On the 7th January 1943, 836 squadron joined Coastal Command (No 16 Group) at Thorney Island.

836 squadron was involved in laying mines around the entrance of Le Havre and Cherbourg harbours.

This RAF airfield was built in 1938 but  the runways were not surfaced until 1942

These were night operations (daytime would have been suicidal!). Aircraft had to maintain an altitude of 50 ft (15m) above the sea which was very difficult and dangerous. Eventually a device was invented with two light beams, underneath the aircraft, which met on the water surface, when the aircraft was 50 ft above the water. (Used by Dam Busters  to get correct high for dropping bouncing bombs and see "Most Secret War" by R.V.Jones first published in 1978)

This appears to be the last time that PO Robertson & GMA flew together. Robertson stayed with 836 squadron on
MAC ships (with Lt Slater) and finished the war with 814 squadron (moving after the death of Lt Slater?)

On the commemorative board the period Jan '43 to March'43 is missing. Therefore there is no reference to 836 Squadron having been at Thorney Island!  The FAA website indicates that 836 squadron was based at Thorney Island from Jan 1943 to March 1943. 811 & 836 squadrons overlapped for a short period.

MJA noted: GMA later joined 811 squadron on HMS Biter

 Swordfish over Thorney Island

GMA comments:

The reference is to German Fokker-Wolf 190 fighter aircraft

Apparently another joke at my expense. Supposedly I had reported seeing FW190s off the south coast. They were probably, in fact, the Spitfires that landed at Tangmere, a famous Battle of Britain fighter station. It was very difficult to identify small aircraft at a distance.

Cause and effect? 

The description below is from Jim Tuke who was an Airframe Mechanic in 836 squadron.

The information is from:  www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/55/a3544355.shtml

From there (Crail)  to RAF Thorney Island for mine lying off the coast of France . We were there for about three months and at that time we had only six Swordfish aircraft. (By the end of the stay the number of aircraft seem to have increased-MJA)

One day the RAF had a lone German bomber dropping his load. Whether he was part of a raid on another part of Britain will never be known, he just dropped his bombs and scarpered.

Another incident was when we were doing repairs that were needed; we were in the open ended hangers and a few yards away there was an RAF petrol bowser refuelling a bomber when all of a sudden there was almighty bang and the petrol bowser just blew up with debris flying all over the place. One or two bits and pieces came flying into the hanger and did minor damage to our aircraft, needless to say we gave verse to a few choice words of our own. Thankfully no one was hurt, it turned out that the RAF mechanic pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket and a spring loaded lighter hit the ground and sparked setting light to the bowser and the bomber.
Another incident which was very sad for the squadron and morale was the night when all six aircraft took off one night for its usual mine laying raid, that night we waited and waited but no aircraft returned. On the raid one aircraft was shot down and the crew of three were killed, another was also shot down and the crew of three were taken prisoners, the others were damaged and landed at other stations and came back the next morning. One of them crashed into the white cliffs but the crew survived.

On March 16, the squadron transfers to Machrihanish.