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Thread: No. 2 Group, BC RAF

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    Default No. 2 Group, BC RAF

    Hi all,

    I have read a note that "Blenheims of No. 2 Group sunk till 12 March 1941 during day attacked 90 German ships".

    For me it looks like a unbelievable number! Can anyone point me to any confidential source or provide me any information about No. 2 Group and its operations + results?

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hello Pavel,
    I have found the following in a 56 page book: "From Hind to Hunter, A Short History Of No2 (B) Group R.A.F." by Leslie Hunt. Based entirely on official records. Pages13-14:-

    "............. January, 1941, got off to an excellent start when on the 1st, Hamburg, Bremen, Cologne, Caen, Cherbourg, Dusseldorf and Emmerich were visited. Then, on the 6th, a tanker off Hook of Holland was hit by 114 Squadron, who also continued to demolish any barges they sighted. The month's sorties totalled 263, with 119 over Germany and 39 over Belgium, France and Holland; the others against shipping. At this period the 2 Group squadrons were 18, 21, 82, 101, 105, 107, 114 and 139. On 10th January, another page of history was written when six of 114's Blenheims, from Oulton, with escort, pioneered a daylight raid on Boulogne Docks - all the Blenheims returning successfully. Wg.Cdr. Elsmie later took 114 to Leuchars on loan to Coastal Command and was lost off Norway with many of his gallant airmen. The intention was to try and draw up large Luftwaffe forces for our Spitfires to engage, as the Blenheims went for primary targets. A.V.M. D.F. Stevenson became AOC on 12th February, 1941, and 500 sorties were flown that March with 31 and 82 Squadrons specializing in anti-shipping attacks, and 139, escorted by fighters, hitting dock installations. The April figures rose to over 900 sorties and on 19th May six Blenheims of 82 Squadron flew from Portreath to Gibralta and seven of 139 from Portreath to Malta, the start of a rota of 2 Group units to help the beleagured island to survive. ..............."

    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 25th April 2009 at 20:17. Reason: enlarging book title

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    Hi Norman:

    Does the book you refer to provide any background (whys & wherefores) of the decision to remove 2 Group from Bomber Command in 1943? Bowyer's book is frustratingly silent on the issue.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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    Mark,
    2 Group was transferred from Bomber Command to be the bombing arm of 2nd Tactical Air Force in readiness for the invasion of Europe.
    Bill.

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    Hello Mark,
    This is a un-edited copy of the books potted history of the 1943 events leading up to change of command. Hoping it will be of some use to you. (copied from 56 page book: "A Short History Of No2 (B) Group R.A.F." by Leslie Hunt. Based entirely on official records)

    Pages 22-24:- “……………………………………in November 1942 Bodney and Foulsham airfields were being used as big exercises to help the Army with its planning for the invasion of Europe and in December 1942 came the epic raid on the Phillips works at Eindhoven when, although, alas16 aircraft were lost, even the Dutch Nazi newspaper admitted that it was “A National Disaster,” thanks to what was termed “the 2 Group ‘punch.’ On 19th December, 1942, A.V.M. J.H.D’Albiac became A.O.C. and to take over command of No. 180 Squadron, vice Wg.Cdr. Hodder (missing) came Wg.Cdr. G.R. Magill, D.F.C., a New Zealand pilot whose D.F.C. was gained with 47 Squadron (Wellesleys) in East Africa, and who had commanded a flight in 226 Squadron. On 30th January, 1943, to mark the 10th anniversary of Hitlers coming to power, Berlin was bombed six times in daylight by 105 and 139 Squadrons, bringing a signal of warm congratulations by Air Marshall Harris. This was followed by Air Chief Marshall Portal, C.A.S. reading “Heartiest congratulations”. The Prime Minister wrote to the A.O.C. adding his personal thanks for the work against targets in Germany and elsewhere. An unusual but very satisfying change of employement was the sortie flown by No. 180 Squadron which found a dinghy containing airmen of 429 (RCAF) Squadron in the North Sea, calling up high speed launches to the rescue. A Mosquito also alerted the launch which picked up another pilot – found to be of the Luftwaffe. Wg. Cdr. Pelly-Fry, D.S.O., a noted airman, took over No. 80 Squadron at Attlebridge and flew affiliation patrols for the School of Tactical Warfare. On 15th March No. 320 (Dutch) Squadron, with a fine Coastal Command Anson/Hudson history, joined the Group at Methwold and on the 19th Wg.Cdr. J. De L.Woolridge, D.F.C., D.F.M., assumed command of 105 Squadron. Attlebridge was “borrowed” from the US AAF and 320 Squadron moved over under Foulshams control. April 1st, 1943, the R.A.F.’s 25th birthday, saw a rare award, a D.S.O. for Flt/Lt. Clayton, observer to Sqn/Ldr Ralston of No. 105 Squadron, to mark Claytons 100th “Op.” Yet another squadron came into the Group – No. 342 (Lorraine) Squadron, Free French Air Force – at West Raynham and No. 21 Squadron moved from Methwold to Oulton with No. 192 (Special Duties) Squadron, flying five different types of aircraft, a “lodger” at Feltwell. This was a month of personnel changes as Wg.Cdr. R.G. England, D.F.C., relieved Wg.Cdr. Carver as C.O. of No. 107 Squadron, Wg.Cdr. C.E.R. Tait, D.F.C., replaced Gp.Cpt. J.M. Warfield promoted on leaving No. 226 Squadron, and Wg.Cdr. H.J.W. Meakin, D.F.C., took over No. 464(RAAF) Squadron, Methwold when Gp.Cpt. R.H. Young, D.S.O., A.F.C., left on his promotion. There was an even greater change on 15th May 1943 when No. 2 (B) Group Head Quarters moved to Bylaugh Hall, East Dereham and a moment of inevitable regret when No. 105 and 139 Squadrons left 2 Group; pioneers of pinpoint bombing (which really began in September 1942, with the attack on Gestapo HQ, Oslo, led by Sqn/Ldr. Parry of 105 Squadron. As they moved into No. 8 (Pathfinder) Group with RAF Marham transferred from No. 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshall Basil Embry was appointed No. 2 Group A.O.C. There was of course, a special reason for welcoming A.V.M. Embry, returning to command the Group he had served so well in 1940, since which time he had commanded Southend, Wittering, and had served in the Middle East, gaining added experience of co-operation between the RAF and Army which was to stand him – and 2 Group – in excellent stead as the stage was set for the 2nd Tactical Air Force to come into being.

    At this point No.2(B) became part of Fighter Command, which helped enormously as the daily “Circus” and other combined operations with ever-increasing light bomber and fighter missions hit enemy targets in Occupied Europe. Then on 1st June 1943, No. 2(B) Group R.A.F. transferred to 2nd T.A.F...................."
    Last edited by namrondooh; 26th April 2009 at 19:42.

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    Hi Norman,

    many thanks for your posts.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Just a small point. From 15 1 Jun 43 until 15 Nov 43 it was known simply as the Tactical Air Force (under Fighter Command), only then was the '2nd' added to its title on it becoming a command in its own right.

    Errol

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    Many thanks for the info gents.

    As for the original theme of the thread (sorry for the hijack...), Bowyer's book says that in September 1942, 2 Group's claims for ships sunk since March '42 stood at 110, however post-war research revealed actual losses of 29.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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