Richard Due's Log Book

Thanks to the help of Drew Harrison in Australia, he has sent me a copy of Richard Due's log book for the time he served with 611 Squadron.  The Squadron was at Biggin Hill for the whole of his time with the unit and his first entry is 9 October 1942 when he flew Spitfire IX BS112:J for local flying and landings.  His first operational sortie was on 16 October on an anti-rhubard patrol.  His first tangle with the enemy was on 2 November whilst on a Rodeo near Abbeville when he chased three 'huns' but could not catch them but his Flight lost Fg Off D Fulford to the Luftwaffe.  November saw him escorting Bostons and B-17 Fortresses to targets over northern France plus more Rodeos, sweeps and anti-rhurbarbs around St Omer and Abbeville.  On 9 January Richard made his first claim when the attacked 5 FW190's near Abbeville and he fired a 3 to 4 second burst seeing a red flash near the port wing root of the enemy aircraft.  The damaged aircraft rolled into an inverted dive and Richard claimed a 'damaged'. January remained busy with 2 or 3 sorties per day comprising bomber escort, sweeps, air and cannon tests and an air sea rescue sweep.

5 February 1943 was a sad day when the CO Sqn Ldr Hugo Armstrong was shot down over the English Channel, Richard was part of the air sea rescue search but he was never found.  The rest of February saw many operation sorties and bomber escorts but no score with the enemy.

Richard left the Squadron to go to the Fighter Leaders School at Charmy Down for most of March returning to the Squadron on 27 March.  His last sweep with the Squadron was on 7 May operating as Red 3 over St Omer when he saw a few Bf109'S, the CO damaged one but Richard could not get close enough.  He moved on to another Squadron but the CO, Sqn Ldr Charles endorsed his log book with the following ' Well above average in every respect. Has served the Squadron loyally since arriving 8 months ago. Will make a good Flight Commander'

The last page shows a photograph of the pilots at Biggin Hill in May 1945 plus autographs of most of them including the Wing Leader, Wing Commander A C 'Al' Deere and Harry Walmsley who was to become CO after the war.

611 Squadron pilots at Biggin Hill, Kent 1942