Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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No 131 - 135 Squadron Histories


No 131 (County of Kent) Squadron

No 131 Squadron BadgeFormed at Shawbury on 1 March 1918 as a training squadron, it was planned that it should become a DH9 day bomber unit and to this end it was to have moved to Kenley on 26 August, but on 17 August 1918 it was disbanded.

The squadron reformed in the fighter role on 30 June 1941 at Ouston.  Equipped with Spitfires, it moved to Atcham in September, becoming operational at the same time.  For the next two years it moved around Britain, providing convoy protection in the Irish Sea from Wales, offensive sweeps over France from Southern England and air defence of Scapa Flow.  It even underwent deck landing training aboard HMS Argus in the Clyde, in order to prepare it for possible amphibious operations.

In March 1944, it received Spitfire VIIs and was employed on bomber escort duties and these were maintained until October, when the squadron was declared non-operational in preparation for being embarked for India.  The squadron re-assembled on 5 February 1945 at Amarda Road, but before becoming operational, its Spitfire VIIIs were re-allocated to the Royal Indian Air Force and the squadron disbanded on 10 June 1945.  Sixteen days later  the squadron was reformed when No 134 Squadron at Ulundurpet was renumbered.  Equipped with Thunderbolts, it began training to  enable it to support the proposed invasion of Malaya, but the end of the war prevented this happening and the squadron moved to Kuala Lumpur, where it disbanded on 31 December 1945.

Motto:     Invicta (Unconquered)

Squadron Codes used: -  

RK Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
NX Jun 1941 - Dec 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 132 (City of Bombay) Squadron

No 132 Squadron BadgeFormed at Ternhill on 1 March 1918 it was employed on training duties but was planned to become a Handley Page O/400 bomber unit in August for deployment in September.  With this in mind it moved to Castle Bromwich on 19 August but its deployment was postponed until November and then December.  With this latter postponement, it was also decided to change its role to that of a day bomber unit with DH9As.  All plans for its deployment ceased following the Armistice and formation was immediately suspended.

The squadron eventually formed at Peterhead on 7 July 1941 as a day fighter unit equipped Spitfires.   When declared operational the squadron remained in Scotland on defensive duties until September 1942, when it moved south to begin offensive operations over France.  From January to March 1944, it was back in Scotland but on returning south, it rejoined 2nd Tactical Air Force as a fighter-bomber unit and carried out  attacks against ground targets in preparation for Operation 'Overlord', moving onto the continent at the end of June.

However, in September 1944, the squadron was recalled from France and was assigned escort duties until December, when it was despatched to India.  Arriving in Bombay in January, it moved to Ceylon, where it began to prepare for the invasion of Malaya, but the end of the war prevented this occurring.  Instead of being disbanded, it boarded the carrier HMS Smiter on 2 September 1945 and was transferred to Hong Kong.  Here it flew anti-piracy patrols until 15 April 1946 when it disbanded.

Motto:      Cave leopardum (Beware the leopard)

Squadron Codes used: -  

TD Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
FF Jul 1941 - Apr 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 133 (Eagle) Squadron

No 133 Squadron BadgeFormed on 1 March 1918 as a night bomber unit at Ternhill, it was planned to equip it with Handley Page O/400s but none of these were received and training was conducted using FE2bs. However, the squadron disbanded on 4 July 1918 in order to provide reinforcements for units already at the front.  The squadron began to reform on 28 October but the Armistice put an end to this and formation ceased almost immediately.

Reformed as the third 'Eagle' squadron in the RAF on 1 August 1941 at Coltishall, equipped with Hurricanes.  Spitfires were received in October and these were taken to Northern Ireland in the same month, returning to Kirton-in-Lindsey in January 1942.  In May the squadron moved south and began to take part in the full range of offensive operations and defensive duties being carried out by Fighter Command at that time.  However, on 29 September 1942 the squadron, together with the other two (71 and 121) 'Eagle' squadrons were transferred to the US Army Air Force to become the 4th Fighter Group, with No 133 becoming the 336th Fighter Squadron.

Motto:      Let us to the battle

Squadron Codes used: -

YR Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
MD Jul 1941 - Sep 1942

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 134 Squadron

No 134 Squadron BadgeFormed at Ternhill on 1 March 1918, it operated as a training unit pending its equipment as a DH9 light bomber unit.  This was scheduled to begin on 6 September for deployment in October, but it disbanded on 4 July 1918.  Further plans were proposed for it to reform on 13 September for deployment on 13 November, but on 29 July these plans were suspended and finally cancelled on 17 August.

The squadron eventually formed at Leconfield from a nucleus provided by No 17 Squadron on 31 July 1941.  It was equipped with Hurricanes and formed part of No 151 Wing, which was destined for service in Russia.  The squadron arrived at Vaenga, near Murmansk on 7 September and began operations soon afterwards.  However, its main purpose was not to fight but to train Russian pilots, which it began in early October and on the 28th, it handed its aircraft over to the Russians and returned to the UK.

 It re-assembled at Catterick on 7 December 1941 and began working-up on Spitfires and Hurricanes.  These were taken to Northern Ireland in January 1942 but was only there for two months, when it returned to Baginton and began preparations for a move overseas.  It left for the Middle East in April but on arrival in Egypt, there were no aircraft to equip it, so its ground staff were used to service other  units' aircraft.

It eventually received Hurricanes in January 1943 and began defensive patrols along the North African coastline and continued on these duties until November 1943, when it was moved yet again, this time to India.  Still equipped with Hurricanes it began ground attack missions in Burma in December maintaining these until May 1944, when it returned to India.  in August it began to convert to the Thunderbolt, returned to operations in December, covering the Rangoon landings in April 1945 and returning to Ulundurpet in June, where it was disbanded by being renumbered No 131 Squadron on the 10th.

Motto:      Per ardua volabimus (We shall fly through hardships)

Squadron Codes used: -  

AA Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
G Aug 1941 - Nov 1941
GQ xxx 1942 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For more details of No 134 Squadron's exploits in Russia during WW2, order the book below: -

Hurricanes Over Murmansk

Order this book from Amazon  

 

No 135 Squadron

No 135 Squadron BadgeFormed at Hucknell on 1 April 1918, it operated as a training unit pending its equipment as a DH9 light bomber unit.  This was scheduled to begin on 14 September for deployment in October, but it disbanded on 4 July 1918.  Further plans were proposed for it to reform on 21 September for deployment on 21 November, but on 29 July these plans were suspended and finally cancelled on 17 August.

The squadron eventually reformed at Baginton on 15 August 1941 with Hurricanes passed down from No 605 Squadron.  It moved to Honiley in September, from where it began operations in October, but the following month, it was withdrawn and posted to India.  In January 1942 on arrival in India, the squadron was re-embarked and despatched to Rangoon to help stem the Japanese advance in Burma.  With most of its equipment lost in the fighting, the squadron returned to Calcutta in March and began reforming.  Until January 1943, the squadron was retained in India for where it conducted convey escort patrols.

It now moved to an advanced base  in Burma and conducted offensive sweeps and air defence duties until May.  For the next year the squadron acted as a conversion unit, re-training Blenheim squadrons to operate Hurricanes and then provided air defence cover for Southern India.  In May 1944, it began to re-equip itself with Thunderbolts, which was completed in August and in October it returned to operations carrying out ground attack missions against targets in Burma until May 1945.  On 10 June 1945 the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered No 615 Squadron.

Motto:      Pennas ubique monstramus (We show our wings everywhere)

Squadron Codes used: -  

GO Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
WK Aug 1941 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings    


All Squadron badges on this page are courtesy of Steve Clements

Crown Copyright is reproduced with the permission of the Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights

This page was last updated on 21/08/12 using FrontPage XP

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