658 Air Observation Post Squadron

The squadron was formed at Old Sarum on 30 April 1943 under the command of Major A.Lyell. It was equipped with Auster Mark III and, unti lthe invasion of North-West Europe, it carried out training with Army formations in England and Northern Ireland.

Two flights (B and C) of the squadron landed in Normandy on the 18th June.

20 September 1944: Flight reached Eindhoven, vehicles travelled without lights during the night as enemy was active. S.H.Q CO flew to Nijmegen along the axis of the 30 Corps advance to fetch mesages from Airborne Corps HQ.B Flight moved on from Eindhoven ouThtskirts and stopped at a place north-west of Overhasselt (Brabant).for the night. All personnel dug in. C Flight 3 comn flights during the day, all Recce in Lindel area.

 

21 September 1944: S.H.Q, CO flew to Nijmegen again to Airborne Corps HQ and found that St.Oedenrode was being shelled when he passed over it on the return journey. A Flight orders to move to Holland, complete flight over the border at 18.30.

 

22 September 1944: S.H.Q, the road wich formed the axis of 30 Corps adv was out between Uden and St.Oedenrode shortly after Captain Magrath had flown up to Airborne Corps HQ. A Flight move off to Eindhoven, various recce sorties during a day of poor visibility with rain. B Flight Captain McCorry took of to fly G2 Airborne to Burg Leopold but did not return. C Flight moves to Burg Leopold, Captain Salter flying Brigadier Chiltern to Nijmegen was shot down and crash landed safely and proceeded to destination by road. Captain Stunt flew Brigadier Parham to Nijmegen, Captain Gillespie starts for Nijmegen but turned back by enemy fire at Uden.

 

23 September 1944: A Flight, various recce sorties along Best area. Captain McCorry not yet reported. Fighting north of Eindhoven prevented aircraft taking off to make a search for missing pilot and machine. News received later that his passenger had not reported.

 

24 September 1944: S.H.Q Moved with Tac HQ 2nd Army to Eindhoven. A Flight Captain Topping fired on by 88mm. B Flight 24 hours search by Flt Commander began for Captain McCorry all troops in area contacted but without result, underground movement in Uden ,St Oedenrode and Veghel are also contacted. Tac HQ 2nd Army to Gemert.

 

26 September 1944: B Flight search continued for Captain McCorry by Flt Commander, Postitive info from two senior officers that an Auster had been seen shot down on the 22nd at approx the right time, unable to search area as it was occupied by the enemy. Captain Wykes of the flight acting on info received from the Guards Armd Div eventually found the crash. Later he met Captain Knight and they with other flight personnel went 2 miles south of Uden where they postively identified Capt McCorry. A padre was obtained and Capt McCorry and Captain Hazell were buried side by side close to the aircraft.

 

29 September 1944: S.H.Q move with Tac HQ 2nd Army to Gemert (Brabant).B Flight Captain Kroyer joined flight from SHQ. C Flight to Helmond (Limburg).

 

30 September 1944: A Flight moved to Son (brabant). B Flight moves to Hoogbroek (Limburg).

 

2 October 1944: S.H.Q. moved to Escharen (brabant). Various sorties and recces carried out. One aircraft seenshot down West of Nijmegen.

 

3 October 1944: B Flight orders received for flight to operate with 5 AGRA in Nijmegen area. flight moved to area south of Nijmegen.

 

5 October 1944: B Flight Captain Ballyn to engage 4 suspected targets east of Nijmegen., pilot forced to return owing engines trouble. Recce of Huissen-Arnhem area to locate HBs but nothing seen. Captain Cover on recce to locate rail gun in arnhem area, one gun seeing firing and one bombard observed on Huissen.

 

10 October 1944: C Flight ground party moves to St.Antonis (Brabant).

 

13 October 1944: B Flight Observed concentration  by 53 Div and AGRA, west of the Rhine near Arnhem.

14 October 1944: B Flight,

some flak encountered at Leuth (Gelderland), observed Mike target with on flak area with 7 Medium Regiment, village badly damaged. C Flight Flak batteries spotted near Venray firing at our Lancasters. Lieutentant Hill takes off to engage Flak batteries, Plane hit by fire from ground at 10.30hrs bringing it down near Westerbeek (Brabant), Lt Hill killed, 15.30hrs burial of Lt Hill attended by flight.

 

18 October 1944: B Flight observation made on one Nebelwerfer in Leuth area.

 

19 October 1944: B Flight Capt Ballyn and his section again attached to Group R.A and under command of 6 Field Regt. Pilots patrol Kesteren front but nothing seen.Patrol on same front observes Yoke targets on mortars west of Dodewaard and on wood west of Renkum, pilot return to Air Landing Ground at Nijmegen.

 

21 October 1944: B Flight Dawn patrol Nijmegen, Reichswald and Groesbeek areas.

 

22 October 1944: B Flight Patrol observed gunfire near Loo, but observation to engage was impossible, sortie area Wageningen-Renkum no guns active. C Flight sortie by Capt Magrath transport in wood North of Gennep engaged.

 

24 October 1944: A. Flight cover sorties to stop shelling of digging party at St Michielsgestel (Brabant). aircraft fired on by 20mm, A.L.G occuppied at Schijndel (Brabant). B. Flight Furthers observations on Yoke target by 6 Field Group on known enemy strongpiont near Grebbe north of Rhine(Gelderland), several direct hits seen.

 

25 October 1944: A Flight, buried 2 British dead of 7 Arm Div. flight moved to St Michelsgestel in the afternoon. B Flight Observation on a succesful Mike target with 6 Field on enemy HQ located by an US patrol at De Park, north of Kesteren (Gelderland).

 

28 October 1944: A Flight Flight installed on A.L.G near Tilburg., fire plan for attack on Loon op Zand (Branbant) discussed. B Flight Observe on shoot by Heavy A.A on enemy HQ near Heveadorp (Gelderland), unsuccesful owing to wrong fuze being used.

 

1 November 1944: S.H.Q photo run by CO at 1800ft to show Afwateringskanaal in foreground (Brabant area). C Flight at Helmond in support of 8 AGRA at Asten (Brabant).

 

2 November 1944: S.H.Q. photo run by CO to show country between Afwateringskanaal and River Maas, run iterrupted by enemy flak., further run at 800ft of Afwateringskanaal. B Flight Observation on Mike Target on river bank at Oosterbeek near Arnhem, destructive shoot on house suspected to contain 88mm, no hits observed. Succesfull shoot with 67 Medium on houses at Eldikschehoek (Gelderland).

 

3 November 1944: S.H.Q  photo run by CO at 700ft of Afwateringskanaal, Lt-Gen Sir Miles Dempsey visited and inspected this unit today.

 

4 November 1944: S.H.Q photo run by CO at Hamenberg to Heitrak (Brabant).  S.H.Q. moved from Escharen (Brabant) to France. B Flight Observes shoot by 6 Field Group on suspected enemy MT park west of Arnhem.