No. 249 Squadron RAF

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No. 249 (Gold Coast) Squadron RAF
Active 18 August 1918 - 8 October 1919
16 May 1940 - 16 August 1945
23 October 1945 - 24 February 1969
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Nickname Gold Coast
Motto Latin: Pugnis et calcibus
("With fists and heels")
Battle honours Home Waters, 1918*; Battle of Britain, 1940*; Home Defence; Fortress Europe, 1941*; Malta, 1941-42*; Mediterranean, 1942-43*; North Africa, 1942*; Sicily; Italy, 1943-45*; South-East Europe, 1943-45*
Honours marked with an asterix* are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Tom Neil
Percy Lucas
Insignia
Squadron Badge In front of a bezant an elephant passant[1]
Squadron Codes GN (May 1940 - May 1941,
Jun 1943 - Sep 1944,
Oct 1945 - Mar 1950)
T (Mar 1942 - Jun 1943)

No. 249 (Gold Coast) Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron, active in the sea-patrol, fighter and bomber roles during its existence. It was the top scoring fighter squadron of the RAF in World War II.

History[edit]

First formation[edit]

No. 249 Squadron was formed for the first time on 18 August 1918 from Nos. 400, 401, 419 and 450 flights at Dundee[2] Equipped with a variety of seaplanes the squadron flew coastal patrol and anti-submarine duties as part of No. 78 Wing RAF. It remained at Dundee until April 1919 when it moved to RNAS Killingholme, without its aircraft. The squadron disbanded not long after on 8 October 1919.

During World War II[edit]

On 16 May 1940, 249 squadron reformed as a fighter squadron at RAF Church Fenton. Equipped with Hurricanes, the unit fought in the Battle of Britain. The only Victoria Cross awarded to an RAF Fighter Command pilot during the Battle of Britain, was won by James Brindley Nicolson while serving with 249 squadron. Offensive missions over France began in December 1940 but in May 1941, No.249 was transferred to Malta by aircraft carrier. There it formed part of the fighter defences, converting to Spitfires in February 1942. Fighter bomber missions over Sicily began in November 1942 and October 1943 the squadron moved to Italy. Sweeps were carried out over Albania and Yugoslavia and in September 1944, No.249 converted to Mustangs. In April 1945, it moved to Northern Yugoslavia for a month and after a short period in northern Italy the squadron disbanded on 16 August 1945.

On 23 October 1945, No.500 Squadron at Eastleigh, Kenya was renumbered 249 Squadron and flew Baltimores for a short time before re-equipping with Mosquitoes in February 1946. After taking part in survey flights, No.249 moved to Iraq in June 1946 and became a Tempest fighter squadron.

Into the jet age[edit]

The squadron was stationed at RAF Deversoir in the Egyptian Canal Zone in 1952, flying Vampires. Vampires were received in 1950 and after a period in Egypt the squadron moved to Jordan and converted to Venoms. In August 1956, it moved to Cyprus and in July 1957 to Kenya where it disbanded on 15 October 1957. It reformed at Akrotiri on the same day and after twelve years in the area No.249 disbanded on 24 February 1969

Present[edit]

In the year 2000 the Squadron gave its number to an Air Cadet Squadron based in Hailsham, England.[3] This was because 249 Squadron lost a man over the town during the Battle of Britain. The Air Cadets Squadron is also an affiliated member of 249 Squadron Association.[4]

Noted squadron members[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]

249 Sqn Spitfire VC at RAF Ta Kali, Malta, in 1942.
Aircraft operated[2]
From To Aircraft Version
Aug 1918 Mar 1919 Short 184
Aug 1918 Nov 1918 Sopwith Baby, Fairey Hamble Baby[5]
Aug 1918 Mar 1919 Curtiss H.12B
Aug 1918 Mar 1919 Felixstowe F.2a, Felixstowe F.3, Felixstowe F.5[6]
May 1940 Jun 1940 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
Jun 1940 Feb 1941 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
Feb 1941 Mar 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mks.IIa, IIb
May 1941 Aug 1941 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
Feb 1942 Sep 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mks.Vb, Vc
Jun 1943 Nov 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
Sep 1944 Apr 1945 North American Mustang Mk.III
Apr 1945 Jun 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
May 1945 Jun 1945 North American Mustang Mk.III
Jun 1945 Aug 1945 North American Mustang Mk.IV
Oct 1945 Apr 1946 Martin Baltimore Mks.IV, V
Mar 1946 Aug 1946 De Havilland Mosquito FB.26
Dec 1946 Mar 1950 Hawker Tempest F.6
Feb 1950 May 1952 De Havilland Vampire FB.5
Jan 1952 Apr 1955 De Havilland Vampire FB.9
Oct 1954 Dec 1955 De Havilland Venom FB.1
Jul 1955 Oct 1957 De Havilland Venom FB.4
Oct 1957 Jan 1960 English Electric Canberra B.2
Nov 1959 Oct 1961 English Electric Canberra B.6
Oct 1961 Feb 1969 English Electric Canberra B.16

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Halley 1988, p. 317.
  2. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 318.
  3. ^ http://249sqn-atc.co.uk/
  4. ^ http://www.249sqn.co.uk/history.html
  5. ^ Cull 1997, p. xii.
  6. ^ Rawlings 1982, 180.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bowyer, Chaz. Mosquito Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1984. ISBN 0-7110-1425-6.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Cull, Brian. 249 At War: The Authorized History of the RAF's Top Scoring Squadron of WWII. London, Grub Street, 1997. ISBN 1-898697-49-3.
  • 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: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (second edition 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 (new edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • 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.

External links[edit]