Article XV squadrons: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Article XV squadrons were Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand air force flying squadrons formed from graduates of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during World War II.



Under Article XV of the "Riverdale Agreement" which established the BCATP, graduates from Dominion air forces were to be assigned to squadrons either formed by their own air forces, or with a specific national designation, under the operational control of the Royal Air Force (RAF).[1] If it was intended that they would be under RAF control, Dominion air force squadrons were usually given numbers in the 400–490 range — 400–449 was allotted to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), 450–467 to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and 485–490 to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).[2][3] These were known as "Article XV squadrons."

During the war 44 Canadian, 17 Australian and six New Zealand Article XV Squadrons were formed. In practice — and technically in contravention of Article XV — most personnel from Dominion air forces, while they were under RAF operational control, were assigned to British units.[3] This was generally due to practical staffing considerations. Similarly, many of the Article XV squadrons contained few airmen from their nominal air force, when they were first formed. However, by the end of the war this had generally been rectified.[4]

In addition, several other pre-war RAAF units — which were not covered by Article XV — were also under RAF operational control. Initially, there was no cross-posting of personnel from the RAF or other Dominion air forces, to or from these squadrons, although this requirement was relaxed later in the war.

The remaining Dominion, South Africa was not a signatory to the BCATP and the South African Air Force (SAAF) did not form any Article XV squadrons. However, South Africa made similar arrangements regarding training and personnel. SAAF units took part in the East African, North African and Italian Campaigns. As the war progressed, personnel from other Dominion air forces served in SAAF units and vice versa.

Southern Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) was not technically a Dominion and was therefore not a signatory to the BCATP, although aircrews from other Dominions were trained there. In 1940, the small Southern Rhodesia Air Force was formed into No. 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF. Two other RAF squadrons, No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF and No. 266 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF were also formed; both had significant numbers of Rhodesian personnel.

Similarly, No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF, which was staffed primarily by RNZAF personnel during the war and was officially transferred to the RNZAF in late 1945, was officially an RAF squadron during the war.

List of Article XV squadrons


Royal Canadian Air Force

Some RCAF Article XV Squadrons were re-numbered when posted overseas – for example No. 111 (Fighter) Squadron was reformed as No. 440 Squadron when posted from Alaska to Europe – but most RCAF 400-numbered squadrons were formed overseas.

Postwar, the 400 numbering remained in use and the original home-based squadron numbers were replaced with numbers in the 400-series. With expansion of the RCAF in the early 1950s the numbers 444 to 449 were used, and following the 1968 unification of the three service branches, an army helicopter squadron was re-numbered 450, intruding into the RAAF numbers.

Royal Australian Air Force

Australia formed 17 Article XV squadrons, out of a total of 79 RAAF squadrons, during World War II. While 18 squadrons had been originally planned for service with the RAF, No. 465 Squadron was never formed.[1][5] The squadrons were:

Five other RAAF squadrons were also under RAF operational control for the whole or part of the war:

The remaining 57 RAAF squadrons served under the operational control of the RAAF or United States Army Air Forces, in the South West Pacific Theatre during World War II.

Royal New Zealand Air Force

In addition No. 75 Squadron (heavy bombers) was treated similarly, forming in August 1939 from 30 Wellington bombers and their crews loaned by New Zealand to the RAF.


  1. ^ a b "Empire Air Training Scheme, 2007". Australian War Memorial Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-12-23.  
  2. ^ Squadron information from Government of Canada Access date: 13 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b Clark, Chris (2003). "The Empire Air Training Scheme". Australian War Memorial 2003 History Conference - Air War Europe. Conference website. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 2007-12-22.  
  4. ^ "Article XV Squadrons". Australian War Memorial website. Retrieved 2007-12-22.  
  5. ^ "RAAF Units". Royal Australian Air Force Museum website. Retrieved 2007-12-22.  

See also


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