On 1st February 1944 during the period of intense preparation for the Invasion of Europe, No. 146 Airfield as it was then called, began to form in a Sussex farmhouse on the edge of Tangmere Aerodrome. Wing Commander D E Gillam DSO, DFC and Bar, AFC was responsible for all initial arrangements... was promoted to the rank of Group Captain and assumed command of the parent Unit No. 20 Wing, which also controlled Nos. 123 and 136 Airfields. Wing Commander E R Baker DFC and Bar, became Commander Flying of No. 146 Airfield with Wing Commander E W W Willis as Airfield Commander on the administration side.
F/Lt Neville Thomas wrote:
Under the brilliant leadership of Wing Commander Baker the Wing, operating at first from Tangmere and later from Needs Oar Point, successfully carried out a wide variety of missions directed against the enemy whoever he was to be found, on land and sea, and in the air....
7th February 1944 Harrowbeer:
we have been very busy, had some bad luck too. One chap was killed yesterday and Peter LeEvre ( at F.T.S. with me ) was shot down on a show this morning . He was about 30 yards from me when he went smack in.
8 February 1944 F/Lt Beake accompanying Reg Baker reported:
We were approaching Gael airfield in Brittany right down on the deck and were actually slightly below the level of the airfield itself, which is on a hillside. We saw two FWs about to land and four more further south. Once was just going down but the other was going round again. I was lucky enough to go in first and get one which was making another circuit. He rolled over, burst into flames and spread himself over the field nearby....
10th Feb 1944:
Reg led eight Typhoons of 193 and 266 Squadrons on 10 Group Rodeo 80. By the end of the operation nine enemy aircraft were claimed destroyed and two damaged. On the approach to Etampes Mondesir aerodrome Reg reported enemy aircraft on the ground. The Typhoons swept into the attack.
Combat Report W/C ER Baker
8 Typhoons 193 and 266 led by W/C Baker
All Typhoons 1b L.R.
Area 10 – 15 miles ESE of Paris
1Do217 destroyed, 1 FW190 destroyed
After losing touch with my No.2 in cloud I found my aircraft icing up and broke cloud at 700 ft, going down. After having sorted out the cockpit I suddenly saw a Do217 flying East at 600 feet/200 yards ahead. I closed to about 70 yards dead astern and below, and tried one short burst. The e/a burst into flames and I saw it hit the ground. I then discovered that I was steering east, so I changed my course to WNW flying at low level through snow flurries. I emerged from one of these and saw one FW190 flying NNW at 600 feet 500 yards ahead. I closed to 50 yards astern and slightly underneath e/a, and carried out the same attack as on the Do217. E/a’s engine caught fire, aircraft rolled over and I saw it hit the deck in flames. Still steering WNW in bad snowstorm I suddenly found myself over Paris at roof-top level, and immediately changed course to NNW. I saw the Arc de Triomphe from close range, also a game of football going on in a large stadium. There was no flak at all from Paris. I recrossed coast at 0 ft 8 miles SW of Le Treport, and eventually landed at Newchurch very short of petrol, although Shellpink had given me several vectors around 190 degrees as homing course for English coast....
Steven Darlow writes in 'Victory Fighters' :
An extraordinary few days for the Wing. Reggie was certainly working his airmen hard to meet their objective of depleting the strength of the German Air Force.
12th February 1944 R.A.F. Beaulieu Hants:
sorry I have been so long in writing , but I honestly haven't had a minute. We have been doing terribly well, destroyed fifteen and damaged four so far this month. I am feeling very weary, but we shall probably have a day off soon.
16th February 1944 Harrowbeer :
feeling extremely depressed about today, three of the chaps shot down is not pleasant. Two of `em were cousins too. Still I suppose that is the way it goes - no wonder one becomes so hard and callous at times. As yet I haven’t any more news about my move, as usual I suppose it will all happen in a terrific rush. 19th February 1944 Harrowbeer:
my move as far as the wonderful air force system knows, will not be until the beginning of next month. As I told you we lost three of the chaps t`other day, two in flames. The third one may well be a prisoner of war, we can only hope...