Postwar – Base 174, Utersen, Germany – Part One

Postwar – Base 174, Utersen, Germany,
[5 July 45 to 21 March 1946]
Part One

On 2 July 1945, No. 416 [Lynx] Squadron came under control of British Air Forces of Occupation of Germany, No. 83 [Composite] Group, No. 126 [RCAF] Wing. This was their first day at Base 152, Fassberg, Germany, which was a total mess from Allied bomb damage.

No. 416 Spits parked at Base 152, Fassberg, 3 July 1945, departed the following day.

Gordon only recorded two images of what remained at Fassberg.

5 July 1945, modern clean ex-Luftwaffe barracks at Base 174, Utersen, Germany.

F/O Gordon Hill, P/O Larry Spurr, and P/O Chuck Darrow get some sunshine.

Inside the modern clean ex-Luftwaffe barracks at B. 174.

This abandoned Messerschmitt Me 262A, appears to have a large light colored “I” with a dark “7” near the tail, serial appears to be 418 543. It was being moved by road when the war ended, possibly being used by 9 Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 7, in the last Defence of the Reich. If that is the case the rear fuselage contained a front blue band, followed by a red band, and painted over the middle would be a large yellow “I”. Seems to fit, however I am not a Luftwaffe markings expert.

A captured Junkers Ju 88 in British markings, Base 174.

A Focke-Wulf Fw 200C Condor being painted over by the R.A.F., another war prize. Sadly, the code letters are gone, and the aircraft possibly went to England for testing.

A Heinkel He 111 showing her code letters.

Next, a large number of Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters under repair [or salvaged for parts] at Hamburg, Airport, July 1945. Used in the Defence of the Reich, until the end.

Gordon Hill captured this rare Junkers Ju 52/3mg6e, at Base 174.

This was a mine-clearing German aircraft equipped with large dural hoops under the fuselage, which are clearly seen in the image. The hoops were energised by an auxiliary motor which exploded enemy mines in harbors. The code appears to be IB, which possibly belonged to Gruppenstab, operating in the Gulf of Finland, 1944-45. The support pole and wires extending from front of the mid-upper gun show up very clear. I have no idea if this minesweeping aircraft had any effect on Allied mines in WWII, however it was still in use in May 1945.

Main entrance to Hamburg airport, July 1945.

Hamburg railway station had been bombed many times, in July 45, it was repaired and in full operation.

The bridge over the Elbe was untouched by bombing.


Major areas of Hamburg were destroyed. A German survivor takes home water.

Return to England, Air Firing course.

The pilots wait at Base 78 Eindhoven, Netherlands, 2 August 45, for the Spits to be refueled. Gordon is flying his DN-S, serial TD 187, seen in background. Four aircraft remain at base with engine trouble, and the rest of the squadron arrives at Warmwell at 19:00 Hrs.

The Golden Lion Hotel drinking spot

I call this image, “Dog-Fight” on the beach at Weymouth. It’s the 3 August 45, and they are on the beach doing Dinghy Drill, or just killing time until the course starts. Mascot “Peter” enjoys digging in the sand.

Peter [above] digging in sand on Weymouth beach, 3 August 45.

This is the cover art for October 1944 book – “RAF Parade” by Evelyn Thomas.

Romance in England during WWII, which Gordon found at Weymouth beach.

9 to 12 August 1945, Peggy [a redhead] appears again and again, Weymouth beach.

Weymouth beach


Weymouth beach and Peggy

14 August 1945, the big news arrived, Japan surrendered, its VJ-Day, and everyone gets two days off.

Gordon, Peggy, far right, and her sister, go East from Weymouth to a pub called “Smuggler’s Inn” at Osmington Mills. It’s still much the same today.

Smuggler’s Inn, 14 August 1945

On 15 August 45, a huge “Victory” party, [VJ-Day] was held in the Mess at No. 17 A.P.C. Warmwell, and the R.A.F. was kind enough to allow the Canadian NCO pilots to join their fellow officer pilots in the celebration. On 18 August, the Spitfires took off in the afternoon for B.174, Germany. The next day “B” party left by air to Scheswig, Germany, and then by truck to base 174, arriving at 19:30 hrs.

On 23 August, F/L Straub and F/O Gordon Hill left for Paris on two weeks leave. Gordon and Larry Straub had spent their first two weeks leave in Paris from 18 May to 1 June 1945.

This tour photo was taken 30 May 1945, Larry and Gordon in center, 10th 11th from the left.
Gordon and Larry Straub were staying in a Hotel in the center of Paris, and while walking around taking photos, they were stopped by a French citizen. This person was a member of the Paris Racing Club de France and he extended an open invitation to the Canadian pilots to join him at his famous club. This was a private club operated by the wealthy and elite French V.I.P.’s.

F/L Straub in front of the “Racing Club De France, around 24 May 1945.

Gordon and Larry were made honouree members of the club and informed they could attend any time they wished.

The pilots had time to meet an American female officer, however Gordon can’t even remember taking her photo, twice. That’s possibly because he also met a French lady at the Racing Club de France…

To be continued…

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