Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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No 271 - 275 Squadron Histories

No 271 Squadron
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Formed on 27 September 1918 from No's 357, 358 & 367 Flights at Taranto, it was equipped with Felixstowe F3s and Short 184s and its role was to assist in preventing the passage of Austro-Hungarian submarines from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean.  The squadron disbanded on 9 December 1918.

The squadron was reformed on 1 May 1940, when No 1680 Flight was raised to squadron status at Doncaster.  It was now designated as a transport unit and operated a mixture of Bombays, Harrow and Ford Tri-motors.  Its initial duties involved the repatriation of personnel from France after which it was mainly occupied in the movement of ground crews as fighter squadron rotated between stations during the Battle of Britain.

In January 1941 the squadron took delivery of some De Havilland Albatross' and began a scheduled service to Iceland, although the schedule was hard to maintain due to inadequate equipment.  Some Dakotas were received in August 1943 but in January 1944, the squadron re-equipped fully with the type, although some Harrows were retained in the Ambulance role until the end of the war.  The squadron's main role was no support of the airborne forces, providing 22 glider tugs during Operation Overlord, and casualty evacuation from the beachhead.

The squadron was heavily involved in the Arnhem operation of September, providing 19 glider tugs on the first day and 24 on the next.  It then undertook re-supply missions to the besieged troops and during one of these a squadron pilot, Flt Lt David Lord, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.  The Harrow flight moved to Evere in the same month as Arnhem but on 1 January 1945, it was virtually wiped out in the Luftwaffe's Operation Bodenplatz and so in April the flight also began conversion to Dakotas, completing the process in May.

After the war the squadron began services to Germany, Italy and Greece until civilian operators were able to establish themselves.  The squadron was disbanded by being re-numbered No 77 on 1 December 1946.

Squadron Codes used: -  

ZJ Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
BJ May 1940 -Jan 1944
YS Jan 1944 - Dec  1946
L7 Jan 1944 - Dec 1946

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 272 Squadron

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Formed at Machrihanish on 25 July 1918 from No's 531, 532 & 533 Flights, it was equipped with DH6s for coastal anti-submarine patrols.  The squadron disbanded on 5 March 1918.

The squadron reformed at Aldergrove on 19 November 1940 by taking a flight from each of No's 235n and 236 Squadrons.  It was equipped with Blenheim IV and operated in the coastal fighter role conducting shipping escort sorties.

In April 1941 the squadron exchanged its Blenheims for Beaufighters and following work up left for the Middle East on 24 May.  Its first task was to provide fighter cover during the evacuation of Crete, after which it began long range convoy escorts, intruder operations, fighter escort to other strike units and long range ground attack missions.

In November 1942, the squadron transferred to Malta, and began attacks on Sicily and Tunisia.  Following Operation Husky, it moved to Sicily in September 1943 and in February 1944 to Sardinia.  From here it was able to carry out attacks n targets in Italy and Southern France.  In September 1944 it moved onto the Italian mainland and began operations along the Adriatic coast.  Its last operation was conducted on 18 April 1945 and the squadron disbanded on 30 April.

Squadron Codes used: -  

SM Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
XK Nov 1940 - May 1941
TJ Possibly Allocated

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 273 Squadron  


No Badge Authorised

Formed at Burgh Castle on 30 July 1918 from No's 470, 485, 486 (Fighter) & 534 (Light Bomber) Flights, it was equipped with DH4, DH9, BE2c and Camels and conducted coastal reconnaissance sorties along the East Coast.  The Camels provide fighter protection to the two-seater reconnaissance machines, which were supplemented by some DH9As in September.  The squadron disbanded on 5 July 1919.

The squadron reformed at China Bay, Ceylon on 1 August 1939, equipped with six Vickers Vildebeest torpedo bombers.  It also operated four Fairey Seals belonging to the Station Flight, and with these two types it carried out coastal patrols, but the lack of enemy activity in the area led to it carrying out anti-aircraft co-operation duties.

In March 1942, the squadron re-equipped with Fairey Fulmers, with half of the personnel also being naval.  On 9 April a Japanese carrier force attacked Ceylon and the squadron lost one aircraft, after which the squadron began reconnaissance operations looking for further enemy vessels.  When no further vessels were found the squadron resumed its defensive role, re-equipping with Hurricanes in August 1942 and Spitfire VIIIs in March 1944.

The squadron eventually joined in the offensive against the Japanese in July 1944 when it moved to Burma and began ground attacks and escort duties in support of the 14th Army.  With the end of hostilities it moved to Don Muang in Siam (Thailand) on 11 September 1945 and twelve days later moved to Tan Son Nhut in French Indo China (Vietnam), where it disbanded on 31 January 1946

Squadron Codes used: -

HH Aug 1939 - Sep 1939
MS Mar 1944 - Jan 1946

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 274 Squadron

Click here to go to badgesPlanned as an anti-submarine squadron to be based at Seaton Carew from November 1918, it never actually formed and the number was transferred to No 5 (Communications) Squadron at Bircham Newton.  The squadron was equipped with the Handley Page V/1500 but following training, it was decided to concentrate on smaller twin engined bombers and the unit was disbanded on 20 January 1920 with its personnel forming the nucleus of No 207 Squadron. 

Reformed at Amtiya in Egypt on 19 August 1940 it was equipped with both Hurricanes ('A' Flight) and Gladiators ('B' Flight).  It also 6took over the Free French Flight previously attached to No 80 Squadron, however, this left in September and the following month 'B' Flight re-equipped with Hurricanes.

Between December 1940 and May 1942 the squadron was involved in fighter operations in the Western Desert interspersed with short periods of defensive duty back in Egypt.  In May 1942 the squadron's aircraft were converted to the fighter-bomber role and it began ground attack operations in support of the 8th Army.  When the squadron reached Tunisia the squadron reverted to the air defence role receiving some Spitfires in April 1943 which had left by August.

In September the squadron moved to Cyprus where it converted to Spitfires in October.  These were taken to Italy in February 1944 and for the next two months it carried out offensive operations over the Balkans.  However, on 10 April 1944 the squadron embarked for the UK and re-assembled on 24 April at Hornchurch.  It was now part of 2nd Tactical Air Force and carried out the usual round of offensive operations in connection with the forthcoming invasion and provided cover to the invasion forces themselves.

August brought conversion to the Hawker Tempest V and these were put to immediate use in combating the V-1 flying bombs being unleashed against Britain at that time.  With the V-1 threat abated the squadron moved to the Continent rejoining 2 TAF in September.  Based in the Low Countries the squadron continued to support the Allied armies as they moved closer to Germany.  In September 1945 the aircrews returned to Warmwell to take part in an armament practice camp and whilst there it was disbanded by being re-numbered No 174.

Squadron Codes used: -  

MU Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
YK Aug 1940 - Sep 1940 
NH xxx xxxx - Apr 1944
JJ Apr 1944 - Sep 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

No 275 Squadron

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Formed at Valley on 15 October 1941, it brought together two detachments of Lysanders employed on ASR duties.  Walrus amphibians were added in December 1941, Defiants in May 1942 and Ansons in March 1943.  Spitfire VBs were taken on strength in January 1943 but in April they left, only to return again in April 1944.

Just prior to D-Day, the squadron moved to Warmwell in order to cover the English Channel and area between the south coast of England and Normandy.   The squadron disbanded at Harrowbeer on 15 February 1945.

The squadron reformed on 13 April 1953, again in the SAR role, but now equipped with Sycamore HR Mk 13 and 14s at Linton-on-Ouse.  It moved to Thornaby on 18 November 1954 and Leconfield in October 1957.  It was at this latter location that some Whirlwind HAR Mk 4s were added, but on 1 September 1959, the squadron disbanded by being re-numbered No 228.

Squadron Codes used: -  

WS Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
PV Oct 1941 - Feb 1945

[Aircraft & Markings | Commanding Officers]

Photos of 275 Sqn Personnel at RAF Andreas 1942

Squadron badge image on this page is courtesy of Steve Clements

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

This page was last updated on 09/05/24

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