Arthur Jackson pilot 235 Sqdn, Raf Banff - Scottish History Online
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Letter Received From -Arthur Jackson.

St Helens



Dear Colin

In reply to your enquiry about flying days at Boyndie Drome, or Banff as we called it then. I am pleased to give you some info, but I am sure you could get more from RAF Coastal Command Records or from books such as "Mosquito at War" or "Strike Wings" by R. Conyers Nesbit. I was only at Banff for 4 months from August 1944 to December 1944 as I was coming to the end of my tour of operations, most of which I did from Portreath in Cornwall, on the French facing coast. The Strike Wing at Banff consisted of about four or five Squadrons, including a Norwegian Squadron which did most of the recognisance for us and brought back the necessary information for our strikes. Its a long time ago now and I have forgotten a lot in the intervening years but very briefly we flew from Banff which was an excellent airfield with one of the longest runways in the RAF at that time (2000 yards long I think).

We were armed with a variety of weapons, 303 machine guns, 20mm cannon, and 8 sixty-pound rockets mounted on the wings. We flew out over the North Sea at about 20 - 30 strong, in loose formation low over the sea (right over the waves) to avoid enemy radar.

Our sphere of operations was between Alesund in the North and Bergen in the South. Attacking all shipping used by the Germans, in the fjords, usually taking iron-ore to Germany. The fjords were high sided and if you were hit by enemy fire it was usually impossible to fly out.

Once in sight of the coast we would climb to about 3000 feet ready to attack when we sighted our target. To do this we would attack in waves from about 2000 feet, releasing our rockets at about 600 yards and then pull out of our dives just in time to miss the funnels of the ships! If you were lucky and escaped with your life and unhurt as I did then it was a most exciting experience. But of course we lost many of our friends and that was very sad. We even lost a lot in those days in flying accidents around the aerodrome and you will find about 18 of these aircrews buried in Banff Cemetery in the RAF Section. I believe someone is doing research up there and a memorial is planned for erection on the roadside near to Boyndie. I hope it materialises and I may even travel up that way to see it when its finished. Well Colin I can understand a young persons interest and 1 wish you luck, but for me (now 66) it was a long time ago and just like a dream.

Kind regards,

Arthur Jackson (pilot 235 Sqdn).

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