30 November 1940

30 November 1940

Northern Front

The day before, three Gloster Gauntlets of No.430 (RAF) Flight (Flying Officer James E. Divent, Pilot Officer Arthur N.W. Johnstone and Reeves) land on Azaza airfield. During the day, they are tasked with carrying out three ground attack missions against Italian troops in the Coma – Wahni sector (along the road to Al-Qadarif) at around 07:00, 13:30 and 15:30. Each time, three Gloster Gladiators, of No.1 (SAAF) Squadron, are in charge of the escort. Lieutenant John L. Hewitson participates in the three sorties, aboard the N5824, as indicated in his logbook.[1]

Logbook Lieutenant John L. Hewitson. Collection : John Hewitson, via Tinus le Roux.

No.237 (Rhodesia) Squadron is provisionally split in two. The A Flight stays at Gordon’s Tree, while the B Flight joins Goz Regeb. [2]

The ORB of No.223 (RAF) Squadron provided some information on the weather conditions prevailing in Sudan and in the Eritrea / Western Ethiopia area of operation during this month of November. A wind blowing from the north could reach 32 to 56 km / h and tended to increase towards the end of the month. At the same time, a very strong cloud layer is reported of 8/10 to 10/10. This situation is further aggravated by the local geography of the highlands and mountains of Eritrea and western Ethiopia, especially for the very numerous night flights, which also explains the very mixed results of the bombings. Finally, there is a certain drop in temperatures which drops from 30° C on the first of the month, to 15° C on 30 November[3].

Southern Front

Good news awaits the crews of No.40 (SAAF) Squadron, following the damage suffered by the Hartbees and their crews in the face of shots coming from the ground. After considering the request since October, the South African command decides to allow the attachment of armor plates at the cockpit level, as well as at the rear to protect the gunner.

On the same date, a SAAF report indicates the number of aircraft available on that date in Kenya: No.2 (SAAF) Squadron: five Hawker Hurricanes and four Hawker Fury (six in maintenance) ; No.3 (SAAF) Squadron: fifteen Hawker Hurricanes (two in maintenance); No.11 (SAAF) Squadron: ten Fairey Battles (two in maintenance) ; No.12 (SAAF) Squadron: eleven Junkers Ju.86 (two in maintenance); No.40 (SAAF) Squadron: twelve Hartbees (thirteen in maintenance); Reserves: five Hawker Hurricanes (blocked in Khartoum) and three Fairey Battles.[4]

[1] No.1 (SAAF) Squadron : War Diary. Kew : TNA, AIR/54/1.

[2] No.237 (Rodesia) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/1450

[3] No.223 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27 / 1374.

[4] Télégramme A 261 (29 november). Kew : TNA, AIR 27 / 1373.

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