Photo with "In France" on the back - but to date we have been able to identified the Squadron or the others in it.
Given that we do not have any photographs of Charlie with the 615 Squadron we are debted to Barry Weekley for allowing us to use his painting "Red Section Scramble 615 Squadron" as a backdrop to this website. Those who are sharp eyed will see the centre hurricane is P3231, which you will also see from the 615 Squadron August ORBs that Charlie flew this aircraft on several patrols during August.
Unfortunately there is no surviving ORB’s for the 615 Squadron in France. There was a summary compiled and the details below were taken from this.
During the period of May 10 to May 20 615 Squadron maintained 12 Gladiators, fully operational, for aerodrome defence and two of 615 Squadron's pilots were supplied to other aerodromes for this duty.
The next day, the May 15th 'A' wing of 615 Squadron flew to Vitry where they refuelled and waited for further orders. They then joined with 5 Hurricanes from 'B' Flight of 607 Squadron to escort a dozen Blenheims which were to bomb bridges over Meuse. When they set out they were met by Bf110C and Bf109s from Stab. III/JG53. In the afternoon three patrols from 615 Squadron reported encounters with Hs126 reconnaissance machines. A section of Hurricanes carried out low-level patrol north-west of Gemblous at 15:00 attacking several German barrage balloons.
615 Squadron was ordered to move northward into Belgium.
On May 16th 615 Squadron from Vitry moved North across the Belgium border to Moorsele, a small civilian airfield east of Countrai. Shortly after take off newly attached P/O. Grassick attacked what he believed to be a Ju88, which turned out to be a Blenheim, which crash landed after the attack. The remainder of the squadron from Abbeville joined them at Moorsele.
In the thick of it:
615 Squadron immediately flew patrols from its new base. At 15:00 nine Hurricanes led by Fl/Lt. Leslie T.W. Thornley went on escort to a 4 Squadron Lysander. Near Tirlemont the formation was bounced by Bf109s of II/JG26 and Fl/Lt. Thornley flying Hurricane N2335, was shot down and killed.
P/O. Thompson was shot down but parachuted out but was taken PoW. P/O. Brian Young was also shot down and his Hurricane P2577 crashed near Essene, P/O. Brian Young baled out although badly burned and was further wounded from ground fire from British soldiers. P/O. Grassick was the only member of the Squadron to make a claim one of the attackers. The Lysander was also shot down.
May 17 saw 615 squadron busy from early morning operating from the advanced airfield in Moorsele. 3 sections each of three aircraft departed at 05:30 and were soon in action. At about 09:30 another section of 615 Squadron encountered a Ju88 which was shot down. Three consecutive patrols by 615 Squadron failed to meet enemy aircraft.
May 18 was a relatively quiet day, apart for a brief skirmish, in conjunction with 32 Squadron, also based at Moorsele, against KG1 Heinkels. The only other patrol of note undertaken by 615 Squadron during the day was when two Hurricanes of the attached 245/A flight had become separated and lost. P/O. Pennington and Yapp landed near Dunkirk, they returned to Moorsele next day.
On May 19, still operating from Moorsele, 615 Squadron carried out a number of uneventful patrols during the day. At 19:40 a section of four reported sighting hostile aircraft an estimated fifteen Bf109s from 9/JG26. F/O. Eyre claimed two Bf109s. F/O. R.D. Pexton shot down between Arras and Cambrai, pilot wounded and baled out of his Hurricane N2331.
May 20 was to be 615 squadron's last day in France.
They were very active during the day following their early arrival at Norrent-Fontes with thirteen Hurricanes and the Magister. Three hours later at 08:00 the squadron mounted an offensive patrol over Lille, while a section maintained a defensive patrol of the airfield. 615 squadron provided three aircraft to take part in a composite formation, which was to attack the German advance along the Cambria-Arras road.
Three hours later at 16:00 a section from 615 Squadron patrolled Arras-Douai-Lens, met 12 He111s. Two were shot down claimed by Sq/Ldr. Kyall and P/O. Hugo. Apart from the two He111 claimed by Kyall and Hugo at 13:00 P/O. Verity claimed a Ju88 and P/O. Pennington claimed a Bf110. P/O. V.B.S. Verity's Hurricane L2060 was damaged and it crash-landed at Norrent-Fontes, he was unhurt. (Later on the 31st May 1940 whilst with 229 Squadron shot down in his Hurricane P3492 - picked up, safe)
Orders were received in the evening to evacuate Norrent-Fontes.
Nine Hurricanes of 615 Squadron and four of 607 Squadron escorted a Departing Sabena SM73P to RAF Kenley. Three operationally unserviceable Hurricanes of 615 Squadron were returned to Kenley independently as did at least four of the squadron's Gladiators.
Although 615 Squadron ORBs were lost on their evacuation from France we know from 607 Squadron research sources, that on joint patrols with 615 Squadron, Charlie was mentioned, although no confirmed combats have been found to date. Charlie flew one of the nine hurricanes flown back to RAF Kenley.
Back In England:
On May 30 1940, Charlie receives his commission as a Pilot Officer (acting) for the duration of the war.
During the month of June Charlie was engaged in carrying out extended patrols into France with flying times in the range of 2, 3 to 4+ hours. On 9th June on an offensive mission with 111 and 601 Squadrons, they did not encounter any enemy but witnessed Rouen in flames. On 12th June with 111 Squadron they do encounter enemy aircraft but nothing recorded for P/O. Young.
On June 15th Charlie was involved in an uneventful escort of a convoy of ships. On 26th June after a very uneventful reconnaissance flight to France flying Hurricane P2966, the following is recorded in the 615 Squadron ORB: Returning from Patrol Pilot Officer Young's wheel came off on landing - machine badly damaged, but Pilot unhurt.
On 27 June after an uneventful patrol, escorting Blenheims on photographic duties, in the afternoon His Majesty the King visited 615 Squadron to decorate Sq/Ldr. J.R. Kyall DSC. and Fl/Lt. J.G. Sanders with their DFCs. He spoke to the remaining officers on parade and stayed for tea.
615 Squadron ORBs showing flights taken by Charlie during June and July with the squadron.
1st Combat Record:
Charlie's patience finally paid off when on June 30 whilst on bomber escort to the Abbeville-Merville area, in hurricane P3380, at 11:45 hours, he claimed a Me 109 shot down over the Merville Area. Unfortunately, this kill was not confirmed but it was the first recorded for Charlie.
Red sector consisted : Sq/Ldr. Kayll, P/O. Young, P/O. Mudie, Fl/Lt. Gaunce, P/O. Montgomery, P/O. Hugo, Fl/Lt. Sanders, P/O. Lofts, P/O. Evans, F/O. Giddings, P/O. Roberts.
Charlie wrote in his combat report:
"Approaching Merville at 12000ft about 2000ft above Blenheim bombers. The section leader gave “Tally Ho Starboard” We dived down on 3 Me 109's. I myself attacked one just as it had begun its attack on the last Blenheim of the formation. I opened fire at 300 yards - at the same moment the Blenheim caught fire. I then closed into about 50 yards. Bits flew off the enemy machine and a large column of smoke issued forth as it went into a vertical dive towards the ground. Ammunition exhausted I turned towards home and was chased by another 3 Me 109s and was forced to land at Martlesham Heath."
Combat Report Jun 30 showing Charlie's first success.
The official ORB records: Eleven Aircraft left for Hawkinge at 0925 hours, from there they escorted 12 Blenheims with 111 Squadron on a bombing raid to Merville. Three Blenheims missing. All our machines returned safely. Our bombers were attacked by Me. 109s with whom we engaged. Results:- 4 - inconclusive.
Into the Battle of Britain:
After this encounter, Charlie experienced another lull right up to and into the Battle of Britain.
Charlie wrote to his parents on July 4 from Kenley aerodrome:
“Well, I expect you all know about the situation at home nowadays. At the moment we're working terribly hard, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week more or less. The chief thing as far as we're concerned is lack of sleep. They've started bombing over here now, yesterday we were bombed. 8 bombs were dropped but only two hit the aerodrome doing no damage at all. Needless to say the two aeroplanes responsible didn't get back. We're expecting the real "BlitzKreig" as far as this country is concerned to begin any day now, we're all ready for them so all I say is good luck to them.”
We know from the ORBs that Charlie was on patrol or interception duties during the early days of the Battle of Britain. His first success is on 14 Aug, Charlie was one of many of 615 Squadron to claim a Dornier 17 damaged over the Dungeness area, 18:30 hours.
Just two days later, on Aug 16, Charlie confirmed his first kill over the Brighton area at 17:10 hours. The aircraft destroyed was a Heinkel 111. On that same sortie, Charlie also confirmed an aircraft damaged, also a He 111. These two aircraft where part of a formation of He 111 bombers and an escort of Me.110s attacking around Sussex at the time.
From the “Battle of Britain” by Norman Franks the following account is given:
'Hurricanes of 615 Squadron were in evidence during a raid near Brighton at 16:15 hours. Pilot Officer J.A.P. McClintock attacked one He111 he found out of formation. He opened fire from 300 yards closing in to 50. The Heinkel's starboard engine began to pour out smoke followed by flames, then it went down. Pilot Officer C.R. Young attacks two others, one of which he left smoking. The second, hit by a long burst, went down into the cloud and Young followed it. Coming out he fired again from 100 yards. The bomber levelled out at sea level, streaming smoke, but a third burst sent it crashing into the sea leaving a large green swirl in the water.'
On Aug 18, the day Kenley airfield was almost completely destroyed; Charlie confirms a Dornier 215 shot down over the Kenley area at 13:45 hours. Again in the same sortie he claims a Bf109 probably destroyed.
Wrongly recorded combat
On August 20th it is widely thought that a Do215 destroyed at Herne Bay 15:00 hours was by Sq/Ldr. J.R. Kayll and shared with P/O. B.P. Young. P/O. B.P. Young, who was shot down in France was still recovering and was not with the 615 Squadron at this time! From the 615 ORB for that day gives the following account is given:
12 aircraft left Kenley at 14:15 hours to patrol Tenterden and intercepted DO17s near Herne bay. Sq/Ldr. Kyall attacked a DO17 and P/O. Young finished it off, the enemy crashing near Eastchurch.
It can be seen why the identity error occurred but from Charlie's own combat records, held at Kew, it is confirmed that it was in fact P/O. C.R. Young, the official records have been changed.
This painting by Barry Weekley depicts Red section taking off from Kenley. The central Hurricane is shown as P3231 which we know from the ORBs that Charlie frequently flew during the month of August. As we have no photograph of Charlie with the 615 Squadron we are indebted to Barry for allowing us to use this painting.
During the remaining days of August 615 Squadron was kept busy with Charlie in the thick of it. There is no further accounts of his actions during these sorties but one incident on Aug 24, which Charlie may have witnessed is worth noting:
In the afternoon at 15:30 hours there was another air raid warning and the squadron sighted 15 HE111s at Thameshaven about 15:50. Sq/Ldr. Kayll shot down one which P/O. McClintock finished off. It crashed near Hornchurch where P/O. McClintock landed and met the German pilot. The crew were taken prisoner and the aircraft destroyed.
This account of the incident account related courtesy of Peter Cornwall:
9./KG53 Heinkel He111H-3. Port engine disabled by AA fire during sortie to bomb Hornchurch airfield, then set alight under attack by Sq/Ldr. J.R. Kayll and P/O J.A.P. McClintock of 615 Squadron. Belly-landed at Fairclay Field, Clay Tye Hill, Bulphan, 15:50 p.m. Bomb-load later exploded. BO Lt Willy Lüttigen, BF Uffz Oskar Lackner and FF Fw Alfred Fraas captured unhurt. HS Uffz Karl Platzer and BS Uffz Herbert Hernaus captured wounded. Aircraft A1+KT 100% write-off.
Jun 2 - P2966 - 45 mins - Interception - None
Jun 9 - N2237 - 4 Hrs 40 mins - Patrol Over France - Red Sector
Jun 10 - N2237 - 1 Hr 30 mins - Patrol Fecamp-Dieppe-Le Treport - Red Sector
Jun 11 - P2963 - 3 Hrs - 2 Patrols over France - Red Sector
Jun 14 - P2328 - 3 Hrs 20 mins - 2 Patrols Abbeville-St Pol-St Omer - Red Sector
Jun 15 - P2399 - 3 Hrs - Convoy Escort - Red Sector
Jun 26 - P2966 - 2 Hrs - Reconnaissance Dieppe-Rouen-Boos - Red Sector
Jun 27 - N2337 - 3 Hrs - Escort Blenheims over France Photographic - Red Sector
Jun 30 - P3380 - 2 Hrs 20 mins - Bomber Escort, Abbeville-Merville - Red Sector
Jul 3 - 1 Hr 15 mins - Interception - Red Sector
Jul 10 - P2963 - 1 hr 35 mins - Patrol - Red Section
Jul 11 - L2003 - 15 mins - Patrol Lympe - Red Sector
Jul 12 - N2337 - 45 mins - Interception - Red Sector
Jul 18 - P3160 - 1 Hr - Interception - Red SectorJul 19 - N2337 - 1 Hr 25 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 20 - N2337 - 1 Hr - Intercept 35 Enemy Aircraft - Red Sector
Jul 21 - P2871 - 4 Hrs 50 mins - Patrol - Red SectorJul 22 - P3160 - 1 Hr 30 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 23 - N2337 - 50 mins - Patrol Beachy Head - Red Sector
Jul 24 - N2337 - 1 Hr 20 mins - Patrol Dover - Red SectorJul 25 - N2337 - 1 Hr 15 mins - Convoy Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 26 - N2337 - 1 Hr 20 mins - Patrol - Red SectorJul 27 - N2337 - 1 Hr 20 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 27 - N2337 - 2 Hrs 15 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 28 - N2337 - 50 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 29 - N2337 - 1 Hr 15 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 30 - P2963 - 1 Hr - Patrol - Red Sector
Jul 31 - P2963 - 2 Hrs - Readiness at Hawkinge - Red Sector 615 Squadron ORBs showing flights taken by Charlie during August with the squadron.
Aug 1 - P2963 - 1 Hr 30mins - Readiness at Hawkinge - Red Sector
Aug 3 - P2963 - 1 Hr - Readiness at Hawkinge - Red Sector
Aug 4 - P2963 - 1 Hr 25 mins - Readiness at Hawkinge - Red Sector
Aug 5 - P2768 - 1 Hr 15 mins - Convoy Patrol - Red Sector
Aug 6 - P2871 - 1 Hr - Readiness at Hawkinge - Red Sector
Aug 11 - P2871 - 1 Hr 40 mins Patrolled Dover - Red Sector
Aug 14 - L2003 - 1 Hr - Interception near Dover - Red Sector
Aug 15 - L2003 - 1 Hr 30 Mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Aug 15 - P2966 - 1 Hr - Interception - Red Sector
Aug 16 - L2075 - 1 Hr 40 mins - Interception - Red Section
Aug 16 - P2075 - 1 hr 10 mins - Interception Brighton Area - Red Section
Aug 16 - P3231 - 20 mins - Patrol - SelfAug 18 - P3231 - 1 Hr 50 mins - Interception Kenley - Red Sector
Aug 20 - P3231 - 1 Hr 20 Mins - Interception Herne Bay - Red Sector
Aug 24 - P3231 - 1 Hr 40 mins - Patrol - Red Sector
Aug 24 - R4111 - 45 mins - Intercept Thameshaven - Red Sector
Aug 24 - P2754 - 1 Hr - Interception - Red Sector
Aug 24 - R4111 - 30 mins - Interception - Red Sector
Aug 26 - P2878 - 20 mins - Patrolled Aerodrome - Red Sector
Aug 26 - P2754 - 1 Hr 10 mins - Intercept Thames Estuary - Red Sector
Aug 26 - V7339 - 1 Hr - Interception Portsmouth - Red Sector
Aug 28 - P3231 - 15 mins - Interception Sandwich - Red Section
Aug 28 - P3231 - 1 Hr - Interception Tenderden - Red Sector
Aug 28 - P3231 - 1 Hrs 20 mins - Kenley to Tangmere - Self
Aug 29 - Unknown - Kenley to Prestwick - 12 Aircraft
Well earned rest
On Aug 29 signal was received moving the 615 Squadron pilots to Prestwick in Scotland to rest and re-equip. They left Kenley at 14:00 hours flying north.
The night before Charlie had flown to Tangmere for a short visit, presumably to see Beryl.
On September 5th Sq/Ldr. Kayll flew to Turnhouse for lunch and obtained permission for two pilots to go on leave.
On September 6th P/O. Evans and P/O. Young proceeded on 7 days leave.
1> 26 year old Fl/Lt. Leslie Thomas Wing Thornley 90398 RAF (A) Missing on the 16th May 1940 whilst serving with 615 Squadron, from Sutton Montis, Somerset, England.
2> P/O. Michael Robert Mudie 42073 RAF Killed on the 15th July 1940 whilst serving with 615 Squadron.
3> P/O. Cecil Robert Montgomery 42421 RAF killed on the 14th August 1940, from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
4> P/O. John Arthur Peter McClintock 91064 RAF (A) killed on the 25th November 1940 with P/O. Anthony John Jamieson Truran 91019 RAF (A) when the wing of a Magister broke away at 200 ft. P/O. McClintock was from South Kensington, London and P/O. Truran from Westminster, London, England.
5> Joseph Robert Kayll then W/Cdr. was shot down and captured whilst with 54 Squadron on the 25th June 1941.
Loss with 46 Squadron
1> Growing up, pre-RAF and training
2> His period with 601 Squadron
3> 615 squadron and France
4> 607 Squadron
5> Pilot Officer Charles Young and Miss Beryl Pockett
6> Summary and Acknowledgments