Hope you all enjoyed your weekend off from the war as much as I did. The fray continues next weekend and I have White Section tentatively sketched in for Friday. Please let me know soon if your section will be available for Saturday.
As some of you may have seen, Pt II of the 609 story went up last week, covering late '39 until Dunkirk. I have just completed Pt III - The Battle of Britain segment, which is now up in 'History'. Strangely enough, I was about half-way through when I recieved the obituary below from Scarlet, telling of the recent death of 'The Little Dynamo' H.S. Darley who pulled the squadron together after Dunkirk and made it into one of the most sucessful outfits of the Battle of Britain:
"THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 25th November 1999
Group Captain, George Darley
Winner of the first DSO of the Battle of Britain who improved on the official tactics of Fighter Command
GROUP CAPTAIN GEORGE DARLEY, who has died aged 86, won the first DSO of the Battle of Britain after shooting down a string of enemy aircraft.
Although officially credited with destroying three enemy fighters, Darley's true score was almost certainly much higher. His inspiring leadership of No 609 squadron resulted in 85 victories between June and October 1940, with the loss of seven pilots.
As a young squadron leader, Darley had noticed the deficiency of Fighter Command's rules of combat. "They thought that all the fighter had to do was to get behind a bomber and go bang-bangbang," he recalled. "They forgot to tell us that there might be enemy fighters above and their bombers had rear-gunners."
After devising his own tactics, Darley achieved notable results with his mixed bag of pre-war weekend fliers of No 609, an Auxiliary Air Force Spitfire squadron.
He took charge of 609 on June 28 1940. Though just 26, as a regular officer he was vastly more experienced than the parttime lawyers and bankers under his command, and he set about raising their standards with individual tuition. He taught them the art of deflection shooting on a curving attack, to avoid the fire of bomber rear-gunners and to aim at the "front office" where the pilot was.
Darley reversed the accepted order of take-off by placing himself last. He deployed his Spitfires in sections of three in loose line astern, with a fourth section behind and above.
The day of August 13 1940 was among 609's most successful. "We were sent off from Warmwell because a big raid was coming in," Darley recalled. "Sure enough there was a gaggle of 40 or 50 Ju 87s (Stuka dive-bombers) with Me 109 fighters above.
"I attacked from down sun. I don't think the 109s ever saw us. We shot 10 bombers down while they were still in formation and bagged three 109s too."
Short, pugnacious and known in the squadron as "the little dynamo", Darley cared little for red tape. When a stuffy station commander barred meals outside set hours, Darley rose at 3 am, got the kitchen going, and served eggs and bacon for pilots on dawn patrol.
Horace Stanley Darley, always known as George, was born, in London on November 3 1913, and educated at Emanuel School, Wandsworth Common, where he excelled at rugby, rowing, swimming, fives and shooting at Bisley. He traced his
ancestry to the de Derle family, which bred horses for the cavalry of William the Conqueror.
After obtaining Certificate A in the Officers' Training Corps, Darley was commissioned into the RAF in 1932. The next year he was posted to No 207, a bomber squadron with Fairey Gordon biplanes at Bircham Newton in Norfolk.
In 1935 he joined No 8, a Fairey 111F Squadron in Aden soon re-equipped - to Darley's relief - with the Vickers Vincent biplane bomber, a more reliable aircraft for patrolling the rugged terrain.
When Italian troops occupied Abyssinia, Darley was detached to Somaliland to assist Camel Corps border patrols. He recalled: "We spent nights at unguarded RAF strips, sleeping on camp beds under our wings, pulling mosquito nets around us and hoping to keep roaming lions,at bay. All good Boy Scout stuff!"
Darley returned home at the end of 1936, qualified as an instructor, and served successively as adjutant and instructor with Nos 602 (City of Glasgow) and 611 West Lancashire Auxiliary Air Force squadrons.
At the outbreak of war, Darley was a fighter operations controller at Debden, Essex, moving in April 1940 to a similar post at Merville in France with No 63 Wing of the Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force.
Evacuated after the fall of France, he flew three sorties with the Spitfires of No 65 Squadron, based at Hornchurch, Essex, before taking command of No 609, defending London at Northolt.
After the Battle of Britain, Darley, not yet 27, was promoted wing commander to take charge of the fighter station at Exeter. In May 1941 he was posted to Air HQ, Far East, in Singapore, with the brief of creating an air defence system for Singapore, Malaya, Burma and Hong Kong, as well as liaising with the Americans in the Philippines and the Dutch in Java.
He was returning from a Burma inspection aboard an Imperial Airways flying boat on December 8 when the captain announced that Japan had invaded Thailand.
Unable to refuel at Bangkok, the flyingboat returned to Rangoon, where Darley and his passengers transferred to a longer range flying boat bound for Singapore. They arrived there as Japanese aircraft were sinking the battleship Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser Repulse off Kuantan, Malaya.
On January 7 1942, Darley organised an RAF withdrawal from Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, to Singapore in the face of the advancing Japanese. After arranging destruction of the airfield, he attached an explosive booby trap to the chain of his office lavatory.
When the withdrawal from Singapore began on January 27, Darley established a fighter operations centre at Palambang, on Sumatra, and organised Hurricane sorties until Palambang became indefensible.
After surviving a road ambush, Darley boarded a merchant ship, which though ordered to Australia, altered course for India at the whim of her master, who explained that he and his crew had been away from their home port of Glasgow for far too long. In mid-March, en route for Scotland, the master put Darley ashore at Karachi, from where he was posted to command No 151 Operational Training Unit at Risalpur on the North West Frontier. The next year he was appointed Wing Commander Operations at No 221 Group, responsible from Calcutta for fighter and bomber activities over Burma and defending India.
In June 1943, Darley returned to Risalpur as a group captain; he was delighted to find that his chief ground instructor, serving as a squadron leader, was the former Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Smith-Barry of the Royal Flying Corps, father of flying instruction in the RAF. Darley returned home in the summer of 1944 to command No 62 OTU at Ouston near Newcastle. The next year he moved to command RAF Cranfield and afterwards to the new RAF staff college at Bracknell. There followed appointments as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at No 12 Group Fighter Command and station commander at Wittering, Hunts, where he improved the food by unofficially borrowing a German PoW cordon bleu chef from a camp and serving vegetables grown by another PoW.
In 1948, after briefly commanding RAF West Malling in Kent, Darley was seconded for two years to the Indian Air Force to establish a staff college at Wellington near Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Hills.
He returned to West Malling to supervise the transition of four fighter squadrons to Vampire and Meteor jets.
In 1952 Darley was appointed deputy director of overseas operations at the Air Ministry. He was busily involved with measures and overseas visits to deal with Man Man troubles in Kenya and Communist terrorism in Malaya. In 1954 he was appointed commander of No 4 Flying Training School, returning to what he regarded as "the best job in the RAF: supervising the tuition of young men into competent combat pilots".
Finally, he was posted to Singapore as chief intelligence officer in the Far East Air Force, returning in 1956 to be re-employed as a retired officer handling intelligence in Whitehall. He married, in 1939, Marjoric Knowles, who died in 1988. They had a son."
If anyone wishes to send letters of condolences, you can e-mail to Jim Earnshaw or Martin Shaw via the 609 Sqn Association website. Many thanks to Scarlet for this information and for the wonderful photo of Darley (now on new history page).
I have several new things to post, notably Mailbox items from Dest and info on new recruits. We have some new recruits from the UK which is nice to see. S! all and see you all sometime this week. Comp.
Black section flew a blinder on Friday night scoring two 2 / 0 victories and putting us in the lead at last! Saturday's sorties saw myself and Dup, and Mrs and Dave pairing up to finish the first half of 1944 3750 to us and 3650 to the Hun. We finished the night 2 / 2, ending the weekend as 600 to us and 200 to them. Nice going chaps. Debriefs are up in HQ so please take a look at these. Also new stats are up in 'War Room' and 'Statistics' pages. I am pleased to announce that Dave sent two Gustavs into the fields of Northern France on Saturday making him our second war ace. Congratulations Dave and fine shooting!
As its Thanksgiving next weekend, we have arranged a truce with NJG/88 and there will be no missions fought until the following weekend. It'll all be over by Christmas though.
More talk of Vegas late on Saturday night. Several of us are keen, with cut price offers at 'MGM' being possibly on the cards. We're tentatively talking about March or April. Anyone interested in the first annual reunion (is a first reunion a 'union'?) should post somewhere on this site. Also discussed was the possibility of Euro and Aussie flights meeting up in their respective locations at the same time. For a bunch of flight-sim junkies we sure think big. Anyway...it'd be a hoot I think.
At the time of writing I still haven't done the kill stats for roster etc but they'll be up soon.
As some of you will have noticed, this site was down for a couple of days. I thought something greivious had occured until somebody mentioned Dup's site was also down (he being on the TimesSquare/Galaxy server too). By any events, our homepage decided to reappear yesterday much to my relief as its been hard trying to organise this weekend's sorties. Hardworking Black Section will be up again tonight but we do not have a definite Section for tomorrow so, if any of you possibly can...come on down. We may need you.
As its Thanksgiving in the US next weekend, I want to know if we can field enough pilots for the latter half of '44. Please post as soon as possible in Ops Room as some of us won't be able to make it. I spoke to SSGF the other night who was threatening to take his flying equipment -stick, CD, large ashtray- to the in-laws for turkey day. This statement was followed by screaming in the background and I think he may now be grounded. Also discussed was the possibility of all meeting in Vegas sometime next year. Mr n Mrs seemed keen as did Rel. I sheepishly mentioned it to my wife whose eyes immediately lit up. I had forgotten her addiction to craps and blackjack. The prospect of hanging out with thirty-or-so flight-sim junkies became incidental and now she keeps asking "When are we going to Vegas?". Maybe the Betty Ford clinic'd be more appropriate. Rel swore he was taking a week-off, but I spoke to him on RW the other night, voice weak from exhaustion but still talking climb rates and turning circles. One day at a time bud, one day at a time.
I am pleased to announce that the first instalment of 'The 609 Story' is complete. Go to our 'History' page and you'll see the 'Pre-War' button there. Lots of nice pics and anecdotes about The West Riding Sqn. Next instalment will be the Battle of Britain. I'll keep you posted.
To all those going up tonight...Tally Ho!...609...Tally Ho!
Congratulations to all who participated in last weekend's scraps. Although Fritz came out slightly ahead in points for the 1943 year, we took three out of four missions in our stride and put some more blue on the war table. It now looks very pretty again. Congrats go out to my 'Blue Ridge Boys' teammate Craig, who flew a blinder with me on Friday and got his 5th kill making him an ace. Also getting a blue on Saturday was our wily Sergeant SSGF. Although an ace of long standing, he becomes our first 'war ace'. One for the history books Brian.
Beef...I need your e-mail address again. I decided to cut-n-paste it on saturday. Cut...sucessful. Paste...omited entirely. Please could you send this to me again and I'll promise to get it as far as the Blue Section table in Roster this time.
I talked to Mun the other night for the first time on RW. Apparently, he had no idea his gallant XO was from Blighty. There were three or four of us all chatting when I saw a typed message to Dest on the chat screen..."Who's the Pom?". Bloody convicts, I tell you.
Debriefs are now up in HQ.
Watch this space. Comp.
As you probably noticed from the new plaque on our homepage, we have 100 kills to our credit on the EAW Challenge Ladder! Amazing stuff chaps. At present we have 5 pilots in the top 10;
Also, at #5 is ex-609er Ozheat. Great work Heat! We're proud of you. The 100 kill score has not actually been posted as yet but we hear its going up very soon. I recently recieved my copy of 'Under the White Rose -The history of 609 Sqn'. What a great read, and it comes much reccommended by yours truly. Some wonderful photos (lots and lots of mascots including 2 goats), and a wealth of tables, dates and great stories. Yes, it turns out 609 was the first Sqn to knock down 100 Hun planes, during the Battle of Britain. And, it seems history has come full circle with our recent news. I'm looking forward to writing the history page, now I have a sourcebook. Its very moving to see the similarities between ourselves and the real 609 pilots. They really were a truly international bunch (see pilot stats on 'History Page') and there are some hilarious stories of pranks, ribbing and early accidents. Seems like they were a very lighthearted lot...much like ourselves. There is also a squadron song which I'd like to reproduce here;
The Occasional Air Force are we,
We only fly Saturdays and Sundays,
When the poor hard-worked regulars are free,
If ever you've flown in a Spitfire,
You'll know just how fast they can go,
When you roll 'em and land 'em and roll 'em,
Tally Ho!...609...Tally Ho!"
So once again, history repeats itself. 609 started off as 'Auxiliaries'...ie part-time volunteers. Seems that we're the logical descendants of these international 'weekend warriors', and I'm proud to wear my No609 tag with you all. Not sure of the tune for the above lyrics....come back Oz! We need you!
For those of you going up tonight...good luck chaps. Tally Ho...609!...Tally Ho!
First of all I've just realized that my dating system (see above) on this page is the British version...ie...day/month/year, where as elsewhere on the site it goes to the American system of month/day/year. Confused? Try being me. I will sort this out when I have the time.
Important new for all pilots in 'Skipper's Corner'. Go to Staff Offices/ Skipper/ Skipper's report to check out some words of wisdom from Rel. The Roster has been revised since the last posting. All pilots should check this out as soon as possible.
At present the word from the Skipper is that we will be fielding Blue and Red Sections this weekend in the war. I'm looking forward to getting in there again and having another crack at Fritz. Best of luck to all 609ers involved.
There is a new table available for all you stat-freaks out there. Go to the Warroom and scroll down, or go to 'Statistics' on the navigation menu to see an abbreviated version. It certainly makes for interesting reading, showing just who has been up the most in this conflict. S! Comp.
We didn't do too well this weekend with 3x 0-2 losses setting us back a little. I am still waiting on reports from the 2 missions flown on Saturday...Scarlet/ Wolfman and Craig/ Maceo I believe. Could all these pilots please send these in immediately as they're a very valuable tool in countering any recent Jerry tactics. You could just be saving a life in your report so...get 'em in soon please.
The new roster is up. Please take a careful look at this as there's been several changes. Some sections now have 5 pilots. If you look at 'Rank/Element' on the tables, you'll be able to determine who's doing what. Element Leaders are printed in bold type. All pilots now have a number after their rank corresponding to their element... ie Rel is; 'Sq.Ldr (1)'. [Element leader -first element] and Mrs is; 'Flt Sergeant (1)'. [ Wingman -first element]. In some cases, there will be 2 wingies in an element ie...Beef is; 'Flt Sergeant (1)' also. This will mean that Rel will have the choice of using either pilot as wingie.
I still need e-mail addresses/ location info/ etc... for the following pilots;
This is urgent. Lets get on top of this gentlemen.
We need to be on time for war missions this weekend. The Njg 88 guys sometimes have to wait for our chaps to arrive, which is unfair. Keep an eye on forums for info on time changes etc...
We now have a new forum in HQ where we can discuss tactics and other internal Sqn stuff, which is long overdue. Go to; HQ/War room and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you'll see the button for the 'Ops Room'. Get in there and have your say! We also have a new 'Flamer of the Week' page. Go to; 'Home' and scroll down where you'll see the button. If you have a natty pic taken online...send it to me and I'll post it.
Friday's missions ended up as a draw with a 2-0 win and a 0-2 loss. I still need reports of these and today's missions so I can post the results. Greywolf and others in NJG88 complained last night of having to wait around to fly the mission with myself and Maceo. The truth is, is that Maceo lives in Korea and was having connection problems and kept being booted. After 3 or so false starts we substituted Shredd, and the mission went smoothly. It was a little laggy (I had a nicely lined up 190 moth on me 3 times) but as we all know...that's online gaming for you. GW also proposed changing the ROE to make a side concede the mission if their pilots were late. I refused this proposal and anyway, all our chaps were there well ahead of time. I have written to GW informing him of No609 policy on this matter, to the end that; we stand by ALL our pilots, no matter where they are from, and that it's only realistic to fly missions if you have time at either end for possible connect problems. In addition, Kali was playing up last night, as is sometimes the case. I believe the NJG88 chaps should bring this up before missions if it's really that hard on them.
Tuesday evening and another weekend of war is on the horizon. Could all pilots available for either Friday's or Saturday's sorties please sign up on the Forum. All debriefs are now in from 1942. Go to 'Debriefs' in War Room to view these.
I saw Zorro last night at Kali, who informs me Osprey Publications recently released another book in their great series 'Aircraft of the Aces', this time focusing on Typhoon and Tempest Aces. Apparently No609 is featured heavily (we pioneered the use of the Tiffie in ground attack role) and features a specially commissioned painting of No609's 'Pinky' Stark downing a 190 on the cover! Go and buy this book! I have also ordered 'Under the White Rose -The History of 609 Sqn', which has been out of print for a while. When I get it I'll be able to write up our history for the site at long last. Can't wait. See you all online.
I will leave you all with the RAF motto.
I checked out Njg's site last night and found their score to be the same as ours...i.e. Us=2550 them=2400. However, their total score for 1941 was 1000 but, upon adding up their points for this year I made it 1200. I wrote to Greywolf and indeed, he said his math had been wrong. As no-one in No609 has written to me regarding the 'missing' mission, I'll have to go with their tally. We need to get squared away for next weekend. Therefore, Njg88 lead (just!) by 50 points. If the missing mission score was not 0-2...let me know.