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Thread: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

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    Default Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Hi,

    In Feb 1946 No.620 Squadron was tasked with carrying out Met flights. They flew the following routes 'Daisy' - 'Bobbie' - 'Helga' and 'Ettie'. There are a few others but I cannot read the ORB. These operations were usually 6-7 hour duration. Can anyone please tell me where these four areas actually are, and what areas they covered.

    TIA

    Chaz
    Last edited by Charles Smith; 18th November 2022 at 17:00.

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Chaz,

    These were not standard met flights, but locally arranged sorties to assist the Lydia met office provide actual weather and forecasts for an exercise to insert paras onto DZs. As is often the case with para exercises DZs are allocated code names; they might be airfields or simply locations in the middle of nowhere, and located only by lat and long. I've suggested these were exercises as the ORB does not suggest these were planned operations associated with political disturbances in the Middle East.

    I'm pretty sure the names refer to the DZs, but I don't know where and unfortunately, as you say, the ORB is not exactly helpful.

    So far as I can determine Met Air Observers did not form part of the met sortie crews.

    Brian

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    The Met flights flown by both Halifax squadrons in Palestine were carried out to provide forecasting info for the trooping flights across the Eastern Mediterranean and towards the Persian gulf as the airfield at Lydda was a major staging post for these flights to the Far East. Two flights in each direction per day were scheduled - one early in the morning and one in the evening. No particular met equipment was carried but observations along the routes flown were taken and transmitted. I think if you look at the ORB for 620 Squadron the four flights are described in the entry for the 12th of February. The use of the Halifax aircraft was in place of the planned use of converted Mosquito XVI aircraft by 256 Squadron. A number of these ex-recce aircraft were being converted by 160MU at Aqir but continued delays and poor serviceability meant that they never really saw any use - only a single actual met flight being carried out from Cyprus.

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Interesting, Simon. Could I ask your source please? It makes sense but there are no Met Office documents which record such in theatre flights.

    Brian

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Brian,

    620 Squadron’s ORB summary of events for Feb 1946 specifically refers to the met flights being for trooping purposes. 644 Squadron also flew met flights but there is little detail in their orb. The record of events for 620 Squadron shows that the met flights were flown with the usual crew of five so no specific met crew. Refers to flight s being flown below cloud level on one leg and then above cloud on return. Mentions that oxygen working satisfactorily at 20000ft. Flights stop in April 46 after the attacks on the airfields by Jewish forces.
    This probably tied in with better weather and in May 1946, 256 Squadron received three Mosquito XVI aircraft that had been modified for Pampa sorties at 132 MU. There is a fair bit of discussion regarding the introduction of the met mosquitos on the squadron - a number of met sorties were flown from Almaza but sadly no details as to what these sorties entailed.
    Around this time, 45 Squadron moved to Negombo and were tasked with Met sorties over the Indian Ocean - again this is discussed as being for trooping flight briefings. 1300 Flight also reformed on Mosquitos for this task in the Far East. Neither squadrons Mosquitos received any specific Met equipment. In the Mediterranean, 38 Squadron on Malta were instructed that on reequipping with Lancasters that Pampa flights would be one of their tasks. Some practice flights were flown using Warwick’s and at least one Pampa flight using a Lancaster but with the squadron moving to Palestine for anti-immigration patrols, the tasking seems to have been dropped due to this operational commitment along with ASR cover.

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    Lyffe (20th November 2022)

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Thank you Simon, you've obviously spent a lot of time on this field (overseas met flights), but could I ask your interest? Both Resmorah (Pete Davis) and myself (senior ex-meteorologists) have researched the wartime Met Flights but we have very little knowledge of post-war activity in the field since; with the exception of 202 Squadron, the UK and European based met squadrons were effectively disbanded during 1946-7. Such met activity as did continue was incorporated in non-met squadron activities.

    One point if may; I'm surprised at the term Pampa. A Pampa sortie was specifically a rapid high-level flight over occupied territory, usually by Mosquitos or Spitfires, flown immediately prior to a bombing operation, basically to update weather before bombers left their bases.

    Happy to discuss off-board if you wish.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 20th November 2022 at 16:20.

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Hi,

    This comes from research I did when writing the book “Rapid Rundown” which covers The RAF in the Middle and Far East regions in the immediate postwar period. There is a little Bit in the book regarding the Halifax Met flights and some more on the work of 1300 Flight and later 18 Squadron in Burma and Malaya. This includes some material from pilot Derek Smith, who I was in contact with, and he describes using the Mosquito for Met flights.
    This period is poorly documented and records from the Far East are poor. For example, 28 Squadron flew THUM flights, using Spitfire 14 and 18 aircraft for some time. They had a mounting for, I assume, the strut pyschrometer, was changed from aircraft to aircraft as they required maintenance. The flights continued until the fitting was lost when the Spitfire it was fitted on crashed.

    I’m happy to discuss further if you want to pm me.

    Simon Gifford

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    Default Re: Met Flights 1946 RAF Aqir

    Hello All,
    I did two, post-WW2, tours of duty (and a number of short-term detachments) into the eastern Mediterranean. There were, at those times, no organised Met Flights in/near the East Med. There was the occasional operational requirement for a met recce flight. These (the ones I was on) were carried out by the Shackletons from Malta on detachment. It may have been the case that the fact that the a/c was actually carrying a “Met Observer” (however inexperienced, and ‘observing’ from the mid-upper turret!) made the flight a formal/legal “Met Recce Flight” in the event of any ‘difficulties’?
    The E Med has had more than its fair share of local/national/international political upheavals!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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