All our aircraft became airborne but "J" Johnny piloted by F/Sgt KING returned early due to engine trouble. Of the remainder, 10 attacked the target, 3 reaching it and being unable to see target markers, jettisoned their bombs and abandoned the task in accordance with briefing instructions. Weather conditions over the target were 9/10ths cloud with tops from 7/1000 ft. P.F.F. markers were late and some difficulty was experienced in locating them when they finally did go down, due to the unexpected cloud cover. Several small fires were seen and one large explosion at 2134 hours was reported by one of the crews. Most of the crews consider this as a very scattered attack. There was no apparent concentration of fighters reported in any particular area.
Weather: Cloudy becoming fine. Visibility poor. Wind calm
or very light.
The Squadron was detailed for operations again today and only five aircraft were requested. This number was easily met and preparations were well in hand when everything was scrubbed. Owing to this false-alarm, it was hard to carry out other flying so only two aircraft were employed on cross- countries.
Weather: Cloudy with fog becoming fine. Visibility foggy
becoming poor. Wind calm.
The Squadron was called upon for five aircraft for operations again today but they were cancelled in the afternoon much to everyone's sorrow. The bad weather during the day did not permit any aircraft to become airborne.
Weather: Fine becoming cloudy, Visibility moderate becoming good.
Light northeast wind.
No operations this date so the Squadron buckled down to some more intensive training. Seven aircraft were detailed for cross-countries and all successfully completed their mission. A number of aircraft did local flying and this enabled some of the newer crews to get the feel of their aircraft. Early in the morning the Squadron was detailed for operations but this was scrubbed soon after.
Weather: Cloudy. Visibility good. Wind 15 m.p.h. North-westerly.
No operations this date so taking advantage of the good weather again, the Squadron carried out one its most intensive training programmes. Nine cross countries ware scheduled and successfully carried out. Three aircraft were employed on fighter affiliation exercises and one was employed on practice bombing. Judging by the enthusiasm and amount of flying during the last week, we figure the squadron is prepared for an all out effort on operations any day now. Can.F155071 SGT BLEDD and crew reported to the squadron from 1659 Con. Unit today.
Weather: Cloudy. Visibility moderate becoming good. Wind
Personnel of the Squadron were disappointed because we were not called upon to provide any aircraft for operations. Instead eight aircraft were detailed, for cross-countries and all successfully completed their mission. Four aircraft carried, out air to air firing and others did local flying. CAN.J19952 P/0 Devereaux and CAN.J19593 P/0 H. PuVIS and crews reported to the Squadron from. 1659 Con. Unit today.
Weather: Cloudy becoming fair to fine. Visibility 20-30 miles.
We were called upon for operations this date and easily supplied the eight aircraft asked for. The target was LE MANS, and was considered an easy "do" for the crews. The target was identified by the T.I. markers and visibly by the river. There were no night fighters seen and only one heavy gun and a couple of light guns were used to defend the target. All aircraft bombed the target and returned to base. The attack was considered well concentrated and a number of fires were observed, on the target. Besides operations this date, two aircraft successfully completed bombing practice and one practiced circuits and landing.
Weather: Fine at first becoming fair. Visibility twenty-thirty
miles deteriorating after dusk to five miles.
The Squadron was not called upon for operations this date, so an intensive training program was prepared and carried out. Six aircraft were employed on local flying, three aircraft practiced fighter affiliation and these aircraft successfully completed X-countries.
Weather: Fine at first becoming fair to cloudy after noon. Visibility
The Squadron was called upon for operations this date and sixteen aircraft were detailed the target for the night being STUTTGART All the aircraft took off successfully but one returned early piloted by R144492 W/0 KING, J. due to the port outer engine packing up. Two aircraft failed to return from this operation, the Captains being J22145 F/0 J.E. MiLTON and J25442 F/0 H.B. STEVES. From the thirteen aircraft that successfully bombed the target it was learned that the Route Markers were very poor and due to heavy cloud cover over the target it was impossible to estimate the damage caused although a number of large fires and explosions were observed. "L" LONDON piloted by P/0 HOLLAND received flak bursts on the port wing and incendiaries from a friendly aircraft hit the starboard wing at approximately the same time. On return to base a 4 lb. incendiary was taken out of the wing. "J" JOHNNY piloted by P/0 WELDON received a flak burst over the target that shot off the astrodrorae and holed the mid-upper turret. No injuries to personnel were sustained luckily. Three aircraft landed away from base.
Weather: Cloudy. Visibility ten miles at first. Three to five
miles during the morning improving to 15-20 miles during the
The Squadron was not called upon for operating this date and due to bad weather little flying was carried out. Two of the aircraft that landed away last night returned to base, and one aircraft took part in local flying.
Weather: Fair to cloudy, Visibility three to six miles at first
improving to 8-10 miles.
As no operations were scheduled this date eight aircraft successfully completed X-countries and one H.2.S.practice bombing, two were employed on local flying and one aircraft returned to base from operation on the night of the 15th.
Weather: Cloudy with intermittent rain at noon and dusk.
Visibility 3-6 miles at first improving to 10-15 miles
during the morning.
Operations were scheduled for this date and fourteen aircraft were provided by the Squadron, the target bcfng FRANKFURT. All aircraft took off and twelve successfully bombed the target and returned to this country. Two aircraft failed to return from this operation, they were piloted by F/0 T.W. COOPER, "G" - GEORGE and "Z" ZEBRA, piloted by CAN.R156049 Sgt MILLER, W.C.. Crews reported the target to be covered with haze thus making visibility poor. P.F.F. was good although route markers were very poor. Searchlights were ineffective through due to the haze. Large explosions were seen and although there were a few scattered fires the raid was well concentrated. All aircraft landed away from base. "V" VICTOR piloted by R141414 F/S COATHUP saw a little real action while making the bombing run the Rear Gunner sighted an ME l09 on the port quarter, down at 400 yards. Enemy aircraft came in climbing towards the aircraft. Combat evasion was "Corkscrew port" and the rear gunner fired a short burst while in the corkscrew as the fighter broke away at 200 yards to starboard and up and was not seen again. Resume course was given after fighter broke away. Enemy aircraft did not open fire.
Weather: Fair to cloudy becoming fine late in day.
As all aircraft landed away yesterday and the weather was not very good, not much training was carried out this date. All aircraft returned to base during the day. Squadron groundcrew were issued with Battle Dress this date and it is believed that this was met with great enthusiasm by all ranks. CAN.J12340 F/0 McPHEE, W.N. and crew reported from 1659 Con. Unit and CAN.R186063 Sgt Smith H.S. reported from 6l (RCAF) Base as a spare Gunner.
Weather: Fine at first, cloudy with rain in the morning. Fair to
fine later. Good visibility.
Due to rain only one aircraft became airborne from this Squadron and this was employed on a weather test. Advantage was taken of the bad weather though to bring the aircraft serviceability up ready for the next operations.
Weather: Cloudy with rain and drizzle. Visibility moderate to
No operations scheduled for this date and due to the bad. weather little flying was carried out except for a few air tests and local circuits and bumps. A good day to put the house in order of anticipation to coming operations. CAN R107233 F/S Stevens, and crew reported in from N0. l666 Con. Unit. Word was received from H.Q. No. 6 (RCAF) Group that P/0 HOLLAND, P/0 HATCHETT and P/0 PRICE were screed and would be leaving the squadron in the near future.
Weather: Cloudy with occasional slight rain. Moderate
to good visibility.
Although it looked as though the Squadron would be free from operations this date due to the weather, a11 personnel were surprised to learn that the Squadron was called upon for fifteen aircraft. After being stood down for the last three days this figure was easily met and so all the aircraft took off to bomb FRANKFURT. All aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned to base. P.F.F. was reported to be on time and well concentrated. There was a cloud cover of approx. 5/10ths but large fires could be seen and a number of big explosions were reported by the crews. Fighter flares were used by the enemy although no fighter resistance was reported. It was considered that the target was heavily hit and the results were very good. Besides providing the fifteen aircraft for operations this date two aircraft were employed on air firing, two on practice bombing, one on X-Country and a number of local tests were carried out.
Weather; Cloudy. Visibility moderate to good.
With the large operations the previous night and as the Squadron was not called upon again today, full advantage was taken by the ground crews to make the aircraft serviceable for coming operations. Only two air tests were carried out this date.
Weather: Cloudy. Fair to fine later. Visibility moderate to
The Squadron was called upon to poovide fifteen aircraft this date, the target being BERLIN. This was like home week for the more experienced crews of the Squadron. Three aircraft failed to return from this operation, they were "J" JOHNNY piloted by CAN.R128270 W/O Yaworski, A.R., "K" KITTY piloted by CAN.R69918 F/S Dowdell, S.G. and "V" VIC piloted by W/0 Magdalinski W.F.. The remaining twelve aircraft successfully bombed the target and all returned to base except one aircraft that landed down south. Crews complained of the lack of track markers. Lots of searchlights were seen over the target and although P.F.F. was scattered it was well within the target area. Large fires were reported and occasional explosions. No fighter attacks were experienced by returning aircraft. Besides operations, two aircraft were employed on cross- countries and three on air to air firing and two on practice bombing.
There is a mystery in this diary entry. F/O R.J. Hayhurst was not initially listed in the photo below as a casuality. He was a member of 427 probably on his second tour. A telegram received from the War Ministry indicates he was shot down and taken prisoner on this date. He is confirmed as a POW in Stalag Luft 1 but he is not listed in 427 Squadron's ORBs for that night. His name is added below and hopefully we can clear up this oversight.
Weather: Fine at first, becoming cloudy then fine later.Visibility moderate
Only two aircraft were detailed for operations this date, the target being AULNOYE. One aircraft was employed on cross country and three on local flying. A very quiet day indeed. Both of the aircraft on operations bombed the target and returned to base. Visibility over the target was good and P.F.F., was accurate. This was considered to be a very good attack and the target well pranged for the size of the raid. No enemy resistance- was experienced either to or from the target.
Weather: fair to fine. Good visibility.
A lovely day today and when we learned that operations were scheduled for the night, it was not surprising. Fourteen aircraft were detailed to attack ESSEN. As our aircraft were early in the attack, little can be said to the results. Defences were very mediocre and the searchlights were ineffective due to the intensity of the cloud. Route was reported good and P.F.F. accurate. All aircraft bombed the target and returned to this country. Besides operations, one aircraft was employed on fighter affiliation and one on a night J.2.S X-Country. A very busy day indeed.
Weather: Cloudy at first becoming fair. Visibility 3 to 6
miles. Wind light variable.
Very little doing today after operations last night but three aircraft were employed on cross- countries, and one on circuits and landing. CAN.R144198 F/S Shoener R.F. and crew and CAN.R158530 F/S Stainton, A.J. and crew reported in today from N. 1659 C.U. for operational duties, Not much activity to report this date.
Weather: Fog at first lifting during the afternoon and
becoming foggy again after dusk. Visibility poor. Wind
A grand day for aircrew personnel to have a well earned rest. No flying at all was carried out nothing of interest to report.
Weather: Cloudy becoming fair. Light drizzle during the
morning. Visibility one to six miles. Wind light northerly.
Sixteen aircraft were detailed for operations but this was cancelled during the afternoon and only one aircraft was detailed to bomb VAIRES. This aircraft bombed the target and returned safely to base. There was very little enemy defence and considered a very easy trip. P.F.F. was good. There was no cloud but some haze.
Weather: Fair. Visibility five to ten miles. Wind light
Operations detailed for this date and sixteen aircraft took off to bomb Nurembroug. Twelve aircraft successfully bombed the target and returned to this country. The squadron suffered a heavy loss this night as three aircraft were reported missing. Both our "A" and "B" Flight Commanders failed to return. "W" Willie piloted by A/S/L G.J. LAIRD DFC and "D" Donald piloted by A/S/L J.M. BISSETT, DFM. One of the newer crews CAN.J12340 F/0 W.N. McPHEE piloting "E" EASY also failed to return. Returning crews reported numerous night fighters that were aided by the bright moon. "N' Nuts piloted by CAN.J15301 F/0 W.J.WEICKER was attacked by a fighter. The Mid-upper gunner first sighted an exchange of tracers from two unidentified aircraft on the port beam. The enemy aircraft apparently saw this aircraft when he broke away from the other bomber and therefore, opened fire from 600 yards or more. The Mid-upper gunner saw this trace coming from the port quarter down and instructed his Pilot to corkscrew to port. This was done and the enemy aircraft was not seen after resume course was given. Neither gunners opened fire and no damage was sustained to the aircraft.
A number of the pilots acutally saw the night fighters shooting down our aircraft and tracers filled the air. P.F.F. was late at first but later in the raid were well concentrated. Target was well pranged but believed, a costly "do". F/L McAULEY a veteran of 24 trips made his first turnback due to engine trouble. Four aircraft were also employed on practices bombing during the day.
Weather: Fair. Visibility five to ten miles. Wind light
Flying activities were at a minimum this date due to the operations last night and to the great loss of our Flight Commanders. One of the newer crews went on a X-Country to make our full effort for the day. Looking back over the month though, this is considered to have been a month of great progress and activity.