By Roy Conyers Nesbit
Roy Nesbit's hugely illustrated heritage of Coastal Command's 217 Squadron - the squadron during which he served - provides a first-hand perception into the damaging low-level missions the squadron flew opposed to enemy delivery and ports through the moment global battle. He chronicles the squadron's operations from the outbreak of battle while it patrolled in Avro Ansons over the Western methods to the English Channel. Then got here the main extreme interval of its wartime occupation while, flying Beauforts, it focused on minelaying and assaults on transport alongside the west coast of German-occupied France. It additionally fastened bold raids on large U-boat bunkers and different enemy installations. the tale of those harmful operations, during which many airplane have been misplaced and airmen have been killed, makes up the main memorable component to the narrative. yet Roy Nesbit takes the squadron's tale throughout to the later years of the warfare while, after a brief or even extra harmful interval flying from Malta so that it will sink enemy transport within the Mediterranean, it was once dependent in Ceylon and used to be re-equipped with Beaufighters for the conflict opposed to the japanese. as well as telling the tale of the squadron and the lads who served in it, the narrative describes the stipulations continued by way of the French humans within the ports 217 attacked, and it covers the raids introduced opposed to German coastal bases after the squadron had moved to the some distance East. An Expendable Squadron could be soaking up examining for an individual who has a distinct curiosity within the historical past of Coastal Command, within the plane 217 Squadron flew, and within the adventure of wrestle flying seventy years in the past.
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Additional info for An Expendable Squadron : The Story of 217 Squadron, Coastal Command, 1939-1945
It was the beginning of the ‘Blitz’ against cities, towns and ports. The area around RAF St Eval also had to endure numerous attacks, when the German bombers seemed to drop their bombs on ETA (Expected Time of Arrival) after obtaining a visual ‘fix’ on the coastline. Most of these bombs missed their main target and fell in the surrounding countryside, especially when a dummy airfield was lit up about two miles to the east. Many of these raids took place when the dockyards of Plymouth were being bombed and a fiery glow could be seen low on the horizon.
There were brilliant flashes ahead as we neared the airfield, obviously from an air raid. The driver stopped and I walked to the guardroom, carrying my kit. The guard examined my orders and pointed out the Officers’ Mess, a short distance away, while an ambulance and fire engine dashed past from right to left. I walked to the Mess, where I was given a room for the night. It seemed that a 54 An Expendable Squadron Two Beaufort Is of 217 Squadron with the squadron letters MW, carrying torpedoes. Both survived their operational careers.
This loss of life among ground staff on 25 January 1941 was by far the worst suffered at RAF St Eval during the war. On the following day, I needed to report to 217 Squadron and was advised to head for the crewroom, on the other side of the airfield alongside St Eval Church. Before this, I went to station stores and drew out a sheepskin Irvin jacket, a flying helmet and goggles, flying boots and a ‘Mae West’ lifejacket. 38in revolver, which was the standard issue for RAF officers. Lastly I visited the parachute Operational Beginnings 55 Ground crews of 217 Squadron at RAF St Eval in Cornwall, enjoying a tea break on the arrival of the NAAFI’s ‘Char Waggon’.
An Expendable Squadron : The Story of 217 Squadron, Coastal Command, 1939-1945 by Roy Conyers Nesbit