No. 264 Squadron RAF

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No. 264 Squadron RAF
Gloster Meteor NF.14 WS841 264.HMT BLA 6.9.55 edited-2.jpg
Gloster Meteor NF.14 of 264 Squadron in 1955

No. 264 Squadron RAF also known as No 264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force formed from two former Royal Naval Air Service flights, No. 439 and No. 440, on 27 September 1918 at Souda Bay, Crete to perform anti-submarine patrols. It operated the Short 184 floatplanes on patrols in the Aegean. It was disbanded on 1 March 1919.

World War II[edit]

Boulton Paul Defiant gunner of 264 Squadron in his turret at RAF Kirton in Lindsey

On 8 December 1939 it was reformed at RAF Station Martlesham Heath to bring the Boulton Paul Defiant fighter into service. Operations began in March 1940 when the squadron started convoy patrols. After initial successes the Luftwaffe soon realised that the Defiant was vulnerable to frontal attack, and the squadron started to have heavy losses of aircraft and crew. At the end of May 1940 the squadron was withdrawn from operations as a day-fighter squadron and began to train in the night-fighter role. It was called into action again in the day fighting role at the height of the Battle of Britain but again suffered losses and returned to the night-fighter role. After a number of moves around England, including Luton Airport.[1] In May 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Colerne to operate the de Havilland Mosquito II, later trading them in for the later Mark VI. The Mosquitos were operated as night-fighters in the west of England and on day patrols in the Bay of Biscay and western approaches.

In 1943 after concentrating on night intruder missions, it operated in support of the Bomber Command to attack enemy night-fighters attacking bomber formations. In 1944 it re-equipped with the newer Mosquito XIII and returned to defensive roles. In June it carried out patrols over the Normandy beaches until it returned to night-patrols from western England in the western approaches. As the Allied forces advanced the squadron became part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force providing night patrols. By the end of the war it was carrying out patrols over Berlin from its airfield at Twente in the Netherlands. They were disbanded at Twente on 25 August 1945.

Postwar operations[edit]

The squadron was reformed for the third time on 20 November 1945 at RAF Church Fenton when 125 Squadron was renumbered. It operated the de Havilland Mosquito NF30 and NF36 in the night fighter role as part of the peacetime Fighter Command. By 1951 the squadron was posted to RAF Linton-on-Ouse and while there its Mosquitos were replaced in November that year by the Gloster Meteor NF11 and by the Gloster Meteor NF14 in October 1954.

On 30 September 1957 the squadron was disbanded at RAF Leeming when it was re-numbered 33 Squadron.

The squadron was in existence again between 1958 and 1962 at RAF North Coates as the first squadron to operates the Bristol Bloodhound I ground-to-air missile.

The squadron motto was We Defy.

Aircraft operated[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing, UK, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • 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, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF (retd.). RAF Squadrons: A Comprenhensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing, UK, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) ltd., 1976. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985), Orbis Publishing, UK.

External links[edit]

Media related to No. 264 Squadron RAF at Wikimedia Commons