Tag Archives: Combined Ops

Combined Operations

Friday, 16 August 1940

The creation of No. 419 Flight

S/Ldr Knowles, still working for Combined Operations, writes to the Director of Plans, Air Commodore Slessor, suggesting the formal creation of an RAF unit to incorporate the two Lysanders  which have been temporarily attached to the Central Landing School at Ringway.. This same day, Slessor writes first to Fighter Command, asking for the Flight to be based at North Weald, and also to the Director of Organisation: ‘You will wish to establish this unit on a propers basis. Would you send for S/Ldr Knowles, MC4, who will explain fully the purposes for which the unit is required.’  This approach ensures that nothing is to be written down regarding the unit’s purposes.

Slessor is currently in the process of reclaiming the CLS from Combined Operations. Bowman’s appointment in Combined Ops is substantially reduced and changed, and Bowman resigns, to be replaced by G/Capt. Knocker. S/Ldr Knowles is brought back to Plans, and is placed within the Military Communications section under Group Captain Goddard, hence his appointment as ‘MC4’.

Thursday, 18 July 1940

56 Squadron, North Weald

S/Ldr Knowles, now a ‘Whitehall warrior’, borrows one of No. 56 Squadron’s Hurricanes. He flies to Ringway in L1764, taking off at 1200. The flight lasts about an hour. He returns between 1805 and 1905. There are obviously enough spare fighters for him to borrow an operational fighter aircraft from a front-line station during the battle.

There’s a gap in the Ringway ORB between the 17th and 22nd. It appears that bad weather prevents any parachute training drops over Tatton Park.

On 30 September Knowles’s borrowed Hurricane will be crash-landed on Chesil beach by P/O M.H. Constable-Maxwell, after 56 Squadron intercepts a raid by He111s on the Westland factory at Yeovil.

Saturday, 29 June 1940

The Admiralty, London

In his continued search for the organisation responsible for whatever unit he’s been posted to at RAF Ringway, P/O Louis Strange is sent over to the Admiralty, where he finds Group Captain Bowman, DSO MC* DFC. Geoffrey Bowman (‘Beery’ Bowman, one of the 56 Squadron aces who in 1917 fought Werner Voss in his gallant fatal combat) is still trying to find a replacement for S/Ldr Ross Shore as CO of the Parachute Training School, for which he is responsible as the Combined Operations Air Director. P/O Strange is told to visit his tailor and take over the PTS on Monday.

Saturday, 24 June 1940

France

France and Italy sign an armistice. Italy’s crumb from the table of Nazi conquest is the old province of Savoy.

Four small scale raids are mounted against coastal targets between Boulogne and Berck-sur-Mer, with one at Plage du Merlimont, four miles south of Le Touquet.

RAF Ringway

Louis Strange arrives at Ringway. He doesn’t knows why he’s been sent there, and no-one there, not even the Station Commander, can tell him.