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No 310 - 347 Squadron Histories


Squadron numbers in the 300 series were allocated to units manned by personnel who had escaped from occupied Europe.  This page shows details of the squadrons manned by Czechoslovakian and Free French personnel.  However, between the formation of the first group and the final group of French squadrons there were a number of others formed (330 - 336), hence the break in the numbering sequence between 326 and 340.

No 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

No 310 Squadron BadgeFormed at Duxford on 10 July 1940 as a fighter unit composed of Czechoslovak personnel who had managed to escape from Nazi occupied Europe.  Becoming operational with Hurricanes in August 1940, it took part in the Battle of Britain, remaining at Duxford throughout the period and beyond.

In the new year it took part in fighter sweeps over France but in July moved north to Scotland.  December 1941 saw the squadron moving again, this time to Cornwall and later Devon until June 1943 when it returned to Scotland once again.  Here it formed part of the air defences for Scapa Flow.

Returning south in September, the squadron joined 2nd Tactical Air Force as a fighter-bomber unit both in preparation for and support of the Normandy landings.  However, unlike other units of 2 TAF it remained in Britain carrying out armed reconnaissance operations from bases in Kent and East Anglia.

Following the end of the war 310 Squadron flew to Czechoslovakia, in August 1945, to form part of the newly reformed Czech Air Force, disbanding as a RAF unit 15 February 1946.

Motto:  We Fight to Rebuild

Squadron Codes used: -  

UG Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
NN Jul 1940 - Feb 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

No 311 Squadron BadgeFormed at Honington on 29 July 1940 as a bomber unit comprising Czechoslovak personnel who had managed to escape from Nazi occupied Europe.  It operated Wellingtons in the bombing role until April 1942 when it was transferred to Coastal Command.

It continued to operate its Wellingtons in the anti-submarine role, initially from Northern Ireland and later from Wales until May 1943, when it moved to Beaulieu in Hampshire.  Here it converted to Liberators and moved its operational area to the Bay of Biscay.  In August 1944 the squadron moved, again, this time to Scotland where it patrolled along the Norwegian coast.

Following the end of the war 311 Squadron was transferred to Transport Command,  in August 1945, flying personnel and materials to Czechoslovakia. It disbanding as a RAF unit on 15 February 1946 and became part of the newly reformed Czech Air Force.

Motto:      Na mnozstui nehledte (Never regard their numbers)

Squadron Codes used: -  

HD Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
KX Jul 1940 - Apr 1942
PP 1945 - Feb 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

No 312 Squadron BadgeFormed at Duxford on 29 August 1940 as a fighter unit composed of Czechoslovak personnel who had managed to escape from Nazi occupied Europe.  Initially sent to Speke, with Hurricanes, as part of Liverpool's defences, it moved to Kenley in May 1941 from where it joined in offensive sweeps over the continent.

A move to Scotland came in August 1941 and to the South-West in January 1942, remaining in the area until June 1943 when it moved to defend the Orkneys.  On returning south in September it joined 2nd Tactical Air Force and began offensive operations against targets in Northern France in preparation for the forthcoming invasion.

In April 1944 its role was changed to that of fighter-bomber, supporting the invasion, but when other units of 2 TAF moved to France, it moved to East Anglia from where it carried out bomber escort duties until the end of the war.

Following the end of the war 312 Squadron flew to Czechoslovakia, in August 1945, to form part of the newly reformed Czech Air Force, disbanding as a RAF unit 15 February 1946.

Motto:  Non Multi Sed Multa (Not many men but many deeds)

Squadron Codes used: -

KW Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
PJ or RJ 1940 (1 month)
DU Aug 1940 - Feb 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

No 313 Squadron BadgeFormed at Catterick on 10 May 1941 as a fighter unit composed of Czechoslovak personnel who had managed to escape from Nazi occupied Europe.  It was equipped with Spitfires from the outset and remained so throughout its career.

Initially moving to Cornwall in August, it moved into No 11 Group at Hornchurch in December 1941.  In June 1943 it moved up to Scotland, but two months later returned south in the bomber escort role.  At the same time it became part of 2nd Tactical Air Force and began to take part in operations in preparation for the invasion.

The squadron moved back to Scotland, the Orkneys, in July 1944 where it was to provide protection for the fleet in Scapa Flow.  When it returned to East Anglia in October it resumed its escort duties to daylight bombing missions as well as beginning ground attack operations over the Low Countries.

Following the end of the war 313 Squadron flew to Czechoslovakia, in August 1945, to form part of the newly reformed Czech Air Force, disbanding as a RAF unit 15 February 1946.

Motto:  Jeden Jestřáb Mnoho Vran Rozhání

 

(One hawk scatters many crows)

Squadron Codes used: -  

LH Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
RY May 1941 - Feb 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 320 (Netherlands) Squadron

No 320 Squadron BadgeAs the Germans closed in on bases of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service, some of its crews were able to escape to England in their aircraft.  Amongst the type s flown over were a number of Fokker TVIIIW seaplanes, which were sent top Pembroke Dock and formed into No 320 Squadron on 1 June 1940.

Although an extremely capable aircraft, the lack of spare resulted in their replacement by Anson in September 1940.  Some Hudsons arrived in October and for the next year the squadron flew both types.  No 321 Squadron was absorbed  on 18 January 1941 and in March it moved to Leuchars in Scotland, remaining there for over a year, moving south to Bircham Newton in April 1942.

On 15 March 1943, the squadron moved again, this time to Methwold and with it came a change of Group, role and equipment.  The squadron joined No 2 Group, then in Bomber Command but soon to be transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force, in the light bomber role receiving Mitchells for the purpose and operations began in August.  Its main targets were communication centres and enemy airfields and in October it moved to Belgium.

For the last week of the war it was based on German soil and on 2 August 1945 the squadron was transferred to the Royal Netherlands Navy, disbanding as a RAF unit.

Motto:      Animo libre dirigimur (We are guided by the mind of liberty)

Squadron Codes used: -  

SP Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
TD Jun 1940 - Oct 1940
NO Oct 1940 - Aug 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 321 (Netherlands) Squadron

Originally formed at Pembroke Dock from personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service on 1 June 1940.  However, it was decided to equip the squadron with Ansons and so on 24 June the unit moved to Carew Cheriton, from where it began anti-submarine operations on 28 July 1940.  With the German occupation of the Netherlands fewer personnel were available to equip two units, so on 18 January 1941, the squadron was absorbed by No 320 Squadron.

Following the invasion of Malaya and Java by the Japanese in December 1941/January 1942, four Catalinas of the Royal Netherlands Navy managed to escape from Java and reach Ceylon.  These aircraft ands crews were immediately pressed into service carrying out anti-submarine patrols over the Indian Ocean.  A further five Catalinas arrived in May and on 15 August 1942, they were all formed into a new No 321 Squadron.

The squadron was based at China Bay in Ceylon until 1945 but it operated detachments from South Africa, Masirah and Socotra at various times during this period.  In December 1944 Liberators were received to supplement the Catalinas and in July 1945 the squadron moved to the Cocos Islands.  The dropping of the Atomic Bombs negated the planned invasion of Japan and instead the squadron began supply flights to Java and Sumatra moving to Batavia in October, where it was transferred to Royal Netherlands Air Force on 8 December 1945, thereby ceasing to be a RAF unit.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

JS  Allocated Apr - Sep 1939

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 322 (Dutch) Squadron

No 322 Squadron BadgeAs personnel escaped from the Netherlands following the German occupation, many of them were allocated to No 167 Squadron.  It was decided in 1943 to create a Dutch fighter unit and on 12 June, No 167 was re-numbered as No 322.  Based at Woodvale, it was equipped with Spitfire Vs and was engaged in defensive duties in the North-West.

In December 1943 it moved to Hawkinge and began offensive operations but in February 1944 it moved to Scotland to  train for the tactical support role.  When it returned to south in March it was to Acklington , where it joined No 147 Airfield (later No 147 Wing) of the 2nd Tactical Air Force and equipped with Griffon engined Spitfire XIVs.

Having taken part in the preparations for the invasion as well as Operation Overlord itself, the squadron found itself retained in Britain to combat the V-1 flying bombs being unleashed against southern England.  However, in August, with the V-1 threat diminished, the squadron converted to Spitfire IXs and began training in the ground attack role.  Operating from Biggin Hill it carried out this role against targets in the Low Countries and that of bomber escort for the day bombers of No 2 Group.

The squadron eventually returned to its home country on 3 January 1945 and continued to operate from there before moving into Germany itself at the end of the war.  The squadron finally disbanded on 7 October 1945 at Wunstorf.  However, the squadron number is still in use by the Royal Netherlands Air Force as a tribute and in recognition of its wartime service.

Motto:      Niet praten maar doen (Actions not words)

Squadron Codes used: -

 

ZQ Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
VL Jun 1943 - Oct 1944 (Codes taken over from No 167 Sqn) 
3W Oct 1944 - Oct 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 326 (GC/II/7 'Nice') Squadron

Formed on 1 December 1943 by renumbering a French unit based in Corsica and together with No 327 and 328 Squadrons, it formed a Free French fighter Wing on the island.

The Wing covered the Allied landing in Southern France in August 1944 and in September moved to Alsace-Lorraine, where they flew offensive patrols supporting the First French Army on its advance into Germany.

Initially equipped with Spitfire VB/Cs, and IXs, by April 1944 the Mk Vs had gone and the squadron operated the Mk IX until November 1945, when it ceased to be a RAF unit.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

QU Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
91 Dec 1943 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 327 (GC/I/3 'Corse') Squadron

Formed on 1 December 1943 by renumbering a French unit based in Corsica and together with No 326 and 328 Squadrons, it formed a Free French fighter Wing on the island.

The Wing covered the Allied landing in Southern France in August 1944 and in September moved to Alsace-Lorraine, where they flew offensive patrols supporting the First French Army on its advance into Germany.

Initially equipped with Spitfire VB/Cs, and IXs, by April 1944 the Mk Vs had gone and between July and September 1944 it also used the Mk VIII, after which it reverted to just the Mk IX, which it continued to operate until November 1945, when it ceased to be a RAF unit.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

LP Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
7E Dec 1943 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 328 (GC/I/7 'Provence') Squadron

Formed on 1 December 1943 by renumbering a French unit based in North Africa and together with No 326 and 327 Squadrons, it formed a Free French fighter Wing on the island of Corsica, where it moved to join the other two.

The Wing covered the Allied landing in Southern France in August 1944 and in September moved to Alsace-Lorraine, where they flew offensive patrols supporting the First French Army on its advance into Germany.

Initially equipped with Spitfire VB/Cs, and IXs, by April 1944 the Mk Vs had gone and between July and September 1944 it also used the Mk VIII, after which it reverted to just the Mk IX, which it continued to operate until November 1945, when it ceased to be a RAF unit. 

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

MN Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
S8 Dec 1943 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 329 (Cicognes) Squadron

Another French unit which had been operating in North Africa, it moved to Britain and on arrival at Ayr on 5 January 1944 was designated No 329 Squadron.

However, it did not receive any aircraft until it moved to Perranporth on 22 January, when it received Spitfire V and IXs in February, the Vs having been withdrawn by March.  Becoming operational with its Mk IXs on the 1 March, it joined No 145 Wing of 2nd Tactical Air Force.

After covering the Normandy landing, the squadron as part of 145 Wing moved to the continent in August 1944 and following the Allied advance was based in the Low Countries by September.  However, in March 1945 the squadron returned to Scotland (Turnhouse and Skeabrae) and in May moved to the West Country, eventually disbanding at Fairwood Common on 17 November 1945.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

OA Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
5A Jan 1944 - Nov 1944

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 340 (GC/IV/2 'Ile de France') Squadron

Formed at Turnhouse on 7 November 1941 from Free French personnel, equipped with Spitfires.  Defensive duties were its main function until moving south in April 1942, where it began offensive operations over its home country.

Just under a year late  the squadron returned to squadron, giving up the Spitfire IXs it had operated since October 1942 for Mk Vs.  It re-equipped with the Mk IX in January 1944, having moved to the South-West in the previous November.  In April it became part of No 145 Airfield (later 145 Wing) as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

The squadron participated in the preparations for and the actual invasion and in August 1944 re-located to its home country.  In September it moved forward to Belgium but in November returned to Biggin Hill for bomber escort duties,  In December it moved north to Scotland but rejoined 2 TAF in February 1945.  Except for two weeks in September 1945 when it returned to Tangmere and Warmwell, the squadron remained part of 2 TAF and the occupation forces until being transferred to Armée de l'Air on 25 November 1945 at Fassberg.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

YK Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
GW Nov 1941 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 341 (GC/III/2 'Alsace') Squadron

No 341 Squadron BadgeFormed from Free French personnel at Turnhouse on 15 January 1941, who had  previously been operating as a Flight in the Western Desert.  It was equipped with Spitfire VBs and moved south in March, receiving Spitfire IXs for offensive sweeps over its home country.

When it moved to Perranporth in October 1942, it reverted to Mk VBs but regained Mk IXs in February 1944.  In April it joined No 145 Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force and began preparatory operations for Operation Overlord as well as covering the landings themselves in June.

Together with the rest of the Wing, No 341 moved to France in August and supported the Allied armies during their advances, arriving in Belgium in September.  The squadron remained with the Wing, except for a month's rest at Turnhouse in February 1945, as it advanced into Germany and briefly joined the occupation forces until 7 November 1945 when it gave up its aircraft and was transferred to Armée de l'Air control, ceasing to be a RAF unit.

Motto: Friendship

Squadron Codes used: -  

PL Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
NL Jan 1943 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 342 (GB/I/20 'Lorraine') Squadron

No 342 Squadron BadgeIn 1943 personnel of the French Escadrilles 'Metz' and 'Nancy' in the Mediterranean where transferred to the UK.  On 7 April 1943 these units were combined and redesignated No 342 Squadron, the two flights retaining the previous identities.  As part of No 2 Group, the squadron was equipped with the Douglas Boston, which it took into action for the first on 12 June.

In early 1944 their main targets became the V-1 launching sites in the Pas de Calais as well as carrying out interdiction missions in an attempt to seal off the proposed invasion area.

The squadron moved its home country in October 1944 from where it continued to support the Allied armies as they pushed towards Germany.  In March 1945 Mitchells began to replace the Bostons, a process completed by April, by which time the squadron based in Holland.  The squadron was transferred to the Armée de l'Air on 2 December 1945, thereby ceasing to be a RAF unit.

Motto: Nous Y Sommes (Here we are)

Squadron Codes used: -  

LK Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
OA Apr 1943 - Dec 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 343 (Flotille 7E) Squadron

Flotille 7E of the French Navy had been based in West Africa as a flying boat unit since before the war and following the invasion of North Africa in November 1942, as with other Vichy units, it joined the Allied side and became part of No 295 Wing. 

In July 1943 it received some Sunderlands and the following November (29th) was redesignated No 343 Squadron.

The squadron continued to operate in the anti-submarine role until the end of war and on 27 November 1945 ceased to be a RAF unit when it was transferred back to French control.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

ND  Allocated Apr - Sep 1939 

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 344 (Flotille 1E) Squadron

Flotille 1E of the French Navy had been based in West Africa as a land based anti-submarine unit since before the war and following the invasion of North Africa in November 1942, as with other Vichy units, it joined the Allied side and became part of No 295 Wing. 

It immediately received Wellingtons and the following November (27th) was redesignated No 344 Squadron.

The squadron continued to operate in the anti-submarine role until the end of war and on 27 November 1945 ceased to be a RAF unit when it was transferred back to French  control.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

GT  Allocated Apr - Sep 1939

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 345 (GC/II/2 'Berry') Squadron

No 345 Squadron BadgeAnother squadron composed of French personnel brought back from North Africa, it was formed at Ayr on 12 February 1944. 

Equipped with Spitfires, it became operational on 2 May and following the formation of 2nd Tactical Air Force, joined No 141 Airfield (later 141Wing).  It covered the Normandy landings but unlike other French units it was November before it moved onto the continent and then it moved straight to Belgium, joining No 145 Wing.

It remained with the Wing for the remainder of the war carrying out bomber escort and ground attack operations.  It moved to Fassberg on 6 July 1945, where it ceased to be a RAF unit when it was transferred to the Armée de l'Air on 21 November 1945.

.

Motto: Nil Actum Credo Si Quid Supersii Agendum (I think nothing done if anything remains undone)

Squadron Codes used: -  

AQ Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
2Y Feb 1944 - Sep 1944

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 346 (GB/II/23 'Guyenne') Squadron

Formed at Elvington on 16 May 1944, it was composed of French personnel who had been in North Africa.

It was equipped with Halifax Vs initially, but by the time it became operational, in June 1944, it was mainly equipped with the Mk III. 

The squadron remained as part of Bomber Command's Main Force until the end of the war, beginning to re-equip with the Halifax VI in March 1945.  The squadron was transferred to the Armée de l'Air on 27 November 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -  

 

XL Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
H7 May 1944 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 347 (GB/I/25 'Tunisie') Squadron

Formed at Elvington on 20 Jun 1944, it was composed of French personnel who had been in North Africa.

It was equipped with Halifax Vs initially, but by the time it became operational, on 27 June 1944, it was mainly equipped with the Mk III. 

The squadron remained as part of Bomber Command's Main Force until the end of the war, beginning to re-equip with the Halifax VI in March 1945.  The squadron was transferred to the Armée de l'Air on 27 November 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -  

BB Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
L8 Jun 1944 - Nov 1945

Aircraft & Markings


All Squadron badges on this page are courtesy of Steve Clements (except 346 and 347 Sqns)

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

This page was last updated on 04/08/13 using FrontPage XP©

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