No. 142 Squadron RAF

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No. 142 Squadron RAF
Wellington bomber similar to one flown by 142 Sqn
Active 2 Feb 1918 – 1 Feb 1920
1 Jun 1934 – 5 Oct 1944
25 Oct 1944 – 28 Sep 1945
1 Feb 1959 – 1 Apr 1959
22 Jul 1959 – 24 May 1963[1]
Country UK
Branch Royal Air Force
Type Bomber
Size Squadron
Motto "Determination"
Equipment B.E.12
Martinsyde Elephant
R.E.8
B.E.2
Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.8
Hawker Hart
Hawker Hind
Fairey Battle
Vickers Wellington
de Havilland Mosquito
de Havilland Venom
de Havilland Vampire Trainer
Douglas PGM-17 Thor[1]

No. 142 Squadron was a flying squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

History[edit]

No. 142 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was formed at RFC Ismailia, Egypt in 1918, flying a mixed bag of reconnaissance and bomber aircraft. On the formation of the Royal Air Force, on 1 April 1918, 142 Squadron was at RFC Julis in Palestine, becoming No. 142 Squadron RAF (142 Squadron). After operations in Palestine the squadron retired to RAF Suez where it disbanded on 1 February 1920, to form No. 55 Squadron RAF.[1]

World War II[edit]

Re-formed at RAF Netheravon on 1 June 1934, 142 Squadron flew a variety of bomber aircraft but mostly the Fairey Battle and Vickers Wellington after hostilities opened in 1939, deploying as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to France. On 5 October 1944 142 Squadron was disbanded at Regine in Italy to allow the Squadron to re-form at RAF Gransden Lodge flying de Havilland Mosquito bombers as part of No. 8 (PFF) Group's Light Night Striking Force. Soon after World War II ended the squadron was disbanded while still located at RAF Gransden Lodge.[2]

Post war era[edit]

A brief period of existence occurred between 1 February 1959 and 1 April 1959 at RAF Eastleigh in Kenya, where the squadron flew de Havilland Venom FB.4s and de Havilland Vampire] trainers, before re-forming as No. 208 Squadron RAF.[2]

The latest incarnation of 142 Squadron occurred on 22 July 1959 at RAF Coleby Grange as one of 20 Strategic Missile (SM) squadrons associated with Project Emily, equipped with three US Douglas Thor intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM).[1] 142 The Thor missiles would be armed with W-49 thermonuclear warheads, each with an explosive yield of 1.44 megatons. The warheads remained under the control of the United States Air Force (USAF) under the "Dual Key" arrangement, whereby launch of a live missile would require authority from both the United Kingdom and US governments. RAF Coleby Grange was the base one of five squadrons, each armed with three missiles, based in Lincolnshire, with the headquarters at RAF Hemswell and a squadron each at RAF Bardney, RAF Caistor and RAF Ludford Magna.[3]

During October 1962 142 Squadron was kept at full readiness, with the missiles aimed at strategic targets in the USSR, as part of the threatened response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the conclusion of the crisis, de-activation of the Thor missiles in the UK were offered up as part of the negotiations, along with the Jupiter medium range missiles in Turkey. The Thor missile squadrons were stood down in 1963, with 142 Squadron disbanding on 24 May 1963.

Operational airfields[edit]

Memorial at Ashdown Forest[edit]

The Airman's Grave at Ashdown Forest commemorates the six man crew of a Wellington bomber of 142 Squadron

The Airman's Grave at Ashdown Forest is a memorial to the six man crew of a Wellington bomber of 142 Squadron who were killed when it crashed in the forest on the morning of 31 Jul 1941 on its return from a raid on Cologne. The memorial, which is a simple stone-walled enclosure on the heathland west of Duddleswell, shelters a white cross surrounded by a tiny garden of remembrance and was erected by the mother of Sergeant P.V.R. Sutton, who was aged 24 at the time of his death. A short public service takes place each year on Remembrance Sunday when a wreath is laid by an Ashdown Forest Ranger, at the request of Mrs Sutton, together with one from the Ashdown Forest Riding Association. The Ashdown Forest Centre has published a circular walk to the memorial from Hollies car park.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Lake, Alan. "Flying Units of the RAF".Airlife Publishing. Shrewsbury. 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6
  2. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  3. ^ a b "142 Squadron Royal Air Force". Raf-lincolnshire.info. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "No. 142 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War". Historyofwar.org. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Lake, Alan. "Flying Units of the RAF". Airlife Publishing. Shrewsbury. 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6
  • 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.