by September he had joined Defence Flight
at RAF Heliopolis. In October 1942 he was
transferred to No. 94 and in April 1943 to
No. 238, then to No. 145 and finally to No.
92. Squadron. In addition to actions in Western Europe he saw combat in Malta, Africa
and during the invasion of Sicily. He was
awarded the DFC and achieved five solo
victories, two in cooperation, and damaged
five other enemy aircrafts and one in cooperation. He became a gunnery instructor
in late 1943 and returned home in February 1944, where he continued as a flight instructor after the war.
When he was awarded a DFC with No. 92
Squadron on September 24th, 1943 the
London Gazette stated:
"This officer has participated in very many
air operations. He is a skilful leader whose personal example and great keenness
have been highly commendable. During
a recent operation his aircraft was badly
damaged by anti-aircraft fire and he was
forced to leave it by parachute. He was
rescued, however, and soon rejoined his
squadron. Since then, Flying Officer Dicks-Sherwood has destroyed 1 enemy aircraft,
bringing his victories to at least 5. This officer has displayed outstanding devotion to
ker Typhoons and fought on them until the
end of the war.
Fighting off the coast
Among the tasks of No. 266 Squadron
were also Rhubarb actions, which included
attacks against vessels. Spitfires Mk. IIb
with their wing mounted 20mm cannons,
which the unit received in September 1941,
were a welcome improvement in this respect before the switch to the Mk. V.
Wing Commander Jameson had Spitfire
"The Old Lady" ready for Rhubarb action to
the Dutch coast on the afternoon of September 15th. Sgt. Eric Sidney Dicks-Sherwood was preparing as his wingman. His
Spitfire P 8505 bore the STAMFORD inscription, as funds had been raised for its
acquisition by the residents of this Lincolnshire town. She even bore the crest of their
This is what Jameson reported on his return:
"Sgt. Dick-Sherwood and I took off from
Coltishall at 1500 hrs in two Spitfire IIB´s to
carry out a strike operation in the De Kooy
area. We flew just below cloud base which
was 2500 (ft) in wide line abreast, thus being able to guard each other´s tail. When
about 40 miles from the Dutch coast, Sgt.
Sherwood shouted ´a/c astern´ and turned
to port towards me. I also turned steeply
to port and saw 4 ME 110s, the leading pair
being about 400 yards away. The MEs were
flying in echelon starboard, section astern.
No. 266 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF
No. 266 Squadron existed briefly during the
First World War. From September 1918 this
unit operated in Greece and the Black Sea
area from the mothership with seaplanes
Short 184. After the end of the Great War
the squadron joined the fight against the
Russian Bolsheviks. In November 1919 the
unit was decommissioned at Novorossiysk
and handed over its equipment to the
The squadron was reactivated in December
1939 and was to be equipped with Blenheim
bombers. However, a change soon came
and in January 1940 the unit began receiving Spitfires. Its pilots went firstly through
heavy fighting over Dunkirk then an equally
difficult deployment in the Battle of Britain.
It received its first Mk.II Spitfires in September 1940 and used them until the end
of September 1941. This period was closely
associated with the person of New Zealand
commander "Pat" Jameson. He led the unit
from September 10th, 1940 to June 9th, 1941.
He then became commander of the Wittering Wing, of which No. 266 Sq. was a part.
On Spitfire Mk. IIs, his squadron flew 1,285
combat sorties, lost 7 machines and scored 19.66 aerial victories (some of them in
night actions). Gradually the number of its
airmen who came from Southern Rhodesia grew, and eventually the name of that
country was given to the unit. Among its
members was most successful fighter pilot
of Greek origins, Ioannis Agorastos "John"
Plagis, who, like Dicks-Sherwood, was
born in Salisbury.
In autumn 1941, the unit re-equipped to Spitfires Mk. V, but in early 1942 received Haw-
A Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Ia of No. 19 Squadron RAF being re-armed between sorties at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire. This unit clashed with II./ZG 76 at the end of August 1941.
INFO Eduard - June 2021