Coastal Command’s successful week

Aircrew and ground staff from RCAF No. 407 'Demon' Squadron enjoy a tea break next to their Hudson aircraft on 2nd November 1941.

Successful attacks on shipping off the Dutch coast may have prompted these publicity shots of the first RCAF Coastal Command Squadron. No 407 ‘Demon’ Squadron had been equipped with Hudson aircraft in September and flew ‘rover’ patrols over the North Sea, attacking German merchant shipping when they found them. The urgent need to resupply the Eastern front meant that the Germans were making more use of coastal transport to ship munitions to the Baltic ports and the railheads to the east.

This was dangerous work. No. 407 Squadron lost six crews on these operations before the end of the year.

Coastal Operations.

Coastal Command flew 231 patrols (452 sorties) and provided 47 convoy escorts (86 additional sorties). Shipping protection patrols by Fighter Command totalled 593 (1,340 sorties).

Aircraft of the three Commands harassed enemy shipping both by day and at night. Particularly outstanding results were obtained on the night of the 31st October/1st November, when aircraft of Coastal Command reported hits on 12 ships totalling approximately 40,000 tons.

These consisted of a tanker and six merchant vessels (including the Reichenfels – 1,800 tons — claimed as sunk) off the Frisian Islands and four merchant vessels and a Flack-ship off the Norwegian coast. In these operations we lost only one aircraft.

On other occasions attacks with bombs, cannon or machine-gun fire were made on 19 ships of an estimated total tonnage of 60,000,

From the Air Situation Report for the week as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/19/32.

Pilot Officer J.F.' Jimmy' Codville gives the 'V for Victory' sign in the cockpit of his Hudson - he had taken part in the successful attack off the Dutch coast the day before.
He was killed on operations on the 5th November.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison Rowlands May 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Hello – I am trying to find information about my Mum’s (91) late cousin, Eric Willson from Folkestone, Kent, who was killed in action on 23rd December 1942. We believe he was a rear gunner with 407 squadron. Like many, his name is listed at Runnymede as he has no known grave.

Bill Pollard July 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Hi Folks
I would appreciate any info on my second cousin Frederick Thomas Mattison – WO2 – WW2 RCAF R/85749 – 407 SQN – Hudson #AM551 – Failed to return from Ops – 20/Jan/1943 – anti-sub patrols , Bay of Biscay.
I was very young when he went missing and it has been a mystery so any added info or if you had an aquaintance I would appreciate it.
Many thanks

Richard Dowson November 29, 2012 at 2:26 am

Moose Jaw Times Herald
Thursday, September 10, 1942
Coderre (Saskatchewan) Boy Drops Bombs on Enemy Vessel
By Allan Randall
Canadian Press Staff Writer
With the R.C.A.F., somewhere in England, September 10, 1942 – (CP) – Cable
The All-Canadian Demon Squadron of the R.C.A.F., made a splashing attack on enemy merchant shipping off the Fisian Islands last night.
These boys have been a constant scourge to Nazi merchantmen and a crew captained by Flying Officer Floyd Ellans of Montreal scored a direct hit on a large enemy merchant vessel. The explosion flash was so great it was seen by other fliers 30 miles away. Pilot Officer Cam Taylor of Winnipeg and his crew scored a near miss.
Flying Officer Johnny Arnott of Edmonton led the attack but went scoreless.
Ellans’ Navigator, Flight Sergeant J. L. Gaucher of Coderre, Saskatchewan picked out the largest vessel for a target and guided his skipper over the ship and then let the lethal load drop right on to the vessel’s cornice.
This crew had to make two attempts. On the first try they were obliged to return to base on account of engine trouble, but obtained another aircraft and took off again.
“I didn’t actually see our bombs burst as I was too busy evading flak,” said Ellans. Other crew members included Sergeant G. Gojocar of Regina.
Taylor dropped bombs so close to a medium sized vessel that some damage was undoubtedly was caused. His crew included Sergeant Jim Banitus of Richlea, Saskatchewan.

By November 1942, Flight Sergeant J. L. Gaucher of Coderre, Saskatchewan had been promoted to Warrant Officer I
He was Killed in Action December 23, 1942. He has no known grave. He was with 407 Squadron R.C.A.F. at the time of his death.

Richard Dowson November 29, 2012 at 1:51 am

Thought you might enjoy this

Moose Jaw Times Herald
Thursday September 10, 1942
Local Airman is Grateful to the Red Cross Society
The Moose Jaw Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society has just received the following letter from a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force at present on active service somewhere in England.
“I received a suit of pajamas on pay parade today and they were sent from Moose Jaw, that is the part that surprised me most. So far, as I could tell, they were the only ones issued and I happened to get them. My home town is Moose Jaw, where my mother still resides. I was born there and lived until I joined up. I want to thank you very much, because it is impossible to buy such things over here on account of the clothing coupons. I only hope I get the chance some day to thank you in person for the gift sent to me.
“I am with an all-Canadian Costal Command Squadron – we are called the Demon Squadron over here, and we are sure doing our bit too. I’ll close for now and so long. Best of luck to you all and the work that you are doing.”
407 Squadron, R85055, R.C.A.F.
He survived the War

Ian Sayer October 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

Cam Taylor of 453 Pursuit Sqn signed the visitor’s book at RAF Hawkinge on the 6th June 1945. Same chap?

Louise (Taylor) Maidment July 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

My Father, Cam Taylor, was a squadron leader in wartime 407. I’m investigating his role in the squadron, especially in the final years of the war.

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