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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 3 months ago

The Dutch move in with the latest Spitfires

No 322 (Dutch) Squadron moved to RAF Hartford Bridge on 23 Apr 1944. They worked in two separate flights and set up two tented camps near the aircraft parking area south of the A30. The squadron was equipped with the latest high-speed Spitfire XIVs which could fly at a maximum speed of 448 mph and an maximum altitude of 44,500 feet.

No 264 Squadron, also from 141 Wing, arrived on 7 May 1944, equipped with Mosquito XIIIs. This Wing was tasked with excluding all enemy overflying southern England during the build up to D-Day. Without their own intelligence the enemy could be more easily fed misinformation about the intended timing and landing beaches. These two squadrons must have been highly successful since the German High Command became convinced that the invasion would be in the Pas de Calais, and initially believed that the Normandy landings were a diversionary tactic for the real thing. On the other hand, pilots on the Dutch squadron wondered whether the invasion would really take place on the Dutch coast.

Princess (later Queen) Juliana visited No 322 Squadron at Hartford Bridge. Her husband Prince Bernhard was an enthusiastic pilot. He obtained authority to take up one of the new Spitfire XIVs for 15 minutes. The Prince of the Netherlands caused considerable consternation by not returning for more than half an hour.


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