Combined Operations Badge (embroidered cotton)
Sources & Motivation

The first source and inspiration for this website was the experiences of my father, John Hughes Fenton who served with No 4 R.A.F. Beach Squadron.

Although I was already interested in the subject through talking to my father and through reading the “Normandy Beachhead” chapter of his memoirs, it was not until after a visit to Normandy in August 2005 that I became involved in further research. This visit, a short holiday for me, my father and my daughters, was my father’s first return to Normandy since 1944.

We were lucky enough to meet the curator of Musee America Gold Beach in Ver-sur-Mer, Jean-Pierre Dupont M.B.E. Coincidentally, M. Dupont was wanting to begin work on a new display for his museum about the work of beach groups. He asked my father to contribute some material about his experience with No 4 R.A.F. Beach Squadron on Gold Beach. These events sparked a somewhat obsessive drive for further research on my part and a desire to publish the results.

Ted Inge’s story comes from correspondence with my father in which they shared Beach Squadron (and 89 Embarkation Unit) experiences. My father had a letter about the beach squadrons published in ‘Air Mail’, the Journal of the Royal Air Forces Association, and Ted wrote to him in response. They exchanged a few letters in 1990 when Ted was aged 74.

H G W Roberts also wrote to my father in 1990 as a result of the letter in ‘Air Mail’ and his story comes from the letters he wrote at that time, when he was aged 81.

Since learning about Glen McBride’s book during one of many speculative searches on the World Wide Web, I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Prof. Glen McBride Jr. With time to spare after his retirement, Prof. McBride, who was an R.A.A.F. pilot in the UK during the war, had prepared his father’s memoirs and published them in Australia, in 1994.Prof. McBride has kindly provided photographs of his father and 101 Beach Flight.

Mary MacLeod sent me quite a bit of material relating to her late father William Sinclair MacLeod and with the consent of the rest of the family has allowed me to present extracts from his memoirs and a number of photographs.

My grateful and respectful acknowledgements go to all of the above.

Much of the information in these pages comes from the National Archives. Specifically the sources are:

ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY AIR FORCE: R.A.F. Beach units: administration and organisation”  from
Air Ministry: Allied Expeditionary Air Force, later Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (Air), and 2nd Tactical Air Force: Registered Files and Reports AIR 37/99

The Operations Record Books of  the R.A.F. Components of  Nos. 31,  34 and 36 Beach Bricks, No. 68 R.A.F. Beach UnitNos. 1, 2,  3 and 4 R.A.F. Beach Squadrons (formerly Beach Units) and No. 5 R.A.F. Beach Unit, all found in
Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Operations Record Books, Miscellaneous Units AIR 29/438

I have published material on this website for the purpose of historical record, to remember those who served in these units and to share knowledge. I do not mean to infringe the rights of any individual or organisation, or offend anyone’s sensibilities. I hope I have avoided doing so.

This is a ‘non profit’ website. I am motivated only by my interest in the subject and the hope that someone will be pleased to discover the collection of information that I have presented.

Mike Fenton

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Copyright © J.M.Fenton, 2007-2011

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