Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

Home Page

Main Menu

Quick Menu

Members' Area

What New?

About this site


Help Needed?



Sign Guest Book

View Guest Book

Link to Amazon

Online Store

Contact Me

No 171 - 175 Squadron Histories

No 171 Squadron

Click here to go to badges

Formed on 15 June 1942 at Gatwick as part of Army Co-operation Command, it was equipped with Tomahawk I and IIa aircraft for the tactical reconnaissance role.

However, by the time the squadron began operations in October 1942, the Tomahawks had been replaced by Mustangs.  Coastal reconnaissances were flown along the French coast until the last day of December 1942 when the squadron was disbanded, its aircraft being passed onto No 430 Squadron.

171 reformed on 8 September 1944 when 'C' Flight of No 199 Squadron was hived off at North Creake.  The squadron was equipped with Stirling III aircraft and operated as part of No 100 Group in the Radio Countermeasures role. The Stirlings were retired in November 1944 and replaced by Halifax IIIs, which it used to the end of hostilities, the squadron disbanded on 27 July 1945.


Squadron Codes used: -

RS Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
6Y 1944 - 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 171 Squadron ATC Website

No 172 Squadron

Click here to go to badges

Formed from the Leigh Light Flight at Chivenor on 4 April 1942, it took over their Wellington aircraft equipped with the new anti-submarine device.  Operations began in June and it immediately located and attacked two submarines that first night.

A detachment went to Wick in Scotland in August and he following month this became No 179 Squadron.  In the meantime operations continued over the Western Approaches and the Bay of Biscay.  Its Wellington VIIIs were replaced by Wellington XIIs by March 1943 and these began to be replaced by XIVs in August and the squadron was fully equipped with the latter  by October 1943.

The squadron sunk the U-665 on 20 March 1943 and was averaging a sighting on 25% of its sorties.  The squadron operated detachments from Gibraltar and the Azores and from September 1944 the squadron relocated to Northern Ireland for operations over the Atlantic.  It disbanded at Limavady on 4 June 1945.


Squadron Codes used: -

LF Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
WN 1942 - 1943
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
OG Jul 1944 - Jun 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 173 Squadron

Click here to go to badges

Formed at Heliopolis in No 216 Group on 9 July 1942, the squadron was a communications unit operating a variety of types.  'A' Flight operated in the medium range role using Lodestars, whilst 'B' Flight operated in the short range role with a wide variety of light aircraft types. 

By September 1943 the squadron was reasonably standardised with Lodestars still operating on the medium range routes and Ansons, Arguses and Proctors operating on the short range communication routes.  However, on 29 February 1944 the squadron was disbanded by being re-named the Middle East Communications Squadron.

No 173 reformed on 1 February 1953 by the re-naming of No 4 (Home) Ferry Unit, as such it flew a large variety of aircraft but had a few Anson C Mk 19 aircraft for crew transfers.  The squadron disbanded on 1 September 1957.


Squadron Codes used: -

TV  Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 174 (Mauritius) Squadron

Click here to go to badges

Formed from a nucleus of eight pilots from No 607 Squadron at Manston on 3 March 1942, operations began immediately.  Equipped with Hurricanes it carried out shipping strikes and fighter-bomber attacks on coastal targets, which it continued up to the Spring of 1943.

In April 1943 the squadron began to receive Typhoons and started working  up on its new machines, becoming operational on 14 July.  In June the squadron had become part of the newly created 2nd Tactical Air Force carrying out bombing, escort and anti-shipping operations.  Early in 1944 its targets were widened to include V1 launching (Noball) sites and from April its prime weapon became the rocket projectile rather than the bomb.

In June 1944 following the Normandy landings, the squadron moved over to France, but this venture was short-lived when its airfield came under heavy bombing.  It soon returned and began its close air support role of the Allied armies in their advance across Europe.  Having arrived in Germany, the squadron disbanded on 8 April 1945.  Two further incarnations took place, the first started on 26 August 19445 when No 137 Squadron was re-numbered 174 but it disbanded again on 6 September.  Three days later No 274 Squadron on an Armament Practice Camp at Warmwell was re-numbered 174, equipped with Tempest Vs.  174 returned to Germany finally disbanding at Fassburg on 31 March 1946.


Squadron Codes used: -

RO Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
XP Mar 1942 -Apr1946

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

Photo of No 174 Squadron at B100 - Goch in 1945 (Photo courtesy of Dave Russell-Smith)

No 175 Squadron

Click here to go to badges

Formed on 3 March 1942 at Warmwell, it took over the Hurricane IIBs left behind by the departing No 402 Squadron.  Operations began the following month with an attack on an enemy airfield.  The squadron also undertook coastal patrols and shipping strikes but in July 1942 it was warned that it was to proceed overseas, however, this instruction was cancelled and the unit returned to its previous duties.

Typhoons arrived in April 1943 and it was with these that it operated for the remainder of the war.  On 12 June 1943 the squadron joined the newly formed 2nd Tactical Air Force and the same day began operations with its new aircraft with an attack on Abbeville airfield.

The squadron joined No 121 Airfield (Wing) and in February 1944 began training in the use of rocket projectiles, although operations continued at a reduced rate.  RP attacks began in April and the squadron now concentrated on this type of attack during the build up to Operation Overlord.  Following the Allied landings in June, 175 moved to France to operate from forward airfields in support of the Allied advance, however, the ground conditions were such that the aircraft suffered severe problems with their engines and these had to be regularly returned to Britain for replacement until July when the squadron had moved to more suitable landing grounds.

The squadron continued with its armed reconnaissance operations against rail and armoured target for the remainder of the war and remained in Germany until disbanding at Schleswig-Holstein on 29 September 1945.


Squadron Codes used: -

GL Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
HH Mar 1942 - Sep 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

The squadron badge was designed by Ron Hosking, who wrote about his time with the squadron in “Flying by Chance or Design”

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 08/05/24©

Back to Organizational Index Organisational Index                       [Top of Page]                                Sqns 176 - 180 Forward to 176 - 180 Squadrons