Saturday, 4 January 1941


At about 17.03 F/Lt Keast (Captain) and F/O Jack Oettle take off in P5029 for RAF Cambridge (now Cambridge Airport) to pick up their passenger, P/O Philip Schneidau, who is to be parachuted on his second mission. This time he is taking a W/T set. They arrive at at Cambridge at about 17.30, but Schneidau does not arrive until about 18.00. They take off almost immediately, and cross the English coast at Selsey Bill an hour later.

They set course for the French coast, but after 30 minutes they run into heavy icing conditions in cloud which extends up to 6,000 ft. Heavy ice forms on the propellers. They try to fly above the cloud, but are forced back down to cloud base at 500 feet. Schneidau’s plan depends on being dropped near Barbizon shortly before curfew, but they now won’t reach the target area until after 21.00 (i.e. 22.00 French time: curfew). After consultation with the agent Keast abandons the operation, and they return to Stradishall, landing at 21.43.