Summary of Events
Typical Ban Holiday weather! – intermittent rain all day, rising to crescendo in the afternoon and climax in the evening. It looked as if the airfield would be flooded by the deluge. In the morning the boys did some formation flying and mock attacks on barges. Between 16. 38 and 16.45 Yellow Section did a defensive patrol, orbiting base below cloud. It was raining and bad weather for flying, cloud being 10/10ths at 400 ft. The Squadron was released at 18.00 hrs. It was quite dark and the rain was exceptionally heavy.
Intermittent rain. Visibility was poor all day. A slight improvement in the afternoon, enabled the boys to do some formation flying and low flying. Five boys went to VALLEY to hold the can the new squadron was installed there. They left here at 17.35. We had a spot of excitement in the evening – Jerry was not far away. The five boys who were going to VALLEY were recalled when they had gone part of the way, and ordered to orbit the MOOLESFIELD region. They got into difficulties in the clouds and seem to have been chasing round like cats in long grass. They saw nothing, and returned to base at 19.05. Meanwhile at 18.00 hrs, two more Spits, Green Section, were whistled up to hunt for Jerry. 20 minutes after take-off, one aircraft of Green Section had to return to the base because of R/T trouble. His palce was taken by another aircraft, and the hunt went on, the Section orbiting region bounded by MANCHESTER, TODMORDEN & BLACKWELL. Visibility, poor enough before, was now deteriorating even further. Theese boys lost each other in the cloud, but panckaed at 19.15 having seen nothing. Eigth operational sorties this evening so far. Meanwhile, the boys who had originally set out for VALLEY were getting restive. Were they going to VALLEY later? What about supper? Contact was made with Controller, who thought visibility would improve, so the boys became operational in another defensive patrol between 19.50 and 20.20. Blue 1 orbited VIGAH at 5,000 ft., but saw nothing, and landed at 20.10. Blue 2 orbited base below cloud. Cloud was 10/10ths at 6,000 ft.
There was a blanket of high cloud over base – about 10/10ths – early in the morning, and there was a practice scramble – probably to see if the boys were on their toes. But the matter of take-off in a good time is treated as an integral part of squadron pride by these boys. If they are taxying down the runway 2 minutes after the order to scramble is given, they are satisfied. If it takes 4 minutes to do this, there is almost a day of national mourning! There vwas a practice Hudson interception exercise today, and a practice Hudson interception composite engagement report wass ent in to Group. The report tells the story: - "Two Spitfires VB, Green Section, 315 Polish Squadron, led by F/O T. ANDERSZ, left Woodvale at 09.10 hrs. on vector 350 at 2,500 ft. Off SQUIRES GATE, Green 2 (Sgt W. KARASINSKI) spotted inknown aircraft ahead, and was ordered to investigate it by Green 1, who vectored 320 and saw Hudson 30 miles S.E. of the ISLE OF MAN, proceeding toward BLACKPOOL. Green 1 wheeled to starboard, got on Hudson’s tail, and made mock attack from ¾ rear. Hudson turned sharply to port and Green 1 broke away, followed vector 190, and was joined by Green 2, who reported investigated aircraft as a Botha. 30 miles N.E. of ANGLESEY, several Hudsons and Bothas were observed, and Green Section orbited for a few minutes, then returned to base. Cine-cameras were not used. Weather was 10/10ths cloud at 3,500 ft. Visibilty below cloud was 15 miles. The Controller was P/O PARKER. No further report." Section landed at 09.45. Why those boys did not use cine-cameras we cannot understand. Probably Ops did not make it perfectly clear to them what they were expected to do with the Hudson. The other boys did low flying and mock attacks during the day.
High gale in the morning, but bright sunshine, so the boys did some more wizard formation flying. In the afternoon, the Squadron took part in a Combined Operations exercise, providing close escort for a practise strafe on VALLEY. Beaufighters of 256 Sqdn also co-operated. In the afternoon also, one Spitfire did a defensive patrol between 16.20 and 16.45. He was directed to the KENDAL region and then back to base. He saw nothing of importance, and was rather bewildered that he should have been sent there at all. (Pilots always want to know why they are sent up, and the Intelligence Officer is sometimes put to it to find a convincing and soothing answer). Thee were thick cloud belts between 7,500-9,000 ft. Visibilty out of cloud was very good. Yellowe Section did a shipping protection patrol between 16.30 and 17.10, being over the convoy from 16.38 to 17.00. There were two convoys, one consisting of five ships and the other of more than seven. It was difficult to observe the second convoy owing to rain. There was 10/10ths cloud at 10,000 ft and visibility was only fair.
The great day at last – Squadron Day. It was bright and sunny. The squadron went to Mass in the early part of the morning, then came parade and award of decorations, which were pinned on by AIR MARSHAL UJEJSKI from Air Ministry. It was a pleasure to meet pilots who have left the Squadron. There were also many civilian visitors. We were all glad to see the COUNTESS OF JERSEY, our Squadron "Mother" again. After parade, guests took up their places to see the display of Squadron formation flying for which the boys have put in such a lot of work. It was well up to expectations. After the display, the pilots were congratulated by the Air Marshal and the Station Group Captain. Then – enter Jerry. Green section was the one concerned. This section led by F/LT. MIKSA with SGT MALEC as his Number 2, left Woodvale at 11.20 hrs. They were under Sector Control (Controller P/O Mills), and were vectored to a point about 10 miles N.E. of AMIWCH, then N. to a point about 15 miles N.E. of CLAY HEAD, whence they where vectored E. After a few minutes they orbited at 29,000 ft and Green 2 saw, at about V.D.4099, a Ju.88 proceeding in the direction of RARROW 22,000 ft and about 2 miles ahead on a conversion course. Green 2 gave … (unreadable) immediately, and called up Green 1, who was still in orbit, to tell him that he was chasing the Ju.88. Green 1 turned back and followed him. Green 2 dived to 22,000 ft and closed in on the e/a, the rear gunner of which opened fire at about 400 yds range, but his bullets all missed to starboard. At 350 yds. Range, Green 2 fired, from ¾ astern above, a burst of one second with cannon, and saw strikes on the root of the e/a’s port wing. Then he gave a 2-seconds burst with M.G. alone, and saw strikes on the e/a’s port wing between the engine and wing root. Range was closing, and the pilot gave a burst of cannon, then M.G., and finally a burst of both combined. He thought his ammunition was spent, and he dived away to port and climbed well above the e/a, the rear gunner of which had ceased firing. Green 2 now noticed oil droplets on his own cockpit cover and white smoke pouring from the spinner. Soon the cockpit cover was sprayed all over with oil, and he opened it and saw the e/a below at 19,000 ft, proceeding in evasive weaves down in the direction of HARROW. Realising now that his own machine was hit, Green 2 made for SQUIRE GATE, where he landed safely at 12,18 hrs. He did not carry a cine-camera. Then Green 1 engaged the e/a and gave it a few gun squirts, but saw no strikes. He followed it down to 4,000 ft in the direction of the HARROW balloon barrage, pulled away as he saw the e/a enter the balloon barrage, and was given a vector toward WOODVALE, where he landed safely at 12.48 hrs. He carried and used a cine-camera. Between 12.25 and 15.15, Black Section did a defensive patrol. They proceeded on vector … (unreadable) after few minutes, and then proceeded on the same vector to orbit over VALLEY. They saw 2 merchant vessels, which they orbited before returning to base. Altogether an exciting day!
The morning began dull and cloudy. Just after 09.00 hrs it began to rain, and airfield was hardly operational. There was no operational activity, and the boys went to the Photographic Section to see combat films and recognition films.
Early morning was disappointing – mist and clods, but conditions cleared a little later, and became admirable for formation flying and mock attacks. In the afternoon, there were low flying and some mock dog-fighting. OLSZEWSKI and … (unreadable) did sector patrol, and the usual change to relieve the boys at VALLEY was effected. Yellow Section was operational between 18.20 and 19.08, … (unreadable) was orbited for 17 minutes at 5,000 ft. Four ships were seen near LIVERPOOL, and a destroyer proceeding N.W. Weather was 5/10ths cloud at 8,000 ft. Green Section was operational at VALLEY between 18.23 and 18.53. The section was vectored to approximately 15 miles W. of base, and ordered to investigate Bogeys. These proved to be a Hudson and a Wellington. Weather was 10/10ths clouds at 4,000 ft., with mist approaching from the E.
The morning began with mist and low visibility. Black Section (F/O SAWIAK & SGT LISOWSKI) took off for VALLEY at 07.57, with orders to patrol Bardsey at 15,000 ft. In taking off, SGT LISOWSKI ran into the sand and his a/c tipped on its nose. He took off in a second a/c at 08.05 hrs. The Section was now ordered to intercept Raid 134. Black 2 (SGT LISOWSKI) did not see his leader, because of his delayed take-off. Black 1 tally-ho’d at 08.34, after which R/T communication was broken off. The point of combat was given by Operations as I.O.2379. Black 2 ran out of petrol and then ordered to land at BALLY HALBERT, which he did at approximately 09.30 hrs. He took off from BALLY HALBERT at 13.00 hrs, and landed at VALLEY at 13.30. Black 2 said that pilots of a section ordered up from BALLY HALBERT saw Black 1 break away from combat at about 500 ft, and that, as they did not experience return fire, they assumed that Black 1 had killed the rear gunner of the Ju.88. They attacked the Ju.88 themselves, but could give no reason why Black 1 broke away, nor did they know what happened to him afterwards. Black 2 said that he did not see the e/a, and he was not interrogated at BALLY HALBERT. VALLEY Controller stated that Black 1 crash-landed near DUBLIN, and was taken to hospital badly injured, afterwards dying from his wounds. Weather was 10/10ths cloud from 1-8,000 ft, and from 9-10,000 ft. Above cloud, there was good visibility, but below cloud visibility was poor. It was learned later that the Ju.88 crash-landed in N. Ireland. Red Section was operational between 08.10 and 09.15. They climbed to 20,000 ft over base, and were vectored 260º. After 10 minutes on this course they orbited and returned to base. There was nothing of interest to report. Blue Section was operational between 14.05 and 15.20. The Section orbited base, was vectored 320º, and after 15 minutes received vector 030, and after flying for a few minutes on this course, orbited at 9,000 ft., and was then ordered to pancake. Nothing of interest was seen. Cloud was 10/10ths at 7,000 ft. During the day there was cloud flying in the morning and low flying with mock attacks in the afternoon.
The morning was dull and wet, with promise of better weather. The funeral of F/O SAWIAK took place in the morning. F/O TARKOWSKI did ZZ practice, and in the afternoon, as weather improved, there was some cloud flying, with mock attacks. The weather held into the late evening, and the boys did dusk landings.
Weather was a little better, after then usual morning mist had lifted. The boys did cloud flying in the morning. In the afternoon there was formation and low flying, and the usual exchange of pilots at VALLEY was made. The boys who were at VALLEY were glad to get "home". An uneventful day, with no operational activity.