Although not recognised much after the War, the work of the R.A.F. Beach Squadrons was appreciated by commanders at the time.
This clipping of a report from Montague Taylor, taken from a provincial newspaper in North-East England in 1944, illustrates that recognition. (name of newspaper and exact date not known)
The order of the day to which Montague Taylor refers was written by Colonel E. J. Montgomery who had been the commander of 101 Beach Sub Area. It was dated 1st August 1944 and was addressed to all the units that had been under his command in the SWORD assault area. The Colonel included a special mention for No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron which was part of 101 Beach Sub Area.
Montague Taylor with well-intentioned journalistic licence used the Colonel words to highlight the contribution of all the R.A.F. Beach Squadrons in Normandy.
Tribute to the R.A.F. Beach Squadrons from the Air Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Air Force.
A despatch by Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, K.C.B., D.S.O., Air Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Air Force (A.E.A.F.), was submitted to the Supreme Allied Commander in November, 1944.
Leigh-Mallory opens with these words,
“On relinquishing my command of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force I have the honour to submit the following Despatch, covering its operations -under my command during the period from 15th November, 1943 to 30th September, 1944.”
In “PART IV—SPECIAL FEATURES” of this document he begins,
“The mounting of air operations of the complexity and scale recorded in this Despatch was only made possible by an adequate ground organisation. I wish, therefore, in this Section to pay some tribute to- the background work against which these operations were carried out, and upon which they depended for success.”
And in paragraph 418 within this section he writes,
“The statistics of the average daily consumption and wastage of P.O.L. and ammunition also reveal something of the achievement of the supply organisation. During July, A.E.A.F. expended daily 750 tons of bombs and more than 200,000 rounds of ammunition. The fuel consumption of A.E.A.F. in July reached approximately 30,000,000 gallons of petrol, almost 1,000,000 gallons per day. A large part of this fuel and ammunition had to be transported into the beach-head and up to forward airfields. In this connection the work of Air Force beach squadrons deserves special mention. These parties went in with the follow-up troops on D-Day and due in no small measure to their efforts, the first airfields were stocked ready for operations in the beach-head on D + 3.”
(Note: P.O.L. is Petrol, Oil and Lubricants)
This Despatch was published as a supplement to The London Gazette of Tuesday, the 31st of December, 1946 (Gazette Issue 37838).
It can be viewed at www.thegazette.co.uk