504 City of Nottingham Squadron

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5 years 7 months

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I only recently became aware of this aviation site. On one of the initial pages (which in my ignorance of computers) I now cannot find, I noticed an article on this Squadron's 81 wing in Russia in 1942. The book refered to should be "RAF in Russia" by Hubert Griffith - Foreword by Wing-Commander H.N.G. Isherwood D.F.C., A.F.C., Order of Lenin. and published by Hammond & Hammond and Company. I don't know of a book "wings over Russia" as mentioned in that article querying if any one had any knowledge? Mind you it was posted in 2008 I think! Which just proves the power of the internet and the draw of your site. I would be interested to discuss further with anyone still interested. Michael Rook
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Profile picture for user TwinOtter23

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13 years 9 months

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Welcome Michael. In the title of your post you mentioned No. 504 City of Nottingham Squadron, this is more usually referenced as No. 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron and I have done some limited research around its history and memorials. Was there a connection that you were looking to investigate regarding the books and the squadron?

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I suspect the book you are thinking of is "Hurricanes over Murmansk", by John Golley. I have (or had) a copy but can't find it tonight. It is quoted as being "an Airlife Classic" and reprinted by Crowood in 2001. This relied very heavily on Griffith's book, to the extent (IRRC) of quoting extensively. It did benefit somewhat from additional detail made available by its more recent publishing date, but not perhaps as much as might be hoped. A more recent book on the subject is Force Benedict, by Eric Carter, but I haven't read it. Also Hurricane IIB Combat Log: 151 Wing RAF North Russia 1941 by Hugh Harkins - ditto.

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5 years 7 months

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Dear TwinOtter23 Thank you so much for your reply. Yes No. 504 County of Nottingham. I made the post because something I found on this site (and of course now cannot find!) refered to a book "Wings over Russia". Since I had never heard of this book I was interested because my father (who I never knew) was the Micky Rook refered to in several personalized episodes in the book "R.A.F in Russia. I would rather have liked to track the "Wings..." book down or at least to understand if it was one and the same wrongly annotated? Micky Rook also appears in print in "Triumph over Tunisia" by TH Wisdom. I am glad to say I still have his log books and medals, and interestingly I and my wife lived for 15 years at Stragglethorpe Hall just down the road from your Museum, and visited you several times over that period. I shall be attending the Memorial dedication ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum on May 15th for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation. Great to make your contact, so if you do hear of any other Russian connections I would be interested. Mike Rook

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5 years 7 months

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Dear Graham Thank you for your response. I will try to track those books down. If you have any more pointers can you let me know the best way of doing this? My interest lies in the fact that my father, F/Lt Mick Rook was with the Wing in Russia. His Cousin Wing Commander Tony (A H ) Rook was one of the two leaders of the wing and won the Order of Lenin as a result, but is often wrongly identified in texts because of their close connection. Anyway you have given me quite a bit to inquire about. Regards Michael Rook

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11 years 1 month

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Micky Rook is mentioned several times in Sky Spy written by Ray Holmes who also flew Hurricanes in Russia. There's a colour profile of his Spitfire and a paragraph of information about him in Spitfire Aces of North Africa and Italy written by Andrew Thomas.

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13 years

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Mike, My Grandma has told me in the past that your family owned West Hallam Hall. Is this so? I've always liked the idea of our village having a link to pilots such as your father and his cousin that fought in the Battle of Britain and beyond. I may have a spare copy of "Hurricanes Over Murmansk", I'll have a dig around. Dean
Profile picture for user TwinOtter23

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13 years 9 months

Posts: 7,742

Dear TwinOtter23 Thank you so much for your reply. Yes No. 504 County of Nottingham. I made the post because something I found on this site (and of course now cannot find!) refered to a book "Wings over Russia". Since I had never heard of this book I was interested because my father (who I never knew) was the Micky Rook refered to in several personalized episodes in the book "R.A.F in Russia. I would rather have liked to track the "Wings..." book down or at least to understand if it was one and the same wrongly annotated? Micky Rook also appears in print in "Triumph over Tunisia" by TH Wisdom. I am glad to say I still have his log books and medals, and interestingly I and my wife lived for 15 years at Stragglethorpe Hall just down the road from your Museum, and visited you several times over that period. I shall be attending the Memorial dedication ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum on May 15th for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation. Great to make your contact, so if you do hear of any other Russian connections I would be interested. Mike Rook
Good to hear of your local connections and good luck with your information search. The noted RAuxAF author Leslie Hunt was a museum member and I believe that NAM has some of his research material in its archive. The museum will soon be releasing a Notts Aviation Memorials booklet, which references a memorial at Greasley that commemorates several 504 Sqn crews – watch the forum for further details about the booklet in the coming weeks! Enjoy your visit to the NMA on the 15th! :)

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504 queries answered
Mike, My Grandma has told me in the past that your family owned West Hallam Hall. Is this so? I've always liked the idea of our village having a link to pilots such as your father and his cousin that fought in the Battle of Britain and beyond. I may have a spare copy of "Hurricanes Over Murmansk", I'll have a dig around. Dean
Thank you for all those that replied in this chain. Quite an eye-opener for someone finding the site for the first time! Wing Commander AH Rook's father - Spencer Henry Rook - owned West Hall Hall I believe to answer you question. I now am chasing Golley's book thanks for the pointers. I have just completed reading Eric Carter's new book - Force Benedict - which is also fascinating in its detail. It was not till I met the Author who is 94 and as sharp as a button still, that I knew that the Russian expedition even had a secret project name. It is available on Amazon of course. Mike Rook

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13 years

Posts: 205

Thank you for all those that replied in this chain. Quite an eye-opener for someone finding the site for the first time! Wing Commander AH Rook's father - Spencer Henry Rook - owned West Hall Hall I believe to answer you question. I now am chasing Golley's book thanks for the pointers. I have just completed reading Eric Carter's new book - Force Benedict - which is also fascinating in its detail. It was not till I met the Author who is 94 and as sharp as a button still, that I knew that the Russian expedition even had a secret project name. It is available on Amazon of course. Mike Rook
Mike, Apologies for the delayed response. Information on Wing Commander AH Rook and Wing Commander M Rook seems a little thin on the ground. Have you seen the entries for them in Kenneth G. Wynn's "Men of the Battle of Britain"? If not, I can send you a scan. I've had a quick flick through the Golley book, a few images of AHR, and one that may include your father- i'm not sure. Thanks for confirming the West Hallam link, great to think the village was once home to a Battle of Britain pilot. All the best, Dean
Profile picture for user TwinOtter23

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13 years 9 months

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Michael, Have you been in contact with the 504 Squadron Association? Earlier today I responded to a request from them for 55 copies of the Notts Aviation Memorials booklet for their members and it occurred to me that they may be able to assist.