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Thread: RAF NORTH CREAKE - March/April 1945 crew movements

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    Default RAF NORTH CREAKE - March/April 1945 crew movements

    I am busy creating a database of all aircrew who served on 78 Sqn during the war and have come across an unusually large number of crews being posted out to North Creake in March and April 1945. There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind who goes, some are brand new crews fresh from the HCUs, others are Freshers with one or two ops and some are 'old lags'.

    Can anyone suggest what was going on, was a new Sqn being formed or where these replacements for heavy losses??

    Thanks

    Daz

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    Daz

    199 Squadron and 171 Squadron were operating from North Creake at the time. I think 199 Squadron were slowly converting from Stirlings to Halifaxes. Could this have been the reason as losses were not as high for 199 as when the squadron was a Main Force squadron with 1 and 3 Groups in 1943.

    Douglas

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    Hi Daz

    Maybe something to do with the general surplus of aircrew in the final stages of the war, supplies exceeding losses? You refer to it being March/April '45.

    Ian

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    Thought its entire, fairly brief, operational history North Creake was always part of 100 Group. Only two squadrons were ever based there, these being 199 and 171. Neither suffered heavy losses and both operated exclusively in the RCM role.

    199 was the last squadron in Bomber Command to fly the Stirling operationally (last Op 14 Mar 45 I believe) but the transition to the Halifax was complete by mid-March 45 with the existing crews having been converted to type locally. This was immediately before the apparent influx of Ex 78 sqn people so I doubt this is the explanation.

    From mid March 45 both 199 and 171 were authorised to carry and drop bombs in addition to their RCM duties but again I'm doubtful if this in itself would have required additional / different crews.

    I can see no obvious reason why either 199 or 171 squadrons would have required a significant number of new / different crew at this late stage in the war in Europe. Similarly I have never heard of any plans to form a new squadron at N.Creake.

    This said the possibility of on-going hostilities with Japan was a very real one in the spring of 1945 and hence Tiger Force was being planned. It seems possible, although this is pure speculation, that there could have been a plan to use North Creake as one of the bases for the establishment and build-up of Tiger Force. It was a large recently constructed airfield which at one time had been mooted as a super bomber base so perfectly capable of taking the new Lincolns which were intended to go to the Far East if required. It was also in an out of the way location and had always operated in great secrecy.

    As I say the above is total speculation and I’d be very interested if anyone can come up with a definitive reason for the apparent movement of people to North Creake.

    J

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    Thank you all for your thoughts, I guess it will remain a mystery, for the moment at least.

    Daz

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    Whilst I have no access to the Sqn records, did the Establishment of either unit grow at this time, i.e. did the number of flights, or a/c per flight, increase in number?
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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