NO 4 SQUADRON - Form 540 May 1952
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F540 Operations Record Book May 1952 NO 4 SQUADRON.
PRO Kew No. AIR27 Piece 2590 Microfilm Row1 Draws 52-71




     The Squadron is about to move into its new hanger and only a little flying, mostly opposite quarters was done.
                                                                                                  10 sorties   9 hours 50 minutes





     The move to the new hanger kept us busy all day.
                                                                                                     1 sorties   1 hours 30 minutes





     Two new pilots arrived over the weekend, Pilot Officer's Keyser and Fletcher:   this is a very welcome addition to the depleted squadron.   Today they flew on dual checks; the rest of the squadron are busy packing.
                                                                        Vampire              5 sorties   2 hours
                                                                        Meteor                 3 sorties   1 hour    10 minutes


  6/5/52        Twelve aircraft, led by Squadron Leader Williamson, flew in formation to R.A.F. Duxford for a fortnight's spell of refresher training with Fighter Command.
                                                                                                   15 sorties  21 hours 30 minutes
  7/5/52                9 sorties     5 hours
  8/5/52        Interceptions began - P.I.'s against some Meteor 8's.   The standards of control here in U.K. is very good:   but to attack Meteors with Vampires tends to be somewhat difficult.   There was only one abortive sortie today when one of our sections failed to make contact with a heavy bomber force; there had been conflicting information about the target height.
                                                                                                   20 sorties    15 hours 55 minutes
R.A.F. DUXFORD 9/5/52        One flight of four, Silver, were launched against four Meteors of 64 Squadron, but just failed to make contact.   In the interval a second four had been launched and were nicely placed for an attack; Pink turned in and pressed home the attack:   now very successfully.   They were at .69 Mach in a tail chase behind the Meteor 8's, while themselves being attacked by Silver.
     Later, while Silver were doing P.I.'s Pink investigated a Meteor 4 and a very lively Mosquito 16.   The latter, a photo reconnaissance aircraft, was quietly boring a hole in the sky at 25,000 ft:   but as soon as he was attacked he turned about and fought vigorously, evidently thoroughly enjoying the encounter.
                                                                                                   18 sorties    14 hours 15 minutes
  There was no flying on three days, R.A.F. Duxford being stood down for 72 hours.  
  13/5/52        There were three sector operations today:   in the morning a flight of four went up for bomber affiliation with a Lincoln.   The target was "stooging" for us on straight courses at 20,000 ft.   The G.C.I. controller was apparently not very experienced and gave the fighters turns somewhat late:   several times the target passed almost directly underneath before the controller gave the turn on to attack.   Finally a section of Meteors cut in on our attacks, but, by the time the controller had sorted out the various aircraft, we were ordered off the Lincoln.   So, thwarted, we returned to base.
     First scramble after lunch took a four to 26,000 ft.   However, on the way up, contact was not established with G.C.I. until the target had been passed, and by the time control began to operate, it was too late to make good the interception.   On the second scramble our flight was vectored on to four Meteors, but for some curious reason was told to approach with caution.   This was done, with inevitable result that the attack could not be pressed home.   The Meteors nevertheless broke, down and away of course.
     Not to be satisfied with more camera work, the squadron began a programme of air to air firing.   It did not run very long, because our Meteor tug was delayed in starting, and the third man shot off the flag:   and that was that.
                                                                                                   33 sorties    22 hours 10 minutes
R.A.F. DUXFORD 14/5/52        We were due for a full air to air programme - but fog all over the sea canceled it, and an eight called for availability at 11.15 hours was also canceled.   Indeed, we only just managed a session of squadron formation practice.
                                                                                                   11 sorties      9 hours 00 minutes
  15/5/52        Today we were supposed to see Fighter Command demonstrating the latest technique in interceptor control, by means of a Fighter Marshal.   This exalted person, emulating his predecessor, the Master Bomber of Ruhr days, would call up his cohorts from right and left, and launch them with precision and co-ordination against the raiding forces.   The force was provided by the 2nd T.A.F. Squadrons at Duxford (24 aircraft) and by North Weald (12 aircraft).   We flew bomber type formation in stream at 25,000 feet from Antwerp to Braintree.   Only one formation of Meteors was seen.   They whizzed past without seeing us at 9 o'clock level, opposite headings, only a few hundred yards away.   Our top cover of F86's pounced on them eagerly: but the resultant fight was not observable from the bomber formation.
     A second raid - this time as a wide front target, the Vampire squadrons being line abreast - was flown, again at 25,000 feet from Amiens to Chelmsford.   This time many more Meteors came into attack; but their attacks were badly executed, finishing mostly as line astern tail chases with far too low an overtaking speed.   As each section of Meteors began to turn in, there were our excellent friends the F86 escort, streaming in to hack the Meteors out of the skies.   These beautiful aircraft are most happily named Sabres:   they flashed to and fro with graceful ease, cutting the interceptors to pieces.   The result of this test of the Fighter Marshal technique is not in doubt.
The test failed completely - probably due to the great congestion on the Marshall's control frequency, and perhaps a little because of the smallness of the Vampire.
     "It's damned difficult to see your aircraft" said a certain Wing Commander Flying.   "Perhaps I should not say so, but it is rather like fighting a naval action against a fleet of fishing smack...".   Much umbrage taken.
                                                                                                 23 sorties      32 hours 45 minutes
R.A.F. DUXFORD 16/5/52        A day mostly devoted to bomber affiliation work with a Lincoln.   G.C.I. control in England can be, and usually is, of a high standard.   Today for example, when a four went off for P.I.'s, first one, then two aircraft developed R/T trouble.   They both returned to base.   G.C.I., not a whit perturbed, asked the remaining section to continue to do P.I.'s at 22,000 feet, and gave them excellent vectors:   these interceptions - one Vampire against one Vampire - were entirely successful.
                                                                                                27 sorties      20 hours  10 minutes
  17/5/52        There was no commitment in the Sector for the Vampire squadrons.   Number 4 laid on a flypast by arrangement with Cranwell, and took eleven Vampires in formation over the College.
                                                                                                  14 sorties   13 hours   05 minutes
  19/5/52        There was a small amount of interception work.   Four sessions - three against a Lincoln "stooging" at 20,000 feet.   On each there was one controlled approach followed by free attacks.   On the second and third bomber affiliations, the Lincoln proved a doughty adversary, and took most evasive action, skillfully timed to upset the attackers' aim.
     The fourth session was practice interceptions - four in all:   three satisfactory and one very poor.   On this, the target was given at 12 o'clock 3 miles, when it was actually at half past two nearly 8 miles.   This may have been caused by the presence of a very large cunimb.
                                                                                                 22 sorties     21 hours  45 minutes
R.A.F. DUXFORD 20/5/52        There was time this morning for some formation practice before aircraft were grounded for fitting and testing drop tanks.
                                                                                                 10 sorties        8 hours 05 minutes
R.A.F. JEVER 21/5/52        The Squadron returned to R.A.F. Jever.
                                                                                                 17 sorties      22 hours 50 minutes
  22/5/52        We were busy today checking in our new pilots, two more from A.F.S., Pilot Officer Sanders and Pilot Officer Rickard - and two French officers, Second Lieutenant de Lacoste and Lieutenant Coulson, who are attached to the squadron.   There were also two sorties of battle formation to give the new pilots practice.
                                                                              Vampire     22 sorties     18 hours.
                                                                              Meteor        10 sorties        4 hours 15 Minutes
  23/5/52        A programme of R/T and air to ground firing had been organised for today:   but it was almost completely curtailed by deterioration in the weather early in the morning.   Only two pilots fired.   R.A.F. Jever has been allotted Nordhorn range;   aircraft from this wing land, rearm and refuel at R.N.A.F. Twente between sorties.
                                                                              Vampire     18 sorties     9 hours.  40 minutes
                                                                              Meteor          6 sorties     2 hours   20 minutes
  24/5/52        There was another U.K. raid this weekend.   Eight 4 Squadron aircraft took part.   The route lay direct across the North Sea, above cloud, letting down over a lightship pin point before proceeding low level to attack East Anglian airfields.   A refueling stop was made at West Raynham before returning to base.
                                                                              Vampire     18 sorties    21 hours  55 minutes
                                                                              Meteor          2 sorties       1 hour    10 minutes
  26/5/52        Having six new pilots on the squadron involves everyone in a concerted effort to teach the four from O.C.U.   Our two French guests have also to learn the locality.   As a result, most of our flying today was spent on formation practice.   We also flew some cine sorties.   (Sylt next month).
                                                                              Vampire     25 sorties     20 hours 10 minutes
                                                                              Meteor          2 sorties        1 hour   30 minutes
  27/5/52        The day began with cine gun practice, which had to stop as the weather began to deteriorate.   Flying continued, however until, on the last landing before lunch one of our aircraft crashed in the undershoot area.   The pilot, Sous Lieutenant Bernard de Lacoste, of L'Armee de L'Air, was thrown clear, but was killed by the impact of the aircraft [VV615] on the ground.
                                                                              Vampire     25 sorties     15 hours   5 minutes
                                                                              Meteor          3 sorties        1 hour   40 minutes
  28/5/52        There was no training flying:   only that necessary to facilitate arrangements for the funeral.
                                                                              Meteor          2 sorties                      20 minutes
  29/5/52        The funeral parade was held this morning in front of No. 4 Squadron hanger.   The coffin, wreaths and funeral party was flown to Bordeaux in aircraft of the French and Royal Air Force.
                                                                              Meteor          2 sorties        1 hour   25 minutes
  30/5/52        Final flights before the Whitsun stand down were a low level mission by a flight of four aircraft and some dual in the Meteor.   A battle flight of four aircraft - two from No. 4 Squadron and two from 112 Squadron - was maintained over the weekend.   The Flight flew as sections on alternative missions, keeping one at readiness and the other at 15 minutes until called to standby.
     There was a good supply of bogeys:   several Dakotas, some Skymasters and Meteors.    Three interesting missions:   the first, an example of very good control, brought a section from 20,000 feet accurately down to a glider and its tug at 3,500 feet over the Minden Hills.   Again on the 30th, a Dakota from the Eastern Zone craftily flying just below cloud took evasive action by climbing into cloud when the battle flight came to investigate.   Finally both sections were scrambled within 20 minutes to intercept a large force of Meteor 8s.   There was about 20 of them, probably 32, flying at 32,000 ft from the West.   One section caught 8 of them descending at 18,000 ft., the other made its interception at 32,000ft.   Flying at .72 Mach, the Vampires were given intermittent signs of the nearness of compressibility effects, but two attacks were made, the first from line astern low, the second a shallow quarter.
Friday/Saturday 30th/31st                                        Vampire    10 sorties     8 hours   20 minutes.
                                                                                      Meteor          3 sorties     1 hour.

     During May, No. 4 Squadron spent a fortnight in U.K. at R.A.F. Duxford with Fighter Command.   There were many interception missions flown, but regrettably, not enough with the American heavy bombers and Sabres.   However, F86 escorts were provided on two sweeps, and showed off their paces admirably against attacking Meteor 8s.   Control by G.C.I. was of consistently good standard, although it appeared to break down through congestion of the control frequency during the Fighter Marshall experiments.
Returning to Jever, the Squadron settled down to training a large influx of new pilots from O.C.U.   We had with us two French officers, attached from L'Armee de L'Air under a scheme of exchange postings with the Western European Defence Organisation.





Flying:                  Individual Training                                                                       32 hrs.   25 mins.
                              Interceptions                                                                                 74 hrs.   45 mins.
                              Squadron and Wing Exercises                                               170 hrs.   30 mins.
                              Air Support                                                                                       9 hrs.   40 mins.
                              Navigation                                                                                      22 hrs.   20 mins.
                              Weapon Training                                                                            9 hrs.   55 mins.
                              Photographic                                                                                 10 hrs.   45 mins.
                              Meteor Flying                                                                                 27 hrs.   35 mins.
                              Vampire total                                                                               330 hrs.   20 mins.




                              Compiled by ...signed ENH LACK..FG/OFF.
                                                    (E.N.H. LACK,)

                       Authorised by ...signedPGK Williamson........S/LDR.
                                               (P.G.K. WILLIAMSON)