Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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No 273 Sqn/RAF China Bay Personnel, aircraft and locations


The Operations Record Book (AIR 27/1581) for No 273 Sqn beginning as the ORB for RAF China Bay and gives details of movements and operations by all units located at the station, so it has been decided to include both RAF China Bay and No 273 Sqn in this entry.

Personnel Movements: Aug - Dec 1939

Rank Name Date Notes
Sqn Ldr L W Burgess  1 Aug 1939 Assumed command of RAF China Bay
Flt Lt G E Harrison  1 Aug 1939 Assumed duties of Officer Commanding, Co-operation Flight, RAF China Bay
Fg Off E A Good  1 Aug 1939 Assumed duties of Adjutant, RAF China Bay
Fg Off P N Sowman  1 Aug 1939 Assumed duties of Equipment Officer, RAF China Bay
Fg Off B B Wilmot  1 Aug 1939 Assumed duties of Officer Command, 'A' Flight, No 273 Sqn, RAF China Bay
Plt Off J D Williams  1 Aug 1939 Posted to 'A' Flight, No 273 Sqn, RAF China Bay
Plt Off J Chamberlain  1 Aug 1939 Posted to 'A' Flight, No 273 Sqn, RAF China Bay
Sqn Ldr T F Moloney 25 Oct 1939 Command Signals Officer, arrived on temporary duty
Fg Off B B Wilmot 13 Nov 1939 Assumed command of detachment at Ratmalana
Plt Off E M Greenwood 14 Nov 1939 Arrived on posting from Singapore for duty as Accountant Officer
Sqn Ldr L W Burgess  2 Dec1939 Admitted to hospital
Flt Lt G E Harrison  2 Dec 1939 Assumed temporary command of RAF China Bay
Fg Off B B Wilmot 28 Dec 1939 Relinquished command of detachment at Ratmalana on returning to RAF China Bay
Plt Off J Chamberlain 28 Dec 1939 Assumed command of detachment at Ratmalana

Source - RAF China Bay/No 273 Sqn ORB (AIR 27/1581)

Organisational Movements: Aug - Dec 1939

Date Notes
 1 Aug 1939 RAF China Bay was opened, with the following units in situ: -
  • Advance Flight ('A' Flight) of No 273 Sqn
  • Co-operation Flight
  • Fleet Air Arm units when disembarked from East Indies Squadron
 1 Aug 1939 'A' Flight, No 273 Sqn was equipped with Vickers Vildebeest IIIs (4 x IE and 2 x IR)
Vildebeest III
 1 Aug 1939 Co-operation Flight was equipped with Fairey Seals (2 x IE and 1 x IR)
Fairey Seal
27 Oct 1939 Detachment of 5 x Sunderlands of No 230 Sqn arrived from Penang being based at Galle
 6 Nov 1939 1 x Sunderland of No 230 Sqn arrived from Penang arrived to complete detachment
13 Nov 1939 2 x Vildebeests of 'A' Flight proceeded to Ratmalana on detachment

Source - RAF China Bay/No 273 Sqn ORB (AIR 27/1581)

Personnel Movements: Jan - Dec 1940

Rank Name Date Notes
Plt Off J D Williams  9 Jan 1940 Killed in a flying accident
AC1 V Bishop  9 Jan 1940 Killed in a flying accident
WO P R Hairs 14 Jan 1940 Arrived on posting (with 7 x airmen)
WO T H Knight 14 Jan 1940 Arrived on posting (with 7 x airmen)
Plt Off R H James 19 Jan 1940 Arrived on posting from RAF Seletar
WO T H Knight 22 Feb 1940 Departed on posting to Singapore
Flt Lt W E Carr 22 Feb 1940 Disembarked from SS Andes on posting from Home Establishment
Fg Off C A Cardwell 26 Feb 1940 Disembarked from Viceroy of India on posting from Singapore for Signals duties
Sqn Ldr L W Burgess  8 Apr 1940 Relinquished command of RAF China Bay
Flt Lt W E Carr  8 Apr 1940 Assumed temporary command of RAF China Bay
Sqn Ldr F G Frow 29 May 1940 Assumed command of RAF China Bay
Flt Lt W E Carr 29 May 1940 Relinquished temporary command of RAF China Bay
Flt Lt W E Carr 12 Jun 1940 Promoted to Sqn Ldr, wef 1 Jun 1940
Sqn Ldr W E Carr 13 Jun 1940 Appointed Officer Commanding, RAF Detachment, Colombo (Ratmalana)
Flt Lt Halford 15 Jun 1940 Attached to RAF China Bay from Colombo for short Coastal Co-operation Course
Plt Off J Chamberlain 15 Jun 1940 Attached to RAF China Bay from Colombo for short Coastal Co-operation Course
Flt Lt Halford 21 Jun 1940 Ceased to be attached to RAF China Bay from Colombo
Plt Off J Chamberlain 21 Jun 1940 Ceased to be attached to RAF China Bay from Colombo
Sqn Ldr W E Carr 28 Jul 1940 Embarked for Singapore with 5 x airmen
Fg Off P N Sowman 31 Jul 1940 Proceeded from RAF China Bay for Galle to open up Koggala
Sgt T R Lamb xx Sep 1940 Pilot/Instrument Maker, promoted to Temp Flt Sgt
Sgt T Smith xx Sep 1940 Equipment Assistant, promoted to Temp Flt Sgt
Cpl S W T Timmins xx Sep 1940 Clerk/GD, promoted to Temp Sgt
Cpl R Cowie xx Sep 1940 Cook & Butcher, promoted to Temp Sgt
Cpl E A Sleigh xx Sep 1940 Fitter I, promoted to Temp Sgt
LAC P J French xx Sep 1940 Metal Rigger, promoted to Temp Cpl
LAC J L Browell xx Sep 1940 Wireless Operator, promoted to Temp Cpl
? M Scattergood 15 Oct 1940 Arrived and assumed command of FAA personnel
Plt Off G W Coker 18 Oct 1940 Arrived on posting for duty as Equipment Officer
Fg Off P N Sowman 31 Oct 1940 Promoted to Flt Lt
Flt Lt P N Sowman 30 Nov1940 Departed on posting to Singapore, wef 28 Nov 1940
Fg Off R H James 30 Nov 1940 Promoted to Flt Lt, wef 3 Sep 1940
Fg Off B B Wilmot 30 Nov 1940 Promoted to Flt Lt, wef 3 Sep 1940
Plt Off J Chamberlain 30 Nov 1940 Promoted to Fg Off, wef 6 Jul 1940
Flt Lt C N Young  4 Dec 1940 Medical Officer, invalided to UK following an accident

Source - RAF China Bay/No 273 Sqn ORB (AIR 27/1581)

Organisational Movements: Jan - Dec 1940

Date Notes
 1 Jan 1940 The Co-operation Flight had been renamed Station Flight by this date
20 Mar 1940 1 x Seal floatplane converted to landplane resulting in 3 x IE landplanes and 1 x IE floatplane
 7 May 1940 Final three Sunderlands departed Galle for Alexandria
 1 Jun 1940 Post of Senior Air Force Officer, Ceylon ceased to exist, OC, RAF China Bay becoming responsible for all units and personnel in Ceylon
31 Jul 1940 A small detachment departed RAF China Bay for Galle to open up Koggala
 1 Aug 1940 Small party of FAA personnel arrived to take over part of RAF China Bay

Source - RAF China Bay/No 273 Sqn ORB (AIR 27/1581)

This page was last updated on 03/08/21

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