- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Mr Henry Schermer
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Air Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 07 July 2004
During the second world war I was a member of Fighter Squadron 310 of the Czech Wing of the Royal Air Force. Previous to this I was part of a Czech army unit.
I was part of the ground personel crew who worked on the maintenance of the Spitfires.
My squadron was moved around the country, we were first stationed at St Aston Glamorgan near to Cardiff.
I remember when we were stationed near to Chicester our uniforms were sent to the village laundry - and this laundry was hit by a German doodlebug.
In preparation for D-Daythe Spitfires were fitted with one bomb (it was fitted in the fusalage instead of fuel)
Squadrons were then sent out on target practice.Units including 310,312,313 and French Norwegian units were returning to base when they were wrongly identified as enemy planes and were shot at by our ground crew. We lost three or four pilots, all of whom had a lot of flying experience having flown at least three tours of duty. Two Spitfires collided in mid-air.
As a unit we never really recovered from this. We were assigned older Spitfires and our orders were to chase and shoot down doodlebugs which were trying to cross the channel.
In preparation for D-Day we spent 6 months in the South of England under canvas cover.
Hygiene was poor and many soilders suffered skin disorders. As D-Day approached sorties increased to 3 a day for most pilots. The Guns had to be stripped down, cleaned and exchanged. This was highly specialist work as the guns had to be realigned preciseley for exact target firing. Many guns needed maintenance three times a day to prevent rust.
Mechanics and pilots were elite and had come from Norway, Czechoslovacia and Poland.
The Czech airforce had been smuggled into Poland and hidden form the German Troops.
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