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No 450 - 467 Squadron Histories


Squadrons numbered in the 400 series were technically units of the RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF, but their members were placed under the operational control of the RAF  and are usually considered to be part of the RAF's organisational structure, hence their inclusion here.

No 450 Squadron RAAF

Formed on 16 February 1941 at Williamtown in New South Wales as an 'infiltration' unit.  This meant that it would be attached to an existing unit to gain experience, in the case of 450 this was with No 260 Squadron in the Middle East, the 450 personnel actually forming most of the ground echelon with 260 providing the pilots.  In this form the squadron, operating Hurricanes, went into action in Syria in June 1941, after which in August it settled down to non-operational missions and acting as a repair and salvage unit, as a separate unit.

It began to receive its own Kittyhawks in December and moving to Egypt became operational in February 1942.  The squadron now operated in the pure fighter and bomber escort roles and was constantly moving base as the ground war progressed both westwards and eastwards.  In October it took part in the Battle of El Alamein and was now acting in the fighter-bomber role as well as its previous ones.

The squadron settled down to this routine following the advancing 8th Army all the way to Tunisia.  In July 1943 the squadron moved to Malta and from here covered the invasion of Sicily, before moving to that island to cover the invasion of Italy. The squadron moved to Italy on 17 September 1943 and began operations along the Adriatic coast.  For the rest of the war it conducted fighter-bomber sorties, anti-shipping strikes, tactical reconnaissance and ground attack missions, its final operation being as part of Operation Bowler, an attack on shipping in Venice.  the squadron disbanded on 20 August 1945 at Lavariano.

Motto:     Harass

Squadron Codes used: -

PD May 1941 - Dec 1941
OK Dec 1941 - Aug 1945

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 451 Squadron RAAF

Formed on 25 February 1941 at Bankstown at travelled to Egypt in May and on 1 July took over No 6 Squadron's duties at Qasaba.  Operating in the tactical reconnaissance role, its Hurricanes operated from within the Tobruk perimeter and supported ground forces during Operation Crusader

The squadron was rested in January 1942 being sent to Syria for non-operational flying duties, whilst providing a flight for the defence of Cyprus.  This flight stripped its aircraft down to the absolute minimum in order to attempt interceptions of high flying German Ju86Ps.

It was a year later before the squadron returned to operations in Egypt and it changed roles to that of pure fighter.  Equipped with both Hurricanes and a few Spitfires it was tasked with the defence of the Delta area.  It spent the next year in a virtual back-water and morale suffered accordingly, however in January 1944, it received Spitfire IXs and in March moved to Corsica, from where it flew offensive patrols and participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France.  In October 1944 it moved to Italy but the following month found itself en-route to the UK.

It began operations from Britain on 5 January 1945 and quickly made up for missed actions elsewhere.   In September the squadron joined the British Air Forces of Occupation but on 21 January 1946, it was disbanded at Wunstorf.

Squadron Codes used: -

BQ 1943 - Nov 1944
NI Nov 1944 - Jan 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 452 Squadron RAAF  

This squadron was the first RAAF fighter unit to be formed in Britain when it came into being at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 8 April 1941.  Initially the only Australians were the pilots, the OC, Flight Commanders and ground staff being RAF personnel, but within two months the unit was wholly Australian.

Becoming operational in May, the squadron moved  to Kenley in July 1941 and took part in the usual round of Circus, Rhubarb and Ramrod missions.  In March 1942 the squadron was posted to Andreas for a rest but in June found itself heading home to Australia, together with No's 54 and 457 Squadrons.  These three squadrons would form the RAF's No 1 (Fighter) Wing.

Its aircraft having been diverted to the Middle East it arrived in August and had to wait until September before receiving new ones.  It moved to its operational area near Darwin in January 1943 and together with the other two Spitfire squadrons was responsible for the air defence of Northern Australia.  Following a short detachment to Perth the squadron returned to the Northern Territories where it began offensive operations with an attack on the Japanese radar station on Baber Island.  On 16 December 1944 the squadron was transferred from RAF control to the RAAF's 1st Tactical Air Force. 

Squadron Codes used: -

UD Apr 1941 - Jun 1942
QY Sep 1942 - Dec 1944

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 453 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Bankstown on 29 July 1941, it was destined for service in Singapore, where it arrived on 15 August.  It was equipped with Brewster Buffalo fighters which had been considered in inadequate for operations in Europe, but were considered to be suitable in  the Far East.  The squadron became operational less than three weeks before the Japanese attack on Malaya and was immediately pitted against superior forces, both in terms of numbers and equipment.

Having moved further north to protect the fleet, it was forced to retire to Kuala Lumper after only six days and by 22 December the squadron was down to three aircraft.  On the 25th it moved back to Singapore and joined forces with No 21 Squadron RAAF before moving to Batavia in February.  However, the end was in sight and the squadron returned to Adelaide, where it disbanded on 15 March 1942.

The squadron reformed at Drem on 18 June 1942 as a result of No's 452 and 457 Squadrons being withdrawn for operations in Australia.  Beginning operations in July, these mainly consisted of convoy patrols and lasted until August when the squadron moved to Hornchurch, but still in a defensive role acting as escort cover.  In March 1943 it re-equipped with Spitfires IXs, having operated Mk Vs until then and it now began to to build up a number of victories.  In June 1943 it moved to Ibsley and now added anti-shipping strikes to it duties, but in October it moved to Scotland for defensive duties .

Returning south in January 1944, the squadron joined No 125 Airfield (later No 125 Wing) of the 2nd Tactical Air Force and was now involved in fighter-bomber operations in preparation for Operation Overlord.  Having provided cover for the invasion, it began operating from advanced bases in France from 15 June and moved onto the continent fully on the 25th.    However, its time in France was cut short when it was posted back to Coltishall in late September from where it carried out anti-'Diver' patrols and Jim Crows.  As the fighting moved closer to Germany the squadron found it harder to reach the front line and became more involved with withdrawal escort duties, finally disbanding on 31 May 1945 at Hawkinge.

Motto:     Ready to strike

Squadron Codes used: -

TD May1941 - Mar 1942
FU Jun 1942 - Jan 1946

Aircraft & Markings

 

No 454 Squadron RAAF

Planned to form on the middle of 1941, its ground personnel left Australia, but on arrival in the Middle East they were retained and used to service Liberators and Halifaxes.  It formally came in being on 30 September 1942 at Aqir equipped with Blenheims and the following month moved to Iraq, where it acted as training unit, giving refresher course to other Blenheim units.

In January 1943, the squadron moved back to Egypt, re-equipped with Baltimores but converted to the general reconnaissance role.  In now operated throughout the Mediterranean carrying anti-submarine patrols, anti-shipping strikes as well as the occasional bombing sortie.

However, in July 1944 it moved to Italy where it reverted to the light bomber role operating as part of the Desert Air Force against targets in Northern Italy and the Balkans.  It continued in these duties, adding that of night bombing for the last two months, until the end of the war.  It disbanded at Villa-Orba on 14 August 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -

- Codes, if any, not known

Aircraft & Markings    

No 454 Squadron Association: - e-mail:  bryros@rostronb.fsnet.co.uk

 

No 455 Squadron RAAF

Its ground echelon formed at Williamtown on 23 May 1941, as a proposed Wellington squadron, but before it had arrived in Britain, the air echelon was brought into being at Swinderby in No 5 Group on 6 June, as the RAAF's first UK based bomber unit.

Being allocated to No 5 Group, the squadron was equipped with Hampdens and it took these into action for the first time on 29/30 August 1941.  It carried out its last bomber operation on 15/16 April as it had been decided to transfer the unit to Coastal Command in the Torpedo bomber role.

Initially it carried out similar operations to those it had performed in bomber Command, but began training for the torpedo dropping role.  It carried out its first torpedo dropping sorties on 14 September from Vaenga in Russia, but within any success.  After this the squadron trained the Russians to operate the Hampdens, leaving them in Russia and returning to Britain in October.  Re-equipped it now carried out anti-submarine patrols, but still operated in the torpedo role whenever, possible.

The squadron converted to Beaufighters in December 1943 and recommenced operations in March 1944.  It was now part of the Leuchars Strike Wing acting as the escort cover to No 489 Squadron's torpedo carrying aircraft.  In April it moved to Langham, from where it could operate off the Dutch coast in the preparation for D-Day.  It moved back to Scotland, this time Dallachy, in October and once again began operations over the North Sea and along the Norwegian coast.  It continued operations after VE-Day being on the lookout for U-boats and disbanded on 25 May 1945 at Dallachy.

Motto: Strike and strike again

Squadron Codes used: -

UB Jun 1941 - Aug 1943, Jul 1944 - May 1945
2 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 456 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Valley on 30 June 1941, No 456 was the only night fighter unit of the RAAF.  Initially equipped with Defiants, most of its crews were RAF and it was September before it became operational.  At the same time the squadron began re-equipping with Beaufighters but it was January 1942 before it saw any action.

The squadron's sector was so quiet that it began taking part in daylight  convoy patrols and it claimed its next two victims on these operations.  In December 1942 the squadron converted to Mosquitoes and soon after it began more offensive Ranger operations.  Moving to Middle Wallop in March 1943 it continued its daylight offensive operations over France and was soon carrying out night intruder missions.

Moving to Fairwood Common in Wales in November, it re-equipped with Mosquito XVIIs, taking these to Ford in February 1944, where it began assisting in the preparations for D-Day.  After the invasion it conducted night anti-'Diver' patrol against V-1 flying bombs.  A reversion to night defence brought little activity and in December the squadron moved to Church Fenton, where it received Mosquito XXXs, it also found more trade in the form of German intruders attempting to attack returning bombers over their airfields.

With the reduction in activity over Britain, the squadron began bomber support operations from Bradwell Bay in Essex for the remainder of the war, disbanding there on 15 June 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -

PZ Jun 1941 - Nov 1941
RX Nov 1941 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 457 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Baginton on 16 June 1941, with RAF ground personnel and Australian pilots, it was equipped with Spitfire Is becoming operational in July.  In August it moved to the Isle of Man and began convoy patrols and carried out defensive duties and at the same time it acted as a transition unit  for No 452 Squadron, training pilots to join its sister unit in 11 Group.

No 457 eventually moved south into the action in March 1942, when it re-positioned to Redhill, from where it joined in offensive operations over France.  However, its time in 11 Group was short-lived, because in May the squadron headed for Kirton-in-Lindsey where it began to prepare for the move back to its homeland, which began in June 1942, together with two other squadrons, No 54 RAF and No 452 RAAF..

Arriving in August, it moved to its operational base at Livingstone near Darwin in January 1943 and together with the other two Spitfire squadrons was responsible for the air defence of Northern Australia.  Following a short detachment to Guildford the squadron returned to the Livingstone but still found little action and on 16 December 1944 the squadron was transferred from RAF control to the RAAF's 1st Tactical Air Force. 

Squadron Codes used: -

BP Jun 1941 - Jun 1942
ZP Aug 1942 - Dec 1944

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 458 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Williamtown on 8 July 1941, it had arrived at Holme-on-Spalding Moor by the end of August and began working up as a Wellington IV bomber squadron in No 1 Group.  Its first operational mission was on 20/21 October but after its mission of 28/29 January 1942 it was withdrawn from operations and prepared for overseas service.

Its ground crews arrived in Egypt in May after which it aircrew began ferrying Wellingtons out, but due to the lack of replacements in the area, these aircraft and crews were allocated to existing units as were the ground personnel.  However, the squadron, though never formally disbanding, reformed in September but in the Torpedo bomber and general reconnaissance role.  Equipped with Wellingtons still the unit operated over the Mediterranean and Aegean beginning operations on 1 November 1942.  It scored a number of successes and operated a detachment from Malta from September 1942 to March 1943.

In April Wellington XIIIs arrived  and it was now based in North Africa, but was carrying out patrols in the Sicily Corsica and Sardinia areas.  In January 1944, it received Leigh-Light equipped aircraft and was now able to operate at night, now mainly being involved in anti-submarine patrols.  It maintained this pattern until September 1944 when it moved to Italy and began attacking convoys and ports.  Its final move took place in January 1945, when it re-located to Gibraltar, where it disbanded on 8 June 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -  

MD Oct 1942 - Apr 1943

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 459 Squadron RAAF

Formed in Egypt on 10 February 1942 as a general reconnaissance unit, it was equipped with Hudsons, for duties in the Mediterranean.  Mainly conducting anti-shipping patrols, it also acted as escort (to aid navigation) to Hurricanes being ferried from Egypt to Malta.

The squadron continued throughout 1942 and into 1943 flying its anti-shipping reconnaissances as well as carrying out some strikes against coastal convoys and even attempted attacks on U-boats.  It operated detachments at St Jean, Aden and Cyprus at various times during this period and also began bombing attacks on coastal targets and also ranged up into the Aegean.

It added Venturas in December 1943 retaining some Hudsons until February 1944, but in July it re-equipped totally with Baltimores.  It continued in its previous role but also now acted as a reconnaissance force to locate targets for Beaufighter strike aircraft.  In February 1945, the squadron was stood down and moved to Chivenor, where it was to reform, but with the end of the war in sight, it was disbanded on 10 April.

Squadron Codes used: -  

GK Feb 1942 - 1943

Aircraft & Markings    

No 459 Squadron Association: - e-mail:  bryros@rostronb.fsnet.co.uk

 

No 460 Squadron RAAF

Formed at Molesworth on 15 November1941 as a Wellington equipped bomber squadron in No 8 Group, before this number was allocated to the Pathfinder Force.  However, in January 1942, No 8 Group was disbanded so the squadron was transferred to No 1 Group and moved to Breighton. Operations began on 12/13 March 1942 during an attack on Emden and it became a regular participant in Bomber Command operations until September.  It was now withdrawn in order to convert to the Halifax V, but this was rescinded and in October Lancasters arrived instead.

In May 1943, the squadron moved to Binbrook, which remained its base until after VE-Day.  It continued to operate as part of Bomber Command's Main Force for the remainder of the war, eventually moving to East Kirkby in July 1945, where it disbanded on10 October.

Motto:     Strike and return

Squadron Codes used: -  

UV Nov 1941 - May 1943
AR May 1943 - Oct 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

No 460 Squadron website

 

No 461 Squadron RAAF

Formed from a nucleus provided by No 10 Squadron RAAF at Mount Batten on 25 April 1942, it was equipped with Sunderlands becoming operational in the ASR role by June, by which time it was stationed at Hamworthy.

A month later it was also declared operational in the anti-submarine role and it was soon carrying out both duties over the Bay of Biscay.  In September two attacks were carried out on U-boats and the following month the squadron was making flying to and from Gibraltar carrying personnel and materials required for the forthcoming Operation Torch, the landing in North Africa.

During 1943, anti-submarine patrols continued and a number of claim were made and the squadron also rescued a number of ditched crews but lost some of its own in making these attempts.  Aircraft of the squadron also suffered from attacks by German long range fighters, but often managed to fight these off and made a number of claims for Ju 88's destroyed.  In April the squadron moved, yet again, this time to Pembroke Dock.

In January 1944, the squadrons area of operations switched to the Western Approaches in an attempt to keep te Channel clear as preparations got under way for Operation Overlord.  A detachment was sent to Sullom Voe in the Shetlands in September 1944 to operate along the Norwegian coast but after its return in October, the squadron settled down to patrolling the Western Approaches until the end of the war.  It disbanded at Pembroke Dock on 20 June 1945.

Motto:     They shall not pass unseen

Squadron Codes used: -  

UT Apr 1942 - Aug 1943, Jul 1944 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 462 Squadron RAAF

Formed on 7 September 1942 at Fayid, it was an amalgamation of detachments from No's 10 and 76 Squadrons operating in the Middle East and was the first Halifax squadron in the area.  Its first operation, against Tobruk took place on the night of 8/9 September, after which it undertook operations throughout North Africa, across the Mediterranean and the Aegean.  In March 1944, the squadron moved to Italy, but on the 3rd of the month, it was disbanded by being re-numbered No 614 Squadron.

The squadron reformed on 12v August 1944 at Driffield.  Still equipped with the Halifax, albeit the Mk III variant, it was now part of No 4 Group, operating as part of Bomber Command's Main Force until December 1944.  On the 22nd of that month, it stood down and by the end of the month had joined No 100 Group in the Bomber Support role.

Initially flying as Window droppers in feint attacks designed to draw German night fighters away from the main target, it later began to carry more sophisticated jamming equipment such as ABC and Carpet, operations with these beginning in March 1945.  The squadron disbanded at Foulsham on 24 September 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -  

Z5 1944 - 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 463 Squadron RAAF

Formed from 'C' Flight of no 467 Squadron at Waddington on 25 November 1943, it was equipped with Lancasters from the outset and began operations the following day.

It continued to operate from Waddington for the remainder of the war as part of Bomber Command's Main Force, carrying out its last mission on 25/26 April 1945, when it bombed an oil refinery at Vallo.

It's final operations of the war involved it in the repatriation of POWs from France, it's last being completed on 6 May 1945.  In July it moved to Skellingthorpe, where it disbanded on 25 September 1945.

Motto:     Press on regardless

Squadron Codes used: -  

PO Nov 1943 - Dec 1943
JO Dec 1943 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 464 Squadron RAAF

Formed as a light bomber unit at Feltwell in No 2 Group, on 1September 1942, it was equipped with the Lockheed Ventura. Operations began on 14 December, when the squadron's aircraft participated in the low level raid on the Philips factory at Eindhoven.

It continued operate as part of Bomber Command until 10 July 1943, when its parent group, No 2, was transferred to the newly formed 2nd Tactical Air Force.  The following month it began to re-equip with Mosquito VIs and operated this type until the end of the war.

Its role was now confused as it operated in the tradition light bomber role but it could also carry out intruder missions both during day or night.  It was also involved in some of the most accurate low level bombing missions of the war.  On 18 February 1944, together with No 487 Squadron, it breached the wallls of Amiens prison and was also involved in the attacks on Gestapo HQs at Aarhus (31 October 1944) and Copenhagen (21 March 1945).  From February 1945 the squadron moved to France and in April to Belgium, where it was disbanded on 25 September 1945.

Motto:    Aequo animo (Equanimity)

Squadron Codes used: -  

SB Aug 1942 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 466 Squadron RAAF

Formed on 15 October 1942 at Driffield, it was equipped with Wellingtons and was part of No 4 Group.  It moved to nearby Leconfield in December and from there carried out its first operation on 13 January 1943, when mines were laid off the Frisian Islands. 

Halifax IIs arrived in September 1943 but these were only intended for training and its operational equipment, Halifax IIIs arrived in October and it continued to operate this type until the end of the war, having returned to Driffield in June 1944.

On 7 May 1945 it transferred to Transport Command and re-equipped with Halifax VIs, however, on 20 June 1945 when it was re-numbered No 10 Squadron RAAF, thereby formally disbanding as a RAF unit.  However, to bring the story to a conclusion it moved  to Bassingbourn in September where it was due to convert to Liberators, but was officially disbanded on 26 Otober.

Squadron Codes used: -  

HD Oct 1942 - Oct 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

 

No 467 Squadron RAAF

Formed in No 5 Group from 'C' Flight of No 460 Squadron at Scampton on 7 November 1942, it was equipped with Lancasters from the outset carrying out its first operation on 2/3 January 1943 when five aircraft carried out a gardening mission.  It moved to Bottesford shortly after forming but in November 1943, moved to Waddington, where it remained for the remainder of its life.

It operated for the whole of its career as part of Bomber Command's Main Force and took part in the major operations fought by it.  One of its aircraft (R5868, PO-S) flew a total of 137 sorties and was selected for preservation.  For many years it stood at the entrance to RAF Scampton, but when the RAF Museum was established at Hendon, it was moved there and is now in the Bomber Command Hall of the Museum.

The squadron disbanded on 30 September 1945.

Squadron Codes used: -  

PO Nov 1942 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings


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