After the cancellation of 3rd Division’s Exercise SMASH that had been scheduled to begin on 1st January 1944, Exercise GRAB was mounted on 10th and 11th January 1944. No. 102 R.A.F. Beach Section deployed with No. 6 Beach Group to participate in practice landings involving 3rd Division and Naval ‘Force S’ in the Moray area.
From the point of view of the 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, which was the core battalion of No. 6 Beach Group, the exercise took place in spite of threatening weather. “A substantial proportion of the troops was embarked in Landing Craft Infantry and Landing Craft Tank from Chanonry Point and made wet landings in Burghead Bay after a voyage of two hours. The remainder were fed in dry-shod after spending a freezing night in some aeroplane hangars nearby. The weather deteriorated as the exercise proceeded, craft beached broadside on were pounded by the rising seas, and the pebble beach became jammed with immobile vehicles and carriers, many of which had lost their tracks.”
Exercise GOLDBRAID was a full-scale exercise by 3rd Canadian Division at Bracklesham Bay, near Chichester.
From 26th March to 31st March 1944, the whole of No. 2 R.A.F. Beach Unit was involved in this Exercise and sections of the Unit were visited by the Air Officer i/c Administration, 2nd Tactical Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal T.W. Elmhirst, C.B.E, A.F.C. and the Air Officer Administration, No. 83 Group, Air Commodore G.R. Montgomery together with the Air Ministry Establishments Committee.
It was because of experience gained in Exercise GOLDBRAID that the R.A.F. Beach Balloon Units were reorganised into Squadrons.