RAF Elsham Wolds Diary 41/45
The following notes were sent to me about 20 years by a kind gentleman for my interest and use. This is very much an edited version of the full RAF Elsham Wolds ORB but gives a good insight into the day to day activities on a typical Bomber station of the time.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF RAF ELSHAM WOLDS – RECORDED IN STATION ORB AIR 28/255.
15/6/41 - S/L WR Warden, Station Officer, and F/O Edwards, Equipment Officer, with most of the Equipment staff arrived at Binbrook
17/6/41 - All personnel transferred from Binbrook to Elsham Wolds & billeted out.
26/6/41 - W/C WE Lowe, commanding 103 Squadron and F/L Hellings, Adjutant, visited Station.
29/6/41 - G/C HA Constantine arrived and took over command of Station.
2/7/41 - Preparation of dispersal sites. Intermediate party commenced arriving.
8/7/41 - Arrival of main party complete. Strength so far 10 officers, 388 ordinary ranks.
13/7/41 - AOC AVM RD Oxland OBE visited Station.
23/7/41 - Two enemy fighters attack Station and drop bombs. 1 airman injured. 1 enemy fighter crashed and burnt out at Bonby, the crew being killed.
25/7/41 - Strength: 54 officers, 1004 ordinary ranks.
15/8/41 - Visit by AOC in C AM Sir Richard Peirse KCB DSO AFC
21/9/41 - RAF Thanksgiving Day to commemorate Battle of Britain.
31/10/41 - Bomber Command Band visited the Station.
1/11/41 - WAAF Section arrived. Total 30.
20/11/41 - Surprise “Gas” attack. Complete success of exercise.
2/12/41 - Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” shown in gym to a full house.
6/12/41 - NAAFI show “Winter Follies”.
22/12/41 - Manning of dispersal site picket posts and organisation of sites.
25/12/41 - Usual Xmas programme
10/1/42 - Station Panto “Cinderella takes the Air”.
13/1/42 - 3” snow fell. Snow plan put into effect. Snow continued all month.
27/1/42 - 14 degrees of frost – more snow.
13/2/42 - Joe Daniels and his band. P/O Evans posted in as Sports Officer.
25/2/42 - Inauguration of “Gardening” offensive. Sections allocated plots. Boxing contest.
2/3/42 - S/L Godfrey assumed command of 103 Squadron, Vice W/C Ryan
4/3/42 - Postmaster of Grimsby visited to advise on establishment of Station Post Office.
5/3/42 - Blizzard conditions, drifts 4 feet high.
8/3/42 - Station Commander addressed meeting of officers on the need for attaining a higher standard of discipline, leadership and example.
23/3/42 - ENSA show “Piccadilly Playtime”.
1/4/42 - Station Post Office opened.
3/4/42 - Station subjected to a daring daylight “attack” by Messerschmitt 110, Junkers 82 and Heinkel 112 all bear British markings. A “circus” display.
10/5/42 - Large consignment of cycles arrived towards the issue of machines to all personnel living more than 2 miles from their work, in order to save petrol. Only WAAF are eligible on this Station. Strength 250.
23/5/42 - 9 hours continuous rain.
24/5/42 - Station gardening scheme begins to bear fruit – or rather vegetables! 40,000 cabbage plants for planting out.
7/6/42 - Arrival of main party for the Halifax conversion flight.
16/6/42 - ENSA show “Rhythm on Parade”.
28/6/42 - WAAF Anniversary Celebration in WAAF Institute. All ranks.
30/6/42 - ENSA show “Fresh Fields” by Ivor Novello.
5/7/42 - Arrival of 4 Halifax II. 7 Wellingtons to leave for 11 OUT.
15/7/42 - Morse classes organised for the benefit of aircrews and SADF personnel.
20/7/42 - 4th day of continuous rain.
3/8/42 - Visit by Scottish ENSA party “Tartan Tonics”.
11/8/42 - Visit of Waldine and his band (ENSA).
17/8/42 - Station “Brains Trust”.
20/8/42 - Blitz on weeds on gardening plots.
24/8/42 - Visit of Bomber Command Military Band.
10/9/42 - W/C Carter assumes command of 103 Squadron, Vice W/C Du Boulay posted to Group.
21/9/42 - Award of DSO to G/C HA Constantine.
1/10/42 - Special National Savings drive.
5/10/42 - Conference on Discipline, Leadership & General Administration. Lecture by CO. All officers.
1/11/42 - Conversion of 103 Squadron from Halifax II to Lancaster 1.
3/11/42 - ENSA play “Passing of Third Floor Back” Frank Forbes-Robertson.
11/11/42 - Opening of Salvation Army Red Shield Club.
13/12/42 – 19/12/42 - Many ops cancelled owing to weather conditions.
25/12/42 - Usual Christmas Day customs. Thick fog.
8/1/43 - Attachment of Mr Pearce, War Correspondent, Daily Herald for the purpose of going on “Ops”.
12/1/43 - W/C RAC Carter DSO assumed command, Vice W/C LW Dickens DFC AFC on leave.
21/1/43 - RAF Gang Show.
26/1/43 - Group AVM EAB Rice inspected.
1/4/43 - Inspection of camp by Commanding Officer.
6/4/43 - ENSA show “Cabaret Calling”.
7/4/43 - High winds – much damage.
10/4/43 - Visit by AOC No. 1 Group and Sir A Sinclair.
4/5/43 - Station gas practice 10.00 – 10.30 hrs.
4/5/43 - ENSA show “Fun with the Fair”.
18/5/43 - ENSA show “Sandy Powell”.
24/5/43 - Station named as winners of Group Rifle competition.
1/6/43 - ENSA show “Pavilion Variety Company” in gymnasium.
15/6/43 - Defence training for officers instituted and to be held every Tuesday and Friday.
29/6/43 - ENSA show, Bobbie Hind and his band.
2/7/43 - 30 pigs purchased for Station piggeries.
10/7/43 - Sports Day. Dance at each Mess.
12/7/43 - Elsham placed 4th in Group Gardening competition.
22/7/43 - ACM Sir AM Longmore inspected No. 474 Squadron ATC cadets.
27/7/43 - ENSA show “Rookery Nook”.
4/8/43 - Cricket match WAAF v. RAF.
5/8/43 - Boxing and All-in Wrestling show. Sgts v. Corporals.
11/8/43 - A GCA demonstration held. Attended by one AM, two Vice-Admirals, two AVM, six Air Comm, and 77 other officers.
31/8/43 - Airmen’s dance.
4/9/43 - Soccer Station XI v. RA XI.
16/9/43 - ACM Sir AT Harris KCB OBE AFC Air OC in C visited Station to lecture aircrew.
21/9/43 - “C” flight No. 103 Squadron posted to No. 166 Squadron, Kirmington.
26/9/43 - Station CO G/C LW Dickens DFC AFC presented prizes at Brigg Grammar School.
30/9/4310 - P.S.I. pigs – slaughtered 27th Sept – were consumed on the Station.
2/10/43 - G/C Dickens presented plaque at Savoy Theatre, Scunthorpe in connection with Wings for Victory Week.
18/10/43 - Station band played at CO parade for the first time.
28/10/43 - Fencing club.
30/10/43 - Men and women’s hockey match v. AF Steel Works, Scunthorpe.
16/11/43- ENSA Robert Donat in “Heartbreak House”.
27/11/43 - Soccer Station XI v. Immingham Naval Base.
2/3/12/43 - No. 576 Squadron operated for the first time as a new unit.
4/12/43 - Hockey match at Grimsby LNER 1, RAF 12.
14/12/43 - ENSA show “Twelfth Night”.
25/12/43 - Airmen and airwomen have Xmas dinner served in the dinning hall by officers and senior NCOs. All Ranks dance in WAAF dinning hall.
30/12/43 - ENSA concert of popular music.
10/1/44 - C of E padre reported children’s Xmas party at WAAF site.
15/1/44 - 1799163 AG Cunningham was reported absent 15th January. On 18th January 1944 a letter arrived addressed to CO. Cunningham requested a written guarantee that if he returned he would escape punishment, in return for this concession he would forfeit his leave for 12 months. CO could not grant this request. Court of Enquiry has been held. Cunning ham still absent.
25/1/44 - ENSA show “French without tears”.
27/1/44 - Captain Gleason of USAAF talk on “Life in the USA”. Has tour of 1 Group.
28/1/44 - G/C WC Sheen DSO took over command from G/C Dickens.
31/1/44 - “Fishpond” and “Monica” radar aids on test.
21/2/44 - CO gave permission for formation of WAAF band.
25/2/44 - Station Military Band used for the first time at a funeral.
27/2/44 - Blizzard raging by midday – Nos. 1 & 3 runways OK for landing but not for take off.
29/2/44 - Minimum temperature 16F.
2/3/44 - Renumbering of n/c dispersals with black 4-gallon petrol tins. White numerals 9” high.
31/3/44 - Sodium flares installed and wired from DREM circuit.
5/4/44 - Centre white line painted on main runway. Pilot reports awaited.
17/4/44 - Issue of new type of kit bag to WAAF. It is felt that it will NOT be of great advantage as it holds less and is not as waterproof.
22/4/44 - Resurfacing of dispersals. All runways numbered with first two figures of QDM.
30/4/44 - MT commitments heavy but have been met. Petrol consumption 8,000 gallons for this month.
30/4/44 - Expt in Centralised Admin. Squadron Commanders to look after flying personnel only & thus relieve them of all servicing problems and administration work in connection with ground crews. All tech men under CTO and Admin to Station HQ.
29/4/44 - Visit by Marshal of the RAF Lord Trenchard to give talk.
30/5/44 - Donald Wolfit and Rosalind Iden in “Much Ado About Nothing” new Station theatre. Base Commander Air Comm R Welaw-Chapman was lost on ops, new Squadron Commander W/C Goodman FTR. Succeeded by W/C JR St John.
10/6/44 - New season of Prom concerts broadcast by BBC to be heard in the Education Centre nightly.
12/6/44 - Stringent measures enforced for W/T and R/T communications with the coming invasion.
13/6/44 - Redecoration of the interior of Station buildings.
14/6/44 - Fitting of H2S to both Squadrons progressing.
28/6/44 - WAAF celebrates its 5th birthday. Tea and Grand Fancy Dress Dance. Congratulations from HRH Duchess of Gloucester and Chief of Air Staff and AOC HQ 1 Group.
23/7/44 - After a 2-year life “Mandrel” has now been removed from A/C as “Window” jams the German Freyas so efficiently.
5/8/44 - Annual Sports day – 150 families and friends.
26/8/44 - Fire at No.2 Petrol Installation. Calls to NFS and other RAF Stations. Several men were treated for burns in Scunthorpe Hospital.
15/9/44 - Battle of Britain Day celebrated by special COs parade and service.
25/9/44 - Cinema and theatre have two houses every night. ENSA show “Fresh Fields” by Ivor Novello.
14/10/44 - S/Commanders W/C Clayton and W/C Sellick establishing squadrons with high reputations.
30/10/44 - Shortcomings pointed out by Station Commander:
1.provision for lighting to enable aircraft to be bombed up at night
2.shortage of personnel to load up bombs
23/11/44 - G/C LN Hooper assumed command. Vice G/C Sheen posted to Hemswell.
-/12/44 - Incessant bad weather conditions. 14 operations organised and cancelled.
20/12/44 - 18 B17s of USAAF diverted due to low cloud conditions 300 ft, visibility 800 yards. All aircraft landed safely with great skill.
25/12/44 - Usual Xmas traditions observed.
- /1/45 - Succession of cancellations due to bad weather. Snow clearance of 18’ snow.
26/1/45 - Snow clearance night and day.
14/2/45 - M & S section performed a notable feat. Lancasters “K” and “B” damaged and made into one serviceable aircraft by splitting both fuselages. 46 hours to complete and aircraft flew on ops the following night.
10/3/45 - G/C Hooper handed over command to W/C Macdonald DF
24/3/45 - G/C Baxter RE took over command of Station.
-/4/45 - Exodus and Manna ops.
-/5/45 - Exodus and Manna ops. Sightseeing tours over Germany. Parade and Thanksgiving Service.
-/6/45AOC - “No. 1 Group” Annual parade and inspection.
-/7/45 - Testing German radar and raid reporting systems.
15/8/45 - Parade and Thanksgiving Service – Main hangar, G/C Baxter.
-/8/45 - Operation “Dodge” was main task. Total 1718 passengers carried this month.
-/9/45 - Operation “Dodge” was main task. Total 1215 passengers carried this month.
-/10/45 - Operation “Dodge” was main task. Total 1357 passengers carried this month. No mention in Station ORB of disbandment in November.