WW2 Bomber Squadrons 320 – 455

 

455 (AUSTRALIAN) SQUADRON

The ground staff started forming in Australia on 23 May 1941 and the squadron became operational in 5 Group in August 1941. Flew Hampdens from Swinderby and Wigsley until April 1942 when transferred to Coastal Command to become a torpedo-bomber unit, in which role the squadron flew until the end of the war.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

455 Squadron flew 424 Hampden sorties and lost 14 aircraft (3.3 percent) in 92 raids – 56 bombing, 29 minelaying and 7 leaflet.

POINTS OF INTEREST

The first Australian squadron to fly in Bomber Command.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14807-14814). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Squadrons\320Sqn.jpg

320 (DUTCH) SQUADRON

After serving as a maritime squadron in Coastal Command, 320 Squadron was transferred to 2 Group in March 1943 and started converting to Mitchells, but the squadron was not ready for operations when 2 Group left Bomber Command a few weeks later. The squadron later operated with the 2nd Tactical Air Force until the end of the war. It was the only Dutch squadron in Bomber Command but flew no operational sorties while in Bomber Command. Based at Attlebridge.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14595-14600). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Squadrons\342sqn.jpg

342 (LORRAINE) SQUADRON

After serving as a Blenheim squadron in Africa and the Middle East from December 1941 until early 1943, this Free French squadron was posted to 2 Group and started to convert to Bostons, but this process was not complete and no operations had been flown when 2 Group left Bomber Command. The squadron subsequently flew Bostons and Mitchells in the 2nd Tactical Air Force until the end of the war.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14600-14604). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

 

346 (FRENCH) SQUADRON

Formed as a Halifax squadron in 4 Group on 16 May 1944 and flew from Elvington until the end of the war.​​ 

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

346 Squadron flew 1,371 Halifax sorties and lost 15 aircraft (1.1 percent) in 121 bombing raids.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14604-14608). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

 

347 (FRENCH) SQUADRON

Formed as a Halifax squadron in 4 Group on 20 June 1944 and flew from Elvington until the end of the war.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

347 Squadron flew 1,355 Halifax sorties and lost 15 aircraft (1.1 percent) in no bombing raids. All squadrons numbered between 405 and 434 were Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons, serving mostly in 6 (Canadian) Group.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14610-14613). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\405-rcaf-600.jpg

405 (VANCOUVER) SQUADRON

Formed in 4 Group on 23 April 1941 and flew Wellingtons and Halifaxes from Driffield, Pocklington and Topcliffe until posted to Coastal Command in October 1942. Returned to Bomber Command in March 1943 and operated from Leeming in 6 Group from 11/ 12 March (when the squadron lost 4 out of its 15 Halifaxes flying on the first raid, to Stuttgart). Transferred to 8 Group in April 1943 and operated as a Pathfinder squadron until the end of the war, flying Halifaxes and Lancasters from Gransden Lodge.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown 4 Group Wellingtons – 86 bombing 4 Group Halifaxes – 34 bombing, 2 leaflet 6 Group Halifaxes – 13 bombing 8 Group Halifaxes – 29 bombing 8 Group Lancasters – 288 bombing Total – 450 bombing and 2 leaflet raids Sorties and Losses 4 Group Wellingtons – 522 sorties, 20 aircraft lost (3.8 percent) 4 Group Halifaxes – 396 sorties, 26 aircraft lost (6.6 percent) 6 Group Halifaxes – 55 sorties, 4 aircraft lost (7.3 percent) 8 Group Halifaxes – 330 sorties, 12 aircraft lost (3.6 percent) 8​​ Group Lancasters – 2,549 sorties, 50 aircraft lost (2.0 percent) Total – 3,852 sorties, 112 aircraft lost (2.9 percent)

POINTS OF INTEREST

First Canadian squadron in Bomber Command and the only Canadian Pathfinder squadron; carried out more bombing raids than any other Canadian squadron. Carried out most Wellington bombing raids in 4 Group. Carried out an unusually high proportion of bombing raids throughout its career and suffered heavy casualties; the only long-serving heavy squadron not to have flown any minelaying operations.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14613-14632). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\408rcaf-600.jpg

408 (GOOSE) SQUADRON

Formed on 24 June 1941 in 5 Group. Flew Hampdens (and one Manchester sortie on the Thousand-Bomber Raid to Cologne) from Syerston and Balderton from August 1941 until posted to 4 Group in September 1942 in preparation for the formation of 6 Group. Became a founder squadron of 6 Group on 1 January 1943. Flew Halifaxes from Leeming while with 4 Group and Halifaxes, then Lancasters and then back to Halifaxes, from Leeming and Linton-on-Ouse while with 6 Group.​​ 

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown 5 Group Hampdens – 117 bombing, 56 minelaying, 15 leaflet, 2 weather recce 5 Group Manchester – 1 bombing 4 Group Halifaxes – 57 bombing, 11 minelaying 6 Group Halifaxes – 98 bombing 6 Group Lancasters – 100 bombing Total – 373 bombing, 67 minelaying, 15 leaflet, 2 recce = 457 raids Sorties and Losses 5 Group Hampdens – 1,233 sorties, 35 aircraft lost (2.8 percent) 5 Group Manchester – 1 sortie returned safely 4 Group Halifaxes – 540 sorties, 33 aircraft lost (6.1 percent) 6 Group Halifaxes – 1,469 sorties, 20 aircraft lost (1.4 percent) 6 Group Lancasters – 1,210​​ sorties, 41 aircraft lost (3.4 percent) Total – 4,453 sorties, 129 aircraft lost (2.9 percent) 10 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Flew most sorties and suffered most losses (with 419 Squadron) in Canadian squadrons. Suffered most losses and the highest percentage losses in 6 Group Lancaster squadrons.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14641-14651). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\415-rcaf-600.jpg

415 (SWORDFISH) SQUADRON

Came to 6 Group in July 1944 after more than two years duty with Coastal Command. Flew Halifaxes from East Moor until the end of the war.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

415 Squadron flew 1,526 Halifax sorties and lost 13 aircraft (0.9 percent) in 104 bombing raids.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14651-14655). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\419squadron_p.jpg

419 (MOOSE) SQUADRON

Formed in 3 Group on 15 December 1941 and flew Wellingtons from Mildenhall until the squadron was transferred to 4 Group, being based at several airfields in 4 Group while converting to Halifaxes and waiting for 6 Group to be formed. Started operating again from Middleton St George in January 1943 and flew from there until the end of the war, converting to Lancasters in April 1944.​​ 

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown 3 Group Wellingtons – 67 bombing, 18 minelaying, 3 leaflet 6 Group Halifaxes – 105 bombing, 33 minelaying, 1 diversion 6 Group Lancasters – 127 bombing Total – 299 bombing, 51 minelaying, 4 others = 354 raids Sorties and Losses 3 Group Wellingtons – 648 sorties, 24 aircraft lost (3.7 percent) 6 Group Halifaxes – 1,616 sorties, 66 aircraft lost (4.1 percent) 6 Group Lancasters – 2,029 sorties, 39 aircraft lost (1.9 percent) Total – 4,293 sorties, 129 aircraft lost (3.0 percent) 14 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.

POINTS OF INTEREST

419 was a very active squadron and holds many records for its heavy casualties. Of all the Canadian squadrons, it suffered the most losses (with 408 Squadron) and suffered the highest percentage loss. In 6 Group, it carried out the most bombing raids (with 427 Squadron), flew the most sorties and suffered the most losses. Suffered the most losses and the highest percentage loss in 6 Group Halifax squadrons and the highest percentage loss in all Bomber Command Halifax squadrons. Carried out the most bombing raids and flew the most sorties in 6 Group Lancaster squadrons. Victoria Cross: Pilot Officer A. C. Mynarski, posthumously, Cambrai, 12/ 13 June 1944.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14671-14674). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\420squadron.jpg

420 (SNOWY OWL) SQUADRON

Formed in 5 Group on 19 December 1941 and flew Hampdens from Waddington. Moved to 4 Group in August 1942 and flew Wellingtons from Skipton-on-Swale and Middleton St George until transferred to 6 Group in January 1943. Detached to the Middle East from May to November 1943 but then returned to 6 Group and converted to Halifaxes; flew from Tholthorpe until the end of the war.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown 5 Group Hampdens – 44 bombing, 37 minelaying, 8 leaflet, 1 weather recce 4 Group Wellingtons – 13 bombing, 10 minelaying, 1 weather recce 6 Group Wellingtons – 30 bombing, 10 minelaying 6 Group Halifaxes – 160 bombing Total – 247 bombing, 57 minelaying, 8 leaflet, 2 recce = 314 raids Sorties and Losses 5 Group Hampdens – 535 sorties, 19 aircraft lost (3.6 percent) 4 Group Wellingtons – 142 sorties, 2 aircraft lost (1.4 percent) 6 Group Wellingtons – 325 sorties, 14 aircraft lost (4.3 percent) 6 Group Halifaxes – 2,477 sorties, 25 aircraft lost (1.0 percent) Total – 3,479 sorties, 60 aircraft lost (1.7 percent).

 

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14675-14688). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\424-rcaf-600.jpg

424 (TIGER) SQUADRON

Formed in 4 Group on 15 October 1942 but did not operate until after transferring to 6 Group in January 1943. Flew Wellingtons from Topcliffe and Leeming until detached to the Middle East in May 1943. Returned to 6 Group in October and converted to Halifaxes at Skipton-on-Swale, flying the first Halifax operation on 15/ 16 February 1944 when the target was Berlin and 1 aircraft was lost. Converted to Lancasters in February 1945.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown Wellingtons – 24 bombing, 13 minelaying Halifaxes – 123 bombing, 33 minelaying Lancasters – 29 bombing, 13 minelaying Total – 176 bombing, 59 minelaying = 235 raids Sorties and Losses Wellingtons – 332 sorties, 5 aircraft lost (1.5 percent) Halifaxes – 1,811 sorties, 23 aircraft lost (1.3 percent) Lancasters – 388 sorties, 5 aircraft lost (1.3 percent) Total – 2,531 sorties, 33 aircraft lost (1.3 percent) 2 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14688-14701). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\425sqn-rcaf-600.jpg

425 (ALOUETTE) SQUADRON

This French Canadian squadron was formed in 4 Group on 22 June 1942 and operated Wellingtons from Dishforth from October 1942. Transferred to 6 Group in January 1943 but then detached to the Middle East from May to November 1943. Returned to 6 Group and converted to Halifaxes. Flew operations from Tholthorpe from February 1944 until the end of the war.

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown 4 Group Wellingtons – 13 bombing, 10 minelaying, 1 recce 6 Group Wellingtons – 28 bombing, 11 minelaying 6 Group Halifaxes – 162 bombing Total – 203 bombing, 21 minelaying, 1 recce = 225 raids Sorties and Losses 4 Group Wellingtons – 135 sorties, 3 aircraft lost (2.2 percent) 6 Group Wellingtons – 347 sorties, 8 aircraft lost (2.3 percent) 6 Group Halifaxes – 2,445 sorties, 28 aircraft lost (1.1 percent) Total – 2,927 sorties, 39 aircraft lost (1.3 percent)

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14702-14712). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.

E:\FIELDS_RECOVERY\Photo Projects\R.A.F\RAFCRESTS\Commonwealth\426squadron.jpg

426 (THUNDERBIRD) SQUADRON

Formed in 4 Group on 15 October 1942 but did not operate until after the transfer to 6 Group in January 1943. Flew Wellingtons, Lancasters (suffering heavy losses in the Battle of Berlin period) and then Halifaxes from Dishforth and Linton-on-Ouse between January 1943 and the end of the war.​​ 

OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

Raids Flown Wellingtons – 33 bombing, 19 minelaying Lancasters – 53 bombing Halifaxes – 136 bombing Total – 222 bombing, 19 minelaying = 241 raids Sorties and Losses Wellingtons – 467 sorties, 18 aircraft lost (3.9 percent) Lancasters – 579 sorties, 28 aircraft lost (4.8 percent) Halifaxes – 2,161 sorties, 22 aircraft lost (1.0 percent) Total – 3,207 sorties, 68 aircraft lost (2.1 percent) 7 Lancasters were destroyed in crashes.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Carried out the most Wellington bombing raids in 6 Group.

Everitt, Chris; Middlebrook, Martin (2014-04-02). The Bomber Command War Diaries : An Operational Reference Book (Kindle Locations 14712-14725). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.