RAF HARROWBEER

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Requests for Information

On several occasions I have been asked for information about various aspects of RAF Harrowbeer. As mentioned elsewhere on this website, the RAF Harrowbeer Interest Group are not experts on the airfield and therefore are unable to answer direct questions. However, we are interested in life at Harrowbeer and take a keen interest in our local history and realise that if we don't know, someone else might. We have our 'Puzzles' page but this section is for anyone to ask a question that could/might be answered by someone out there........

If you have a question, or what to get in touch with others connected with Harrowbeer, then email it to the address on the 'Contacts' page and I'll add it here. Answers to the same address please and then I'll forward them on.

April 2012: Most of these remain unanswered.

Colin Foster has a little mystery he is trying to solve.....

"A friend of mine has a cottage in the village of St Vigor des Mezerets, in Normandy, France - just outside of the main “Bocage” country - with major actions (such as Villers Bocage, Mount Pinçon & the assault on Villers & Vire) all nearby.

In their back garden is a wooden shed (with patches over a series of bullet holes!); on the inside of this are 18 names of both British & American servicemen who were captured in the fighting in Normandy. One of the British Servicemen listed is as follows...

Number: nnnn19026 Name: Fl Lt J W Harder - Captured: 31/07/1944

I have agreed to do my best to investigate all of the names in the hope of finding out more about them, whether they made it to the end of the war (or are even still alive), etc,

I have had some success with tracing two out of the 4 American names listed, and from a chat that I have had with the one who was at the time still alive, it would appear that Flt Lt Harder was an American flying with the RAF.

Since then (until very recently) the trail went quite cold until I came across someone on a discussion group (www.ww2talk.com) that I am a member of who has been able to provide me with the following information...

Fighter Cmd Losses 1944-45 by Norman L. R. Franks: American pilot.

24th July 1944. N°64 Sqn; Fighter Cmd; Spitfire MkIX; Seriel N° MK258; Rhubarb ground targets at Voutre. Hit by flak and baled out over Arou; POW.
Stationed at Harrowbeer, Devon.

Note: 18th April 1944. N°64 Sqn; Fighter Cmd; Spitfire MkVb; Seriel N° AD565; Shipping Recce, a.m.; Engine caught fire 50 miles East of Yarmouth, Norfolk; Ditched and rescued; Safe Stationed at Coltishall Norfolk.

As I replied to him... Thanks for this... It supports what I was told in that he was an American still serving with the RAF"

The loss of Fl Lt Harder is recorded in the Station ORB but we now know from his Son, that he survived the War. The mystery is that during Colin's search for information, the following turned up:

OKEHAMPTON CHURCHYARD WAR MEMORIAL
1939-45, John W Harder

Colin would like to know more about both the above.

Detailed photos of the names
written on the wall of the shed in France.

December 2008 update:

Colin has created a website all about the 'Men In The Shed' as he calls them! Click here for all the information. http://menintheshed.wetpaint.com/

 

From James Wolfe: "My father served at Harrowbeer while he was a pilot with 126 Sqdn. His war years are a mystery to all us! Has anyone got info on this squadron or know of anyone who does? His name was PO Malcolm Muncrief MacDonald, (known in the squadron as Mal). He would have been stationed at Harrowbeer from the 3/7/44 as part of fighter group 10. Any help you can give me no matter how small would be greatly appreciated"

Connor Doucette's Grandfather, Emerson Wallace flew Typhoons with 193 Sqn out of Harrowbeer and was shot down in 1944 a couple days after D-Day and taken prisoner. Although he has passed away, Connor would like to get in touch with any Pilots of 193 sqdn.

Jan 2009 - Connor please get in touch again! Your email address seems to have changed - S Fryer

Attack by 193 Squadron

As you are aware Rommel's staff car was straffed in Normandy and he was wounded and during his "recovery", Hitler took the opportunity to have the SS force him to commit suicide for alleged participation in the assassination attempt on Hitler. Initially, reports credited 193 RAF Typhoon squadron with the attack and pilots Bill Switzer and Rod Davidge, (2 of my Candian fellow pilots on 193) received Mentions In Dispatches, partially stating they may have been responsible. I understand the RAF maintains this viewpoint. Controversy followed! I recently emailed Percy Beake about this but he did not reply. I wondered if anyone in your group or other contacts would care to comment on this.

From Ed Mckay, former 193 Sqdn Pilot (Sadly Ed passed away in 2010)

Westland Whilwinds of 263 Squadron at Harrowbeer

Tony Myers, a local Aviation Artist has asked if anyone has any pictures of 263 Squadron Whirlwinds at Harrowbeer? If anyone has any, can they get in touch with us via the email.

Information on the Fellowship of the Bellows of Brazil planes

Randolfo (from Brazil) would like to hear from anyone who has information about the planes flown by the above Squadron. This was 193 (flying Typhoons) and 263 (flying Whirlwinds). We know about the Squadrons formation etc, but Randolfo would like to hear from Pilots, etc,. who flew missions.

I have now added a separate page for the Bellows Of Brazil Squadrons ~ SCF

146th Wing

Thierry (from Belgium) is seeking information about the 146th Wing as he is researching a book. He wants to hear from Pilots or co-researchers.

The 146th Wing was made up of the following squadrons:
193 Sqdn; 197 Sqdn; 257 Sqdn; 263Sqdn and 266Sqdn

193/263 Squadron mission

On 11th Dec 1944, Typhoons of 193 Squadron bombed Leiden /Holland railway station. Next Dec it is 60 years ago. A local newspaper will pay attention to this event. I am looking for any RAF participant. Can you help me???

8 x a/c 263 sqdn
8 x a/c 257 sqdn all from 1126-1230 attacking shed containing projectiles loaded on trucks in Leiden railway station. All bombs believed overshot.

1535-1635 hours
16 x a/c 193, 257 and 263 sqdn Leiden railway station.

193 sqdn - W/O Walker and W/C Wells observe other squadron bombing a V2 supply dump in Leiden. 2 x Typhoons Ib 1540-1625 hours.

Hope you can help me - with any photo of above Typhoon squadrons and/or airmen. Thanks

Rob van den Nieuwendijk

(and yes we have told Randolfo! - SCF)

Information about a relative

"My uncle, a Flt. Lt. in the RAF, was briefly stationed at Harrowbeer in mid/late? 1942, before onward posting. I have inherited a 'marksmanship' medal, inscribed 'Harrowbeer 1942'; alas I have no other data re. his stay there - he was later moved to 166 Sqd., but I think his time at Yelverton was limited from the late summer until Dec.of '42.

If any of your contacts has record or memory of one Nigel S. H. Brown, a Scot from Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, I would be very interested and grateful to hear of such.
"

Nigel Evans (NB - see photos page ~ SCF)

Information about a relative

"I am trying to confirm the Flight Sergeant T A Vaux served with 276 Sqn at Harrowbeer in 1942. I think he was posted as missing when he failed to come back from a mission on 7.11.1942. I am a bit confused on this as the commonweath graves commission have him down as Thomas Arnold Vaux, but the family say his name was Timothy Arnold Vaux. So some confirmation would be nice."

Tia

Information about crashed Typhoon

"After the finding of a Napier Sabre engine buried in a beach near Morlaix, I am looking at informations concerning a Typhoon aircraft operating from HARROWBEER AIRFIELD.
Could you please give me the extact registration of the Hawker Typhoon S/N MN170 from 263 Sqn piloted by F/lt G G Racine that was shot down over North Brittany on 31st March 1944. "

Pascal MAZEAU

Information about attack by Swordfish Aircraft of 838 Squadron ~ updated

On the 30th April 1944, Swordfish aircraft of 838 Squadron flew from Harrowbeer at 22.25hrs. They attacked an 'Elbring' class destroyer in an unamed French harbour.

My thanks to Jerry Brewer for the following:-

Basically the info on the attack as I heard it from an ex 838Sq member, from memory the story went like :-

' the attack orders were mixed up in the HQ and the squadron [838] were given the target of a typhoon squadron [ 263 ] by mistake and we lost a few aircraft, the person responsible was posted off the station very rapidly, the 838 target was meant to have been a barge.'

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