No. 158 Squadron RAF

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No. 158 Squadron RAF
Active 9 May 1918 – 20 Nov 1918
14 Feb 1942 – 31 Dec 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Bomber Squadron
Transport Squadron
Part of No. 4 Group RAF, Bomber Command (Feb 42 – Jun 45)[1]
No. 4 Group RAF, Transport Command (Jun 45 – Dec 45)[2]
Motto Strength in unity[3][4]
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry A circular chain of seven links[3][4]
The chain is indicative of the combined strength and co-operation of aircrews[3]
Squadron Codes NP (Apr 1942 – Jun 1945)[5][6]
DK (Jul 1945 – Dec 1945)[7][8]
Tail markings Two diagonal yellow stripes
(Apr 1945 – May 1945)[9]
Aircraft flown
Bomber Vickers Wellington
Handley Page Halifax
Transport Short Stirling

No. 158 Squadron RAF was a World War I proposed ground attack squadron that did not became operational in time to see action, and a World War II bomber squadron. After World War II had ended in Europe the squadron operated in the transport role until disbandment in December 1945.

History[edit]

Formation in World War I[edit]

No. 158 Squadron RAF was first formed on 9 May 1918, and the squadron was originally to be equipped with Sopwith Snipe fighters, but this was postponed and the squadron eventually formed at Upper Heyford on 4 September 1918, equipped with Sopwith Salamander ground attack aircraft. The squadron arrived too late to see action during the war, and disbanded on 20 November 1918.

Reformation and World War II[edit]

158 Squadron Halifax "Friday the 13th" at RAF Lissett

The squadron reformed at RAF Driffield on 14 February 1942, via the renumbering of No. 104 Squadron, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington medium bomber and 158 sqn used these on night raids to Germany and occupied France.[10]

In June 1942 the squadron re-equipped with the Halifax B.Mk.II heavy bombers and moved to RAF East Moor. On 6 November 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Rufforth, followed by a move to RAF Lissett on 28 February 1943. In January 1944 the squadron had re-equipped with the Halifax B.Mk.III and the squadrons 'C' flight was used to form No. 640 Squadron at Leconfield.

By 7 May 1945 World War II in Europe had finished, and the squadron was transferred to RAF Transport Command, re-equipped with the Short Stirling Mk.V. The squadron moved to Stradishall on 17 August 1945, where it disbanded on 31 December 1945.

One of the squadrons aircraft, a Handley page Halifax B.Mk.III, serial no. LV907, coded NP-F and nicknamed "Friday the 13th", completed a remarkable 128 operational missions. Incredibly this precious aircraft was not saved from the scrapheap after being displayed on Oxford street in London,[3] only a section of the nose from the aircraft was saved and is exhibited at the RAF Museum Hendon. The Halifax that is displayed at the Yorkshire Air Museum is made up of parts of various aircraft and painted as LV907, in honour of the aircraft and its crew.

On 11 November 1945 a Stirling C.5 operated by the squadron was departing for the United Kingdom when it crashed on take off from RAF Castel Benito in Libya after the wing caught fire, 21 soldiers and five crew were killed, one person survived.[11]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Friday the 13th, Handley Page Halifax II (III) Bomber from the Yorkshire Air Museum, UK
Aircraft operated by no. 158 Squadron RAF, data from[12][13][14]
From To Aircraft Version
February 1942 June 1942 Vickers Wellington Mk.II
June 1942 December 1943 Handley Page Halifax Mk.II
December 1943 May 1945 Handley Page Halifax Mk.III
April 1945 May 1945 Handley Page Halifax Mk.VI
May 1945 December 1945 Short Stirling Mk.V
November 1945 December 1945 Short Stirling Mk.IV

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no. 158 Squadron RAF, data from[3][13][14][15]
From To Base Remark
14 February 1942 6 June 1942 RAF Driffield, Yorkshire Det. at RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire, 14 Feb/5 Mar 1942[16]
6 June 1942 6 November 1942 RAF East Moor, Yorkshire Det. at RAF Beaulieu, Hampshire
for operations with Coastal Command in October 1942
6 November 1942 28 February 1943 RAF Rufforth, Yorkshire Det. at RAF Manston, Kent
for operations with Coastal Command, 7/25 Nov 1942.
28 February 1943 17 August 1945 RAF Lissett, Yorkshire
17 August 1945 31 December 1945 RAF Stradishall, Suffolk

Commanding officers[edit]

Officers commanding no. 158 Squadron RAF, data from[15]
From To Name Remark
14 February 1942 7 October 1942 W/Cdr. P. Stevens, DFC Posted to 10 OTU
7 October 1942 10 March 1943 W/Cdr. C.G.S.R. Robinson, DFC Posted to 138 Squadron
10 March 1943 10 August 1943 W/Cdr. T.R. Hope, DFC MIA, 10 August 1943
11 August 1943 7 June 1944 W/Cdr. C.C. Calder, DFC Posted to 1652 HCU
7 June 1944 7 March 1945 W/Cdr. P. Dobson, DFC, AFC
7 March 1945 12 June 1945 W/Cdr. G.B. Read, DFC
12 June 1945 10 July 1945 W/Cdr. F.J. Austin, DFC
10 July 1945 30 July 1945 S/Ldr. W.H. Whitty
30 July 1945 31 December 1945 W/Cdr. D. Iveson, DSO, DFC

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Delve 1994, pp. 56, 62, 69.
  2. ^ Delve 1994, p. 81.
  3. ^ a b c d e Moyes 1976, p. 180.
  4. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 229.
  5. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 77.
  6. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 94.
  7. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 30.
  8. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 68.
  9. ^ No 152 – 158 Squadron Aircraft & Markings
  10. ^ Chorley and Benwell 1978, pp. 127–128.
  11. ^ The Times (London, England), Thursday, Nov 15, 1945; pg. 4; Issue 50300
  12. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 180–181.
  13. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 230.
  14. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 66.
  15. ^ a b Chorley and Benwell 1978, p. 126.
  16. ^ 158 Squadron history – Bases

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Chorley, W.R. In Brave Company: 158 Squadron Operations. published by the author, 1990.
  • Chorley, W.R. and R.N. Benwell. In Brave Company: The History of 158 Squadron. Taunton, UK: Barnicotts Ltd., 1977 (2nd edition 1978).
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (2nd edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Royal Air Force Bombers of World War Two, Volume Two. Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, UK: Hylton Lacy Publishers, 1968. ISBN 0-85064-000-8.

External links[edit]