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No. 665 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force
Active 22 January 1945 - 10 July 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance  Canada
Branch Ensign of the Royal Canadian Air Force.svg Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Artillery
Role Air Observation/Radio Intelligence Gathering
Part of No. 84 Group, Second Tactical Air Force
Engagements Liberation of Holland, Siege of Dunkirk
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Major Dave Ely; Captain G.A. Eaton, MC; Major Norbert Reilander
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance Auster Mk.V

No. 665 "Air Observation Post" Squadron, RCAF was formed in England during the Second World War. It was manned principally by Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) personnel, with select British artillery pilots briefly seconded to assist in squadron formation.

Contents

History

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Formation

The squadron was formed on January 22, 1945, at RAF Andover as an RCAF unit -albeit not in the 'Article XI' sequence of squadron numbers- its principal role being to direct artillery fire from the air. The pilots were officers recruited from the Royal Canadian Artillery and trained to fly at 22 E.F.T.S. Cambridge, further developing advanced flying skills at 43 Operational Training Unit RAF (43 OTU), RAF Andover. The first Commanding Officer was Major Dave Ely, RCA. The operational Commanding Officer selected to take the squadron to war was Captain G.A. 'Tony' Eaton, MC, RCA; Eaton was killed in a flying mishap near RAF Middle Wallop on the night of March 1, 1945. Major Norbert Reilander, RCA, from No. 664 Squadron RCAF, was chosen to take command of 665 Squadron in the first week of March, 1945. The squadron operated in England under the overall control of No. 70 Group, RAF Fighter Command; prior to deployment to the European continent the squadron was transferred to No. 84 Group, Second Tactical Air Force (2 TAF).

On operations

The squadron began deploying to Holland on April 19, arriving at B-77 Gilze-Rijen airport on April 21, 1945. The principal aircraft flown in action was the Taylorcraft Auster Mk. V. 'B' Flight of 665 (AOP) Squadron, RCAF, was credited with firing the last Canadian shot of the war in Europe at Dunkirk, France, on May 7, 1945. After V-E Day on May 8, 1945, the squadron was tasked with flying mail and passengers for 1st Canadian Army, while one section and its aircraft was seconded to Allied Headquarters at Frankfurt, Germany, for U.S. Intelligence duties. No. 665 (AOP) Squadron, RCAF, was disbanded at Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, on July 10, 1945. The squadron had no official motto or heraldic crest assigned to it.

Aircrew or not?

Formation of the three Canadian war-time A.O.P. squadrons was historically the first example of 'unification of services,' a generation before the Canadian Forces experienced total unification. These, however, were not 'co-operation squadrons.' Although 665 squadron's trained aircrew observers acquitted themselves admirably in aerial action against the enemy, aircrew associations across Canada did not grant membership to AOP observers, as those aircrew were not officially issued with cloth wings during the war. [1]

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • Library and Archives Canada - Reel #C12430. War Diary of 665(AOP)(RCAF) Squadron.
  • Blackburn, George. Where The Hell are the Guns?, Toronto, Canada: McClelland & Stewart Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-77101-504-6.
  • Fromow, Lt-Col. D.L. Canada's Flying Gunners: A History of the Air Observation Post of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Ottawa, Canada: Air Observation Post Pilots Association, 2002. ISBN 0-97300-550-5.
  • 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, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Stewart, Major A.B. Battle History 666. Epe, the Netherlands, 1945. Republished by Abel Book Company, Calgary, 2006.

External links


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