Post by flyboy on Feb 16, 2015 16:39:35 GMT
A busy month
Warwick C3, AG220, flew the first operational flight from Blackbushe for 167 Squadron to Le Bourget, near Paris, on the 3rd of the month. On board were fitters and spare parts for two other aircraft which had become unserviceable there.
On the same day Dakota KG500 arrived with casualties from the Continent.
The following day, the 4th, saw the formation of the second Warwick squadron at the airfield. This was 301 (Polish) Squadron. They were operating the Mk C1 & C3 versions of the aircraft identical to 167 Squadron. These aircraft were to rapidly become familiar with those living locally.
A convoy of 81 vehicles and 170 personnel was accommodated overnight on the 8th.
On the 13th a visit was made by G/Capt Constable-Roberts, accompanied by G/Capt Carpenter, regarding the proposal to take over Minley Lodge for use by 110 Wing.
Visiting convoys of large numbers of vehicles were becoming common place. Another consisting of 41 vehicles and 64 personnel arrived on the 14th. As usual this put a strain on accommodation and catering, as they remained overnight.
A large fire broke out in the forest on the south side of the airfield but due to the prompt actions of the base personnel a threat that the fire might spread into another plantation nearby was averted. The fire, however, did burn out an area of approximately two acres before it was finally extinguished.
Air Vice Marshal Izycki, Commander in Chief Polish Air Force visited 301 Squadron on the 27th to hold an investiture. He decorated 73 Squadron personnel. Other high ranking Polish and British officers also attended. Following the ceremonial parade and investiture, the squadron, headed by the RAF Cranwell band, marched past their Commander-in-Chief. Guests were then entertained in the officers' and sergeants' Messes. All guests sat down to a special lunch in the officers' Mess where speeches were made expressing appreciation at the way the squadron had so efficiently carried out all their special-duty missions and wished them well with their role as a Transport Command squadron. Thanks were also expressed to the Station Commander and his staff for their co-operation in making such excellent arrangements for the ceremony.
The last day of the month saw the departure of 417 Repair and Service Unit which moved out to Fersfield and became 417 ARF. They had previously been responsible for the repair of 138 Wing Mosquitos.
During the month completion of the change from Fighter Command to Transport Command had taken place, involving the setting-up of a new Passenger and Freight Section and the alteration of many existing sections, including Briefing and Operations. 167 Squadron was moved into new quarters and the Casualty and Evacuation Unit had already been busy processing 1140 Canadian troop casualties as they were flown back to this country.
34 Wing Support Unit had despatched 14 aircraft ( Wellington, Spitfire and Mosquito ) overseas in addition to eleven air crews. 1092 visiting aircraft landed during the month in addition to the home based units, of which 816 were handled by the Duty Flight. Despite its new role the airfield remained very busy.