WO Peter Hale (41 Sqn, Aug 1944-Aug 1945) will celebrates his 95th Birthday today, 28 July 2017.
Thanks to Mark Hillier, Peter was able to take a back-seat in the Boultbee Spitfire from Goodwood Aerodrome (formerly RAF Westhampnett) on the 14th July, to help celebrate his pending 95th birthday. Jez Attridge (Former Officer Commanding RAF Coningsby) was at the helm and Peter had a ball, as the attached photos show.
HALE, Peter Harold, 1332528, RAFVR
born Harpenden, 28 Jul 22
enl in RAFVR, Uxb, 27 Jan 41
1 ACRC Babbacombe, 12-28 Jun 41
4 ITW, Paignton, 28 Jun-7 Sep 41
21 EFTS, Booker, Bucks, 8 Sep-22 Nov 41
emb Clyde for Halifax, per HMT Bergensfjord, 23 Dec 41-1 Jan 42
31 PD, Moncton NB, Can, 2-7 Jan 42
41 SFTS, Weyburn, Sask, 11-14 Jan 42
Crse 36, 39 SFTS, Swift Current, Sask, 15 Jan-25 Apr 42
plt badge & Sgt Plt, 24 Apr 42
CFS, Trenton, Ont, 27 Apr-16 May 42
31 BGS, Picton, Ont, 16 May-5 Oct 42
Staff Plt, 31 SFTS, Kingston, Ont, 5 Oct 42-15 Jul 43
Crse 15, 1 OTU (Hurr), Bagotville, Que, 17 Jul-18 Sep 43
31 PD, Moncton NB, 26 Sep-9 Oct 43
emb NYC for Clyde per HMT Queen Mary, 10-16 Oct 43
Flt Sgt, Nov 43 (sen 24 Apr 43)
Crse 40, 53 OTU (Spit), Kirton, 23 Nov 43-22 Feb 44
4 TEU (Hurr), Annan, 23 Feb-2 Mar 44
1 TEU (Spit), Tealing, Angus, 3 Mar-5 Jun 44
WO, 24 Apr 44
83 GSU (Spit XIV), Redhill, 6-22 Jun 44
3501 GSU (Spit XIV), Cranfield, Bucks, 23 Jun-6 Aug 44
41 Sqn, 8 Aug 44-21 Mar 45
FA in Spit XIV, MV255, blown off runway into mud on landing in cross-wind & TON, 21 Mar 45
83 GSU (Spit XIV), Dnsfld, 23 Mar-16 Apr 45
130 (Punjab) Sqn (Spit XIV), Celle, G., 17 Apr 45
retrieved by Sqn Ldr J. B. Shepherd & rtnd to 41 Sqn, 17 Apr-8 Aug 45
¼ Dest He111 w Plt Off P. T. Coleman, WO J. A. Chalmers & Sgt Plt C. N. Moyle, W of Goldberg, G., 28 Apr 45
TCAHC, Morecambe, Lancs, 11-17 Aug 45
12 FU, Melton Mowbray, 17-30 Aug 45
TCAHC, Morecambe, Lancs, 1 Sep-8 Oct 45
229 Grp Delhi, India, 18 Oct-3 Nov 45
17 ACHU, RAF Pocklington, Full Sutton, Yks, 8 Nov 45-4 Jan 46
SHQ, RAF Cranwell, 22 Jan-24 Jun 46
demob 100 PDC, Uxb, 24 Jun 46
Meteorological Off, Feb 47-Mar 82
Retired Mar 82
“There was an almighty bang and everything changed. After the roar and racket of the past quarter of an hour, there was suddenly total silence. There was glass everywhere except in the instrument panel where it belonged. My right arm wouldn’t obey my commands but hung loose at my side. Almost every dial, indicator and gauge in front of me had gone haywire. Not a squeak from the radio; not a murmur from the engine; no wind noise; total silence; and around me total chaos.”
Sgt Plt Peter Graham, 41 Sqn, on being hit by Flak, when a 20mm high explosive shell entered his cockpit, during a Rhubarb* to the Le Havre area, 23 July 1943.
As quoted in "Blood, Sweat and Valour" (Fonthill, 2012), and reproduced with Peter's permission.
* Term used to describe raids over over France – either ‘sweeps’ involving the whole squadron, or ‘rhubarbs’ when a pair of aircraft would go out on a roving patrol.
Instigated as part of a campaign to seize air superiority from the Germans in preparation to a landing in Europe
This blog entry has been made possible by Mike Bradbury.
Over the last few months in and around Shrewsbury there have been two functions with Eric as a big part in his memory.
The first one held on March the 3rd at Bayston Hill, the village of his birth, when a stained glass window was unveiled in his memory by Flight Lieutenant Laura Frowen 41 Squadron, Wing Commander Steve Chaskin OC 611 Squadron and Rosemarie Jones, Eric's niece.
On the 24th of June Shrewsbury held it's Armed Forces Day, at 23 30 on the 23rd running up to this a light show was put on, this covered pictures starting back as far as the Boer War up to present day of people from Shropshire who served in the armed forces. These images were projected onto St Chads Church and a large part of this show was devoted to Eric, and for just this part I did the voice over telling just a short part of his service with 41 and 611 Squadron's and his life story.
4 July 1944 – Poor weather continued throughout the morning, with cloud and mist. The first wave of V1s did not come over until 08:30, but thereafter 108 were plotted by 11 Group. Of these, 84 crossed the coast and 52 were shot down by fighters.
Weather conditions prevented 41 Squadron from getting airborne until after lunch, but from 12:40 onwards twelve anti-Diver patrols were flown over the Channel, southeast of the Isle of Wight, and the last pair landed at Friston at 22:30. However, despite their efforts, just one victory could be claimed by the Squadron, which was shared between Fg Off ‘Momo’ Balasse and Flt Sgt Freddie Woollard on the third patrol.
Blue Section (Balasse EN229 & Woollard MB856) was airborne at 14:10 to patrol an area ten miles out to sea between Hastings and Rye. The pair were vectored onto a Diver by Wartling Control at 14:30, and soon spotted it approaching Dungeness at 3,000 feet on a course of 340° and at an IAS of 340-350 mph.
Balasse and Woollard took turns firing on the V1, attacking it from quarter astern to full astern, at ranges of 250-200 yards, and sent it down to explode on impact at a location they described as “approx. 1 Mile W. of Lydd. (actually N. of Rye.)”. They returned to base at 15:30, claiming the Squadron’s fifteenth destroyed V1 (13 + 2 shared).
[Excerpt from "Blood, Sweat and Valour" (Fonthill, 2012)]
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