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Old 18th February 2014, 18:54
Allan125 Allan125 is offline
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Query on the formation of No. 125 Airfield HQ - June 1943

I am seeking some clarification of what exactly is meant by the residue of 65 and 122 Squadrons in the formation of No. 125 Airfield Headquarters in June 1943

Up until recently I have always accepted the formation date – from the 125 Airfield ORB – as 24 June 1943, with the knowledge that on 20 June 1943 19 Squadron flew in from Matlaske in Norfolk, and 132 (City of Bombay) Squadron flew in from Perranporth in Cornwall and No. 125 Airfield was formed on 24 June 1943, within No. 83 Group at RAF Gravesend, the two Squadrons both operating Spitfire Vb’s and Vc’s – but now I have sourced the RAF Gravesend ORB which tells a slightly different story, with, to me an intriguing question.

125 Airfield ORB


At R.A.F. Station, GRAVESEND, on 24th June 1943, No. 125 Airfield Headquarters was formed incorporating No’s 19 and 132 Squadrons. The following officers had reported on posting:- S/Ldr E. J. Praill, C.T.O. – F/O’s W. J. Watts, E. J. D. Young, Engineer Duties – P/O G. R. Curry, Adjutant, and P/O E. G. Burkett, M.T. Duties – S/Ldr C. H. Hartley S.Admin.O. – F/Lt H. L. Humm, Equipment. F/Lt Green, Records Officer, Gloucester, visited the Station for the purpose of arranging the posting of airmen personnel. A preliminary Conference was held in the Station Commander’s office, at which Group Captain Eeles, Org.H.Q.F.C. gave a rough outline of the functions of an Airfield Headquarters to the officers already assembled of No. 125 Airfield Headquarters, including the Squadron Commanders, S/Ldr. V. H. Ekins, DFC, No.19 Squadron and S/Ldr J. R. Ritchie, No. 132 Squadron, and stated that the target date aimed for was July 1st when it was hoped that the Airfield would be in a position to move. No Establishment had yet been issued, but for guidance a copy of the establishment of No. 121 Airfield Headquarters was supplied with certain amendments. S/Ldr Mahoney, P2 Headquarters No. 83 Group was present. R.A.F. Station, GRAVESEND, were particularly helpful and furnished every facility that would assist in the formation of this new Airfield Headquarters.

But I have now sourced the RAF Gravesend ORB, which on 20 June 1943 states:

RAF Gravesend ORB

20th June 1943 Movements.

Formation of No. 125 Airfield at Gravesend. No. 132 Squadron with residue of 65 Squadron, and 3056 S.Echelon moved from Perranporth. No. 19 Squadron with residue of No. 122 Squadron and No. 3020 S. Echelon moved from Matlaske.
The residue of No’s 65 and 122 Squadrons and 3056 and 3020 S.Echelons to be medically examined ‘fit averaged’ and drafted by Records on the Station to form No. 125 Airfield Headquarters.

According to Jeffords “RAF Squadrons” 65 Squadron were at Selsey from 31 May 1943, moving to Kingsnorth on 1 July 1943 and for 122 Squadron, they were at Bognor from 1 June 1943, moving to Kingsnorth as well on 1 July 1943 – so I don’t have any clues as to why the respective Squadrons had residue at Perranporth and Matlaske – nor do I have any clues as to why the RAF Gravesend ORB gives the formation date as 20th June 1943, whereas the 125 Airfield ORB quite clearly shows the formation date as “At R.A.F. Station, GRAVESEND, on 24th June 1943, No. 125 Airfield Headquarters was formed incorporating No’s 19 and 132 Squadrons” but with no mention of any residue from either 65 or 122 Squadrons?

I am also placing this query on the RAF Commands forum.

many thanks

Allan Hillman
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