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No 166 - 170 Squadron Histories

No 166 Squadron

Click here to go to badgesIts formation as a Snipe unit was proposed on 9 May 1918, for a deployment  to France on 28 September, but these plans were cancelled on 4 July.  It eventually did form, but as a Handley Page V/1500 bomber unit, at Bircham Newton on 13 June 1918.  Its aircraft arrived just before the Armistice and the squadron did not become operational, although it was 31May 1919 before it was disbanded.

The squadron reformed at Boscombe Down by upgrading 'A' Flight of No 97 Squadron on 1 November 1936.  Initially equipped with Heyfords, these were exchanged for Whitleys in June 1939, however, in June 1938, the squadron had adopted a training role and this continued until 6 April 1940, when the squadron was merged with No 97 to form No 10 Operational Training Unit at Abingdon.

It was 27 January 1943 before the squadron re-emerged when detachments of No's 142 and 150 Squadron were amalgamated into No 166 at Kirmington.  Equipped with Wellingtons, it immediately joined the night bombing offensive, re-equipping with Lancasters in September 1943.  It continued to operate from Kirmington as part of Bomber Command's Main Force until the end of the war, disbanding on 18 November 1945.


Squadron Codes used: -  

GB Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
AS Sep 1939 - Apr 1940, Jan 1943 -  Nov 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations | Commanding Officers]


No 167 (Gold Coast) Squadron

Click here to go to badgesFormed at Bircham Newton on 18 November 1918 as the second V/1500 bomber unit of No 27 Group, it began to receive some aircraft but following the Armistice formation was slowed down and the squadron disbanded on 21 May 1919.

Reformed at Scorton as a fighter unit on 6 April 1942, it was declared operational the following moth and moved to Castletown in June to provide defensive cover for Scapa Flow.  The squadron moved to Ludham in East Anglia in June and began fighter sweeps over Belgium and Holland.  At this point the squadron was composed of a large number Dutch personnel and it was decided to form a purely Dutch unit, this necessitated renumbering the squadron in the 300 series, reserved for overseas manned unit.  As a result the squadron disbanded on 12 June 1943, when it was renumbered No 322 Squadron.

 It reformed at Holmsley South on 21 October 1944 as a transport unit in No 110 Wing.  It was equipped with Warwicks and was involved in flying services to European and West African destinations.  It began to operate Anson for sorter range services in May 1945 and in July the Warwicks had to be grounded for technical problems and until these were resolved in September, the squadron flew Dakotas belonging to No 147 Squadron, but on 1 February 1946, the squadron was disbanded.

From 1 February 1953 it operated as a ferry unit, having been reformed from No 3 (Long Range) Ferry Unit.  It disbanded again on 15 September 1958 when it was merged with No 147 Squadron to form the Ferry Squadron.

Squadron Codes used: -  

WJ Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
VL Apr 1942 - Jun1943
QO Feb 1953 - Sep1958

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]


No 168 Squadron

Click here to go to badgesNever formed or planned to be formed in World War One, this squadron formed at Snailwell on 15 June 1942 as tactical reconnaissance unit from a nucleus provided by No 268 Squadron.  It initial equipment Was Tomahawks but these were superseded by Mustang Is in November and the following month, it began attacking shipping and other coastal targets.

However, most of its activities involved carrying out exercises with the Army in preparation for the planned invasion of Europe.  To this end it joined the 2nd Tactical Air Force in July 1943, forming part of No 123 Airfield (later No 123 Wing) beginning actual reconnaissance operations over the continent in October.

Following the invasion, the squadron moved to France and provided tactical reconnaissance to 21 Army Group as it advanced through France and then into Holland.  In October 1944, it replaced its Mustangs with Typhoons and began armed reconnaissance sorties over Germany itself and providing escorts to daylight bombing raids.  The squadron officially disbanded on 26 February 1945 but it continued to operate for a further two days before being grounded for the last time.


Squadron Codes used: -

XF Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
EK Apr 1942 - Jul 1942
OE Jul 1942 - Nov 1942
QC Oct 1944 - Feb 1945


Aerial shot of a 168 Sqn Mustang
Detail of the Mustang from the photo above
Aerial shot of a 168 Sqn Mustang
Detail of the Mustang from the photo above
Aerial shot of a 168 Sqn Mustang
Detail of the Mustang from the photo above


Aerial shot of a 168 Sqn Mustang
Detail of the Mustang from the photo above
The photos above show aircraft of No 168 Sqn taken by others of the squadron, with a detail of each aircraft.

Photos courtesy of Chris Clark

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]


No 169 Squadron

Click here to go to badgesFormed on 15 June 1942 at Twinwood Farm in the tactical reconnaissance role equipped with Mustang Is.  Following work up it moved to Duxford in December 1942 and began operations, which consisted mainly of shipping reconnaissance and ground attacks sorties.  From July 1943 it was also employed in combating low level intrusions by German fighter-bombers but on 30 September 1943 it was disbanded at Middle Wallop.

The following day the ground personnel were posted north to Ayr, where a new No 169 Squadron was forming, equipped with Mosquitoes.  In December 1943 it moved to Little Snoring and was transferred to No 100 Group Bomber Command.  In January 1944 received its operational equipment in the form of Mosquito II night fighters and these were immediately used to begin night intruder operations against German night fighters both in advance of the bomber stream and against enemy airfields.  These duties were maintained until the end of the war, the squadron disbanding at Great Massingham, to where it had moved in June 1944, on 10 August 1945.


Squadron Codes used: -  

JQ Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
VI Oct 1943 - Aug  1945

Aircraft & Markings


No 170 Squadron

Click here to go to badgesNever formed or planned to be formed in World War One, this squadron formed at Weston Zoyland on 15 June 1942 as tactical reconnaissance unit.  Its early career  mainly  involved flying exercises with the Army, but on 4 January 1943, it began conducting reconnaissance sorties over the continent.  It later added low-level defensive duties to its list of tasks as well as attacks on lines of communication in France.  It became part of 2nd Tactical Air Force in July 1943, but was disbanded less than six months later on 15 January 1944.

On 15 October 1944, 'C' Flight of No 625 Squadron at Kelstern was raised to squadron status as No 170 Squadron.  Four days later the squadron began operations as part of Bomber Command's Main Force but three days after that moved to Dunholme Lodge and then in November to Hemswell, where it remained until the end of war, disbanding on 14 November 1945.


Squadron Codes used: -  

HS Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
BN Jun 1942 - Feb 1943
TC Oct 1944 - Nov 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

Squadron badge image on this page is courtesy of Steve Clements

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

This page was last updated on 08/06/17 using FrontPage 2003

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