Review of Janine Harrington’s book

Source Amazon

book cover

Book review by Joseph Mayon

February 14, 2016

Format: Hardcover

Janine Harrington has produced a unique book about a unique unit in the RAF during WW II. RAF Group 100 was tasked with confusing as well as raiding against the Luftwaffe using electronic warfare—to confound and destroy. Although electronic warfare is common place today it was new at the time and Group 100 were its pioneers. Harrington writes concisely and completely about each phase of the evolution Group 100 experienced as well as the complete mention of the equipment utilized (most books mention two or three when there were over a dozen). She also has assembled first hand accounts from Group 100 members living today as well as accounts from family members which provide insight and much required context to best understand the times.

In RAF Group 100 Kindred Spirits, Harrington has the reader learning vital though little known details of electronic warfare’s infancy as well as its tactics. Handfuls of aircraft flying distraction raids seeming like hundreds and aircraft forming an electromagnetic line over the Channel during the prelude to D-Day so that German radar would think nothing the wiser, are but only two examples for the reader to be amazed by Group 100’s nearly nightly exploits.

RAF 100 Group Kindred Spirits fills a void in many libraries. But why is there a void and who is the author? The void is grandfathered in for two primary reasons. The first is that the Group’s activities were hypersecret with its aircraft specially marked so that each was under continuous guard when not aloft. Any military service person will identify with the stories of special operators whose aircraft landed at a diverted airfield. The second is due to the fact that Bomber Command personnel went from hero to zero at war’s end. Thankfully, that gross error has been corrected but Harrington has the issue addressed and objectively as well as poignantly. To say that Janine can write about RAF Group 100 is a bit like saying the Queen has poise. Harrington was borne to her work with her father MIA over Europe’s war-torn skies never to be recovered. Since that time she has served to record the unit’s history and service personnel recollections. She is also the secretary of the RAF 100 Group Association.

Aside from the plethora of gems found within Harrington’s writing, personal accounts and images regarding the war there are Easter eggs. One is the pilot’s account of flying is Hawker Hunter beneath Tower Bridge and why (an incredible series of events). Another is the remembrance walking seven miles to enjoy and egg (such was the want of fresh food as well as for a bit of company). One other is the chapter devoted to the USAAF’s 36th Bomb Squadron Radar Counter Measure Unit (of the Mighty Eighth Air Force).

Absolutely get this book since it will substantially enhance a WW II library collection as well as aviation electronic warfare specialization.

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Third from the left…

Left to Right: Wg Cdr A M ‘Sticky’ Murphy, Flt Lt J Curd, Fg Off J L Joynson, Flt Lt D J Griffiths, Sqn Ldr Phil Russell, Fg Off A C Cockayne, Flt Lt T A ‘Tommy’ Smith, Fg Off E L Heath, WO K V ‘Scarper’ Rann, Flt Lt R J Reid, Flt Lt W ‘Bill’ Gregory, Lt J H Christie NAF, Plt Off G S ‘George’ Sutcliffe, Fg Off D J Atherton, Flt Sgt F D ‘Freddie’ Howes, Fg Off J R ‘Paul’ Beaudet RCAF, Plt Off R Neil RNZAF, Flt Sgt J H Chessel, Fg Off A L Berry RNZAF, Flt Sgt Alex Wilson, Flt Sgt Don Francis, Flt Lt ‘Buddy’ Badley, Flt Sgt T ‘Tommy’ Barr, Fg Off K M ‘Kit’ Cotter RNZAF, Flt Sgt J W Thompson, Flt Sgt P H ‘Jock’ Devlin, Flt Sgt J ‘Jimmy’ Weston, Fg Off J E Spetch, Flt Lt T A ‘Tommy’ Ramsay RNZAF, Flt Sgt E C ‘Benny’ Goodman, Flt Sgt J ‘Jimmy’ Gawthorne, Flt Sgt S F ‘Sid’ Smith.

Source of caption

 

 

Third from the left

Third from the left… Flight Lieutenant “Johnny” Joynson

October 1944

Posted 5 years ago…

A comment left a few days ago…
I was wondering if you have come across any references to my uncle, John Joynson, who appears in one of the photographs on this blog, and who was sadly killed in action on 28th October 1944. Any information would be gratefully received.

RAF 23 Squadron

Group picture taken at Little Snoring.

Collection George Stewart
High resolution
Click on the image

Right on the nose…

Diane, please write…

Pierre

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George Cross – A Wartime Log

1

The Prisoner of War Diary of my father George Cross, who was an Observer/Navigator with his Pilot Jock Irving in his 23 Squadron de Havilland Mosquito on the night of 30th September, 1944 when things went wrong at the end of another successful Intruder mission over Nazi Germany. Please watch, enjoy and share

Remembering Lloyd William Brown (1913-2017)

Eugene Gagnon knew this staff pilot and instructor at Paulson, Manitoba.

British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Lloyd William Brown was a staff pilot in Paulson, Manitoba.

Remembering…

LLOYD WILLIAM BROWN February 28, 1913 – May 8, 2017 Lloyd Brown passed away peacefully at Riverview Health Centre. He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Alice; his sons, Richard (Judy) and Bill. Left to mourn his loss are his grandchildren, Sarah (Keith), Craig (Laura), Glen (Laura), Justin and Andrew, as well as his great-grandchildren, Colleen and Kyle McConnell and Cailan and Camille Brown. Lloyd was born on a large farm just outside of Winnipeg’s West perimeter. He had many happy memories of his time on the farm, helping his parents, Peter and Emma, playing with his four siblings and skating on Sturgeon Creek. One of the greatest highlights in Lloyd’s life was during the Second World War when he was a Flight Lieutenant, training hundreds of airmen. His postings included many areas of Canada and England.

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Remembering Bentley and Causeway

Second row: Bentley and Causeway

Luca Piancastelli sent me this message before he found the 23 Squadron video I had edited a few years ago.

This is the report on the crash of the Mosquito. Since I worked for the Tribunal on many aircraft crashes in recent years, the result is quite clear. Not only fog but also engine failure. 

For the fire I am not sure. If the Mosquito had the covers on ejector exhausts, then the fire is sure. If not the  Merlin at high rpm (single enginel operation) made quite long flames.

Best

After looking at the footage Luca had found his answer.

 


This is what he wrote me…

Facts

The grave of the crew has the propeller on it (in very good condition, it was not powered at the impact).

The propeller came directly from the crash site.

Due to the good condition of the propeller, at the moment of the crash the Mosquito had an engine not working (probably with feathered propeller).

The glow seen by the witnesses in the very thick fog is probably due to a fire onboard. The people heard the noise first and then saw the fire.

The Mosquito had covers on the exhaust to reduce signature in night operations, as it can be seen from numerous photographs of the 23 Squadron ( a detachment) that was based near Naples (Pomigliano). The flames from the exhaust very extremely attenuated even at night.

Therefore, the aircraft went down on fire with an engine stopped (no power).

The fog was (only) a collateral (big) problem.

You may correct the cause of the crash.

The crash time was taken from the watch of the Pilot (see the letter in the first doc I sent you). This hour can be clearly seen on the grave and was confirmed by the witnesses.

They were on the route back.

They had full moon.

On 11-12 November 1943 the Full moon was visible: 100%

Source: https://www.calendar-12.com/moon_calendar/1943/november​


Comments

They may took a hit or they could have had an engine failure. Fire is possible in petrol engines. The same aircraft had a previous aborted mission due to engine failure.

Typically you see the hill of San Marino coming out on a see of fog, if there is enough moon (it happened at night-full moon).

This is a clear reference point for the navigator, clearly visible on the maps.

They may have tried an emergency landing due to the fire (the Mosquito flew “perfectly” on a single engine) or the “wooden wonder” may had a structural problem due to the fire.

Best Piancas

Luca Piancastelli

Professor

DIN University of Bologna

viale Risorgimento,2

40136 Bologna

ITALY


Luca added these images of the funeral of Bentley and Causeway…

Epilogue

Dear all, here is my final report on the accident with new figures and the proof that the Mosquitos of the 23 Squadron at Pomigliano had flame suppressors installed.

I will send it to the ASN aircraft incident Archive to rectify the cause from “fog” to “fog and fire”.

The same Mosquito had a previous full engine stop with aborted mission on de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB Mk VI HX869​. With any probability the engine has been replaced in that occasion. Standard procedure was to replace both engines to avoid big differences in thrust if the remaining engine is old. Ground and flight tests were carried out for this purpose. Therefore, we do not know if a single engine was replaced or if the two engines were replaced. If the two engines were replaced it is possible that the original Merlin Mark was upgraded or modified due to avaliability.

Therefore, my research on Merlin mark is finished. I will write on my scientific papers only Merlin XX, instead of Merlin 21,23 or 25.

Thank you for your contributions to my work.

Best

Piancas

Notes on the Crash of 1943 Mosquito San Marino_Final-1

Donald Hepworth Bentley

This post was written in 2013.

http://wp.me/pSrQ4-Ob

Luca commented this week using the contact form.

I am a professor from the University of Bologna. I make a few works on the engine (the left one?) of the Mosquito of Flight Sergeant Bentley. I was looking for the exact type of the engine (Merlin 21, 23 or 25). In this research I collected a few docs and the exact (maybe) story of the crash. If you like, I can send you the material I have. In any case, I am looking for a contact with an historian of the RAF 23 Squadron.
Can you help me?
Best regards
Luca Piancastelli
DIN – Aerospace div.
viale Risorgimento,2
40136 Bologna
Italy

Night Mosquitoes

Most informative!

Weapons and Warfare

November 1944 saw the same pattern of operations with bomber support and night and day Intruder and Ranger patrols. No. 85 Squadron continued its run of success with a superb individual effort during a night Intruder on 4/5 November when Bomber Command’s main thrust was against Bochum, with smaller raids on the Dortmund–Ems Canal and on Hanover. Three Bf 110s were claimed shot down, one each by Wing Commander K. H. P. Beauchamp and Flying Officer Mony of 157 Squadron, Flight Lieutenants N. W. Young and R. H. Siddons of 239 Squadron, and Squadron Leader Tim Woodman and Flying Officer Arthur F. Witt of 169 Squadron. Bf 110 of II/NJG1 was shot down at 1900 hours at a height of 20,000 ft (6,100 metres). Unteroffizier Gustav Sario, the pilot, was injured and baled out. Unteroffizier Heinrich Conrads, the radar operator and Obergefreiter Roman Talarowski, the air gunner, were both killed…

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