Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation


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No 353 - 361 Squadron Histories

Squadron numbers in the 300 series were allocated to units manned by personnel who had escaped from occupied Europe.  However, as expansion of the RAF continued and the flow of aircrew from Occupied Europe dried up, RAF squadrons in this series began to be formed from No 353.

No 353 Squadron

No 353 Squadron BadgeFormed on 1 June 1942 at Dum Dum near Calcutta from elements of No 62 Squadron and No 103 (Coast Defence) Flight, Indian Air Force.  It began patrolling the Bay of Bengal using Hudsons on 13 July and continued on these until 8 August 1943.

In August 1943 the squadron moved to Palam where it took over  the mail flights of No 194 Squadron.  Dakotas were added to its inventory in April 1944 to form 'D' Flight and by October Dakotas had replaced Hudsons completely.  Ansons arrived in August 1944 to undertake short range communications duties, these being replaced by Expeditors in January 1945.  

The squadron continued in its duties, becoming fully Dakota equipped by April 1945, until disbanding on 1 October 1946.


Motto:     Fear naught in unity

Squadron Codes used: -

-  Codes, if any, not known


Group Photo of Maintenance Flight, No 353 Squadron at RAF Palam

Group Photo of Maintenance Flight, No 353 Squadron at RAF Palam

Courtesy  - Sandra Lewis (whose father, A Lamb is in the second row, last on the right)

Aircraft & Markings


No 354 Squadron

Formed at Drigh Road near Karachi on 10 May 1943 in the General Reconnaissance role.  However, it was August before the squadron received any aircraft  in the form of Liberators, by which time it had moved to Cuttack.

It began anti-submarine operations on 22 September 1943 and added shipping attacks to its duties in December.  It continued in both these roles until the near the end of the war, disbanding on 18 May 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -

-  Codes, if any, not known

Aircraft & Markings


No 355 Squadron


No 355 Squadron Badge355 Sqn existed from 18 August 1943 until 31 May 1946 (less than three years).  Its first aircraft (Liberator IIIs) arrived in October 1943 and it undertook its first bombing mission on 20 November when three aircraft bombed the central railway station in Mandalay. 

It continued to attack targets in Burma such as the infamous Burma-Siam railway, airfields, bridges and harbour installations.  On the 2 May 1945, Fighter Commands only VC of WW2, Wg Cdr J B Nicholson, was flying as a passenger in a 355 Sqn Liberator, when it ditched at sea following an engine fire.  Its last mission being carried out on 7 August 1945 by four Liberators attacking the Burma-Siam railway.

With the end of hostilities, it undertook transport duties including the dropping of supplies to POWs carrying freight to Panang and dropping food supplies to the starving inhabitants of Southern Burma.  Originally operating from Salbini in India, it moved to Digri in January 1946, returning to Salbini in April.  Before disbanding the squadron joined No 159 in carrying out an aerial survey of the area.

Motto: Liberamus Per Caerula (We liberate through tropical skies)

Squadron Codes used: -

EG  Possibly allocated but not carried

Aircraft & Markings

No 355 Squadron Association: - e-mail: 


No 356 Squadron

No 356 Squadron BadgeFormed at Salbani in India on 15 January 1944, it was equipped with Liberators the following week.  Its first operations in June were meteorological flights which were followed by the first bombing missions on 27 July.

From its base in India it undertook missions against targets in Burma, Sumatra and Malaya.  Other operations included minelaying sorties in Japanese held ports.  The squadron moved to the Cocos Islands in July 1945.  From here it was intended that it took part in the invasion of Malaya.  However, the dropping of the atomic bombs negated the need for the invasion and the squadron reverted to supply dropping and transport operations until disbanding on 15 November 1945.




Motto:     We bring freedom and assistance

Squadron Codes used: -

-  None carried

Aircraft & Markings

No 356 Squadron Association: - e-mail:


No 357 Squadron

No 357 Squadron BadgeFormed at Digri on 1 February 1944 by raising No 1576 (Special Duties) Flight to squadron status.  The Hudsons and Liberators of No 1576 Flight formed 'A' Flight of the squadron whilst a Flight of four Catalinas was added to make 'B' Flight, these operated from Redhills Lake near Madras.

The squadron carried out supply dropping missions to guerrilla forces in Burma using the Hudsons, whilst the  larger aircraft operated as far afield as Sumatra and Malaya drooping supplies and landing agents.  The Catalina Flight was raised to squadron status on 21 March 1944 as No 628 Squadron but 'C' Flight was added in early 1945 equipped with Lysanders and at the same time the Hudsons were replaced by Dakotas.

It continued to carry out its clandestine operations until the end of the war, disbanding on 15 November 1945, although 'C' had been redesignated Burma Communications Squadron on th 7th of the month.

Motto:     Mortem hostibus (We bring death to the enemy)

Squadron Codes used: -  

-  None carried

Aircraft & Markings    


No 358 Squadron

No 358 Squadron BadgeFormed on 8 November at Kolar, in India, it was composed of personnel from No 1673 HCU.  Equipped with Liberators it began operations in January 1945 when it bombed Mandalay on the 13th.

However, this mission proved to be its one and only bombing raid as it was immediately transferred to special duties, dropping supplies and agents behind enemy lines.  Its first mission on 22 January shows how hazardous these were when the squadron lost three of the eleven aircraft dispatched.

The squadron continued in this role for the remainder of the war after which it started dropping supplies to POW camps in Java, Malaya and Sumatra before disbanding on 21 November 1945.



Motto:    Alere flamman (To feed the flames)

Squadron Codes used: -

TA  Nov 1944 - Dec 1944

Aircraft & Markings    


No 360 Squadron

No 360 Squadron BadgeAt the time of writing, this was the last new squadron to be formed and become operational in the RAF.  This took place at Watton on 1 April 1966 the number 360 was selected because it had never been used by the RAF previously and therefore had no prior history.  The unit was to be a joint RAF/Royal Navy unit and was to carry out ECM training for other units of the two services.

The squadron took over the Canberra aircraft of 'B' Flight, No 97 Squadron on 10 October 1966 and the Royal Naval personnel came the co-located No 831 Squadron which was then disbanded.  

The squadron continued to operate in its designated role and also undertook the in-house development of much of the sophisticated ECM equipment carried aboard the squadron's Canberras.  The squadron moved to Cottesmore on 21 Apr 1969 and to its final home, Wyton, on 1 September 1975 where it finally disbanded on 31 Oct 1994, its role being taken over by civil contractors, Flight Refuelling Ltd.

Motto: Confundemus (We shall throw into confusion)


 xx xxx 1991

Squadron Codes used: -

E  ? - Oct 1994

Aircraft & Markings    

  No 360 Squadron Association: - Leslie Stephens, Bramble Cottage, Moditonham, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6NN

No 360 Squadron Association Website


No 361 Squadron

Intended to operate in the same way as  No 360 but in the Far East, it was formed on 2 January 1967 and used No 360's aircraft.  

Following training of its crews it would have re-located, with its own aircraft to the Far East but circumstances changed and the squadron disbanded on 14 July 1967, before becoming fully operational.  The crews were simply transferred to No 360.

Squadron Codes used: -

-  None carried

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 17/11/14 using FrontPage XP

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