Sorties Flown By RAF Banff Strike Wing 1943 - 1945 - Scottish History Online

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Sorties Flown By RAF Banff Strike Wing 1943 - 1945

From the Arrival of Aircraft in April 1943 until its closure in Summer 1946. Aberdeenshire, Scotland

April 5 1943.

Royal Air Force station Banff transferred to the control of 21 Group Flying Training Command.

April 21 1943.

The newly completed airfield R.A.F. Banff is officially opened.

May 1943.

No 14 (p) AFU (pilots advanced flying unit) ferried up from Ossington in Nottinghamshire. Also affiliated to this unit were three BAT flights (beam approach training) 1512 at Banff, 1542 at Dallachy, and 1518 at Edzell.

August 1943.

Two Horsa gliders arrive at Banff for ten days in connection with operation "Tyndall".

February 12 1944.

A B.O.A.C. Lodestar on the Stockholm to Leuchars run was diverted into Banff airfield.

August 1944.

NO 14 (B) AFU informed that it is to be disbanded on August 31 1944 rather than move to Haverfordwest as had been expected.

September 01 1944.

18 Group Coastal Command takes over R.A.F. Banff under the command of Group Captain Max Aitken, DSO, DFC. During the beginning of the month 144 squadron Beaufighters with 235 and 248 squadron Mosquito’s arrive at Banff. Also joining the Banff Wing is "P" flight of 333 Norwegian Mosquito squadron to act as outriders due to their knowledge of the Norwegian coastline. Commanding Officer of 248 squadron is New Zealander, Wing Commander G.D. "Bill" Sise.

 September 03 1944.

404 Canadian Beaufighter squadron arrives at Banff, led by Commanding Officer, Wing Commander F.W. Pierce.

September 06 1944.

Twenty-six Beaufighters take off for a shipping strike, but has to be abandoned due to bad weather.

September 12 1944.

Armed patrol by twenty four Beaufighters and thirteen Mosquito’s Once again, due to inclement weather this sortie was also abandoned with one Beaufighter having to ditch, the crew being picked up later by a fishing vessel.

September 14 1944.

Twenty five Mosquito’s of 235 and 248 squadrons along with four MK XVIII Mosquito’s fitted with a 57mm Molins gun also of 248 squadron fly a Rover mission (armed patrol) with seven Beaufighters of 144 squadron and twelve Beaufighters of 404 Canadian squadron. The strike wing spots four motor vessels with two escorts off of Kristiansund. The wing attacked with hits being scored on all vessels with some fires being started. The flak ship SULLDORF —VP 1608,of 264 tons was sunk and the merchant vessel IRIS of 3323 tons was damaged. The flak barrage was intense, forcing Beaufighter "0" of 404 squadron to ditch 15 miles offshore. Lieutenant Taylor is believed to have escaped from the plane but did not survive, while Flying Officer Baribeau was taken prisoner after clambering aboard the planes dinghy. Also o damaged in the attack was Squadron Leader Schoaleso Beaufighter which had to make the return trip on one engine back to Banff. A third Beaufighter flown by Flying Officer A. Menaul and Flying Officer J. Tomeso, received a direct hit on the pilots windscreen, wounding Menaul in the arm, shoulder, chest and face. Suffering from these injuries Menaul continued his attack before Tomes came up front and helped Menaul control the damaged aircraft and administer first aid to his skipper. The Beaufighter made it back to base for a safe landing, both men later receiving awards of D.F.C.s.

September 15 1944.

No flying today due to bad weather.

September 16 1944.

NO flying due to bad weather.

September 17 1944.

Twenty-three Mosquito’s air—borne in three separate anti U-boat sweeps but finding nothing. Also flying was Twenty-three Beaufighters and eight Mosquito’s on an anti—shipping patrol, again nothing being found. In the town of Banff a Battle of Britain parade was held, this being taken by Group Captain Max Aitken D.S.O, D.F.C.

September 18 1944.

Fight Mosquito’s come across a U—boat on the surface, and attack with cannon and machine guns. Hits were observed with the U-boat left listing and smoking. Later twelve Mosquito’s searched for the submarine but no sign of it was found.

September 19 1944.

Combined Rover patrol of twenty-one Beaufighters and eleven Mosquito’s attack a convoy of three ships near Askevold. Two merchant ships, both Norwegian, were sunk. These were the LYNX of 1367 tons and the TYBIFJORD of 3080 tons. During the attack one plane was lost, Beaufighter "L" of 144 squadron. This was hit by flak during the strike. Flight Sergeant R.F.C. Hossack and his Navigator B.C. Wicks were both lost with the plane.

September 21 1944.

Twenty-one Beaufighters escorted by seventeen Mosquito’s attacked and sank two merchant vessels, the VANGSNES and HYGIA at Lister.

September 24 1944.

Active day for the strike wing with sixteen Mosquito’s attacking and sinking the BIBER and damaging the STORFSUND off of Hjeltefjord Accurate flak was encountered with one Mosquito landing at Banff minus a large chunk of leading edge.

 September 27 1944.

Mosquito’s start to be refitted with eight under wing rails to accommodate either 251b solid armour piercing or 601b semi—armour piercing high explosive rockets.

September 30 1944.

Rover patrol (armed reconnaissance) of seventeen Mosquito’s and twelve Beaufighters but nothing found.

Although September was a busy month operationally, was still found to treat the personnel to three F.N.S.A. concerts, two station dances and an R.A.F. Gang show.

October 02 1944.

Beaufighters "0" and "F" of 404 squadron collide after taking off while forming for a strike. Both planes crashed near Wellhead farm near Portsoy. The pilot and navigator of Beaufighter "Q" were Flying Officer E.R. Davey and Flying Officer L.E.F. Robinson who were both killed in the crash as were pilot and navigator flying Beaufighter "E". They were Flying Officer G.A. Long and Flying Officer F.M. Stickel. F/C Davey, F/0 Robinson and F/0 Stickel were all buried in Banff Cemetery.

October 09 1944.

Warwick of Air Sea Rescue duties took off from Banff with a load of marine floats, drift lights and flame floats. These were dropped to form a six-mile diameter ring approx. 100 miles west of Stavanger. Eight Mosquito’s and fourteen Beaufighters circled these lights and waited for ships which usually sailed these shipping lanes at night This attack proved successful with the freighter RUDOLF OLDENDORFF and the submarine hunter UJ-1711 sunk and the SARP damaged. All the aircraft returned safely.

October 13 1944.

R.A.F. Banff visited by newspaper journalists from all the major newspapers to report on the stations activities and operational role. A shipping reconnaissance patrol off the Norwegian coast between Utsire and Kristiansund resulted in Mosquito "K" of 248 squadron failing to return from the patrol. The pilot Flight Lieutenant G.E. Nicholls and navigator Flying Officer A. Hanson both reported missing.

October 15 1944.

Mixed strike force of 144,404 Beaufighters and 235,248 squadron Mosquito’s attack shipping at Kristiansund, sinking a German flak Ship, the MOSEL—VP 1605 of 426 tons.

October 19 1944.

Strike Wing attack on a convoy south of Askvoll resulted in the loss of one aircraft during the strike. No ships were sunk or seriously damaged. The lost plane was Mosquito "F" of 235 squadron, which was hit by flak. The aircraft ditched and although badly wounded Warrant Officer Ramsay escaped from the plane and was picked up by Norwegian fishermen. The pilot Warrant Officer N.M.M. Martin D.F.C. was killed and went down with the aircraft.

October 21 1944.

Mosquito’s of 235 and 248 squadrons, side Beaufighters of 404 squadron, attacked shipping in Haugesend Harbour. Two merchant ships were sunk, ECKFNHIEM—1923 tons of German nationality and the Norwegian ship VESTPA — 1432 tons. One Mosquito was lost during the strike, Mosquito "I" of 248 squadron with the pilot Flying Officer R.S. Driscoll and navigator Flying Officer T.A. Hannant both being killed in the crash.

October 23 1944.

Mosquito’s of 235 and 248 squadrons engaged in a shipping strike at Hjeltefjord, sinking the Norwegian Harbour vessel ZICK V5506 of 220 tons and damaging the Norwegian merchant vessel BIRI of 940 tons. No aircraft were lost in this action. Arriving today from Strubby were Wing Commander E.H. Mchardy DSO, DFC, leading 143 squadron to Banff to convert from Beaufighters to Mosquito’s.

October 24 1944.

144 and 404 Beaufighters leave Banff for Dallachy to join the Dallachy Beaufighter strike wing.

October 26 1944.

Mosquito’s at Banff use Rocket Projectiles for the first time, and can now bring the equivalent to a broadside from a cruiser against enemy shipping and submarines.

October 28 1944.

Mosquito "P" of 235 squadron flown by Flying Officer J.T. Ross DFC, and his navigator Flying Officer F.L. Walker. Was struck while taxiing for take off by Mosquito "R" of 235 squadron, which had just become airborne. Both crewmen in the taxiing aircraft were killed while Mosquito "B" landed safely with no injuries to the crew. Also in October, Wing Commander R.A. Atkinson DSO, DFC, becomes the new Commanding Officer of 235 squadron.

 November 03 1944.

248 Mosquito’s fly an armed reconnaissance patrol but find nothing to attack.

November 04 1944.

Anti—shipping strike flown by mixed Mosquito strike force of 235. 248 squadrons sight a convoy near Kinn and proceed to attack.Mosquito "L" of 235 squadron flown by pilot Flying Officer H.L.

Powell and navigator Flying Officer N.L. Redford was hit by flak and crashed one mile South Fast of the town, both crew members being killed. They were later buried in Stavne cemetery at Trondhiem. Meanwhile, a 248 squadron Mosquito flown by G.A.B. Lord attacked a motor vessel at Floro Quay with cannon and machine gun fire, suffered hits from flak in his tail and mainplane. Wing Commander G.D. Sise who was leading the strike had one of his engines set on fire by flak. He managed to complete his attack before nursing his crippled aircraft back to Banff on one engine.

November 07 1944.

143 squadron fly its first Mosquito sorties since converting from Beaufighters in October, when HR141 and PZ419 fly an armed patrol off the coast of Norway.

November 08 1944.

Bad weather of snow and hail disrupt operations flown over Ytteroene, Marstein and Askvoll.

November 09 1944.

Bad weather of snow and hail again play havoc with operations flown from Banff.

November 13 1944.

A mixed strike force of 144 squadron Beaufighters and 235,248 squadron Mosquito’s attack shipping found in Rekefjord, damaging a Norwegian merchant vessel ROSENBURG I of 1964 tons and sinking the German R—boat "R—32" of 110 tons and a German Air Sea Rescue vessel "529" of 75 tons. No aircraft were lost in this attack.

November 14 1944.

Banff Mosquito’s from 143,235 and 248 squadrons engage in an attack on shipping found in Sognefjord, sinking the Norwegian trawler SARDINIEN of 177 tons and damaging the Norwegian merchant vessel GULA of 264 tons, again no aircraft were lost during the strike.

November 21 1944.

Thirty two Mosquito’s, with an "outrider" of 333 Norwegian squadron along with forty two Beaufighters from Dallachy, led by Wing Commander G.D. Sise DSO, DEC, escorted by twelve P51 Mustangs as Fighter cover from R.A.F. Peterhead fly an anti-shipping patrol but find nothing to attack.

November 29 1944.

A 248 MK XVIII "Tsetse" Mosquito sighted and attacked a German U—boat, scoring several hits with 20mm cannon shells.

December 05 1944.

Mosquito’s of 143,235 and 248 squadrons took part in a large attack on shipping in Nordgulenfjord, which resulted in four German vessels being damaged. These were the OSTLAND of 5273 tons, TUCUMAN of 4621 tons, MAGDELENA of 3283 tons and HELENE RUSS of 993 tons. During this action two Mosquito’s were severely damaged. Mosquito "P" of 143 squadron flew back to Sumburgh on one engine and crash-landed on arrival. The pilot, Flying Officer Robert Gilchrist died of his injuries while his navigator Flying Officer W. Knight, although injured in the forced landing, survived. Mosquito "G" of 248 squadron was shot down during the same attack. The plane was seen to make an attack on a large, heavily armed ocean going tug, and to have been on fire before making the attack. It later crashed into the sea. During the attack in Nordgulenfjord very intense, accurate light flak was experienced from the whole of the Eastern end of the Anchorage, particularly from the North shore, some of the guns being positioned several hundred feet up the mountain side. In addition to the aircraft mentioned, five other aircraft had to land away from base, three on one engine. A further four sustained battle damage. The crew killed in Mosquito "G" were: pilot Flight Lieutenant L. N. Collins and his navigator Flying Officer R.H. Hurn. Wing Commander G.D. Sise who led the attack, received a Bar to his DFC soon after.

December 07 1944.

A mixed strike wing effort by twenty five Mosquito’s from Banff forty Beaufighters from Dallachy escorted by twelve Mustangs of 315 Polish squadron from R.A.F. Peterhead, attack GOSSEN fighter airfield in Norway when the formation came under attack by twelve ME 109s and FW 190s. In the ensuing combats that followed 315 squadron claimed four ME 109s shot down while two FW 190s collided in mid air. Four strike wing aircraft were lost a Mustang, Beaufighter and two Mosquito’s. The Banff aircraft and crews lost in action were Mosquito "0" of 248 squadron with pilot Flying Officer W.N. Cosman DEC and his navigator Flying Officer L.M. Freedman and Mosquito "Z" also of 248 squadron, flown by Flying Officer K. Cecil Wing and his navigator Pilot Officer V.R. Shield R.A.A.F.

December 10 1944.

Mosquito strike by 143,235 and 248 squadron Mosquito’s attack shipping found in Flekkefjord and sank the German merchant vessel GIJDRUN of 1485 tons. No aircraft were lost during the attack.

December 12 1944.

Another strike sortie by 143,235 and 248 squadrons against Gossen airfield, meeting no opposition. The wing also attacked shipping found in Eidfjord and sinking the German merchant vessel WARTHELAND of 3678 tons and damaging the Norwegian merchant vessel MOLLA of 815 tons.

December 13 1944.

Wing Commander Richard Ashley Atkinson DSO, DFC and bar (RAAF) and his navigator Flying Officer Valentine Charles Upton, lead an attack on shipping in Eidfjord. Intense and light flak was directed at the strike wing from the targets on the shore, when their Mosquito "R" of 235 squadron had its starboard wing blown off and crashed into the sea, both men being killed. No ships were sunk or badly damaged during the attack.

December 16 1944.

Strike force of 143, 235 and 248 squadrons attack shipping at MALLOY and KRAAKBELLESUND. Malloy the Norwegian merchant vessel FERNDALE of 5684 tons was sunk while at Kraakbellesund the Norwegian Salvage tug the PARAT of 135 tons was also sunk. During these actions two Mosquito’s were lost, these were "R" of 248 squadron flown by Flight Lieutenant J. Kennedy and navigator Flying Officer F.W. Rolls, which was hit by flak during the attack. This aircraft was seen to have the port engine smoking but managed a controlled ditching. Both crewmembers were seen to evacuate the plane and climb into the dinghy. A Warwick Air Sea Rescue aircraft dropped an airborne lifeboat, which sank. It then circled and dropped a Lindholme dinghy near the aircraft dinghy. Up to the time when escorting aircraft had to return to base due to fuel shortages the two men were seen to be sitting up in the dinghy but despite an intensive search of the area they were never found. The other plane lost was "5" of 235 squadron piloted by Flying Officer K.C. Beruldsen (RAAF) and his navigator Pilot Officer T.D.S. Rabbitts. This aircraft was ‘seen to be hit’ by flak and crashed at Losnoy approx. 25km North West of Gulen. Both these crewmembers were buried at Rivnik, Norway.

December 19 1944.

Mixed Mosquito force escorted by R.A.F. Peterhead Mustangs fly an armed sortie to Sulen in Norway. No shipping was attacked or fighter opposition met.

December 21 1944.

Mosquito HR 284 of 248 squadron was being flown to R.A.F. Lossiemouth in an attempt to land after encountering problems. The aircraft crashed into sea one mile North of Covesea Skerries, Lossiemouth. Pilot Officer W.D. Livock and navigator Flight Sergeant G.L. West were both killed in the crash.

December 26 1944.

On December 26, 1944 a shipping strike was laid on into Leirvik Norway following a sighting of shipping in the harbour by outrider aircraft of Norwegian Squadron 333 Outrider. F333 reported {A}2 Merchant Vessels stationary on east side of the harbour. Another MV [B] was reported close in to the north side of the harbour.. Four aircraft of 143 Squadron piloted by Flight Lt. Brown, Flight Sgt. Smooleners, P.O. Symons and Flying/Officer Norman Smith, .attacked the ships.

"F" F/L Browne attacked the ships [A} firing Rockets in pairs, scoring 2 dry hits [above water line] and 4 wet hits [ below water line]. P/O Symons attacked MV [A] with salvoes of rockets scoring 2 dry hits and 6 wet hits. Flak was reported from the ships and the shore. Vessels A and B were left in flames and sinking.

On breaking off the attack at 1412, two forces of enemy aircraft were encountered, approximately 12 FW 190's and a mixed force of 12 - 109's were seen approaching from the south five to ten miles away. The Banff Wing were in loose formation after the attack on the ships. F/O Smith made a head on attack on the ME 109's firing a two to three second canon burst from six hundred to seven hundred yards. Smith was then attacked by two ME 109's, which opened fire from one thousand yards. Smith turned steeply to starboard and gave a three second burst at two hundred yards with canon and machine gun and headed for the coast of Norway. P/O Symons attacked an FW 190 at six hundred yards height one thousand feet with MG, all canon ammunition having been expended during attack on shipping. He continued to fire down to three hundred yards when he overshot the E/A. The E/A climbed to make a second attack but lost speed presumably due to damage received from Symons primary attack. Symons made a second attack but then was head on to the concentration of the enemy aircraft. Heavy strikes were estimated to have hit the first E/A and one E/A was seen on fire but it was impossible to state that this was the E/A that "Y" had attacked. One aircraft of 235 Squadron failed to return and one E/A was destroyed and one E/A was seen to be on fire. A photographic PRU report gives the following details; ship designated "A" - Information Updated by Pilot Office G. Symons Oct. 2005

December 28 1944.

Strike wing sortie by Banff Mosquito’s attack shipping found in Skudesnes and sink the Norwegian merchant vessel LA FRANCE of 617 tons. No aircraft were lost during the attack.

December 31 1944.

An attack on shipping in Flekkefjord left two German vessels badly damaged and two sunk. The merchant vessels sunk were the PALERMO of 1461 tons, the ACHIlLLES of 998 tons with one of the damaged ships being the WALLY FAULBAUM of 1675 tons. 143,235 and 248 squadrons returned to Banff with an aircraft missing from 248 squadron.This was Mosquito "U" which was ‘seen to be hit’ by flak. Whilst attempting to return to base on one engine it was forced to ditch after apparent failure of the live engine. The aircraft broke up after hitting the water, the pilot was seen to evacuate the plane and get into the aircraft’s dinghy, but despite an intensive air sea search of the area, was not found. The crew were; Flight Lieutenant J.F. Lown who was never found and Flying Officer C.J. Daynton who went down with the aircraft.

Also in December 1944,Wing Commander E.H. Mchardy DSO, DFC, was rested from operations with the new Commanding Officer being the popular Frenchman Wing Commander Max Guedj.

January 09 1945.

Banff wing effort by 143,235,248 and outriders of 333 squadron attack a large German vessel, CLAUS RICKMERS, of 5165 tons in Lervik causing severe damage to the ship. No aircraft were lost in the strike, the only casualty being back at Banff where Mosquito HR 159 of 235 squadron crashed into Hopeton farmhouse while performing an air tests, near the edge of the airfield. The crew killed were Flight Lieutenant D.B. Douglas (RCAF) and Leading Aircraftsman G.P. Pobbins who was assisting with the air test. The farmhouse was demolished but both occupants of the house escaped without injury.

January 11 1945.

Mixed strike force of fourteen Mosquito’s from Banff and eighteen Beaufighters from Dallachy flew an armed strike to Flekkefjord to attack shipping reported there. Whilst preparing for the strike they were intercepted from the North by approx. six ME 109s and FW 190s, while at the same time at Lister airfield a similar group of fighters took off and attacked the formation from the South. Luring the engagement various dog fights ensued which finished when the enemy fighters climbed into cloud cover. Three enemy fighters were seen to be shot down, Flight Lieutenant M. Russel DFC, and another Mosquito crew sharing a claim in destroying a ME 109. A further German fighter was claimed as a probable. The strike wing lost two aircraft, a Beaufighter and Mosquito "M" of 143 squadron, which did not return from the strike although it was ‘not seen to be shot down’.The crew of this plane were; Flight Sergeant P.C.L. Smoolenaers (Belgium) and his navigator Flight Sergeant W.W. Harris (RAAF) both reported missing. This was one of the rare occasions when, the six pounder ‘Molins gun’, of the MK XVIII (Tsetse) Mosquito’s belonging to 248 squadron, was fired in air—to—air combat, normally it was used for anti—shinning strikes.

January 15 1945.

A total of sixteen Mosquito aircraft from 143,235,248 and 333 squadrons attacked shipping in Lervik harbour, destroying two large merchant shins and sinking an armed trawler, the SEEHUND-Vp 5304 (Vornostenboot), they were usually ex-trawlers used for convoy escorts. These converted-armed trawlers were usually between 150 and 750 tons (the Seehund was 320 tons), and carry 88mm guns, 2Omm guns and machine guns. These were what the R.A.F. referred to as flak shios. Along with intense flak the strike force had to fight its way home through a pack of nine FW 190s.The fighting was fierce a MK XVIII Tsetse Mosquito firing its Molins gun at the attackers managing to frighten them off, but not before the strike force suffered serious losses. Six Mosquito’s were lost in the action, the heaviest losses sustained by the Banff wing in any one action. Amongst those killed was Wing Commander J.M. Guedj DSO, DFC, the popular Frenchman who had only been given Command of 143 squadron a few weeks previous and who had been a popular choice amongst the aircrews. His navigator Flight Lieutenant J.F. Langley was also killed in Mosquito "K" of 143 squadron. Other aircraft missing were Mosquito "D" of 143 squadron which crashed near Fjell, the pilot Flight Lieutenant G.A.M. Moncrieff missing, while navigator Flight Sergeant C. Cash’s body was recovered and buried in Mollendal Cemetery, Bergen. Mosquito "V" of 143 squadron was lost with pilot Lieutenant F.F. Alexander (USAF) and navigator J.A. Mcmullin. Mosquito "A" of 235 squadron shot down with pilot F. Chew who was buried in Mollendal Cemetery. While his navigator Flight Sergeant S.W. Couttie survived and was taken prisoner and Mosquito "R" of 333 squadron with pilot Q/M K. Sjolie and navigator C/M M.J.S. Gausland (Norwegians) also lost during the strike. This attack also proved to be 248 squadrons MK XVIII Tsetse Mosquito’s last sorties from Banff before leaving the base to leave the squadron to operate MK VI Mosquito’s only at Banff.

January 25 1945.

Strike wing effort from Banff of 143, 235 and 248 squadrons attack shipping in Edfjord and Malloy sinking the German merchant vessel ILSE FRITZEN of 5099 tons and damaging the Norwegian merchant vessel BJERGFIN of 696 tons. No aircraft were lost during the strike, but back at Banff while the formation broke over the base preparatory to landing, Mosquito "F" of 248 squadron flown by Flight Lieutenant D.S.L. Crimp and Flying Officer J. Bird collide with "Y" of 248 squadron (Squadron Leader H.H.K. Gunnis and Warrant Officer A. Mudd) and crashed close to Roughilly Wood near the airfield. Aircraft "Y" of 248 squadron landed safely after sustaining serious damage while both crewmembers of aircraft "F" were killed in the crash.

January 29 1945.

Mustang "N" of 65 Fighter Squadron flown by Squadron Leader I.D.S. Strachan, was on detachment duty, temporarily based at Banff, failed to return from escort duty to a strike force of Beaufighters from R.A.F. Dallachy. January 1945 was a month of bad weather and heavy snow. This being reflected in the reduced number of operational strikes carried out. TIEFLAND of 1923 tons. No strike aircraft were lost during this sortie.

February 03 1945.

Banff wing sortie by 143,235 and 248 squadrons, attacked shipping found at Bergen, causing damage to the German Merchant Vessel.

February 04 1945.

A visitor to Banff during the early hours of the fourth was Liberator "F" of 201 squadron from Leuchars, flown by Flight Lieutenant at .D. Beaty DFC. This aircraft while on patrol near the Danish Island of Bornholm received a contact for a U—boat. They approached the target and switched the Leigh Light on but soon became the focus of fierce flak from a destroyer, which had been escorting the U—boats. One of the Liberators engines was put out of action with two others damaged the mainplanes and rudders were holed, rudder trim wires severed, bomb bay doors were hit preventing them from closing and a large hole blown in the beam gun position. All heavy equipment was jettisoned before the aircraft managed to climb to 4000 feet and set a course for Sweden. Once a full account of the damage was made, it was decided to try and limp hack to base. Although a longer journey they made it and arrived safely at Banff at 09.30 hours in the morning.

February 12 1945.

Banff strike wing effort of approximately twenty Mosquito’s armed with rocket projectiles, attack a German merchant vessel of 3832 tons (this was the SIVAS.) and increase the damage already done to this vessel as it had already been run aground off Askvold. Only one Mosquito section attacked as the ship was already partly below the water. Negligible flak was met but no Aircraft from 143 or 235 squadrons were lost during the attack at Flado.

February 14 1945.

Early morning reconnaissance by Banff Mosquito’s of the Norwegian Coast between Sandoy light and Utsire Light. Heavy rain and poor visibility with low cloud hampered the sortie, which ended with nothing seen.

 February 21 1045.

Single squadron sortie by five Mosquito’s of 235 squadron, target shipping reported to be in Lervik, resulting in two ships damaged and one sunk. These were the Norwegian Merchant vessels IBIS and GULA of 1367 and 564 tons respectively which suffered serious damage. The Norwegian Merchant vessel AUSTRI of 490 tons was sunk by the strike force, which suffered no losses in return during the action.

February 24 1 945

While performing routine steep diving rocket attacks off the coast at Macduff on sea based targets (normally anchored buoys), Mosquito RE 603 o1~ 248 squadron crashed onto the local golf course after an aileron became detached during the dive. This set up violent vibrations, which in turn caused the wing to break up. Both crewmembers were killed in the accident. These were Flight Lieutenant L.R. Bacon and Flying Officer W.W. Miller. Other events which also happened during February 1945 were G.D."Pill" Sise awarded a bar to his DSO. The citation read "This Officer has displayed great gallantry in operations against the enemy. He is a brilliant leader whose personal example and untiring efforts have done much towards raising his Squadrons to the highest standard of fighting efficiency." Meanwhile 235 squadron Mosquito’s uses rocket projectiles in anger for the first time.

March 03 1945.

Rover patrol of 40 Banff Mosquito’s and 12 Mustangs patrol between Marstein Light and Lervik and also Skotning Light with nothing seen.

March 07 1945.

Forty Mossies from Banff attacked self—propelled barges in the Kattegat with cannon and machine gun fire followed by 251b rockets. Twelve P51 Mustangs provided fighter cover with two Warwick’s of 979 squadron on hand to drop lifeboats to any ditched crews. Four aircraft of 333 squadron led the way with the fire suppression Mosquito’s following behind. The strike force attack with rockets against the vessels. Several Mosquito’s had to return to base with faulty jettison fuel tanks. Four German Gun Barges were sunk each averaging approx. 130 tons. The German Flak ship INNSBRUCK Vp 1610 of 256 tons was also sunk. Two Mosquito’s were lost in the attack, Mosquito "0" of 235 squadron flown by Flying Officer S.C. Hawkins and Flying Officer F. Stubbs is believed to have collided with Mosquito "R" of 248 squadron flown by Flight Lieutenant R.G. Young and Flying Officer C.V. Goodes, during the attack. Both crews failed to return.

March 08 1945.

Armed reconnaissance of the Norwegian Coast between Utaire Light and Utvaer Light with no shipping seen.

March 11 1945.

Lieutenant R. Almton and his navigator Sub Lieutenant P. Hjorther flying Mosquito "N" of 333 squadron, failed to return after taking part in an attack on navigational aids in the approaches to Haugesund. The body of Sub Lieutenant P. Hjorther was recovered from the sea off Stavanger and buried there.

March 12 1945.

Rover patrol of forty-four Mosquito’s and twelve Mustangs fly to the Kattegat area. Nothing was seen shipping wise, and the strike force was attacked by a formation of approx. 8—10 ME 109s off Lister during the return journey. Two enemy fighters were claimed shot down with one probable. The strike force lost one Mustang escort and ore Mosquito. The Banff aircraft was "Q" of 248 squadron flown by Warrant Officer R.W. Moffat and Flying Officer B.A.S. Abbot.

March 17 1945.

Thirty-one Mosquito’s from 143,235,248 and 333 squadrons attack shipping at Aslesaud with cannon and rocket projectiles, with many hits being observed. Two German Merchant vessels were sunk and one damaged. These were the IRIS of 3323 tons and the REMAGE of 1830 tons, which were both sunk, and the ERNA of 865 tons being damaged. The Norwegian Merchant Vessel LOG of 1684 tons was also sunk. Intense flak was encountered from the area, with Mosquito "F" of 143 squadron seen to crash into the sea in flames. Also shot down during the attack was the strike force leader Wing Commander Orrock and his navigator Officer Wilding who, after a successful ditching, were taken prisoner. The crew lost in Mosquito "F" were; Flying Officer W.J. Ceybird and Flight Lieutenant N. Harwood

 March 20 1945.

Rover patrol of forty Mosquito’s and twelve Mustangs, led by Wing Commander Foxley Norris, fly an armed patrol of the Kattegat area looking for shipping, but found none.

 March 22 1945.

Pilot Lieutenant P. Leithe and his navigator Sub Lieutenant Skjelanger crashed while flying "K" of 333 squadron during a routine air test. The aircraft crashed one mile South—West of the airfield, the pilot being killed in the crash while the navigator Sub Lieutenant Skjelanger was thrown clear of the plane and escaped with out any serious injuries.

March 23 1945.

A strike force of forty two Mosquito’s and Twelve Mustangs attack shipping found at Stadlandet, Aslesund and Dalsfjord, resulting in the sinking of1 the Norwegian Merchant Vessel. LYSAKER of 910 tons and three other Merchant Vessels damaged. These were the German ship INGA ESSBERGER of 1827 tons, another German ship ROTENFELS of 7854 tons and a Norwegian ship ROMSSDALE of 138 tons. During the action, intense accurate flak was experienced from the shore positions. After the attack, Mosquito "R" of 143 squadron was seen to be on fire and dived into the sea. Pilot Officer K. McCall and Warrant Officer J.A.M. Etchells were lost with the aircraft. Another Casualty of 143 squadron was Mosquito "W" which was successfully ditched with the starboard engine smoking. The crew, Flight Lieutenant R.H. Lowe and Flying Officer P. Hannaford were taken prisoner. Mosquito "W" of 235 squadron attacked shipping in Dalsfjord, and was seen to crash into the sea immediately after— wards. Flying Officer Turner is buried in Stavne Cemetery, and a plaque erected near his grave in memory of Squadron Leader Reid, whose body was not recovered.

March 24 1945.

Mosquito "2" of 235 squadron was carrying out a reconnaissance patrol from Utsira and Utvaer, but failed to return. A report was later received of a Mosquito having beer shot down into the sea off Helliso. Arriving today from nearby Dallachy airfield was part of 404 squadron to start conversion from Beaufighters to Mosquito’s. The remainder of 404 squadron moved to Banff in early April.

March 25 1945

Mosquito "G" of 333 squadron, flown by: Lieutenant Commander K. Skavhaugen and Flying Officer A.H. Bobbett, and aircraft "V" of 248 squadron flown by; Flight lieutenant A. Mcleod and Warrant Officer N. Wheeley. Were members of a strike force, which was returning to Banff from Vilnes Fjord after failing to find any targets, in Position 6117N 0455E,whilst flying at 3000 feet, the formation was attacked by approx. twenty FW 190s. In the ensuing dogfight both the above aircraft were lost and failed to return. The Mustang escorts claimed three enemy aircraft destroyed and one damaged, for the loss of one Mustang.

March 27 1945.

Flight Lieutenant Yourg, while flying an armed patrol of the Utsire—Naze area came across, and attacked a freight train near Naerbo, strafing it with cannon and machine gun fire.

March 30 1945.

Facilities used by the Germans at Porsgrunn along with shipping along side the quay were attacked by twenty four rocket firing Mosquito’s and another eight Mosquito’s who were providing air cover and fire suppression, from 143, 235, 248, and 333 squadrons. Buildings used by the Germans were badly damaged, while one German Merchant Vessel was sunk and four Norwegian Vessels were sunk. The German vessel was the Scharnhorn of 2643 tons, with the Norwegian vessels being the QUDRID BORGSTAD of 1664 tons, SVANEFJELL of 1371 tons, GUDRID of1305 tons and the TORAFIRE of 823 tons, of these Merchant ships three of them were holed by over 120 rocket projectiles. During this ultra low level attack, Mosquito "T" of 235 squadron was seen to be on fire and crashed into a wood west of Borgass. It is believed that the aircraft struck high-tension cables whilst diving on the target. Both crewmembers, Flight Lieutenant W. Knowles and Flight Sergeant L. Thomas, are buried in Northern Cemetery, Skien.

Also in March 1945, Wing Commander G.D. "Bill" Sise left 248 Squadron to take over command of R.A.F. Mountfarm.

Information update from Flight Lieutenant John Milsom 2005 - My 35mm wing camera recorded the explosion of A/c T-235 when it hit the ground. The pilot, Fl/Lt W. Knowles, had the presence of mind and concern for those following him into the attack to warn on VHF the existence of the high tension line on shore from the harbour before hitting the ground - probably saving lives.

April 02 1945.

A large strike force from Banff consisting of Mosquito’s from 143, 235, 248 and 333 squadrons’ attack shipping at Sandefjord. Two vessels were sunk, The CONCORDIA, a Norwegian Merchant Vessel of 5154 tons, and the German Merchant Vessel WILLIAM BLUMER of 3604 tons. Another four ships were severely damaged. The German Merchant SHIOS ESPANA of 7465 tons and the KATTEGAT of 6031 tons, the other ships being the Norwegian Merchant vessels HEKTOR of 5742 tons and BELPAMELA of 3165 tons. This was a highly successful strike with no aircraft being lost during the sortie.

Information update from Flight Lieutenant John Milsom 2005 - My log book records three Mosquitoes lost and 2 holes in my A/c P-248 Squadron - - contrary to the site account that no a/c were lost.

April 03 1945.

404 squadron completes its transfer from Dallachy to Banff, with the remainder moving up today to complete its conversion from Beaufighters to Mosquito’s.

April 05 1945.

A Banff wing sortie into the Kattegat by 143, 235, 248 and 333 squadrons, resulted in the German flak ship HELMI SOHLE of 453 tons being sunk, along with a German fishing vessel of 50 tons. During the attack on the ships near the island of Anholt, Mosquito "U" of 235 squadron was seen to collide with the mast of a ship. The aircraft broke up and dived into the sea. Pilot Officer L.E. Arthars and Flight Sergeant E.G. Richardson were both killed in the crash.

April 05 1945.

April 5, 1945 Flight Lieutenant J Milsom (RCAF) with Flying Officer Holmes (RAF) A/c R-248 Squadron while flying and armed patrol from Utsire to Mandal attacked a freight train. A/c was damaged by debris rising from the train falling on the upper wing surface and taking out part of the main spar- but returned home safely.  Information update from Flight Lieutenant John Milsom 2005

April 09 1945.

An anti-shipping sweep through the Skaggerak and Kattegat by 143, 235 and 248 squadrons failed to attack any shipping but spotted three U—boats on the surface heading towards Norway. All three U-boats were attacked by the strike force, which resulted in all the U—boats being sunk. These were the U—804, a type IXO TJ—boat of 1144 tons, another type IXC U—boat, U—843 of 1120 tons and the U—1065 a type VITO U—boat of 769 tons. One Mosquito was lost. This was DZ 592 a film unit aircraft, crewed by Flight Lieutenant W.M.O. Jones and Flying Officer A.J. Newell. This aircraft was filming the attack on the U—boats when there was a large explosion on one of the submarines, which disintegrated, throwing debris into the air. The aircraft was caught in the explosion and spun into the sea. Damage was so severe to three other aircraft that they had to make emergency landings in "Brighton", the code name for aircraft landing in neutral Sweden.

April 11 1945.

Another successful strike by 143,235,248 and 333 squadrons against shipping in Porsgrunn, which finished with four Merchant Vessels sunk and two damaged. Three Norwegian ships were sunk DIONE of 1620 tons, NORDSJO of 178 tons and the TRAUST of 190 tons. The other vessel sunk was the German Merchant Vessel KALMAR of 964 tons. One of the ships damaged was a Swedish trawler of 219 tons and the other, the German named HELGOWLAND of 535 tons. During the strike, the formation was attacked by German fighters who shot down Mosquito "H" of 333 squadron. Sub Lieutenant J.W. Igoken and Sergeant S.H. Engstrom were both killed and later buried in Drangedal Cemetery, Telemar.

 April 17 1945.

Twenty-two Mosquito’s set off from Banff to Rendezvous with twenty-three Mustangs to fly an anti TJ-boat patrol in the Kattegat. The strike force saw nothing and returned back to base amid adverse weather conditions.

April 19 1945.

Anti—U boat sortie by 143,235,248 and 333 squadrons in the Kattegat resulted in the sinking, of U-251, a type VIIC U—boat of 769 tons and causing damage to U—2335, a 234 ton type XXIII U—boat. During the attack Mosquito "B" of 235 squadron, flown by Flying Officer Woodier and Flying Officer Jones, suffered flak damage and called "going to Brighton" where they landed with only one engine. Another casualty of 235 squadron was Mosquito "V" flown by Flight Sergeant McKenzie and Flight Sergeant Relfe, which also suffered damage during the attack. With them being unable to feather the port engine, which was seen to be smoking, they called to say that were going to try and land at "Hove". They crashed landed in Jutland, Denmark, Both these crewmembers were killed in the crash and later buried in Struer Cemetery, Denmark.

April 21 1945.

An armed patrol of forty-five Mosquito’s and twenty-four Mustangs, fly an anti-shipping strike over the Kattegat and Denmark. No shipping was spotted but at position 5120N 0300E,a formation of twelve JU 88s and six JU 188s were spotted on their way to the Scottish mainland with a belated effort to try and harry a shipping convoy on its way to Scotland. With no fighter escort to worry about the Mosquito’s attacked, and in the ensuing air combat that followed nine enemy aircraft were shot down in flames, with no loss to the strike wing.

April 22 1945.

404 squadron flew its first operational sortie since converting to Mosquito aircraft at Banff. Mosquito "H" RE 851 flown by Flying Officer A. Catrano and Flight Lieutenant A.E. Foord, spotted a BV 138 anchored off Kjevik and commenced an attack on it, following up on a nearby Heinkel HE 115 floatplane. The BV 138 suffered many hits and exploded emitting a column of smoke to at least 500 feet which was still visible to the crew forty miles away as they made their way back to Banff.

May 02 1945.

Twenty seven Mosquito’s from 143, 235, 248, 333 and 404 squadrons fly an anti—U boat operation in the Kattegat, sinking a German Minesweeper M.293 of 637 tons and the U—boat U—2359,a type XXIII U—boat of 234 tons. Another U—boat of the same type was also damaged in the attack. No aircraft were lost during the sortie.

May 04 1945.

Banff strike wings final attack on shipping in the Kiel and Kattegat areas, finishing over Denmark. The squadrons involved were 143,235, 248,333 and 404, led by Wing Commander pierce, consisting of forty one Mosquito’s, eighteen Mustangs for fighter cover and three Air Sea Rescue Warwick’s on hand to drop lifeboats to any ditched crews. A convoy was spotted consisting of an N—class Minesweeper, Three Merchant Vessels, one ex Dutch gunboat and two smaller enemy vessels. The German Merchant Vessel WOLFGANG L.M. RUSS of 3750 tons was sunk and another German Merchant Vessel damaged the GUNTHER RUSS of 998 tons. The Danish Merchant Vessel ANGAMOS of 3540 tons was also damaged. The flak barrage was intense which resulted in four Mustangs failing to return. Two Mosquito’s suffered battle damage and landed in neutral territory. During the attack on the shipping near Samso Island all the vessels were ‘seen to be hit’ by either by rocket projectiles and/or 20mm cannon fire. One Mosquito landed back at Banff with the German ensign and part of the mast off a ship, embedded in the nose of the aircraft, after colliding with it at low level, while pulling up over the ship. Later reports state that all ships were left either smoking or on fire.

May 08 1945.

 WAR IN EUROPE OFFICIALY ENDS.

May 21 1945.

248 and 143 squadrons fly final U—Boat sorties looking for surrendering

U—Boats, or others that are not aware of the cessation of hostilities.

May 25 1945.

Convoy escort duties and searches for downed airmen, continue daily up until this date. 404 squadron disbands at Banff on this date.

June O1 1945.

143 squadron re—numbered as 14 squadron and keeps its Mosquito’s until disbandment on 31st March 1946.

 June 16 1945.

 489 squadron moves into Banff from Dallachy for a short-term stay.

Also in June, 333 squadron returns to its homeland of Norway.

July 10 1945.

235 squadron disbands at Banff.

 Other events in July, Sea Otters arrive on detachment at Banff until August 1945 and 248 squadron moves from Banff to take up residence at Chivenor.

August O1 1945.

 489 squadron, which moved to Banff in June, disbands on this day.

 The Sea Otters on detachment to Banff leave the airfield during this month.

 The airfield was eventually closed in the middle of 1946,but later used as a target for simulated bombing attacks by Royal Navy aircraft from Lossiemouth in the late 1970s.

This is in no way deemed to be an accurate account of all the strikes undertaken by the Banff Strike Wing, but to the best of my knowledge all the previous accounts are correct after being taken from eye witnesses and other documented material.

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