Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (18 & 19 July 2018)

Date of Auction: 18th & 19th July 2018

Sold for £7,000

Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

A post-war O.B.E., ‘1940’ Battle of Britain pilot’s D.F.C. group of six awarded to Sergeant Pilot, later Group Captain, R. C. ‘Dickie’ Haine, Royal Air Force. A Blenheim night-fighter pilot, Haine took part in the first defensive night patrol of the Second War, 4 September 1939, and the first fighter attack of the war on Germany - the successful raid on Borkum seaplane base, 28 November 1939. During the latter he claimed a He. 59 probably destroyed on the water.

Having transferred to 600 (City of London) Squadron in May 1940, Haine formed up as part of 6 Blenheims from the squadron designated to fly on a daylight raid to Waalhaven Airfield, Rotterdam, 10 May 1940. As a result of this disastrous raid only 1 of the 6 Blenheims managed to limp back to the UK - Haine managed to destroy 2 further aircraft on the ground, before being attacked by 6 enemy fighters. Despite suffering severe damage to his aircraft he managed to shoot down a Me. 109 before eventually succumbing to a crash landing in Holland. Haine and his gunner managed to evade capture with the assistance of the Dutch Army, whilst Holland was in the process of being invaded by German paratroopers. He was evacuated, along with the Dutch Royal Family, in the British frigate H.M.S. Hereward.

Haine converted to Beaufighters, and went on to command 96 Squadron, December 1941 - May 1942. He converted to Mosquitos, and commanded 488 (R.N.Z.A.F.) Squadron, January - October 1944, during which time he accounted for another two enemy aircraft destroyed. By Haine’s retirement in 1970, he had accumulated over 5,300 hours of flying, in over 100 different types of aircraft.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge, silver-gilt; Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1940’, and additionally engraved ‘R. C. Haine Age 24 Years’; 1939-45 Star, 1 clasp, Battle of Britain; Air Crew Europe Star, 1 clasp, France and Germany; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, M.I.D. Oak Leaf, mounted as originally worn, very fine (6) £6000-8000


O.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1962.

D.F.C. London Gazette 9 July 1940.
The joint (with Pilot Officer M. Kramer) recommendation states:
‘Pilot Officers Kramer and Haine were air gunner and pilot in one of six aircraft which attacked Rotterdam aerodrome on 10th May, 1940. Immediately after attacking aircraft on the ground, they were themselves attacked by six enemy fighters. The rear gun turret operating mechanism had been disabled and the gun itself became jammed, but Pilot Officer Kramer calmly directed his pilot how best to evade the attack of the enemy fighters and at the same time dismantled and repaired his gun and succeeded in driving off the enemy.
By the coolness of Pilot Officer Kramer and the accurate information he gave, pilot Officer Haine with great skill succeeded in bringing his badly damaged aircraft to a position where he was able to make a forced landing in friendly territory.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 1 January 1943.

Richard Cummins ‘Dickie’ Haine was born in Gloucestershire in October 1916. He undertook his first flight, whilst still a schoolboy, with Alan Cobham’s flying circus when it came to Gloucester. Having left his education behind he was temporarily employed in his father’s building merchant’s firm prior to being apprenticed at the Gloster Aircraft Company at Brockworth. Haine learned to fly at the Cotswold Aero Club, Staverton in 1935, obtaining his pilot’s licence in September of that year:

‘You could say that it was Hitler and the Nazis that gave me my real break. By the middle of 1935 the British Cabinet, urged into action by the military leaders, responded by authorising an expansion of the armed forces.

Too late to act as a deterrent to Germany, but at least it improved the capability for our defence when the time came. Deficiencies were particularly evident in the Royal Air Force, and the Air Ministry called for applicants to join as direct-entry sergeant pilots. My application must have been the first to arrive in the Air Ministry, and as my service number showed [580010] I was the tenth of all the NCO pilots to be selected.

I was accepted on 26 August 1935, and was instructed to report to the Bristol Flying School, Filton, for elementary flying training. My cup brimmed over!’ (From Fury to Phantom, Flying for the RAF 1936-1970. The Memoirs of Group Captain Richard ‘Dickie’ Haine, O.B.E., D.F.C refers)

Haine carried out further training in Hawker Harts and Audaxes at 11 F.T.S. Wittering; and after flying time in a Fury was posted as a pilot to 25 (Fighter) Squadron (Hawker Furies), Hawkinge, in May 1936.

From fun to nearly fatal
Enjoying life at his new squadron, Haine was quickly incorporated into 25 Squadron’s aerobatics team. He balanced this with more routine duties:

‘On a glorious June day as I was doing a navigation exercise over Canterbury and diving my Fury down to a few hundred feet over a little village of Sturry, I circled round a large house with extensive gardens. A lawn in front of the house was the centre of my attention for there was the lovely sight of several scantily dressed young ladies doing gymnastic exercises on the green sward. My arrival was by no means accidental, as I had previously found out that this was the home of the Women’s League of Health and Beauty... The short display of aerobatics over Sturry that morning was one of my best, and I returned to Hawkinge with a happy heart..... Life continued happily until 16 October, when I came very close to tragedy. During a high-level cross-country squadron formation flight in Furies to RAF Tangmere, we had been flying westwards at 20,000 feet for some time when my flight commander, who was leading the formation, was astonished to see my aircraft leave the formation and start to do the most alarming antics, rapidly losing height in a series of stalls and spins. Slim called me desperately on the radio, as did other members of the formation, but there was no answer. Getting dangerously near the ground, I slowly became aware that I had passed out, but I finally regained consciousness and was lucky enough to have sufficient height to regain control of my Fury. After a shaky landing at Tangmere, to a group of anxious faces gathered round I was able to explain that apparently my oxygen supply had somehow become disconnected, and I could remember nothing until waking up at 2,000 feet and being amazed to find myself in the air. Safely on the ground, we found that the Fury, on inspection, was a bit ‘stretched’, and the doc said I had burst a lot of blood vessels in my eyes, but I did not seem to have suffered further damage.’ (Ibid)

Haine took part in the last Hendon Air Display in 1937, flying in front of an estimated audience of some 200,000 people. The Squadron converted to Demons and then Gladiators in 1938. Haine moved with the Squadron to Northolt in September of the same year, and converted to Blenheims. He flew his first operational patrol on 4 September 1939, the day after war was declared with Germany. 25 Squadron was to be initially tasked with night patrols:

‘It was only a few days before the reality was brought home to us, when, not long after midnight on 4 September, the as yet unfamiliar sound of the air-raid sirens shattered the night air and one flight of the squadron was scrambled from Northolt to intercept an unidentified aircraft detected by ground radar. Our three aircraft, lead by our flight commander, with Miley and me in close formation, took off and climbed up through thick overcast. Later, we realised that this was the first night defensive patrol of the Second World War.’ (Ibid)

Borkum - the first fighter attack of the war on Germany
Haine was involved in a flying accident on 24 November 1939, when he was forced into a controlled crash-landing due to icing on his Blenheim. Despite this scare he was up in the air again on the 28th to take part in the first fighter attack of the war on Germany:

‘This was to be a raid on the German seaplane base on the Island of Borkum, the most westerly of the Friesian Islands. The raid had two objectives: firstly to destroy or damage as many as possible of the Heinkel floatplanes known to be based there, and secondly as a propaganda exercise to support a claim that our long-range fighters were able to reach and attack the homeland of Germany itself. The floatplanes were known to be laying magnetic mines in our coastal waters, and several ships had been sunk, including a British destroyer. These aircraft had proved to be very difficult to intercept as they came in at radar cover, and the obvious answer was to try and catch them in their lair.... the six aircraft of 25 Squadron were joined by a further six Blenheims from 601 Squadron. We all rendezvoused at Bircham Newton in Norfolk for refuelling and took off in the early afternoon and flew east. All twelve Blenheims kept in fairly close formation as it was a murky winter afternoon, and we flew as before at only a few hundred feet above the dreary grey of the North Sea.... Right on the ETA the Dutch coast emerged out of the mist, and a few minutes later we were able to identify the mole, cranes and gantries of Borkum naval base. The squadron opened out into wide echelon formation and dived down in turn, our four Vickers guns, loaded with De Wilde and incendiary ammunition, spraying the seaplanes, gun posts and installations, while our gunners joined in with their ‘K’ guns as we swept past and climbed away. There was some slight and inaccurate flak coming up at us, but we were too low and fast for it to be accurate and effective. There was no doubt that complete surprise had been achieved, and although it was difficult to assess at the time there must have been quite a lot of damage done. The timing of the attack was impeccable - just enough light to see the objective for our attack but gathering dusk to retreat into and reform for the flight home. We returned westwards low over the sea in rain and gathering darkness. About an hour later all twelve aircraft landed safely at Debden after this most successful operation. A later assessment showed that the damage done at Borkum was considerable. Several seaplanes had been damaged and fires started... all the crews taking part agreed that it was a few glorious minutes of strafing and beating up the Hun.... The Commanding Officer, Hallings Pott of 25 Squadron, was subsequently awarded the D.S.O., and his navigator, a sergeant, the D.F.M., for their leading part in the operation.’ (Ibid)

Haine claimed a He. 59 as probably destroyed on the water during the raid. He moved with the Squadron to North Weald in January 1940, and continued to fly night air-defence patrols. Haine was commissioned Pilot Officer in April 1940, and was posted for operational flying to 600 (City of London) Squadron (Blenheims), Manston, in the same month.

A few victories and a ‘date’ with the Dutch Royal Family
When the Germans invaded Holland, 600 Squadron was tasked with flying patrols over the Low Countries. On 10 May 1940, Haine flew one of six Blenheims of the Squadron designated to take part on a daylight raid to Waalhaven Airfield, Rotterdam:

‘An early German objective was the Waalhaven Airfield at Rotterdam, at which they would need to land their infantry units transported in the Ju 52s.... B Flight, my flight, came on duty, and so it was we who were briefed to carry out this operation. Six Blenheims with their crews, led by the squadron commander, Jimmy Wells, with me flying as his No. 2, took off from Manston and climbed up into that clear blue sky to 2,000 feet and circled waiting for a promised Spitfire escort. Some time passed but the sky remained clear, so the squadron commander decided not to delay our planned time on target and set course for Rotterdam. As we approached the Scheldt we climbed to 3,000 feet and changed to a loose echelon formation. Our specific task was to attack German troop-carrying aircraft and infantry on the Waalhaven airfield or airborne in the circuit, and there was no question of our engaging German fighters until that was accomplished. So all our attention was directed at the airfield, and all the Blenheims dived down and fired on the Ju. 52s and other opportunity targets. Damage was done and fires started, but there was little time to assess the extent before the German fighters were upon us as we climbed away struggling for height to put us on better terms to meet the Messerschmitts.

The CO’s aircraft was the first to go down, crashing in flames into the outskirts of Rotterdam, quickly followed by three more Blenheims flown by the young flying officers also going down in flames. The fifth aircraft, having survived one attack, managed to evade further damage and set course for home. Unfortunately Norman, in the confusion, mistakenly turned south to make his escape instead of north, but soon realised the error and turned around. As he flew back over the same battleground he was amazed to find that there was not an aircraft in sight and the sky all round was clear. He was the only one from the flight to get back home that day, and arrived back at Manston safely but with an explosive incendiary shell lodged in a fuel tank. I, of course, was flying the remaining Blenheim, and like the others I was attacked by either an Me. 109 or an Me. 110 as I climbed away from the attacking Ju. 52s. In the first attack by the fighter a burst of cannon shells shattered the Perspex hood above my head, grazing my helmet and destroying the instrument panel in front of me. I started to weave sharply, but the next attack stopped my port engine and riddled the port wing. With one engine out I could no longer weave, so to try and shake off the attacking fighters I dived down to low level, but the attacks persisted and yet another burst of cannon riddled my starboard wing and shot off a few feet of the starboard propeller, setting up a horrible vibration. My airspeed indicator had been shot away, but I would not have been able to read it with the severe vibration anyway, so I had no idea of my airspeed. My poor old Blenheim was now staggering along on only one engine, with a lot of surface damage hindering the airflow over the wings and tail, so I knew I must be very near to stalling and falling out of the sky. And then an extraordinary thing happened. As I struggled to maintain control of the aircraft, and Me. 109 flew alongside in close formation with my Blenheim. Either the German pilot thought we must be doomed anyway or he was out of ammunition and was just waiting for us to crash, but I was screaming at Kramer, my gunner, to shoot him down. More shouts came from the back saying his gun was jammed. ‘Change the fucking magazine!’ But this advice was not needed, as at that moment the gunner’s ‘K’ burst into life at the sitting target. The 109 slowly fell back and was seen to disappear into the low scrub, and Kramer was sure he had hit the pilot and the aircraft had subsequently crashed. I was too busy to see what was happening astern as I nursed my badly damaged Blenheim along and tried to keep it in the air.

We were rapidly losing flying speed, and my right leg was giving way under the strain of trying to keep straight against the asymmetric power with only a single engine working. I knew now that I had to try and get the aircraft down, and very quickly, before it stalled and spun in. But ahead was a line of what looked to me liked the tallest trees in Holland! With the gentlest of movement of the controls I managed to lift the staggering machine over them with only a foot or two to spare, and there ahead, ‘God be praised!’, was mile after mile of mudbanks. I had no time or inclination to put down the flaps or wheels, but managed to put the Blenheim down fairly gently and it settled on the mud like a dying swan relieved at last of the pain of fatal injuries.’ (Ibid)

Haine had landed on the Dutch island of Overflakkee, near Herkingen. Despite his best attempts to set fire to his wrecked Blenheim it would not light, so Haine and his gunner left it and hurried towards an isolated farmhouse. Here they received a meal and brief respite from an elderly Dutch couple before being hastened on their way towards the nearest town of Oud-Beijerland. There ‘we were swiftly picked up by a unit of the Dutch Army, who, though initially suspicious, and who could blame them, for we had seen German paratroops falling all around, told us that they would do their best to get us to the coast and a ship back to England.’ (Ibid)

Having spent the night in a hotel, with fighting going on all around them, Haine and his gunner continued to stay in the town before they ‘were whisked away at midnight when the Dutch said they were retreating... After we were rushed across the ferry we were escorted to the little town of Numansdorp. Here in the middle of the day we were left with a Dutch family... with strict instructions from the Dutch militia that we must lie low until we were picked up again.... we were picked up again by a staff car and driver... We were taken to a large country house on the edge of town, where we joined a civilian party from the Philips factory at Eindhoven.... In the morning we... set off in convoy out of town along a straight road into the countryside. As we marched along we were machine-gunned ineffectively by a Heinkel that flew very low overhead. Having been picked up by a Dutch Army staff car, my gunner and I were taken on a wild dash into the Hague. As we entered the city the Germans were lobbing mortar shells into the streets, and the smoke was the cause of a scare of a gas attack... We were then rushed off to the British Legation in the Hague, where we found the front door barricaded with sandbags, and so we were sent round the back entrance.’ (Ibid)

After being deposited with the Air Attaché, the British airmen were eventually whisked off in another staff car down to the Hook of Holland in the hope of embarking on a ship bound for the UK:

‘There was plenty of evidence of fighting on the way, and we had to be diverted several times to avoid road blocks set up by isolated pockets of German paratroops. Arriving on the dockside at the Hook a very welcome sight greeted us: two Royal Navy frigates were tied up alongside, their white ensigns bravely waving in the fresh morning breeze. We were expeditiously ushered aboard H.M.S. Hereward, with H43 painted on her hull, and surprisingly we discovered a gang of ratings busily employed in tidying the decks and polishing the brightwork on the guns and bulwarks.... After an anxious short wait with the sounds of battle getting nearer, there was a flurry of activity on the dockside and a cavalcade of large limousines skidded to a halt in a cloud of dust. Several distinguished ladies and gentlemen came aboard to be met with due reverence. As the last one came over the ship’s side the gangway was dropped and abandoned, the warps and cables were cast off and with a surge of power the diesels gushed out a plume of black smoke as the ship cleared the inner mole, already doing some 25 knots. There was gentle panic on deck as lifejackets were handed out, and in the confusion a rather large lady, surrounded by her attendants, was struggling to get into hers. I went forward to see if I could help, but as I did so a lieutenant-commander approached with authority and said, ‘I think you should come below, Your Majesty.’ It was Queen Wilhelmina, and the rest of the party were members of her Court and Government. I thought it strange at the time that, although the ship had been attacked sporadically by dive-bombers during the previous night and had fired off every shell on board, no enemy aircraft came near the vulnerable ship carrying such a high prize at any time during our dash from the Hook or during our five-and-a-half-hour passage to Harwich. The Germans must have known that their most valuable hostage was escaping but seemed to do nothing to prevent it. I was much too relieved to be safely back on home ground to let it worry me further, and I went straight to the Air Ministry to report my return to the duty clerk. Then I made tracks to find a telephone to tell my family that I was safe. I did not know it then, but I had been reported missing for two days, so my call was received with great relief. But it was a sad story on which to reflect. Out of the six aircraft of No. 600 squadron that had set out on a sunny May afternoon to try and help the Dutch in a brave but forlorn effort, only one aircraft returned, six aircrew had been killed, including the squadron commander, Jimmy Wells, and his gunner, Cpl Kidd, four more were shot down, three of whom managed to get back to Britain within a few days, and the fourth was badly injured and eventually became a prisoner.’ (Ibid)

After a few days of leave Haine rejoined the Squadron in Manston, and laconically recorded the whole experience in his Log Bog thus, ‘Special Operational Duty. Shot down over Rotterdam by six Me. 109’s Port engine hit, instrument panel destroyed etc. Landed on mudbank at Herkingen, Overflakkee. Crew unhurt. Returned by destroyer (13.5.40) H.M.S. Hereward. 1 Me. 109 destroyed. 2 Ju. 52s damaged.’

A day trip to France
600 Squadron moved to Northolt at the end of May 1940. The Squadron were kept busy with operational patrols at night, but also interspersed with the occasional break from the norm. One such incident, which Haine was involved in, took place on 7 June:

‘A flight of three aircraft from the squadron was scrambled from Northolt and flew via Shoreham and Fécamp and landed at Boos, a small airfield north of Rouen. It was known that the Hun was in the vicinity of the town, but we were told that several wounded aircrew were at Boos and hoping to be airlifted home before the Germans could get there. Our three aircraft landed to find the airfield deserted, so we made enquiries at a small café on a long straight road going south to Rouen. Needless to say, we were welcomed in and plied with glasses of anis and brandy, but no one knew anything about the injured aircrew. Things were getting very friendly when a Frenchman rushed in shouting, ‘Les Boches, Les Boches’, and looking up this long straight road we could indeed see the Germans coming, in the shape of a column of light tanks. The retreat to our aircraft, getting engines started and taking off must have been the quickest ‘scramble’ ever, but we were very distressed that we had not been able to carry out our mission. It was very sad, but we never heard what had happened to our injured colleagues, though we realised that a crate of brandy that we abandoned in our haste was still sitting on top of the bar in that café. On our return flight one of our aircraft was lost when the propeller sheered off the starboard engine of the Blenheim and the aircraft crashed into the sea, killing the crew.’ (Ibid)

Battle of Britain - night fighter
The following month, Haine was engaged with the Squadron during the Battle of Britain. 600 Squadron moved back to Manston and now fully engaged as a night fighter squadron. Fitted with early and unreliable A.I. equipment, the Squadron also had to contend with several moves and converting to Beaufighters during the day whilst flying operationally during the night. A frustrating time for a fighter pilot, as Haine records:

‘To take an example of a typical night’s operation, the night-fighter crew, having done a night-flying air test earlier in the day, would come to immediate readiness at nightfall. In the crew room we would sit, fully kitted-out in flying gear, with dark glasses on to keep adapted to the dark outside. As with the day-fighters we would get the heart-stopping ring of the operations phone ordering a scramble. But from then on things would be very different. Firstly, the controlling radars could normally handle only one fighter at a time at night, and so we would go alone. Secondly, the rush to get airborne meant groping through the dark to find our aircraft, dazzled by many pin-pricks of lights from the torches waved by our ground crews trying to be helpful. Finally scrambling up the wing to settle down in the cockpit, adjusting the inadequate cockpit lighting and a final check around with our little hand-held torches before a flash outside to the ground crew for starting engines.... Then brakes off and taxiing out, sticking very carefully to the dimly lit taxiway to the end of the flare-path. A quick magneto check on both engines and then opening up both and peering ahead to try and pick out the faintly glowing Glim lamps that marked the runway ahead. As the flare-path lights fell away under the wing, propelled into the pitch-black void by the powerful thrust of the twin Mercury engines, there was nothing ahead but a dark unfriendly sky with no visual reference points, necessitating immediate reference to the blind-flying instruments dimly glowing in the cockpit. Having established a safe rate of climb one could then concentrate on following directions from the ground controller on the radio at the ground radar station, hoping that he would be able to bring us close enough to a raider for us to pick it up on our own radar - in the early days, unfortunately, a rare event. So for another hour or two we would probe every dark corner of the night sky in the hope of sighting a hostile aircraft, but it was a vast place of mystery and menace at night. Occasionally a combat would ensue, and this would alleviate our hours of frustration and be of tremendous boost to our morale. Whatever the outcome of our sortie, we still had to cope with finding our way back to base. Our airfield being located near London, the balloon barrage was always a constant threat and our own anti-aircraft guns a menace if we approached within the trigger-happy gunners’ range. After what would probably have been an exhausting sortie we were finally faced with making a safe landing, often in bad weather but always in the darkness of the blackout, on an airfield with the absolute minimum of lighting.’ (Ibid)

Haine was invested with the D.F.C. at Buckingham Palace, 19 July 1940, ‘both Kramer and I had been awarded the D.F.C. for our escapade in Holland and this was a very proud moment; we were almost overwhelmed with the splendour of the occasion and the magnificence of the palace.... The King’s handshake was very firm, but I remembered my brief, that one should not grip His Majesty’s hand too enthusiastically in return. He said one or two very kind words of congratulations that I appreciated.’ (Ibid)

600 Squadron moved to Redhill and started to re-equip with Beaufighters in September 1940. Having waited so long for a replacement for the antiquated Blenheims, Haine’s new experience was nearly all too brief, ‘I flew the first Beaufighter from Redhill on 17 September. After a few days’ leave I returned to Redhill, only to be nearly hit by a bomb! I had been scrambled for a night patrol in a Beaufighter, and as my aircraft was accelerating down the flare-path a stick of bombs was dropped down the length of the airfield, the last one falling only a few yards in front of me. The blast stopped both engines of the Beaufighter, blew in the two clear-vision panels of the windscreen and left the aircraft teetering on the edge of a large crater. A most upsetting experience, and followed the next night by a heavy attack of incendiary bombs on the airfield, which had all the crews rushing around with shovels and buckets of sand to try and save some of the wooden buildings that made up our mess and flight crew rooms.’ (Ibid)

In October 1940, it was decided to rest 600 Squadron and so Haine moved north to Northumberland and then on with a detachment to Drem in Scotland. He advanced to Flight Lieutenant and was posted to command B Flight of the newly re-formed 68 Squadron (Blenheims) at Catterick in January 1941. The squadron was designated to operate as a night fighter unit, and it became operational in April 1941. Haine moved with the Squadron to High Ercall, and helped with it’s conversion to Beaufighters. He was posted to HQ 9 Group at Preston in June 1941.

Haine returned to operational flying when he was posted to command 96 Squadron (Defiants) at Wrexham, in December 1941. He once again helped a squadron convert to Beaufighters, and continued to do so from May when the command was upgraded to Wing Commander rank and he had to revert to being a Flight Commander. In September Haine moved with his Flight to Honiley and carried out patrols over the West Midlands. His next posting was as Squadron Leader Night Training at HQ Fighter Command, Bentley Priory, in March 1943. This new posting was not operational, however, it did not stop Haine from using his position to fly in as many types of aircraft as possible on his station visits. He flew Spitfires, Vega Gulls, Oxfords, Beuforts, Beaufighters, Mosquitos, Leopard Moths, and Hurricanes.

Haine’s next posting was as Wing Commander, Officer Commanding Training Wing, at 54 O.T.U., Charter Hall in June 1943. He carried on in this capacity, until he returned to operational flying in January 1944.

488 (R.N.Z.A.F.) Squadron - Officer Commanding
Haine was appointed to the command of 488 Squadron (Mosquitos), Bradwell-on-Sea, in January 1944. The Squadron comprised of over 50% New Zealanders, including two Maori pilots. Haine was paired with Flight Lieutenant P. Bowman as his A.I. operator, and 488 Squadron met with success. He moved with the Squadron to Zeals, and then to Colerne, and very nearly added to his score on 14 May, ‘Scramble for Searchlights. Fired on Ju. 88 in vertical dive held contact for 10 mins then lost in very violent evasive action and ‘window’ (Log Book refers)

The German aircraft had probably been damaged, but Haine and Bowman could not obtain confirmation as the action had taken place over the sea. The following month the Squadron were to be engaged as part of the flying operations required over the beachead for the Normandy Landings. Haine led his squadron on a defensive patrol over the beachead in the Cherbourg area on D-Day itself:

‘The day broke fine and clear... after our usual night-flying tests the squadron provided maximum effort on regular patrols over Normandy and the beachead after nightfall. We had at least four night-fighter Mosquitos in the air every night under close control of our radar stations - some on the south coast, but one already at sea with the invading forces. Pete and I flew at least once every night, as did most of the other crews, and we maintained a very high flying intensity... On 13 and 14 June the squadron shot down five more Huns, and Peter and I did five more operational patrols... by the end of the month the squadron had shot down a further three aircraft.’ (From Fury to Phantom, Flying for the RAF 1936-1970. The Memoirs of Group Captain Richard ‘Dickie’ Haine, O.B.E., D.F.C refers)

Haine and Bowman finally opened their account for the Squadron on the night of 4 August 1944, north-east of Vire:

‘By the beginning of August my squadron’s victories had amounted to 41 German aircraft destroyed. On the night of the 4th while on my 112th operational patrol, Pete and I were flying over the beachead when ground control warned us of an unidentified aircraft six miles ahead and crossing from port to starboard. Pete picked up a contact on our radar and was able to put us in a perfect position to identify the aircraft as a Ju. 88. I closed in to 200 yards and opened fire with the aircraft firmly in my sights. A two second burst of the four cannon was devastating and started a fire in the port engine of the Junkers, and pieces began to fly off it and whistle over our heads. It then turned slowly to port and dived steeply down, and we saw it explode on the ground east of Vire in Normandy. Ground control soon put us onto another contact that we chased after, but in the end had to abandon, as we ran into heavy flak from Allied ships....

On the 9th, during another patrol, we had a visual sighting of a Ju. 88 but could not get into firing range when it took violent evasive action.... we had a far from dull patrol on the 26th. It was a bright moonlit night and we were given a patrol line that we followed for some time without incident. After an hour our controller called to say that we had a friendly aircraft in our vicinity that was showing an undue interest, and advised us to do a quick turnaround to shake it off. So I pulled around into a steep turn, and after straightening up we came under attack, with a burst of cannon shells hitting the Mosquito in the fuselage behind the cockpit. A bit shaken, and not knowing what damage we had suffered, I called up Colerne and reported the action and requested an emergency landing either at an airfield en route or back at base. I advised Pete to put on his parachute and be ready to jettison the escape hatch... We stayed on course for Colerne for twenty minutes, and with the airfield in sight I began to relax and we landed without any trouble. It transpired that the culprit was an American Black Widow night-fighter pilot who misidentified the Mosquito as a Ju. 88. On inspection after landing, our servicing crew found several 20 mm cannon shells lodged in the dinghy pack a few inches behind Pete’s head!’ (Ibid)

Having survived the above friendly fire incident, Haine and Bowman successfully added to their tally the following month:

‘On September 1 Pete and I had another success while patrolling south of Caen. He got a good radar contact and I followed his instructions until I got a visual. The long, tapered wings of a Ju. 88 were unmistakable, and I closed in and after a sustained burst of cannon fire it crashed in flames west of Le Havre.’ (Ibid)

Haine took up a staff posting with HQ 85 Group, Ghent, in October 1944. He subsequently volunteered for test flying and went to 147 Wing at Odiham, prior to being appointed Officer Commanding at Winfield (a satellite station of 54 O.T.U., Charter Hall) in May 1945. Haine served as Station Commander of R.A.F. Eshott for a month, and then in June was appointed Senior Officer, Air to Headquarters 302 Wing at Ibsley. He arrived in Hong Kong in September 1945, and held several brief appointments including as Station Commander of R.A.F. Kai Tak. Haine was appointed Wing Commander Flying at Kai Tak in January 1946. He served as Air Ops II at HQ FEAF, Changi, Singapore, October 1946 - May 1947.

Haine returned to the UK in September 1947, and converted to Meteors at C.F.E. West Raynam. He served for two years with the Air Fighting Development Unit, prior to going on Air Staff Policy at the Air Ministry 1951-54. Having been promoted Wing Commander in January 1952, Haine briefly served with 10 A.F.T.S. and 209 A.F.S., at Western Zoyland. He served as Wing Commander Flying with 12 F.T.S. and 233 O.C.U., Pembrey, prior to being appointed Officer Commanding Flying 128 Wing (Venoms) at Habbaniyah, Iraq, in September 1954. Haine commanded R.A.F. Turnhouse, Edinburgh, December 1956 - May 1959, and subsequently served as OC Admin Wing at Akrotiri, Cyprus, until October 1961.

During the final decade of his service, Haine commanded R.A.F. Lindholme, when Bomber Command Bombing School was based there, and served as SPSO at HQ Bomber Command and in the same capacity for Strike Command. His final posting was as Group Captain Organisation at HQ Training Command, July 1969 - October 1970. Haine retired on the latter date, and was subsequently employed as a harbourmaster of a large marina at Leamington on the River Orwell. He resided in Suffolk in later life, and died in October 2008.

Sold with the following related documents: Six Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Books, attractively bound in two leather volumes (27 August 1935 - 30 September 1970), both embossed with gold lettering, the opening page of first log annotated ‘Times brought forward from log damaged by enemy action, Manston, May 1940’ - as a consequence of this, when Haine had all of his log books bound together, the first part of the two volumes covering up to November 1936 has been reconstructed using cut-outs from the original damaged period; M.I.D. Certificate, dated 1 January 1943; a hand-written note carried by recipient whilst evading capture in Holland, from Colonel G. A. de Braun of the Dutch Army; a telegram to recipient’s wife reporting him as missing in action, with a later Air Ministry letter also to his wife informing her of his safe return, dated 15 May 1940; a letter and a telegram of congratulation upon the occasion of the award of the recipient’s D.F.C.; a letter of congratulation upon the occasion of the award of the recipient’s O.B.E. from the Henry Hardman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, dated 1 January 1962; with photographic images from various stages of recipient’s career; newspaper cuttings; a file of copied research and a copy of From Fury to Phantom, Flying for the RAF 1936-1970. The Memoirs of Group Captain Richard ‘Dickie’ Haine, O.B.E., D.F.C.