Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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No 161 - 165 Squadron Histories


No 161 Squadron

No 161 Squadron BadgeIts formation as a DH9A unit was proposed on 9 May 1918, for a deployment  to France on 13 October, later revised to 27 October, but these plans were cancelled on 4 July.  Rescheduled to form on 27 September for deployment on 27 November, again as a DH9A unit, these plans were suspended on 27 July and finally cancelled on 17 August.

The squadron reformed at Newmarket on 15 February 1942 when the King's Flight and  part of No 138 Squadron were combined.  It immediately adopted the same  role as No 138 Squadron, the dropping of agents and supplies to resistance force throughout Europe.  It also too over the Lysanders of No 138 Squadron, which it use to deliver and collect agents when required.  In April it moved to what be its base for the rest of the war, Tempsford.  Initially three types were operated, Lysander, Whitleys and Havocs.  The Whitleys left in December 1942, having begun to be replaced by Halifaxes the previous month, whilst the Havocs soldiered on until December 1943.  Hudsons arrived in October 1943 and the Halifaxes were replaced by Stirling IIIs and IVs in September 1944.  The squadron disbanded on 2 June 1945.

Motto:     Liberate

Squadron Codes used: -  

 

AX Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
MA Feb 1942 - 1945
JR Apr 1944 - 1945 (Lysander Flight only)

Aircraft & Markings

R B Body's No 161 Squadron website

No 162 Squadron

No 162 Squadron BadgeIts formation as a DH9A unit was proposed on 9 May 1918, for a deployment  to France on 19 October, later revised to 2 November, but these plans were cancelled on 4 July.  Rescheduled to form on 4 October for deployment on 4 December, again as a DH9A unit, these plans were suspended on 27 July and finally cancelled on 17 August.

In January 1942, a detachment of No 109 Squadron, based at Kabrit in Egypt, was re-designated the Signals Squadron and a few weeks later was given the number 162.  At that time 109 was involved in radio calibration and radio counter measures activities and this became the role of the Signals Squadron and No 162.  The RCM role tended to be carried out be Wellingtons and involved locating and identifying enemy radar and radio units and then jamming them, this included tank radios as well as those systems connected with the air war.  The calibration role was mainly carried out by Blenheim IV and Vs.

The squadron operated by sending out detachments throughout the Middle East, but in November 1942 the Wellingtons were passed to No 40 Squadron.  However, RCM duties continued and more Wellingtons were received and continued to be operated until disbandment.  However, in March 1944 the squadron took over the Wellington DWI variant from No 1 GRU, these aircraft where used to destroy magnetic mines in harbours and coastal waters and continued to be operated by 162 until July.  The Blenheims were replaced by Baltimores in September 1943 and in October some Mosquito Mk VIs were received but these left in January only to come back again in April until July, the squadron disbanded on 25 September 1944.

The squadron re-formed on 17 December 1944 at Bourn.  It was now part of No 8 Group's Light Night Striking Force.  It carried out its first operational mission on 21/22 December when six aircraft attacked Cologne.  As the war in Europe ended the squadron had been working up as an H2S marking unit, carrying out its last operation on 2/3 May 1945.  With the end of the war in Europe, the squadron was transferred to Transport Command and operated Air Delivery Letter Services to various locations around Europe until disbanding on 14 July 1946

Motto:     One time, one purpose

Squadron Codes used: -

 

KY Allocated Apr 1939- Sep 1939
CR Dec 1944 - Jul 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 163 Squadron

Its formation as a DH9A unit was proposed on 9 May 1918, for a deployment  to France on 26 October, later revised to 9 November, but these plans were cancelled on 4 July.  Rescheduled to form on 9 October for deployment on 9 December, again as a DH9A unit, these plans were suspended on 27 July and finally cancelled on 17 August.

Formed eventually on 10 July 1942 as a transport squadron in Egypt, destined for service in East Africa.  It arrived in Asmara, Eritrea, five days later and having received Hudsons began operations at the end of the month.  It began a mail service on 1 September and flew communication flights between Ertirea, Sudan, Ethopia , Nigeria and Madagascar until being reduced to cadre on 18 December 1942, disbanding on16 June 1943.

The squadron briefly reformed between 25 January and 10 August 1945, when it operated as a Mosquito equipped unit of No 8 Group's Light Night Striking Force.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -

NK Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 164 (Argentina-British) Squadron

No 164 Squadron BadgeIts formation as a DH9A unit was proposed on 9 May 1918, for a deployment  to France on 31 October, later revised to 15 November, but these plans were cancelled on 4 July.  Rescheduled to form on 25  October for deployment on 25 December, again as a DH9A unit, these plans were suspended on 27 July and finally cancelled on 17 August.

It was eventually formed as a fighter squadron at Peterhead on 6 April 1942 receiving it equipment of Spitfires in May.  It remained at Peterhead, except for two short periods, until January 1943, when it moved to South Wales and began conversion to the fighter-bomber role with Hurricanes.  These were initially 40mm cannon armed Mk IIDs but in May these were superseded by rocket armed Mk IVs.  These were used for the first time in June when the squadron began attacking coastal targets and shipping in preparation for Operation 'Overlord'.

In March 1944, the Hurricanes were replaced by Typhoons and these operations continued un to, during and after D-Day, the squadron moving to France in July.  It supported the advancing armies for the rest of the war, carrying out armed reconnaissance missions and ground attack sorties through France, Belgium and into Germany.  In June 1945, the squadron returned to Britain and converted to Spitfires, which it operated until being disbanded by being renumbered No 63 Squadron at Middle Wallop on 31 August 1946.

Motto:      Firmes volamos (Firmly we fly)

Squadron Codes used: -  

 

OO Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
FJ Apr 1942 - May 1945
UB May 1945 - Aug 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 165 (Ceylon) Squadron

No 165 Squadron BadgeIts formation as a DH10 unit was proposed on 9 May 1918, for a deployment  to France on 8 October, later revised to 22 October, but these plans were cancelled on 4 July.  Rescheduled to form on 22 August for deployment on 22 October, again as a DH10 unit, these plans were suspended on 27 July and finally cancelled on 17 August.

The squadron eventually formed as a Spitfire equipped fighter squadron at Ayr on 6 April 1942.  It spent the rest of the war carrying out the full gamut of operations for this type of unit.  These began with defensive patrols in Scotland before moving south in August and beginning offensive operations over France.  A return to Scotland in March 1943 was followed by another spell in the south from July.

In August the squadron joined the Kenley Wing but the following month returned to the South-West from where it carried out escort missions, offensive sweeps and defensive duties until after Operation 'Overlord'.   The V-1 attacks against South-East England, found the squadron in Kent as part of the anti-'Diver' forces.  When this threat receded the squadron moved to East Anglia, where it began re-equipping with Mustangs in mid-December.  These were used for long range bomber escort missions from February 1945 until the end of the war.  In June it returned to Dyce in Scotland, where it re-equipped with Spitfires, moving to Norway on 20 June.  Here it provided air defence cover for the region, pending the re-formation of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, eventually returning to Britain in January 1946 and disbanding at Duxford on 1 September 1946.

Motto:      Infensa virtuti invidia (Envy is the foe of honour)

Squadron Codes used: -  

 

YP Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
SK Apr 1942 - Sep 1946

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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