Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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No 421 - 430 Squadron Histories


Squadrons numbered in the 400 series were technically units of the RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF, but their members were placed under the operational control of the RAF  and are usually considered to be part of the RAF's organisational structure, hence their inclusion here.  Squadron Badges on this page - courtesy of 'Wing for Freedom' at www.rcaf.com.

No 421 (Red Indian) Squadron

No 421 Squadron BadgeLike so many other Canadian fighter squadron, it was formed at Digby, in this case on 9 April 1942.  Equipped with Spitfire Vs it soon moved to Fairwood Common in South Wales, where it remained on and off until November 1942.

In January 1943 the squadron joined the Kenley Wing and was soon involved in the whole range of offensive operations conducted by the Wing, including taking part in     Exercise Spartan, a major Army-Air Co-operation exercise designed to test out systms to be employed for Operation Overlord.

In May 1943 the unit's Mk V were replaced by Spitfire IXs and with these it conducted bomber escorts until August when it became part of No 127 Airfields (later No 127 Wing) and it joined in the preparations for the invasion.  The squadron supported the D-Day landings and then on the 14 June, moved to the beachhead area.

It continued to move forward to remain within range of the Allied armies and the frontline but on 1 October it got to close and being only three miles from the frontline, found itself immediately under attack so it moved back to Brussels.  In December the squadron re-equipped with Spitfire XVIs  and was back in action.  It was intended that the squadron should join the British Air Forces of Occupation but on 23 July 1945 the squadron was disbanded at Utersen.

Motto:     Bellicum cecinere (They have sounded the war trumpet)

 
Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1942-43, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944 Arnhem Rhine

Squadron Codes used: -

AU Apr 1942 - Jul 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 422 (Flying Yachtsman) Squadron

No 422 Squadron BadgeFormed at Lough Erne on 2 April 1942, the squadron was initially equipped with Saro Lerwick, but this aircraft was soon found to be totally unsuitable for operations and the squadron re-equipped with Catalinas.

However, the squadrons first duties involved flying transport sorties between Invergordon and the Soviet Union, carrying spares for their Hurricanes.  In September the unit was taken off operations and it began ferrying Catalinas from the USA to Britain.

In November 1942 it received its own Sunderlands and in January 1943 began a mail service to Lagos in Nigeria, at the same time carrying out anti-submarine patrols whilst on route.  Eventually on 25 February 1943, the squadron flew its first convoy escort for Coastal Command.  It continued to carry out convoy escorts and anti-submarine patrols until the end of the war carrying out a number of attacks on U-boats with at least one sunk.

In July 1945 the squadron gave up its Sunderlands and moved to Bassingbourn, where it was to become a transport squadron equipped with Liberators.  It was intended that the squadron would join 'Tiger Force' for operations in the Far East, but the Japanese surrender curtailed these plans and the squadron disbanded on 3 September 1945.

Motto:     The arm shall do it

 
Battle Honours
Atlantic 1942-1945, English Channel and North Sea 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1944-1945, Arctic 1942

Squadron Codes used: -

2 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
DG Jul 1944 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings

No 422 Squadron Association: -  e-mail:  berry@infonet.ca

No 422 Squadron Association website: - www.georgian.net/422sqdrn

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 423 (Bald Eagle) Squadron  

No 423 Squadron BadgeFormed in Coastal Command at Oban on 18 March 1943, it was equipped with Sunderlands in the anti-submarine role.  Operations began in August and in november te squadron moved to Castle Archdale in Northern Ireland, although it operated a detachment at Pembroke Dock.

Late in 1943 the squadron carried out patrols over the Bay of Biscay by flying shuttle flights to and from Gibraltar.  The squadron continued to operate until the end of the war making numerous attacks on U-boats with at least two sunk.

In June 1945 the squadron was transferred to Transport Command and in August it moved to Bassingbourn, where it started to convert to Liberators for transport duties, but the end of the war in the Far East resulted in the squadron disbanding on 3 September 1945.

Motto:     Quaerimus et petimus (We search and strike)

 
Battle Honours
Atlantic 1942-1945, English Channel and North Sea 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1944

Squadron Codes used: -

AB May1942 - Aug 1943
3 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
YT Jul 1944 - Aug 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 424 (Tiger) Squadron

No 424 Squadron BadgeFormed at Topcliffe on 15 October 1942 in No 4 Group of Bomber Command, it was equipped with Wellingtons.  In January 1943 along with the other RCAF bomber squadrons it was transferred to the newly created No 6 (RCAF) Group.

In May 1943 it was earmarked for service in North Africa together with No's 420 and 425 Squadrons.  The air echelons arrived in Tunisia in June and joined No 205 Group and for the next three months attacked targets in Sicily and Italy.  When the squadron returned to No 6 Group in November, it settled at its new base at Skipton on Swale, where it remained for the rest of the war.

On its return it also converted to Halifax IIIs which it used as part of Bomber Command's Main Force until January 1945, when it received Lancasters, which it operated for the last three months, flying its last mission on 25 April.  With the end of hostilities it was transferred to No 1 Group in August and began ferrying troops back from Italy and on 15 October 1945 it was disbanded.

Motto:     Castigandos castigamus (We chastise those who deserve to be chastised)

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1943-1945, Baltic 1944-1945, Salerno Fortress Europe 1943-1945, France and Germany 1944-1945, Rhine Biscay Ports 1943-1944, Ruhr 1943-1945, Berlin 1944, Normandy 1944, German Ports 1943-1945, Biscay 1943-1944, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943

Squadron Codes used: -

QB Oct 1942 - Oct 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 425 (Alouette) Squadron

No 425 Squadron BadgeFormed on 25 June 1942 at Dishforth in No 4 Group as the fourth RCAF bomber unit under RAF control, it was unique in that it was intended as a French-Canadian squadron, hence its name.

Equipped with Wellingtons it first operation took place on 5/6 October 1942 and three months later it was transferred to the new No 6 (RCAF) Group. In May 1943 it was earmarked for service in North Africa together with No's 420 and 424 Squadrons.  The air echelons arrived in Tunisia in June and joined No 205 Group and for the next three months attacked targets in Sicily and Italy.  When the squadron returned to No 6 Group in November, it was initially sent to Dishforth but the following month it settled at its new base at Tholthorpe, where it remained for the rest of the war.

On arrival at Tholthorpe it began converting to the Halifax III and it resumed operations as part of Bomber Command's Main Force on 19/20 February 1944.  It began conversion to Canadian built Lancaster Xs in May 1945, but by then it had flown its last operational mission and its new Lancaster were flown home to Canada in June where the squadron disbanded on 5 September 1945.

Motto:     Je te plumrai (I shall pluck you)

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1942-43, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1943-44, Ruhr 1942-45, Berlin 1944, German Parts 1942-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine Biscay 1942-43,Sicily 1943, Italy 1943 Salerno

Squadron Codes used: -

KW Jun 1942 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 426 (Thunderbird) Squadron

No 426 Squadron BadgeFormed at Dishforth in No 4 Group, it was equipped with Wellingtons, which it used operationally for the first time on 14/15 January 1943.  By the time it carried out its first operations it had been transferred to the new No 6 (RCAF) Group on 1 January 1943.

In June 1943 it re-equipped with Lancaster II, this version being fitted with Bristol Hercules radial engines and at the same time moved to Linton on Ouse, where it remained until the end of the war

In April 1944 the squadron converted to the Halifax III and used these until the end of the war, when it was transferred to Transport Command, re-equipped with Liberators and moved to Driffield.  Shortly after this move it was relocated to Tempsford from where it began trooping flights to and from India after VJ-Day until disbanding on 31 December 1945.

Motto:     On wings of  fire

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1943, Baltic 1943, Fortress Europe 1943-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1943-44, Ruhr 1943-45, Berlin 1943-44, German Ports 1943-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine Biscay 1943

Squadron Codes used: -

OW Oct 1942 - Dec 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 427 (Lion) Squadron

No 427 Squadron BadgeFormed at Croft on 7 November 1942 as part of No 4 Group, it transferred to the new No 6 (RCAF) Group on January 1943.  It was equipped with Wellingtons and carried out its first operation just prior to joining No 6 Group on 14 December 1942.

d where it re-equipped with the Halifax V.  These were flown until January 1944 when Mk IIIs arrived to replace them.  It continued to operate as part of Bomber Command's Main Force until the end of the war

With the end of the war the squadron began ferrying POWs back from the continent and in August was transferred to No 1 Group.  It now also began to bring troops home from Italy until 31 May 1946 when it was disbanded.

Motto:     Ferte manus certas (Strike sure)

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1943-1945, Baltic 1944-1945, Rhine Fortress Europe 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Biscay 1944, Biscay Ports 1943-1944, Ruhr 1943-1945, Berlin 1943-1944, German Ports 1943-1945, Normandy 1944

Squadron Codes used: -

ZL Nov 1942 - May 1946

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 428 (Ghost) Squadron

No 428 Squadron BadgeFormed at Dalton on 7 November 1942 as a bomber unit within No 4 Group but on 1 January 1943 it was transferred to the newly created No 6 (RCAF) Group.

 Initially equipped with Wellingtons, it carried out its first operation on 26/27 January 1943 against Lorient.  In June it moved to Middleton St George and at the same time it re-equipped with Halifax Vs and later Halifax IIs, the latter being replaved in June 1944 by Canadian built Lancaster Xs.

Its last operation of 283 was flown on 25 April 1945 and in June it returned to Canada, where it disbanded on 5 September .

Motto:     Usque ad finem (To the very end)

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1943-44, Baltic 1944, Fortress Europe 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1943-44, Ruhr 1943-45, Berlin 1943-1944, Normandy 1944, German Ports 1943-45, Biscay 1943-44 Rhine

Squadron Codes used: -

NA Nov 1942 - May 1946

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 429 (Bison) Squadron

No 429 Squadron BadgeFormed at East Moor on 7 November 1942 as a bomber unit within No 4 Group but in April 1943 it was transferred to the recently created No 6 (RCAF) Group.

Equipped with Wellingtons, it moved to its new home at Leeming on11 August 1943 and the following month began to re-equip with Halifax IIs.  These were replaced by Mk Vs in November and Mk IIIs in March 1944.  Operations began on 26/27 January 1943 when ten aircraft set out for Lorient, with six bombing the primary, three aborting and one failing to return.

In March 1945, Lancasters replaced the Halifaxes and it was on this type that the squadron carried out its last bombing operation against Wangeroog on 25 April.  In August the squadron was transferred to No 1 Group, joining  Operation Dodge, the repatriation of troops from Italy, a task it continued until disbanding on 31 May 1946.

Motto:     Fortunae nihid (Nothing to chance)

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1943-1945, Baltic 1943-1945, Fortress Europe 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Biscay Ports 1943-1944, Ruhr 1943-1944, Berlin 1943-1944, German Ports 1943-1945, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1943-1944

Squadron Codes used: -

AL Aug 1943 - May 1946

Aircraft & Markings    

No 429 Squadron Association: - Greg Kopchuk,  13216 - 116th Street, Edmonton, AB  T5E 5H7

e-mail  gkopchuk@yahoo.com

Greg's 429 Sqn site

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 430 (City of Sudbury) Squadron

No 430 Squadron BadgeFormed on 1 January 1943 at Hartford Bridge (later Blackbushe) as an Army Co-operation unit equipped with Tomahawks.  Almost immediately, the squadron began conversion to Mustangs with the last tomahawk leaving in June.

Operations began on 26 May against targets in Northern France and along the Channel coast.  In early 1944 it began to participate in operations in preparation for the forthcoming invasion, which now consisted of tactical and photo reconnaissance missions.

This role was continued on D-Day and beyond with the squadron paying particular attention to road communications. behind the front line.  Moving to France at the end of June, the squadron advanced with the Allied armies and continued to provide vital intelligence for the ground operations.  In November 1944 the squadron began receiving Spitfire XIVs and by the end of December was fully equipped.  The squadron disbanded at Luneburg on 7 August 1945.

Motto:     Celeriter certoque (Swiftly and surely)

 
Battle Honours
Fortress Europe 1943-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944 Arnhem Rhine

Squadron Codes used: -  

G9 Nov 1944 - Aug 1945

Aircraft & Markings


 

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

This page was last updated on 21/08/12 using FrontPage XP

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