No. 263 Squadron, R.A.F. Operations Record Book - Appendices
These documents are compiled from three volumes of signals, combat reports, operational summaries and the like which often give great detail on the operations to which they relate. There are around 800 pages of Appendices, so naturally I have focussed on my own area of interest first. There are also a number of documents which I have produced either as they have caught my eye, or to help others with their own research. Thus you will find certain thing from the 1939-41 period mixed in. In all, I decided the simplest way to present all this information logically was to do so by year. There are a series of links below to take you to the right part of the page, and then back to the top as necessary.
There are no Appendices relating to 1939.
Most of the documents in this section relate to the North-Western Expeditionary Force dispatched to Norway on 24 April, 1940.
This Movement Order, dated 19 Apr 40, details the move from RAF Filton to Prestwick where the Squadron boarded for the 1st Norwegian Expedition.
List of Ground Crew in Norway. This list includes the names, ranks, and service numbers of the NCO ground crew which travelled with the Squadron to Norway. On the images I have, the service numbers on the left side of the page are partially obscured by their binding into the Appendix volume. I have reproduced as much of these numbers as I can decipher with a good degree of certainty.
Complementing the previous document is is a Nominal Roll of Officers and Sergeant Pilots.
This document, compiled from the recollections and diaries of the personnel involved, recreates a history the Squadron's activities in Norway as all the Squadron's ORBs and other paperwork were lost either in the evacuation or the destruction of H.M.S. Glorious.
A report on the Squadron's movements and activities during the second Expedition to Norway between 25th April 1940 and 8th June 1940. Includes lists of pilots, details of wounds and victories.
A Combat Report from F/Lt R.S. Mills concerning a day's flying in Norway.
This extract of F/Lt C.B. Hull's diary was recorded in the Appendices as a primary source of the squadron's operations in the 2nd Norwegian Expedition from 13 May 40 until he was wounded in action on 27 May 40.
This diary was kept by F/Sgt Hatter of the Squadron's Maintenance Flight and covers the entireity of the 2nd Norwegian Expedition.
A Combat Report from P/O Stein's engagement with a Ju.88 40 miles south-west of the Scillies.
A Combat Report from P/O Thonton-Brown and P/O Kitchener's inconclusive encounter with a He.111 20 miles south of the Scillies.
A report by F/O D.A. Crooks regarding the disappearance of P/O Graham on 08 February during a radar interception.
A Combat Report from P/O Thonton-Brown and P/O Kitchener's interception of a Ju.88 20 miles south of the Scillies. Interesting to note that all four of Kitchener's cannon jammed!
P/O's. Kitchener and Thornton-Brown damage a Ju.88 30 miles south of the Scilly Islands
P/O Kitchener damages another Ju.88 30 miles south of the Lizard. Kitchener's aircraft is damaged by return fire, crashing on landing.
S/Ldr Donaldson and F/Lt D.A. Crooks DFC, engage and damage a Do.215 near Predannack. F/Lt Crooks fails to return.
Report: 'Warhead 1' operation against Querqueville and Maupertus airfields, 14 June - (Acrobat PDF, 40k)
A summary report of the co-ordinated dawn cannon straffing attacks against these two aerodromes. S/Ldr Doonaldson and P/O Rudland succeeded in attacking Querqueville, but thick mist defeated F/Lt. Pugh and P/O Mason's attack.
Querqueville and Maupertus aerodromes are attacked at dawn by two Whirlwinds each. S/Ldr Donaldson and F/Lt. Hughes shoot up Querqueville. F/Lt Pugh and P/O Mason find and sink an E-Boat on the way in.
Two pairs of Whirlwinds range over France. S/Ldr Donaldson and Sgt. Holmes shoot up Maupertus aerodrome, while F/Lt. Hughes and Sgt. Jowitt sweep Cherbourg for shipping.
A series of operations against aerodromes and shipping in France. In Warhead 4, the four Whirlwinds fail to find Maupertus aerodrome but attack an E Boat. Later that day, they return to Maupertus to shoot up a number of Ju.87s and ME.109s, Warhead 5. Returning home they sight a convoy of shipping and Warhead 6 is laid on to attack them. 5 miles off Cherbourg the Whirlwinds encounter up to 20 ME.109s and a large-scale dog-fight develops.
Twelve Whirlwinds escort 54 Blenheims to Holland to bomb "Knapsack" and "Quadrath", two major power stations. On the return, they shoot up 6 flak barges, sinking one.
Four Whirlwinds carry out a sweep of Maupertus aerodrome. On the return, F/Lt. Pugh attacks an armed trawler.
Four Whirlwinds carry out a sweep of Lannion aerodrome. They are intercepted by a number of ME.109s, but the enemy is unable to catch the Whirlwinds.
Three Whirlwinds carry out a sweep of Lannion aerodrome. They catch a number of Ju.88s on the ground, destroying 5 of them.
A brief summary of the Squadron's first experiences with Whirlwinds during the period where it re-formed at Drem through to the end of 1941.
During the first part of this year the Squadron flew a huge number of sorties to protect convoys in the Irish Sea, with very little enemy contact. Later, the Whirlwinds were fitted with bomb-racks to enable them to attack enemy shipping in turn, as well as land-based targets in the Cherbourg and Channel Islands areas.
A brief summary of the Squadron's activites in 1942, including a number of comments and anecdotes about life on an Operational station.
This Movement Order details the move from RAF Charmy Down to RAF Colerne in January of 1942.
A Nominal Roll of Pilots from R.A.F. Colerne, believed to date from May 1942.
As per the title.
A report by S/Ldr R.S. Woodward on the Squadron's early experiments with different bomb-loads and methods of attack.
A busy year for the Squadron, with a particular emphasis on operations against shipping in the Channel.
10 Group Circus 16 of 26th February 1943, Diversion to 10 Group Ramrod 54 of 27th February, and 10 Group Circus 17 (two bombing waves) of 28th February, all to attack Maupertus aerodrome.
A complete list by serial number of every Whirlwind made, and each aircraft's fate up to 29 April, 1943.
A complete list by serial number of every Whirlwind made, and each aircraft's fate up to 29 April, 1943.
A report on the Circus operation to bomb Guipavas, escorted by 616 and 453 Spitfire Squadrons.
Sgt R.C. Beaumont becomes the first man in the Squadron to venture into the heavily-defended Cherbourg inner harbour at night in pursuit of a small convoy.
F/O R.B. Tuff finds searchlights and hanging flares in "Flak Alley", the Cap de la Hague area.
An uneventful night shipping recco in the Channel Islands and Cherbourg Peninsula areas.
Two operations on successive days to dive-bomb the naval gun positions at Hardelot. Escorted by Typhoons of No. 1 and 609 Squadrons.
A large scale operation against rail targets between Rennes and Brest. The line was cut in many places, and F/O Holman and F/Sgt Heaton also damaged trains.
An aborted operation to bomb Gupavas aerodrome. F/Sgt F. Green gets a nasty surprise when jettisoning his bombs over the Channel!
S/Ldr E.R. Baker finds and attacks a convoy off Cap de la Hague. 5 more Whirlwinds are scrambled to attack the convoy, but cannot locate it. P/O J.I. Simpson DFM, suffers double engine failure and is killed on landing at Tangmere.
A series of patrols - little doing. Preparatory for...
A massively successful operation against rail targets in the Cherbourg Peninsula. One train destroyed, four more damaged, one launch damaged, tracks and bridges damaged.
Reports from a pair of Rhubarbs resulting in three badly damaged trains.
Report from the low-level attack on the well-known blockade-runner Munsterland inside Cherbourg Inner Harbour. The Munsterland was damaged, together with 2 other ships, but F/O P.T.R. Mercer was killed and F/Sgt L. Gray shot down and captured (See Pilots page).
A dive-bombing attack against the Munsterland, now in Dry Dock #5 of Cherbourg Inner Harbour.
A peaceful shipping recco around the Cap de la Hague - Channel Islands area.
The search for F/O Coombes of 257 Squadron, lost in mid-channel.
Another Ramrod operation to attack the S.S. Munsterland in Cherbourg docks. After an earlier sortie is aborted due to the weather, it is later repeated with good results.
Another Ramrod operation to attack the S.S. Munsterland in Cherbourg docks.
7 Whirlwinds operate with 500lb bombs against a secret target south-west of Cherbourg (construction works at Martinvast).
With the Whirlibomber finally withdrawn from service to be replaced by the Typhoon, this document summarises the Squadron's operations with Whirlibombers in terms of bombs dropped, casualties inflicted on the enemy, and decorations won.
"Hints and Tips for Beginners (And Others) in Whirlwind Bombers Attacking Shipping" - (Acrobat PDF, 45k)
Written by S/Ldr G.B. Warnes DSO DFC in mid-1943, this document was later adopted as an official Fighter Command Tactical Memorandum.
With the valiant Whirlwind finally being retired from service, the Squadron re-equipped with the Hawker Typhoon. Despite being more difficult to maintain than the Whirlwind, its relative ubiquity meant that the number of available aircraft increased dramatically, allowing a large increase in the number and scale of the Squadron's operations in the run-up to D-Day and beyond in striking troops, armour, shipping, and rail targets throughout France and into Germany.
As part of the re-equipping process, the Squadron was dispatched to Fairwood Common Armament Practice Camp to gain proficiency in their new aircraft. This document summarises the results of their course.
An abortive operation against NO-BALL target XI.
A standard weather recco north-west of Cherbourg. One ship sighted leaving the harbour.
Shipping reported off Alderney by F/O Blacklock. F/Sgt Cooper vectored to the area and found 6 E-Boats, which he attacked. 4 more Typhoons scrambled but could not find the ships. F/O N.P. Blacklock fails to return.
A co-operation exercise at night with searchlight batteries, radar, and night-fighters trying to intercept the Squadron.
A continuation of the previous night's exercise
This operation, a sweep of Kerlin Bastard to Vannes, was aborted due to weather and a shipping recco carried out instead. 8 miles north-west of Guernsey S/Ldr G.B. Warnes DSO DFC ditched due to engine failure. F/O R.B. Tuff baled out to help him, and F/O R.C. Hunter disappeared while circling the area.
A very brief note on the search for S/Ldr G.B. Warnes DSO DFC, F/O R.B. Tuff, and F/O R.C. Hunter, lost on a sweep earlier in the day.
A sweep of Kerlin Bastard to Vannes, including Morlaix airfield.
An evening patrol of Ile Groix. In poor light, the aircraft became seperated and F/Lt G.G. Racine was bounced by an Me.410. Although he shot it down, he was forced to bale out and evaded capture (See Pilots page).
A brief report of a sweep around St Peter Port and St Helier.
A successful sweep around Paris resulting in an Me.410 and Do.217 shot down, and an He.111 and motor transport damaged on the ground.
Uneventful patrol around the Channel Islands.
An attack on 3 destroyers at St. Malo. F/O Green claimed a near miss on one, P/O Beaumont cannoned 2 armed trawlers.
2 destroyers and supporting flotilla found and attacked near Morlaix. Includes Surfat report on this and the Roadstead 88.
Further operations against shipping in Morlaix estuary. Includes Surfat report on these two operations.
A dive-bombing operation against a destroyer beached on the Normandy coast.
A dive-bombing attack on Dinard airfield.
An uneventful sweep around Paris. Barges attacked near Compeigne.
Summary reports of a number of operations against shipping carried out in the Channel shortly after D-Day.
More coming soon...