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409 Squadron RCAF: The Nighthawks

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REMEMBER: The night Jerry straffed the drome at Coleby Grange just as P/O. Head was coming in to land. The night the Hun dropped a stick of ten heavy ex- plosive bombs on the drome. The nights that S/L Trousdale and Sgt. Affleck got the Squadron's second and third enemy aircraft. Our first sight of London, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Trafalgar, Charing Cross, etc. etc. The inevitable "You Caant Miss it" The visit of His Majesty. The day the first W.A.A.F's arrived and became established at Coleby House. The Saracen's Head at Lincoln The Trap at Acklington The Startled Saint at West Malling. Chandos - London. Time! Time! Drink up please. Time! The day we sighted 25 Danish fishing vessels escaping from Denmark some 240 miles due East of England and how we maintained escort over them for the next two days. The night that Billy Breithaupt and Jimmy Kennedy were scrambled to find a Lancaster ditched in the North Sea and how they located it just before dawn and directed the rescue launch to it The night that Red Pearce and Jock Allen located a lost Halifax which was practically out of gas and brought it safely back to base. The night that Joe Clarke distinguished himself by attempting a slow roll on his motorcycle and pranging as a result. The day that "Bill" Vincent was married and George Bower the best man ran out of gas several miles Irom the Church - a Captain of the Merchant Marine stepped into the breach. The hockey team captained by Mike Dean. The night that 6 aircraft participated in a "bullseye" exercise and really shook the station I.O by recording 60 "kills" out of 170 targets Our first move under canvas. Training at Acklington. Convoy practice, map reading, exercises, bayonet drill etc., etc The day the first Mosquito arrived. The night Don Steele and Bill Storrs (RAF) got within 100 ieet of a ME.410 and their cannons wouldn't fire Capt. Blennerhassett and searchlight co-ops. The night the first flying bomb crossed the drome and the anti "Diver" barrage The hectic nights between "D" day and the Allied break through at Caen when combats were almost a nightly affair. And some of the crews who scored: Murray Taylor and Dean Sibbett; Ken Livingston and Jack Bloomer (RAF); Mac MacDonald and Curly Colborne; Vince Vincent and Gaffer Thorpe; Walt Kirkwood and Neil Matheson; Don Steele and Bill Storrs (RAF); Bill McPhail and Smithy (RAF); Stan Jephson and Murray Roberts; Norm Joss and Pete Lailey; Hank Haley and Stan Fairweather (RAF). The night "Scotty and Nick" went missing. The night the flying bomb hit the trees 200 yards from 'B' Flight dispersal, exploding and breaking some windows. The Trip to the Continent. The boys left behind - they hitch hiked to the Con- tinent and got h--l from the Wing W. O. for being late The Carpiquet glide "Cigarette pour papa." The "Ropey" continental moves. Our first trip to Paris. The French Cafes. The welcome in Brussels. The day the A O.C 85 Group presented the Squad- ron Crest to the Squadron. The night the Jerry Intruder flew around the drome at Lille. The cold reception we got in crossing the Rhine, Germany. Tent life - impromptu feeds, etc. The Christmas dinners at which the Officers and N.C.O's waited on the rest of the Squadron. The crews of W/C Somerville and F/O Robinson; F/L's Britten and Fownes who finished amongst the leading nightfighting crews in 85 Group since 'D' Day. V. E. DAY. The gas run by "Pin Point" Smith - - the story is told below in Smithy's own language. - - "Smith!" I glanced around, apprehensively perhaps, to see Fiksdal's huge but amiable bulk descending upon me "Hey Smithy, how about going for a little joy-ride this afternoon?" "Well Fix" I replied "I'm easy, what's up?" "Got to bring down some gas from Lingen. Do you want to take a convoy up there for it?" "Sure!" says I "Where is Lingen?" "Oh" says the Fixer, "It's only about 30 kilometres from here. You'll be back by six". Well I'm game. It has been my secret ambition since