49 Squadron at Kinloss January 1940

During January, a rumour had been circulating that both Scampton’s squadrons (49 and 83) were about to move station. The rumours became fact when on the 25th January, a 'rail party' departed for Kinloss. The next day the advance 'air party' took-off for the same location. Meanwhile 83 Squadron were also on the move north to Lossiemouth. From their respective bases both squadrons were to engage in the hunt for submarines and to stand-by in case of a chance to attack German warships.

For the first five days of the month the squadron was on 'stand down'. On 19th February, the squadron said goodbye to F/Lt Lerwill who left to go to 106 Squadron. Then for the next two days both ground and air parties made the long trip up to Kinloss and attachment to 18 Group. During their stay at Kinloss, Lt Collett, Royal Navy, was attached to the unit for liaison duties.

26 February, 1940:
The first exercise order came an hour before lunch; W/Cmdr Sheen led seven aircraft on a navigation and recognition flight. Each Hampden carried 2x500lb bombs as they flew out over the North Sea via Kinnards Head. They carried out a 'square search' within a radius of 20 miles to observe surface vessels. Orders had been given that only submarines were to be attacked. The crews landed back at Kinloss in time for tea without locating any targets. S/Ldr Allen (P1174) took as navigator Lt Collett, along with F/O Butler and AC1 Gadsby. Two days later, six aircraft under the command of F/Lt Mitchell carried out a similar task, with the same negative result.
The squadron carried out one more operation from their temporary Scottish home:

2 March, 1940:
Six Hampdens were dispatched to carry out a 'square search' over the North Sea. Each aircraft carried 2x500lb bombs, but all returned with their loads intact and 'nothing of interest' to report.

4 March, 1940:
During the afternoon, two sections under the command of S/Ldr Allen practiced intercepting flying boats out at sea. All five aircraft were home in time for tea. Whilst at Kinloss the squadron used one of its Avro Ansons for communication flights. After departing Scampton to head north, the pilot in Anson (N5094) was forced to make an emergency crash landing near Acklington. The crew were reported safe but the Anson was beyond repair.

19 March, 1940:
On this day the squadron received orders to return to Scampton and rejoin 5 Group. The move was carried out over a period of three days at the end of which Lt Collett ceased to be attached to the unit.

P/O L C Deane (later Group Captain) wrote about his journey to Kinloss

Courtesy of Pat Wilson we have a high quality image of 49Sqn at Kinloss.

Click the image to open the file or 'Right click' and choose 'Save Link/Target As'.