W Sprott, RAF 204 Squadron

Three WW2 photos next shared by Penny Robertson. Her father William Sprott taught flying during WW2 for the RAF and is pictured in the first photo at a desk. There is a publication called “Australians at War” and this photograph is featured in a chapter on the Empire Training Scheme. W.Sprott (aged 22) who was born in Blantyre is seated second from the right with his hands folded, looking very earnest.

The second incredible photo shows RAF 204 Squadron, again with W Sprott featured and pointed out. Finally, to show what a great instructor he was, his final rating in his log book notes him as “captain and instructor – exceptional”

The RAF alone now had 108 squadrons with over 1,500 aircraft. Raids against oil and communications proved the most effective. Starved of fuel, the German military machine ground to a halt. This squadron certainly saw some action.

In September 1939, following the start of the Second World War, the 204 squadron began flying convoy escort missions and anti-submarine patrols over the Western approaches. The squadron moved to Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands in April 1940, carrying out patrols off the coast of Norway as a result of the German invasion of Norway.

In April 1941 the squadron moved to Reykjavík, Iceland, flying patrols over the North Atlantic for five months. In August the squadron’s Sunderlands flew to Gibraltar, where they were based for two weeks before moving on to Bathurst (now Banjul), The Gambia to counter the activity of German submarines in the busy shipping lanes off West Africa. It remained at Bathurst until 30 June 1945, when it disbanded, these final log entries recognising not just the valued service airmen had made, but also drew a line under the end of War in Europe.

The 204 squadron lost 19 Sunderlands during the Second World War. No Axis submarines were sunk by the squadron, although it did claim at least one German Junkers Ju 88 shot down

Thinking of all those airmen who died, and those like W Sprott who survived after commendable duty. We remember them here, regardless of their place of birth. Lest we Forget.

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