Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

Home Page

About this site

Quick Menu

Main Menu

Members' Area (Subscription service)

What's New

Help Needed?

Shop online from Amazon

Lopoking for ex-colleagues?

E-mail me

Please sign my guest book

Pleae read my guest book

Glossary

Bibliography

Links Page

Text links are shown below

This site has been 'Labelled with ICRA' to indicate the child friendly nature of the material contained in it

Link to Servicepals.com

In Association with Amazon.co.uk


Woodfield Publishing

- Home Page -

- About this site -

- Quick Menu -

- Main Menu -

- Members' Area -

- What's New -

- Help Needed -

- Online Store -

- Reunions -

- Contact Me -

- Sign Guest Book -

- View Guest Book -

- Glossary -

- Bibliography -


No 611 - 620 Squadron Histories


Numbers in the 600 series were originally allocated to squadrons of the Auxiliary Air Force.  However, the AAF had only reached No 616 by the outbreak of World War Two, and further squadrons starting at 617 began to be formed from 1943 onwards.  Although many squadrons were not formed until later in the war, the Air Ministry seems to have allocated code letters to many non-existent squadrons during the Munich Crisis in 1938, probably to confuse German Intelligence.

No 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron

No 611 Squadron BadgeFormed at Hendon as part of the Auxiliary Air Force on 10 February 1936, it moved North to Speke in May and received its first aircraft, Harts, in June.  Until January 1939 it operated as a day bomber squadron, re-equipping with Hinds in 1938, but was then re-designated a fighter squadron.

Spitfires arrived in May 1939 and the squadron carried out operations over Dunkirk and then took part in the Battle of Britain.  It operated in the day fighter role throughout WW2 and remained bases in the UK at various locations until disbanding at Peterhead on 15 August 1945.

With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 611 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Woodvale as a day fighter squadron.  It was initially equipped with Spitfire F 14s and F 22, until June 1951 when Meteor F 4s were received. These were replaced by F 8s in December 1951 but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded at Hooton Park, where it had moved in 1951, on 10 March 1957.  The squadron reformed in 2013 at RAF Woodvale as a multi-role unit.

Motto:   Beware Beware

Squadron Codes used: -

GZ May 1939 - Sep 1939
FY Sep 1939 - Aug 1945, 1949 - Apr 1951
RAR May 1946 - 1949

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

e-mail: - No 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron Association

 

No 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron

No 612 Squadron BadgeFormed at Dyce as part of the Auxiliary Air Force on 1 June 1937, it was initially equipped with Tutors.  By the end of the year it had received Hectors which it continued to fly up to and beyond 1 November 1938 when it converted from the Army Co-operation to the General Reconnaissance role In July 1939 it received Ansons, which were better suited to its new role..

It flew throughout WW2 as a General Reconnaissance unit within Coastal Command being successively re-equipped with Whitleys, and various marks of Wellington, disbanding at Langham on 9 July 1945

With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 612 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Dyce as  fighter squadron.  Initially equipped with Spitfire LF 16s and F 14s it converted to Vampires in July 1951 but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded on 10 March 1957. 

Reformed from The Air Transportable Surgical Squadron on xx xxx xxxx.

Motto: Vigilando custodimus (We stand guard by vigilance)

Squadron Codes used: -

DJ Jul 1939 Sep 1939
WL Sep 1939 - Aug 1943
8W Jul 1944 - Jul 1945, 1949 - Apr 1951
RAS May 1946 - 1949

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 613 (City of Manchester) Squadron

No 613 Squadron BadgeFormed at Ringway as part of the Auxiliary Air Force on 1 March 1939, it was initially equipped with Hinds.  By the end of the year it had received Hectors which it flew until April 1940 when it received Lysanders.

Remaining in Britain on the outbreak of war it operated over France on light bombing and supply dropping missions before assuming coastal patrol and air-sea rescue duties.  However, it started to training in the tactical reconnaissance role from Augustl 1941 when it received its first Tomahawks.  It began to re-equip in April 1942 with the Mustang, which it retained until October 1943.

It received Mosquito VIs from November 1943 and joined No 2 Group, beginning operations in December.   From May 1944 it took on the role of night intruder and continued in this role until 7 August 1945 when it was re-numbered No 69 Squadron.

With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 613 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Ringway as a fighter squadron.  Initially equipped with Spitfires F 14 and F 22s, it received Vampires in February 1951 but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded on 10 March 1957. 

Motto:  Semper parati ( Always ready)

Squadron Codes used: -

ZR Mar 1939 - Jun 1942
SY Jun 1942 - Aug 1945
RAT May 1946 - 1949
Q3 1949 - Apr 1951

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

Unofficial website on No 613

 

No 614 (County of Glamorgan) Squadron

No 614 Squadron BadgeFormed at Cardiff as part of the Auxiliary Air Force on 1 June 1937, it was initially equipped with Hinds.  By the end of the year it had received Hectors which it flew until November 1939 when it received Lysanders.

In June 1940 it moved to Scotland to carry out coastal patrols but from July 1941 it began re-equipping with Blenheims IVs, a process completed by January 1942.  During the first 'thousand bomber' raid in May 1942, it carried out bombing attacks against German airfields.  It also laid smoke screens during the Dieppe landings and in November moved to North Africa.

In North Africa it carried out attacks against enemy airfields and lines of communication until May 1943, when the fighting in that area ended.  It then became involved in shipping escort duties in the Mediterranean until being disbanded on 25 January 1944.

Just over a month later on 3 March 1944 No 462 Squadron at Celone in Italy was renumbered No 614.  Equipped with Halifaxes it was now involved in bombing mission over Italy and the Balkans and it  also carried out supply drops to partisans in those areas.  It re-equipped with Liberators in March 1945 but on 27  July it disbanded again.

With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 614 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Llandow as a day fighter squadron.  Initially equipped with Spitfires, these gave way to Vampires in July 1950 but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded on 10 March 1957.  The squadron reformed in September 2013 at Cardiff as a multi-role unit.

Motto:  Codaf I geislo (I rise to search)

Squadron Codes used: -

YX  Apr 1939 - 1940
LJ 1940 - Aug 1942
RAU May 1946 - 1949
7A 1949 - 1950

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron

No 615 Squadron BadgeFormed at Kenley as part of the Auxiliary Air Force on 1 June 1937, it was initially equipped with the Audax.  By the end of the year it had received Hectors which it flew until November 1938 when it received Gauntlets and became a fighter squadron at the same time.

It went to France as part of the Air Component of the BEF in November 1939 having re-equipped with Gladiators in May.  Conversion to Hurricanes took place just prior to the German invasion of France but by 20 May 1940, the squadron was back at Kenley.

It took part in the early actions of the Battle of Britain but then moved to  Scotland to rest.  It later took part in offensive sweeps over Europe and defence duties in Wales before moving to India in April 1942.  It moved to Burma in December 1942, returned to India to re-equip in May 1943 receiving Spitfires in October.  It returned to operations on the Burma front in November but was recalled to India again, for defensive duties in August 1944, before returning to Burma in February 1945, disbanding on 10 June.

No 135 Squadron, equipped with Thunderbolts was renumbered 615 on the same day and began training for the invasion of Malaya.  However, the Japanese surrender ended these plans and the squadron disbanded on 25 September 1945.

With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 615 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Biggin Hill as a day fighter squadron equipped with Spitfire 14s.  Spitfire F 21s were received in 1947 and F 22s in 1948, both marks being flown until 1950, when the squadron re-equipped with Metoer F 4s.  Meteor F 8s were received  in September 1951 but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded on 10 March 1957. 

Motto:  Conjunctis Viribus (By our united force)

Squadron Codes used: -

RR Nov 1938  - Sep 1939
KW Sep 1939 - Sep 1945
RAV Jul 1946 - 1949
V6 1949 - Apr 1951

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron

No 616 Squadron BadgeOn 1 November 1938 No 503 Squadron re-located to Doncaster and was re-numbered No 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force.  It was originally equipped with Hind light bombers but from 15 November it was re-designated a fighter unit.  It re-equipped with Gauntlets in 1939 and Spitfires in November 1939.  

It began the Battle of Britain in its home county of Yorkshire but in mid August it joined the main battle when it moved to Kenley.  Fighter sweeps over the continent began in April 1941 receiving Spitfire IIs in February 1941 and VBs in July 1941.  In April 1942 it received the high altitude version of the Spitfire, the Mk VI and from September 1943, the Mk VII.  

However, before the last Spitfire had left a new aircraft was arriving in the form of the RAF's first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor.   These arrived just in time to meet the threat posed by the V1 flying bomb, for which the squadron was retained in Britain.  In February 1945 a detachment of the squadron went to Belgium, with the whole squadron moving to Holland in April 1945 and when the war ended the squadron found itself at Lubeck, where it disbanded on 29 August 1945.

With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 616 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Finningley as a night fighter unit equipped with the Mosquito NF 30.  It became a day fighter unit again in 1948 and that December received the aircraft that it had introduced into service four years earlier, the Meteor F 3.  Meteor F 4s arrived in April 1950 and F 8s in December 1951, but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded at Worksop, where it had moved in 1955, on 10 March 1957. 

Motto:  Nulla Rosa Sine Spina (No rose without a thorn)

Squadron Codes used: -

QJ Apr 1939 - Jul 1941
YQ Jul 1941 - Aug 1945, 1949 - Apr 1951
RAW Jul 1946 - 1949

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 617 Squadron

No 617 Squadron BadgeConsidering its short existence during WW2, No 617 was probably the most well known RAF unit to emerge from the conflict, so much so that today it still remains an active RAF squadron, when many lower numbered (ie. more senior) squadrons are no longer active in the order of Battle.

617 was formed on 21 March 1943 at Scampton for the sole purpose of carrying out a single operation 'Chastise' .  That operation involved the low level delivery of a special mine able to 'bounce' over defensive netting and on the night of 16 May 1943, led by Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, the squadron attacked dams in the Rhur Valley.   Of the three, two - the Mohne and Eder were breached whilst the Sorpe remained largely undamaged.  Eight aircraft from the 19 dispatched failed to return and Wg Cdr Gibson was awarded the VC for his gallantry during the raid, during which he introduced a technique to be used throughout Bomber Command - the Master Bomber system.

Following this raid it was decided to retain the squadron, but it continued to operate in a specialised field.  Under the command of Wg Cdr Leonard Cheshire the squadron developed low level marking techniques, first using Lancasters and later Mosquitoes.  In this role the squadron often lead and marked precision targets for the whole of No 5 Group.  During the D-Day landings the squadron carried out Operation Taxable, whereby using Window metallic strips, it created the impression of an invasion force crossing the English Channel towards the Pas de Calais.

Its next special operations consisted of delivering another of Barnes Wallis' design, in the form of the 12,000lb 'Tallboy' earthquake bomb.  Using this weapon, the squadron destroyed the Saumur railway tunnel shortly after D-Day and later in conjunction with No 9 Squadron sank the Tirpitz in Thomso fiord.  At the end of the  war it was responsible for dropping the largest even high explosive bombs in history when it delivered the 22,000lb 'Grand Slam', another Barnes Wallis design, destroying targets such as the Bielefeld viaduct.  It was then allocated to 'Tiger Force' but the need for this force vanished when the Japanese surrendered following the dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  However 617 did move to India in January 1946 by returned to Binbrook in the UK in May.

Joining the peace time RAF, it was now equipped with Lincolns, retaining these until 1952 when it became the second squadron in the RAF to receive the Canberra jet bomber.  It continued to operate Canberras from Binbrook, except for a four month detachment to Malaya in 1955, until disbanding on 15 December 1955.

It reformed at its ancestral home, Scampton, on 1 May 1958 as part of the V-Force equipped with Vulcan B1s.  Re-equipping with B2s in 1961 it remained at Scampton, operating in the conventional bombing role after 1968 when the nuclear deterrent was passed to the Royal Navy, until disbanding on 31 December 1981.

It reformed once again on 1 January 1983 at Marham equipped with the Tornado GR1 in the nuclear strike role.  In 1993, it began to retrain for the anti shipping role, for which it now operates the Tornado GR4B (first ones received in 1994) equipped to launch the Sea-Eagle sea skimming missile.  From 1994, it has been located at Lossiemouth in Scotland alongside the only other GR4B equipped unit, No 12 Squadron, but is due to disband on 1 April 2014 in preparation for it to become the first operational unit to operate the F-35B Lightning II.

Motto:  Apres Moi Le Deluge (After me, the flood)

 
Standards Battle Honours*

Standard originally awarded on 15 Jan 1952 as a mark of His Majesty's appreciation of its outstanding achievements in operations and presented:-

lst -  14 May 1959

HM Queen Elizabeth II.

2nd -  13 January 1988

HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Fortress Europe, 1943-1944: The Dams: Biscay Ports, 1944: France & Germany, 1944-1945: Normandy, 1944: Tirpitz: Channel & North Sea, 1944-1945: German Ports, 1945: Gulf, 1991:  Iraq 2003:

Squadron Codes used: -

TF Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
AJ 1943 - 1946
KC 1943 - 1952 (used alongside AJ)
YZ 1945 (only used on aircraft used to carry 'Grand Slam' bombs)
AJ Carried on Tornados

[Aircraft & Markings]

Dambusters Weblog

For more a more detailed history of No 617 in the latter part of WW2, order the book below: -

Beyond the Dams to the "Tirpitz"

 

No 618 Squadron

Formed shortly after No 617 on 1 Aril 1943, this squadron was also created to undertake special operations with a smaller version of Barnes Wallis' 'Bouncing Bomb'.

It was formed at Skitten  from a nucleus of crews provided by No's 105 and 109 Squadrons and was equipped with Mosquitoes, which each carried two of the smaller 'Highball' devices.

It was originally planned to use this device against German naval vessels along the Norwegian coast, but as these never moved out of their safe havens in Norwegians fiords, the squadron never became fully operational.

It was next decided to send the squadron to the Pacific for similar duties against the Japanese.  Embarking aboard HMS Striker on 30 October 1944, the squadron arrived in Australia in December.  A detachment was sent to the British Pacific Fleet base at Manus in March 1945, but when it became obvious that there would be problems operating an RAF unit in an area controlled by the US Navy, the squadron was disbanded on 29 June 1945.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -  

BN Allocated Apr - Sep 1939

[Aircraft & Markings]

 

No 619 Squadron

Formed as a  Main Force bomber unit within No 5 Group on 18 April 1943, it was equipped with Lancasters at Woodhall Spa.

It continued in this role equipped with the same type of aircraft although it moved bases a number of times, Coningsby - January 1944, Dunholme Lodge - April, Strubby - September  and Skellingthorpe - June 1945, where it disbanded on 18 July 1945.

No Badge Authorised

Squadron Codes used: -

KV Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
PG Apr 1943 - Jul 1945

[Aircraft & Marking]

  e-mail: - No 619 Squadron Association

No 620 Squadron

No 620 Squadron BadgeFormed as a heavy bomber unit within No 3 Group at Chedburgh on 17 June 1943 equipped with Stirlings.  It only operated as a bomber unit until November that year when it as transferred to No 38 Group, moving to Leicester East.

It now operated in the airborne forces role towing gliders and carrying out supply drops to resistance forces in France.  It took part in Operations Overlord, Market Garden and Varsity before flying troops to Norway in May 1945.

Shortly after this it converted to Halifaxes and in January 1946 it moved to Egypt, gaining a few Dakotas in June, but on 1 September 1946 it was disbanded by being re-numbered No 113 Squadron at Aqir.

.

Motto: Dona ferentes adsumus (We are coming bearing gifts)

  Squadron Codes used: -

 

TF Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
QS Jun 1943 - 1946
D4 Nov 1943 - 1946 (used with QS on transfer to Transport Command)

[Aircraft & Markings]

*Honours in Black are those the squadron has a been granted the right to emblazon on the Squadron Standard, but does not do so.

Honours in Red  are those actually emblazoned on the Squadron Standard

Honours in Blue are those the squadron has not been granted the right to emblazon on the Squadron Standard


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 19/10/13 using FrontPage XP

Back to Organizational Index Organisational Index                             [Top of Page]                        Sqns 621 - 650 Forward to 621 - 650 Squadrons