Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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No 241 - 245 Squadron Histories


No 241 Squadron

No 241 Squadron BadgeFormed on 20 August 1918 from No's 416, 417 and 513 Flights at Portland, it was equipped with Short 184s, which it used to carry out anti-submarine patrols of the English Channel.  It disbanded on 18 June 1919.

Reformed as a Army Co-operation squadron on 25 September 1940 from 'C' Flight of No 614 Squadron at Inverness, it was equipped with Lysanders, which it used to undertake tactical exercises with the Army.  In July 1941 it received Tomahawks to supplement the Lysanders but it was March 1942 before the last of these left the squadron. However, at the same time as the Lysanders left the squadron converted to the Mustang I, which it continued to operate in the tactical reconnaissance role until November 1942.

In that month it was transferred to North Africa and re-equipped with Hurricanes, which it flew in the ground attack and tactical reconnaissance roles throughout the North African campaign.  Conversion to Spitfires took place in December 1943 after which the unit moved to Italy and continued its previous duties until the end of the war, disbanding on 14 August 1945.

Motto:     Find and forewarn

Squadron Codes used: -  

EZ Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
RZ

Sep 1940 - Oct 1942, 1944 - Aug 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 242 (Canadian) Squadron

No 242 Squadron BadgeFormed on 15 August 1918 from No's 408, 409 and 514 Flights at Newhaven, equipped with Short 184 seaplanes, disbanding on 15 May 1919

Reformed on 30 October 1939 at Church Fenton as fighter unit composed of mainly Canadian personnel it was issued with Blenheims, which were exchanged for Hurricanes in January 1940.  From its base at Church Fenton, it operated a detachment in France from 16 May but on the 20th, the squadron moved to Biggin Hill 16 June when its detachment it was evacuated.  Severely depleted by the actions in France it was withdrawn to Coltishall to rest and recuperate and it was here that it received a new CO, Squadron Leader Douglas Bader.

Re-equipped and recovered it entered the Battle of Britain remaining at Coltishall throughout, although it often operated from advanced bases such as Duxford. It eventually moved to Duxford in October but a month later was back at Coltishall.  From December it began fighter sweeps and bomber escort mission over France and these were maintained throughout 1941.   In October it was withdrawn from operations and began preparations for deployment overseas, in this case the Far East..

Arriving in Singapore in January 1942, it was too late to stop the Japanese advance and it was soon withdrawn to Sumatra and later Java, but as casualties increased and spares diminished the squadron began to get dispersed and by the end of February 1942, it had practically ceased to exist.  A new 242 Squadron formed at Turnhouse on 10 April with Spitfires, which were flown on defensive patrols initially in Scotland and then the North of England until August when it moved south to North Weald.  However, by October it was again earmarked for overseas, leaving  for North Africa in November, where it operated in support of the 1st Army's advance to Tunisia.

With the end of operations in North Africa, the squadron over to Malta in June 1943, where it supported the Allied landing in Sicily then moved onto that island to support the invasion of Italy.  In September it transferred to the Italian mainland until April 1944 when it moved to Corsica in preparation for the forthcoming invasion of southern France.  However, following the invasion, the squadron only remained on French soil for a month and in September it disposed of its aircraft to other units and the personnel returned to Naples in Italy, where it disbanded on 4 November 1944.

The squadron reformed on 15 November 1944 as a transport unit at Stoney Cross, equipped with Wellington XVIs for training, its operational equipment arriving in February 1945 in the form of Stirling Vs.  These were used to fly freight to the Middle East and then onto the Far East.  Some Yorks arrived in April and these were used to carry passengers as well as freight but then in July the Yorks left and the Stirling Vs were replaced by Stirling IVs which needed modifying before being of any use.  However, in December the squadron moved to Merryfield and reverted to Yorks, which now employed on flights to India and the Azores.  In 1948, the squadron joined the Berlin Airlift, after which it converted to the Hastings in June 1949 and reverted to its Far East routes until 1 May 1950, when it disbanded at Lyneham.  It reformed once again on 1 October 1959 as a Bloodhound I Surface-to-Air-Missile unit at Marham, but disbanded on 30 September 1964, with the withdrawal of the Bloodhound I system.

Motto:      Toujour Pret (Always ready)

Squadron Codes used: -  

YD Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
LE

Feb 1940 - Dec 1941, Apr 1942 - Nov 1944

KY Nov 1944 - 1948

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 243 Squadron

No 243 Squadron BadgeFormed on 20 August 1918 from No's 414 and 415 Flights at Cherbourg, from wher eits Short 184s carried out anti-submarine patrols along the French coastline out to and including the Channel Islands.  It disbanded on 15 March 1919.

The squadron reformed at Kallang on 12 March 1941 as a fighter unit for the defence of Singapore.  It was equipped with Buffaloes, which were considered unsuitable for service in Europe, but as soon as the Japanese attacked it became obvious that they were just as  unsuitable in the Far East.  The superiority of the Japanese fighters soon led to heavy losses being suffered by all of the Buffalo squadrons requiring them to pool their resources, but by the end of January1942, individual squadron identities had disappeared as units were evacuated to Sumatra and then Java and finally Australia or India.  As a result No 243 ceased to exist sometime around February 1942.

The squadron reformed again on 1 June 1942 at Ouston as a Spitfire unit, being declared operational on the 12th.  It remained on defensive duties in the North of England until moving to Turnhouse in September, where it transferred its aircraft to No 232 Squadron and began preparations for a move to North Africa.  Leaving at the end of November, it arrived  in early December and after receiving some replacement Spitfires it began operations in January 1943 flying escort missions  and fighter sweeps over Tunisia.  With the end of the North African campaign the squadron moved to Malta in June, from where it supported the invasion of Sicily, to where it moved in July to support the invasion of Italy.  Following the invasion of Italy the squadron moved to bases on the Italian mainland, remaining there until December , when it was withdrawn to the Levant, where it completed its conversion to Spitfire IXs.  These were taken to Corsica in April 1944, from where it covered the Allied landings in southern France but on 30 September 1944 the squadron was disbanded.

When the squadron reformed on 15 December 1944, it was at No 2 Personnel Despatch Centre at Morecombe.  The selected personnel were then shipped across the Atlantic to Canada, where the squadron began training as a Dakota transport unit.  Following completion of the training, the squadron flew its aircraft across the Pacific to Australia, many of its personnel being Australian.  From Australia it began scheduled services to various bases of the British Pacific Fleet and later Hong Kong.  The squadron finally disbanded on 15 April 1946.

Motto:      Swift in pursuit

Squadron Codes used: -

NX Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
SN Jun 1942 - Oct 1944

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 244 Squadron

Unofficial badge of No 244 SquadronFormed on 15 August 1918 from No's 521, 522 and 530 Flts at Bangor, its DH6s flew anti-submarine patrols along the coast of North Wales.  It disbanded on 22 January 1919.

On 31 August 1939 a unit titled 'S' Squadron was formed at Habbaniya in Iraq with Vincents for patrols duties, the was redesignated No 244 Squadron on 1 November 1940 at Shaibah, to where it had moved in September 1940.  In May 1941 it took part in attacks against the Iraqi Army during the Iraqi uprising and in August it began reconnaissance operations over Iran.

Oxfords began to arrive in January 1942, in order to train crews in readiness for receiving Blenheim, which arrived in April, although it would January 1943 before the last Vincent was retired.  Also in January the squadron transferred to Sharjah and once re-equipped and converted, it began anti-submarine patrols with the Blenheims.  From February 1944 Wellingtons began to replace the Blenheims, a process completed in April.  During this conversion the squadron moved to Masirah, where it remained until disbanding on 1 May 1945.

The Badge shown above was never officially authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

VM Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 245 (Northern Rhodesian) Squadron

No 245 Squadron BadgeFormed on 20 August 1918 from No's 426 & 427 Flights at Fishguard, its Short 184s flew anti-submarine patrols over the southern Irish Sea.  It disbanded on 19 May 1919.

The squadron reformed at  Leconfield on 30 October 1939 equipped with Blenheim fighters and from January 1940, Battles.  Both of these types were replaced by Hurricanes in March 1940 an in May it moved to Drem in Scotland.  However, during the Dunkirk evacuation it operated a detachment from Hawkinge but in July it was transferred to Aldergrove in Northern Ireland, where it remained throughout the Battle of Britain on defensive duties.

In July 1941 it moved to Ballyhalbert and remained there until September 1941, when it returned to England and began offensive sweeps   In January 1943, it moved to Scotland, again, where it began converting to Typhoons, taking these back down south in March.  The squadron was allocated to the 2nd Tactical Air Force on its formation  in June and soon began attacking enemy lines of communication and other suitable targets in preparation for Operation Overlord.  From April it began using rocket projectiles in on 27 June 1944, it moved onto the continent, from where it continued to support the Allied advance through France, the Low Countries and into Germany.  The squadron disbanded in Germany on 10 August 1945.

Meanwhile at Colerne, No 504 Squadron was re-numbered as No 245, becoming part of the first jet fighter wing in the RAF.  It remained a part of Fighter Command's frontline being progressively equipped with Meteor F Mk 3s, Mk 4s, Mk 8s and finally Hunter F Mk 4s until disbanding at Stradishall on 3 June 1957.  From 11 February 1949 No 266 Squadron was linked to it, this association ending on 13 July 1952.  The squadron reformed on 21 August 1958, when No 527 Squadron at Watton was renumbered.  It was now employed on radar calibration duties with Canberra B Mk 2s, moving the Tangmere on 25 August 1958 and remained there until disbanding by being renumbered as No 98 Squadron on 18 April 1963

Motto:      Fugo Non Fugio (I put to fight, I do not flee)

Squadron Codes used: -  

DX Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939, Mar 1940 - Jun 1941
MR Jun 1941 - 1951

Aircraft & Markings

Website in memory of Sqn Ldr Jack Collins, OC No 245 Squadron - 1944


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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