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F540 Operations Record Book April 1957 NO 4 SQUADRON.
RAF Museum Hendon. Holds 2nd copy of F540 1945 to 1970.
PLACE DATE TIME SUMMARY OF EVENTS                     COMPILING OFFICER   __Flying Officer I. Madelin.___ Refs
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R.A.F. JEVER 1.4.57      Blue sky, sunny - but these conditions were somewhat marred by haze which delayed
the start of flying until 09.45.  Thereafter flying continued until the end of the day.
The main exercise was practice interceptions with four under ground control.  In addition
there was a low - level strike and some cine pairs.  One of the Squadron pilots went to
Detmold today for a three day visit with the 3rd Tank Regiment.
                                           22   SORTIES            15:45  HOURS
  2.4.57      The warm clear weather continued and flying was mainly in the form of high level
tactical formations and dog fights.  Not unnaturally, the Squadron Commander these days gets
a steady stream of requests for Hunter Six trips, from pilots on the other half of the
Wing, - and fortunately we are usually able to comply.  Night flying for the Squadron
was a fairly all - out effort, involving ten pilots and continuing until after one o'clock.
                                             DAY      26   SORTIES         20:10  HOURS
                                        NIGHT      18   SORTIES         12:10  HOURS
  3.4.57      Tomorrow the Squadron is to provide eight aircraft on Exercise Argus, landing at
Gros Tonquin in N.E. France and striking Koblenz on the way out and Goch on the return.
In order to prepare the aircraft, flying this morning was restricted to three sorties.
                                                     3   SORTIES         2:15  HOURS
  4.4.57      Weather at Gros Tonquin caused our original plan for Argus to be cancelled.  Instead
we were given an alternative mission, with a triangular flight plan including a strike on
Goch, and then returning to base.  The timing was at first changeable, but when it was
finally fixed for the afternoon, the eight aircraft were switched to normal flying.  These
deliberations delayed the start of flying until 09.30, but in due course our part in the
exercise went according to plan.
                                                          36   SORTIES         27:15  HOURS
  5.4.57      The summery weather continues, and most of the ground crew are managing to acquire
a suntan  However morning haze caused the airfield to open Amber 3 until 10.00 hrs,
when full flying was allowed.  It was revealed yesterday that Hunter Sixes are cleared
to fire air to ground - an announcement which pleased the pilots more than somewhat.  The
Squadron lost no time in taking advantage of this, and there was a sortie of dummy dives
in the Hunter and a number of sorties of dummies with P.A.I.s in the T.11.  Since we
are almost pioneering this role of the Hunter, the techniques have still to be decided on,
and the air is thick with arguments on dive angles, ranges, and gravity drop of high
velocity ammo.
                                             25   SORTIES         18:15  HOURS
  6.4.57      More startling announcements, First, the Squadron is to provide eight aircraft at
the end of the month, to take part in an air to ground fire - power demonstration which
is being filmed for television.  Each aircraft will fire four guns armed with high
explosive, high velocity ammo.  The crew room discussion has now extended to include
another topic - the possible height of ricochet.  Secondly, and rather far more reaching
it was announced that the armed forces of the United Kingdom are to be drastically
reduced - mainly as an economy measure and supposedly to bring them more into line
with the techniques of modern warfare.  The Second Tactical Air Force will be cut almost
by half, and the brunt of this will be borne by the day fighter Squadrons.  Unhappily
two of the squadrons on the Wing are to be disbanded, though the fourth is not affected.
                                                        NIL   SORTIES            NIL  HOURS
  8.4.57      In spite of fine weather, there was no flying since all the pilots spent the day
visiting the local radar ground control and reporting site.
                                                   NIL   SORTIES            NIL  HOURS
  9.4.57      A full flying day; weather continues warm and sunny.  Exercises included high level
battle formation and low level strikes  However the accent is still on air to ground -
firing live and demonstration trips with a P.A.I. in the T.11, and practicing dummy
patterns in the Hunter.
                                             39   SORTIES         28:35  HOURS
  10.4.57      The ground crew were forced to hide their suntans under winter overalls as the cold
weather returned.  Flying consisted of three details of high level battle formation and
some pairs of dummy air to ground attacks at Meppen.  The pilots assembled in Wing H.Q.
at 12.00 hours for a briefing on exercise 'Synthex Guest' which is being held tomorrow.
The Squadron is operating in the I.D.F. role the hours are from 8.00 to 17.00.
                                                    18   SORTIES         12:10  HOURS
  11.4.57      From the Squadron point of view, the Exercise was not very exciting.  A good deal of
our time was spent at stand - by.  Throughout the day, only four details were scrambled
these were mainly used for standing patrols,  and found very little trade about.
In the meantime, air to ground preparations continue.  Seven sorties of dummy attacks
were flown at Meppen; and the armourers are kept very busy harmonising packs and
                                                       21   SORTIES         15:55  HOURS
  12.4.57      An unstable northerly airstream ; straight from the North Pole; brought occasional
heavy snow showers during the day.  Fortunately the snow did not lie, but it stopped
flying for three hours over noon.  Four pairs went to Meppen for live firing and the
rest of the programme consisted of cine and aerobatics.
                                                      25   SORTIES         17:10  HOURS
  13.4.57      Following complaints by the pilots about the ground control during Thursday's
exercise, Wing Commander A. Shaw appeared at Met briefing with some of his Flight
Commanders and controllers, to answer criticisms and to explain some of the problems
which are involved.  The main one is the amount of early warning of an approaching
raider which is needed, in order to guarantee a chance of interception by defending
fighters.  This explained why he found it necessary to use airborne patrols - a
procedure which the pilots find somewhat boring.  It is intended in future to affiliate
Flights at 101 Signals Unit with squadrons on the Wing, and it is hoped that this liaison
will be mutually helpful.  There was no flying after this, and pilots devoted the rest
of this morning to secondary duties.
                                                         NO   SORTIES         NO  HOURS
  15.4.57      After a first detail of high level battle formation the Squadron settled down to a
steady programme of pairs firing air to ground.  Unfortunately the range safety officer
was rather late to arrive and the first two details were committed to making dummy
attacks.  There were nine details during the day, and in addition some sorties of manual
flying, practice pans and practice forced landings.  The present stoppage rate is a
noteworthy 1338.  The Station seven - a - side tournament is shortly to be held and
the Squadron Sports officer usually manages to herd a few pilots and airmen out on the
pitch every evening for practice.
                                                  30   SORTIES                   21:05  HOURS
  16.4.57      Air to ground practice continues.  Since the demonstration involves only eight
aircraft there is not time to checkout the newer pilots.  They are somewhat hard done
by on the present programme but are allocated all the flying apart from the firing
sorties.  A threat of bad weather caused night flying to be scrubbed.
                                                 23   SORTIES         15:55  HOURS
  17.4.57      The Squadron is to be attached to APS Sylt for air to air gunnery for the month of
August.  As usual the announcement rather played havoc with the leave chart, but every-
one is agreed that August is quite a good month for being at Sylt.  We learnt today that
another attachment, which we had been looking forward to, was cancelled.  This was to
have been an exchange with the French Air Force at Dijon for 10 days in June.  On the
flying side today, a risk of fog kept the airfield Amber 3 until 0945, and thereafter
fall flying continued for the rest of the day, - almost entirely in the form of air to
ground, live and dummy.
                                             28   SORTIES         18:40  HOURS
  18.4.57      No air to ground, and for the first time in a week the programme was devoted to
high level battle formation.  Three details of this were flown with four solo aerobatic
sorties.  The airfield closed at midday for the Easter week-end, and will re-open
                                             15   SORTIES         12:20  HOURS
  23.4.57      Having dispersed as far afield as the North of France, and the Dutch Islands, the
Squadron re-assembled this morning after a refreshing week-end  The weather has been
warm, clear and sunny, and continued so today.  A serious defect report, involving the
inspection of the bracket carrying the rudder lever bearing, delayed the start of
flying until 10.00 hrs.  After this, a high level four and a solo aircraft were flown
for the rest of the day, - mainly by the pilots who have not been practicing air to
ground recently.  There were also some sorties of instrument flying in the T.11 with
one of the Squadron I.R.E.s.
                                                   24   SORTIES              18:05  HOURS
  24.4.57      Flying ceased at 11.00 ours, which gave us time to fly four details of air to ground.
After this, the C in C Air Marshal The Earl of Bandon C.B. C.V.O. D.S.O. (who has now been assigned to F.E.A.F.) called to make a farewell visit.  He spoke to the airmen of
Flying Wing and thanked them for their help.  Then following a brief visit to the
Sergeants' Mess he came to the Officers' Mess for what turned out to be an uproarious
lunch.  After this he was towed on a hand cart in procession led by the station jazz
band, back to his aircraft.  The 4 Squadron rocket team fired a parting salute with
'Lomg Tom' as the devon lined up for take off.  He was known and well liked by everyone
in the Command, and it is regretted that he could not complete his tour in 2nd A.T.A.F.

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Farewell to the CinC Air Marshal The Earl of Bandon C.B. C.V.O. D.S.O. (who had then been
assigned to F.E.A.F.), the "Abandoned Earl", Outside Officers' Mess on his way to his
aircraft to depart- 24Apr57.   
Decode: 1. Earl of Bandon, 2. Olaf Bergh, 3. Bush Barrey, 4. W/C Harrington,
5. W/C Woodward, 6. Dave Ferguson, 7. Bill Brewer, 8. Fred Dawson, 9. Pete Bradley,
10. Pete Barrow, 11. John Hawtin, 12. Gordon Talbot, 13. Paddy Minnis, 14. Unknown,
15. Paddy Hipperson, 16. Padre Fullerton.
(Thanks to Gladys Watson and John Hawtin)  (Not in F540).

                                                             7   SORTIES         5:00  HOURS
  25.4.57      A continuous programme of air to ground firing in pairs all day  The Squadron also
provided the range safety officer.
                                                     22   SORTIES       14:20  HOURS
  26.4.57      The schedule of flying in preparation for our coming air to ground fire power
demonstration is now almost complete.  There were a few sorties today, but flying was
mainly devoted to high level battle formations practicing the use of 'green salad' - a device
for homing on to jamming aircraft.  The Squadron air to ground average is now 19.5, and
the stoppage rate has settled steadily around 741.  A threat of unsuitable weather caused
night flying to be cancelled.  A re-allocation of Squadron Duties will come into effect
from 1st May, 1957, the new Squadron Adjutant is to be Flying Officer F.R. Dawson; the
compiler of this record will be Flying Officer I. Carr.
                                                    34   SORTIES         24:30  HOURS
  27.4.57      There is shortly to be a Command M.T. efficiency award, and the Station Commander
inspected all Squadron vehicles this morning in preparation for this.  Since he was
rather dissatisfied with the turnout, most of the Wing is committed to spending the
week-end at work.
                                          NO   SORTIES         NO  HOURS
  28.4.57      Both pilots and ground crew spent the day working in shifts on the Squadrons M.T.
vehicles, to prepare them for another inspection tomorrow morning.  It was warm and sunny.
                                                NO   SORTIES         NO  HOURS
  29.4.57      The Squadrons M.T. vehicles lined up for inspection early this morning in pristine
condition - much to the disquiet of the Station M.T. Officer, whose vehicles must stand
beside ours for the Command Inspection.  On the flying side, very low cloud and bad
visibility dictated colour state 'red'.  At midday, pairs of experienced pilots were
allowed off to practice G.C.As.  The weather improved gradually during the afternoon
and was fit for night flying by the evening.  The Squadron flew three details, the last
aircraft landing at 23.00.  The comet 'Arend - Roland' making its first brief appearance
since the beginning of the century looked very impressive in the northern sky.
                                                DAY SORTIES   20          13:55  HOURS
                                           NIGHT SORTIES   11             7:55  HOURS
  30.4.57      The C.O. and 'B' Flight Commander attended a briefing at Gutersloh this morning for
the coming fire power demonstration, and they were rather taken aback to learn that it
is to be held tomorrow.  Since, at the start of today, we had just one aircraft
serviceable, and the demonstration requires a minimum of eight aircraft, it was necessary
to stop flying mid-day in order to complete our preparations.
                                                9   SORTIES              7:35  HOURS
(J. R. CHAPMAN)                 
Squadron Leader,               
Officer Commanding          
Number 4 Squadron