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No. 657 Squadron RAF: Wikis


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No. 657 Squadron RAF
Active 31 Jan 1943 - 1 Nov 1955
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air Observation Post Squadron
Motto Per terras perque caelum
Latin: "By land and sky"
Squadron badge heraldry A hand couped at the wrist, holding a gun barrel[1]
Squadron codes VA 1944 - 45 (HQ Flight)
VB 1944 - 45 ('A' Flight)
VC 1944 - 45 ('B' Flight)
VD 1944 - 45 ('C' Flight)[2]
TS (1945 - Jan 1947)[3]

No. 657 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force in North Africa, Italy and the Netherlands during the Second World War and afterwards in Germany.

Numbers 651 to 663 Squadrons of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of these squadrons, 664-666, were manned with Canadian personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[4][5]



No. 657 Squadron was formed at RAF Ouston on 31 January 1943. It went into action in August of that year, in North Africa. It later served in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. In November 1945, the squadron returned to the UK and continued to support army units in the South of England until disbanded by being renumbered No. 651 Squadron RAF on 1 November 1955. The original squadron is represented today by No. 657 Squadron of the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by 657 Squadron[6][7]
From To Aircraft Variant
Feb 1943 May 1943 Auster Mk.I
May 1943 Oct 1944 Auster Mk.III
Jun 1944 Mar 1945 Auster Mk.IV
Dec 1944 Mar 1945 Auster Mk.V
Apr 1945 Nov 1952 Auster Mk.V
Mar 1946 Dec 1952 Auster AOP.4
Jun 1946 Nov 1955 Auster AOP.6
Apr 1947 Apr 1951 Sikorsky Hoverfly Mk.II
Sep 1951 Nov 1955 Bristol Sycamore HC.11

See also




  1. ^ Halley 1988, p. 447.
  2. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, pp. 114-115.
  3. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 157.
  4. ^ Halley 1988, pp. 444-451.
  5. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 102-104.
  6. ^ Halley 1988, p. 447.
  7. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 104.


  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • 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.
  • 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 Ltd., 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.

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