The Royal Air Force During World War 2
90 to 99 Squadrons
No. 90 Squadron
Squadron Codes: TW, JN, WP, WO, XY (C-Flight)
Motto: CELER (Swift)
The squadron first formed on 8 October 1917 at Shawbury in Shropshire. Equipped with Sopwith Dolphin fighters it was earmarked to go to France, but ended up not going, and instead disbanding on 3 August 1918. Reformed eleven days later as a Home Defence unit, it equipped with Sopwith Camels and Avro 504s, and remained on the RAF books until 13 June 1919, when it disbanded again.
Reformed on 15 March 1937 as a bomber unit from the ‘A’ Flight of 101 Squadron, the squadron equipped with Hawker Hinds, later taking on Bristol Blenheims Mk Is in March 1937 for developmental trials. The monoplaned Blenheim, although hopelessly outclassed in the Second World War, was loved by the squadron for its ease in the air and No 90 showed off its abilities in several flying demonstrations. In September 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, the unit replaced his long-nosed Blenheims IVs with the snub-nosed Blenheim Mark Is, but the unit was never to partake in the early combat operations of the war. Demoted to group pool squadron status, it trained the crews from other squadrons on Blenheims. Then, absorbed by 17 Operational Training Unit on 4 April 1940, the squadron vanished off the RAF’s books.
Reformed yet again, this time, nearly a year later on 7 May 1941, the squadron found itself raised to recieve the new American-manufactured Boeing B-17 bombers, arriving from the United States. These aircraft, the initial ‘C’ version would ultimately be rejected by the RAF as being unsuitable for heavy bombing, but at the time, the squadron used them for high-altitude bombing. The unit took these aircraft which they nicknamed as “fortresses” on what was the squadron’s first combat sortie, to Wilhelmshaven on 8 July. The port city was bombed from 30,000 feet. The squadron continued to use the “Fortresses” (a name which stuck) until September, but with little success. The Fortresses were sent to the Middle East, to operate with a squadron detachment in that theater until February 1942. With the departure of these aircraft, the squadron had no role and disbanded again on the 14th of that month.
Reformed for the fifth time in its history, on 7 November at Bottesword, with the control of 3 Group, the squadron equipped with the Shorts Stirling (an aircraft with its own problems), and took these aircraft on raids in “Happy Valley” the RAF’s sardonic nickname for the dangerous anti-aircraft infested Ruhr Valley. Taking part in the great raids against Hambrug and Peenemunde in 1943, it later laid mines in 1944. In May, it traded in its Stirlings for Lancasters, and played an active role in 3 Group’s operations for the rest of the war. From 8/9 Janaury 1943 to 22 April 1945, the squadron earned six DSOs, 123 DFCs with one bar, 1 CGM, AFC and 33 DFMs. The squadron remained for a time with Bomber Command after the war, disbanding on 1 September 1940.
Blenheim Mk IV – Mar 1937 to May 1941
Blenheim Mk I – Sept 1939 to Apr 1940
Fortress Mk I – May 1941 to Feb 1942
Stirling Mk I – Nov 1942 to 1943
Stirling Mk III – Mar 1943 to Jun 1944
Lancaster Mk I & III – May 1944 to Sept 1947
W/C J MacDougall – May to Jul 1941
W/C PF Webster – Jul 1941 to Nov 1942
W/C JC Clayton – Nov 1942 to Jun 1943
W/C JH Giles – Jun to Dec 1943
W/C GT Wynne-Powell – Dec 1943 to Jan 1944
W/C FM Milligan – Jan to Jun 1944
W/C AJ Ogilvie – Jun to dec 1944
W/C PF Dunham – Dec 1944 to Feb 1945
W/C Scott – Feb 1945 to N/A 1946
West Raynham, UK – 10 May 1939
Weston-on-Green – 7 Sept 1939
Upwood – 19 Sept 1939 to 4 Apr 1940
Watton – 7 May 1941
West Raynham – 15 May 1941
Polebrook – 28 Jun 1941 to 14 Feb 1942
Kinloss – Sept 1941 (Det for raid against Von Scheer in Oslo)
Shallufa, Egypt – Oct 1941
Bottesford, UK – 7 Nov 1942
Ridgewell – 29 Dec 1942
West Wickham – 31 May 1943 (airfield renamed as Wratting Common on 1 Aug 1943)
Wratting Common – 1 Aug 1943
Tuddenham – 13 Oct 1943 to 11 Nov 1946
Operational Performance (While with Bomber Command)
2 Group Fortresses – 20 bombing
3 Group Stirlings – 111 bombing and Resistance operations, 100 minelaying
3 Group Lancasters – 162 bombing, 19 minelaying
Totals: 293 bombing and Resistance Ops, 119 minelaying = 412 raids
Sorties and Losses
2 Group Fortresses – 52 sorties, 3 aircraft lost (5.6 percent)
3 Group Stirlings 1,937 sorties, aircraft lost (3.0 percent)
3 Group Lancasters – 2624 sorties, 25 aircraft lost (1.0 percent)
Totals: 4,613 sorties, 86 aircraft lost (1.9 percent)
An additional 26 Stirlings and 12 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.
No. 91 (Nigeria) Squadron
Squadron Code: DL
Motto: WE SEEK ALONE
First formed on 1 September 1917 at Spittlegate, the squadron was tasked as a training unit. Its main task was to train pilots and crew in wireless transmissions, using a variety of aircraft, but on 4 July 1918, it became a fighter squadron at Kenley and equipped with Sopwith Dolphins. But unable to become operational before the war ended, the squadron moved to Lopscombe Corner and disbanded on 3 July 1919.
No mention can be made of 91 Squadron without mentioning 421 (Reconnaissance) Flight. This flight, formed on 8 October 1940, came together at Gravesend with elements taken from 66 Squadron. Its main role was to carry out reconnaissance of enemy shipping in the Channel, and ascertain the markings and movements of Luftwaffe units in France and the low-countries. This last type of work, unflatteringly named “Jim Crow” after the racist edict in the American south promoting racial segregation, or perhaps after the tool used to bend rail lines, was a hazardous undertaking involving the interception of German aircraft coming in over the coast. The flight, commanded by Flight Lt “Paddy” Green, a South African, tendered such valuable service that the RAF decreed it to be raised into a full squadron.
Consequently, on 11 January 1941, after valuable service in the Battle of Britain, 421 Flight became a squadron, reforming at Hawkinge as 91 Squadron. By Mid-1941, the squadron had been equipped with the Spitfire Mk V – considered the cream of Allied fighters then, but soon to meet its match in the form of the German Focke-Wulf Fw190, first encountered in quantity during bold English Channel dash by the warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from Brest to Wilhelmshaven on 12 February 1942. Despite information of the imminent breakout of the two ships, a combination of bad weather and aircraft unserviceabily in the patrolling aircraft forced Fighter Command to abandon the initiative. The ships, soon discovered by a section of Spitfires from No 91, and by the Senior Air Staff Officer of 11 Group, Group Captain Victor Beamish, aloft in another Spitfire, prompted an immediate attack. But thick resistance from an enemy fighter screen, prevented the squadron from harming the ships.
Adopting “Rhubarbs” flights in May, the squadron found its two-aircraft sections of Spitfire Vs a liability in the presence of the Focke-Wulfs and halted operations. Instead, the squadron supported Fighter Command in escorting bombers and participating in large fighter sweeps over western Europe. Maintaining these activities, virtually without respite until April 1943, the squadron withdrew to Honiley in the Midlands to re-equip with the Spitfire Mk XII, a specialist low-altitude Spitfire interceptor. With the Mark XII, the squadron returned to Hawkinge near the southeast coast a month later, and on 25 May, shot down five of the vaunted Fw190s in a spirawling, effusive dogfight over the English Channel.
Adopting new tactics, the squadron gave up the “Jim Crow” flights and flew low-altitude “Ramrods” as part of the Tangmere Wing (with 41 Squadron). On most occasions, the squadron posted the Spitfires on the runway, ready to take off at a moment’s notice to intercept low-level intruders making nuisance attacks on English targets. Almost always, these intruders turned out to be Fw190s carrying a small-bomb load.
Such was the effectiveness of the Mark XII in squadron hands that in September, No 91 was the top fighter squadron in 11 Group with 18 kills to its credit.
By 1944, the squadron’s low-level engagements were not merely restricted to England but stretched across the channel to France. In March, the squadron equipped with Spitfire Mk XIV, a superlative improvement over the XII and with these it became heavily engaged in combating the V-1 Flying bombs landing on England. From June to August, the squadron shot down between 185 and 189 V-1s. Next, No 91 transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force, now receiving the tried and tested Spitfire Mk IX to escort allied bombers on operations. Also flying fighter sweeps over the armies, No 91 became a vital cog in maintaining local air superiority over the battlezone. Yet, never leaving England, the squadron flew out of Manston, which restricted its reach, and in January 1945, equipped with Spitfire F.21s and returned to the jurisdiction of Fighter Command.
The Spitfire 21s were employed in recces along the Dutch coast which also resulted in attacks against enemy shipping found, but the days of combat were fast drawing to a close. The squadron flew its last wartime mission on 1 May, but remained in Fighter Command afterwards. Equipped with Gloster Meteor jets, the squadron disbanded at Acklington on 31 Janaury 1947 by renumbering as 92 Squadron.
Spitfire Mk IIa – Jan to Jun 1941
Spitfire Mk Vb – Mar 1941 to May 1943
Spitfire Mk XII – Apr 1943 to May 1944
Spitfire Mk XIV – Mar to Aug 1944
Spitfire Mk IXb – Aug 1944 to Apr 1945
Spitfire Mk XXI – Jan 1945 to Oct 1946
S/L FC Hopcroft – 16 to 17 Jan 1941
F/L CP Green, DFC (SA) – 18 Jan to Jun 1941 (Initially acting CO, but promoted to S/L)
S/L JN Watts Farmer – 11 Jun 1941 to Sept 1941
S/L HD Cooke – 5 September to Dec 1941
S/L RW Oxspring, DFC* – 28 Dec 1941 to Jul 1942
S/L JEF Demozay, DSO, DFC* – 11 Jul 1942
S/L RH Harris, DSO*, DFC* – 8 Dec 1942 to Aug 1943
S/L NA Kynaston, DFC* – 19 Aug 1943 to 15 Aug 1944 (MIA)
S/L PM Bond – 18 Aug 1944 to Mar 1945
S/L IPJ Maskill, DFC – 1 Mar 1945 to Jan 1946
Hawkinge, UK – 11 Jan 1941
Lympne – 2 Oct 1942
Hawkinge – 9 Oct 1942
Lympne – 23 Nov 1942
Hawkinge – 11 Jan 1943
Honiley – 20 Apr 1943
Wittering – 9 May 1943
Hawkinge – 21 May 1943
Westhampnett – 28 Jun 1943
Tangmere – 4 Oct 1943
Hutton Cranswick – 8 Feb 1944
Tangmere – 20 Feb 1944
Castle Camps – 29 Feb 1944
Drem – 17 Mar 1944
West Malling – 23 Apr 1944
Deanland – 21 Jul 1944
Biggen Hill – 7 Oct 1944
Manston – 29 Oct 1944
Ludham – 8 Apr to 11 Apr 1946
World War II Aces
F/O Jacques “Tiger” Andrieux, DFC – France (6 Victories; 3 with this unit) 6 Jul 1943 to Jan 1944 →341Sq
F/O Henry C. Baker (5 Victories; 2½ with this unit) 8 Oct to 12 Dec 1940→74Sq
S/L Jean-Francois Demozay, DSO, DFC* – Fr. (18 Victories; 13 with this unit) 1 Jul 1941 to 8 Dec 1942 →Free French Air Ministry
F/Sgt. James Gillies, DFM (5.16 Victories; 2 with this unit) Oct 1940 to 13 Nov 1941 →136Sq
S/L Charles “Paddy” Green, DFC – SA (11 Victories; 1 with this unit) Oct 1940 to Jun 1941 →600Sq
S/L Raymond H. “Ray” Harries, DFC* (16¼ Victories, 8½ with this unit) 8 Dec 1942 to 19 Aug 1943 →Tangmere Wing (1 with this unit), Westhampnett Wing (2 with this unit, DFC**), Tangmere Wing (2 with this unit, DSO), 135Wing (last 1 kill, 25 Jul 1944), Training 84Gp
F/L Robert H. “Bob” Holland, DFC (5.33 Victories; 1 with this unit) 13 Feb to Nov 1941 →61OTU, 615Sq, CO 607Sq
F/L Roland A. “Tony” Lee-Knight (5½ Victories; 2 with this unit) Jan to 9 Jun 1941 →610Sq
F/L Johannes J. “Chris” Le Roux, DFC* – SA (18 Victories, 9 with this unit) 20 Feb to Nov 1941 & 16 Sept to 23 Nov 1942 →111Sq
Sgt. Jack Mann, DFM (5 Victories) 5 Feb to 4 Apr 1941 (WIA)
F/Sgt. Jack “Jackie” Mann (5 Victories; 1 with this unit) Early 1941 to 4 Apr 1941 (WIA) →Ferry Cmd
F/Sgt. Donald A.S. McKay, DFM* (16.2 Victories; 7.2 with this unit) 22 Oct 1940 to 14 Jun 1941 →234Sq
F/O James J. “Orange” O”Meara, DFC* (11.7 Victories; 2 with this unit) 9 Oct 1940 to 6 Apr 1941 →64Sq
F/O Patrick A. “Pat/Paddy” Schade, DFM – Br. Malaya (12½ Victories, 0 aircaft but 2 V-1 kills with this unit) 9 Oct 1943 to 31 Jul 1944 (KIFA)
F/L Robert L. Spurdle, DFC – NZ (10 Victories; 2 with this unit) 15 Apr to 23 May 1941 (F/O) & 20 Feb 1942 to Aug 1943 →16 RNZAFSq (last 2 kills here, 13 & 26 Aug 1943), 130Sq, CO 80Sq, HQ 83Gp (* to DFC), “Cab Rank” Br 11th Armd Div Mar 1945, NCD
F/L Gray Stenborg, DFC – NZ (14.3 Victories; 3.3 with this unit) 18 May to 24 Sept 1943 (KIA in head-on attack against Fw190s)
V-1 Flying Bomb ‘Diver’ Ace: 91 Squadron claimed 185-189 V-1s destroyed during the war, emerging as the third highest-scoring V-1 killing squadron (behind 3 and 486 Squadrons).
S/L Peter M. Bond (8¼ Kills†) Aug 1944 to Mar 1945
Lt. Henri F de Bordas – Fr. (9½ V-1 kills†) N/A 1944 to Sept 1944 →84GSU (DFC), 329Sq
F/O Kenneth R. Collier (7 V- kills†) N/A to 5 Dec 1944 (MIA)
F/O A. Roy Cruikshank (10½ V-1 kills†) Summer 1944 to 1945 →N/A
F/L John WP Draper, DFC (6 V-1 kills†)
F/L Arthur E. Elcock (7½ Kills†) N/A to 14 May 1945 (KIFA)
F/O J.A. Faulkner (5 Kills, 1 aircraft†) N/A to1945 →N/A
F/L Herbert D. Johnson, DFC (13½ Kills†) –N/A-
S/L Norman A. Kynaston, DFC« (17 V-1 kills; 4½ aircraft victories) Nov 1942 to 15 Aug 1944 (MIA)
F/L Jean-Marie Maridor, DFC*, CDG – Fr. (11 V-1 kills; 3½ aircraft victories) 14 Feb to Summer 1943 & late 1943 to 3 Aug 1944 (KIA, sacrificed himself to protect the Benenden School Military hospital from a falling V-1)
F/L William C. Marshall, DFC (7 Kills, 2 aircraft†) -N/A-
F/O R.A. McPhie – Can. (6¼ Kills†) 1944 →N/A
F/O Bruce Moffett – Can. (8 V-1 kills†) –N/A (Scored the unit”s first V-1 kill, 16 Jun 1944)
F/L Raymond S. Nash, DFC (18¼ Kills, 2½ aircraft†) 1942 to 21 Nov 1944 →61OTU, CO 1Sq
F/O Hugh McNeil (5 Kills†) 1944 →N/A
F/O Edward Topham – NZ (9½ Kills) 1944 to 1945 →N/A
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XII, RAF Westhampnett, 1943 By 1943, low-level German intrusions deep into England were becoming alarmingly common. The Mk XII was especially built to counter low flying Focke-Wulf Fw90 Jabo”s (Fighter-bombers), and they were so successful that the squadron began flying similar missions over occupied Europe. The Free French ace Jacques Andrieux flew the above aircraft, claiming two Me109's and a Fw190 over his beloved France. Andrieux later took command of 341 (Free French) Squadron in June 1944.
No. 92 (East India) Squadron
Squadron Code: QJ
Motto: AUT PUGNA AUT MORERE (Either fight or die)
No 92 Squadron first formed at London Colney on 1 September 1917 as a scouting unit equipped with Pup, Spad and SE5A fighters. It went to France in July 1918 chiefly staffed by Canadians and began operations in the Dunkirk area, taking part in the August Somme offensive. Ending the war with 37 kills to its credit, the squadron remained in continental Europe afterwards, disbanding on 7 August 1919 at Eil.
Reformed at Tangmere on 10 October 1939 with elements from 601 Squadron, after the beginning of the Second World War the month before, the squadron equipped with the fighter variant of the heavy Bristol Blenheim. Having reformed as an East India gift squadron, the squadron’s badge encompassed an Indian Cobra entwined around a maple leaf, the leaf signifiying the Canadians of the last war. Fortunately, Spitfire Mk Is replaced the Blenheims in March 1940, and the unit worked up with these, becoming operational on 9 May 1940. Flying its first combat mission two weeks later, over the French coast as the great ground battles raged below, the squadron encountered the Luftwaffe and destroyed six Messerschmitt Me109s. Further action over France garnered more victories but on one of these sorties, the commander, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell was shot down captured on the 23rd. Moved to the infamous POW camp Stalag Luft III at Sagan, Bushell later became “Big X,” escape leader of the north compound. Making his way out with 75 other POWs on the night of 24 March 1944, the Gestapo caught up with him at Saarbrucken, executing him on Hitler’s personal order on the 29th.
Meantime, the squadron retired to Wales in June, to fly convoy escort missions, intermingled with some night flying without encountering a single enemy airplane. Then on 9 September, with the Battle of Britain in full swing, the squadron had its chance again. Deployed to Biggen Hill, it found the skies populated by Germans. From that first day to the last day of the year, the squadron shot down 127 German planes. In February 1941, it became the first squadron to receive cannon-armed Spitfire Mark Vbs. Flying Officer Anthony Bartley (already a major ace from the Battle of Britain) proved the efficiecy of the Spitfire’s V armament by blasting a Heinkel He111 from 6/KG55 out of the sky and into the Thames estuary on the 3rd. It was 92 squadron’s first kill of 1941. Soon the squadron was back on the offensive, mounting “Rhubarbs” flights and escorting British bombers on their forays into western Europe. More kills followed, but in October, the squadron was told that it was going to North Africa. All operational flying ceased as squadron made ready.
On 16 April 1942, the squadron arrived in Egypt, without aircraft, but on paper, with the distinction of being the second Spitfire squadron in Egypt. Some of its unemployed pilots were detached to 80 Squadron to fly Hurricanes. The rest of squadron languished as a temporary maintenance unit while awaiting Spitfires. It was August by when some Spitfires were finally delivered. A feverish spate of activity began and the unit was declared operational 12th, opening this occasion by shooting down four Messerschmitt Me109s over Libya. In stiff combat against German and Italian aircraft supporting General Erwin Rommel”s PanzerArmee Afrika, the squadron fought over El Alamein and the Nile delta. When the ground forces held the enemy, the squadron supported the allied counterattack in October.
Routed the Germans the Italians retreated westwards, and the squadron, eager to keep pace, leapfrogged from airfield to airfield. By the beginning of 1943, the squadron was near Tripoli, committed in the struggle for air supremacy over the area. When this was passed, the squadron fought over the Mareth Line and after this, over in Tunisia. When the last of the enemy surrendered in May 1943, the squadron moved on to Malta to cover the planned Sicilian invasion in July. Within days of a beachhead being established in Sicily, the ground forces cleared a landing ground outside the village of Pachino on the southeastern tip of the island. No 92 immediately took up residence here on the 13th, covering the troops as they battled across the island.
When Sicily fell, Italy became the next target and when the invasion was launched on 3 September, the squadron again flew in support of the ground troops, mounting standing patrols over the Straits of Messina. Soon on Italian airfields by the 14th, the unit later supported allied army offensives along the Adriatic coast. By now heavy air-combat had become a thing of the past, although the unit continued to see heavy action while supporting the troops. In early 1944, it covered the Anzio landings, attacked targets on the Gothic Line in July and sent a detachment specially detailed to bring down German reconnaissance aircraft during the successful allied landings at the South of France that summer. In September, the squadron became a dedicated fighter-bomber formation.
Following the end of the European war in May 1945, the squadron moved to Austra with the forces of occupation, disbanding here on 30 December 1946. With its wartime record of 317 enemy aircraft shot down in air combat, No 92 took its place as the second highest-scoring fighter squadron of the World War II Royal Air Force.
Blenheim Mk IF – 10 Oct 1939 to Mar 1940
Spitfire Mk I – Mar 1940 to Feb 1941
Spitfire Mk Vb – Feb 1941 to Feb 1942 & Aug 1942 to Sept 1943
Spitfire Mk Vc – Aug 1942 to Sept 1943
Spitfire Mk IX – Mar to Sept 1943
Spitfire Mk VIII – Jul 1943 to Dec 1946
S/L RJ Bushell – Oct 1939 to 23 May 1940 (POW)
S/L PJ Sanders – May to Sept 1940
S/L AM Maclachlan – Sept to Oct 1940
S/L JA Kent, DFC, AFC – Oct 1940 to Feb 1941
S/L JE Rankin, DFC* – Feb to 17 Sept 1941
S/L RM Milne, DFC* – Sept to Oct 1941
S/L FEW Birchfield – Jan 1942
S/L JH Wedgewood, DFC – Jan to Dec 1942 (KIFA)
S/L JM Morgan – Dec 1942 to Jan 1943
S/L W Harper – Jan to May 1943
S/L PH Humphreys, DFC – May to Nov 1943
S/L ED MacKie, DFC* (NZ) – Nov 1943 to Feb 1944
S/L GJ Cox, DFC – Feb to May 1944
Maj. PW Venter (SA) – Aug to Oct 1944
Maj. JE Gasson, DSO, DFC (SA) – Oct 1944 to Jul 1945
S/L CT Bell, DFC – Jul 1945 to Jan 1946
Tangmere, UK – 10 Oct 1939
Croydon – 30 Dec 1939
Northolt – 4 Jun 1940
Hornchurch – 9 Jun 1940
Pembrey – 18 Jun 1940
Biggin Hill – 8 Sept 1940
Manston – 9 Jan 1941
Biggen Hill – 20 Feb 1941
Gravesend – 24 Sept 1941
Digby – 20 Oct 1941
Left for Egypt – 12 Feb 1942
Fayid, Egypt – 16 Apr 1942
Heliopolis – 30 Apr 1942
LG.173, Libya – 4 Aug 1942
LG.21, Egypt – 7 Nov 1942
Gambut West, Libya – 14 Nov 1942
Msus – 24 Nov 1942
El Hassiet – 4 Dec 1942
El Nogra – 9 Dec 1942
El Merduma – 21 Dec 1942
El Chel – 1 Jan 1943
Tamet – 3 Jan 1943
Hamraier – 9 Jan 1943
Wadi Sirru – 19 Jan 1943
Castel Benito, Tunisia – 15 Feb 1943
Hazbub – 24 Feb 1943
Ben Gardane – 1 Mar 1943
Bou Grara – 10 Mar 1943
La Fauconnerie 11 Apr 1943
Bou Goubrine – 15 Apr 1943
Hergla – 5 May 1943
Ben Gardane – 20 May 1943
Luqa, Malta – 14 Jun 1943
Pachino, Sicily – 13 Jul 1943
Cassibile – 17 Jul 1943
Lentini – 26 Jul 1943
Grottaglie, Italy – 14 Sept 1943
Gioia del Colle – 23 Sept 1943
Tortorella – 5 Oct 1943
Triolo – 18 Oct 1943
Canne – 22 Nov 1943
Marcianise – 17 Jan 1944
Venafro – 23 Apr 1944
Littorio – 12 Jun 1944
Fabrica – 17 Jun 1944
Perugia – 3 Jul 1944
Loreto – 24 Aug 1944
Fano – 4 Sept 1944
Bellaria – 4 december 1944
Trevisio – 3 May 1945 to 23 Sept 1946
World War II Aces
F/O Philip LI Archer – West Indies (6 Victories; 4 with this unit) Feb 1943 to 1942 →416Sq
P/O Michael W.H. Askey – Can. (5 Victories†) Jul to 28 Oct 1943 (KIA)
F/O Anthony C. Bartley, DFC (12.3 Victories; 8.3 with this unit) Nov 1939 to Mar 1941 →111Sq
F/L William L. “Red” Chislholm, DFC* – Can. (7 Victories; 6½ with this unit) Aug 1942 to Apr 1943 →NCD
S/L Graham J. “Cocky” Cox, DFC (9.3 Victories; 2 with this unit) Feb to Aug 1944 →NCD?
F/O Eric S. “Dicky” Dicks-Sherwood, DFC – Rhod. (6 Victories; 1 with this unit) Dec 1942 to 31 Oct 1943 →Gunnery Instructor, NCD Rhodesia
F/O John F. Drummond, DFC (8.3 Victories; 4.3 with this unit) Sept to 10 Oct 1940 (KIFA)
F/L Neville F. Duke, DSO, DFC* (27.8 Victories) Apr to Oct 1941(2 victories) →112Sq → back to 92 sq from 18 Nov 1942 to Jun 1943 (14 Victories) →145Sq
F/L James F. “Eddie” Edwards, DFC, DFM – Can. (16 Victories; 3 with this unit) 19 Dec 1943 to Mar 1944 →CO 274Sq, 127Wing (last ¼ victory with this wing), NCD. Later * to DFC.
Capt. Johannes M. Faure, DSO, DFC* – SA (5½ Victories; 1 with this unit) Aug 19 to Sept 1942 →SAAF (4 ½ with 1SAAF Sq)
P/O Ronald H. Fokes, DFM (10.58 Victories†) Jan 1940 to May 1941 →OUT, CFS, 154Sq, Test Pilot Gloster UK, 193, 257Sqs (KIA 12 Jun 1944). Later DFC.
F/L Charles “Paddy” Green – SA (11 Victories; 1 with this unit) 20 Oct 1939 to 23 May 1940 (WIA) →421Flt (See 91Sq)
P/O Howard P. Hill – NZ (5½ Victories†) 24 Oct 1939 to 20 Sept 1940 (KIA)
F/O Robert H. “Bob” Holland, DFC (5.33 Victories; 4.33 with this unit) Oct 1939 to 15 Sept 1940 (WIA) →91Sq
F/L Milton E. Jowsey, DFC – Can. (5 Victories, 4 with this unit) Dec 1942 to Sept 1943 →442Sq
S/L John A. “Johnny” Kent, DFC, AFC, VM – Can. (12 Victories; 3 with this unit) Oct 1940 to Mar 1941 →53OTU, Northolt Wing (3 kills, « to DFC), Kenley Wing (2 kills), 53OTU, HQ ME, 217Gp, 234Wing, 7FIS, 3AFU
F/Sgt. Donald E. Kingaby, DFM* (21.6 Victories, 16.1 with this unit) Sept 1940 to Late 1941→64Sq
F/L Charles B.F. “Kingpin” Kingcome, DFC (9.3 Victories†) 27 May to 15 Oct 1940 (WIA) & Nov 1940 to Aug 1941 →61OTU, CO 72Sq, Kenley Wing, FLS (DSO), 244Wing, NCD ME, 205Gp
F/Sgt. Jerrold Le “Chem” Cheminant – Channel Is. (5 Victories; 2 with this unit) 1941 →72Sq
S/L Evan D. “Rosie” MacKie, DFC* – NZ (21½ Victories, 3 with this unit) Nov 1943 to 20 Feb 1944 →274Sq
S/L Richard M. “Dickie” Milne, DFC* (14½ Victories, 3 with this unit) 18 Sept to 17 Oct 1941 →NoAf, CO 222Sq, Biggen Hill Wing (last 4 kills here, POW 20 Jan 1943)
S/L John M. Morgan (7½ Victories; 5½ with this unit) Aug 1942 to Jan 1943 →CO 274Sq (DFC, POW 29 Feb 1944)
F/L John H. Nicholls, DFC (5.7 Victories; 1.2 with this unit) Late 1943 to Mar 1944 →601Sq
F/Sgt. William J. Payne (8 Victories; 5 with this unit) 3 Jun to Jul 1941 →53OTU, PRU, 504, 541Sqs (MIA 13 Jan 1943)
Sgt. Adolf Pietrasiak – Pol. (8 Victories; 6½ with this unit, ½ with PAF) Jun to Aug 1941 →308Sq
S/L James E. “Jamie” Rankin, DFC* (19 Victories; 12¼ with this unit) Feb to 17 Sept 1941 →Biggen Hill Wing (6½ with this unit, DSO), HQ 11Gp (Belg. CDG), Biggen Hill (* to DSO), 15Wing, 125Wing
F/L Charles J. “Sammy” Samouelle, DFC* (10 Victories; 7½ with this unit) Early 1942 to 21 Jan 1943 →130Sq
S/L Philip J. Sanders (5 Victories†) 27 May to 20 Sept 1940 (W) →CO 264Sq, NCD US, HQ 84Gp
F/O Cecil H. Saunders (5½ Victories; 3½ with this unit) Apr 1940 to May 1941 →145Sq
F/L Robert S. “Bob” Tuck, DFC (27.6 Victories; 13.6 with this unit) 1 May to 11 Sept 1940 →257Sq & Oct 1940 →257Sq
F/L John W. “Pancho” Villa, DFC (14.66 Victories, 4.16 with this unit) Oct 1940 to Early 1941 →58 & 61OTUs, CO 65, 501 & 198Sqs, RFO May 1943 (Sinusitis)
F/O John L. Waddy, DFC – Aust. (15½ Victories; 3 with this unit) 3 Oct 1942 to Jan 1943 →Australia, 2OTU, CO 80 RAAF Sq, W/C
F/O Trevor S. “Wimpy” Wade (7¾ Victories†) Apr 1940 to Jun 1941 →123Sq (DFC), 602Sq, CFS, CGS, HQ 9Gp, AFDU (AFC), Flew captured Japanese aircraft in the US in 1945
S/L Jefferson H. “Jeff” Wedgewood, DFC (11 Victories; 8 with this unit) Jan to Dec 1942 → (Departing for Malta aboard a 138 Sq Halifax on 17 Dec, Wedgewood died when the Halifax was mistakenly shot down by Allied AA gunners. Later * to DFC)
P/O Desmond G. Williams (5½ Victories†) Oct 1939 to 10 Oct 1940 (KIC-KIA)
F/L Allan R. Wright, DFC* (12¼ Victories; 11¼ with this unit) Oct 1939 to Jul 1941 →29Sq
You admire and become attached to the men you fly with. Periods of intense exhausting action alternates with the inactivity and excruciating boredom...When you drink [it is] because you are excited or elated, or tired and scared or because you want to forget for a moment that one of the chaps has been shot down.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc, Egypt, Late-1942 No 92 Squadron, being a gift squadron from East India, prompted every squadron aircraft to carry the title “EAST INDIA SQUADRON”. The ace, Flight Lt. Neville Duke flew this particular aircraft in 1942. In the photo above, taken the year before, he is only 19 years old. Twelve victory markings are under the cockpit. Duke joined the RAF at the beginning of the war as a nineteen-year-old fresh out of training. He survived the dangerous spring and summers of 1941 by flying as wingman to Wing Commander "Sailor" Malan of the Biggen Hill Wing, where he learned the vital lessons of air combat. He left 92 Squadron in November 1941 for 112 Squadron but returned as a flight commander in late 1942.
No. 93 Squadron
Squadron Codes: HN
Motto: AD ARMA PARATI (Prepared at arms)
The squadron was first formed by taking elements from 40 Training Squadron on 23 September 1917 at Croydon. It’s intended role was that of a fighter squadron. Instead, it disbanded on 17 August 1918. Reformed later that same year on 14 October at Port Meadow, the unit equipped with Sopwith Dolphins but disbanded again when World War I ended on 21 November.
Years later, as the Second World War broke out, the squadron, still as of yet, unformed, found a genesis within No 420 Flight, a unit raised on 25 September 1940. Equipped with antiquated Handley-Page Harrows fitted with Pandora Long-Aerial Mines, the flight conducted the radical anti-bomber experimental tactics that Pandora was designed for. The system consisted of 2,000 feet (610 m) of piano wire with an explosive charge attached at the end. In theory, the squadron’s Harrow were to overtake the enemy bombers, then release the charge, either by freeing the wire or by deploying the charge by parachute.
Finally, on 1 December 1940, the flight was transformed by an official educt into 93 Squadron. Three weeks later, on 22 December, Pandora found its first success. Flight Lt Burke in a Harrow, intercepted two enemy bombers and laid mines in their path. One bomber was destroyed. This early elation rose with the arrival of the faster and the relatively modern Douglas A-20 Havocs from the United States, which replaced the Harrows. But the success of more conventional British night fighter units armed with airborne radar soon spelt the demise of Pandora. Subsequently taking on another impractical idea, Turbinlite, which involved the use of a large airborne searchlight to catch nightflying German bombers for accompanying British fighters to destroy, the squadron tried out this idea from October 1941. However, the RAF establishment decreed the formation of several Turbinlight flights instead of one main squadron and with its efforts being made moot, the squadron disbanded on 24 November, by renumbering as 1458 Flight.
Reformed again at Andreas on 1 June 1942, No 93 became a day-fighter and close-support unit, equipped with Spitfires. In September, it was earmarked for transfer to North Africa and withdrew from operations in October to prepare. Soon moving to Gibraltar, the squadron deployed to Algeria and then toTunisia. Flying out of Algiers from 13 November, it began to support the army tactically from the 21st, but as the Spitfire’s Merlin inline engine was not capable of sustaining heavy damage, it soon began taking heavy losses. But milestones came here too. On the last day of the year, Flying Officer Brinsley shot down the squadron’s first Messerschmitt Me109 of the war. This act opened the squadron’s main role as a fighter squadron again, conducting sweeps, “Rhubarbs” and escorting bombers.
With the close of the North African campaign in May 1943, the squadron deployed to Malta’s Hal Far airfield on 14 June, to cover the Sicilian landings during the following month. Active over the invasion beachhead, the squadron covered allied bombers raiding targets on the island, but on 13 July, three days after the beginning of the invasion, the unit became engaged in a free-for-all dogfight. They shot down five enemy planes (mostly Italian Macchi 202s), damaged eight and probably shot down another two. But the tribulations of combat and increased activity over such hostile zones, including the subsequent landing on the Italian coast, proved trying. American anti-aircraft crews, mostly untried and jumpy had already been responsible for several previous deaths already, mostly among American C-47 Dakotas en-route to drop US paratroopers over Sicily. Now, in September, they shot down two 93 squadron Spitfires.
By 1944, the squadron had advanced with the ground forces, still escorting allied bombers in their tactical strikes on enemy positions. Moving to Corsica in July, the squadron covered the allied landings in Southern France that August. As the troops secured a beachhead, the squadron moved to a southern French airfield, flying from here until the army met allied troops coming south from Normandy. Returning to Italy, the unit had little to do and consequently converted to a fighter-bomber unit, flying its first attack mission on 20 November.
By April 1945, at the twilight of the war, the squadron had been busy operating “Cab-Rank” flights over the battlefield, ready to attack ground targets at the designation of RAF liaison officers operating with the army. When the war did end in May, the squadron moved to Austria with the occupation forces, disbanding there on 5 September.
Harrow Mk II – Dec 1940 to Apr 1941
Wellington Mk IC – Dec 1940 to Apr 1941
Havoc Mk I – Dec 1940 to Nov 1941
Spitfire Mk Vb – Jun to Oct 1942
Spitfire Mk Vc – Nov 1942 to Feb 1944
Spitfire Mk IX – Jul 1943 to Sept 1945
W/C JW Homer – 7 Dec 1940 to 23 Apr 1941
W/C MB Hamilton – 23 Apr to 6 Dec 1941
S/L GH Nelson-Edwards, DFC – 1 Jun 1942 to Feb 1943
S/L Wilf M Sizer, DFC* – 13 Feb to Aug 1943
S/L KF MacDonald – 20 Aug to 11 Sept 1943 (KIA)
S/L DF Westenra, DFC (NZ) – 14 Sept 1943 to Feb 1944
S/L JH Cleote – 8 Feb to Sept 1944
S/L LE Trenorden – 19 to 27 Sept 1944
Maj. A Sachs, DFC (SA) – 28 Sept 1944 to Feb 1945
Maj. TRJ Taylor, DFC (SA) – 16 Feb to 5 Sept 1945
Middle Wallop, UK – 7 Dec 1940
Andreas, Isle of Man – 1 Jun 1942
Wansford – 8 Sept 1942
Algiers, Algeria – 22 Nov 1942
Souk-el-Khemis – 31 Dec 1942
Sebala, Tunisia – 13 May 1943
Mateur – 26 May 1943
Hal Far, Malta – 12 Jun 1943
Comisio, Sicily – 14 Jul 1943
Pachino – 31 Jul 1943
Kasale – 2 Sept 1943
Falcone – 2 Sept 1943
Battipaglio, Italy – 28 Sept 1943
Capodochino, Naples – 12 Oct 1943
Lago – 16 Jan 1944
Trecancelli – 5 Jun 1944
Tarquinia – 13 Jun 1944
Grosseto – 25 Jun 1944
Piombino – 5 Jul 1944
Calvi, Corscia – 20 Jul 1944
Ramatuelle, France – 21 Aug 1944
Sisterone – 26 Aug 1944
Bron, Lyon – 10 Sept 1944
Peretola, Italy – 14 Oct 1944
Rimini – 16 Nov 1944
Ravenna – 18 Feb 1945
Rovolto – 5 May 1945
Klagenfurt, Austria – 15 May to 5 Sept 1945
World War II Aces
F/Sgt. James R. Andrew, DFM (6 Victories†) 1942 to 1944 →607Sq (KIA 25 Jun 1945)
F/O Cyril S. “Bam” Bamberger (5 Victories; 1 with this unit) May to Aug 1942 →243Sq
F/O Stanley F. Browne, DFC – NZ (5 ½ Victories†) Mar to Dec 1943 →NCD
W/O Bob “Bobby” Bunting, DFC – Aust. (5 Victories†) Late 1943 to 1944 →N/A
P/O Patrick L. Burke, AFC (5 Victories & 2 V-1 Kills; 1 with this unit) 25 Sept 1940 to Nov 1941 →219Sq
F/L W. Raoul “Daddy Longlegs” Daddo-Langlois, DFC (5½ Victories; 1 with this unit) 30 Jun to 10 Jul 1944 (WIA, shot down over Sicily beach, lost while being transported by lighter to hospital ship)
P/O William W. Downer, DFC – Can. (5 Victories†) 4 Sept 1943 to 16 Apr 1944 (KIFA)
F/L Irving F. “Hap” Kennedy, DFC – Can. (12 Victories; 3 with this unit) 13 Sept 1943 to Jan 1944→401Sq
S/L Wilfred M. “Wilf” Sizer, DFC* (8.95 Victories, 1 with this unit) Jan to Aug 1943 →71OTU, NCD UK, CO 680PRU
F/L Alan Smith, DFC* (6 Victories; 4 with this unit) Aug 1942 to Jan 1943→58OTU, NCD UK & US
No. 94 Squadron
Squadron Codes: ZG, GO, A
The squadron first formed at Harling Road at Gosport on 1 August 1917 with an element from 55 Training Squadron. Tasked as a training squadron for Sopwith Camel fighter pilots, the unit took on SE5A fighter biplanes in May 1918 and deployed to France in October. But the war, already in its twilight, ended the following month, and the squadron returned to England in February 1919 without having tasted combat. It disbanded at Tadcaster on 30 June.
Reformed for the defense of Aden on 26 March 1939, primarily to counter Italian forces across the Red Sea in Somaliland, the squadron took up position at Khormaskar. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, the squadron maintained three Gladiators in readiness, with another at night. In June 1940, with Italy’s entry into the conflict, the squadron began to see major action. That same month on the 13th, the first Italian plane, a Savoi-Marchetti SM81, fell to the squadron. Flying officer Haywood in a Sea Gladiator obtained from the Royal Navy downed the aircraft near Ras Imran Island. Haywood’s spell of success continued on the 8th, when he spotted an Italian submarine. He subsequently radioed the RAF’s 8 Squadron to attack it.
At the end of the month, the unit escorted 39 Squadron in its attacks on Macaaca airfield, and in retaliation, the Italians attacked Aden the following month. No 94 scrambled constantly but failed to bring down the raiders because of the Gladiator’s slow speed. Success finally came on 20 November, when another SM81 was shot down. In April 1941, the squadron transferred to Egypt, closer to the enemy, sending a detachment to Habbaniya in Iraq to strafe Axis-inspired indigenous insurgents. Meantime, in Egypt, the rest of the squadron fought on, equipped with Hawker Hurricanes in May. They shot a night-flying Heinkel He11 on 17 May over Ismalia and 6 September, destroyed two more that same night, followed one more on the 11th.
Dropping out of frontline action in October, the squadron deployed to the western desert and fought it out against large enemy forces for the next few weeks, slogging it out with enemy forces over El Alamein, and later, while flying over the victorious and advancing British Eighth Army, overrunning Libya. Then, it left the front again in December, returning to the desert in March with American-supplied P-40 Kittyhawks. But its resurgence on the frontline amounted to a scant 60 days, for afterwards it received shocking orders on May 9 to retired to the Canal Zone to escort Douglas Bostons bombing German rear areas. Seven of the more promising pilots, including Flight Sgt. James Edwards, were ordered to join 260 Squadron which was bivouacked across the airfield.
Meantime, the rest o the squadron, dumped in Canal Zone backwater, began a long spell of defensive flying, mostly out of Alexandria. Acquiring Spitfires in August 1943, it began to attack ground targets on Crete in December, employing several Yugoslav pilots in its ranks.
These men were assigned to “B” Flight, which rapidly split into two camps reflecting the separating loyalties of their fragmented nation: those who supported the Communist Tito and those who supported the Royalist Chetniks. Becoming a liability to unit cohesion the Yugoslavs were eventually posted out of the squadron in April 1944, and 94 squadron returned to operations over Crete. Facing almost no enemy air opposition, the unit’s high-performance Spitfire Mk IXs were replaced by the older Mark Vs – and these were used as fighter-bombers against the communist Greek ELAS group which engaged in a civil war with regular Greek forces. With the elimination of this civil war in 1945, No 94 disbanded on 20 April at Sedes.
The unit”s wartime record encompassed 31 aerial kills, the last kill being accomplished by a Yugoslav from “B” Flight, Pilot Officer Dusan Stanick, who blasted a Messerschmitt Me109G from the sky on 10 August 1944 near, Kastelli, Crete.
Sea Gladiator Mk I – Mar 1939 to 1940
Gladiator Mk I & II – 1940 to Jun 1941
Hurricane Mk I – May to Dec 1941
Hurricane Mk IIB – Dec 1941 to Jan 1942
Kittyhawk Mk I – Feb to May 1942
Hurricane Mk I – Jun to Aug 1942
Hurricane Mk IIC – Jun 1942 to May 1944
Spitfire Mk Vb – Aug to Sept 1943
Spitfire Mk Vc – Dec 1942 to Jan 1943
Spitfire Mk IX – Feb to Aug 1944
Spitfire Mk Vc – Mar 1944 to Feb 1945
Spitfire Mk Vb – Oct 1944 to May 1945
Spitfire Mk IX – Feb to Apr 1945
S/L WTF “Freddie” Wightman – Mar 1939 to Jul 1941
S/L HC Mayers, DFC (Aust) – Jul 1941 to Jan 1942
S/L EM Mason – Jan to 15 Feb 1942 (KIA)
S/L I MacDougal (Aust) – 16 Feb to May 1942
S/L DS Scott – May to Oct 1942
S/L JH Cloete – Oct to Jun 1943
S/L AV Clowes, DFC, DFM – Jun to Sept 1943
S/L RG Foskett, DFC, OBE (Aust) – Oct 1943 to 31 Oct 1944 (KIA)
S/L H McLechlan – Oct to Nov 1944
S/L JW Slade – Nov 1944 to Apr 1945
Sheikh Othman, Aden – 2 May 1939
Left for Egypt – 6 Apr 1941
Ismalia, Egypt – 22 Apr 1941
El Ballah – 29 Aug 1941
LG.103, Libya – 27 Oct 1941
LG.109 – 7 Nov 1941
LG.124 – 20 Nov 1941
Sidi Rezegh – 12 Dec 1941
Gazala No. 2 – 18 Dec 1941
Mechili – 22 Dec 1941
Msus – 24 Dec 1941
Antelat – 11 Jan 1942
Msus – 23 Jan 1942
Mechili – 24 Jan 1942
LG.110 – 1 Feb 1942
Gambut – 14 Feb 1942
El Adem – 15 Feb 1942
Gasr el Arid – 17 Feb 1942
LG.115 – 26 Feb 1942
Gasr el Arid – 17 Mar 1942
Ikingi Maryut, Egypt – 16 May 1942
El Gamil – 25 May 1942
Martuba, Libya – 13 Jan 1943
Savoia – 1 Apr 1943
Appolonia, Crete – 25 May 1943
Savoia, Libya – 19 Jun 1943
El Adem – 4 Nov 1943
El Adem South (LG.809) – 29 Dec 1943
Bu Amud – 7 Apr 1944
Savoia – 15 Jul 1944
Amriya, Egypt – 31 Aug 1944
Kalamaki/Hassani, Greece – 19 Sept 1944
Sedes – 14 Feb to 20 Apr 1945
World War II Aces
F/Sgt. James F. “Eddie” Edwards – Can. (16 Victories; 2 with this unit) Jan to May 1942 →260Sq
S/L Russell G. Foskett, DFC, OBE – Aust. (6½ Victories; 1 with this unit) Oct 1943 to 31 Oct 1944 (MIA)
S/L Howard C. Mayers, DFC« – Aust. (11.3 Victories; 0.3 with this unit) Jul 1941 to Jan 1942 →239Wing (last 3 kills here, MIA 20 Jul 1942, DSO)
Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC, El Gamil, Egypt, Oct 1942 This El Alamein battle-era Hurricane is armed with four 20mm cannons. Although this squadron used the same standard white squadron/aircraft codes as most squadrons did in the desert, this aircraft had red codes with a white outline instead. Also note the dark streak painted on the fuselage to hide engine exhaust stains on the fuselage.
No. 95 Squadron
Squadron Code: SE
Motto: TRANS MARE EXIVI (I went out over the sea)
The squadron first formed in from elements belonging to 43 Training Squadron at Ternhill on 1 September 1917. It disbanded on 4 July 1918, without ever becoming operational. Reformed at Kenley on 1 October, the unit was tasked as a fighter squadron, but the Armistice ended the First World War before it met any action and it ended up disbanding a second time on 20 November, without having been equipped with a single aircraft.
Reformed at Oban on 15 January 1941 from a flight of three Shorts Sunderland flying-boats from 210 Squadron, the unit joined Coastal Command as a reconnaissance, attack squadron. As it deployed to West Africa later that month, it lost one Sunderland en route but took up station in Freetown. Covering allied convoys in the east Atlantic, flying for as many as ten hours over the open ocean, an ordeal made easier by the Sunderland’s fully-stocked galley, the unit occasionally glimpsed the full nature of the Atlantic war, and its victims. In April, it found the survivors of three floundering, recently-torpedoed ships.
Detaching a flight to Bathurst that month, the squadron kept a survey of the Vichy French navy at French West Africa. No 95 even raised a fighter flight of Hurricanes to tackle the French, and this flight remained active from July to October 1941, after which it was itself raised to squadron status and reformed as 128 Squadron on 7 October.
Meantime, in September, the squadron began night flights, using ASV to search for German U-Boats. Finally, on the 20th, it found one but was unable to attack it. By now heavily committed in protecting the sea routes to the Middle East and the Far East from its western African base, the squadron mounted a steady average of 40 sorties a month, but the action trailed off at the tail end of 1942.
It eventually picked up again in 1943, with a complete move to Bathurst. On 5 April, the unit found a German submarine. Flight Sgt. Wharton swept in, dropping a stream of bombs over the German craft. The U-boat crash-dived and proof of a sinking eluded the airmen. It was the squadron’s only submarine attack of the war even though sorties rose to 50 a month by 1944.
Aside from combat, the unit flew humanitarian missions, flying medicine for Yellow Fever victims in the Cape Verde Islands. With the Mediterranean secured by this stage and turning into the main route for convoys headed east, No 95 found itself without any real work. It still searched for enemy U-boats, but was unsuccessful and all flying had ceased by 25 May 1945. The still serviceable Sunderlands left for England and the squadron disbanded in Gambia on 30 June 1945.
Sunderland Mk I – Jan 1941 to Nov 1942
Sunderland Mk III – Aug 1942 to Jun 1945
W/C FJ Fressanges – Jan to Mar 1941
W/C FA Pearce – Mar to Nov 1941
W/C JJ Zwarenstein – Nov 1941 to Sept 1942
W/C VH Furlong – Sept 1942 to Mar 1943
W/C PR Hatfield, DFC – Mar 1943 to May 1944
W/C D Michell – May 1944 to Apr 1945
W/C MO Scott – Apr to Jun 1945
Oban, UK – 15 Jan 1941
Pembroke Dock – 27 Jan 1941
Freetown, Sierra Leone – Feb 1941 (Det at Bathurst)
Gibraltar Harbour, Gibraltar – Feb 1942 (Det)
Jui, Sierra Leone – Apr 1942 (Det at Bathurst)
Bathurst, Gambia – Mar 1943 to Jun 1945 (Dets at Port Etienne & Jui)
No. 96 Squadron
Squadron Codes: ZJ, 6H
Motto: NOCTURNI OBAMBULAMUS (We stalk by night)
The squadron first formed on 28 September 1917 at South Carlton, near Lincoln as a training squadron. It disbanded on 4 July 1918 to allow its personnel to replace casualties in frontline units. It eventually reformed at Wyton on 28 September to teach ground attack and trench strafing techniques with the newly introduced Sopwith Salamander. With signing of the Armistice in November, however, the squadron disbanded at the end of that month.
Reformed years again at Cranage on 18 December 1940 from 422 Flight (a Hurricane nightfighting unit), the unit built on the precedent set the flight. Soon, it had shot down two enemy planes and had damaged another while flying out of Shoreham. Soon, the unit had proved that the Hurricane could operate as a nightfighter if it was absolutely required to. Still, the Hurricane was a tempermental choice for this sort of work. Its engine exhausts had a habit of spouting bright flames at inopportune moments, obliterating night vision and as a single-seat, single-engined aircraft, it was not ideally suited for nightfighting. Later experience would convince the RAF that two-seaters were the best mounts for this sort of work.
Responsible for the night defense of Liverpool and the surrounding area, the squadron continued to operate the Hurricane Mark I. In February 1941, Boulton-Paul Defiants arrived to augment the Hurricanes and the two types operated together. On 12 March 1941, the squadron achived its first kill as a squadron, when it blazed a Heinkel He111 bomber from the skies. In action on the nights of the 6th and the 7th, when their sector was beset by two heavy night raids, the squadron began to open its account with flair.
Flying Officer Victor Verity, a New Zealander shot down a He111 and probably shot a Ju88 on the 6th. On the following night, he claimed a Junkers Ju88 and shot pieces off a second Ju88, claiming it as a probable. Meantime, two other squadron pilots, Sergeants Taylor and Scott (both never to become aces), destroyed a Heinkel apiece.
In May, the squadron began using Honiley as base for patrols, and in October moved to Wrexham, which had better runways and facilities than Cranage. By this time, however, the air action had slackened. Then on 3 November, the unit experienced a tragic loss, when two squadron Defiants crashed into the Welsh mountains in bad weather.
In February 1942, the unit equipped with the first examples of the nightfighting Defiant Mk II, which came with Mk III Airborne-Interception radar. But the Defiant’s days were numbered. It too was largely unsuited for nightifghting. Soon, Bristol Beaufighters Mk IIs had replaced them in May. Despite using the deadly “Beaus” on Intruder operations, the unit did not make any contacts. Even deadlier Mosquito Mk XIIs arrived in June 1943 but were soon supplanted by special Mosquito XIII variants from 8 November.
These fighters quickly proved their worth. With them, the squadron destroyed 20 enemy aircraft, starting with the first on 2 January 1944, when Flight Lt Norman Head shot down a Fw190. Two days later, the squadron commander, Wing Commander Edward Crew downed an Messerschmitt Me410 and damaged another off Beachy Head. More kills followed for Crew, including a Junkers Ju188 on the night of February 13, another Me410 in April and 21 Flying bombs that summer. The squadron, steadily scoring, built up its tally. In June, it began to hunt V-1 Flying Bombs, bringing down 49 that month. By 18 July, this score had risen to 88, and the V-1s formed a staple target until the end of the year, when, with declining enemy aircraft contacts over the British Isles, the unit was marked for disbandment, its resources deemed better suited for other tasks.
Finally, the ill day came. The was was assembled at Odiham on 12 December and forced to give up the squadron colors. In all, during its tenure as a nightfighter squadron, No 96 had destroyed 27 enemy aircraft and shot down between 165 to 174 V-1 flying bombs.
But its war was not quite over. Reformed on 30 December at Leconfield as a transport unit, the unit equipped with Halifax Mk IIIs. These ex-bombers, modified for passangers, allowed the squadron to work up to its new job: troop transport and casualty evacuation. Equipped with Dakotas in March 1945, the squadron operated from India, starting from 1 May. Initially flying out of Bisalpur, the squadron moved to Mingaladon in Burma following the surrender of the Japanese. Surviving for a brief period after the war, the unit was once again decreed strategically unimportant and disbanded on 15 June 1946 at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak airfield by renumbering as 110 Squadron.
Hurricane Mk I – Oct 1940 to 1941
Defiant Mk I – Jan 1941 to Jul 1942
Defiant Mk II – Apr to Jul 1942
Beaufighter Mk IIF – May 1942 to 1942
Beaufighter Mk VIF – Sept 1942 to Nov 1944
Mosquito Mk XII – Jun to Nov 1943
Mosquito Mk XIII – Nov 1943 to Dec 1944
Halifax Mk III – Dec 1944 to Mar 1945
Dakota Mk III, IV – Mar 1945 to Jun 1946
S/L RG Kellet, DSO, DFC, VM – Dec 1940 to Mar 1941
S/L RJ Burns – Mar to Dec 1941
S/L RC Haine – Dec 1941 to May 1942
W/C RJ Burns – May 1942 to Jun 1943
W/C ED Crew, DSO, DFC* – Jun 1943 to 12 Dec 1944
Cranage, UK – 18 Dec 1940
Wrexham – 21 Oct 1941
Honiley – 20 Oct 1942
Ford – Apr 1943 (Det)
Church Fenton – 4 Aug 1943
Drem – 9 Sept 1943
West Malling – 8 Nov 1943
Ford – 20 Jun 1944
Odiham – 24 Sept to 12 Dec 1944
Leconfield – 30 Dec 1944
Cairo, Egypt – Mar 1945
Bisalpur, India – 1 May to Aug 1945
World War II Aces
W/C Edward D. Crew, DSO, DFC* (12½ Victories & 21 V-1s; 3 aircraft and all V-1 kills with this unit) Jun 1943 to Dec 1944 →Sq disbanded, NCD
S/L Wilfrith P. Green, DFC (14 Victories, 1 aircraft & 13 V-1 kills with this unit) 30 Mar to 11 Aug 1944 →219Sq
F/O Paul W. Rabone (9 Victories, 2 with this unit) Oct 1940 to 2 May 1941 →23Sq
F/O Victor B.S. Verity, DFC – NZ (8.2 Victories, 3.2 with this unit) Nov 1940 to Apr 1942 →73Sq
V-1 Flying Bomb “Diver” Aces
F/Sgt. J. Bryan (8 Kills†) N/A to 25/26 Jul 1944 (KIA)
S/L G.L. Caldwell (6 Kills, 1 aircraft†) -N/A-
S/L Richard N. Chudleigh, DFC (15 Kills†; 2 aircraft previously with 153Sq) Summer 1944 to 7 Aug 1944 →151Sq (DFC)
F/L Ian A. Dobie (13 Kills†) N/A to Dec 1944 →85Sq (1 aircraft)
F/O J. Goode (6½ Kills†) N/A to 12 Dec 1944 →29Sq
F/L William J. Gough (6 Kills† 2 aircraft previously with 68Sq) Feb to Dec 1944 →68Sq (DFC)
F/L Norman S. Head, DFC (7 Kills, 4 aircraft†) -N/A-
P/O W.A. McLardy (7 Kills†) N/A to Dec 1944 →456Sq
F/O Francis R.L. “Togs” Mellersh, DFC* (8 Victories total; no aircraft, but 39-42 V-1 kills with this unit) Jun to 12 Dec 1944 →FIDS (See The Fighter Interception Unit)
F/L Alstair Parker-Rees (9 Kills, 8 with this unit & 3 aircraft destroyed) 1943 to Oct 1944 → 501Sq
F/O Donald L. Ward, DFC (12 Kills, 2 aircraft†, 1 Do217 previously with 68Sq) Feb to Dec 1944 →25Sq
No. 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron
Squadron Codes: QF, MR, OF, DF, ZT, XY (C-Flight)
Motto: ACHIEVE YOUR AIM
The squadron first formed on 1 December 1917 at Waddington in Lincolnshire as a night-flying heavy bomber squadron with the Handley-Page 0/400 (one of the world’s first strategic bombers). Flying its first raid on the night of 19 August 1918, the squadron had carried out 91 bombing sorties by the war’s end in November, with 64 tons of bombs dropped, including three massive (for its day) 1,650lb bombs.
Returning to England in March 1919, the squadron was one of those fortunate squadrons not to be disbanded in the immediate post-war downsizing of the armed forces. It equipped with DH10s and went to India that summer, operating over the rough Waziristan frontier for some time afterwards. It also flew an air-mail service from Bombay to Karachi in Imperial India, but the creditors caught up with the squadron at this point, and the No 97 went the way that many a squadron had, disbanding on 1 April 1920, by renumbering as 60 Squadron.
Reformed on 16 September 1935 at Catfoss, once again as a night bombing unit, the unit equipped with Heyfords (the successor to the 0/400) and took up station at its new base. In keeping with the thinking of the time, major importance was being placed on heavy bombers in England at this time, with many proponents pointing out the bomber’s supposed war-winning abilities. No 97, as one of the few truly heavy bombing squadrons in existence, was expected to prove this praise. Instead, it found itself relegated to an Air Observation unit in June 1938, before becoming a group pool squadron for 4 Group from March 1939. A further indignity occurred in September 1939, at the onset of the Second World War, when the unit became a training squadron, a matter finally capped off by its disbandment on 8 April 1940, when it merged with 166 squadron to form 10 Operational Training Unit.
Reformed again on 1 May within 4 Group, the squadron disbanded swiftly on the 20th, having received no aircraft. Now followed a long spell in which the squadron did not exist at all. Then on 25 February 1941, a new 97 Squadron assembled at Waddington from elements belonging to 207 Squadron and took on the squadron colors. Equipped with the underpowered Avro Manchester, the unit joined 5 Group. It began combat operations from April, and soon enough took on Avro Lancasters to replace the Manchesters in January 1942. With 44 Squadron, the unit flew in the famous low-altitude raid on Augsburg on 17 April, and June to July, participated in the “thousand-bomber” raids on Colgne, Essen and Bremen. In October followed the also-famous low-altitude strike against the Schneider motor works at Le Creusot and Bomber Command’s first daylaight raid on Italy — Milan.
Transferring to 8 Group on 18 April 1943 to become a “marking” unit in the Pathfinders, the squadron lit up the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen during the first shuttle raids of 1943, but on 18 April 1944, returned to 5 Group to join that unit’s own pathfinder force. The squadron flew its last combat operation on the night of 25 April 1945, when 11 Lancasters bombed the oil refinery and a gasoline tank depot at Tonsberg. Then from 7 May 1945, it became involved in ferrying freed allied prisoners of war home. In all, during the war, the squadron flew 4,091 operational sorties, losing 130 aircraft in the process – the lighter losses no doubt reflective of the inordinate amount of time it had spent out of the war. Its men won 21 DSOs during operations, aside from 222 DFCs with 2 bars, 157 DFMs with 2 bars, 1 OBE and 1 BEM.
Flying for a time in the post-war RAF, the squadron disbanded on 31 December 1955, when it was designated as the “Arrow” Squadron.
Whitley Mk II & III – Feb 1939 to May 1940
Anson Mk I – Feb 1939 to Apr 1940
Manchester Mk I – Feb 1941
Hampden Mk I – Jul 1941 to Feb 1942
Lancaster Mk I & III – Jan 1942 to Jul 1946
W/C DF Blasdon – Feb 1941
W/C JH Knyoch – Dec 1941
W/C JDD Collier – Mar 1942
W/C GD Jones – Oct 1942
G/C NH Fresson – Jul 1943
W/C EJ Carter – Jan 1944
W/C AW Heward – Jun 1944
G/C PW Johnson – Oct 1944
Leconfield, UK – 7 Jan 1937
Abingdon – 17 Sept 1939
Driffield – 1 May 1940
Waddington – 25 Feb 1941
Coningsby – 10 Mar 1941
Woodhall Spa – 2 Mar 1942
Bourn – 18 Apr 1943
Coningsby – 18 Apr 1944 to 5 Nov 1946
Operational Performance (While with Bomber Command)
5 Group Manchesters – 33 bombing, 3 minelaying
5 Group Lancasters – 135 bombing, 42 minelaying (to 14 Apr 1943)
8 Group Lancasters – 96 bombing
5 Group Lancasters – 111 bombing, 4 minelaying (Apr 1944 to May 1945)
Totals: 375 bombing, 49 minelaying = 424 raids
Sorties and Losses
5 Group Manchesters – 151 sorties, 8 aircraft lost (5.3 percent)
5 Group Lancasters –– 998 sorties, 23 aircraft lost (2.3 percent) (to 14 Apr 1943)
8 Group Lancasters – 1,465 sorties, aircraft lost (4.0 percent)
Totals: 3,934 sorties, 109 aircraft lost (2.8 percent)
An additional 26 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.
Avro Lancaster Mk I, 1943 The above Lancaster is equipped with H2S and a target marker launcher, denoting its function as a backup pathfinder/marker squadron. The unit-aircraft code (OF-J) is repeated on the tail plane and is obscured by this view. These codes are visible only from the top.
No. 98 Squadron
Squadron Codes: OE, VO
Motto: NEVER FAILING
Assuming the unofficial nickname “Derby’s own Squadron” later in its career, No 98 Squadron was born out of the elements from 4 Training Squadron on 30 August 1917 at Harlaxton, Lincolnshire. Moving to France in April of the following year, the unit went into action a day bombing formation equipped with DH9s. Earning a prestigious commendation signed by French Marshal Foch for its work over the Somme battlefield, the squadron ended the war with 40 aerial victories and 35 other enemy aircraft destroyed by being driven out of control. Beginning recce flights just before the Armistice in November, the squadron became a casualty of the post-war military downsizing and disbanded on 24 July 1919 in England.
Reformed at Abingdon on 17 February 1936 with Hawker Hinds and personnel supplied by 15 Squadron, it assumed control of Fairy Battles in 1938. When the war broke out in September 1939, the unit was a reserve squadron, training Battle crews in England. But in April 1940, the unit deployed to France, landing at Nantes. Destroyed in the following Blitzkrieg, the unit made preparation to return to England, minus all of its aircraft but several survivors and ground personnel. Booking passage aboard the SS Lancastria, the unit began to cross the English Channel. Suddenly beset by German aircraft the Lancastria was sunk. Seventy-five squadron men went missing with 15 others confirmed as dead. A few survivors, picked up by other ships, returned to England in scattered packets, some several weeks after the sinking.
Reformed again at Gatwick in July 1940, the unit took on more of the obsolete Battles and flew with Coastal Command, thankfully in remote Iceland. Spending nearly a year here, it disbanded on 15 July 1941. Having assumed control of a flight of Hurricanes for fighter defense a month before, the squadron also lost this, and the Hurricanes became 1435 Flight on July 26. Reformed for the fourth time in its history, the squadron assembled at West Raynham and took on the first examples of the American-made North American B-25 Mitchells on 15 October, introducing this craft to RAF service, along with 180 Squadron.
The Mitchells mounted its first operation against enemy forces on 22 January 1943. The target was an oil installation at Terneuzen, Ghent, Belgium. Six squadron Mitchells, accompanied by six from 180 Squadron, plus a fighter escort of Mustang fighters from 169 Squadron flew into the hotzone. Within moments, one squadron Micthell was tearing out of the sky, on fire from German ack-ack blasts. Soon, German Focke-Wulf Fw190 fighters were among the British. Two more Mitchells, from 180 Squadron were shot down. The escorting Mustangs fared little better as they also lost two of their number to the Focke-Wulfs.
The disaster prompted the RAF to take a hard look at the Mitchell. Plans were made to modify the aircaft’s gun turret and while this took place, the squadron was restricted to droll air-sea-rescue patrol flights. Finally, on May 13, the modifications were complete and the squadron returned to action with an attack on the railway marshalling yards at Boulogne. Losses were lighter.
By August 1943, the unit had transferred to the newly formed 2nd Tactical Air Force and was deployed at Dusnfold airfield, joining other Mitchell squadrons here. Soon, it was raiding targets in Northern France and V-1 launch sites (“Noball” sites) in the Pas de Calais region. By 6 June 1944, D-Day, it had become committed to supporting the ground troops and flew tactical strike missions until the end of the war. Transferring to continental bases from October, starting with Belgium, the unit remained close to the Anglo-Canadian ground forces, accompanying them to Germany.
Remaining with the occupation forces in Germany after the war, the unit equipped with Mosquitos and finally disbanded as a fighter squadron on 15 July 1957.
Battle Mk I – Jun 1938 to Jul 1940
Tiger Moth – Aug 1940 to Sept 1942
Hurricane Mk IA – Jun to Jul 1941
Mitchell Mk II – Oct 1942 to Sept 1945
W/C FW Dixon-Wright – 6 Sept to Oct 1939
W/C GR Ashton, AFC – 11 Oct 1939 to Mar 1941
F/L HCG Wilcox – 31 Mar to 15 Jul 1941
W/C LA Lewer – 12 Sept 1942 to Aug 1943
W/C AM Phillips – 18 Aug 1943 to Apr 1944
W/C PKF Bell-Irving – 9 Apr to May 1944
W/C JGC Paul, DFC – 15 May to Sept 1944
W/C LG Hamer, DFC – 16 Sept 1944 to Jan 1945
W/C K. Gray – 16 Jan to Feb 1945
W/C VE Marshal – 28 Feb 1945 to 9 Feb 1946
Hucknall, UK – 21 Aug 1936
Scampton – 2 Mar 1940
Finningley – 19 Mar 1940
Nantes-Chateau Bougon, France – 16 Apr 1940
Gatwick, UK – 8 Jun 1940
Kaldadarnes, Iceland – 27 Aug 1940 (Det at Melgerdi)
Melgerdi – 19 Apr 1941 (Det)
Foulsham, UK – 15 Oct 1942
Dunsfold – 18 Aug 1943
Swanton Morely – 26 Mar 1944
Dunsfold – 10 Apr 1944
B.58 Melsbroek, Brussels, Belgum – 16 Oct 1944
B.110 Osnabruck-Achmer, Germany – 30 Apr to 17 Sept 1945
No. 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron
Squadron Codes: LN, VF
Motto: QUISQUE TENAX (Each tenacious)
No 99 Squadron was first formed on 15 August 1917 at Yatesbury in Wiltshire with en element from 13 Training Squadron. Moving to France in April 1918 with DH9s, the squadron joined the Independent Force, the pioneering a strategic bombing formation from June. Flying raids deep behind enemy lines, into the Germany, suffering heavy losses until the Armistice end the war in November. 4
On 31 July, in particular, nine squadron DH9s ran into 40 enemy fighters and lost four of their own. The remaining five carried on to Saarbrucken, but the pursuing fighters kept up and shot down one more near the center of the town. Then two more DH9s fell on the return journey. The sole survivor returned home to tell debriefing officers that despite their horrific casualties, they had inflicted on-par losses on the enemy. “We accounted for eight enemy scouts definitely known to have crashed,” the pilot said. In all, during its six months of combat service, the squadron had flown 76 raids, dropped 61 tons of bombs and lost 29 DH9s in action. In return, 12 enemy planes had been destroyed (including that remarkable total of July 31), with another 7 that had forced out of control.
Flying for a while in post-war Europe, the squadron transported air-mail but in May 1919 left France for India’s rough harshwest frontier. Then on 20 April 1920, the squadron disbanded by redesignating as 27 Squadron. Reformed four years later on 1 April 1924 at Netheravon, in the doldorums of the mid-war years, No 99 was designated as a Madras Presidency gift squadron and became a heavy bomber unit within 3 Group. Equipped with the usual mid-war twin-engined fare such as the Vickers Vimy, Aldershots, Hyderbads, Hinaidis and Heyfords, the unit began the Second World War in September 1939 as a Wellington squadron.
On the third night of the war (September 6), the squadron began its first wartime operation, flying two Wellingtons by night over the Reich to drop leaflets on Hanover. In November and December, the squadron posted detachments to Coastal Command, and in June 1940, a portion of the unit went to Salon in Southern France to carry out some of British heavy bomber raids against Italy, an enemy combatant from that month onward. By 1941, attacks on naval industrial targets were the norm, followed by an attack on the German capital ships, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
In 1942 came news that the unit was to be posted overseas, to India, and in January, the squadron split into detachments to move there. In the short time No 99 had spent with 3 Group, the squadrons had carried out 228 bombing raids and 5 leaflet operations with the loss of 43 aircraft in action, for a loss rate of 2.4 percent.
Arriving in India on 12 February, the squadron began operations against the Japanese in November. Flying mainly against Japanese strongholds in Burma, the unit’s reach lengthened in September 1944 with the arrival of US-made Consolidated B-24 Liberators. In July 1945, the squadron deployed to the remote Cocos Islands to support the planned invasion of Malaya. The Japanese surrender obviated this plan and the squadron, after flying some fruitless anti-submarine patrols off the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the squadron disbanded on 15 November.
Wellington Mk I – Oct 1938 to Dec 1939
Wellington Mk IA – Sept 1939 to Apr 1940
Wellington Mk IC – Mar 1940 to Feb 1942
Wellington Mk II – Jul to Oct 1941
Wellington Mk IC – Oct 1942 to May 1943
Wellington Mk III & X – Apr 1943 to Aug 1944
Liberator B Mk VI – Sept 1944 to Nov 1945
W/C HE Walker – Jun 1937 to Sept 1939
W/C J Griffith – Sept 1939 to Jun 1940
W/C RJA Ford – Jun 1940 to Jan 1941
W/C FW Dixon-Wright – Jan to dec 1941
W/C P Heath – Dec 1941 to Jun 1942
S/K JB Black – Jun 1942 to N/A
Mildenhall, UK – 15 Nov 1934
Elmdon – 9 Sept 1939
Newmarket – 15 Sept 1939
Lossiemouth, Uk & Salon, France – Sept 1939 (Dets)
Waterbeach, UK – 8 Mar 1941
Ambala, India – 1 Jun 1942 (Dets at Solan & Pandeveswar)
Pandaveswar – 19 Sept 1942
Digri – 25 Oct 1942
Chaklala – 12 Apr 1943
Jessore – 23 May 1943 (Dets at Agartala & Kumbhirgram)
Dhubalia – 26 Sept 1944
Cocos Islands, Pacific – 29 Jul 1945 to 15 Nov 1945
Vickers Wellington Mk X, Jessore, India, 1944 This Wellington is seen in standard RAF heavy bomber colors, but with South East Asia Command (SEAC) markings and extensive yellow identification strips. The Mark X was the most widely used version of the bomber Wellington during the latter half of the war. The squadron badge was of a Puma.