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Navigation in Air Escort to Convoys

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posted on 2024-06-05, 17:39 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Lesley Hawkins has brought a report entitled "Navigation in Air Escort to Convoys", accompanied by a line drawing of a U-Boat. The report was produced for RAF Coastal Command in July 1943. It dealt with the navigational aspects of escorting convoys and was prepared by Professor E. H. Plaskett. He applied an analysis of flying logs in order to help aircraft navigate accurately to positions where they could protect convoy ships which came under U-boat attack. The term "distribution errors" was used to describe a situation whereby aircraft were unable to locate ships on the move in the convoys.

Lesley's aunt, Kathleen Beeson, helped Professor Plaskett with the mathematical analysis of the flying logs and is mentioned in the report on account of her contribution to it. She never spoke about the report nor any other aspects of her wartime work while she was alive. Lesley believes Kathleen worked as part of the Government Department which oversaw the intelligence work undertaken at Bletchley Park. Lesley believes she worked in a "sister house" to Bletchley but is not sure if Kathleen was a civil servant or in the Army.

The Maths used in the report is highly advanced. After the war, Kathleen became a maths teacher and in time Head of Mathematics at Cottingham School in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The report was discovered in her house following her death, aged 92, in 2005. It was in an envelope marked "Top Secret", which it would seem was delivered to her in the post, although Lesley is not entirely sure if this was the case.

Lesley remembers Kathleen as a very down-to-earth person, who enjoyed gardening and lived independently until the last week of her life. She was an amusing lady with a wry sense of humour.


Item list and details

1. Navigation in Air Escort to Convoys 2. Line drawing of a U boat

Person the story/items relate to

Kathleen Bleeson who helped Professor Plaskett.

Person who shared the story/items

Lesley Ann Hawkins

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

She was their Auntie

Type of submission

Shared at Duncansburgh Church Hall, Highlands on 27 September 2023. The event was organised by Lochaber Archive Centre and West Highland Museum.

Record ID

93678 | FOR002