Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
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Formed at Rochford on 1 January 1918 as a home defence unit, it initially operated a variety of types until standardising on the Bristol F2B in March. From February it was based at Biggin Hill until March 19919, when was sent to Ireland, disbanding there on 1 February 1920.
No 141 reformed on 4 October 1939 at Turnhouse equipped with Gladiators and shortly afterwards Blenheims. These were both used for training until April 1940, when new equipment arrived in the form of Defiants. Declared operational on 3 June, the squadron moved to West Malling in July, from where it began patrolling the English Channel. On the 19th nine of its aircraft encountered a force of Bf109s and despite shooting down four of the German aircraft, it lost six of its own and two days later was moved to Prestwick to recover and re-equip.
It was now obvious that the lack of forward armament on the Defiant could be a serious disadvantage in daylight operations and so it was decided to transfer the squadron to night fighting. 'B' Flight returned south in September and soon shot down its first enemy aircraft at night. The following month the rest of the squadron also moved south, remaining until April 1941. In that month it moved north to Ayr, converting to the Beaufighter and providing night defence of Scotland and Northern England. Tangmere became its new base in June 1942 and Predannack in February 1943, but in April it moved to Wittering, from where it began night intruder operations over German airfields in support of Bomber Command. October 1943 saw the arrival of Mosquitoes and in December was transferred to No 100 Group and it remained on these duties until the end of war, disbanding on 7 September 1945. It reformed on 17 June 1946, again in the night fighter role equipped with Mosquitoes but in October 1951, these were replaced by Meteor NF Mk 11s. From 11 February 1949 to 27 June 1952, the squadron had No 42 Squadron linked to it. Venom NF Mk 3s arrived in Jun 1955 and when these were replaced by Javelins in February 1957, the squadron adopted a new role as an all weather fighter unit, however, on 1 February 1958 the squadron was disbanded at Coltishall. Its final incarnation was as a Bloodhound surface to air missile unit at Dunholme Lodge from 1 April 1959 until 31 March 1964.
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed at Ismailia on 2 February 1918 in the Corps Reconnaissance role, it was employed in support of the Army in both Egypt and Palestine, settling in Egypt after the war, where it was disbanded by being renumbered No 55 Squadron on 1 February 1920.
The squadron reformed at Netheravon on 1 July 1934 as a light bomber unit equipped with Hawker Harts, which it took to Egypt in October 1935 during the Abyssinian crisis. Returning to the UK in November 1936, it re-equipped with Hinds in January 1937 and just over a year later in March 1938, with Battles. The squadron was earmarked as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force and moved to France in September 1939. Following the German invasion, it undertook attacks against enemy columns and lines of communication, until being evacuated to Britain in mid-June. Operations continued from Binbrook and then Eastchurch but in November the squadron began to convert to Wellingtons, a process completed by January 1941.
The squadron was now a night bombing unit and commenced operations in April 1941. In December 1942 a detachment was sent to Algeria and on 27 January 1943, the contingent left in the UK was amalgamated with No 150 Squadron, forming No 166 Squadron; the Middle Eastern element then took over the No 142 and continued operations in the area. Still a night bomber unit, it operated against targets in Tunisia, Sicily, Sardinia and Italy, moving onto the Italian mainland in December 1943. Attacks were now moved to Northern Italy and the Balkans, but on 5 October the squadron was disbanded.
Almost three weeks later on 25 October , the squadron was reformed at Gransden Lodge. It was now a Mosquito unit in No 8 Group's Light Night Striking Force, duties it maintained until the end of the war, disbanding on 28 September 1945. No 142 briefly reformed on 1 February 1959 in the fighter-bomber role at Eastleigh in Kenya, equipped with Venom FB Mk 4s, but on 1 April it was renumbered as No 208 Squadron. Its final incarnation was as a Thor equipped Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile unit at Coleby Grange from 22 July 1959 to 24 May 1963.
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed at Throwley on 1 February 1918 in the home defence role, it moved to Detling in March, remaining there until the end of the war. Its initial equipment was Camels and SE5As but in 1919 it began to receive Snipes but shortly afterwards it disbanded on 31 October 1919.
The squadron reformed at Aldergrove on 15 June 1941 as a Coastal Command fighter unit. It was able to begin operations immediately by absorbing part of the already operational No 252 Squadron, with moves to Thornaby in July, Dyce later that month and Sumburgh in September. In December the squadron returned to Aldergrove but gave up its Beaufighters to become a training unit using Blenheims. These were taken on operations from North Coates in August 1942 and the following month re-equipped with Beaufighters.
Now operating as part of a Strike Wing, it remained at North Coates for a year, flying anti-shipping strike missions along the Dutch coast. A brief interlude followed when it moved to St Eval and then Portreath to provide air cover to anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay. The squadron returned to North Coates in February 1944 and for two months (May/June) operated from Manston to protect the Invasion forces from E-boats, but it finally left North Coates in October, when it moved to Banff. Here it converted to Mosquitos and conducted anti-shipping operations along the Norwegian coast. The squadron finally disbanded on 25May 1945, most of its personnel being transferred to No 14 Squadron.
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed at Port Said on 20 March 1918 in the Corps Reconnaissance role, it was employed in support of the Army in both Egypt and Palestine. After supporting General Allenby's campaign against Syria, it was despatched to Mudros for operations against the Turks in the Dardanelles. However, the Turkish surrender ended these plans and in December 1918 it was reduced to cadre, returned to Britain and disbanded at Ford on 4 February 1919.
No 144 Squadron became the second of only two units to operate the Overstrand, when it formed on 11 January 1937 at Bicester, having taken over four of these aircraft from No 101 Squadron. Later that month it received Ansons, the Overstrands left in February and in March, Audaxes were also received and it now began to work-up for its operational equipment. This was received in August in the form of Blenheims and by December it was fully equipped with this type. Having joined No 5 Group at the same time as receiving Blenheims, it began to re-equip with Hampdens March 1939. Until April 1942, the squadron operated as part of No 5 Group, initially carrying out leaflet raids and minelaying before beginning bombing raids.
However, it that month the squadron was transferred to Coastal Command and began torpedo dropping training. In September 1942 it was then sent to North Russia to protect the Russian convoys, but lack of targets led to it handing its aircraft to the Russians and returning to the UK in October. It then operated from Leuchars, where it converted to Beaufighters in January 1943 and moved to Tain in April. The following month the ground personnel embarked for the Middle East and the aircraft were flown out in June. Here they carried out attacks against Axis shipping in the Mediterranean but in August they where sent back to Britain, recommencing operations from Wick in October.
In May 1944 the squadron moved south to cover the Normandy landing and at the end of June it joined the Strubby Strike Wing. Another move followed in September when it joined the Banff Strike Wing, initially in its tradition torpedo role, but in January 1945, it adopted the anti-flak role, which it maintained until the end of the war, disbanding on 25 May 1945. Linked to No 61 Squadron from 1 February 1949 until 31 March 1958 its final incarnation as an independent unit lasted from 1 December 1959 until 23August 1963 as a Thor equipped Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile unit at North Luffenham
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed on 15 May 1918 at Aboukir in Egypt as a fighter unit under the command of Maj R M Drummond. Equipped with SE5As it moved to Palestine in August where it supported General Allenby's offensive against the Turks, disbanding at Suez on 2 September 1919.
The squadron next reappeared in the Order of Battle on 10 October 1939, when it was reformed, again in the fighter role, at Croydon. The following month it received Blenheim fighters but the following March these were replaced by Hurricanes. Whilst remaining in Britain, the squadron operated over Northern France and covered the evacuation from Dunkirk. It was involved in the Battle of Britain, moving to Tangmere in May and its satellite at Westhampnett in July, until being moved to Scotland in August for a rest. One interesting point at this time is that the original squadron badge featured a Turkish Scimitar, but now that Turkey was an ally, the Air ministry instructed the squadron to replace it with a sword, to avoid causing any offence.
Initially based at Drem it moved to Dyce later in the month and stayed there until returning south in October. Its Hurricanes were replaced by Spitfires in January 1941 and with these it moved onto the offensive. In July 1941 it moved to Catterick in Yorkshire and remained there retraining pilots for Spitfires and conducting North Sea patrols until embarking for the Middle East in February 1942.
Arriving in April, it began operations over the Western Desert in May, becoming the first Spitfire squadron in the theatre. It carried out fighter patrols and bomber escort mission until the end of the North African campaign, after which it moved to Malta in June 1943. From Malta, the squadron supported the Sicilian landings after which it became the first Spitfire squadron to operate from the island, enabling it to support the Allied landings in Italy. The squadron moved to the Italian mainland in September 1943, still in the fighter role. Lack of opposition resulted in the squadron moving to the ground attack role and in June 1944, it was officially reclassified as a fighter bomber unit, a role in maintained until the end of the war. It disbanded at Treviso in Italy on 19 August 1945
The squadron number was kept alive from 11 February 1949 until 28 February 1952 by being linked to No 85 Squadron, however the following day, 1 March 1952, the squadron was reformed as fighter bomber unit equipped with Vampires at Celle in Germany. Venoms arrived April 1954 and these were operated until 15 October 1957, when the squadron disbanded. The squadron number has been used on three subsequent occasions as a 'Shadow designation for Operational Conversion Units. From 22 October 1958 to 1 June 1963 it was allocated to the Hunter equipped No 229 OCU at Chivenor. The same day it was transferred to No 226 OCU at Middleton St George, which was responsible for training Lightning pilots. No 226 moved to Coltishall in April 1964 and retained the 145 as a shadow designation until re-numbered No 65 on 1 September 1970.
Acknowledgement: - Eric Young, for allowing me access to a copy of 145 Squadron Association's official history.
Squadron Codes used: -
No 145 Squadron Association: - Eric Young, 27 Swaledale Avenue, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 4DU: tel 01670 354987: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Squadron badge image on this page is courtesy of Steve Clements
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This page was last updated on 07/01/17 using FrontPage 2003©
Sqns 146 - 150
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