This attempt to drop Edmond Courtin (MOUSE) was the first SD sortie by a wholly Czech crew. P/O Leo Anderle took off from Stradishall at 23.37 and headed for Tangmere and the French coast at Port-en-Bassin. The target was probably near Châteauroux. However, the Whitley soon ran into very wintry weather. Anderle’s report is dominated by the weather: at 01.13, two minutes after his ETA over Port-en-Bassin he flew into an intense snowstorm at 8,000 feet. Over the Channel the cloud tops had been about 5,000 feet, but over France it extended to ground level. Anderle was plagued by severe icing and static storms. A few minutes later he set course for somewhere quite illegible; the only extant copy of Anderle’s report is a very blurred carbon flimsy, and even the clerk compiling the 138 Sqn ORB entry gave up and wrote a brief summary.
At 01.27, at a DR position of 49 degrees North, 0 degrees 12 minutes West (about 30 miles south of Le Havre), Anderle decides to call it a night. (The reliance on DR positioning makes clear that visibility was bad.) At 01.41, DR position Port-en-Bassin, course is set for Tangmere; at this point they are at 3,000 feet. They activate their IFF, and at 2.38 see searchlights and flares roughly ahead; these guide Anderle towards Tangmere, and he lands there at 03.15, the airfield covered by ground haze.
Edmond Courtin is a wireless operator sent out by SOE’s Belgian section, apparently to assist Julian Detal (GYPSY) and Frederic Wampach (VERMILION). (These have already been sent out in September.) In reality Detal has asked for a replacement for Wampach, whose nerve has gone. Nevertheless Courtin is being sent out with a set for Wampach, hence the dual operation name.
It will be March before MOUSE is dropped.
Kabrit to Malta
F/Lt Austin flies back to Malta with a crew of four and four Yugoslav trainee parachutists. His return to Malta has originally been intended for the 2nd, but poor weather prevented it for that night; intensive bombing of Malta has since kept them in Egypt.
A P/O Munroe (about whom no more is known, not even whether he is in 138 Squadron) has been sent out to carry another four Yugoslavs to Malta. F/Lt Austin has refused to carry all the Yugoslavs in his aircraft as having so many in the rear fuselage would risk the Whitley’s centre of gravity. He takes off from Kabrit at 22.50, and lands at Luqa at 10.30 the following morning. There’s no record of P/O Munro’s flight in the other Whitley, so it has to be assumed that his trip is similar.
TNA AIR 20/8334, Encl. 132A
MRD Foot, SOE in the Low Countries, pp. 259-263
Kabrit to Malta
TNA AIR 20/8504, JBA report dated 16/2/1941
Logbooks: S/Ldrs Austin and Livingstone