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

home town.

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.

Photo: IWM

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

Russian allies.5)

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