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No. 601 Squadron RAF: Wikis


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No. 601 (County of London) Squadron
Active 14 October 1925 - May 1945
June 1946 - 10 March 1957
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Part of Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Nickname The Millionaires' Squadron[1]
The Millionaires' Mob[2]
The Legion[3]
Battle honours France & Low Countries, 1940*; Dunkirk*: Battle of Britain, 1940*: Home Defence, 1940-42: Fortress Europe, 1941-42: Malta, 1942: Egypt & Libya, 1942*: El Alamein*: El Hamma: North Africa, 1943*: Sicily, 1943*: Italy, 1943-45*: Anzio & Nettuno: Gustav Line: Gothic Line.
Honours marked with an asterix* are those that are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Squadron Badge heraldry A winged sword
Squadron Codes YN (Jan 1939 - Sep 1939)
UF (Sep 1939 - Apr 1942, Apr 1942 - Aug 1945)
1 & 2 (Apr 1942)
RAH (May 1946 - 1949)
HT (1949 - Apr 1951)

No. 601 (County of London) Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, based in London. The squadron battle honours most notably include the Battle of Britain and the first Americans to fly in World War II were members of this squadron.



601 Squadron was formed at RAF Northolt 14 October 1925 when a group of wealthy aristocratic young men, all of whom were amateur aviators, decided to form themselves into a Reserve Squadron of the RAF after a meeting in White’s Club, London. The original officers were picked by the first commanding officer, Lord Edward Grosvenor. The Squadron was initially known as “the millionaires squadron”, a nametag gained because of a reputation for filling their ranks with the very ‘well heeled’. Most of these affluent young pilots had little regard for the rigid discipline of the regular service; they lined their uniform tunics with bright red silk and wore blue ties rather than the regulation black. They played polo on brand-new Brough Superior motor cycles, drove fast sports cars (the squadron car park was said to resemble a Concours d'Elegance) and most of the pilots owned their own private aircraft. However, the war quickly took its toll on the pre-war personnel and as replacements were drafted in from all walks of life and all parts of the Commonwealth to cover casualties and promotions, the Squadron became as cosmopolitan as any other.[4]

Squadron locations

601 Sqn Spitfire Vb over Djerba Island in early 1943.
Date Base County Group Aircraft
30 September 1939 RAF Biggin Hill Kent No. 11 Group RAF Blenheim
30 December 1939 RAF Tangmere Sussex No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane I
1 June 1940 RAF Middle Wallop Hampshire No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane I
17 June 1940 RAF Tangmere Sussex No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane I
19 August 1940 RAF Debden Essex No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane I
2 September 1940 RAF Tangmere Sussex No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane I
7 September 1940 RAF Exeter Devon No. 10 Group RAF Hurricane I
17 December 1940 RAF Northolt Middlesex No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane IIb
1 May 1941 RAF Manston Kent No. 11 Group RAF Hurricane IIb
30 June 1941 RAF Matlaske Norfolk No. 12 Group RAF Hurricane IIb
16 August 1941 RAF Duxford Cambridgeshire No. 12 Group RAF Hurricane IIb
2 January 1942 RAF Acaster Malbis York Airacobra I
25 March 1942 RAF Digby Lincolnshire No. 12 Group RAF Spitfire Vb

Notable pilots

For more pilots who flew with the Sqn during the Battle of Britain, see List of RAF aircrew in the Battle of Britain.

Commanding officers

From To Name
October 1925 Sqn Ldr Lord E Grosvenor
1931 Sqn Ldr P Sassoon
1931 1934 Sqn Ldr N Norman
July 1934 March 1936 Sqn Ldr R Shaw DFC
March 1936 December 1939 Sqn Ldr B S Thynne
December 1939 June 1940 Sqn Ldr L Guinness
June 1940 July 1940 Sqn Ldr M Aitken DFC
July 1940 August 1940 Sqn Ldr W F C Hobson
August 1940 August 1940 Sqn Ldr E F Ward
August 1940 December 1940 Sqn Ldr Sir A P Hope
December 1940 April 1941 Sqn Ldr J A O'Neill DFC
April 1941 December 1941 Sqn Ldr E J Gracie DFC
December 1941 March 1942 Sqn Ldr E J Jones
March 1942 April 1942 Sqn Ldr J D Bisdee DFC
April 1942 July 1942 Sqn Ldr R G A Barclay DFC
July 1942 August 1942 Sqn Ldr J D Bisdee DFC
August 1942 March 1943 Sqn Ldr A V Clowes DFC DFM
March 1943 March 1943 Sqn Ldr G H F Plinston DFC
March 1943 June 1943 Sqn Ldr J S Taylor DFC
June 1943 September 1943 Sqn Ldr S Skalski DFC VM KW
September 1943 March 1944 Maj M S Osler DFC
March 1944 July 1944 Sqn Ldr J H Nicholls DFC
July 1944 January 1945 Sqn Ldr R V Turkington DFC
January 1945 May 1945 Sqn Ldr C T Stimpson
June 1946 June 1948 Sqn Ldr The Hon. M Aitken DSO DFC
June 1948 1950 Sqn Ldr H S L Dundas DSO* DFC
1950 1952 Sqn Ldr P H M Richey DFC
1952 January 1957 Sqn Ldr C C MacCarthy-Jones[7]
January 1957 March 1957 Sqn Ldr P R Edelston DFC AFC[8]





  1. ^ Moyes 1976, p. 272.
  2. ^ Hunt 1972, p. 67.
  3. ^ Moulson 1964
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Moulson 1964, pp. 172-177.
  8. ^ Moulson 1964, p. 176.
  9. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 477.


  • 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.`
  • Hunt, Leslie. Twenty-one Squadrons: History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925-57. London: Garnstone Press, 1972. ISBN 0-85511-110-0. (New edition in 1992 by Crécy Publishing, ISBN 0-94755-426-2.)
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Moulson, Tom. The Flying Sword: The Story of 601 Squadron. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1964.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Robinson, Anthony. RAF Squadrons in the Battle of Britain. London: Arms and Armour Press Ltd., 1987 (republished 1999 by Brockhampton Press, ISBN 1-86019-907-0.).

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