No. 355 Squadron RAF

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No. 355 Squadron RAF
Active 18 August 1943 – 31 May 1946
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Motto Latin: Liberamus Per Caerula
(Translation: "We liberate through tropical skies")[1][2]
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry An elephant's head affronté[1][2]
Aircraft flown
Bomber Consolidated Liberator

No. 355 Squadron RAF was a long range bomber squadron based in British India from August 1943 until it disbanded in May 1946. The squadron was equipped with Consolidated Liberator aircraft.

History[edit]

The squadron was formed at Salbani, Bengal, British India on 18 August 1943, and carried out its first bombing mission on the 20 November 1943.[3] The squadron mounted numerous raids on the infamous Burma-Siam railway along with other important targets such as bridges, airfields, and marshalling yards. During this period, the squadron included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircrew personnel, attached to it under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Wing Commander James Brindley Nicolson, recipient of the only Victoria Cross awarded during the Battle of Britain, was killed 2 May 1945, when the 355 squadron Liberator he was flying in as an observer, crashed into the Bay of Bengal shortly after an engine caught fire. The last raid carried out by the squadron was on 7 August 1945 against the Burma-Siam railway.[3]

After the war, 355 squadron was engaged in the dropping of emergency food supplies to Prisoners of War, and starving civilians in Burma. Between January and April 1946 the squadron operated from Digri, a little north of Salbani,[4] returning to Salbani (west of Calcutta) shortly before it disbanded on 31 May 1946.

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 355 Squadron RAF, data from[2][5][6]
From To Aircraft Version
October 1943 July 1944 Consolidated Liberator Mk.III
March 1944 September 1945 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VI
August 1945 May 1946 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VIII

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no. 355 Squadron RAF, data from[1][2][5][7]
From To Base Remark
18 August 1943 3 January 1946 RAF Salbani, Bengal, British India Dets. at RAF Dhubalia, Bengal; RAF Digri, Bengal and RAF Pegu ('Pilsener'), Burma
3 January 1946 3 April 1946 RAF Digri, Bengal, British India Det. at RAF Pegu, Burma
3 April 1946 31 May 1946 RAF Salbani, Bengal, British India Det. at RAF Pegu, Burma

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Moyes 1976, p. 232.
  2. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 385.
  3. ^ a b Moyes 1976, p. 233.
  4. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 270–271.
  5. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 90.
  6. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 232–233.
  7. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 268–271.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W. Burma Liberators: RCAF in SEAC. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Next Level Press, 1991. ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
  • 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, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadron of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (2nd edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Oughton, James D. with John Hamlin and Andrew Thomas. The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 978-0-85130-362-8.

External links[edit]