The "Communications Flight, Habbaniya, Iraq", May 1941.

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOKS EXTRACTS.(© Ref:-PRO, AIR29/893 ) (Form 540).

(N.B. All times other than ('LT') listed for the "Communications Flight" were in GMT, Approximately 3 hours earlier than Local Time Baghdad. i.e. 09.00 would be around Noon Local time and 21.00, Midnight Local Time.)

1,5,41. Weather mainly fair, cloudy at times, visibility good. Wind S moderate to fresh becoming NW light to moderate after 09.00 LT. Max 96F Min 61F.
Flight "standing to". Two Aircraft K2808 & K8852 bombed up with 4 x 500Lb bombs each. KR2792 bombed up with 8 x 250Lb bombs. Aircraft dispersed around hangar. 8 x 500Lb & 8 x 250Lb bombs as reserve in hangar.

2,5,41. Weather fine, visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 95F Min 61F.
02.00 Hostilities between Iraq Army and British Forces in Iraq commenced. Hangar and Hangar area shelled quite heavily. Our request to remove Aircraft to Polo Pitch refused.
All Aircraft unserviceable owing to shrapnel by 08.00.
(Form 765A to be rendered with effect from, 2,5,41)

3,5,41. Weather fine, visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 91F Min 62F.
02.00 Attempts to repair damage of Valentia's unsuccessful owing to sniping, bombing and shelling.
15.00 All bombs defused except 4 x 500's on K8852. 15.30 Bombs returned to magazine.

4,5,41. Weather fine, visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 101F Min 68F.
02.00 Work Commenced on KR2792 & K2808.
13.00 KR2792 made serviceable.
(Two Pilots engaged in liaison duties with No 4 S.F.T.S.)

5.5.41. Weather fine, visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 104F Min 64F.
09.00 K2808 bombed up with 4 x 500&'s.
14.00 Attack made in K2808 on bund near FALLUJAH from 200 ft. Bombs dropped between two bunds.

6,5.41. Weather fine, visibility good. Wind NW'ly light to mod'. Max 103F Min 65F.
15,10 Val'; K2808 transported 300 Gall's petrol to 3 Val's of No 31 Sqn forced landed near HIT. Time 1.20 Hrs.

7,5,41. Weather fair, visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 105F Min 65F.
10.00 520Lb bombs tried on racks fitted to Valentia, but unable to fit them. Modification suggested.

8,5,41. Weather mainly fine but cloudy at times with high only. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light to moderate. Max 99F Min 73F.
Val' KR2792 made serviceable.

9,5,41. Weather mainly fair to cloudy with high and medium. Visibility good. Wind N to NW light. Max 101F Min 63F.

10,5.41. Weather fine. Visibility moderate to good. Wind NW’ly light. Max 109F Min 71F.
06.50 Val' KR2792 air tested and carried out local recco. Time 30 mins.

11,5,41. Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind N to NE light. Max 115F Min 79F.
04,00 Modification of crutches on bomb racks commenced to enable Val's to carry 520Lb bombs.

12,5,41. Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind mainly N to NW light. Max 115F Min 79F.
17.00 Val' K2808 left for attack on AL RACHID Aerodrome and returned 19.10. Bomb load 2 x 520's, 2 x 250's, 2 x 20's and 10 x 25's incendiary. One direct hit and several near misses observed. Time 2.10 Hrs.
21.00 Val' KR2792 left for AL RACHID and returned 23.15. Bomb load 2 x 520's, 3 x 250's, 2 x 20's and 10 x 25 incendiary. All near misses on hangar area. Time 2.15 Hrs.

13,5,41. Weather fine. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light. Max 109F Min 77F.
16.05 Val' K2808 left for attack on MOSUL Aerodrome in accordance with "Iraq Command Operation Order No 4/1941" and recco of Northern Area. Bomb load of 2 x 520's, 2 x 250's, and 10 x 25 incendiary dropped in Hangar and building vicinity. One fire observed to be started. Visibility very bad. Val' returned 21.25 GMT. Time 5.20 Hrs.
16.15 Val' KR2792 attacked MOSUL Aerodrome buildings. Hits observed in building area. Bomb load was 2 x 520's, 4 x 250's, and 10 x 25 incendiary. Adverse wind on outward trip curtailed time over target. Val' returned at 22.00 Hrs. Time 5.45 Hrs. No sign of enemy aircraft, fuel or munition dumps observed.

14,5,41. Weather mainly fine but cloudy, high and medium during afternoon. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light. Max 106F Min 70F.
23.00 Val' KR2792 left for attack on AL RACHID Aerodrome. Bomb load 2 x 520's, 4 x 250's and 10 x 25 incendiary. Returned 01.05. Time 2.05 Hrs.
23.05 Val' K2808 left for AL RACHID. Bombed hangar area and returned 00.55. Time 1.50 Hrs.

15,5,41. Weather fine. Visibility Good. Wind SW-SE light. Max 108F Min 70F.

16,5.41. Weather cloudy, high and medium. Visibility good but 1,800yds in rising dust. Wind S-SE light to moderate veering N in squall of 34mph and continuing fresh all night. Max 115F Min 73F.

17,5 41. Weather, fair to cloudy, high and medium. Visibility good. Wind N-NW moderate. Max 95F Min 72F.
17.10 Val' K2808 bombed AL RACHID hangars and returned 19.50 Hrs. Time 2.05 Hrs. Recco flares dropped over BAGHDAD.
17.20 Val' KR2792 bombed AL RACHID workshops and hangar areas and dropped recco flares over BAGHDAD. Returned 19.40. Time 2.20 Hrs.
No. 540435 L.A.C. Reeves (Fitt' IIe.) T.S.G. detached to No. 4 S.F.T.S. for duty on Merlin Engines.

18,5.41. Weather, cloudy with base of low cloud 5,000ft. Visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 87F Min 72F.

19,5,41. Weather, fine to fair. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light to moderate. Max 100F Min 62F.
01.20 Val's K2808 and KR2792 transported company of Kings Own Regiment to position East of FALLUJAH times being 40 and 45 mins respectively.
15.50 Val' K2808 transported water and medical supplies to K.O.R. on FALLUJAH Plain. 35 mins.

20,5,41. Weather, fine, fair during afternoon. Visibility good. Wind N-NW light. Max 103F Min 67F.
14.30 Val' K2808 U/S owing to ground strafing by 4 Messerschmitts.

21.5.41. Weather, fine. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light, moderate in afternoon. Max 106F Min 68F.

22,5,41. No. 539310 L.A.C. W/Op'r. HOWARTH, J. Taken off flying duties on medical grounds and detached for ground signals duties. Weather, mainly fine. Visibility good. Wind NW light, moderate in afternoon. Max 110F Min 74F.

23,5,41. Weather, mainly fair. Visibility good. Wind mainly N-NW light to moderate. Max 105F Min 76F.

24,5,41. Weather, fine. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light to moderate. Max 105F Min 72F.

25,5,41. Weather, fine. Visibility good. Wind light variable becoming SE-S, moderate after 18.00GMT. Max 111F Min 72F.
00.10 Val' KR2792 left with 15 Assyrian refugees for H.4. Return journey delayed due to sandstorm.

26,5,41. Weather, fine. Visibility moderate to good. Wind N-NW moderate until dusk. Max 106F Min 9F.
18.40 Val' KR2792 returned from H.4. with passengers and mail. Time for round trip 7.20 Hrs.

27,5,41. Weather, fine. Visibility good. Wind NW'ly light. Max 101F Min 73F.
17.10 Val' KR2792 left on Pamphlet Raid but returned due to U/S Air Speed Indicator. Elevator controls very slack and badly left wing low. Time 45 mins.

28.5.41. Weather, cloudy, high and medium. Visibility good. Wind NW light. Max 100F Min 67F.
09.05 Val' K2808 air tested after repairs. 15 mins.
10.05 Val' KR2792 air tested after repairs. Starboard engine "whine", otherwise O.K. 20 mins.
19.20 Val K2808 left for Pamphlet Raid on RAMADI - RAHILIYA - KARBALA - HILLA - AL MUSIYIB - AL AZIZIYA - AL MAHUMIDIYA - BAGHDAD - AL KADIMAIN - BA'QUBA and returned 00.45. Time 4.45 Hrs. Slight A.A. fire at KARBULA and HILLA. Leaflets dropped between 1,200 & 600 feet.

29,5,41. Weather, cloudy later in day, high and medium. Visibility good. Wind light variable. Max 103F Min 69F.
07.45 Val' KR2792 air tested after further repairs. O.K. 30 mins.

30,5,41. Weather, mainly cloudy, high and medium. Visibility good. But 3,000yds in rising dust at 20.45 G.M.T. Wind NW light but moderate to strong after 21.00 G.M.T. with squall W'ly 33 mph. Max 107F Min 80F.

31,5,41. Variable amounts of high and medium cloud, with small amounts of low cloud base 8,000ft at times. Wind light variable. Visibility moderate to good. Max 109F Min 80F.

During the Month the Flight serviced Aircraft of No. 31 Squadron and visiting Aircraft from EGYPT.

Signed M.R. Skeet Flight Lieutenant, Commanding, Communications Flight.

***************

( Extracts of Forms 765A)

2,5,41. Serial No. 1.
[Establishment = Officers 2. Pilots 2. Crew 19. Non Flying 16.][Posted strength = Officers 2. Pilots 2. Crew 9. Non Flying 4.][Attached 1.] [Serviceable Aircraft, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, 350 Rounds.]

3,5,41. Serial No. 2.
[Establishment etc, as above] [Serviceable Aircraft, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, 218 Rounds.]

4.5.41. Serial No. 3.
[Establishment etc, as above] [Serviceable Aircraft, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, 100 Rounds.]

5,5,41. Serial No. 4.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, 100 Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, 1 Day, Level Bombing, 0.45 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, 4 x 500lb.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, 400 Rounds.]

6,5,41. Serial No. 5.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, 1 Day, Operational, 1.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, 300 Rounds.]

7,5,41. Serial No. 6.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

8,5,41. Serial No. 7.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, ?.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

9,5,41. Serial No. 8.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

10,5,41. Serial No. 9.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, 1 Day, Operational, 1.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

11,5,41. Serial No. 10.

[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

12,5,41. Serial No. 11.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

13,5,41. Serial No. 12.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, 2, Night, Level Bombing. 4.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, 5x 250lb, 4 x 520lb, 20 x 25 Incendiary, 4 x 20 G.P.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

14,5,41. Serial No. 13.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, 2, Night, Level Bombing. 11.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, 6x 250lb, 4 x 520lb, 20 x 25 Incendiary.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

15,5,41. Serial No. 14.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, 2, Night, Level Bombing. 4.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, 6x 250lb, 4 x 520lb, 20 x 25 Incendiary.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

16,5,41. Serial No. 15.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

17,5,41. Serial No. 16.
[Establishment etc, as above, less 1 Detached][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

18,5,41. Serial No. 17.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, 2, Night, Level Bombing. 4.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, 6x 250lb, 4 x 520lb, 30 x 25 Incendiary.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

19,5,41. Serial No. 18.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, 2, Day, Operational. 2.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

20,5,41. Serial No. 19.
[Establishment = Officers, 2 Pilots 2. Crew 19. Non Flying 16.][Posted strength = Officers 3. Pilots 1. Crew 8. Non Flying 4.][Attached 1.][Detached, 1.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, 1, Day, Operational. 1.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

21,5,41. Serial No. 20.
[Establishment = Officers, 2 Pilots 2. Crew 19. Non Flying 16.][Posted strength = Officers 3. Pilots 1. Crew 7. Non Flying 4.][Attached 1.][Detached, 2.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

22,5,41. Serial No. 21.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

23,5,41. Serial No. 22.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

24,5,41. Serial No. 23.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

25,5,41. Serial No. 24.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Other Flying, 1 Night. 4.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

26,5,41. Serial No. 25.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

27,5,41. Serial No. 26.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Other Flying, 1 Night. 4.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

28,5,41. Serial No. 27.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, 1, Night, Operational, 1.00 Hrs.][Other Flying, 2, Day. 1.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

29,5,41. Serial No. 28.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, ?.][Aircraft Sorties, 1, Night, Operational, 5.00 Hrs.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

30,5,41. Serial No. 29.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 2.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

31,5,41. Serial No. 30.
[Establishment etc, as above][S.A.A. Expenditure by Ground Defences, Nil Rounds.][Serviceable Aircraft, 1.][Aircraft Sorties, Nil.][Bomb Expenditure, Nil.][S.A.A. Expenditure from Air, Nil Rounds.]

All Forms Signed M.R. Skeet Flight Lieutenant, Commanding, Communications Flight.

"SUMMARY"

In May 1941 the Aircraft of the "Communications Flight" flew 9 Bombing Sorties, one in daylight and 8 at night for a total of 24 combat flying hours, 11other missions, 8 at night and 7 during daylight totaling 44 flying hours.
(N.B. No records have been found detailing the missions flown by the Pilots loaned to the "Air Striking Force")

During hostilities the "Flight" dropped 18,400lbs of Bombs: - 16 x 520lb's, 4 x 500lb's, 23 x 250lb's, 4 x 20lb's and 90 x 25's incendiaries. The air and ground crews of the "Flight" fired 1,468 rounds of ammunition, 700 from the air and 768 from the ground.

The strength of the "Communications Flight" on the 2nd of May 1941 is recorded as: -
2 Officer Pilots, 2 Airmen Pilots, 9 Crew, 4 Non Flying with one attached.
(N.B. The Flight was approximately 22 personnel short of War Establishment Strength during hostilities!).

The following are recorded as having captained Aircraft of the Flight during April: -
Flt Lt M.R. Skeet, Sgt C.L.Clements, Sgt W. Thornley and Sgt Harvey.
(As there is no indication of any change to personnel it is fair to presume that these were the Pilots and Co-pilots who flew for the "Air Striking Force" and the "Communications Flight" during May).

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