Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 46 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 10/06/1940

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46 SQUADRON - Fighter, Hawker Hurricane Mk I

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The outbreak of war found No 46 Squadron at Digby, equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. Action with the Enemy quickly when, at the end of October 1939, Squadron Leader Barwell and Pilot Officer Plummer attached a formation of 12 Heinkel 115s, destroying one each, and scattering the remainder.

The next 6 months were uneventful, consisting in the main of providing air cover for the shipping convoys steaming along the East Coast; a few enemy aircraft were sighted but no contacts were made.

In May 1940, the Squadron was selected to form part of the Expeditionary Force in Norway, which had been invaded by the Germans on 9 April.

The Hurricanes were embarked on HMS Glorious and, despite doubts that a Hurricane could take off from a carrier flight deck in a flat calm, they all took off without difficulty thanks to the efforts of the ship's engineers who managed to get the Glorious up to a speed of 30 knots. No 46 Squadron assembled at Bardufoss and began operation on 26 May; patrols were maintained over the land and naval forces at Narvik without respite, some of the pilots going without sleep for more than 2 days.

Many air combats took place, and in its brief campaign in Norway the Squadron accounted for no less than 14 enemy aircraft, besides probably destroying many others. On 7 June the Squadron was ordered to evacuate Norway immediately and, on the night 7/8 June, the seven Hurricanes were successfully flown back to HMS Glorious - a dangerous procedure as none of the aircraft were fitted with deck arrester hooks.

The ground parties embarked on HMS Vindictive and SS Monarch of Bermuda and reached the UK safely, but the Squadron's aircraft and eight of the pilots were lost when HMS Glorious was sunk by German warships on 9 June 1940. The two pilots who survived were the Squadron Commander Sqn Ldr (latter ACM) "Bing" Cross and the Flight Commander, Flt Lt (later Air Cdre) "Jamie" Jameson.

The Squadron re-formed at Digby, becoming operational once again at the end of June, and for the next 2 months was occupied in uneventful convoy and defensive patrols before moving south to Stapleford Tawney, the satellite of North Weald, for the defence of London during the Battle of Britain.

The Luftwaffe's main effort at the time was against coastal objectives and shipping off the coast of Essex and Kent. The Squadron was in action continuously and had many successful engagements against far superior numbers of enemy bombers and their escorting fighters. The enemy sustained such shattering losses amongst his long range bomber force that a change of tactics was necessary, and he tried to force a decision by using fighter bombers flying very high and making every possible use of cloud cover; interception became difficult and the British squadrons had to change their tactics too - mainly going over the maintenance of fighter patrols at height ranging between 20 and 30,000 feet.

No 46 Squadron took part in the "security" patrols and, early in November, whilst on patrol over Foulness, encountered some 50 Italian bombers and fighters; at least 8 of them were destroyed, with no casualties or damage to the Squadron, and the remainder of the formation scattered in disorder.

The Battle of Britain, in which No 46 Squadron had taken a full and successful part, was over, and the Squadron settled down to a few months of uneventful defensive and convoy patrols, leavened by an occasional escort duty to medium bombers in their attack on objectives on Occupied France.

Mark Andrew, BBC WW2 People's War, 'My older brother in the RAF in Norway and Battle of Britain':

'My older brother was Sergeant Pilot Stanley Andrew who served in 46 Squadron of The Royal Air Force at RAF Digby, Lincolnshire from September 1st 1939 until May 1940 when they went to Norway on HMS Glorious.

He was one of the 18 Hurricane Pilots who flew off the Carrier Flight Deck on May 26th 1940 for a 40 mile flight over the North Sea to land at difficult airstrips in Norway.

He was lucky not to be on Glorious when she was sunk on June 8th but 8 of his 'mates' were lost.

He was back at Digby until September 1st 1940 when they were posted to RAF Stapleford Tawney near RAF North Weald - Essex
He was killed when his plane crashed after a patrol on September 11th

His Squadron Leader at Digby and in Norway was 'Bing' Cross, He and Flight Lieutenant Pat Jameson [from New Zealand] were the only 2 RAF Survivors from Glorious. He died June 18th 2003 at Air Vice Marshall Sir Kenneth Cross,KCB,CBE, DSO, DFC.'

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

11/05/1940: Embarkation on HMS Glorious, UK

29/05/1940: Patrol, Norway. 3 Planes lost, 2 KIA
08-09/06/1940: Sinking of HMS Glorious. 7 Planes lost, 8 MIA

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Flying Officer (Pilot) Walter T. Scott, RAF 37832, 46 Sqdn., age 27, 06/03/1940, Scopwick Church Burial Ground, UK

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11/05/1940: Embarkation on HMS Glorious, UK

While HMS Glorious at Greenock completes the embarkation of 46 Squadron's Hurricanes, the reconstituted 263 Squadron, with 18 new Gladiator IIs, is moving to the Fleet Air Arm station at Cambeltown (on the Clyde) in preparation to joining HMS Furious, now repaired and ready for further service.

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29/05/1940: Patrol, Norway

Nine Hurricanes were up on patrol when they met a big force of 26 Luftwaffe bombers approaching Vestfjorden. The Hurricane pilots attacked three He.111 of KG 100 and KG 26, north of Lødingen. At least two of the Heinkels were shot down. Heinkel 111 6N+BA crash-landed at Ulvsvåg on Hamarøy. Two Hurricane pilots lost their lives.
See also: WW2 Aircraft Wrecks Norway

The Heinkel 111 6N+BA of Stab./KG 100 was flown by Oblt Wolfgang Metzke. Gruppenkommandeur Hptm Artur von Casimir also onboard. They were both unhurt, and taken prisoner. One of the crew was dead, two were wounded.

F/O Banks shot down a Bf 110 of Stab I/ZG 76 in the same combat. Oblt Hans Jäger and Uffz. Helmut Feick made a forced landing at Kobbvika, and became POWs.It was probably this A/C which shot down Flg Off Lydall.

Another He.111attacked by Lydall, made a forced landing at Dverberg on Andøya

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: L1816, PO-?
Operation: Patrol, Norway
Lost: 29/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Neville L. Banks, RAF 40979, 46 Sqdn,, age unknown, 29/05/1940, Narvik New Cemetery, Norway
Crashed into Skjæringstad river at Strand in Lødingen.

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Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: L1988, PO-?
Operation: Patrol, Norway
Lost: 29/05/1940
Flying Officer (Pilot) Jack W. Lydall, RAF 39669, 46 Sqdn,, age 24, 29/05/1940, Narvik New Cemetery, Norway
Crashed at Tjeldøya. See WW2 Aircraft Wrecks Norway for pictures of the crash site.

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Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk. I
Serial number: L1794, PO-?
Operation: Patrol, Norway
Lost: 29/05/1940
PO J. F. Drummond
Bailed out safely and was rescued by HMS Firedrake.

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08-09/06/1940: sinking of the HMS Glorious

58 Men of the RAF died when the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious was sunk by the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst. Eight pilots of 46 Sqdn. were lost; only two survived.

Pilot Officer Lancelot G.B. Bunker, RAF 70845, 46 Sqdn., age 25, 08/06/1940, missing
Flying Officer Robert M.J. Cowles, RAF 39783, 46 Sqdn., age 21, 09/06/1940, missing
Flying Officer Philip J. Frost, RAF 29978, 46 Sqdn., age 21, 09/06/1940, missing
Flying Officer Herbert H. Knight, RAF 70374, 46 Sqdn., age 21, 09/06/1940, missing
Flying Officer Michael C.F. Mee, RAF 37414, 46 Sqdn., age 23, 09/06/1940, missing
Flight Sergeant Edward Shackley, RAF 513599, 46 Sqdn,, age 27, 09/06/1940, missing
Flight Lieutenant Charles R.D. Stewart, RAF 37512, 46 Sqdn., age 23, 09/06/1940, missing
Sergeant Bernard L. Taylor, RAF 564769, 46 Sqdn., age 23, 09/06/1940, missing

The other Squadrons with losses on the HMS Glorious were:

263 Squadron: 10 MIA (pilots)
802 Sqdn: 16 MIA (ground crew)
823 Sqdn: 12 MIA (ground crew)
825 Sqdn: 1 MIA
'Serving in H.M.S. Glorious': 11 MIA

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No. 46 Squadron RFC & RAF
Antill, P. (29 March 2001), HMS Glorious
T. K. Derry (1952), The Campaign in Norway
Casualty Lists Royal Navy
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Defence News: Battle of Britain Hurricane excavation called off
Hakons Aviation Page - The sinking of HMS Glorious and loss of 263 Squadron
Naval History: Norwegian Campaign 1940
RAF Battle of Britain - 46 Squadron
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF History - Bomber Command
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

War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

YouTube: Battle of Norway (1)
YouTube: Battle of Norway (2)



Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Australian Wargraves
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
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)
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
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1

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This page is dedicated to the men of 46 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