Many thanks to Kerry for passing on a fascinating series of documents from 3 Group Headquarters and 75(NZ) Squadron Mepal, regarding what might be described as ‘inappropriate adherence to official fighter avoidance tactics’ by Ron Flamank on the 1st January 1945 whilst flying to the coast on an Op to Vohwinkel.
Perhaps these documents are more ironic given that a post was made on Ron and his crew only a few weeks ago!
Call me sentimental, but I kind of assumed a stiff upper lip mentality when the boys left the airfield on an Op, all remaining Squadron members nervously pacing the floor waiting for the returning roar of engines and a full count back on returning crews. Now, I am sure this is all true, but what I clearly overlooked was that this was all happening under the steely glare of the Royal Air Force………….
Ron and another Pilot from 514 Squadron, initially incorrectly identified as F/O Wright, but then identified as F/O Orr were both detected flying over the stated limit of 4,000 feet before reaching the French coast.
I have the honour to report the following information for flying at 8,000ft on the late afternoon of January 1st 1945 on operations.
After take off at 1545hrs acting on met information and entering cloud as 2,500ft I concluded I I would break cloud in the region of 5,000ft. We eventually broke at 8,000ft then homing back to to set course position having insufficient time to descend there we decided to descend on course to Reading. Descending on course to Reading and encountering icing and not breaking cloud at 5,000ft I decided to return again to 8,000ft and descended on route as soon as possible when a break in clouds afforded me this chance.
Just before reaching the English Coast an extensive break in the cloud was observed and noticing the bomber stream on route beneath us we descended down to 5,000ft, reaching this height about 20 miles from the English Coast.
I hereby after conformed with the tactics for the operation laid down at briefing for the operation and completed the mission successfully, returning to base at 2130hrs.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant.
R C Flamank F/O.‘
Despite Ron’s explanation of a malfunctioning elevator trim tab and poor visibility, climbing to 8,000 feet clearly broke the rules and sadly, this time at least, Ron was going to be punished!
Ron’s fate was to be sent to be sent to ‘Aircrew Refresher Course’ at Sheffield. Digging a little I think this was at RAF Norton, on the Southern edge of Sheffield – the experience being lots of drill practice and physical training!
Read the complete set of letters here in the ‘Collections’ section here.