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F540 Operations Record Book January 1954.
RAF Museum Hendon. Holds 2nd copy of F540 1945 to 1970.

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R.A.F. JEVER. 1.1.54.   A New Year brought with it low stratus, mist, and a temperature well below freezing
point.   The thin layer of snow had frozen and left the runway and taxi tracks very
slippery indeed.   The only sortie made was a runway check.
                                Vampire 1 Sortie    .15 hours.
  2.1.54.   Today the officers of the squadron travelled to Hamburg, to pay their last respects to
the late Plt. Off. Stacey.   The service was held in the crematorium chapel, a drab
little room which impressed no one favourably, seeming to hold a gloomy, rather than
solemn, atmosphere.
[Editor: Colin Cummings book "Last Take-Off" reports: "28Dec53 Vampire FB.5 WA167 4 Sqn
South of Soltau, Germany.   Control was lost in a cu-nim and the aircraft dived into the ground
killing Pilot Officer Derek Bernard Stacey aged 23."]
  4.1.54   "A" Flight pilots took their positions in the Battle Flight dispersals, but the only
flying done was a weather check, which brought back unfavourable reports.
                                                Vampire 1 Sortie       .45 hours.
  5.1.54.   The absence of low cloud made it possible to carry out R/P and Air to Ground firing on
Meppen Range.   However, a crosswind of 20 knots on the Range was rather troublesome
and, although the R/P scores were a slight improvement on those of last week, the A/G
results were shocking.   Night flying took place, but the projected landings away
were cancelled, mainly due to the non-availability of the G.C.A. at Ahlhorn.
                                   Vampire 46 Sorties 31.35hours.
                                 Meteor 7  Sorties       5.15 hours.
  6.1.54   Low cloud and snowstorms made flying impossible except for one weather check.   In
the afternoon six pilots travelled to Oldenburg to carry out dinghy drill in the
swimming pool.   This unlike the one at Jever, is indoors.   Weaklings!
                                  Vampire 1 Sortie   .30 hours.
R.A.F. JEVER. 7.1.54   The weather improved after lunch, and it was possible to fly a few sorties in the late
afternoon.   A Battle Flight formation was split for paired P.I.s, and although we
seemed to be quite often in the dark to "Welfare" the interceptions were quite
reasonable.   The Meteor was used to give Fg. Off. Bridson a check out for back seat
                                              Vampire 11 Sorties  8.35 hours.
                                              Meteor    2   Sorties  2.00 hours.
  8.1.54   Snake climbs to 30,000ft. were followed by simulated fluid battle formations,
involving crossovers, turn abouts and other intricate manoeuvres.   Unfortunately, these
were carried out at condensation level , and many and varied were the comments expressed
by the people who viewed the whole proceedings from the ground.   Use was made of
Ahlhorn's G.C.A. by a few pilots.   It is quite a long time since any G.C.A. practise
was carried out, as previously the nearest station having this facility was Wunstorf.
                                                 Vampire 28 Sorties  22.40 hours.
                                                 Meteor    4   Sorties     3.40 hours.
  9.1.54   After a lecture by the S.A.T.C.O. it was decided that the bad weather was here to stay,
and, therefore, flying would not take place in the afternoon.
  10.1.54.   Everyone tumbled from their beds on this fine Sunday morning, and climbed heavenwards
to carry out high level battle formations and tailchases.   Also, a number of low level
trips were made, and in all, quite a few hours were logged before flying was rendered
impossible by frequent sleet showers and low clouds.
                                                 Vampire 25 Sorties     17.35 hours.
                                                 Meteor    3   Sorties      2.30 hours.
R.A.F.JEVER 11.1.54   Despite ice on the runway we flew fast and furiously until the early afternoon, when the
cloud base dropped to about 100 ft.   Shortly after this happened, Flt. Lt. Love, the Air
Traficator, was amazed and horrified to hear 19 Squadron calling for a homing.   They
were scheduled to stay overnight at Jever, but were diverted to Ahlhorn, where the
cloud base was way up at 200 ft.
                                                  Vampire 26 Sorties 15.35 hours.
                                                  Meteor    2   Sorties   1.35 hours.
  12.1.54.   Oldenburg was unable to use Meppen Range, so a range programme was planned for us.
Of course, the weather succeeded in ruining all our plans.   However, a few R/P and A/G
sorties were flown before the cloud over Meppen dropped to 500 ft.   When that happened,
the rockets were removed and local sorties were flown.
                                               Vampire 32 Sorties     20.50 hours.
  13.1.54   As the weather forecast for the day was really shocking, we were allowed to stand down
in order to study for the Promotion Exams in February.
  14.1.54   Eight aircraft were provided for today's Battle Flight as there was a "Barrage"
exercise.   However, only two scrambles came through, and the only targets seen were
two N.F. 11's.   A formation of 4 aircraft carried out a dusk sortie, and then it
was decided that the conditions were unfit for night-flying.
                                        Vampire  13   Sorties  8.15 hours.
  15.1.54   A Radar Lecture was given by Flt. Lt. Wright ("Wilbur" to one and all, for some
unknown reason!)   The afternoon was free for further promotion Exams study.
R.A.F. JEVER 16.1.54   As the actual and forecast weather conditions are unfavourable, a navigation lecture,
and a film entitled "Evasion" were presented.
  18.1.54   "A" Flight provided the aircraft and pilots for Battle Flight, and were fortunate in being
scrambled 4 times.   Meteors, cruising at approximately .74 Mach, were the targets on
two of these scrambles - unfair to our faithful old steeds!   The remainder of the
flying effort was mainly high and low level battle formations, with a few aerobatic
sorties too.   One of the latter provided the opportunity for Fg. Off. Bridson to shine.
After having a flame out, he carried out a successful wheels down landing on the runway,
with no damage to the aircraft - an excellent show.
                                               Vampire 33 Sorties     23.45 hours.
                                               Meteor    5   Sorties        3.25 hours.
  19.1.54   WE took advantage of the inclement weather to pay a visit to "Welfare" G.C.I. station.
This was most interesting and, after seeing the antiquated equipment with which they
must work, one could only marvel that successful interceptions are accomplished!   They
cope very well in difficult circumstances.
  20.1.54   There was a full and varied programme, consisting of snake climbs, high and low level
formations, cine parallel quarter attacks and individual sorties.   Fg. Off. Bridson
returned to Ahlhorn the Meteor T.7 which they had loaned us, and, for his pains, was
rewarded with a return trip in the navigator's seat of a N.F.11.
                                             Vampire   38 Sorties     32.05 hours.
                                             Meteor      2   Sorties   2.00 hours.
R.A.F. JEVER 21.1.54   High level battle formation at 30,000 ft. accounted for a large number of our daylight
sorties.   Some of the night flying trips involved an away landing at Wunstorf.   Fg. Off.
stayed overnight when his aircraft went u/s- fortunately, as he had no
small kit, he was able to return to Jever the next day.
                                            Vampire  52  Sorties    35.05 hours.
  22.1.54   Battle Flight were scrambled time and again - as soon as the aircraft were refuelled,
the dread word would ring out - "Standby" !   Most enjoyable, but rather tiring.
A few sorties were flown to Wunstorf, where practice G.C.A's were carried out.   Low
Level formations shattered the silence of the North German countryside, and carried
out dummy rocket attacks.
                                                Vampire  43  Sorties    31.00 hours.
  23.1.54   After the Station Commander's parade, the aircraft were fitted with drop tanks, and
a formation of 8 made a tour of BAOR at 20,000ft.   The visibility was very good, and
made for a most pleasant trip.   Almost as pleasant as the live show in the evening
- white girls !!
                                               Vampire 16  Sorties    28.35 hours.
  25.1.54   Apart from one or two air tests, all the sorties flown were to Meppen Range, where
rockets were fired with gay abandon, judging by the results.
                                            Vampire  38  Sorties     24.40 hours.
  26.1.54   It was an excellent day for flying, but bitterly cold - without doubt our cockpits
were the most pleasant place.   We managed to cram in four sorties during the morning
and three in the afternoon.   From our point of view it seemed as if Group were
singularly enterprising as they split us into pairs on all except an occasion when
some Meteor aircraft were intercepted.   On the whole we managed to fly quite a
number of sorties.
                                                     Vampire  48 Sorties   38.00 hours.
R.A.F. JEVER 27.1.54   The Squadron spent most of the day at Meppen Range firing air to ground.   At first
the cloud base was rather low but it soon cleared.   However bumpy conditions persisted
all day which accounted for there being no high scores.
                                                        Vampire  16 Sorties     13.50 hours.
  28.1.54   Battle Flight was again characteristically boring but was coloured to a certain extent
when we made attacks against the airfield the benefit of the RAF Regiment.   The P.I's
were ludicrously poor and the G.C.I. weapon seemed to be perpetually bent.
                                                        Vampire      41 Sorties              34.40 hours.
  29.1.54   Flying today was devoted to general Squadron training including low flying and co-
ordinated attacks at height.   One aircraft hit the ground just after retraction of
the undercarriage on take off, but remained airborne and was landed safely again.   We
have managed to pack a few hours into the past few days and the Squadron was stood down
until Monday.
                                                    Vampire 31 Sorties     24.15 hours.

Despite the poor weather conditions, we have managed to better the flying target based
on available manpower.   The ground crews should be congratulated in helping to make
this possible by their sterling efforts in sub zero temperatures.
          A greater number of sorties than in previous months were devoted to high level
formations, probably to acclimatise us to the upper atmosphere, where Sabres operate.
In this aspect, our training should have been enhanced by the Battle Flights, but the
poor standard of interceptions did little other than cause pilot frustration.   We
quite realise that the G.C.I. equipment is rather old and a number of the controllers are
rather new, but even so, the standard is low.

                     Monthly Totals

        Vampire      542       Sorties     415.40   Hours
        Meteor    25              Sorties       20.25    Hours
      Compiled by..AESanders......    Fg. Off.              Authorised By. .PWGilpin....   Sqn. Ldr.
                          (A.E.SANDERS)                                                       (P.W.GILPIN)
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