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No. 102 Squadron RAF: Wikis


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No. 102 Squadron
Active August 1917 to July 1919
March 1936 to February 1946
195? to October 1954
August 1959 to 1963
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Motto Tentate et Perficite (Latin: Attempt and achieve)

No. 102 Squadron was a Royal Air Force squadron.




World War 1

Formed in August 1917 as a night bomber unit at Hingham with the RAF F.E.2b.

The squadron moved to France and specialised in attacks behind the German lines in particular railway stations, railway lines, and railway trains. With the end of the first world war the squadron returned to England in March 1919. It disbanded on 3 July 1919.

World War 2

The squadron was formed again in March 1936 at RAF Worthy Down using men and equipment from B Flight of 7 Squadron. Still in its original role as a night bomber squadron it first used the Handley Page Heyford. The squadron became part of No. 4 Group Bomber Command and re-equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley.

The squadron was active on the second day of the Second World War dropping leaflets over Germany. Operations Record Books seen at the Public Record Office in Kew show that 2 Whitley Vs flew out of Topcliffe on 27 November 1940 to bomb "docks and shipping" at Havre. One of these planes "was not heard from after take off" but the other returned safely having dropped its 2x500lb and 6x250 lb bombs successfully.

In April 1942 the Whitleys were replaced by the Handley Page Halifax. The squadron continued for the next eighteen mon ths to fly night sorties (including the thousand bomber raids) over Germany.

In 1944 the squadron attacked rail targets in France in preparation for the invasion.

When the war finished the squadron was transferred to Transport Command and re-equipped with the Consolidated Liberator. Based as RAF Bassingbourne its main role was the return of troops and POWs from India. With this work finished the squadron disbanded on 15 February 1946.

Conversion to nuclear strike bomber squadron

In the 1950s the squadron was reformed as part of RAF Germany as a nuclear strike bomber squadron with the English Electric Canberra based at RAF Gütersloh. It was disbanded again on the 20 October 1954 when it was renumbered 59 Squadron.

The squadron was reformed as No. 102 (SM) Squadron RAF (SM standing for "Strategic Missile") in August 1959, equipped with three Thor ballistic missiles, carrying a 1.4 megaton W-49 nuclear warhead, as part of the UK-US strategic deterrent. It was based at RAF Full Sutton in Yorkshire until it was disbanded, along with the other Thor squadrons, in 1963.[1]

Aircraft operated


The squadron was adopted by the island of Ceylon in February 1942, which paid for aircraft for use by the squadron.

Leonard Cheshire was a Pilot Officer with 102 Squadron from July 1940. In November 1940 he was awarded the DSO for flying his badly damaged Whitley back to base

The log book of Flight Lieutenant Leonard Todd DFC from August of 1943 shows the frequency and range of the missions flown by the 102 squadron[2]

See also


  1. ^ RAF Thor Missile Units 1959-63, Ravi Rikhye. In History at, vol 4, no. 46.
  2. ^
  • G G Jefford, RAF Squadrons, second edition 2001, Airlife Publishing, UK, ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links


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