RAF Southend: 1940-1944
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RAF Southend focuses in diary-type format on the airport between October 1940 and August 1944, from when it became a fighter station in its own right, to it becoming an armament practice camp later in the war. It describes the manning and maintenance of the forward fighter station, often under attack, and follows the varying fortunes of the staff and personnel who were posted there, and the highs and lows and often tragic events that occurred on and around the aerodrome. It also gives in-depth details of the numerous defensive and offensive operations carried out by the various RAF fighter squadrons while based there. Through interviews with ex-staff and eyewitnesses "who were there" and the meticulous cross-referencing of original material, it makes for a very accurate and interesting read for people with an interest in local history and/or aviation/military history.
the sun. No enemy aircraft were seen. 18 JUNE At 17.45hrs, twelve aircraft of 603 Squadron in company with 54 and 611 Squadrons from RAF Hornchurch climbed to 18,000ft and crossed the coast at Dover and the French coast at Gravelines at 28,000ft. In sections, with pairs in line abreast, they turned west to Guines. They circled east of Gravelines across the Channel nearby to Dover, and then down the Channel to Cap Gris Nez, then a left-hand turn back to Dover. 19 JUNE At 19.00hrs, twelve
into the war Churchill had assiduously and successfully cultivated American support. 8 DECEMBER Britain and the USA declared war on Japan. 11 DECEMBER Germany and Italy declared war on the USA; the USA declared war on Germany and Italy. An exercise was held at the aerodrome in which the following troops took part: the infantry companies, RAF Ground Defence, the station medical staff and stretcher bearers, and, in addition, the local ARP, first-aid services, and the senior medical officer, 11
west-north-west of the aerodrome, Rochford Hall and church, Doggets Farm, the west edge of the woods, and road junctions west and north-west of Rochford. 9 Platoon ‘B’ of Southend Coy (HG) Essex Regiment were posted to defend the east and south-east approaches to the aerodrome (and thus the EKCO Works) from Fleet Hall at Cuckoo Corner. At ‘Action Stations’ 33 Section would take up its position at Cuckoo Corner; 34 Section at New Hall; 35 Section at Temple Farm; and 36 Section at the rectory,
posting from 150 Squadron. 10 NOVEMBER Night patrols were carried out by Squadron Leader George Garvin (34237), Flying Officer Ian Stephenson (72010), Pilot Officers Gerald Hackwood (42217), Richard Stokes (42027), Terence Welsh (42033), Flight Sergeant Edward Thorn (46957) and Sergeant Endersby of 264 Squadron. 12 NOVEMBER Flying Officer D. Edwards arrived for engineering duties, and Flying Officer (Acting Squadron Leader) Harold ‘Flash’ Pleasance (37914), DFC was posted here for operations
slight damage to the underside of the port mainplane. The damage might have been caused by a sudden and violent change in atmospheric pressure as there were no abrasions in the vicinity of the damaged areas. The aircraft was categorised ‘A’. The pilot was uninjured, but his passenger suffered slight facial injuries. Squadron Leader B.P.A. Vallance reported here (supernumerary) to take over duty as commanding officer. 2 MARCH 312 Squadron carried out practice dive-bombing, and two sections also