438 Squadron Operations Record Book, June 1944
OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK
of (Unit or Formation) No. 438 (Can) Squadron.
Place Date Time Summary of Events
Hurn, Hants June 4/44   Another bright sunny day. Arrived at Dispersal this morning to find all aircraft with their invasion markings painted on them. Ground crew completed the job between 1800 hours and 0300 hrs. in the morning. Word was received that only local flying was to be done with the marked aircraft. Because of this and because “big” doings were expected very little flying was done. Two trips were made to Red Hill an Huntington in the Auster and a Typhoon brought back in each case. Another former pilot of 438 Squadron arrived in the evening in the person of F/O A.C. Brooker (J. 26903). This last posting gives us 26 pilots. Total flying for the day, all non-op.: - Auster III – 5:30 hrs., Typhoon 1B – 1:35 hrs.
Hurn, Hants June 5/44   The day opened cool and bright after a very windy afternoon and evening on Sunday. Very little flying was done today. One Squadron “ops” flight was made with 11 aircraft against another Radar installation near Le Havre. It is believed the target was destroyed. Neither the Officer Commanding 438 Squadron nor the Wing Commander, Flying could take part as they had been briefed for the Invasion. All pilots of 143 Airfield were called in for Invasion briefing at 2125 hours this evening. At 1140 hours the Commanding Officer held a meeting of all 143 Airfield and announced the Invasion would get under way with a paratroop landing at 0300 hours tomorrow morning. Personnel greeted this grand news with cheers and it could be easily seen that the Commanding Officer’s action was much appreciated. 438 Squadron was put on one-half hour’s readiness from 0400 hours tomorrow morning with first “ops” sortie at 0655 hours. Total flying for the day:- operational:- 12:50 hours. Non-operational – Typhoon 1B- 2:55 hrs. Auster III 3:55 hrs.
Hurn, Hants June 6/44   The day opened cool and slightly cloudy. Everybody was up bright and early this morning to see our 11 aircraft off, led by the Wing Commander, Flying. No. 438 Squadron was assigned the task of dive bombing two concrete block houses overlooking the beach on which the 50th British Division was to land tanks. This operation had to be performed just as the tanks landing craft lowered their ramps. Cloud conditions were 5/10 from 2,000 ft. up with the result that the dive bombing had to be done from a much lower level. Despite this and the difficulties of a heavy smoke cloud above the beach direct hits were scored on both targets with 1,000 lb. Bombs and it is believed they were totally destroyed. All pilots came back safely with their aircraft though one aircraft had a piece of flak bounce off the prop. and bash in the leading edge of the wing. We had no more action until 1715 hours when 10 aircraft made a sweep south of Caen. Attacks were made on 4 recco. cars but results are not known. One aircraft had a flak shell pass right through the wing puncturing the gas tank. Despite this he was able to get home on his nose tanks. Another “ops” sweep was made by 10 aircraft which left at 2050 hours. On this sortie attacks were made on two convoys which were unfortunately well strung out. It is believed that in the bombing or the one, two vehicles were destroyed. Strafing of the other resulted in four vehicles left burning and ten damaged. This is the first large scale strafing the Squadron has done and they came out exceptionally lucky. One aircraft came back with a large hole in the tail, another hit some object and was scraped from front to back. Others had various rifle holes. Following briefing, the O.C. spoke to the assembled boys of 438 and 6438 Echelon illustrating the day’s doings with the aid of a map. This gesture was much appreciated by the ground airmen and it is the intention of the O.C. to give them a nightly talk. Total flying for the day: operational – 45:40 hrs., non-op Typhoon 1B – 4:20 hrs., Auster III 3:40 hrs.
Hurn, Hants June 7/44   The boys were put on all day “readiness” this morning from 0430 hours on. Four sit in their aircraft at the end of the runway, and six on three minute readiness at the Dispersal. The day is cloudy and cool with only moderate visibility. Camouflage painting of the aircrew tent and the officers’ tents was started today. A limited amount of flying was done in Typhoons and the Auster. Two Typhoons (operationally damaged) were flown away and two new aircraft flown back for the G.S.U. [Group Support Unit] for the Servicing Section. One scramble was called today and the two aircraft made an hour’s sweep over the Channel. Nothing was seen. Total flying: operational- 3:25 hrs., non-op. Typhoon 1B – 2:00 hrs. Auster III – 3:50 hrs.
Four pilots of 438 Squadron in 1943: P/O R.E. Johnson on the wing and, from left to right, F/O R.F. Reid, F/O H.E. Dawber and F/O R.M. McKenzie. Johnson and McKenzie were killed in action on July 15th, 1944, and July 18th, 1944.
National Defence Image Library, PL 22802.
Next: 439 Squadron Operations Record Book, 9th August 1944