Traces of World War 2 
RAAF - No. 10 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

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No. 10 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force was the only Australian squadron to serve continuously for the duration of the Second World War in Europe. Formed at Point Cook on 1 July 1939, 10 Squadron was initially equipped with a motley collection of seaplanes with the intention that these would shortly be replaced with six new Shorts Sunderland flying boats. At the end of July 1939 a small group of squadron personnel proceeded to the United Kingdom for training on the new aircraft which, it was planned, they would then fly back to Australia. While these personnel were in Britain the Second World War was declared and on 7 October 1939 the Australian Government ordered the squadron to remain there to assist the British war effort.

The squadron was initially based at Pembroke Dock in Wales and was brought up to strength with drafts of personnel from Australia. Part of 15 Group, Coastal Command, it became operational on 1 February 1940. The squadron's primary role throughout the war was to locate and destroy German submarines but its flying boats also proved useful for air-sea rescue and transport missions. In 1940 it predominantly escorted Allied convoys passing through the north-western Atlantic Ocean.

The squadron’s two main bases were Pembroke Dock (October 1939 – April 1940, June 1941 – January 1942) and Mount Batten, near Plymouth in southern England (April 1940 – June 1941, January 1942 – October 1945) but small detachments also operated from Gibraltar (July – August 1940) and Oban in western Scotland (July 1940 – April 1941).

10 Squadron ceased operations on 1 June 1945, having sunk six submarines since February 1940. It was initially planned that it would redeploy to the Pacific theatre, but the war there ended before this occurred. 10 Squadron disbanded on 26 October 1945, but was destined to reform in 1949.

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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed; those with fatal losses are.

10/05/1940: Secret Convoy Patrol
11/05/1940: Convoy Patrol and bombing practice
12/05/1940: no flying
13/05/1940: Convoy Patrol
18/06/1940: Evacuation De Gaulle family. 1 Plane lost, 4 KIA

25/06/1940: Rabat - see RAF Commands Forum, Pilot Officer D A Stuart, RAF

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10/05/1940: secret convoy patrol

Aircraft P9602, F/Lt Cohen and F/Lt Douglas on secret convoy patrol. Airborne at 04.55 hours. Waterborne at base 18.45 hours.

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18/06/1940: Evacuation De Gaulle family

On 17 June 1940, the day her husband escaped to England, Madame De Gaulle and her children were at Carantec on the north coast of Brittany. They had taken refuge there with an aunt after leaving the family home at Colombey Les Deux Eglises about a month before. The Germans were advancing fast towards Western France, and when General De Gaulle reached London, he asked that urgent steps be taken to rescue his wife and family.

The decision was taken with Winston Churchill's agreement to send a plane with an SOE intelligence officer who was fluent in French to carry out this rescue.

On 17 June, Captain Norman Hope travelled with his orders to a Coastal Command base near Plymouth, and was directed to a Supermarine Walrus, an amphibious aircraft with a crew of three, Flt Lieut John Bell, RAAF, Sgt Charles Harris, RAAF and Cpl Bernard Nowell, RAF. The purpose of the flight was so secret that noone at the base knew where the aircraft was going. Norman's briefing was to the crew only. They took off at about 0300 on 18 June with the intention of reaching Carantec at first light. They crossed the Breton coast about 20km west of Carantec, and it is believed they were fired on by the Germans or possibly the French. Having been hit,the pilot was attempting to land in a field close to Ploudaniel, about 18km inland, when the plane hit a low embankment, burst into flames and all four men were killed.

Madame de Gaulle knew nothing of this attempt to rescue her. She and her children found room on the last boat to leave Brest before the Germans arrived.

Source: BBC WW2 People's War: Rescueing Madame De Gaulle

Type: Walrus
Serial number: L2312 (from No. 15 group Communication Flight)
Operation: Evacuation De Gaulle family
Lost: 18/06/1940
Flight Lieutenant John N. Bell, RAAF 162, [RAAF 10 Sqdn.], age 24, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, (near Brest) F
Sergeant Charles W. Harris, RAAF 1730, [RAAF 10 Sqdn.], age 31, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, F
Captain Norman E. Hope, Intelligence Corps 141140, Legion d' Honneur, age unknown, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, F
Corporal (W.E. Mech.) Bernard F. Nowell, RAF 565931, 810 Sqdn., age 25, 18/06/1940, Ploudaniel Churchyard, F
Left Mount Batten at 02.00 hrs.

20/06/1940, 10 Sqdn. ORB (page 71): 'As no further advice received regarding Walrus No. 2312 which left for NORTH BRITTANY on 18th June, 1940, the personnel was officially posted as "missing".'

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10 Squadron RAAF
Air of Authority
Air Force POWs 1939-1945
'The Angry Sky' - Coastal Command
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database
Australian Air Force News
Australian War Memorial
Bail-outs for 1940
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Digger History: 10 Squadron RAAF
Prisoners of War captured in Europe 1940
RAF against odds (Time, USA, 27/05/1940)
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, by Major L.F. Ellis, 1954

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Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Sir Edward Spears. Two Men who saved France. 1966

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Discussion Groups
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
RAF Commands Forum

Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
Code Names & RAF Vocabulary

Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Dutch Pilots in RAF Squadrons
Eagles Squadrons (American pilots in the RAF)
Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland 1939-1946
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
RAF Upwood
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

Aircraft crashes on the North Yorkshire Moors, England
The Lancastershire Aircraft Investigation Team
Luftfahrt-Archäologie in Schleswig Holstein (in German)
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and Leicestershire

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
WW1 Cemeteries

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This page is dedicated to the men of RAAF 10 Squadron.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to