102 (Ceylon) Squadron

Tentate et perficite (Attempt and Achieve)



Leading Aircraft Man Graham Kembery

Graham's Main Photo Page - Joining The RAF - 102 Squadron - The R.A.F Form 700

Graham Kembery  - 102 Ceylon Squadron

On completing the Instrument course at R A F Melksham I was given a travel warrant to York Station and instructions to report to the Transport Officer who would arrange the joumey to R A F Pocklington by bus.

After the journey from Wiltshire to Yorkshire it was now early evening.  The Everingham bus stopped at the main gate and I alighted to find I was 6 inches deep In snow !  What a welcome.
Reporting in the Guard Room the Service Policeman on duty said at this time of evening I will put you in our hut,  you can move in the morning if you wish.  Hut 2 was a welcome sight with its two coke stoves to heat the hut and well alight.

At 6.00 am the lights came on and a voice by my bed , where is your mug lad.
The voice was a policeman with a pail of tea, the S P coming off duty always went to the cookhouse and collected the morning tea.  Needless to say I did not move out of hut 2.

The Squadron was set up in three flights A , B and C and a support Servicing Echelon based in sections in the Hangers.  Each flight had its own set of trades,  engines,  Air frame, electrical, instrument, radio and radar each with a corporal in charge.
I was a member of the instrument echelon,  made up of six airmen, a corporal and a Sergeant in overall charge.  Our job was to carry out minor aircraft inspections, stand by during operations take off and resolve any last minute snag and air test aircraft after minor inspections.

On return from an operation a debriefing took place ;  Instrument section was usually represented by a corporal ; the air crew would report any instrument problem experienced during the trip. Instruments covered all general instruments , the auto pilot ’George’,  oxygen system, the distant reading compass with its ancillary Air position unit , air mileage unit, the mk 14 bombsight.
The problems were rectified to make the aircraft serviceable for the next operation.
That was the daily routine for us, no other duties came our way, the Station was maintained by what was the permanent staff.  

Elvington was the base of a French Squadron occasionally we helped them out on a daily visit. We enjoyed those visits.  The enjoyment came at lunch time , in the cookhouse as well as the 5 gallon urn of tea being French there was a 5 gallon um of Red wine.

Camaby was a crash site for the airfields of Yorkshire, if an aircraft was badly damaged which made a return to its base Station a risk it was diverted. With a runway some one mile wide and three mile long a landing was always possible.
If one of our aircraft landed there we would visit and remove certain equipment. According to operational requirements we could have a day off, a visit to York and a week’s leave was granted after about three months.
Sometime after D Day a unit of the army arrived and took up residence with us.  All was revealed when some aircraft were modified and then vehicles loaded with 5 gallon jerry cans of petrol came on a daily visit. 102 then flew them to North France to supply the ‘push ‘ to Amham and the Rhine crossing.
After two weeks we reverted to the job of dropping bombs and mines a job right up to V E Day. There were several occasions when the aircraft returning to their bases in Yorkshire were joined by J U 88’s.  With an airfield runway lit up for the landing, the J U 88 would shoot up the field then head for home.

After V E Day I had a week’s leave and on returning to Pocklington I found the squadron had moved. Reporting in the Guard Room I was told they have moved to Bassingbourne in Cambridgeshire. Report to the Orderly Room for the travel warrant and instructions.
102 had taken over the fleet of Liberator aircraft from the Amercian’s, with bomb bays stripped out the job was to fly to Karachi, then in India, and bring home the early demob Far East service personnel.  To enable the Servicing of the Minniapolis Honeywell auto pilot,  John Farrelly and I went to the Scotch Aviation Factory at Prestwick to leam of its mysteries.

102 were then Transport Command and the job lasted for some four months.

Then 102 were disbanded and some of us moved to Upwood,  being too young for early release with knowledge of the Liberator autopilot I was posted to the 107 M U in the Middle East until demob in 1947 so most of my Service was with 102 , Jan 1944 to 1946 when it was disbanded.

Graham J Kembery.  Ex L A C.



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