Every day for nine months from September 1944 to the end of the war, young British, Commonwealth and Norwegian airmen flew from Banff aerodrome in northern Scotland in their Mosquitoes and Beaufighters to target the German U-Boats, merchantmen and freighters plying along the coast and in the fjords and leads of southwest Norway, encountering the Luftwaffe and flakships every step of the way. This Scottish strike wing fought in some of the bitterest and bloodiest attacks of the war, all at very low level and at close quarters. Their contribution to winning the war was crucial and while the cost in precious lives and equipment was in the same proportion as Bomber Command, they inflicted far greater damage to the enemy in relation to their losses. With Group Captain The Hon. Max Aitken, DSO DFC as station commander, Banff was eventually to become the base for a total of six Mosquito squadrons (including 235, 248 and 143), together with B Flight of the elite 333 Norwegian Squadron, and would team up on missions with the nearby Dallachy Beaufighter strike wing (404 RCAF, 455 RAAF, 489 RNZAF and 144 Squadrons). Banff was also home at one time to the famous 617 (Dambuster) Squadron after their successful attach on the Tirpitz. Two further aerodromes fall within the scop of Andrew Bird’s study – Fraserburgh, with its air-sea rescue role and Peterhead which supplied Mustang fighters as escort from 315 (Deblin) Squadron and 19, 65 and 234 RAF Squadrons. This title is a detailed history of a microcosm of Coastal Command. Supported by photographs, maps and charts, the majority never published before, the author has drawn on the personal accounts of, amongst others, British and Norwegian pilots, ground crew and civilians which augment the official sources, to give an accurate depiction of an aerodrome at war.
"A very interesting book; just long enough without running on and on, covering a subject that has not received it’s share of the limelight and a good selection of photos.”
It’s the human day to day stories that give colour to this little covered subject, some sad, some humorous, but all capture the pace and tension of what it was like to serve in a Coastal Command Mosquito Strike Wing in the last nine months of World War II. Its a cracking read and is highly recommended.
Heck of a thing, to fly a Mosquito 50 ft. off the water to attack heavily defended shipping and fly home to Scotland. Fascinating story.
If you’ve read the 633 Squadron novels, now read about the real thing.