The RAF Career of Maurice 'Roy' Skeet.
RAF Habbaniya, Iraq, June 1941 to February 1942.

Following the dramatic events of April and May 1941 the Communications Flight continued transporting Troops and Equipment in accordance with "IRAQ COMMAND OPERATION ORDER NO. 18/1941" in addition to returning to its routine transport duties.

In the records Flight Lieutenant Skeet remarks that considerable changes had taken place in the Flight during the month of June and lists the allotment of additional Aircraft and personnel as follows: -
ADDITIONAL AIRCRAFT.
2 Tiger Moth's (K.4255 and K.4252)
7 Airspeed Oxford's (P.1940, P.1942, L.4650, L4656, L.4662, L.4668, L.4667.)
1 Bristol Blenhiem (L.6656.)
1 Vickers Valentia (K.3599.)
ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL.
566579 Sgt Smithers, W.J. (Fitt' II)
566483 Cpl Barker, F.W. (Fitt' II)
517986 AC1 Bennet, S. (Fitt' II)
523682 LAC Hall, R. (F/Mech')
522975 LAC Ellis, A.W. (F/Mech')
542433 LAC Fenton, J. (F/Mech')
649693 AC1 Lambert, P.W. (F/Mech')
542318 LAC Puttick, H.J. (F/Mech')
648229 AC1 Pain, S. (F/Mech')
528356 AC1 Ellis, N. (Fitt' II)
649661 AC1 Hayes, R.H. (Fitt' II)
It is believed that these were the Aircraft formally allotted to the No. 4 F,T,S, and subsequently transferred to the Communications Flight.

From June 1941 to the end of the year the Communications Flight was additionally responsible for the transportation of Notables and other High Ranking Officers etc.
As was common practice at the time Flt Lt Skeet as O/C and/or his deputy Flt Sg't W. Thornley, would have mostly Piloted the Aircraft carrying out these flights.
They included as follows: -

2nd June, Aircraft of the Flight proceeded to Baghdad to collect released British Prisoners of War held by the Iraqi's during the Battle.

3rd and 4th June, The Flight in liaison with 31 Squadron transported 2/4th Gurkha Rifles to Mosul to occupy the Airfield for RAF Squadron use.

8th June, Colonel "ROBERTS" was collected from Baghdad.

10th June, Group Captain "SAVILE" was transported to and from Baghdad.

14th June, General "WATERHOUSE" was collected from RAF HELIOPOLIS.

19th June, General "SLIM" and the AIR OFFICER COMMANDING were transported to MOSUL.

21st June, Intelligence Officers were transported to Baghdad.

22nd June, Sick Cases were collected from MOSUL.

24th June, Engineering Personnel were transported to K.3. and KIRKUK to investigate Messerschmitt 110's and CR.42's of the defeated enemy forces.

15th July, General "HARVEY" from Baghdad.

21st and 27th September, the AIR OFFICER COMMANDING IRAQ, Air Vice Marshall "D'ALBIAC" to Mosul and Baghdad respectively.

3rd August, General "SLIM" to Deir Ez Zor and Alleppo.

15th and 18th October, General "QUINAN" to Baghdad and Mosul respectively.

19th October, General "CORBETT" to Deir Ez Zor.

27th and 28th October, Air Vice Marshall "D'ALBIAC was transported to and from Baghdad.

31st October, the "AMIR ABDULLAH OF TRANSJORDAN" (Regent of Iraq) was transported with attaches to Habbaniya and returned to Baghdad.

8th November, the AIR OFFICER COMMANDING IRAQ was transported to and from Baghdad.

References: - (AIR27/613,614,619,620,1333. and AIR29/893.)

Notes : -
During September 1941 Fl't Lt' Skeet received news from the U.K. that his marriage was in difficulties.
On 24th of September he was admitted to RAF General Hospital, Habbaniya and released on the 3rd of October suffering with debility.
He returned to duty on the 25th of October and sometime around this time it is believed that he obtained a transfer back to the U.K.

Flt Lt Skeet last signed the records of the Communications Flight in October, the records for November were signed on his behalf by his deputy, the newly commissioned Flying Officer W. Thornley, thereafter there is no further mention of Flt Lt Skeet in the records of the Communications Flight.

From his Service Record, on the 15th December Flt Lt Skeet is listed as on the personnel list at No' 1 Depot, United Kingdom. However, on the 16th February 1942 the  record briefly notes him as remaining on temporary loan to the Middle East desert, prior to posting, but there is no indication in the official records as to his activities or duties during this period.

{However, there is some suggestion that he may have been involved in special duties during this period as is mentioned in my communications with Mr. Kerry Doyle whose father was attached to the Flight in late 1941. Kerry's father recalled that a plane of the Flight, of which he was a crewmember, was instructed to fly all the way to somewhere in the Caucasus on 'Something Special'. they had two civilians on board and all the crew were issued with special ID which showed no rank and clearly stated they were not to be questioned, apparently, the regular pilot, Wally Thornley, was replaced by the CO!}

Click here to read an account of his movements in 1942

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