Slowly but surely we make our way through Dad’s logbook. I was hauled off again overseas – to Hong Kong and Indonesia – so sorry for the lack of posts.
We have now reached June 1944 and THE most exciting thing for Dad must have been escorting the cruiser carrying the King to France. Presumably this is England’s King George VI. Why he was off to France, I don’t know – maybe to rally the troops. On that day (June 16), Dad reported it was foul weather and that he led the Squadron escorting the King.
There are a few things I don’t understand but you know me: I’ll have a stab at it! On June 22, Dad’s duty was target cover 24 Mitchells – Caen. Mitchells must surely be a WWII plane, so off to Dr Google I go. Yep, there was a North American B-25 Mitchell plane and it was a twin-engined medium bomber. Target cover I guess means that Dad and other pilots were covering the 24 Mitchells whilst they carried out a bombing mission over Caen, which is in northwestern France. Dad comments: lots of flak and pretty accurate with height – 14,000 ft.
On June 23, Dad was flying convoy patrol and had two squirts (presumably fired at) a buzz bomb from about 1,000 yards. I remember being freaked out in High School history classes about the buzz bombs. They were called V-1 flying bombs but my grandparents called them doodle bugs. The mere thought of walking around London streets enjoying some shopping, only to hear a buzzing sound just as the V-1 was about to impact, must have been beyond frightening.
Then Dad seems to have escorted 18 Stirlings on June 23. I guess this was after the convoy patrol. Off to Dr Google again. Mmmmm….could be the Short Stirling, which was a four-engine British heavy bomber. Makes sense. Dad comments that the Stirlings were: dropping supplies in Caen area. Went in at 1,000ft. Is he talking about the Stirlings here or himself in the Spitfire IX?
On June 24th, Dad returned to base with a rough engine following an area sweep. I’m still a bit confused about the column No. in the logbook. So, for example, on June 24, the column No is X but, on the same day, the Column No is marked U. Over to the experts!
June 25 sees more problems with Dad’s Spitfire – at 26,000ft he reported L.R. tank cutting and on 26th, following an air test, he says: still doesn’t seem right. I think L.R. tank is Long Range tank. Frankly, I would have refused to step foot in that plane again until its engine was as smooth as silk!
Then we see Dad providing cover again (June 27) for Halifaxes as they attempted to bomb the bejesus out of buzz bomb installations. Wonder if that was in Caen? Finally, on June 29, a pilot shot down one of those horrid buzz bombs – w/c Harris. At least I think it’s w/c Harris – can’t quite read Dad’s writing. Wing Commander I presume. The list of 127 Squadron pilots shows Flt Sgt Harry James Marshal Harris, so maybe this is the pilot. Can’t decipher the writing after Dad names the pilot but I think he shot the buzz bomb at a range of 180 yards.
I’m getting nervous just reading Dad’s logbook. He volunteered in 1939 at the age of 19 and my grandfather had to give permission for him to join the RNZAF. He was in the War until November 1944 (well, that’s when his logbook ends) and, as far as I know, suffered not one injury.
In July 1944, the 127 Squadron moves again and Dad meets up with a VIP who he escorted. Until then!
Click on photos below to enlarge and see logbook entries.