11th February 1945

With RB396 repaired and signed off after the damaged of the 9th, Plt Off Frank Johnson and RB396 flew on 174 Squadron’s first armed recce of the day. 174 Squadron put up eight aircraft and at 09:05 were airborne for Coesfeld in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Frank and RB396 flew as Blue 4, with S/L D.T.N. Kelly leading the sweep.

When they arrived in the reconnaissance area, they found it covered by 10/10th cloud. With no other option, S/L Kelly ordered his aircraft back to base. After an eventful couple of days for RB396, today was a quiet one. But not so for the Erks! The squadron summary reflects the fluid situation on the ground stating that the Typhoon’s long-range tanks were being “whipped on and off aircraft just like nobody’s business!” The afternoon sortie would take 174 Squadron to Bremen.

Life Magazine image of a 198 Squadron Typhoon being made ready by The Erks

Plt Off Frank Johnson and 174 Squadron would have the 12th February off as the weather closed in once again. On the 13th, the squadron would be stood down for a ‘practice pack up’. This was to prepare the squadron for its next move forward on from B.80. The dust stirred up from the practice packing up of what had been the squadron’s home for nearly six months, we are informed, required much lubrication of throats that evening to clear.


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