Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
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Formed on 20 August 1918 from No's 493, 515 & 516 Flights at Mullion. Equipped with DH6s, it carried out anti-submarine patrols along the coast until the end of the war, disbanding on 15 May 1919.
Reformed as a fighter squadron at Stradishall on 31 October 1939, it was equipped with Blenheim, which it took to Bircham Newton in February 1940, where the unit was transferred to Coastal Command. In April it moved to Speke, where it rejoined Fighter Command and the following month was moved to Filton to fly defensive patrols over the Channel, but in July a move to Thorney Island saw it back in Coastal Command, where it stayed for the rest of the war.
From August 1940 it operated from bases in the South West carrying out anti-shipping patrols over the Channel, and Irish Sea, having re-equipped with Beaufighters in October 1941, until February 1942 when it transferred to Wattisham and was reduced to cadre. It received new Beaufighters in March and resumed its previous duties, although these were now flown over the North Sea, although it also operated detachments in the South West to undertake similar duties over the bay of Biscay. In September 1942 the squadron moved to North Coates and in April 1943 became a part of the strike wing formed there, operating as such until the end of the war. The squadron disbanded on 25 May 1945.
Motto: Speculati Nuntiate (Having Watched, Bring Word)
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed on 20 August from No's 420, 421, 422 and 423 Flights at Cattewater, it was equipped with Short 184s for patrolling the Channel, disbanding on 15 May 1919.
The squadron was reformed at Nairobi on 22 April 1940, when No 1 Squadron of the Southern Rhodesian Air Force was redesignated, hence its title 'Rhodesia'. It was equipped with a mixture of Hart variants, including Audaxes, and Hardys as well as Harts and these were detached around the Kenyan border in case of an Italian attack on Kenya from its surrounding territories.
Hardys had become standard equipment by September 1940 when it moved to the Sudan for operations in Eritrea and Ethopia. Some Lysanders were received in November 1940 and by April 1941 this type had superseded the Hardys but in March a few Gladiators were also taken on strength. At the end of May the squadron moved to Wadi Halfa but in August its aircraft were transferred to No 6 Squadron and it moved to the Western Desert, where it re-equipped with Hurricanes. Tactical reconnaissance operations were undertaken until February 1942 when it was transferred to Iraq to counter a possible German attack through the Caucasus. In September it moved to Iran but following the German collapse at Stalingrad it returned to the Western Desert on air defence and coastal protection duties.
Spitfires began to arrive in December 1943 and by the time it was sent to Corsica in April 1944 it was equipped with the Mk IX version. From Corsica, it operated over both southern France and northern Italy and following Operation Dragoon it moved to France to support the advancing Allied armies. In October it moved again, this time to Italy and continued to operate over the north of the country for the rest of the war and remained as part of the occupation forces until 1 January 1946, when it disbanded by being renumbered No 93 Squadron.
Motto: Primun agmen in caelo (The vanguard is in the sky)
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed on 20 August 1918 from No's 347, 348 and 349 Flights at Cattewater, equipped with Short 184s for patrolling the Channel. Some Felixstowe F2As and F3s were received in October and both types were operated until disbanding on 15 May 1919.
Reformed as a Spitfire unit on 16 May 1940 at Tangmere, these were exchanged for Hurricanes in June. It operated throughout the Battle of Britain from Middle Wallop and St Eval until moving to Chilbolton in September 1940. In May 1941, the squadron was embarked aboard HMS Victorious and it sailed for Malta. It flew its aircraft from Victorious on 14 June 1941 and the following day continued its journey to Egypt, the ground echelon having travelled via South Africa.
Until its own ground personnel arrived, at the end of July, the squadron's Hurricanes were serviced by No 274 Squadron. It was then involved in flying bomber escort missions and offensive sweeps until the end of 1942, when it returned to Egypt for defensive duties and to convert to Spitfires. In March 1944 the squadron moved to Corsica with its Spitfire IXs and took part in the Allied invasion of southern France in August, after which it moved onto the French mainland for two months before going to Naples, where it disbanded on 31 October 1944.
A new 238 Squadron formed at Merryfield on 1 December 1944 as a transport unit, intended to operate Albemarles, but when its equipment arrived it was in the form of Dakotas. These were taken to India in February 1945, where it began supply dropping operations and casualty evacuation from Burma. However, its stay in India was short and in June it moved to Australia, where it operated in support of the British Pacific Fleet until disbanding on 27 December 1945. Just under a year later on 1 December 1946, No 525 Squadron was renumbered 238 at Abingdon. It was still flying Dakotas and these were operated throughout the Berlin Airlift but on 5 November 1948, the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered No 10 Squadron.
The squadron was re-formed in 2007 by re-naming the Line Training Flight at the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering at Cosford.
Motto: Ad Finem (To the end)
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed on 20 August 1918 from No 418 Flight at Torquay, it was equipped with Short 184s and carried out anti-submarine patrols along the Channel until disbanding on 15 May 1919.
The squadron reformed on 18 September 1940 from a flight each of Nos 16 and 225 Squadrons at Hatfield, equipped with Lysanders. It was immediately involved in training exercises with the army and from June 1941 supplemented the Lysanders with some Tomahawks. It was obvious that the Lysander was unsuited for tactical reconnaissance operations and by January 1942, these had been retired and the squadron was equipped with Tomahawks and Hurricanes.
In May 1942 the squadron converted to Mustangs and these were used in ground attack and tactical-recce operation over Northern France from the following month. In June 1943 the squadron was transferred from Army Co-operation Command to the newly formed 2nd Tactical Air Force.
However, its attachment to 2 TAF was short-lived for in September it disposed of its Mustangs and moved to Ayr, where it began training for the night fighter role. it received its own Mosquitoes in December and these were taken to West Raynham, where it joined No 100 (Bomber Support) Group. It remained at West Raynham, from where it carried out night intruder operations in support of Bomber Command's night offensive until the end of the war, disbanding on 1 July 1945.
Motto: Exploramus (We seek out)
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed on 20 August 1918 from No's 345, 346, 410 and 411 Flights at Calshot. Equipped with Short 184s and Felixstowe F2As, it provided anti-submarine protection for the central Channel area until disbanding on 15 May 1919.
The squadron was reformed from 'C' Flight of the Seaplane Training Squadron at Calshot on 30 March 1937. Initially equipped with Scapas, it continued in a training role until January 1939, when it became operational with Singapores, which it had received in November 1938. It reverted to a training role again in June 1939, but the following month, having replaced the Singapores with Londons, it was declared operational again. In August 1939 it moved to Invergordon and began patrolling the North Sea.
In May 1940 it moved to Pembroke Dock and its area of operations shifted to the Western Approaches, having converted to Stranraers in June. Having moved back to Scotland in July 1940, the squadron re-equipped with Catalinas in March 1941 and transferred to Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in August, from where it began anti-submarine patrols of the Atlantic.
In March 1942, it left for India and spent the rest of the war flying anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols over the Bay of Bengal and in December 1944 it also began flying agents and supplies to the Dutch East Indies*. It disbanded at Redhill's Lake on 1 July 1945. It was immediately reformed by renumbering no 212 Squadron, also at Redhill's Lake. It was still equipped with Catalinas but was in the process of converting to Sunderlands, which was not completed until December. A few operations were carried out before the war ended and in January 1946, it moved to Ceylon, where it disbanded on 31 March 1946.
From 15 February 1949 the squadron number was revived when it was linked with No 230 Sqn, this lasting until 30 April 1952. The following day the squadron was reformed at St Eval but the following month it moved to Ballykelly in the maritime reconnaissance role, equipped with Shackleton MR Mk 1As. During this period it was also linked with another inactive unit, No 204 Squadron, from 20 February 1953 to 1 January 1954. The squadron disbanded on 1 November 1958 by being renumbered No 203 Squadron.
The squadron's final incarnation began on 1 August 1959, when it reformed as a Thor equipped Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile unit at Breighton, until disbanding on 8 January 1963.
Motto: Sjo-Vordur Lopt-Vordur (Guardian of the sea, guardian of the sky)
Squadron Codes used: -
*For details of some of these operations click here.
All Squadron badges on this page are courtesy of Steve Clements
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Sqns 241 - 245
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