the 4th October 1948 XI Squadron reformed from 107 Squadron, three days
after I arrived in Germany, at Wahn, which was known a Spich when the Squadron
was there in 1919 as part of the watch on the Rhine. Our basic
role was Night Interdiction, but we were also tasked to do the same job
by day with our Mosquito FB VIs.
The other crews were mainly ex wartime fliers, but with hindsight I now believe that my Mosquito tuition at AFS and OCU was of a higher professional standard than their more urgent wartime conversion had been, but I suppose their skills had been honed by experience.
first two or three months it seemed that I only got to fly when it was raining
and no-one else wanted to get into the air. Simlarly, as the new guy, I
always got the most difficult slot in formation as the tail end Charlie,
but it did wonders for my station - keeping. There were three other Mossie
squadrons at Wahn, so there was a lot of competition to show that we flew
the best Box 4s and Run In and Breaks from Echelon.
A legacy of WW2 was the Gung Ho attitude in the 2nd TAF and flying discipline didnt really exist. We did a lot of low flying, most of it unofficial. (We had a crew killed when they hit high-tension cables over the Danube at Donauworth while on a cross-country at 10,000 ft. The subsequent Inquiry suggested that they had descended to confirm their turning point!) There was little chance of the German population reporting us, and the ground radars were primitive by todays standards and couldnt see us.
did exercise finding camouflaged army vehicles and simulating attacks on
them. The Nav would fire off a Very cartridge to tell them they had been
zapped. The Mk VI had a Very Pistol mounting in the roof and we would fire
them off at any excuse. I bounced one over the bonnet of an Army staff car
on one occasion, and was hauled over the coals when I dropped a green one
between two parked aircraft - a stupid thing to do, but we were young and
foolish, (now were old and foolish).
Mosquito Advanced Flying School at Driffield and Operational Conversion Unit at Leeming saw my night flying become more competent, and after a while on my first squadron in Germany (107 Sqn.- re-numbered after 1 week to XI Squadron) I began to positively enjoy it. I discovered that the secret of night landings was to look right along to the far end of the flarepath and this made judgement of ones height during round out and touch down much easier.