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No. 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron RAF
Active 1 November 1938 - 29 August 1945
10 May 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
Motto Latin: Nulla Rosa Sine Spina
("No rose without a thorn")[1][2]
post 1950 aircraft insignia RAF 616 sqn.svg
Commanders
Honorary Air Commodore The Duke of Portland[3]
Notable
commanders
P.B. "Laddy" Lucas
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry A white Yorkshire rose, superimposed on an arrow[2]
The badge commemorates the squadron's association with Yorkshire as the South Yorkshire Auxiliary Squadron[1]
Squadron Codes QJ (Apr 1939 - Jul 1941)[4]
YQ (Jul 1941 - Aug 1945, 1949 - Apr 1951)[5]
RAW (Jul 1946 - 1949)[6]

No. 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron was a unit of the British Auxiliary Air Force and later the Royal Auxiliary Air Force between 1938 and 1957.

Contents

History and Operations

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Formation

No. 616 Squadron was formed on 1 November 1938 at RAF Doncaster[7] and was at first allotted the role of bomber squadron, receiving Hawker Hinds for that role.[1] The role soon changed however and the squadrons first operational fighter aircraft were Gloster Gauntlet biplane fighters received in January 1939. Fairey Battle monoplane light bombers were delivered in May 1939 for training duties to assist the squadron in preparing for re-equipment with Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I's in October 1939. During that month No. 616 moved to RAF Leconfield and by the end of November conversion to the modern fighter was complete.

The squadron's first operational sorties were over the Dunkirk withdrawal in late May 1940. During the first phase of the Battle of Britain No. 616 was based at Leconfield, moving south to RAF Kenley on 19 August to be nearer the front line. The improved Spitfire Mk.II was received in February 1941 and was used from April on sweeps over occupied France, continuing until October. Further periodic updating with Spitfire Mks.V, VI and VII continued through the mid-war years. From March 1943 onwards, No. 616 was stationed in southwest England.

First on Meteors

A Gloster Meteor Mk.III

On 12 July 1944 the unit became the first RAF squadron to receive jet equipment in the form of Gloster Meteor Mk.I fighters. The first Meteor operational sortie was on 27 July from RAF Manston when it intercepted V-1 flying bombs launched against southern England. The first victories came on 4 August when one V1 was tipped over after a pilot's cannon jammed and another was shot down. The loss rate of the still unproven Meteor Mk.I was high, with three being written off in non-combat incidents between 15 and 29 August. Re-equipment with improved Meteor Mk.III's began in January 1945 and in February a detachment was deployed to Melsbroek near Brussels in Belgium. It was intended as a defence against Me 262's but in the event they did not ever face them. In early April the complete squadron moved to Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands, commencing ground attack sorties on 16 April. The squadron was disbanded at Lübeck, Germany on 29 August 1945 by being renumbered to No. 263 Squadron RAF.[7][8][9]

Post-war

No. 616 squadron was officially reformed at RAF Finningley as the South Yorkshire Squadron on 10 May 1946[7], with volunteers being recruited over the following few months till embodied on 11 July 1946.[7] It was allocated the night fighter role within Reserve Command and the first Mosquito T.3 trainers were received in October, but it was not until January 1948 that the operational Mosquito NF.30s were delivered to Finningley. At the end of 1948 No. 616 was redesignated as a day fighter squadron and began to receive Meteor F.3's in January 1949. Conversion to the updated Meteor F.8 took place in December 1951. The squadron moved base to RAF Worksop on 23 May 1955, where it disbanded on 10 March 1957 (per Halley and Jefford or Pitchfork), together with all RAuxAF flying units. Research has shown that Rawlings in 'Fighter Squadrons of the Royal Air Force' incorrectly lists the squadron as disbanding at Finningley on 15 February 1957.[10]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 616 Squadron RAF, data from[7][11][12][13]
From To Aircraft Version Remarks
Nov 1938 Jan 1939 Hawker Hind Used for training
Jan 1939 Dec 1939 Gloster Gauntlet Mk.II
May 1939 Nov 1939 Fairey Battle Used for training
Oct 1939 Feb 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
Feb 1941 Jul 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa
Jul 1941 Jun 1942 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
Oct 1941 Nov 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIb
Apr 1942 Nov 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VI
Sep 1943 Aug 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VII
Jul 1944 Jan 1945 Gloster Meteor Mk.I
Jan 1945 Aug 1945 Gloster Meteor Mk.III
Sep 1947 May 1949 de Havilland Mosquito NF.30
Jan 1949 May 1957 Gloster Meteor F.3
Apr 1951 Dec 1951 Gloster Meteor F.4
Dec 1951 Feb 1957 Gloster Meteor F.8

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 616 Squadron RAF, data from[2][7][10][14]
From To Base Remark
1 Nov 1938 23 Oct 1939 RAF Doncaster Formed here
23 Oct 1939 23 Feb 1940 RAF Leconfield
23 Feb 1940 9 Mar 1940 RAF Catfoss Detached due to thaw at Leconfield[15]
9 Mar 1940 27 May 1940 RAF Leconfield
27 May 1940 6 Jun 1940 RAF Rochford Detached for air cover during Dunkirk evacuation[16]
6 Jun 1940 19 Aug 1940 RAF Leconfield
19 Aug 1940 3 Sep 1940 RAF Kenley
3 Sep 1940 9 Sep 1940 RAF Coltishall
9 Sep 1940 26 Feb 1941 RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey
26 Feb 1941 9 May 1941 RAF Tangmere
9 May 1941 6 Oct 1941 RAF Westhampnett
6 Oct 1941 30 Jan 1942 RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey
30 Jan 1942 3 Jul 1942 RAF Kings Cliffe
3 Jul 1942 8 Jul 1942 RAF West Malling
8 Jul 1942 29 Jul 1942 RAF Kenley
29 Jul 1942 14 Aug 1942 RAF Great Sampford
14 Aug 1942 20 Aug 1942 RAF Hawkinge Detached for Dieppe Raid[17]
20 Aug 1942 1 Sep 1942 RAF Great Sampford
1 Sep 1942 7 Sep 1942 RAF Ipswich Det.
7 Sep 1942 23 Sep 1942 RAF Great Sampford
23 Sep 1942 29 Oct 1942 RAF Tangmere
29 Oct 1942 2 Jan 1943 RAF Westhampnett
2 Jan 1943 15 Mar 1943 RAF Ibsley
15 Mar 1943 18 Mar 1943 RAF Harrowbeer Det.
18 Mar 1943 17 Sep 1943 RAF Ibsley
17 Sep 1943 16 Nov 1943 RAF Exeter
16 Nov 1943 1 Dec 1943 RAF Fairwood Common Detached for arnament practice camp[18]
1 Dec 1943 18 Mar 1944 RAF Exeter
18 Mar 1944 24 Apr 1944 RAF West Malling
24 Apr 1944 16 May 1944 RAF Fairwood Common
16 May 1944 21 Jul 1944 RAF Culmhead
21 Jul 1944 17 Jan 1945 RAF Manston
17 Jan 19745 28 Feb 1945 RAF Colerne
4 Feb 1945 26 Mar 1945 B.58 Melsbroek, Belgium Detachment flying all-white Meteors[19]
28 Feb 1945 1 Apr 1945 RAF Andrews Field
1 Apr 1945 13 Apr 1945 B.77 Gilze-Rijen, Netherlands
13 Apr 1945 20 Apr 1945 B.91 Nijmegen, Netherlands
20 Apr 1945 26 Apr 1945 B.109 Quakenbrück, Germany
26 Apr 1945 3 May 1945 B.152 Fassberg, Germany
3 May 1945 7 May 1945 B.156 Luneberg, Germany
7 May 1945 29 Aug 1945 B.158 Lübeck, Germany Disbanded here
10 May 1946 15 Jun 1951 RAF Finningley Reformed here
15 Jun 1951 11 Jul 1951 RAF Church Fenton Call-up training during Korean crisis[20]
11 Jul 1951 23 May 1955 RAF Finningley
23 May 1955 10 Mar 1957 RAF Worksop Disbanded here

Commanding Officers

Officers commanding no. 616 Squadron RAF, data from[21][22]
From To Name
November 1938 September 1939 S/Ldr. the Earl of Lincoln
September 1939 May 1940 S/Ldr. W.K. Beisiegel
May 1940 September 1940 S/Ldr. M. Robinson
September 1940 September 1941 S/Ldr. H.F. Burton, DFC
September 1941 February 1942 S/Ldr. C.F. Gray, DFC & Bar
February 1942 January 1943 S/Ldr. H.L.I. Brown, DFC
January 1943 April 1943 S/Ldr. G.S.K. Haywood
April 1943 April 1943 S/Ldr. P.W. Lefevre, DFC
April 1943 July 1943 S/Ldr. P.B. Lucas, DFC
July 1943 July 1944 S/Ldr. L.W. Watts, DFC
July 1944 May 1945 W/Cdr. A. McDowall, DFM & Bar
May 1945 August 1945 W/Cdr. E.E. Schrader, DFC
July 1946 December 1950 S/Ldr. K. Holden, DFC
December 1950 November 1954 S/Ldr. L.H. Casson, DFC
November 1954 March 1957 S/Ldr. W.G. Abel

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Rawlings 1978, p. 509.
  2. ^ a b c Halley 1988, p. 434.
  3. ^ Pitchfork 2009, pp. 124-125.
  4. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 14.
  5. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 117.
  6. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Jefford 2001, p. 101.
  8. ^ Halley 1988, p. 329.
  9. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 109.
  10. ^ a b Rawlings 1978, p. 510.
  11. ^ Hunt 1972, p. 413.
  12. ^ Rawlings 1978, pp. 510-511.
  13. ^ Halley 1988, p. 435.
  14. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 151.
  15. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 17.
  16. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 19.
  17. ^ Hunt 1972, p. 407.
  18. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 86.
  19. ^ Pitchfork 2009, pp. 102-103.
  20. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 117.
  21. ^ Pitchfork 2009, p. 150.
  22. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 511.

Bibliography

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken and Graham Pitchfork South Yorkshire's Own: 616 Squadron RAF. Doncaster Books, 1990.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1981-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Hunt, Leslie. Twenty-One Squadrons: The History of the Royal Auxiliairy Air Force, 1925-1957. London: Garnstone Press, 1972. ISBN 0-85511-110-0.
  • 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.
  • Pitchfork, Graham. The RAF's first jet squadron: 616 (South Yorkshire) History 1938-57. The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press Ltd., 2009. ISBN 0-75244-914-1.
  • 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.).

External links


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