At First Sight
At Second Sight
BEF Al Faw Video '05
At First Sight
You ! - You ! - You !- Tiger Force! - Reg Davey.
came as quite a shock nearly two months after the end of the war in
Europe, to be posted to 627 Squadron at Woodhall Spa on 30th June 1945,
just when we were sweating on the prospect of an early demobilisation.
We were given the usual flannel about being specially selected to form
part of the Tiger Force to mark targets in Japan for Avro Lincoln
bombers. I recall that we were told we were to be based on Okinawa and
when, on hurriedly scouring a map of the far east, we discovered that
this was a small island to the south of Japan, which would entail round
trips of some 1600 miles in Mosquitos, mostly over the ocean, we were
not terribly thrilled. |
With 139 Squadron, also Mosquitos, based at Upwood, which, in those
days was still in Huntingdonshire, we had carried out high level
marking on H2S radar over Germany at night, so it was a further shock
when we found out that the lads of 627 Squadron were, in fact, low
level daylight maniacs. The Mk XVI and XIX Mosquitos were equipped with
a brand new very high definition H2S which meant we could pick out
railway lines, runways, small boats etc., on the screen. Consequently,
with H2S Training and Development Flight, our cross country exercises
were carried out at around 2000 feet “map reading” by radar.
Personally, I found this quite difficult, in view of the Mosquito’s
speed and the fact that the picture on the screen did not display
colours or contours to match the maps with which we were supplied. The
only blessing was that, when on occasions, we got lost (you have never
heard a navigator admit that before, have you?) my pilot would circle a
railway station and read off the name! Station name boards had,
fortunately, been reinstated in most places by this time.
Exercises were usually completed by dive bombing (practising for visual
marking) on the range at Wainfleet, near Skegness. Approaching the
target at around 3000 feet the pilot would throttle back in a climb and
as the aircraft stalled and a wing dropped, we would go into a powered
dive, pulling out at between 1000 and 500 feet. Frankly, it used to
terrify me, for only “he” knew what was happening.
Between flying exercises we were having jungle survival instruction
from teachers, whose only experience of such an unattractive pastime
had been gleaned from natural history books. These lectures frequently
aroused a certain amount of derision and ribald comment!
Pressure increased when we heard that our ground crews were going on
embarkation leave and several of us sold our beloved motor bikes at the
weekly auction in the market square in Boston Spa, in readiness for the
flight out east.
What joy, then, when the news broke that the atom bombs which had been
dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had resulted in the Japanese
capitulation. That very probably saved my own and many other lives on
Copyright © 1943-2012 627 Squadron in Retirement or as