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Thread: Blenheim Night Figther Squadron

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    Default Blenheim Night Figther Squadron

    Good evening.

    I would like to know what were the Night fighter squadrons wich used Blenheim during the period of august september 1940?

    It seem's the base of this Squadron was Aston Down.

    By advance thank you
    Many souffan
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    Default

    Hello Many,

    As far as I can tell, so such Squadrons were based at Aston Down. This was mainly a training and / or support station.

    According to R.A.F. Squadrons by W/C JEFFORD, the only Squadrons based there were Nos 4, 180 and 187, and none ever operated Blenheims. But Squadrons could have sent detachments to many places.

    Scanning all the units based at Aston Down in "R.A.F. Flying Training & Support Units since 1912" by Sturtivant and Hamlin produces, as possibilities :
    - No. 12 Group Pool, formed there on 15th September 1939, became No. 5 O.T.U. on 6th March 1940. They operated Blenheim IFs amongst other types.
    - No. 5 O.T.U., "to train fighter pilots, with a variety of types of aircraft and grew from a strength of eleven Gladiators and twelve Blenheims to forty Hurricanes, twenty-four Blenheims seventeen Masters and four Defiants - also used a few Spitfires May to August 40 - Redesignated No. 55 O.T.U. on 1st November 1940 and trasnferred Blenheims and Defiants to 54 O.T.U.

    I'll leave to other members of the board to make the list of units operation Blenheim in the night fighting role in August And September 1940. I'd mention the Fighter Interception Unit, based at Tangmere, and No. 604 Squadron obvioulsy springs to my mind, but there a few others as well.

    Joss

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    Default Sqn

    Hi

    I agree with Joss. Only 4, 98 & 187 were based at Aston Downs and none of them were based there in 1940. The nearest is 4 Sqn which was based there in 1944 at which point they were in change over from Mustang to Mosquito.... Is the particular a/c one that maybe diverted to Aston Downs?

    Dee

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    August & September 1940. 219 (Mysore) Squadron.
    'A' Flight - RAF Scorton, 'B' Flight - RAF Catterick, both in Yorkshire..
    219 Sqn moved to RAF Redhill, Surrey, 12 October 1940

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    Default Night fighter squadron

    Hello.

    In My previous question, I have spoken about Aston Down, because all infos I have come from a private diary of a Free French who was at 5 OTU Aston Down. And he have written about a Night Figther with a new Blenheim, but he never said the Squadron was in Aston Down, sorry.

    2 or 3 days later (1st sept.) he was visiting some Free French at Sutton Bridge, and there he met some polish pilots. and he have spoken another time of this unit of Blenheims which made a mission with a Polish squadron. I found something, interesting in the diary of 303 sqn. (see below)

    "30th Aug First operation. In the course of a training interception with six Blenheims in the
    afternoon 'B' Flight contacted with some 60 German bombers, 60 fighters and British fighters having a running battle near Hatfield. F/O Paszkiewicz brought down one Do17 (destroyed) while the rest of the fighters escorted the Blenheims safely back to Northolt."

    So I think it is the 600 sqn. which was in Northolt, as it is written in Fighter Squadrons of John Rawlings.
    Many souffan
    12 rue Lahire
    F-75013 Paris, France

    Tel (33) 145 849 904
    Tel (33) 661 406 013

    many.souffan@gmail.com
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    Default

    Hello,

    I understand you don't want to give too much details, but your informations are quite cryptic and it's difficult for us to help you with limited information from your side.

    As for No. 600 Squadron, they used Blenheim IFs from January 1939 to October 1941, and Blenheim IV (JEFFORD makes the difference and wrote IV, not IVF) from November 1939 to June 1940. In September 1940, the Squadron received its first Beaufighter IFs. So actually your "new Blenheim" may indeed be a Beaufighter...

    "Gentlemen in Blue 600 Squadron" by Hans Onderwater doesn't record Aston Down in the index. There's also a possibility of a problem with dates : The book says the first Beaufighter arrived soon after 600 settled in at Redhill, which was on 12th September 1940. "Some more Beaufighters followed and by the 18th of September No. 600 Squadron had six of them available. Two were flown to St Athan to be fitted with AI."

    No. 600 Squadron was at Northolt for a very short stay (14th. May to 20th June 1940). They evacuated Manston on 24th August after a heavy Luftwaffe attack and moved to Hornchurch, then to Redhill as explained above.

    No. 604 Squadron also received Beaufighter IFs in September 1940, and they were based then at Middle Wallop.

    No. 23 Squadron was operating Blenheim IFs from Wittering and moved to Ford on 12th September 1940.

    No. 25 Squadron was using Blenheim IFs and received Beaufighter IFs in September 1940, at Martlesham Heath first and in North Weald from 2nd September 1940.

    No. 29 Squadron was also using Blenheim IFs and received Beaufighter IFs in September 1940, all the time at Wellingore.

    No. 219 Squadron was also using Blenheim IFs and received Beaufighter IFs in September 1940. They were based at Catterick, with detachments at Scorton, Leeming, Redhill, where they eventually moved on 12th October 1940.

    And the list is not complete. Without a name or a serial, it's difficult to give you precise informations. Another option would be to check both No. 5 O.T.U. ORB and Aston Down station ORB, which may (or may not) mention a night fighter passing there.

    The extract you quote from the diary of No. 303 Squadron doesn't say anywhere these Blenheims were of the fighter version. They may have been of the bomber version, acting as "bait" for the fighter pilots to train to intercept bombers (plastron as we would say in French). Now, I can be mistaken but English members of the board may clarify what they understand in this quote.

    Joss

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    Default Sutton Bridge

    Picking up on your mention of Sutton Bridge:

    254 Sqn were flying Blenheim If from there 09/12/39 to 28/01/40
    266 Sqn were flying battles and Spitfire I from there 30/10/39 to 04/03/40

    I wonder if your french gentleman was flying with one of those. There were 2 other sqns that flew out of Sutton Bridge but the dates they were there dont cover any of 1940...

    Dee

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    Hello Dee,

    I can only surmise, but I think the French pilot that Many has obtained some kind of personal diary was one of the dozen of Free French pilots who flew during the Batle of Britain. This is consistent with an O.T.U. training in late August and early September 1940. All were posted to Hurricane or Spitfire Squadrons.

    Here is a compilation which may not be complete :
    - Pierre Blaize (5 OTU on 18th August, 111 Squadron on 9th October)
    - Henri Bouquillard (6 OTU on 18th August, 245 Squadron on 12th September)
    - Yves Brière (5 OTU on 18th August, 232 Squadron on 14th September)
    - François de Labouchère (5 OTU on 18th August, 85 Squadron on 13th September)
    - Xavier de Chérade de Montbron (6 OTU on 19th August, 64 Squadron on 19th September)
    - Jean Demozay (5 OTU, 1 Squadron on 16th October)
    - Charles de Scitivaux de Greische (6 OTU on 29th September, 245 Squadron on 14th October)
    - Emile Fayolle (5 OTU on 18th August, 85 Squadron on 13th September)
    - Charles Guérin (5 OTU on 18th August, 232 Squadron on 14th September)
    - Henry Lafont (6 OTU on 19th August, 245 Squadron on 11th September), one of the only two French "few" who survived WW2, and still alive today.
    - René Mouchotte (6 OTU on 19th August, 245 Squadron on 11th September),
    - George Perrin (6 OTU on 19th August, 245 Squadron on 11th September), the other survivor of WW2, died in 1981.

    Details of postings from "Men of the Battle of Britain" by Kenneth G. WYNN (1999 edition).

    Pick your own ! Following Many's second message, you can remove those 6 who went through 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge. Anyway this doesn't really help to identify a Blenheim unit which may have detached a crew or two to protect an area, or even a crew which landed once at Aston Down to refuel...

    Joss

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    Default Mysterious Blenheim squadron

    Bonjsoir Joss & tall others.

    I am always looking for about this mysterious Blenheim Squadron.

    2 things are sure.

    1/- What said the diary of 303 Sqn. on 30th august 1940 (see below):

    "30th Aug First operation. In the course of a training interception with six Blenheims in the
    afternoon 'B' Flight contacted with some 60 German bombers, 60 fighters and British fighters having a running battle near Hatfield. F/O Paszkiewicz brought down one Do17 (destroyed) while the rest of the fighters escorted the Blenheims safely back to Northolt."

    2/- My Free French Pilot was on the 1st sept 40 on the base of Sutton Bridge visiting other Free French pilots who where finishing theirs times in this OTU. During his visit, he exchange a button of his French Uniform with one of a polish Pilot.

    I am sorry, if I keep the silence around the name of this pilot. I hope you'll understand, I work about this dozen Free French pilots, since a long time. With this Diary I found new infos.

    I was very surprise, when I found the private diary of one these pilots, when I read this incredible thing in the entry of 28th august 40 before his leave For Sutton Bridge:

    "Were posted on Blenheims for hunting the night. to hunt new bi-motors"

    Naturally among our dozen Free french pilots, no one was on Blenheim squadron

    Thank you.
    Many souffan
    12 rue Lahire
    F-75013 Paris, France

    Tel (33) 145 849 904
    Tel (33) 661 406 013

    many.souffan@gmail.com
    aces.redactions@orange.fr

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Many Souffan View Post
    while the rest of the fighters escorted the Blenheims safely back to Northolt."
    Many-I think I will go looking at Northolt then for Blenheims....

    Joss you are very informative person.

    Dee

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