No. 331 Squadron RAF

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
331 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF
331Catterick.jpg
Spitfire Vs of No. 331 Squadron, spring 1942.
Active 1942–1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Norway Norwegian Government in exile
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Fighter squadron
Part of RAF Fighter Command
Motto Norwegian: For Norge
("For Norway")
Aircraft Hawker Hurricane
Supermarine Spitfire
Battle honours
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet
Squadron Codes FN (Jul 1941 – Nov 1945)
331 Squadron
Active 1942
Full control passed to RNoAF on 21 November 1945. Still active.
Role Fighter
Garrison/HQ Bodø Main Air Station
Motto For Norge
(Norwegian: "For Norway")
Equipment F-16
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet

No. 331 Squadron RAF was a Second World War squadron of the Royal Air Force.

History[edit]

It was formed as a fighter squadron at RAF Catterick in Yorkshire on 21 July 1941. The squadron personnel were Norwegian, except for the ground crew and the commanding officer.[citation needed] 331 Squadron was the first fighter united manned by exiled Norwegians [1] It was given the RAF aircraft code prefix "FN",[1] which was often said to be an abbreviation for "First Norwegian" or "For Norway", the latter being the squadron's official motto, in Norwegian (For Norge). The squadron badge was a Norwegian Viking sword and a British sword in saltire, bound together with a ring — symbolising the friendship between Norway and Great Britain.

The squadron was initially equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk 1s,[1] inherited from a Polish RAF unit. These had to be rebuilt, before 331 Sqn could become operational, on 15 September. It provided defence for northern Scotland, moving to Castletown on 21 August[citation needed] and later to RAF Skaebrae.[1]

In May 1942, the squadron moved south to RAF North Weald,[citation needed] having re-equipped with Spitfires in November 1941.[1]

331 Sqn was joined by a second Norwegian Squadron 332 Squadron, also flying Spitfires. Together they were known as North Weald Wing and were part of the Allied air umbrella over the landing area in the Dieppe Raid, and later flying fighter sweeps and escort operations over occupied France and the Low Countries.

In November 1943, 331 and 332 Sqns were transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force and became known as No. 132 Airfield; later No. 132 Wing.

Following fighter bomber and tactical air superiority operations, connected to preparations for D-Day and the actual landings in France, the squadron moved to Caen, Normandy in August 1944. From September onwards, 132 Wing participated in the Liberation of Holland and provided air support for the crossing of the Rhine.

On 24 April 1945, the squadron was transferred to North Weald and later to RAF Dyce in Scotland, where 331 and 332 Sqns converted to Spitfire Mark IXe and Mk XVI.

Following the end of the war, the wing flew to Norway and on September 21, 1945, 331 Sqn was officially disbanded as an RAF unit, with control passed to the re-formed Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).

Between them during the war, 331 and 332 Squadrons scored 180 confirmed destroyed, 35 probables and more than 100 damaged. Combined losses were 131 aircraft lost with 71 pilots killed.

In honour of the achievements of the World War II squadrons, the RNoAF has maintained RAF squadron names, including a 331st Fighter Squadron, now flying F-16s and based at Bodø Main Air Station.

Aircraft operated during RAF service[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Thomas 2003, p. 91

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thomas, Andrew (2003). Hurricane Aces 1941–45. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84176-610-2. 

External links[edit]