Thursday, 28 April 2011
War comes to the RAF in Sussex
No.1 Squadron was one of those Hurricane squadrons earmarked for service in France. Preparations had been made weeks before to transport the squadron staff and all its ground equipment to France. Now Dowding came to give Bull Halahan some very specific instructions personally. He was not, Dowding said, to risk his aircraft or men unnecessarily. There was to be no fancy flying, just workmanlike missions. Above all, Halahan should expect no reinforcements. He had his 12 aircraft and 12 pilots which was what Dowding had been forced to promise the French. No more would go to France. Every fighter was going to be needed at home to protect British cities and British bases from attack.
Halahan did not record his reactions to this news. He led his squadron out to France to await the German onslaught. That left only No.43 Squadron at Tangmere, though they were soon joined by No.92 Squadron.