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Moving from Gatwick to Odiham

Heroes Remember

Moving from Gatwick to Odiham

As it turned out, the "noball" sites were in fact the launching pads of the V-1 bombs - the flying bombs. We found that out on D-Day plus twelve, or on the 12th of June, rather. Anyway, we spent that winter at Odiham. I'm sorry, we spent the winter at Gatwick. And I can remember one event with the same Hart Massey. I'm standing at the bar talking with someone at our officer's mess and out of the blue comes a voice "Double scotch" and reaching over the top of the bar, putting his glass on the table or on a counter was Hart Massey, I'll never forget that. Such a sweet little... sweet guy. Anyway, we moved to a Royal Air Force regular force base, which is still fully in operation called Odiham in the spring. O-D-I-H-A-M to the west of London. It was a regular force, pre-war and still on operation today in the year 2000, beginning of the new millennium, it's still there and in operation. So we move there, 400 Squadron which by that time had converted from the Mustang to the high level Spitfire Bluebird, photographic Spitfire. It had no armament but they... it got up so high that the Focke Wulfs and the 109's couldn't touch it. So that's how they survived. There's still a few of them pilots around, not very many. 400 Squadron, 414 on Mustangs as we were and our squadron, 430 Squadron. We came together in effect as an airfield at Odiham 129 Airfield, 39 Reconnaissance Wing. That's the name that we were given. Our airfield commander was Group Captain Moncrief, Ernie Moncrief (sp). Huge tall man, great leader. And a group captain then, of course was equivalent to a colonel, and my rank was a flying officer, middle boy, with regard to him in those days was zero.

Mr. Rohmer describes photographing the "noball" sites in France, and describes what "noball" sites were. He also recalls the movement of his squadron from Gatwick to Odiham.

Richard Heath Rohmer

Major General Rohmer was born in Hamilton, Ontario on January 24, 1924. He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force on his eighteenth birthday. He had received some training in Canada before being shipped overseas to Bournemouth for further training on both Spitfires and Mustangs. He chose to fly a Mustang and was finally able to get into operations in the Fall of 1944.

General Rohmer provided reconnaissance for D-Day, the Falaise Gap and the Liberation of the Netherlands.

After the war, General Rohmer instructed Spitfire pilots on how to attack in the air at Gunnery Instructor School and later went back to college in Ontario, Canada. After graduating from college he went on to practice law. General Rohmer has received several awards throughout his illustrious career including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Canada Defence Medal and is an Officer of the Order of Canada just to name a few. General Rohmer is also a best selling author.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Richard Heath Rohmer
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of Normandy
Air Force
403 Squadron
Flying Officer

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