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331 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF
Active 1942 - 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Norway Norwegian Government in exile
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Fighter squadron
Part of RAF Fighter Command
Motto Norwegian: For Norge
("For Norway")
Aircraft Hawker Hurricane
Supermarine Spitfire
Battle honours
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet
Squadron Codes FN (Jul 1941 - Nov 1945)

No. 331 Squadron RAF was a Second World War squadron of the Royal Air Force.

Contents

History

It was formed as a fighter squadron at RAF Catterick in Yorkshire on 21 July 1941. The squadron personnel were Norwegian with the exception of some of the ground crew and the Commanding Officer. At first it was equipped with fairly war worn Hawker Hurricane Mk 1s which had to be rebuilt after being inherited from the Polish squadron, becoming operational on 15 September. It provided defence for Northern Scotland, moving to Castletown on 21 August and later to RAF Skeabrae. In May 1942 it moved south to RAF North Weald, having re-equipped with Spitfires in November 1941.

331 Squadron (RAF squadron code FN, legend has it that "FN" was an abbreviation for "First Norwegian" or "For Norway") was soon joined by a second Norwegian Squadron 332 Squadron, also flying Spitfires, becoming North Weald Wing.

331 continued to operate as part of the North Weald Wing until November 1943 when the Wing was transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force and became No. 132 Airfield (later No. 132 Wing). It participated in the Allied air umbrella over the landing area in the Dieppe Raid, and later flying fighter sweeps and escort operations over occupied France and the Low Countries.

Following several preparatory operations in connection with the invasion, the squadron participated in the Normandy Landings as fighter bombers and tactical air superiority fighters, moving to Caen, France in August 1944. From September onwards 132 Wing participated in the Liberation of Holland and took part in the crossing of the Rhine (Operation Plunder).

On 24 April 1945, the squadron was transferred to North Weald and later to RAF Dyce in Scotland, where the 331 and 332 converted to Spitfire MK XVI and MK IXe. In the following month the squadrons transferred to Norway. On September 21, 1945, 331 squadron was disbanded as an RAF unit, and passed to the control of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Between them during the war, 331 and 332 Squadrons scored 180 confirmed destroyed, 35 probables and more than 100 damaged. Combined losses were 131 aircraft lost with 71 pilots killed.

331 Squadron
Active 1942
Full control passed to RNoAF on 21 November 1945. Still active.
Role Fighter
Garrison/HQ Bodø Main Air Station
Motto For Norge
(Norwegian: "For Norway")
Equipment F-16
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet

The squadron badge is a Norwegian Viking sword and a British sword in saltire bound together with a ring symbolising the friendship between Norway and Great Britain.

In honour of the achievements of the RNoAF Squadrons of the WWII The Royal Norwegian Air Force has maintained the RAF squadron names. Thus Norway still has the fighter squadrons 331st and 332nd, now flying F-16 instead of Spitfire MK IX.

Today the Norwegian 331 squadron is based at Bodø Main Air Station.

Aircraft operated during RAF service

See also

References

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Notes

Bibliography

  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links


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