No. 204 Squadron RAF

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No 204 Squadron RAF
Active 23 March 1915(RNAS) – 15 October 1915
31 December 1916 – 31 December 1919
1 February 1929 – 30 June 1945
1 August 1947 – 20 February 1953
1 January 1954 – 1 April 1971
1 April 1971 – 1 May 1972[1][2]
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Motto Latin: Praedam mari quaero
("I seek my prey in the sea")[3][4][5]
Battle honours Home Waters, 1915
Western Front, 1917–18
Atlantic, 1940–45
Norway, 1940
Arctic, 1941[6]
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry On water barry wavy, a mooring buoy, thereon a cormorant displayed[3]
The badge is based upon a photograph made by Aircraftsman T.E. Shaw (Lawrence of Arabia)[5][7]
Squadron Codes RF (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[8]
KG (Sep 1939 – 1943)[9]
T (Jan 1954 – 1956)[10]

No. 204 Squadron was a Royal Air Force unit first formed in March 1915 as No.4 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service.

First World War[edit]

No. 4 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service was formed on 25 March 1915 at Dover from the former RNAS Defence Flight.[11][12] In August 1915 the squadron moved to Eastchurch where it was re-designated as No. 4 Wing RNAS.[11] The squadron was reformed on 31 December 1916 at Coudekerque just outside of Dunkirk, France to operate the Sopwith 1½ Strutter.[11] In March 1917 the squadron re-equipped with the Sopwith Pup before it moved to Bray-Dunes, not far away on the French-side of the Franco-Belgian border.[11] In June 1917 the squadron re-equipped again with the Sopwith Camel.[11]

In January 1918 the squadron made a temporary move to Walmer in Kent to rest and refit before returning to the front at Bray-Dunes in March 1918.[11][12] On the formation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 the squadron was re-designated No. 204 Squadron.[11] The squadron moved around some of the aerodromes around Dunkirk before settling at Téteghem in May 1918.[11] In October 1918 the squadron moved forward to Heule in Flanders until the end of the war.[11] In February 1919 the surviving personal returned to RAF Waddington in England before being disbanded in December 1919.[11]

Reformation[edit]

The squadron was reformed on 1 February 1929, when the coastal reconnaissance flight based at RAF Cattewater (later RAF Mount Batten), Plymouth, equipped with five Supermarine Southampton flying boats, was renumbered. It carried out a regular routine of training, interspersed with a series of formation cruises, including one to the Mediterranean in 1932 and to the Baltic the next year.[4][13]

A 204 Squadron Saro London

It received Supermarine Scapas to replace the elderly Southamptons from August 1935, and in September, it transferred to Aboukir, Egypt, as part of ther United Kingdom's response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, remaining there until August 1936, when the Squadron returned to Plymouth. It again re-equipped, this time with Saro Londons, from October that year. The squadron continued its routine of training and formation cruises, visiting Gibraltar in August 1937, and visiting Australia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Sydney in 1938, being away from Britain from December 1937 to April 1938.[4][14]

Second World War[edit]

The squadron re-equipped with Short Sunderland monoplanes in June 1939, passing its Londons to 204 Squadron. In September 1939, following the start of the Second World War, the squadron began flying convoy escort missions and anti-submarine patrols over the Western approaches. The squadron moved to Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands in April 1940, carrying out patrols off the coast of Norway as a result of the German invasion of Norway.[4][15]

In April 1941 the squadron moved to Reykjavík, Iceland, flying patrols over the North Atlantic for five months. In August the squadron's Sunderlands flew to Gibraltar, where they were based for two weeks before moving on to Bathurst (now Banjul), The Gambia to counter the activity of German submarines in the busy shipping lanes off West Africa. It remained at Bathurst until 30 June 1945, when it disbanded.[16][17] The squadron lost 19 Sunderlands during the Second World War. No Axis submarines were sunk by the squadron, although it did claim at least one German Junkers Ju 88 shot down.[18]

Transport squadron[edit]

On 1 August 1947 the squadron was reformed at RAF Station Kabrit, Egypt as a transport squadron and flew Douglas Dakotas, until these were replaced by Vickers Valettas in July 1949. On 20 February 1953, the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 84 Squadron RAF.

Return to maritime operations[edit]

The squadron was reformed once more on 1 January 1954 at RAF Ballykelly, equipped with Avro Shackletons.

A Shackleton, possibly of 204 sqn, performing a mail drop over Beira street, September 1971, photographed from aboard HMS Minerva

In 1965, Ian Smith's Rhodesian minority white government made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, leading to United Nations sanctions against what was up until then a British colony. One of the major thrusts of this action was to try and deprive the country of oil. Being land-locked, Rhodesia relied on a pipeline through Mozambique from the port of Beira. Up until 1972, the sanctions were applied by the Royal Navy working with the RAF, which undertook reconnaissance flights of the Beira Straits from its base in Madagascar. The RAF was located at the airfield close to the port of Majunga on the north-west coast of Madagascar. No. 204 Squadron was the unit tasked with this responsibility, just prior to the evacuation and closure of the base in March 1972. It operated a detachment of two Avro Shackleton Mk2s. The last flight took place on 17 March 1972. The squadron was disbanded on 28 April 1972.

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 204 Squadron, data from[1][2][7][19][20]
From To Aircraft Variant
Mar 1915 Oct 1915 Various
Dec 1916 Mar 1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter
Mar 1917 Jun 1917 Sopwith Pup
Jun 1917 Feb 1919 Sopwith Camel
Feb 1929 Oct 1935 Supermarine Southampton Mk.II
Aug 1935 Jan 1937 Supermarine Scapa
Oct 1936 Jul 1939 Saro London Mks. I & II
Jun 1939 Sep 1943 Short Sunderland Mk.I
Jun 1941 Mar 1943 Short Sunderland Mk.II
Oct 1942 Jun 1945 Short Sunderland Mk.III
Apr 1945 Jun 1945 Short Sunderland Mk.V
Aug 1947 Jul 1949 Douglas Dakota C.4
May 1949 Feb 1953 Vickers Valetta C.1
Jan 1954 May 1958 Avro Shackleton MR.2
May 1958 Feb 1960 Avro Shackleton MR.1A
May 1959 Apr 1971 Avro Shackleton MR.2C

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no. 204 Squadron, data from[2][4][7][19][20]
From To Base
23 Mar 1915 3 Aug 1915 Dover, Kent
3 Aug 1915 15 Oct 1915 Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey, Kent
31 Dec 1916 1 Apr 1917 Coudekerque, Belgium
1 Apr 1917 2 Jan 1918 Bray Dunes, France
2 Jan 1918 6 Mar 1918 Walmer, Kent
6 Mar 1918 13 Apr 1918 Bray Dunes, France
13 Apr 1918 30 Apr 1918 Téteghem, France
30 Apr 1918 9 May 1918 Cappelle, France
9 May 1918 24 Oct 1918 Téteghem, France
24 Oct 1918 11 Feb 1919 Heule (near Kortrijk), Belgium
11 Feb 1919 31 Dec 1919 RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire (as a cadre)
1 Feb 1929 27 Sep 1935 RAF Mount Batten, Devon
27 Sep 1935 22 Oct 1935 RAF Aboukir, Egypt
22 Oct 1935 5 Aug 1936 Alexandria, Egypt
5 Aug 1936 2 Apr 1940 RAF Mount Batten, Devon
2 Apr 1940 5 Apr 1941 RAF Sullom Voe, Shetland
5 Apr 1941 15 Jul 1941 Reykjavík, Iceland
15 Jul 1941 28 Aug 1941 RAF Gibraltar, Gibraltar
28 Aug 1941 28 Jan 1944 Bathurst/Half Die, Gambia (Dets. at Gibraltar; Jui, Sierra Leone and Port-Étienne, Mauritania)
28 Jan 1944 1 Apr 1944 Jui, Sierra Leone (Dets. at Half Die and Port-Étienne)
1 Apr 1944 8 Apr 1944 Half Die, Gambia
8 Apr 1944 30 Jun 1945 Jui, Sierra Leone (Dets. at Half Die, Port-Étienne, Fisherman Lake, Liberia and Abidjan, Ivory Coast)
1 Aug 1947 22 Feb 1951 RAF Kabrit, Egypt
22 Feb 1951 20 Feb 1953 RAF Fayid, Egypt
1 Jan 1954 1 Apr 1971 RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
1 Apr 1971 28 Apr 1972 RAF Honington, Suffolk (Dets. at Majunga, Madagascar; Tengah, Singapore and Masirah, Oman)

Commanding Officers[edit]

Officers commanding No. 204 Squadron RAF, data from[7][19][20]
From To Name
Mar 1917 27 Jul 1918 Squadron Commander B.L. Huskisson
27 Jul 1918 10 Nov 1918 Maj. E.W. Norton
10 Nov 1918 21 Nov 1918 Maj. L.S. Breadner
21 Nov 1918 10 Dec 1918 Maj. E.W. Norton
10 Dec 1918 10 Jan 1919 Maj. P. Huskisson
10 Jan 1919 31 Dec 1919 Maj. R.S. Lucy
1 Feb 1929 9 Dec 1930 S/Ldr. F.H. Laurence, MC
9 Dec 1930 1 Jan 1934 S/Ldr. K.B. Lloyd, AFC
1 Jan 1934 1 Oct 1936 S/Ldr. A.W. Fletcher, DFC, AFC, OBE
1 Oct 1936 19 Oct 1937 S/Ldr. V.P. Feather
19 Oct 1937 18 Mar 1940 W/Cdr. K.B. Lloyd, AFC
18 Mar 1940 14 Aug 1940 W/Cdr. E.S.C. Davies, AFC
14 Aug 1940 22 May 1941 W/Cdr. K.F.T. Pickles
22 May 1941 28 Feb 1943 W/Cdr. D.I. Coote
28 Feb 1943 24 Mar 1943 W/Cdr. P.R. Hatfield
24 Mar 1943 19 Sep 1943 W/Cdr. C.E.V. Evison
19 Sep 1943 17 Aug 1944 W/Cdr. H.J.L. Hawkins
17 Aug 1944 12 Jan 1945 W/Cdr. A. Frame
12 Jan 1945 30 Jun 1945 W/Cdr. D. Michell
1 Aug 1947 15 Jan 1948 S/Ldr. H.S. Hartley
15 Jan 1948 22 May 1950 S/Ldr. R.A. Pegler
22 May 1950 1 Oct 1952 S/Ldr. L.W. Davies
1 Oct 1952 20 Feb 1953 S/Ldr. H.H. Jenkins
1 Jan 1954 25 Jul 1955 S/Ldr. G. Young
25 Jul 1955 3 Jun 1957 W/Cdr. W. Beringer
3 Jun 1957 23 Jul 1958 W/Cdr. A.D. Dart, DSO, DFC
23 Jul 1958 1 Jun 1960 W/Cdr. J.C.W. Weller, DFC
1 Jun 1960 14 Jun 1962 W/Cdr. R.D. Roe, AFC
14 Jun 1962 1 May 1964 W/Cdr. C.K.N. Lloyd, AFC
1 May 1964 7 Mar 1966 W/Cdr. J.J. Duncombe, AFC
7 Mar 1966 17 Jun 1968 W/Cdr. P. Kent, MBE
17 Jun 1968 14 Apr 1969 W/Cdr. O.G. Williams
14 Apr 1969 1 Apr 1971 W/Cdr. E.P. Wild
1 Apr 1971 1 May 1972 S/Ldr. D.E. Leppard

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 265.
  2. ^ a b c Jefford 2001, p. 71.
  3. ^ a b Halley 1973, p. 5.
  4. ^ a b c d e Halley 1988, p. 264.
  5. ^ a b Rawlings 1982, p. 133.
  6. ^ Halley 1973, p. 8.
  7. ^ a b c d Rawlings 1978, p. 320.
  8. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 13.
  9. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 61.
  10. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 127.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jefford 1998, p. 68
  12. ^ a b Sturtivant and Page 1992, p. 433
  13. ^ Halley 1973, p. 59.
  14. ^ Halley 1973, pp. 59–60.
  15. ^ Halley 1973, pp. 60–61, 63.
  16. ^ Halley 1973, pp. 63–64.
  17. ^ Rickard, J. No. 204 Squadron (RAF):Second World War". www.historyofwar.org. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  18. ^ Halley 1973, pp. 60–64.
  19. ^ a b c Rawlings 1982, p. 134.
  20. ^ a b c Halley 1973, p. 68.

References[edit]

  • Halley, James J. Famous Maritime Squadrons of the RAF, Volume 1. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Hylton Lacy Publishers Ltd., 1973. ISBN 0-85064-101-2.
  • 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: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • 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'', first edition 1998, Airlife Publishing, UK, ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Lewis, Peter. Squadron Histories: R.F.C, R.N.A.S and R.A.F., 1912–59. London: Putnam, 1959.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Sturtivant, Ray and Gordon Page. Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units 1911–1919. Tonbridge: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1992. ISBN 0-85130-191-6.

External links[edit]