Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Beaufighter Squadrons in the Channel, September 1944

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,381
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Beaufighter Squadrons in the Channel, September 1944

    Hello,

    I'm looking for the Beaufighter Squadrons involved in operations against the German Navy retreating from Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer ports, in the last days of August 1944 and first days of September 1944. There's a mention about one of them in No. 119 Squadron ORB witnessing the Albacores crew night attacks.

    Thanks in advance for any tip.

    Joss

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,765
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Joss,
    If this action included 24th August, 10 Beau's from 236 and 10 from 404 RCAF were involved.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,381
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello Alan,

    I can't tell about 24th August, the limited amount of information I have is mostly about the 1st of the September, the following night and the following day. So by expanding my search to a few days before, when the Germans were in their full retreat (both on the ground and by sea), I hope to strike lucky.

    I'll put 236 and 404 Squadrons ORBs in the list. I'm not very knowledgeable on the Beaufighters attacks, living more 'inland', but in this case, I'm helping a friend who is researching a book about Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer in September 1944, so any snippet of information is good to pick up. I want to narrow down the list of possible units, not knowing from where these Beaufighters may have based.

    Thanks for your help.

    Joss

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,020
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Default

    Joss,
    Nothing on operations, but here is disposition of Coastal Command Beaufighter squadrons as at 1st September 1944 (from RAF Narratives, RAF in the Maritime War), all equipped with Beaufighter Mk. X. You will have to check on location of their bases with other sources. Note that standard establishment of a CC Beaufighter Sqdn at this time was 20 aircraft.

    With 16 Group:
    Manston:
    143 Sqdn (cannon only), strength 18, available 15.

    Strubby:
    144 Sqdn (RP), strength 19, available 17.
    404 RCAF Sqdn (RP), strength 18, available 14.

    North Coates:
    236 Sqdn (RP), strength 16, available 14.
    254 Sqdn (Torp), strength 19, available 8.

    Langham:
    455 RAAF Sqdn (RP), strength 17, available 14.
    489 RNZAF (Torp), strength 23, available 5.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,020
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Default

    Joss,
    Nothing on operations, but here is disposition of Coastal Command Beaufighter squadrons as at 1st September 1944 (from RAF Narratives, RAF in the Maritime War), all equipped with Beaufighter Mk. X. You will have to check on location of their bases with other sources to show their proximity to your area of interest. Note that standard establishment of a CC Beaufighter Sqdn at this time was 20 aircraft. You will have to check with other sources as to why 254 and 489 Squadrosn had such low availability at this time.

    With 16 Group:
    Manston:
    143 Sqdn (cannon only), strength 18, available 15.

    Strubby:
    144 Sqdn (RP), strength 19, available 17.
    404 RCAF Sqdn (RP), strength 18, available 14.

    North Coates:
    236 Sqdn (RP), strength 16, available 14.
    254 Sqdn (Torp), strength 19, available 8.

    Langham:
    455 RAAF Sqdn (RP), strength 17, available 14.
    489 RNZAF (Torp), strength 23, available 5.

    David D

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,765
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Joss,
    Forget my post, the attack i refer to was in the Gironde Estuary.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,381
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello,

    Thanks David and Alan for your help. I have noted a reference at Kew for a History of No. 16 Group (CC), but I have to read it first, hoping to find useful information in it which would enable me to go one step further. If I have to "digest" the information at home, that'd mean accessing the Squadron's ORBs during the following visit to Kew. The idea is to have a prepared short list of units ORBs difference, so I can pick up what I need, after reading the Group History.

    No. 143 Squadron was "in my sights", so thanks for the confirmation. Manston is the closest location, but Kent was a busy place at the time, if not to say "overcrowded".

    I was considering North Coates as a departure airfield too. I'll check the locations of Strubby and Langham airfields.

    Many thanks again

    Joss

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,334
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Coastal Command intelligence summaries list many attacks on small shipping in this period by Albacores, Avengers, Swordfish, Beaufighters and Wellingtons, with details as to time, location, pilot and nature of attack. Dealing only with Beaufighters, I note:

    29 August 1944 - four attacks by No.143 Squadron and one (off the Hague) by No.489 Squadron.

    30 August 1944 - one attack by No.143 Squadron (very late - really overlaps with early morning ops of 31 August).

    31 August 1944 - eight attacks by No.143 Squadron.

    1 September 1944 - seven attacks by No.143 Squadron

    2 September 1944 - nine attacks by No.143 Squadron, four by No.489 Squadron, four by No.254 Squadron. A typical entry:

    2 September 1944 - F/143, F/O Gilchrist - 0312 hours, seven miles northeast of Dunkirk. "Aircraft on anti-shipping patrol sighted three unidentified vessels in line astern and attacked from 1,500 feet with two 250-lb and two 500-ln M.C. bombs, air burst pistol. Bombs seen to explode but results not observed owing to evasive action. X/143 saw this attack, observing a near miss on bows of the centre vessel. No further results seen."

    Please note, these are attacks only in the Channel and southern North Sea area - do not include Biscay ports region.
    Last edited by HughAHalliday; 2nd April 2010 at 15:14.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,381
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello Hugh,

    This is exactly the area I'm researching, the Channel between Folkstone and Dover on one side and Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais on the other side, when it becomes the North Sea, and down to Dunkerque.

    I have prepared my short list with the ORB reference for Kew, but can you tell me the reference of these Coastal Command Intelligence Summaries please ? We only have two reference of diaries for FAA units but two are missing at Kew, including one of an Avenger Squadron. All these naval types are quite "exotic" for us so we are really interested to know more about the achievements of these units and aircrews.

    TIA

    Joss

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,334
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    I tried to search the Kew data base for the specific file reference but failed. I shall, however, send you an e-mail that may answer much.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •