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1945

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

JANUARY 1945

The year opened very badly when, trying to land in very poor visibility, S/Ldr Hedgecoe and F/O Bamford crashed on runway approach and were both killed.

January 2

S/Ldr Frank Marlowe, who had been the Squadron's Intelligence Officer since 1940, was posted to Northolt, and his place was taken by F/O Carruthers.

F/Lt Shaw with F/O Burn, and F/O Struthers with F/O Cooper, carried out a High Level Intruder patrol using the new "Monica" equipment for the first time. No contact with enemy aircraft was obtained.

Patrols were maintained throughout the month, but serviceability of the A.I. caused problems. Poor weather also prevented any real progress on operational sorties, there being only one chase carried out. This was by W/Cdr Beaumont with F/Lt Lane, but due to the high speed of the target aircraft, probably a jet, It could not be caught by the Mosquito.

January 31

A new operational status came into effect which called for each Flight to supply four crews for readiness each night, instead of the previous system where only one Flight supplied the readiness crews.

 

FEBRUARY 1945

 

The month opened with the Squadron's new readiness status coming Into effect, and all crews were eager to get involved in what was to be the last fling.

 

February 1

Six crews were despatched on High Level Intruder sorties, but no combat success  was achieved.

For the next few days there was again a high level of unserviceability in the electronics of the various systems being carried.

For their operational successes with No 85 Squadron, the award of the DFC  was announced for S/Ldr Boucher and F/Lt Bullock. These awards were duly celebrated when the night's operations were cancelled because of poor weather conditions.

 

February 10

Bomber support operations were carried out, but local weather conditions were not very good. The Squadron was now getting impatient and were wondering when their luck was going to change to enable them to claim some combat victories in their new role as a Bomber support Squadron.

Some of the sorties were switched to low level but apart from the usual flak associated with low level operations, the sorties were generally uneventful.

From one of these sorties, F/Lt Strauss and F/Lt Forrester-Paton failed to return. The only information as to their fate was that an aircraft was seen going down in the patrol area. Whether this was the 151 crew or not was uncertain.

 

February 22

Operations were widened and two crews undertook sorties to Norway. Because of the distance involved, they returned to Charterhall In Berwickshire. This was the Night Fighter OTU and probably brought back memories to them. No combat results were obtained.

 

February 23

Six crews were on operations, but only two of them completed their missions.

F/O Honeyman with P/O Harding, now back on the Squadron from Swanton Morley, had an engine cut on take-off and were forced to jettison the 100 gallon wing tanks. One aircraft became unserviceable before take-off and two others returned to base with technical troubles.

 

February 24

The first sighting of an enemy aircraft for several weeks was obtained, when one of the crews on night operations saw a FW 190. It was coming at them head-on, but it could not be picked up on the A.I. and was lost. At the end of the month 151 Squadron moved to Bradwell Bay, from where Bomber support was to be carried out.

 

MARCH 1945

 

On most nights of the month, Bomber support operations were carried out, some at high level and some at low level.

 

March 6

F/O Brockbank with F/Lt Lane were scrambled on an anti-intruder patrol, but they crashed on take-off into the mud of the Blackwater River. The crew were trapped and despite strenuous efforts from the shore, and efforts by the Royal Navy, they could not be reached and both crew members died. It was a most distressing incident as the cries of the crew could be heard for an hour or more after the accident and there was absolutely nothing that could be done to save them.

 

March 8

F/Lt Green with W/O Mitsche crashed into the sea when they were returning from a defensive patrol. They were picked up by a naval launch, but were only slightly injured as a result of the ditching.

 

March 16

456 Squadron, the Australian Night Fighter Squadron, arrived at Bradwell Bay to join up with 151 Squadron to form the Night Fighter and Intruder Wing with Group Captain O'Neille as the Wing Leader. He was also the Station Commander at Bradwell Bay.

 

March 24

F/O Struthers with F/O Cooper were returning from a Bomber support operation when they spotted a train near Lippstadt. They attacked it and an explosion occurred. The debris from the explosion hit the Mosquito, knocking out the compass, R/T, Air Speed Indicator and the hydraulics. The Mosquito crash landed at Manston but the crew were uninjured.

This crew must have been getting a bit impatient with general inactivity, since on March 19 they had had a go at the Biblis airfield and had eliminated at least one navigational aid from the German defences.

 

March 28

Three aircraft were despatched to Nuremberg, Munich and Rottenberg. W/Cdr Beaumont with F/O Andrews attacked a train three times near Nuremberg, causing severe damage.

F/Lt Turner with F/Lt Partridge, after an uneventful patrol, received some minor damage from anti-aircraft guns at Arnhem.

The third aircraft returned with engine trouble.

 

March 31

W/Cdr Beaumont with F/O Andrews shot up three trains near Standal in a Ranger operation. The locomotives blew up and the trains were severely damaged by cannon fire.

 

APRIL 1945

 

April 2

Four Rangers were undertaken of which two were uneventful. F/Lt Cox with F/O Poole were operating in the Regenshurg area at night when they attacked army vehicles and destroyed three of them.

F/O Hollingworth with F/O Alcock successfully damaged an army vehicle in a strafing attack. After this attack, which was on the main north west road leading out of Munich, they attacked three more vehicles on the same road but just north of Augsburg. As they pulled away from this attack, they observed an aircraft underneath them with all its navigation lights on. This aircraft was intercepted by flying below at an altitude of about 100 ft, F/O Alcock giving continuous readings of height from the radar altimeter. At a range of about 200 yds, a two second burst of fire was aimed at the port engine of the enemy aircraft which had now been identified as a Me 410. It burst into flames, with pieces coming off the wing. It then crashed into a wood, burning fiercely.

 

Claims for the night were:-

 

 

F/O Hollingworth & F/O Alcock

 1 Me 410 destroyed

 

 

 

April 4

W/Cdr Beaumont with F/O Anderson carried out a successful Ranger, destroying a locomotive and damaging the rest of the train near Leipzig. In attacks on other rail transport they destroyed four transport vehicles and damaged another six.

 

April 6

W/O Dunn with F/Sgt Redfern had a run-away engine on take-off, resulting in the aircraft crashing at the end of the runway. Fortunately neither of the crew was injured.

 

April 7

F/Sgt Haynes and Sgt Chantler were killed whilst they were carrying out a routine night flying test. Update from Martin Connor: 'I have additional information on what happened, provided by the DeHavilland Museum.  Apparently they were flying mock attacks on a B17 out near Cambridge, and they overstressed the aircraft pulling up under said aircraft.  It would appear this broke the spar'.

 

April 14

The news came through that F/Lt Forrester-Paton was a prisoner of war (one of the very few, if not the only one of 151 Squadron, who finished up in the cage), but it was presumed that F/Lt Strauss had been killed.

 

During the Bomber support operations on which they were flying on February 10, it was finally revealed that F/Lt Strauss with T/Lt Forrester-Paton had a successful combat with a Me 410. It was in this combat that their aircraft was damaged very badly.

 

As a result of this action the following claim can be made:-

 

 

F/Lt Strauss & F/Lt Forrester

 1 Me 410 destroyed

 

 

 

F/Lt Thacker with F/O Hall were fired at by a FW 190 which had crept up behind them without being detected by "Monica" or A.I. They returned safely to base.

 

April 15

W/O Kimber with F/Sgt Ryan, on an Intruder operation to support the raid on Potsdam, were on high level support when they had an engine cut near Hamburg. This resulted in yet another long distance flight on one engine for this crew. They flew a distance of 450 miles, landing at Linton on Ouse. On touching down, a tyre burst after 200 yds, causing damage to the aircraft but not to the crew.

 

April 20

Flying on low level support patrols, F/Lt Lindsay with F/O Signey went to Westerland airfield which was lit up when they arrived. They obtained a head-on contact, turned round, held the contact, and intercepted an enemy aircraft which they identified as a He 219. A short burst of fire was given from a range of about 300 ft and from the dead astern position. A vivid white flash from the starboard wing root resulted. Although the enemy aircraft was seen spiralling downwards to port, it was not seen to crash.

 

Claims for the night were:-

 

 

F/Lt Lindsay & F/O Signey

 1 He 219 damaged

 

 

 

Ranger operations were now taking place right into southern Germany from advance bases in France.  The German territory attacked was Bavaria and Czechoslovakia.

 

April 25

Two Ranger operations to Bad Aibling and to Holzkirchen from Juvincourt, as the advance base, were made. At Juvincourt, the Squadron met up with another Squadron which had been brought together for flare dropping. This Squadron's function was to drop flares to illuminate buildings and other targets.

 

W/Cdr Beaumont with F/O Andrews made rendezvous at the northern tip of Lake Chiem, with F/0 Struthers flying with F/O Cooper. At Bad Aibling, flares were dropped from a height of 3,000 ft over the airfield. W/Cdr Beaumont dropped his aircraft's wing tanks and attacked about a dozen aircraft lined up in front of the hangars in the north west corner of the airfield. He went in to attack and it was estimated that one FW 190 was destroyed, another probably destroyed and four more damaged. Surprisingly, no anti-aircraft fire or any other opposition was put up.

 

MAY 1945

 

The operations on April 25 were the last to be carried out in "anger" in World War II, and all future operations would have peaceful intentions.

 

May 8

 

V.E. DAY

The occasion was duly celebrated by all personnel.

 

NOVEMBER 1945

The following awards were made for war time service:

 

F/O Phillips

DFC

F/Lt Andrews

DFC

F/Lt Honeyman

Croix de Guerre

F/O Oddie

Croix de Guerre

 

        

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