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…
View original post 2,536 more words
de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito T.Mk.III (TV959) is currently a work in progress at the Flying Heritage Collection (FHC) located at Paine Field, Washington. This particular one is currently the third flying Mosquito example (with more to follow) and the second reconstructed and restored to flight by Avspecs Ltd. in New Zealand (FB.Mk.26 fighter bomber KA114 being the first in 2013 and now based in Norfolk, Virginia in the Jerry Yagen collection. There is also a flying B.35 bomber variant, VR796 in British Columbia, Canada that was rebuilt and restored by Victoria Air Maintenance Ltd. to flight in 2014 for Bob Jens).
Checking Out the FHC Mosquito
This week I was at FHC with a fellow aviation enthusiast to take a look at the progress of TV959 and meet the Avspecs crew from New Zealand who are helping put TV959 back into flying…
View original post 506 more words
This is a group picture from Theo Griffiths’ collection of memorabilia. It has the names on it to pay homage to some of them.
I wonder how many survived the war.
Sergt. W.F. Price, Sergt. E.J. Oboldstone. Sergt. L.D. Hayter, Sergt. R. Sullivan,
Sergt. T. Griffiths, Sergt. C.C. Adams, L.A.P. Nowlan,
Sergt. D.M. Selby, Sergt. J.R. Coote, Sergt. N. Sisley, F/O J.E. Morris, Sergt. J.H. Scott, Sergt. L.R.C. Lasham, Sergt. C.H. Curl,
P/O D.O. Norcott. F/O W.R. Wells, F/L M.H.A. Phillips, S/Ldr I.T. de K. Bocock,
F/L B.T. Brigg, F/O A.G. Woods, P/O A.D. Somerville
Collection Theo Griffiths DFC
Courtesy Richard Cooper
We all know about Theo Griffiths who became a Mosquito pilot with 23 Squadron, won a DFC, and survived the war.
Theo is in the last row.
He was with No. 51 O.T.U. which is an Operation Training Unit of the RAF.Theo’s logbook says he was there in December 1942.
His Squadron Leader was I.T. de K. Bocock according to the caption.
Squadron Leader Ian Maxwell Theodore De Kaap Bocock did not survive the war.
Click above for the PDF
I found this information in the history of 605 Squadron.
The first operational sorties with the Mosquito Mk II took place on the 10th March 1943, but alas it was not an auspicious start with the new machines as Fl Lt Mike Olley AFC and his navigator W/O Vipond were killed on an intruder sortie to Tours. The Squadron log wrote of the men :-
“F/Lt M.G. Olley, apart from being an absolutely first class pilot and an exceptional instructor, was a man of great personal charm and was very good company. His keenness and eager desire to stop the Hun (which were probably his undoing) set a fine example to the other members of the Squadron. W/O H. Vipond was the same sort of NCO that F/Lt Olley was an officer – quiet, efficient and keen. Equally tall, they were a well matched pair.”
S/Ldr de Bocock had the unenviable distinction of being the first pilot to be wounded in combat since the Squadron reformed when he sustained a slight arm injury to his arm on 24th March, when his aircraft was shot up quite badly by flak over Deelen. Not to be overshadowed his navigator, Sgt Brown received a grazed hand during the same flight. On 26th March the Squadron received a limited supply of long range fuel tanks which increased the fuel capacity by 150 gallons, which allowed S/Ldr de Bocock to fly his aircraft on a five hour patrol to Stavanger on the Norwegian coast on the 8th April.
On the 24th April S/Ldr I.M.T. de Bocock and Sgt R. Brown were killed when their Mosquito dived into the ground at Housedean Farm near Lewes, Sussex, the cause of the accident was unknown. S/Ldr de Bocock was a South African, having been posted supernumerary to the Squadron on 1st February 1943 and by his persistence and anxiety to engage the enemy had done much to increase the fighting spirit of the whole Squadron. He had been in the RAF since 1933 and above all he was an excellent comrade, always willing to impart his very wide knowledge of service procedure and flying experiences in a most charming manner to anyone in need of help. There is no doubt that his death was a great loss not only to 605 but to the whole service to which he had devoted his life. Sgt Brown, despite not having been in the Squadron for long was a quiet and self contained man and shared in his pilot’s determination to engage and destroy the enemy.
This is post no. 384, and the end of the beginning of this blog about RAF 23 Squadron.
I will repost for you the first article I wrote in 2010 so you won’t have to search for it…
This blog about RAF 23 Squadron wasn’t meant to pay homage only to a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot from Bromptonville, Quebec, a small town in the Eastern Townships.
Eugène Gagnon DFC
Since 2010, a 84 year-old man had been trying to convince the people of Bromptonville to pay homage to Eugène Gagnon, a hometown boy, who had died in a plane crash near Windsor Mills on October 21st, 1947. Eugène had never talked much about what he did in the war with the RCAF let alone with the RAF.
Eugène Gagnon was like a brother to Marcel Bergeron.
In 2010, Marcel asked for my help to find more about his war hero when he was just 14 years-old. At first he didn’t not have much information to go on, only Eugène’s discharge papers…
And a knock on the door of a World War Two veteran.
This is really how this blog started. A knock on a door!
First post April 5, 2010
This could be the start of the amazing story of the airmen of a forgotten squadron in Little Snoring.
Please leave a comment…
Picture taken in 1945 before the squadron was disbanded (Courtesy Tom Cushing via Peter Smith)
No. 23 Squadron formed at Fort Grange, Gosport on 1 Sep 1915 under the command of one of the RAF’s most experienced operational pilots – Captain Louis Strange. After a brief period attempting to counter German airship flights over London, the Squadron moved to France with its FE2Bs initially employed on escort duties. By early 1917, Spad single-seaters had arrived, and were being used on offensive patrols. By the end of the War, the Squadron had converted to Dolphins, and flew these until disbanded at the end of 1919.
On 1 July 1925, No. 23 Squadron reformed at Henlow with Snipes, but these were replaced shortly after with Gloster Gamecocks. In 1931, the Squadron was tasked with carrying out trials on the new Hawker Hart two-seaters, taking the production version, known as Demons, on strength in 1933. It wasn’t until late 1938 that the squadron received its first monoplanes in the form of Blenheims, and these were used as night-fighters in the early days of World War II whilst based at Wittering. In 1941, Havocs replaced the Blenheims, and these were used with great success in the intruder role, until themselves replaced by the Mosquito in mid-1942. At the end of the year, the squadron moved to Malta in support of allied operations in the Mediterranean before returning to the UK in 1944.
In September 1945, the Squadron had disbanded, reforming a year later at Wittering with Mosquito night-fighters. By late 1953, Venom night fighters had joined the Squadron, before Javelin all-weather supersonic fighters replaced these in 1957. In 1964, the Lightning replaced the Javelin, and it was with this classic aircraft that the squadron continued until Phantoms were received in late 1975, this coinciding with a moved to Wattisham in Suffolk. After the Falklands War in 1982, the Squadron occupied Port Stanley airfield until reduced to a Flight of four aircraft in 1988, reforming at Leeming with Tornado F3s. Defence cuts following the end of the Cold War saw the unit disbanded in March 1994. No. 23 Squadron was again reformed, this time as part of the Waddington AEW Wing in 1996, sharing not only the aircraft with the already established No. 8 Squadron, but operational duties in Europe and the Gulf.
The Squadron was officially disbanded on 2 Oct 2009.
This Squadron has been virtually reformed…
If you have any information about 23 Squadron and you wish to share what you know, you can contact me using this form.
Remembering since 2010…
Where Tony Marks got his training…
This past weekend I had the privilege to sit down with two gentlemen, both veterans of World War II, and conduct oral history interviews with them. I have written before about the importance of oral histories, but these were the first actual interviews that I have done as the primary interviewer. The process was not completely new to me, as I have sat in on many interviews and in some cases helped conduct them, but this was a whole different experience. Both interviewees were very gracious and helpful. It can be an intimidating thing to invite a stranger into your home, sign legal release forms and then try to remember events of about 70 years ago. The gentlemen in question were both stationed at Cochran Army Airfield during World War II and their stories are remarkably different and yet share many commonalities. The most important thing about these stories however…
View original post 671 more words
In case you are not aware on ‘You Tube’ there is a short newsreel about 23 Squadron Havocs, it’s called:
Douglas DB-7 (A-20) Havoc Night Fighters
My Uncle’s crew flew all three of the aircraft shown, YP-T/W & S.