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IMPORTANT NOTE: Flights or parts of flights might have been detached to other airfields for specific ops but the base, where the ground crew and Admin were, often stayed put. This occured sporadically in all theaters. In the case of Burma, Sgt John Reid in a letter said that raids against Arakan targets were almost always via Dum Dum to top up with gas and sometimes for special briefings. Raids against Central Burma targets, such as Mandalay were via Agartala for topping up.
Ismalia August 1, 1917
113 was formed at Ismailia on 1st August 1917, the BE2e being the first type operated.
The 5th (Corps) Wing of which 113 Squadron was part, was dedicated to air co-operation and direct support tasks for the surface force XXI Corps consisting of three infantry divisions under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Bulfin.
?????? September ??, 1917 Jefford
RE-8's arrive on the squadron.
Mesopotamia October 6, 1917
Second Lieutenant Lt Victor Sidney Smith, aged 19 was killed in a flying accident in Mesopotamia. He was the observer in a 113 Squadron BE2e.
Sheikh Nuran October ??, 1917 Jefford
A detachment of the squadron was located at Sheikh Nuran operating RE-8's.
Sheikh Nuran October 10, 1917 Jefford
The detachment is joined by the whole squadron at Sheikh Nuran
????? October 31, 1917
Allenby made his push on Bersheba and it fell intact on October 31 1917. A 113 Squadron member was killed in action this same day (31/10/1917) Lieutenant J H Mueller age 21
Simultaneously with the offensive in Bersheba, the infantry from XXI Corps, all the while undoubtedly in communication with 113 Squadron, advanced on the Turkish positions in Gaza (their initial feint target) under a protective screen of accurate fire from the artillery and Naval gun ships.
Julis November 23, 1917 Jefford
The squadron moves to Julis with a detachment going on to Khibert Deiran
Khibert Deiran November ??, 1917 Jefford
The squadron sends a detachment to Khibert Deiran
Khibert Deiran December 5, 1917 Jefford
The squadron joins the detachment at Khibert Deiran
Sarona January 17, 1918.
Squadron moves to Sarona (Note Sarona was a lush farm area today entirely oblierated by the city of Tel Aviv.)
????? September 19, 1918
On September 19, 1918 the second push begins, In the opening round the aircraft delivered the first carefully considered blows against enemy headquarters and ‘points where telephone and telegraph exchanges were suspected’. While the air attacks were in progress, XXI Corps launched its attack against the Turkish position on Allenby’s left flank at 4.45 a.m. Two smoke screens were laid by 113 Squadron to cover the advancing troops from view. One was successful but there were problems coordinating the other screen with the surface force, so it was laid across the frontage of one of the enemy positions. Within a short time the infantry had overwhelmed the enemy and taken their positions. Exploiting the breakthrough, the cavalry began their advance along the beach at 7.00 a.m. One of the aircraft from 113 Squadron noticed a house and an orchard a short way ahead of the leading elements of the cavalry. Flying low over the area the pilot and his observer discovered that the orchard was occupied by Turkish troops and transport. A note was written and dropped to the approaching elements of the cavalry. They put in a quick attack, taking the Turks by surprise. Sixty prisoners were captured with two guns and twelve wagons at a cost of one life and two men wounded.
El Affule Sept 20 1918 Jefford
113 Squadron had detached flight to El Affule during this period operating Nieuport 17, 23 and 24
Air reconnaissance early on the morning of 20 September revealed that most Turkish camps in the western sector had been burnt or abandoned. Jenin aerodrome was in the process of being evacuated. There were still four aircraft on the aerodrome at El ‘Affule, but air reconnaissance aircraft could see the cavalry forces approaching rapidly. Within hours the aerodrome at El ‘Affule had been taken and from that afternoon it was used as an advanced landing ground for reconnaissance aircraft. Supplies of petrol, oil and spares were flown in to the advanced field from Ramleh and Sarona.
Haifa Feb to Oct 1918 Jefford
113 Squadron had another detached flight located at Haifa.
Qantara November 18, 1918
Squadron moves to Qantara.
Ismailia February 16, 1919
The squadron moves back to Ismailia and reverts to flying the BE2e and its surviving RE8s until December.
Ismailia February 1, 1920
Squadron is disbanded and subsequently renumbered as 208 Squadron RAF.
Upper Heyford May 18, 1937 RAF Site
113 Reformed, #1 bomber Group, Equipped 13 Hawker Hinds
Upper Heyford June 4, 1937 http://www.rafweb.org
P/O Robert N Bateson (pilot) joins the squadron. He was to eventually become the Squadron CO in 1941
Upper Heyford June 8, 1937 F/O PWoodward
First Squadron leader S/Ldr Bartholemew, first flying took place.
Upper Heyford June 24, 1937
First crash, Taking off from Abingdon acting P/O Helsby wrote off aircraft, Helsby survived with a broken jaw.
Grantham August 5, 1937 F/O PWoodward, Site
Transferred to #5 Bomber group, continued training on Hinds.
The 211 Squadron was here with them at this time.
N. AFRICA - WESTERN DESERT
Alexandria, Egypt April 00, 1938 PWoodward
Squadron shipped out on the HMS Lancashire enroute to Heliopolis. New squadron leader S/Ldr Cator
Heliopolis May 10, 1938 PWoodward J Pritchard
Arrived at Heliopolis from Egypt and commenced training. John Pritchard states: The 113 with their Hawker Hinds had been sent out from the UK in a great hurry whilst Mussolini rattled his sabre on the Libyan border. The political scene was hotting up and the squadron moved out to the border at Mersa Matruh. Little was seen of the other side and as the heat went out of it we moved back to Heliopolis.
Mersa Matruh Sept 28, 1938
Posted to war station, Photographic survey of Western Desert up to Libyan border.
Mersa Matruh March 00, 1939
New C/O assigned, S/Ldr Keily. Keilys aircraft at this time is Hind K6631. Keilys log records his first flying with 113 was on 02/03/1939
Mersa Matruh May 00, 1939
Completed survey work.
Mersa Matruh May 00, 1939 site
Returned to Heliopolis, 211 Squadron was also here.
Heliopolis June 1, 1939 Keily log book
First Blenheim Mk 1 L1542 picked up at Aboukir by S/Ldr Keily & Sgt Ratcliff.
Heliopolis June 12, 1939
The Squadron trashes it's first new Blenheim L1527 when the under carriage failed to lock and it collapsed on landing at Heliopolis.
Heliopolis June 00, 1939 F/O PWoodward
S/Ldr Keily receives Air Force Cross, the first decoration of the squadron. F/O P.G. Woodward suggests it was awarded for patience as the squadron was still flying bi-planes having been promised Blenheims 2 years earlier. (In July 1940 he wins the DFC
Heliopolis June 00, 1939
June to August 1939 Few Blenheims arrive as expected, Pilots sent home to collect their new aircraft and ferry back to Heliopolis.
Heliopolis September 1, 1939
WAR DECLARED 113 reports fully equipped and hastily trains for twin engine flying. The squadron is put on 6 hr standby for move to Libyan border but nothing happens and they continue training on their new aircraft.
Heliopolis October 2, 1939
( 02/10/1939) Squadron trashes another new Blenheim L8442 when an engine cut on takeoff at Heliopolis causing it to crash. The aircraft was destroyed by fire but F/Lt John Dallamore and crew escaped uninjured. F/Lt John Dallamore was a Canadian attached to RAF, Flight Commander from about 1938 to March 1940 when he was posted as CO of 45 Squadron. He was KIA in North Africa shot down by CR42's on 02/10/1940. Unbelievably this is exactly one year to the very day that he escaped the fiery crash of L8442
1940 BAFG was formed from existing squadrons in the Middle East, 30, 211, 84 and 80 squadrons stationed in Greece. Western Sector headquarters was at Yania under Commander W/Cdr Patric Bernard Coute.
Heliopolis March 1940 Source:http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/blen7.html
Squadron receive's some Blenheim Mk IV's
Ma`aten Bagush June 00, 1940
RECORDS LOST June to September 1940 Squadron records lost during campaign.
Ma`aten Bagush June 10, 1940 PWoodward, Bernard Shelton Diary
*Also satellite airfield at Waterloo, LG-68 .* HISTORIC DAY FOR THE SQUADRON First Libyan campaign starts and squadron is moved from Heliopolis to Ma'aten Bagush and immediately prepares for operations. Sgt Shelton diary records; June 10, "Today we arrived at Ma'aten Bagush after a journey of two days in the desert. Spent all the morning erecting tents and doing other jobs...... The machines arrived in the afternoon and after filling up, picketing out and covering up, we were told that Italy was at war with Britain and France".
NOTE: Sgt Norman Lamb states in his letter to F/O Pat Woodward that he arrived in Ma'aten Bagush in April.
Ma`aten Bagush June 11, 1940 Phillip Moyes, Bernard Shelton Diary, anonymous
The first RAF aircraft to bomb the Italians ! At dawn 26 Blenheim Bombers of 45, 55, and 113 squadrons made an early morning bombing and straffing attack on the Italian airfield at El Adem, Libya. 55 squadron led. Sgt Shelton states: "Several aircraft on the ground were bombed and the ground crew machine-gunned". Three aircraft failed to return one of which was 113 squadron L4823 MkIV. Beauclair, Owen and Dobson survived but were captured, "All the other 113 sqdn aircraft returned safely except for holes caused by shrapnel". The attack was repeated later that day and 18 enemy aircraft in total were destroyed on the ground. NOTE: Beauclair, Owen and Dobson have the dubious honours of being the first aircraft lost by 113 Squadron in WW2 and the first POWs.
S/Ldr Keily log records: first raid on 11 june 40 to el adem , 3 hours 20 of flight on L 6670;
Graham Warners version of this first raid is vastly different, he reports: Two hours after first light 8 Blenheims of 45 squadron from Fuka made a low level attack on the Italian airbase at El Adem, following which 55 and 113 Squadron were moved up from Ismalia to Fuka and 18 of their Blenheims made a further attack in the afternoon. Two hangars were hit along with 20 enemy aircraft. Three of the eight Blenheims were lost and two damaged from the first raid with two more damaged in the second raid. NOTE: If all three aircraft were lost on the first raid then since one of these was a 113 aircraft, 45 sqdrn could not have been alone on the first raid. Also it is known that the squadron was at Ma'aten Bagush and not Ismalia.
Ma`aten Bagush June 12, 1940 Sgt Shelton diary
Sgt Shelton states: "Today we bombed Tobruk, an important port for the Italians. One battleship transport was hit and also the jettys were badly damaged. From report by the aircrew we learned that anti-aircraft fire was pretty hot. L.A.C. Jobson of "A" Flight got our first ?? Fiat. All aircraft returned although some were badly damaged. A machine carried out a recco' in the afternoon and reported that the transport was still burning".
NOTE: (Per Graham Warner) Originally 29 Blenheims of 113, 45, 55 and 211 squadrons were to attack Tobruck but in a calamity of bad luck and bungling that included accidents, engine failures, running into each other and getting lost, only the nine Blenheims of the 113 actually found and bombed the harbour.
NOTE: The ship that was hit was the San Giorgio which became beached in the harbour and was subseqently used by the Italians as a stationary flack ship. The 113 would be back to finish off this ship in the years to come. LAC Sgt J Jobson was part of Sqd/Ldr Keily's crew and was killied in a raid on Tmimi 18 Sept, 1940.
Ma`aten Bagush June 13, 1940 Sgt Shelton diary
Spent today cleaning and repairing machines We are told that there will be no more bombing for a while as Egypt has not declared war on Italy and we are fighting on neutral country. We also have orders to conserve our machines as there will be no spares available from England.
NOTE: Both statements were true but the real concern was the second part of Bernards statement as Longmore was concerned that Collishaw was wasting scarce resources.
Ma`aten Bagush June 16, 1940 Sgt Shelton diary
Sgt Shelton states in his diary "Raid this morning on El Adem. Reports on this raid are very conflicting. Some say that the raid was a success - others a washout. "A" Flight was badly shot up, but all the machines returned safely. Mersa Matruh was heavily bombed again (by Italians). A couple of soldiers were killed."
NOTE: This raid was supposed to consist of 9 aircraft of 113 and 55 but three of 55 sqdrn aircraft did not reach target. The rest suffered heavy attack by Italian fighters over the target. Later this night (per Graham Warner) the 113 made single surprise attacks on the hangars and aircraft at El Adem by shutting down their engines over the sea and gliding in.
The Italian version of the raid is as follows: Nine aircraft from 113 and 55 Squadrons were briefed to attack the airfields of El Adem and El Gubbi at dawn on 16 June. Three Blenheims of 55 Sqd failed to reach the target due to engine problems. The remainder were heavily engaged by Italian fighters (twenty-four reported up), which spoiled their aim, and although bombs were seen to fall among the parked aircraft, damage was estimated as slight. All bombers returned to base. Italian records shows two raids on El Adem, the one noted above and a second raid flown in the evening by 113 Squadron. (see Warner note above). Results were four Savoia SM.81s of 14o Stormo BT destroyed on ground, one dead and twelve wounded, It is unknown if the losses of (T3 El Adem) were suffered during the morning or the evening raid. The raid on (T2 El Gubbi) records four planes (probably fighters) slightly damaged and the wounding of Tenente Vincenzo Vanni of the 84a Squadriglia. During the attack on T2 El Gubi four pilots of 91a Squadriglia were scrambled immediately and intercepted three of the Blenheims and claimed two of them shot down as shared. The 84a Squadriglia went to T3 El Adem on alarm duty and met six bombers coming back from that airfield. Maresciallo Mario Bandini claimed one of them and was awarded a Medaglia d’argento al Valor Militare for bravery for this action. (Note that all of these claims are not correct, all British aircraft returned to base, many were very shot up and may have seemed that they would not make it back to base.)
Ma`aten Bagush - * LG15 * June 16, 1940 ORBS, G.Warner, In-Net,
P/O Eric Roberts flying T2052 MkIV crashed and burnt in night landing at LG15 on transit flight, Roberts the solo pilot was killed. (This story is covered in Corp Says Memoirs)
Ma`aten Bagush NOTE: 216 Squadron appears to have been operating along side 113 squadron throughout June, possibly much longer. Sgt Shelton of 113 B Flight, in his diary makes two references to the 216 sqdn in a context and tone that suggests the two squadrons were very close.
Ma`aten Bagush June 20, 1940 Sgt Shelton diary
Sgt Shelton states in his diary: "The khamseen has died down eventually leaving a fine powdered dust on everything. A 216 machine took off on a raid over El Addam (El Adem) with 250lb bombs. They also machine-gunned the ground staffs. Italian aircraft dropped leaflets on Mersa Matruh. Although this 'drome has been bombed several times, from all accounts, there has been very little damage done. L8522 on a "shufti" job. Returned safely and reported they had seen an army encampment."
NOTE: L8522 was lost on a raid only 9 days later. Also apparently on this same reconnasiance flight, according to Graham Warner, the 113 also saw and photographed ships in Bardia harbour which 55 sqdrn were sent to bomb on the 21st.
Ma`aten Bagush June 21, 1940 Sgt Shelton diary
Sgt Shelton states in his diary: "Eleven of our Blenheims went to raid the army camp - 20lbs HE Bombs". (This was the camp spotted the day before) "According to accounts the raid was a washout. The aircraft returned safely". Graham Warner states these troops were located at Bir el Gubbi. NOTE: Sgt Sheltons diary inexplicably ends on the 27th June, most of the latter part of June 113 was grounded by frequent sandstorms according to the diary. To see the full diary for June click here WAR DIARY FOR Sgt BERNARD SHELTON
Ma`aten Bagush June 29, 1940
Sad day for the squadron, three Blenheims L8436 MkIV, L8447 Mk1, L8522 Mk1 are lost along with all their entire crews on a bombing run over El Gubbi. L8436 hit by flack and ditched, crew rescued and became POWs. The other two were attacked by Italian fighters and shot down.
NOTE: It is believed that these 3 aircraft were B Flight however this is apparently not the missing B Flight as B flight shows up again in various logs up to at least September 1941 .
Ma`aten Bagush July 28, 1940 Alain Charpentier (Keily log book)
28/07/1940 S/L Keily carried out a special reconnaissance over Libya. The reconnaissance had to be carried out at a low altitude owing to clouds .He was attacked by five enemy aircraft but, displaying great skill , he destroyed one of them . During the engagement the air observer was hit by a bullet and with the body leaning against him ,S/L Keily continued with the reconnaissance, returning with information of great value. Keily was awarded the DFC for this operation on 20/10/1940. There is no Thompson recorded as killed with the 113 in Middle East this date. S/Ldr Keily's log log reads "28 july blenheim L8443, pilot self, P/O John S Cleaver, Sgt Thompson Recco escorted by 1 blen. fighter. 2H45 "
The Italians however recorded what seems to be a much different version;
On 28 July Tenente Franco Lucchini and Sergente Giovanni Ceoletta of the 90a Squadriglia and Scaglioni of the 84a Squadriglia took off from El Adem following an air alarm and intercepted three Blenheims. One bomber was shot down, another so heavily damaged that the Italian pilots claimed it would not made it back while the third escaped. While landing back at base Scaglioni’s aircraft, damaged in the engine and with a wheel pierced by the return fire of the Blenheims, flipped over and was written off. The two victories were shared among the three pilots. They had intercepted two Blenheim Mk.IFs of 30 Squadron, which escorted a Blenheim MK.IV of 113 Squadron on a reconnaissance mission over El Adem. One of the 30 Squadron Blenheims (K7178) was shot down, killing the crew (pilot 21-year-old Flight Lieutenant Ian Cheesman Swann (RAF no. 39950), observer 32-year-old Pilot Officer Herbert Paul Greenwood Fisher (RAF no. 78443) and wireless operator/air gunner 23-year-old Sergeant John Young (RAF no. 523927)). The Blenheim from 113 Squadron returned to base badly damaged reportedly (incorrectly) by anti-aircraft fire. The surviving British crews reported that they were attacked by five Italian fighters.
A possible explanation for the two different accounts is that Keily only recorded in his log the escort provided by 113 Squadron (ie: Blenheim fighter 2H45) and did not record the 30 Sqd escort. His claim to have shot down an attacking aircraft may have been, for the same reason that the Italians recorded a kill they did not make, they assumed the aircraft could not make it back. Note that Scaglioni’s aircraft "was" written off, but it is a stretch to consider this a kill for Keily.
LG-14 Siwa Oasis Aug 15, 1940 P/O Michael Shekleton
A new order today says we are to disperse to satellites each morning. Each flight is to do this for two weeks and is to be at ‘stand-by’ while at the satellite, ready to take off - bomb loads 20s and 40s. Who can have dreamt this up? And for why? Bob has smartly chosen sat. 14 which is within walking distance of Siwa Oasis. What’s special about Siwa, I asked him. “Best dates in the world,” he said.
Ma'aten Bagush Sep 4, 1940
Pilot P/O John Harry Reynolds is shot in the head while enroute to Ops in Libya. His crew at the time was LAC Hank Hankinson acting A/G and LAC Ian Blair acting Obs. LAC Blair, a non-pilot, flew the Blenheim back and landed it. Corp Norman Say covers this story in his memoirs as does Michael Shekleton.
Ma`aten Bagush Sep 17, 1940
8 aircraft on Ops, target unknown.
Ma`aten Bagush Sept 17, 1940 (approx) Sgt Shelton
A batch of new WOp/Ag arrive on the squadron, among these is Ben Abbey.
Ma`aten Bagush Sept 18, 1940 F/O Woodward, Graham Warner
Defended raid, C/O S/Ldr Keily DFC shot down and crew killed, P/O John S Cleaver and Sgt. J. Jobson W/Op. Keily survived and became POW. At less than 19 months, It would turn out by wars end that Keily survived the longest of any 113 C/O
Ma`aten Bagush Sept 00, 1940
S/Ldr Bateson assigned new C/O, continual Ops being carried out, 113 now mostly equipped with Blenheim Mk IV's
WATERLOO (Bir Zimla is satellite) Sept 28, 1940 P/O Michael Shekleton
Squadron moves to Waterloo (Away from Group HQ) to landing ground 9 miles from Maaten Bagush which was just being cleared. This area was rocky with must less dust
Waterloo (Bir Zimla is satellite) Sept 30, 1940
Extract from P/O Shekletons diary: Bob thought that night landings at Waterloo on our return would be too risky for some of our new crews. "A Flight" was duty flight and in the morning I was at the satellite swinging our compasses. I got back at lunchtime to hear the op. was off . Our a/c had been brought to Bir Zimla where the strip is so wide we can do squadron take-offs. (Compared with flight take-offs the advantage is that you do not have to wait for the dust to settle between each, which makes getting into formation that much easier.)
Ma'aten Bagush December 9, 1940 SOURCE: Flypast Magazine
Sgt Joseph Crawford, 648647 Missing FTR 09/12/1940. NO LOSSES LISTED THIS DATE ????
Italians begin their advance, crossing the border from Libya into Egypt.
Sidi Barrani Dec 00, 1940 Sgt Norman Lamb
Sgt Norman Lamb states that during / after the troop advance on Sidi Barrani in December, they had a Christmas dinner of bully beef and biscuits following which they were recalled to Heliopolis for re-equipment with Blenheim Mk IV's.
RECORDS LOST All squadron records lost again from Dec 1940 to May 1941
Sidi Barrani Jan 00, 1941
Status unknown, The Squadron (At least C Flight) was using the landing ground at Sidi Barrani as a refueling stop for a time. See Sgt Lister Walker log.
UNKNOWN Jan 20/21 1941 (20/01/1941)
On the night of night of the 20th/21st January, Wellingtons and Blenheims dropped 20 tons of bombs, inflicting heavy damage on the defences and other military objectives at Tobruk, including the A.A. guardship, " San Georgio ". The assault on Tobruk was launched at dawn on 21st January and, simultaneously, Blenheims of Nos. 45, 55 and 113. Squadrons, operating in direct support of our troops, attacked enemy positions within the Tobruk defences, maintaining their attacks throughout the day, and making a total of 87 sorties.
A telegram from HQ to President Rosevelt dated January 26 1941 stated: Libya. On January 24th three enemy landing grounds in Bengazi area were attacked at one of which two grounded aircraft were damaged. FDR LIBRARY Also: Libya. January 8 1941. 8 Blenheims and several Hurricanes attacked a transport convoy near Giarabub and caused considerable damage. Armoured car patrols are expected to have captured the remainder of the convoy. Hurricanes also machine-gunned landing grounds where two Italian bombers were destroyed and eleven others damaged. Tubruk was attacked by Blenheims. Details not yet available. FDR LIBRARY
Unknown Feb 00, 1941
S/Ldr Spencer takes command of the Squadron. Awarded DFC in July for an operation in June, Apparently became Wing Commander prior to being killed in August
No 202 Group in Egypt reformed under Air Commodore T W Elmhurst to co-ordinate the air defence of Egypt, and to co operate with HQ BTE. The decision was taken to divide the delta in two and form two separate wings each with its own filter room. No 250 Wing formed at Ismailia to control the sectors at Port Said and Fayid and provide defence of the Suez Canal Zone and Eastern Delta area. No 252 Wing was then made responsible for the control of the sectors at Amriya and Heliopolis, and the defence of Alexandria, Cairo and the Western Desert area
Delta Area?? February 00, 1941 (middle) Longmore Files
Following the capture of Benghazi by Wavells troops the redistribution of forces of HQ No 202 Group took place. 45 and 113 and 274 Squadrons were withdrawn from Cryenaica to the Delta area in the middle of February.
February 25 1941 HQ RAF Cyrenaica was formed at Barce under command of Group Captain L O Brown to take charge of the squadrons remaining in Cyrenaica
Status unknown, Gambut was just inside the Libyan border
Kabrit Egypt March 00, 1941 Hist of RAF
All aircraft of B flight fail to return. B designation never used by squadron again.
THIS IS LIKELY WRONG, NO PROOF FOUND YET. The Squadron was not operational from Kabrit. B Flight was likely lost June 29, 1940 (see above)
Menidi / Eleusis March 6, 1941 Sgt J.D Woodcock log
Sgt JD Woodcock & crew (pilot Sgt Price) arrive in Menidi Greece. It is unknown what other aircraft if any went with them. From March 12 to 25 they are involved in photography around Greece up to the Bulgarian border.
Menidi? March 28, 1941 Sgt J.D Woodcock log
Sgt JD Woodcock & crew (pilot Sgt Price) and others from the squadron attack the Italian fleet southwest of Crete in the Battle of Matapan
Larrisa? Niamata? March 31, 1941 Longmore report, Sgt Norman Lamb, Sgt Norman Say
31st March per Longmore, (February per Sgt Lamb) the squadron was dispatched from Egypt to Greece. While some of the 113 ground crew might have been flown into Greece, it is known that most packed and loaded everything onto trucks and sailed via Port Said to Piraeus. 113 was sent to reinforce the 11(B), 112(F) & 33(F) squadrons sent earlier. No. 208 (A.C.) with (Hurricanes and Lysanders) followed last. Two air formations were created, an Eastern Wing and Western Wing. H.Q. Eastern Wing was at Tsaritsani, in close touch with G.H.Q. British Forces and controlled 11 and 113 (B) (Blenheims), No. 33 (F) (Hurricanes) and 208 (A.C.) (Hurricanes and Lysanders). The role of this force was to provide direct support for the British and Greek ' Armies against German attack from the North. H.Q. Western Wing was at Yannina and controlled 112 and 211, the role of this formation being to support the Greeks on the Albanian Front. The remainder of the squadrons in Greece, 30, 80 (F), 84 (B), together with detachments of Nos. 37 and 38 (B) Squadrons, were at aerodromes in the Athens area directly under the control of H.Q., B.A.F., Greece
NOTE: Sgt Lamb states that they were posted to an advanced landing ground at Niamata, while Sgt Say states they were posted to Larissa.
NOTE: It is confirmed by Sgt D Woodcock's log book that his crew ( pilot Sgt Price) arrived in Greece on March 6 1941 ( 06/03/1941 ) arriving in Menidi then on to Eleusis. It is likely for this reason that few are aware that the squadron was involved in the battle of Matapan against the Italian Fleet on 28/03/1941.
Menidi March 00, 1941 F/O PWoodward
March or early April Continued disaster, RAF retreating
Larissa April 00, 1941
Late march or early April, Continued disaster, RAF retreating
? April 6 & 7 1941 Longmore, Sgt JD Woodcock log
From 7th to 8th April, as Germans advanced, Blenheims of 11, 84 and 113 Squadrons made heavy and effective attacks on large columns of their M.T., A.F.V's. and troops near Petrich in Bulgaria, on the Strumica-Lake Doiran Road in Yugo-Slavia and at Axiopolis and Polykastron in Macedonia. On 06/04/1941 Sgt JD Woodcock & crew (Sgt Price) make solo night raid to Petrich.
? April 8, 1941
April 12, 1941 Longmore
H.Q. No. 204 Group, was formed at Maaten Bagush on the I2th April under the command of Air Commodore R. Collishaw, and took over the control of the Squadrons in the Western Desert from H.Q. Cyrenaica which was in Tobruk at this time
???? April 14, 1941 source: www.dalnet.se/~surfcity/commonwealth_vale.htm
On 14 April, 09:30 eight Blenheims from 113 Squadron attacked targets to the north of Ptolemais. The squadron was being escorted by ten Hurricanes from 33 and 80 Squadrons. Returning from the attack, Ju87s were seen dive-bombing Allied troops near Servia and the Hurricanes attacked with the 113 getting mixed up in the fray. One of the 113 Squadron's gunners fired at one of the Ju87s, and reported seeing smoke and flame pouring from the aircraft. It is unknown as yet who the gunner was or if he was awarded the kill. S/Ldr Bill Vale who was in one of the escorting Hurricanes also claimed this aircraft.
Niamata April 15, 1941 Hist of RAF, Sgt Norman Lamb, Sgt Norman Say
All remaining aircraft destroyed on the ground. Sgt Norman Lamb states that 70 plus bombers and attendant ME 109's attacked the area and the 109's flew up and down the airfield untill 7 (6 per G.Warner) of their Blenheims were on fire. Four times during the day they came back and by evening all aircraft were destroyed along with a few of the squadron Lorries. On this same incident, Sgt Norman Say states, in complete agreement with Sgt Lamb, that at about ten o’clock the Messerschmidts came over and started strafing the drome. They had white painted noses and someone said that was Goering’s own squadron??, As we hadn’t any slit trenches we managed to lie up against the side of the banks around the drome and fired at the planes as they came towards us..... We shot down four of them by concentrated rifle fire.
Graham Warner records: 15-04-1941 T2054, T2069, T2169, T2182, T2186, T2216 all destroyed on the ground at the 113's new base at Niamata by strafing enemy 109's. Later this day following five more attacks, all the rest of 113's aircraft were destroyed including their Miles Magistar used for communications. The squadron evacuated the area by fire tender and commandeered road transport as all of its other vehicles were destroyed. NOTE: As recorded above the losses for the period in greece total 11 aircraft. These are T2168, L9338, T2177, T2054, T2069, T2169, T2182, T2186, T2216, L8444*, T2183*. The loss dates of the last two are questionable.
Athens April 16. 1941 Longmore report
Withdrawal of all R.A.F. Squadrons to the Athens Area on 16th April and from that date onwards they were controlled directly by H.Q., B.A.F., Greece. Eastern and Western Wings were consequently disbanded.
N. AFRICA - WESTERN DESERT
April 22 & 23, 1941 Longmore report
*Nos.11, 84, 113 and 211 (B) Squadrons and 208 (A.C.), amounting to 24 Blenheims and 4 Lysanders, flew to Egypt on 22nd and 23rd April, the Blenheims having previously made several journeys between Greece and Crete evacuating air crews. 113 surviving personnel not air lifted out were evacuated to Egypt via Argos and Crete by ship.
NOTE: conflict with official report, Longmore indicates 113 had surviving aircraft. Squadron staff indicate all aircraft were all lost.
RECORDS LOST - Records begin again here. Lost from Dec 1940 to May 1941
Ramleh, Palestine Unknown
The squadron returns to its stomping grounds of the first world war. 113 reforms and re-equips. Aqir aerodrome was completed and opened early in the year. Gaza was developed and Lydda taken over as an R.A.F. Station. "These aerodromes were prepared for and subsequently occupied by the Squadron personnel evacuated from Greece, for the purpose of re-forming and re-arming them".
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) June 1, 1941 (see also below) Sgt George Checketts
The squadron returns to station on the front line at their old base of Ma'aten Bagush. Arriving here they were treated to the spectacle of an almost deserted Aerodrome, complete with Aircraft and all equipment just sitting. (see also Corp Says story-View From the Ground) It wasn't quite deserted however as here they found the venerable Sgt George (Taff) Checketts and his crew. George arrived at Ma'aten Bagush on the 19/05/1941 to join 55 Squadron who had apparently taken over the base from 113 squadron after it had been shipped off to Greece. George states that 55 Squadron was stood down about the 30/05/1941and shipped off for a rest, George and crew didn't go and were inherited by 113 Squadron along with all of 55's aircraft and equipment. (113 had lost their aircraft and everything else in Greece and it is not known what, if anything, they brought back to Ma'aten Bagush) Note that Ma'aten Bagush was far from idle while the 113 were in Greece, as H.Q. No. 204 Group, was formed at Maaten Bagush on the I2th April under the command of Air Commodore R. Collishaw, and took over the control of the Squadrons in the Western Desert.
Ma'Aten Bagush (LG15 or Sidi Haneish) June 1, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
The actual location of the squadron as indicated by Sgt Ewan Brooking was at L.G.15, otherwise known as Bir Zimla or more popularly as Sidi Haneish. (55 Squadron although stood down were still here) The airfield was up on the escarpment above the railway line with the Station of Sidi Haneish below, and was classed as a satellite of Ma'aten Bagush. It was just a large tract of desert cleared and leveled. The Officers mess and the Sargeants mess were pre-fab timber buildings fitted out with tables and chairs, and a bar. The other ranks mess was a large marquee, and the Ops room and stores were smaller marquees.The C.O.'s office was an ungainly box trailer on a high wheel chasis.Tents were used as billets, with two or four man occupants, and were dug in and also surrounded by a sandbag low wall.
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) June 10, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
Squadron resumes operations. First raid was led by F/Lt Stidulph & crew Sgts Brooking & Smith (5hrs-10 in 5859) in an attack on the road between Maraua and Slonta in a Fighter Blenheim. This involved flying over the desert south of the main Road in Libya, and then turning north to the road, and then turning east to strafe anything on the way back to Egypt. The first Op was lucky in that they came across a truck convoy of the Africa Corp. F/Lt Stidolph & crew attacked every second truck, and the No.2 Blenheim had a go at the ones in between.
(LG15 as per Sgt Brooking is a satellite of Ma'aten Bagush near Sidi Haneish)
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) June 00, 1941
Squadron Leader Roderick Harvey SPENCER leads the squadron in successive low flying attacks against a force of 100 enemy tanks which threatened our lines of communication and wins himself the DFC
June 27, 1941 RAF Command Center restructured, now called HQ RAF Ceylon
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Aug 2, 1941
F/Lt Stidolph & crew on Photo/Rece of Maddelena-El Gseier-Gelafan-Ettarfani-*Giarabub*-Ul Grein Weshka in V5641. This is obviously a scouting mission that resulted in the squadron moving up to Giarabub later.
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Aug 29, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
A dusk bombing attack at low level on a tanker that was supposed to be in Bengazhi Harbour. There were three Blenheims led by F/LT Stidolph & crew Sgt Bill Smith & Sgt Ewan Brooking. Take off was at 1610 for the 45 min. flight in Z6233 to Sidi Barrani to refuel for the long flight ahead. Take off again at 1745 using a met forecast wind to get to Benghazi. There was no sign of any tanker, and anti-aircraft fire was heavy. F/Lt Stidolphs plane crossed the harbour at ultra low level and as he banked to exit the harbour was hit in the port wing by a 40mm cannon shell. The other two aircraft made it back safely while F/Lt Stidoph & crew made an emergency landing at at Sidi Barrani. (LG15 as per Sgt Brooking is a satellite of Ma'aten Bagush near Sidi Haneish)
Ma'aten Bagush - (LG14 ??) August 31, 1941 GWarner
On a similar raid to bomb harbour as day before, two Aircraft & crews are lost, one of them being the Squadron Commander. V6136 Mk IV FTR to LG14 from raid to Benghazi, W/Cdr O.C. Rod Spencer DFC, P/O W. Sears , F/Sgt P. Robertson - Pratt KIA ALSO T2066 Sgt. G Sulman, Sgt D Rhodes , Sgt P. Thacker KIA
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) GChecketts log
F/Lt Harper DFC signed George Checketts log as O/C "A" Flight, suggesting a gap in senior staff for a period.
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Sept 8, 1941 Sgt Walker Log
Pilot Sgt Chapman with WOp/Ag Sgt Lister Walker were assigned to photography around the base. It is believed that professional photographers & cameramen were on the base this day.
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Sept 9, 1941 F/O PWoodward Sgt Keith Hansen Log
Sept 9th W/Cdr (then F/Lt promoted S/Ldr) Reg Stidolph takes over 113 as OC with two S/Ldrs as Flight Commanders. One of these is F/Lt Clifton W. Harper DFC. Other S/Ldr Unknown but is believed to be Sqd/Ldr Peter Ford as per Sgt Keith Hansen Log.
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Sept ??, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
Airfield straffed by M.E. 110's. Coming in over the coast at breakfast time, possibly from Crete, firstly attacked Sidi Haneish station, and then came on to the squadron. The camp had been ringed with mortar like tubes erected vertically, with a charge to fire a pack several hundred feet in the air trailing a wire from the ground. All linked to a single switch. A parachute then opened and low flying planes were supposed to get tangled in the wires and crash. The 110's flew straight through the wires without anything happening. Unfortunately one airman was killed when walking across the landing ground. Small bombs were also dropped by the 110's.
Ma'aten Bagush - (LG15) 22/09/1941 Source: Sgt Ewan Brooking and CWGC
F/O Doug Brooks was conducting night bombing practice. An F.A.A. Albacore dropped flares over the landing ground with two Blenheims making practice low-level bombing runs on the L.G. During the exercise one taxied into a slit trench, and the other went too low and crashed. The pilot F/O Doug Brooks was killed and the Obs. received two broken legs. Note the CWGS lists F/O Brooks as an observer, rest of crew unknown.
MALTA - DETACHMENT
( **NOTE:113 was based in the Western Desert but had dettached aircraft to Malta during this period) see also January 13, 1942)
Malta 23/09/1941 & 24/09/1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking Sgt George Checketts
Based on what is known so far: On the 23rd Sept three fighter Blenheims and crews, with two extra crew members riding as passengers were detached to Malta. The next day, the 24th three more Blenheims and crews, with one extra crewmember as passenger followed. The total detachment being 6 fighter Blenheims and seven crews, the seventh crew according to Sgt Brooking being a spare. (some conflicts exist see below) The main reason for the detachment to Malta was the the protection of a Convoy sailing to Malta and anticipated to be "within range" of air support from the island on the 28th. The convoy consisted of 8 Merchant ships, 4 Cruisers and 10 destroyers, intercepted 8 miles North of Gozo Island.
The flight out on 23/09/1941 consisted of:
1/ Sgt Davies-pilot, unknown-Obs, unknown-Wop/Ag
2/ F/Sgt Crossley-pilot, F/Sgt John Swan-Obs, F/Sgt Albert Smith-Wop/Ag (confirmed)
3/ Sgt Frank Baker-pilot, Sgt Bob Hay-Obs, Sgt George Checketts-Wop/Ag (confirmed)
Extra Crew: P/O Cashmore-pilot, Sgt Ken Woods-Wop/Ag
NOTES: Sgt Checketts stated this first flight of three were Sgt Crossley and crew in T1821, Sgt Baker and crew in Z5866 and Sgt Davies and crew in T2429.
The flight out on 24/09/1941 consisted of:
4/ S/Ldr Ford-pilot, Sgt Scott Chard-Obs, Sgt Hodgkinson-Wop/Ag (confirmed)
5/W/Cdr Reg Stidolph-pilot, Sgt John (Bush) Barrey-Obs, unknown Wop/Ag (confirmed)
6/F/Lt Cliff Harper-pilot, Obs unknown, Wop/Ag unknown
Extra Crew: Sgt Ewan Brooking (rode over with S/Ldr Ford)
NOTES: It is confirmed S/Ldr Ford & W/Cdr Stidolph left for Malta on the 24th, Harper is assumed.
Seven different aircraft are recorded altogether.
Sgt Brooking log records he flew in T2385, T2252, Z5907 while at Malta.
Sgt Bush Barry records he flew in T2252, Z5907, T2385, T1823.
Sgt George Checketts records he flew in Z5866 (unverified states Davies flew over in T2429)
Sgt Crossley shot down in T1821
Return From Malta: Sgt Brooking maintains 3 aircraft led by Harper returned on 30/09/1941, these are confirmed as P/O Cashmore & crew, W/Cdr Stidolph & crew and assumed F/lt Harper & crew. S/Ldr Ford did not return for several weeks due to injuries to himself and aircraft F/Sgt Crossley & crew were killed. Sgt Bakers crew shows him/them returning on 20/10/1941 so it seems likely they and Sgt Davies & crew waited for S/Ldr Ford & crew and the three aircraft returned together.
Note of interest: Sgt Checketts states Blenheim T2385 had been modified with a pack of underbelly guns mounted in the bomb bay and an extra Lewis gun for the Navigator.
Malta Sept 26, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
Our first Op. From Malta was on the 26th was a night Fighter Patrol over a ship approaching Grand Harbour [ Valleta.] Take-off was at 15-17 in T2252 for 4hrs. No E/A seen.
Malta Sept 27, 1941 Sgt John (Bush) Barrey
W/Cdr Stidolph -pilot, Sgt John Bush Barrey-Obs, Wop/Ag unknown. Flying Blenheim Z5907 A/S patrol for convoy of two ships and Corvette approx 80 mi West of Malta.
Malta Sept 28, 1941 Graham Warner, Sgt Checketts, Orbs
T1821 Mk IV FTR to Luqa from raid on E boat base Pantellaria. F/Sgt Harry Crossley 649728, F/Sgt. John Swan 755884, F/Sgt Albert Edward Smith 656869 KIA. (Sgt George Checketts thought fairly certain that Sgt Crossley & crew experienced engine failure on takeoff and crashed into the Mediterranean but others say they were shot down.)
Malta Sept 28, 1941 Sgt John Bush Barrey
W/Cdr Stidolph, Takeoff 10:30 in T1823, flight 2.25 hrs. A/S patrol for convoy of 4 Cruisers, 10 Destroyers, 8 Merchant ships. 8 mi North of Gozo island
Malta Sept 28, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
On the 28th. we took off at 0645 in T2252 to search for `E' Boats off the port of Trapani in Sicily, a 3hr 30 flight at low level. We were flying No. 2 to S/L Ford. Off Trapani we met an Italian Destroyer or Cruiser, and circled around it. Naturally it was firing at us, everything it had to let loose. It also fired off a deck gun, and the shell hit the water and burst under S/L Ford's plane. It took some shrapnel, and the Port engine was set on fire. We set out on the return to Malta just off the coast of Sicily. However the enemy was not finished with us yet, and we were attacked by 2 M.E. 109's. It appeared that our Gunner had hit one as they broke off the attack and headed for their base. One was streaming smoke. We landed safely back at Luqa. S/L. Ford was injured by shrapnel from the shell burst and his aircraft had also taken hits, so pilot, crew and plane took no further part in our operations. The other two planes and crews were detailed to patrol off the Italian island of Pantaleria, south of Malta to search for `E' Boats or M.T.B.'s. The search was successful, but when the plane piloted by Sgt. Crossley attacked, it was shot down, and the crew was lost. We took part in one more Op on the same day. It was a late afternoon Anti-sub Patrol outside Valetta Harbour. Take-off was at 1714 in Z5907 for 2hr 30.
Malta Sept 30, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking Sgt John Bush Barrey
On the 30th , we set out on the 5hr20 return flight to our Base at Bir Zimla in T2252, flying No. 2 to F/L Cliff Harper. Wandered around the Med. a bit, hitting the coast in the wrong place twice before making the right landfall. 3 Blenheims and 3 Crews. Sgt Barrey records: 30/09/1941Luqua to Base 11:30 4.45hrs in Blenheim T2385
Malta Oct 20, 1941 Sgt George Checketts
Log records return to base this date, it is assumed that S/Ldr Ford and Sgt Davies did as well but this is unconfirmed.
End - Malta Detachment
Ma-aten Bagush (Sidi Haneish) Oct 6 / 7, 1941 Telegram Churchill to FDR
Sidi Haneish attacked by enemy aircraft no damage or casualties reported.
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) Oct 00, 1941
All fighter variants of the Blenheim were replaced. Ops during this period were intense in support of the army.
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Oct 13, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
As proof the 113 was used for anything that came into mind the following extract from Sgt Ewan Brooking's log is interesting. Raid on a Submarine in Bardia Harbour in Blenheim 6134. Take-off at 0137 for 4hr25, with S/L Lydall. The sub was supposed to be resting on the sea bed and the bombs fell where they were supposed to, but no results were observed.
Ma'aten Bagush (LG15) Oct 20, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
General interest: Sgt Ewan Brooking posted to Tomahawk House in Alexandria on rest leave noted: QUOTE "It appears that this place was popular with 113 N.C.O.aircrew, as there were 5 there already, on leave, including Sgts. Lorne Tapp, Bill Clarihue, and Chappy Chapman of the R.C.A.F. So I settled in.
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) Oct 20, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking, Sgt L Walker CWGC
A joint operation with 55 Squadron. 6 planes from each Squadron led by S/L Blackmore of 55 Sqd. The target was the enemy airfield of Gambut.The formation was attacked by a strong force of M.E. 109's. One Blenheim of 113 was lost, that of Sgt.Chris Jenkinson Obo, Sgt Ken Duffin WOp/Ag & pilot unknown, was last seen with half the tail shot off, both engines on fire, low down over the sea, and 2 109's circling it. S/L Blackmores plane was also shot down in flames.The 5 planes left from 113 suffered damage to varying degrees, One Nav/B was injured. Note: Sgt Lister Walker log records. F/Lt Young & W/op AG Lister Walker on Ops Gambut, attacked by eight BF109s. Two Blenheims missing. (LG15 as per Sgt Brooking is a satellite of Ma'aten Bagush near Sidi Haneish)(Sidi Hanish is simply a well, reportedly 15 miles from Mersa Matruh)
Ma`aten Bagush (LG15) Oct 26, 1941 F/O Pat Woodward Sgt Keith Hansen
Six planes raid Benghazi, S/Ldr Lyall's plane hit by a single revolver bullet in the oil tank causing the engine to seize and throw off its propeller. The aircraft landed safely in friendly territory.
Giarabub (Gerabub) (jaghabub) Nov 04, 1941 Sgt Keith Hansen, Sgt Lister Walker
Squadron moves up to be closer to front lines. Sgt Lister Walker log book shows he arrived here on the 4th of November. From here detachments of the squadron are sent to LG125 and LG76 (75?)
Giarabub (Gerabub) (jaghabub) Nov 10, 1941 Sgt George Checketts
Sgt Checketts log showed the squadron was initially using Giarabub for refueling as early as the 4th. On the 10th he states ferrying to Giarabub, Squadron move.
Giarabub (or in transit from/to) Nov 15, 1941 CWGC Corp George Foster
VERY BLACK DAY FOR THE SQUADRON. Six ground crew killed this day, no details of this disaster have yet surfaced. LAC Archibald M Bankier, AC2 Noel F Green, AC1 Robert H Holmes, LAC Frank T Malyon, LAC Sidney J Stokes, Corp Earnest E Palmer.
Note: It is believed that these men were buried alive when they sheltered under an overhang on the escarpment during a bombing raid by the germans. The escarpment having collapsed on top of them. Corp George Foster states they could not dig them out quick enough. Aside from the six killed there were others who survived with injuries. see Corp George Foster profile.
LG-125 (Detachment) Nov 20, 1941 Keith Hansen, Sir Basil Embrey, Checketts
Sgt George Checketts log states 20/11/1941, ferrying to LG125 Squadron move. Squadron moves up again following the army as it advances. LG-125 was behind German lines at the time. Sgt Keith Hanson states that only one raid was carried out from here. Their presence here was soon detected and the landing ground was attacked by German JU88's which destroyed most of their aircraft. The detachment then moved back to Giarabub.
In a book by Sir Basil Embrey, he refers to 113 and 33 Sqd. Quote, In order to add confusion behind the German lines Coningham ( Air Vice Marshal Desert air Force) detached No 33 and 113 Squadrons, armed respectively with Hurricane and fighter-type Blenheims to landing grounds lying between Benghasi and the distant oasis of Algila and Gialo. The mission was to attack transport and troop movements on the roads west of Benghazi, and destroy any aircraft seen in the area. They met with initial success, but after a few days the enemy discovered their presence and carried out an attack on the airfield, causing damage to our grounded aircraft
Giarabub Nov 22, 1941 www.raf.mod.uk
The following excerpt from 2 squadron RAF regiment was found at www.raf.mod.uk which ties into events from the 22nd to 23rd. It has not been verified.
"During a large convoy escort task, consisting of a column of 33 Squadron and 113 Squadron personnel on route for Egypt, a Company patrol on reconnaissance screen duties was attacked by 2 ME110s. One of the aircraft was shot down, but the crew was rescued by the other aircraft before an armoured car could reach them. However, on another attack on 22 November 1941, the Company shot down a JU88 and captured the crew".
Note that S/Ldr Wade of 33 Squadron shot down a JU88 on November 22 or 23 in which two crewmembers were captured and handed over to 113 Squadron. It is not known if this is a double claim with the RAF Regiment or a similar incident.
Giarabub Nov 23, 1941 Sgt Lister Walker Sgt G Checketts log
According to Sgt Lister Walker log, he and presumably some others from the squadron were still doing ops from Giarabub on the 23rd of November. Sgt George Checketts log states, 23/11/1941 ferrying wounded to Giarabub from LG125.
LG76 (Detachment) Nov 24, 1941 Sgt Lister Walker
On the 24th of November Sgt Walker flew from Giarabub 1hr and 15 min to reach LG76 (which is 40 min from Quasaba) where he carried out ops untill Dec 11, 1941. Sgt Walker was with C Flight, his log does not indicate they were ever at LG125 which confirms the squadron had in fact detached flights during this time. (Elsewhere this is reported as being LG75 which is Sidi Barrani)
LG76 and LG116 Dec 06, 1941
When Sgt Ewan Brooking reported back to the squadron on 12/06/1941 he reports the squadron base was now at L.G 116 which was South of the old base at Bir Zimla, but the operational base was at L.G.76. This was South of Sidi Barrani.
Dec 7, 1941
JAPAN ENTERS WAR
Up to the 15th Dec 1941 RAF Command in Burma was organised as Burgroup with command transferred to the CinC India this date. On Dec 17, 1941 all RAF units formed into a single group, No 221 Group, under AOC Far East. Jan 1, 1942 Bomber Command Air Vice Marshall Donald Fasken Stevenson arrives in Burma and assumes command as AOC No 221 Group. Within a few days of arrival 221 Group becomes Norgroup under command of General Wavell but remains under the C&C India for Administration Command. (Stevenson who had come from commanding No 2 Group was nicknamed "The Butcher" for sending low level flights of Blenheims which led to horrific losses. He refused to suspend these murderous activities despite the losses. His new command includes 113 Squadron and 21 P40s of the Flying Tigers among others.)
Norgroup was prepared and a commander appointed in order to facilitate co-operation be tween the Army and the Air Force in North Malaya should hostilities break out, the functions of the commander were:
(a)to command such air forces as Air Headquarters might allot to him from time to time.
(b)to act as air adviser to G.O.C. 3 Indian Corps and to command such air forces as might be placed under the Corps Commander.
SOURCE: RAF History, Stevenson report to Wavell Sept 28, 1942, other
LG76 LG116 Dec 12, 1941
Sgt Leonard Purves , P/O John Galvin, 2nd Lt Cedric N Summersgill were all killed same day 12/12/1941. Blenheim Serial or cause of crash unknown. Record of 113 Sqd loss on this date not found. (Graves appear to be at Giarabub based on photos).
LG76 LG116 Dec 9, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
On the 9th word came through that we were being moved off the desert, not where to or why.
Helwan Dec 20, 1941 Sgt Ewan Brooking
On the 19th. was the move back to Helwan (Heluan), with an overnight stop at Burg El Arab. No planes, just the personnel, in truck convoy, arriving at Heluan on the 20th, and being billeted in the Transit Camp. It didn't take a brilliant mind to work out where were going. Another s… job.
Note that not all of the squadron arrived in Helwan at the same time as Sgt Lister Walker & crew did not untill the 27th.
Helwan Dec 23, 1941
Sgt Ewan Brooking RNZAF on the 22nd was crewed up with Lt. Viney S.A.A.F. and Sgt.Jack Wohlers R.A.A.F. On the 23rd. they collected the first 8 planes.These were fairly new Mk 4 Blenheims that had been assembled at Takorati on the East coast of Africa, and flown across that continent for us to use in our future movements.The one they brought from Fayoum to Helwan (Heluan) was Z9674.
Helwan Dec 27,1941 PWoodward, Norman Lamb, Sgt Lister Walker
Squadron re-equipped with 16 "less used" aircraft then the battle worn ones they had - note that 8 were picked up as noted on the 23rd. ) Sgt Lister Walker arrives in Helwan from LG76 on Dec 27th. Sgt Norman Lamb (Ground crew) rejoins squadron from Greece evac at this time. Sgt John Reid & crew joins the squadron at Helwan on Christmas eve. ( Note it is unclear what Blenheims the squadron had left to exchange, most planes having been destroyed by the Germans on the ground in the hair brained scheme which had them operating from LG-125 behind enemy lines in Libya)
Helwan Dec 30, 1941 RAF Hist, Woodward
113 ordered to proceed to Burma, some personnel went with aircraft, the ground crew as well as some aircrew shipped from Port Tewfig in (two ?) stages. Squadron moved with extreme urgency. W/Cdr Stidolph led off with a flight of 6 aircraft followed by the other 10 in flights of 5 aircraft each at 24 hr intervals. The trip to Burma covered over 4000 miles and was flowen in 5 stages. Karachi to Allahabad, to Calcutta to Toungoo.
Helwan Jan early, 1942 Sgt Norman Lamb
An advance party of ground crew sets out for Burma leaving Port Suez in the SS Westernland in early 1942 which, according to Sgt Norman Lamb disembarked him at Bombay from where he went across India by train to Calcutta
Helwan Jan 05, 1942 Sgt Ewan Brooking
More aircraft leave for Burma 05/01/1942. Two Squadron aircraft and two reserve aircraft. Of the two Squadron aircraft, one was Z7791 piloted Lt. J Viney and his crew Wop/Ag. Sgt. John Wohlers, Nav/B Sgt Ewan Brooking and the other crew is unknown. Before leaving for Burma the two Squadron aircraft first made a stop at Fayoum to join up with two other Blenheims being flown out by Ferry Crews. Note that along the way the aircraft that accompanied them were constantly changing as other aircraft joined the group and others fell away due to problems. The route took was Helwan to Fayoum to Lydda (Tel Aviv) Palestine, over Jerusalem to Habbaniya Iraq, to Muharraq island Bahrain, then along Persian Gulf to Sharjah in the Trucial Territories (a prewar former Imperial Airways rest house in the desert for flights en route between London and India, now a massive city with skyscrapers), then to Karachi, to Jodhpur (fuel), to Allahabad, to Dum Dum (Calcutta), to Akyab, over the Arakan Yoma to Lashio in Northern Burma. Arrived
SEE NOTES AT BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
Toungoo Jan 7, 1942 PWoodward, AOC Stevenson report to Wavell
Last group of the 113 'aircraft' arrives in Toungoo. Although a specific date is not stated Air Vice Marshall Stevenson states in his report to General Wavell: "The aircraft, personnel and 'packup' of 113 Squadron arrived in (first week of) January and early February. The aircraft of 45 Squadron also arrived but were unaccompanied by personnel or 'packup'. There was a great shortage of tools and spares."
Mingaladon Jan 7, 1942
All aircraft proceed to Mingaladon, the same day.
Mingaladon Jan 8, 1942 RAF Hist, AOC Stevenson report to Wavell
The very day after their Epic journey 7 crews of 113 and 2 from 30 Squadron are sent to bomb Bangkok, a further 700 miles away. The group met with heavy anti aircraft fire but set the dock area ablaze and destroyed 60 enemy aircraft on the ground. Miraculously all returned safely no thanks to the idiot who issued the order . Air Vice Marshall Stevenson states 10 planes were involved and the raid was the night of their arrival: "The night of their arrival the enemy base at Bangkok and the main enemy base in Thailand was attacked by 10 low flying Blenheims, 11,000 lbs of bombs were dropped on the dock area in the center of the town and fires were started". Sgt Lister Walker wrote home about this flight to China
Mingaladon - Lashio Jan 9, 1942 PWoodward, AOC Stevenson report to Wavell
Jan 9 to Jan 16, 1942 All aircraft required servicing from over 5000 miles of flying in the last 30 days. The Blenheims were sent North to Lashio for a major overhaul as facilities were poor at Mingaladon. Air Vice Marshall Stevenson states: "The squadron was then withdrawn to Lashio to enable aircraft inspections to be carried out after its long desert flight. Owing to the shortage of tools and spares, it was the 19th January before the squadron was in action again".
Helwan (Suez) Jan 13, 1942 Sgt John Reid
The S.S. City of Paris sailed from Suez on 13/01/1942 and after a short stop at Aden, arrived at Colombo on 02/02/1942. We disembarked and traveled by train all the way up through Ceylon to the train ferry to cross the strait to the Southern tip of India, then by same train to Madras (Transit camp at Avadi) on 5/2/42. We then boarded the S.S.Neuralia and sailed from Madras on 14/2/42, arriving at Rangoon on 21/2/42. With the Japs advancing into Burma we then were ordered to re-board the Neuralia, and arrived back in Madras on 28/2/42.
Mingaladon Jan 13, 1942 J Hodge
The AA Company of the Rangoon Battalion was formed consisting of five officers and 130Ors. After eight days training at a base camp near Mingaladon airfield the company took over the Browning .5" AA machine guns and the company manned eight gun positions on that airfield. The company also trained two platoons of RAF ground defence personnel in the use of Browning .5 machine guns. At the end of January a further seven gun positions were manned at Zayatkwin airfield. Two days after the RAF evacuated Zayatkwin airfield at the end of February the platoon there was transferred to Highland Queen airfield at Hmwabi. Following evacuation of Mingaladon on 1st March 1942, the company proceeded to Magwe.
Source author firstname.lastname@example.org
Toungoo Jan 10, 1942 NZETC web site
Due to persistent bombing of Mingaladon, and No. 113 Squadron was withdrawn north to Toungoo in the Sittang Valley. A detached flight remained in the Rangoon area, being dispersed at Zayat Kwin and Johnny Walker satellite strips. Date per F/Lt Tony Day research notes.
*Malta ?? Jan 13, 1942 Graham Warner
Z7790 is reported shot down off Malta by Ju52's. It is believed this aircraft may have been on loan to another squadron, but could be 113 stragglers left behind ???
Mingaladon Jan 16, 1942 PWoodward
Squadron continues Ops against the Japs in South Burma and Malaya with some trips to Bangkok. Japs are closing in on area. Persistent enemy bombing of Mingaladon airfield.
Mingaladon Jan 22, 1942 Stevenson / Longmore report
Troops withdrawing to Moulmein, on the 21st and 22nd the Blenheims under fighter escort attacked Raheng aerodrome and village and Mesarieng Thailand dropping 6000 lbs of bombs each raid. On the way back from this raid their escort intercepted a large escorted Jap formation who had just bombed Moulmein and engaged them. 7 enemy bombers were destroyed along with 9 fighters.
Mingaladon Jan 24, 1942 NZETC Web Site
On 24 January another night raid was made on Bangkok, all serviceable aircraft participating.
The Blenheims attacked singly at ten-minute intervals, bombing from 2000 feet with a war
load of four 250 lb. bombs and four 25 lb. incendiaries. Large explosions and several fires resulted. An intense anti-aircraft barrage was again encountered over the target area, and two aircraft, including one navigated by Sgt Dingle, failed to return.
Zayatkwin -Magwe Jan 30, 1942 PWoodward, N Lamb, J Hodge
Squadron HQ at Magwe. Japs bombing Mingaladon, squadron withdraws to Zayatkwin. RAF ground defence personnel trained in the use of Browning .5 machine guns arrive from Mingaladon at the end of January and man seven gun positions at Zayatkwin airfield.
Zayatkwin -Magwe - Toungoo Jan 30, 1942 PWoodward, N Lamb, J Hodge, F Appleton
More squadron personnel show up. The Squadron in retreat meets up with the 113 ground personnel who had left Port Tewfig last December in the retreat from Greece and had only now arrived to rejoin the squadron, having dissembarked in Rangoon, taken a train to Toungoo where they split up some going to Magwe & others travelled by truck to Zayatkwin. With barely time to unpack they are almost immediately forced to retreat again further north. Corp Fred Appleton reports that only a few were sent south to Zayatkwin and Johnny Walker, the rest went to Magwe
Corp Fred Appleton goes with B16 P/O Bassingthwaite. 10 are sent to docks in Rangoon to pick up jeeps but are turned back by MP's due to the japs being to close. Undoubtedly the squadron was going to use the jeeps for evacuating. Sadly these new jeeps would all have been pushed off the Rangoon docks into the sea to prevent the japs from getting them.
Note that (Norman Lamb states he (others?) dissembarked at Bombay.
*Toungoo - Kedaw Feb 2, 1942 J. Keeping log
According to the log of J.B. Keeping, 113 flying Blenheim IVs was in Toungoo at Kedaw airfield by the Sittoung river and railway to Mandalay (180 miles north of Rangoon). Keeping met them here during a brief stop as he was passing through. (Keeping did not state whether it was A, or C Flight or both.) This is confirmed by Sgt Norman Lamb who states "We soon had to move inland to Toungoo where an airstrip had been cut from the paddy fields. The going was certainly tough and we were always under attack. Whatever Keeping was doing there he was very lucky because on the following day Feb 3 & 4, Toungoo aerodrome was attacked by the Japs in groups of 6 & 15 bombers. Note also: The AVG (American Voulunteer Group) used Toungoo as a training base and although the remark by Sgt Lamb seems to indicate this was a new strip, if it was, then the Kedaw strip must have been a satellite strip of Toungoo. NOTE ALSO: F/Lt Tony Day records the squadrons move to Toungoo as Jan 30, 1942 in Air War Over Arakan
Magwe Feb 06, 1942 Tony Day
Squadron is reported to have moved to Magwe this date per Tony Day. The fact Toungoo was heavily bombed on the 3rd & 4th support this.
Rangoon Feb 14, 1942 Corp Bob Cable, Dates from Euxton.com
More squadron Personnel show up. (It is likely Corp Joe Hunter was also aboard the SS Varvosa) Corp Bob Cable aboard the SS Varsova, a wartime troopship escorted by the crusier HMS Emerald and two smaller warships leaves Madras on 9 February and arrives in Rangoon on the 14th of February. Corp Cable (and others if any??) stays one night at the zoo and chases the squadron all the way back to Asansol before he catches them. Leaving Rangoon he proceeds by truck to Toungoo and finds the 113 gone then heads to Magwe, Lashio, Akyab and finally to Asansol. (Amazingly the SS Varvosa very likely carried the 113 Squadron personnel during WW1)
15th of Feb, 1942 Singapore fell to the Japanese.
Magwe Feb 18, 1942 NZETC web site
On 18 February, after a month of continual flying, the land threat to Zayatkwin made this airfield untenable and the detached flight was withdrawn to Magwe.
Rangoon Feb 20, 1942 George Farmer 136Sqd
Evac from Burma underway, HMT Clan Murdoch in harbour, loaded with various aircrew and ground crew leaves for Calcutta via Akyab & docks Akyab on the 22nd. Stragglers from other squadrons are flown out to Akyab to catch ship before it leaves
Rangoon Feb 22, 1942* F/O Woodward, Lamb, J Reid
More squadron Personnel show up. The main body of 113 personnel that left Helwan by boat consisting of both aircrew and ground crew aboard SS City Of Paris transfer to the SS Neuralia at Columbo and dock at Rangoon on the morning of 22nd February by which date Rangoon was being rapidly evacuated. The vessel remained at the docks only long enough to take on board a number of wounded civilians and service personnel and then sailed for Madras with the Squadron personnel still on board’ Note: According to John Reid, & I believe he is correct, The Neuralia docked on Feb 21st, and he celebrated his 21st birthday on board. John states that when they arrived the C.O. said the last thing he needed was more aircrew, if they don't have aeroplanes I don't want them.
Magwe Feb 22, 1942
While Rome burns the 113 boys are lollygagging around base hamming it up in front of the movie cameras for British Paramount News Correspondent Maurice Ford. Ford was shooting newsreel footage of the retreat from Burma even as the Japs had all but taken the country.
The following archive located at the Imperial War Museum in the UK ID Number: NPA 1173
See Research Room for further details.
March 1, 1942 J. Hodge
Mingaladon evacuated and the AA Rangoon Company here proceeds to Magwe per note of Jan 13 above.
Magwe March 4, 1942
1500hrs F/Lt Lee and crew, Sgt Brett (0), Sgt Walker (G) with three crews from 45 Squadron carried out a bombing attack in the Sittang river area. F/Lt Lee was flying in No 4 position. The formation was attacked by enemy fighters, and F/Lt Lee the pilot was hit by a bullet and the aircraft crashed west of the Sittang River, and 60 miles east of Pegu. The gunner, Sgt Lister Walker survived and made his way back to the squadron. F/Lt Lee and Sgt Brett the Observer were both killed.
Zayatkwin - HQ at Magwe Late feb / early March, 1942 PWoodward, J Hodge
The squadron HQ is back at Magwe but the aircraft still operated from Zayatkwin. Two days after the RAF evacuated Zayatkwin airfield at the end of February the platoon manning the anti-aircraft guns there was transferred to Highland Queen airfield at Hmwabi.
Hmwabi / Highland Queen - HQ at Magwe March 6, 1942 PWoodward (see Jan 13 above.)
113 sqdn RECORDS LOST. Position is critical, the fall of Burma to the Japs is imminent, no further operations are possible. Evacuation and chaos again. The last sortie from here took place on March 6th when the crews returned to find the airstrip being straffed by the Japs. (Orb entries end again but are written in later, see below.)
Remaining 113 pilots are poled for volunteers to carry out last (absurd) mission. None do and are picked anyway and left behind. Gathered at Mingladon Golf Club are Pilots Sgt Chappy Chapman, Jim Purves, S/Ldr Ford, Peter Duggan Smith, Lorne Tapp, P/O Bassingthwaite (B16) and their crews. They decide to hell with the mission and by truck drove to Johnny Walker airfield & took off in the morning to Magwe. (Aircraft were dispersed at JW but personnel were at Mingladon.)
Fyzabad March 7, 1942 Sgt John Reid
After being ordered to re-board the Neuralia at Rangoon, this large group of the Squadron arrived back in Madras on 28/2/42. Following which they left the Avadi Transit Camp by rail for Fyzabad, United Province, on 03/03/1942 arriving on 07/03/1942.
Magwe March 12, 1942 -Date unverified PWoodward N Lamb
(Writen into Orbs later on date indicated) All serviceable aircraft flowen out to Dum Dum. Some GROUND personnel taken but most were attached to 45 Squadron which continued for a short time. These men later rejoined the squadron from the middle of April onward. Some made it out by air but many had to walkout through 400 miles of jungle. Norman Lamb was sill here on March 23rd and states: Being again bombed and strafed we were advised to get to Lashio’, which is well north of Mandalay. They left in the trucks still serviceable. By way of rough jungle trails, partly by truck and partly by walking he got to Myitkyina where, he was able to get onto one of the very few flights out to Dinjan in north India and from there by train he rejoined 113 Squadron at Asansol. A total distance travelled, estimated to be 700 miles.
NOTE: Beginning early in 1942 a significant number of 45 Squadron Personnel were posted to the 113 Squadron. This ocurred a few at a time throughout 1942 up untill October when a large group posted in. At this time 45 Squadron had been nearly wiped out and had few remaining aircraft, the personnel being posted to 113 untill replacement aircraft could be obtained for 45 Squadron. According to Wal McLellan the ex-45 Squadron crews when told to report to Yelehanka immediately as 45 was re-forming, were overjoyed as their stay with 113 had not been a happy one.
Dum Dum - Calcutta March 12, 1942 PWoodward Tony Day
Temporary, activities unknown
Fyzabad April 6, 1942 to April 7, 1942 Tony Day Sgt John Reid
Temporary, many from the squadron were sent here to rest joining a number of new arrivals to the squadron. The large group from the Neuralia has been here since March 07. Activities if any unknown.
Asansol *April 8, 1942 per F/Lt Tony Day *March 31, 1942 per PWoodward
Retraining activities started under new C/O W/Cdr Grey
Loiwing, China April 10, 16, 21 1942 Gen Longmore, Sgt Bailes, Sgt Reid, F/Lt Day
A 'flight' of the squadron were dispatched to Loiwing China in the extreme south-west of Yunnan province in China and operated in support of the Chineese armies resisting the Japanese advance towards their back door, five bombed groups of river boats and flew on to Chittagong. Six more Blenheims arrived at Loewing on the 16th but two were lost and the four survivors returned to Asansol. A final 6 led by W/Cdr Grey arrived in China on the 21st.
Flight on the 21st led by W/Cdr Grey were in order of pilot, Obs, Wop/Ag (Wcdr Grey, Sgt Barry, Sgt Tollett) & (F/O Hammond, P/O Evans, Sgt Lord) & (P/O Griffiths, Sgt Davies, Sgt Dicketts) & (F/Sgt Hinds, F/Sgt Aitken, Sgt Bailes) & (F/Sgt Ted Symondson, Sgt Arthur Birley, Sgt Norman Woodcock) & (Sgt Webster, Sgt Whyte, Sgt Cheshire)
Asansol April 12, 1942 PWoodward
113 resummed operations against Jap army concentrations, airfields and communication lines which were sometimes (bullock / mule trains)
Loiwing, China 24/04/1942 Orbs re: F/Lt Tony Day, Sgt Bailes
F/O Hammond and crew and F/Sgt Bill Hinds and crew carried out a low level bombing raid on Japanese M. T. concentration along the HOPONG-LOILEIN road. Bombs burst amongst the M.T. Bombs dropped were 8 x 2501b G.P. with 11 sec delay fuse. F/Sgt Bill Hinds failed to return but his gunner Sgt Alan Bailes baled out and walked home and reported having last seen aircraft maintaining heights with one engine on fire.
?????? May 4, 1942 Sgt John Reid F/Lt Tony Day
Raid on Monywa on 4/5/42, W/Cdr Grey led 5 aircraft (Sgt Reid & crew, P/O McGlashan & crew, W/Cdr Grey & crew, others unknown ) on the raid. On return McGlashan’s aircraft lost an engine & he force landed in the Hoogly River, all crew uninjured. Sgt Reid witnessed the ditching and thought it was beautifully done.
?????? May 09, 1942 Graham Warner
Magwe was raided by 5 Blenheims and 5 Jap aircraft set on fire.
NOTE: May be 34 sqdn not 113 Squadron
Dum Dum May 10, 1942 Graham Warner
Five more Blenheims set out from Dum Dum for the same target the next day but ran into bad weather and split up so that only S/Ldr C. Harper, an experienced pilot from 34 squadron ?? found the target and was persued for half an hour by two Ki27's but, using plus 9 boost he got away.
NOTE: Possible error, Harper had been posted from 113 to 34 prior to Burma then back to 113sqdn at some point after arrival in Burma.
Tezpur June 01, 1942 Pilot Sgt John Reid
Tezpur detachment from 1/6/42 to 18/7/42
Asansol June 18, 1942 GChecketts, other
S/L Clifton W Harper and Observer Sgt Beauchamp flying Blenheim IV, Z7892 fail to return from operations to Myitkyina. Not verified, but story is aircraft was lost flying into a Monsoon and not over target. The Orbs state: TEZPUR 18/06/1942 S/Ldr Harper and crew, F/Sgt Tapp and crew, and Sgt Hockney and crew, set off from DINJAN where they refuelled to bomb MYITKYINA. Target was bungalows on the river bank of the supposed H,Q of a Jap General and staff. Owing to very bad weather and 10/10 cloud on way to target the formation Split and Sgt Hockney returned with engine trouble. F/Sgt Tapp proceeded on his own to the target and on reaching MYITKYINA decided to bomb the aerodrome as there were 4 large twin engined aircraft in it. The bombs fell in a stick at the North East of the runway about 5O yards from the twin engined aircraft. F/Sgt Tapp returned to TEZPUR. S/Ldr Harper who was only seen once after the formation broke up in the clouds was not seen by F/Sgt Tapp over the target and failed to return. S/Ldr C.W.Harper and his Observer P/O L.A.L. Beauchamp RAAF posted missing as a result of active operations.
Myitkyina was the main Jap base for the defense of Burma from the north, and was also the endpoint of the railroad from Rangoon as well as the head of the Irrawaddy river.The RAF routed supplies to the ground forces through the airstrip here.
Tezpur Dum Dum 08/07/1942. Orbs re: F/Lt Tony Day
Two aircraft, F / Sgt Chapman and crew, and Sgt Campbell and crew, carried out a raid in bad weather on PALETWA. Bombs dropped were 7 x 250 1bs G.P. (1 hung up) from 3000 and 6000 ft. Results were unobserved owing to visibilty and aircraft returned to DUM DUM.
Asansol 08/07/1942 Orbs re: F/Lt Tony Day
F/Sgt Butcher piloting Blenheim Z6155 was unable to climb out of a blind valley in bad weather and crash landed near Fort White, Burma. F/Sgt F. Butcher broke his back in the crash and his crew Sgt John Kirkpatrick Obo and Sgt Steele A/G were also injured.
Asansol July 31, 1942
W/Cdr Walter takes over squadron. This is reported in Orbs to be 25/07/1942
Asansol August 14, 1942 F/O Pat Woodward
Squadron ordered to support Civil Authority because of rioting and incendiarism among people of India. These Ops did not go over well with squadron.
Asansol August 20, 1942 F/O Pat Woodward
Two patrols sent out. One piloted by F/Sgt S Goss crashed killing Goss, the Navigator Sgt A Murray and Airgunner Sgt C Whiteside who survived the crash were murdered by the locals.
Assansol 30/08/1942 Orbs extract F/Lt Tony Day
Walter & Webster briefed to attack a paddle steamer in Saratoygen creek on the island of Akyab. Due to bad weather they had to return to Chitters, but Walter had another try later and got through to find and attack the Steamer with 4 X 250 lb bombs. All were near misses.
Asansol 09/09/1942 0915hrs F/Lt Tony Day-extract from Orbs
Two merchant ships were reported entering AKYAB last night and a large formation of Blenheims, 5 from 113 Squadron. 5 from 60 Squadron and 3 from 34 Squadron were despatched to attack them. The crews from 113 Squadron were W/Cdr Walter and crew, F/Sgt.Ffolliott-Foster and crew and Sgt Reid and crew, F/O Basingthwaite and crew and F/O Loane crew. The attack was carried out from ultra-low-level and the ships and jetty were hit. Both ships were reported later in the day to have sunk and the jetty was badly damaged. As the aircraft left the target they were attacked by a large formation of enemy fighters and after a running fight of 20 minutes the fighters broke off and returned to their base. F/O Loane and crew and Sgt Reid and crew and one aircraft of 60 Squadron failed to return. F/O Bassingthwaite landed at DUM DUM but his aircraft was so badly damaged and shot up that he had to leave it there.
Asansol (Tezpur) 28/09/1942 1500hrs F/Lt Tony Day - extract from Orbs
F/Sgt Webster and crew, Sgt Taylor and crew, Sgt McLellan and crew, and Sgt Allen and crew were detailed to proceed in a formation of 60 Squadron to AGARTALA to refuel and spend the night for an operation next morning. F/Sgt Webster and the 60 Squadron machines took off and proceeded toAGARTALA. Sgt McLellan and Sgt Taylor accidentally took off together and collided half way up the runway. Both aircraft immediately burst into fames and the crews scrambled out. Both aircraft exploded and blocked the runway preventing Sgt Allan taking off. Sgt McLellan received superficial injuries but the other 5 men were unharmed.
Orbs extract per F/Lt Tony Day
Asansol Oct 11, 1942
Pilot Harry Peters, Obo WO Bowyer Pearce and Wop/Ag Sgt David Davies were killed in a flying accident 11/10/1942 at Asansol. The accident occured when their Blenheim Z9598 hit a tree during low flying maneouvers which were being carried out to give the ground gunners (RAF Regt) practice at experiencing lead off on low flying aircraft. All the crew were killed. One of WO Pearce's friends on the squadron was Sgt Wal McLellan. Source: Correspondence / Research material of F/Lt Tony Day and excerpts of Air War Over The Arakan. copyright.
Asansol Oct 20, 1942 F/O Pat Woodward, F/Lt Tony Day-Orbs extract
Squadron Intelligence Officer F/O Bryer-Lloyd promoted and departed squadron. He had been with the squadron for over 20 months in the Western Desert, Greece, Crete, Burma and India. He was the longest serving officer. NOTE: Major Personnel changes. Due to the fact 45 Squadron had been wiped out with few planes left many 45 Sqd were temporarily posted to 113 Squadron throughout the month of October. Among these were; 07/07/1942 S/L Beeston & crew F/O Fraser Obo, P/O Mills Gunner. 24/10/1942 Gus Alder. 25/10/1942 F/S Tibbs, F/S Armstrong. 27/10/1942 Sgt Biggs, F/S F E Thompson RCAF, F/S Jewell, F/S Hallett, Sgt Shatlock RAAF, Sgt Neil RAAF, Sgt Romans, Sgt Terry, Sgt Hatherley RAAF, F/O Corbett RAAF, F/S Levings RAAF.
Asansol Oct 29, 1942 PWoodward
Eight aircraft attack Shwebe and met with heavy anti aircraft fire followed by an attack from 3 Jap Zeros. The attack lasted 23 min and ended with one enemy shot down and another damaged. No Blenheims were lost but were damaged.
Asansol Nov ??, 1942
Sgt Jack Barnes leaves England with a ferry flight of Blenheim V's and arrives at Asansol in November with one of them, it might be most of the Blenheim V in this flight ended up on the squadron.
Asansol 22/11/1942 F/Lt Tony Day-Orbs extract
NOTE: Major personnel changes. According to Wal McLellan the ex-45 Squadron crews who had been posted to 113 Squadron were told to report to Yelehanka immediately as 45 was re-forming. The 45 Sqd boys were reported to be overjoyed as their stay with 113 had not been a happy one. Posting back to 45 Squadron were Pilots- McLellan, Shatlock, Taylor, Neil, Jewell, Armstrong, Thompson. Obo's posting back were Levings, Tibbs, Lallert, Kerns. WOp/Ag were: Nankervis, Hatherley, Romans, Terry, King, Whittaker, Brown, Barclay.
UNKNOWN Late 1942
Squadron converts from Blenheim IV's to Blenheim V's. 34, 42 and 113 Squadrons are reported to be using Blenheim V Bombers (Bisley's as called by the RAF) These were originally issued to 13, 18, 114, and 614 squadrons late summer of 1942, total of 942 made, the aircraft suffered severe losses and were withdrawn everywhere else in early 1943. (See also Aug 15, 1943)
W/Cdr Walter leaves squadron, New C/C appointed F/Lt Jones (acting S/Ldr and acting W/Cdr)
Asansol Dec 12, 1942 PWoodward
10 aircraft plus 5 from 60 Squadron escorted by 21 Hurricanes bombed Mandalay without loss.
Jessore Dec 19, 1942 P Woodward Tony Day
Squadron moved to Jessore, raids continue some with Hurricane escorts and on rare ocassion by a Curtis Mohawk.
F/Lt W.L. Jones DFC, Ex 99 Squadron, Posted to 113 squadron 20/12/1942. Appointed acting S/Ldr and acting W/Cdr, left July 1943. W/C Jones succeeded W/C Walter.
FENI (squadron detachment) Jan 05, 1943 Sgt Jack Barnes
From 05/01/1943 to 09/01/1943 the squadron maintained a detachment at Feni for army co-operation duties. It is unknown how many aircraft but Sgt J Barnes was one in BA398
Jessore Jan 19, 1943
P/O Giles leads an attack on Akyab supply port. They were intercepted at 15,000 ft by two enemy fighters. During the three separate attacks that followed, the evasion tactics of the Blenheims included diving to a height of 10 ft above the sea. All returned safely.
Feni Jan 21, 1943 F/Lt Tony Day
Squadron moved to Feni.
Chandina Feb 28, 1943 F/Lt Tony Day
Squadron moves to Chandina
Comilla main May 4, 1943 May 6, 1943 per F/Lt Tony Day
Monsoon period, despite this the squadron is ordered to remain operational over Burma regardless of weather. Major Viney of South African Airforce is now in command.
Comilla May 30, 1943
Only two aircraft remain available for immediate use as the rest are bogged down in the mud.
Feni June 25, 1943 W/O Jack Barnes
According to log of Jack Barnes the squadron moved to Feni this date. His crew, being operational again on the 28th June. Status of the others is unknown.
Feni June 27, 1943 Tony Day
Squadron returns to Feni and attacks points through which the japs were bringing supplies to their front from Rangoon.
UNKNOWN June 1, 1943
Magazine article. The 113 is featured in Statesman Magazine. Over 1000 sorties and a million lbs of bombs dropped. (Statesman Magazine is a very old English language Publisher located in India, it is unknown if they have maintained an archive of their old magazines and articles)
Film Clip In June or July 1943, The Squadron was visited by a Mr Bovill of the Path`e Gazette who took many action shots. The location of this film today is unknown. (HAS NOW BEEN FOUND)
Feni ? June or July 1943
W/Cdr Jones posted to squadron, Major Viney currently leading the squadron had been a F/Cdr under Jones
Feni August 15, 1943 *Philip Moyes
Final operational sortie of the Blenheim V's (Bisley's). Raid against Japanese targets at Kudaung and Laundaung
Feni August 15, 1943
END OF THE BLENHEIMS Last operational flight as a bomber unit carried out. This day was also the last operational flight of the Bisleys (Blenheim MkV) when, from Feni, 113 raided Japanese targets at Kudaung and Laundaung
Feni August 16, 1943
Record book shows 1130 sorties had taken place in last 16 months. Official stand down of Squadron ordered and farewell dinner takes place. This because the squadron was converting from three man Blenheim bombers to single engine Hurricane fighters / hurribombers. Some squadron members posted to other duties, the balance of the squadron moved via Khargpur to Yelahanka, near Bangalore. Contrary to popular belief, it seems there was no thought of disbanding the squadron at this time. Rather, because so many aircrew and ground crew were being posted out of the squadron during conversion it was decided to have a last dinner for them.
Kharagpur August 28, 1943 F/Lt Tony Day
Yelahanka (near Bangalore) August 31, 1943 PWoodward
Under S/Ldr Aitkens, commenced conversion to Hawker Hurricanes with expected role to be a fighter unit in defence of India. NOTE: Tony Day research indicates the squadron moved to Kharglur on Aug 28, 1943 untill Sept 15, 1943
St Thomas Mount, (near Madras) Sept 1943 per F/O Woodward ** Oct 02 1943 per F/Lt Day
The squadron undergo's intensive training at St Thomas, Mount Madras. F/Lt Stan Chilton states: In the autumn of 1943 113 Squadron got rid of it’s Blenheim aircraft and commenced conversion onto Hurricane II C’s at St Thomas Mount near Madras for an intended fighter role. Some of the Blenheim pilots remained and others (like myself) with previous single-engine experience were drafted in from North Africa.
Note: As much confusion exists over where & when the squadron was over the following months, the following is a direct extract from F/Lt Chiltons log.
11/10/1943 ST THOMAS MOUNT (Madras)
09/11/1943 CHOLAVARAM (Madras)
22/12/1943 MANIPUR RD (Assam)
22/03/1944 TULYHUL (Imphal)
24/03/1944 SILCHAR (Assam)
31/03/1944 PATHARKANDI (Assam)
18/05/1944 KANGLA (Imphal)
25/05/1944 PALEL (Imphal)
19/12/1944 YAZAGYO (Burma)
22/01/1945 ONBAUK ( “ )
14/03/1945 ONDAW ( “ )
06/04/1945 WANJING (Imphal) for conversion to Thunderbolts
St Thomas Mount, (near Madras) Nov 00 1943 PWoodward, N Say
RECORDS LOST Devestating flood hits airfield and all records for Sept and Oct are lost including all of the Officer's Mess bar stock as noted with humour in the record book.
Cholavarum (near Bangalore) (Nov 09, 1943 per Tony Day) P Woodward, J Bott
Following the flood at St Thomas the squadron moves to an airfield called Cholavarum near Bangalore to finish coversion to Hurricanes.
Cholavarum (near Bangalore) Dec 20, 1943 W/O J Bott, F/Lt Stan Chilton
On Dec 20th 15 Hurricanes fly out of Cholavarum taking two days by way of Vizag, Alipore, and Digri to reach the airstrip at Dimapur, Manipur road on the front lines. J Bott states that they travelled by train to Dimapur in Assam province in the Naga Hills. and that the squadron became operational at Dimapur on Dec 4th 1943 SEE BELOW. F/Lt Stan Chilton states: After about 2 months training in fighter tactics the squadron was judged fit for operations and just before Christmas 1943, 15 aircraft, under the command of F/Lt Hart, flew up to an airstrip in North East Assam called Dimapur. This was adjacent to the Bengal Assam railway and also in the so-called Manipur road
Dimapur ( 04/12/1943 )** see above date conflict W/O Johnny Bott
Dimapur airstrip lay 5 miles up the Manipur Road from the railhead in Dimapur. All moved by train up to the Naga Hills to a place with a runway called Dimapur. From this strip, the squadron became operational on Dec 4th 1943 ( 04/12/1943 ). At this time the C/O was Buck Courtney (not correct, Courtney took over 07/01.1944 per S/Ldr Frost).
Dimapur (in Nagaland Prov.) Dec 22, 1943 Source S/Ldr Ernest Frost
15 aircraft of the Squadron arrive at Dimapur. S/Ldr Aitken replaced by S/Ldr Hart ( S/Ldr Ernest Frost states this took place while they were at Dimapur and while here they patrolled and straffed the Japs along the Chindwin river.) F/Lt Chilton states that the 15 aircraft were under command of S/Ldr Hart when they left Cholavarum
Dimapur (in Nagaland Prov) Dec 00, 1943 (Dec 31, 1943 per F/Lt Tony Day)
Further training in fighter tactics, battle formation, interceptions, air to air fighting.
Dimapur (In Nagaland Prov) Jan 07, 1944 F/O Woodward, S/Ldr Frost
1st Operations as fighter squadron. Low level straffing attack along river Chindwin in support of army. S/Ldr Courtney takes over as C/O of squadron this day. (S/Ldr Courtney returns to the UK from August to October for a special course during which time S/Ldr Ernest Frost takes over as C/O.)
Dimapur (in Nagaland Prov) March 00, 1944
Japs cut supply lines, under seige, supplies and replacements must be brought in by air. Squadron provides close support to army. The japs have cut the main supply line at Kohima.
Dimapur (in Nagaland Prov) March 23, 1944 PWoodward
3 aircraft attack Layshi, 2 pilots were lost and the other one F/Sgt Clement got back to British lines after a 15 day trek through the jungle.
Tulihal (Imphal valley) March 17, 1944 PWoodward J Bott
Squadron relocates to Tulihal, two days after arrival it is straffed by 6 Jap aircraft. Squadron decides to relocate due to lack of protection. Ground & support staff are left in Tulihal in order that the strip can still be used as an advanced landing ground. (Date per F/Lt Tony Day)
??? April 00, 1944 S/Ldr Ernest Frost
In Apr 1944 the squadron had bomb racks fitted and took over the role of close support for the army bombing and straffing Japs who occupied the High ground around the Imphal Valley. The Army liason officer was Major E Kennington who provided details of targets.
Silchar, (Assam Province)
Squadron moves back from front line to Silchar
Squadron moves further back to Patharkandi and uses the strip at Tulihal in the Imphal valley during the daylight for re-fueling and re-arming between sorties.
Patharkandi May 00, 1944 PWoodward
Kohima road is re opened. Squadron ordered to move forward to front line again, Record book indicates it is Monsoon Quarters" and is to move forward as soon as bombing stops.
Kangla May 18, 1944 F/Lt Chilton
F/Lt Stanley Chilton's log indicates he (detachment?) were in Kangla from the 18th to 25th
Palel / Kangla? May 25, 1944 (Kangla stated by S/Ldr Frost) PWoodward, J Bott
Squadron relocates to Palel in the Imphal Valley, frantic Ops continue with Japs just outside perimeter. Operations are in support of the 17th army. Johnny Bott: 113 moved to Palel from Dimapur via Jorhat and Tulihal and Silcharwest. We then operated from Pathakandi for awhile, flying down to a strip called Tulihall each day in the Imphal Valley and back to Pathakandi, but when the Kohima road was finally opened we landed up at Palel via other airfields on the way.
Palel June 00, 1944 JBott
Allies break out from Imphal in late June and Japs begin to pull back south through Burma. The 113 chases them all the way. 113 targets are up towards Kohima area. F/O John bott shot down June 6th 1944.
Palel July 00 1944
Japs sneak in to dispersal area of the squadron and plant sticky bombs on 7 aircraft destroying them.
Palel July 00, 1944
The squadron flew 572 Ops during July despite chronic shortages of supplies and parts and in appalling weather conditions.
Palel August 00, 1944
The C/O S/Ldr R Courtney leaves for training back in UK from Aug to Oct. S/Ldr Ernest Frost becomes acting C/O untill October and in November is replaced by S/Ldr Rose.
Palel August 26, 1944
Welfare officer W/O Williams returns from Calcutta with musical instruments and the squadron starts a band. considering the squadron is on the front lines and the horrific conditions at the time, this gives some indication to their spirit)
Kalemyo December ?? 1944 LAC Harry Hitchins
In December all ground crew from the Squadrons were re-named Servicing Echelons and the Squadron numbers altered to four digits so 113 became 7113SE, 34 Squadron became 7034SE and so on. This became the official address of the ground crew personnel but they still preferred to call selves as Squadrons. No official reason was given but reportedly the idea was that instead of a Squadron moving enmasse, Advance Party, Main Body, Odds & Sods, (which did work quite well) you just moved the aircraft. First snag there were different types of aircraft and we wern't going around in circles. So apart from the name change, nothing else happened.
Kalemyo December ?? 1944 LAC Harry Hitchins
In December the squadron moved by road to Kalemyo for a very short time (at least he / the ground crew did)
Yazagyo Dec 15, 1944 (Dec 18, 1944 per F/Lt Tony Day ) F/Lt Chilton
C/O S/Ldr Rose moves to squadron toYazaygo to be nearer the front lines. Acording to LAC Harry Hitchins they moved by road again. (confirmed 19/12/1944 to 22/01/1945 per Graham Skellam log) (19/12/1944 per F/Lt Chilton log)
Onbauk Jan 22, 1945 (Jan 22, 1945 per F/Lt Day )
Some of the squadron already relocated to Onbauk. Flight Commander is F/Lt S. Slinger DFC. According to LAC Harry Hitchins they all moved by air from Yazagyo to Onbauk confirmed P/O Graham Skellam log 22/01/1945 to 14/03/1945
Onbauk Jan 17, 1945 GBrigden log
Practice formation flights and sector reconniasance, 13 sorties this week.
Somtimes referred to as Enbauk
Onbauk Jan 21, 1945 G Brigden log
Bombing and straffing Japs at Monywa
Onbauk Jan 22, 1945 G Brigden log
Jan 22 to Jan 30 Bombing and straffing against Japs in Irrawaddy and Monywa area. Supported army as they advanced through Burma operating from airstrips bulldozed out of suitable terrain then laid with perforated metal sheets to make runways.
Onbauk Jan 23, 1945
Date conflict, Orbs indicate that squadron moves to Onbauk but G. Brigden log indicates they were already here on the 16th
Onbauk Feb 03, 1945
It is noted in Graham Skellams log that the squadron was employing CABRANK ops. This is the first mention found where this technique was employed by the squadron in WW2. While I am certain that this method of army co-operation was claimed an invention of, and given credit to some boffin at the time, little did any know the 113 Squadron helped develop this technique and employed it from practically the dawn of aviation during the First World War. In fact it is disturbing to note the many historians of today whose sloppy research indicate this was a later invention of WW2.
Ondaw March 14, 1945 PWoodward G Brigden
Orbs indicate this move to Ondaw took place on the 14th of March and LAC Harry Hitchins confirms March. P/O G. Brigden log indicates Feb 23. Squadron moves south to Ondaw to keep close to front line. Ops include the wall of Port Dufferin in Mandalay where the Japs were holding out. Orbs report that the Hurricanes were nearly wore out after a year of almost continuous combat in tropical conditions. Confirmed dates P/O Graham Skellam log 14/03/1945 to 07/04/1945
Ondaw April 5, 1945 PWoodward, F/O Colin Ellis
Last operations of squadron carried out using the old Hurricanes. F/O Colin Ellis stated My last Hurricane operation was on 4 April 1945 to B/S bunker positions in the village of legyi.
Wanjing April 07, 1945 PWoodward G Brigden, LAC Harry Hitchins
113 withdrawen to Wanjing for conversion to P47 Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolt a more complicated aircraft and heavier than a Blenheim bomber was quickly fitted out to the squadron.
Very little training was provided with only one serious incident recorded. Harry Hitchins recorded the date the ground crew went as April 7, 1945. Orbs confirm move to Wanjing and conversion to Thunderbolts took place in April. (G. Brigden log indicates he converted at Meiktila on July 10, 1945) P/O Graham Skellam log confirms 07/04/1945 training began and first operation on TBolt was 24/04/1945
Kwetgne April 24, 1945 (20 April per Tony Day) PWoodward LAC Harry Hitchins
Operations restarted at new base at Kwetgne. Some of the Hurricane pilots were not retrained and were posted out to be replaced by others who had completed a course on the P47 at an OTU in Egypt Date confirmed P/O Graham Skellam log, was back & forth from 20th to 24th then ops start on 24/04/1945
Myingan May 11, 1945
P/O Graham Skellam log indicates he stopped here for two weeks 11/05/1945 to 23/05/1945 it is unknown if others did. Possibly leave or rest period.
Kinmagon June 08 1945 G Brigden Woodward LAC Harry Hitchins
Squadron leader Rose is ill and is replaced. Squadron relocates to Kinmagon. Squadron is now under S/Ldr Paddle According to LAC Harry Hitchins this move took place in June.
Date confirmed P/O Graham Skellam log, he arrived on 23/05/1945, spent week jaunting on Harvard, went operational from here 06/06/1945 to 30/06/1945
Meiktila June 30, 1945 Per Tony Day & Confirm P/O Skellam log.
Squadron moves to Meiktila. It is believed not all arrived here at same time.
Meiktila July 15, 1945 G Brigden log LAC Harry Hitchins
July 15 to Aug 8 Squadron practice formation and reconn flights. F/O Gerard Brigden does not arrive to Meiktila untill July 10, 1945 and trains on Thunderbolt becoming operational on type Aug 13, 1945
Meiktila July 15 & 16, 1945 Gazette
Thunderbolts and Spitfires carried out a very successful attack on July 15th and 16th, in the Shwegyin Chaung area of the Sittang, and a message from Kyadwin to 113 Squadron and 607 Squadron said: "Tell R.A.F. strike great success."
Another tribute coming from The British led Guerilla Group made up of mostly natives stated: Tribute to R.A.F. from Guerilla Leader. A tribute paid to -the Royal Air Force in Burma came from the leader of one of these courageous parties operating in the Okpyat area of the Sittang. "Both I and every guerilla would like to make it known to every pilot who took part in the battle of the Okpyat area just how much all the brilliant offensive action of the R.A.F. fighter-bomber pilots was appreciated," wrote Captain J. Waller, British Officer in charge of Force 136 Guerillas, Okpyat. "From our point of view on the ground, we wished that we had more air ground strips so that we could write in full 'Hats off to the R.A.F. pilots. You are killing hundreds of Japs and your perfect co-ordination and patience in reading our crude signals is saving the lives of many thousands of defenceless civilians.'"
Meiktila July 00, 1945 PWoodward
Squadron heavily involved at the battle of Sittang. Prepares to participate in the invasion of Malaya when the Atomic bomb is dropped on Japan and the war ends.
Meiktila August, 3 1945 F/O Colin Ellis
My last operational sortie against the Japanese was on 3 August 45 to B/S the village of Shangyaung - then THE BOMB was dropped.
Zayatkwin August 18, 1945 PWoodward
Squadron makes a poignant return to the place they fought so hard from in 1942. Operations include dropping leaflets to persuade the Japs the war was over and flights over POW camps to ensure they were emptied. (Aug 17 to Oct 13 per Tony Day) (18/08/1945 to 08/11/1945 per P/O Graham Skellam log)
UNKNOWN Late 1945 PWoodward
F/Lt Mooney DFC, DFM last adjutant of 113 having survived two operational tours with bomber command and appointed to administrative duties was murdered in Calcutta by locals.
Zayatkwin Sept 04, 1945 F/O Colin Ellis
From Zayatkwin we carried out several sorties dropping nichol bombs (pamphlets) on Kyauki and Tavoy etc. mainly to tell the many Japanese stranded in the jungle that the war was over! My last flight in a Thunderbolt was on 4 September 45, an abortive recce of POW camps west of Bangkok.
Zayatkwin Oct 04, 1945 (04/10/1945)
Last supper and farewell party held for all ranks. This was the 2nd last supper held, the first being when the Squadron converted to Hurricanes from Blenheims. Sometimes referred to as Zayatkin
Zayatkwin Oct 13, 1945
The P47's are returned to the Americans via Calcutta to Allahabad.
Aquir, Palestine Sept 1, 1946
620 Squadron becomes 113 and is moved to the main base in Aquir flying Halifaxes.
Palestine Feb 1947, RAF Museum
Following escalating political unrest all non-essential civilians are evacuated from Palestine aboard the Handley Page Halifax A9 transport aircraft of No.113 Squadron (Operation Polly). A total of 508 passengers were flown to Egypt in two days. Following this on Nov 29, 1947 The United Nations General Assembly passes the Plan of Partition, proposed by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, by a two-thirds majority. Under this plan, Palestine was to be partitioned into separate Arab and Jewish states, all British forces were to be withdrawn and all British military equipment removed or destroyed by 14 May 1948.
RAF FAIRFORD Apr 14, 1947
283 Wing RAF and 113 Squadron arrived at RAF Fairford with the task of providing the 6th Airborne Division with transport training. 283 Wing HQ moved to RAF Fairford from Palestine. source: http://www.fairfordbase.org.uk/1940s.htm
BURMA / INDIA Airstrip timeline per research F/Lt TONY DAY
India/Burma bit then:
Mingaladon 7 Jan 42
Toungoo 10 Jan 42
Magwe 6 Feb
Fyzabad 6 Apr
Asansol 8 Apr
Jessore 19 Dec
Feni 21 Jan 43
Chandina 28 Feb
Comilla Main 4 May
Feni 27 Jun
Kharagpur 28 Aug
Yelahanka ? Sept
St Thomas Mount (Madras ) 2 Oct
Cholavarum 9 Nov
Dimapur 31 Dec
Tulathal 17 Mar 44
Palel 25 May
Yazagyo 18 Dec
Onbauk 22 Jan 45
Ondaw 14 Mar
Kwenge 20 Apr
Kinmagen 8 Jun
Meiktila 30 Jun
Zayatkwin 17 Aug to 13 Oct