Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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No 256 - 260 Squadron Histories


No 256 Squadron

No 256 Squadron BadgeFormed in June 1918 from No's 495, 525, 526, 527 and 528 Flights at Seahouses with DH6 aircraft, which it used for coastal patrols along the Northumbrian coast.  It disbanded on 30 June 1919.

The squadron reformed on the night fighter role on 23 November 1940 at Catterick, equipped with Defiants.  Following its work up it moved to Pembrey, from where it began operations in February 1941.  From March 1941 it was based in the North-West to defend the Merseyside area until April 1943, when it moved to Ford.  In May 1942, the Defiants were replaced by Beaufighters and a year later these were superseded by Mosquito XIIs.  July 1943, saw the squadron supply a detachment to Luqa in Malta to provide night cover for the invasion of Sicily.

Once the invasion of Italy was complete, the rest of the squadron arrived in Malta on October, remaining there until April 1944.  Its next move was to Algeria, absorbing the Gibraltar Defence Flight equipped with Spitfires in May, but these had left by August.  At the same time as the Spitfires left, the squadron moved to Sardinia and in September to Italy.  From here it began intruder operations over the Balkans, which continued for the remainder of the war.

In September 1945, the squadron moved to Egypt, where, from April 1946, it adopted the additional role of meteorological reconnaissance.  A further move came in July when it re-located to Nicosia in Cyprus, but on 12 September 1946, the squadron disbanded.  It reformed briefly on 27 November 1952 as a night fighter unit at Ahlhorn  in Germany.  It was part of No 125 Wing and was equipped with Meteor NF Mk 11s, but on 11 January 1959, it was disbanded by being renumbered No 11 Squadron.

Motto:     Addimus vim viribus (Strength to strength)

Squadron Codes used: -  

SZ Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
JT Nov 1940 - Sep 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 257 (Burma) Squadron

No 257 Squadron BadgeFormed on 18 August 1918 from No's 318 and 319 Flights at Dundee, equipped with Felixstowe F2As, which it used for anti-submarine patrols over the North Sea.  It disbanded on 30 June 1919.

The squadron reformed as a fighter unit at Hendon on 17 May 1940, equipped with Spitfires, but the following month it exchanged these for Hurricanes.  It operated in throughout the Battle of Britain from bases in the South-East before moving to Coltishall in December.  From March 1941, it began offensive operations over France as well as conducting some night fighter missions.

Although some Spitfires were received in April 1942, these had left by the following month and when re-equipment began in July 1942, it was with Typhoons.  Initially missions consisted of low level interceptions, and escort duties but in July 1943, it began offensive operations as part of the preparations for Operation Overlord, having joined 2nd Tactical Air Force on its formation.  These operations expanded into fighter-bomber raids in January 1944 and following the invasion it moved to France in July.  It continued to move through France in into Belgium in support of the advancing Allied armies until 5 March 1945, when it disbanded at B89 (Mill).

It reformed on 1 September 1946 at Church Fenton as  a Meteor equipped fighter unit, but in April 1947, it moved to a new base at Horsham St Faith and finally in October 1950 to Wattisham.  Here in September 1954 it re-equipped with Hunter F Mk 2s and these were supplemented with F Mk 5s in July 1955, but on 29 March 1957, the squadron was disbanded again.  Its final incarnation lasted from 1 July 1960 to 31 December 1963, as a Bloodhound equipped surface-to-air missile unit at Warboys.

Motto:  Thay Myay Gyee Shin Shwe Hti (Death or Glory)

Squadron Codes used: -  

DT Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
ML May 1940 - Jun 1940
DT Jun 1940 - May 1941
FM May 1941 - Mar 1945
A6 Sep 1946 - 1951

No 257 Squadron - Group Photo 1941

Click on the image above to see a group photo of No 257 Squadron personnel in 1941, with Sqn Ldr 'Bob' Stanford Tuck as CO. (photo courtesy - Harry Marbrook [4th from right near aircraft wing])

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 258 Squadron

No 258 Squadron BadgeFormed on 25 July 1918 from No's 523, 524 & 529 Flts at Luce Bay, equipped with DH6s, which it used for coastal patrols along the Firth of Clyde and over the Irish Sea.  It disbanded on 5 March 1919.

Reformed at Leconfield on 20 November 1940, it moved north to Drem in December, where it took over the Hurricanes of No 263 Squadron.  Operations began in January 1941, from Acklington, but later that month it moved to the Isle of Man.  In April it moved south and began offensive operations over France as well as coastal patrols.  In October it was withdrawn in preparation for a move to the Middle East.  However, events in the Far East resulted in the squadron being re-directed to Singapore, where it arrived in January 1942.

Its arrival was too late to have any major effect on the final outcome of the campaign and ten days after arrival it was withdrawn to Sumatra and then Java.  On 25 February it transferred its remaining aircraft to No 605 Squadron and its personnel where evacuated to Australia, effectively disbanding the squadron.  The squadron re-appeared on 30 March 1942, when 'G' Squadron at Colombo racecourse was renumbered.  It was almost immediately involved in repelling Japanese carrier based attacks against Ceylon, but when these ceased, it moved to Calcutta in January 1943.

A month later it was back in Ceylon and remained there until August, when it returned to operations over Burma, which continued until May 1944.  At this time the squadron was withdrawn and began converting to the Thunderbolt. but it was December before these were taken into action in the ground attack role and on escort duties.  It was withdrawn again from operations in June 1945, in order to begin training for the invasion of Malaya.  The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan negated this invasion and following a short period in Malaya from September the squadron disbanded on 31 December 1945.

Motto:      In medias res (Into the middle of things)

Squadron Codes used: -

FH Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
ZT Aug 1944 - Dec 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 259 Squadron

No 259 Squadron BadgeAuthorised to form on 20 August 1918 from No's 342, 343 and 344 Flights at Felixstowe, flying Felixstowe F2As, it is doubtful as to whether its formation actually took place, although some sources state that it formally disbanded on 13 September 1919.

The squadron reformed on 16 February 1943 as a Catalina equipped general reconnaissance unit at Kipevu in Kenya.  From here its main duty was anti-submarine patrols over the Indian Ocean.  Detachments were operated from Congella in Natal from March 1943 and from June at Langebaan in Cape Province.  The latter detachment lasted until October 1943, when the task was taken over by No 262 Squadron.

By May 1944, the squadron's aircraft were mainly all based at Congella, whilst the squadron HQ remained at Kipevu.  The squadron re-assembled as a complete unit in September 1943 at Dir-es-Salaam, but almost immediately it began operating detachments from Masirah and Aden.  Sunderlands arrived in March 1945, but never fully replaced the Catalinas before the squadron disbanded on 30 April 1945.

Motto:      Haya ingia napigane (Get in a fight)

Squadron Codes used: -  

VP  Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 260 Squadron

No 260 Squadron BadgeFormed in August 1918 from No's 502 and 503 Flights at Westward Ho, equipped with DH6s for coastal patrols along the Devon coast.  It disbanded on 22 February 1919.

Reformed as a fighter squadron at Castletown on 22 November 1940, it operated Hurricanes on air defence duties and coastal patrols around Scotland until April 1941, when it was withdrawn for operations overseas.

Leaving in May, it arrived in Egypt in August and moved to Palestine for defensive duties, but in October returned to Egypt and began operations over the Western Desert.  These consisted of ground attack and escort duties and in February 1942 it converted to Kittyhawks, which were then used in the fighter-bomber role in support of the 8th Army.

Following the Battle of El Alamein it advanced through Libya and into Tunisia, and following the Axis collapse, it supported the invasion of Sicily.  Having moved to the island it supported the invasion of Italy and moved onto the mainland in September.  Conversion to Mustangs took place in April 1944, which it then used for fighter-bomber missions over Italy and the Balkans until the end of the war.  The squadron disbanded at Lavariano on 19 August 1945.

Motto:      Celer et fortis (Swift and strong)

Squadron Codes used: -  

OB Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
HS Feb 1942 - Aug 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 14/11/14 using FrontPage XP

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