No. 38 Group RAF

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No. 38 Group RAF
Active 1943–1951, 1960–1983, 1992–2000, 2014–
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Type Group Headquarters
Role Engineering, Logistics, Communications and Medical
Part of RAF Fighter Command
RAF Transport Command
RAF Air Support Command
RAF Strike Command
RAF Air Command
Garrison/HQ RAF Wittering, Lincolnshire, England
Motto Latin: Par Nobile Fratrum
(Translation: "A noble pair of brothers")
Royal Air Force Ensign Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Insignia
Group Badge heraldry An eagle's leg grasping a sword

No 38 Group RAF was formed on 6 November 1943 from nine squadrons as part of Fighter Command. After the war it became part of RAF Transport Command but was disbanded on 31 January 1951. It re-formed on 1 January 1960, became part of RAF Air Support Command in 1967 and then, in 1972, the air support group within RAF Strike Command. It was temporarily disbanded from 18 Nov 1983 to 31 Oct 1992 and from 1 April 2000 to 1 July 2014. It subsequently became part of RAF Air Command, bringing together the Royal Air Force’s Engineering, Logistics, Communications and Medical Operations units.[1]

History[edit]

The predecessor of 38 Group was No. 38 Wing RAF, initially formed on 15 January 1942 from 296 and 297 Squadrons and based at RAF Netheravon in Wiltshire under Group Captain Sir Nigel Norman. 295 Squadron was additionally formed at Netheravon on 3 August 1942. To these were added 570, 298, 299, 190, 196, 620 Squadrons to form No. 38 (Airborne Force) Group on 11 October 1943. At that time four squadrons were equipped with Albemarles (295, 296, 297, 570), one with Halifaxes (298) and four with Stirlings (299, 190, 196, 620). A further Halifax unit, 644 Squadron, was added in February 1944.

During 1943, changes of all aircraft types and operational bases were made. Nevertheless 295, 296 and 297 Squadrons were heavily involved that year in operations Beggar, Ladbroke and Fustian, during the invasion of Sicily. From February 1944 many sorties were made over mainland Europe in support of Special Operations Executive and detachments of the Special Air Service.

But by 5 June 1944 the group’s updated resources had been fully redeployed between RAF Brize Norton, RAF Fairford, RAF Harwell, RAF Keevil and RAF Tarrant Rushton in preparation for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe. From then to 16 June the Group was fully involved in operations Tonga (the delivery of paratroop-filled gliders at the onset of Overlord) and Mallard (the delivery of the main airborne forces and their equipment by glider).

In September 1944 the group was called upon to ferry airborne troops for Operation Market Garden, the abortive attempt to capture the Rhine bridge at Arnhem. Following that operation there was further reorganisation; the Group Headquarters moved to Marks Hall, Essex in October 1944 and the squadrons were redeployed to RAF Earls Colne (296 and 297), RAF Rivenhall (295 and 570), RAF Great Dunmow (190 and 620), RAF Wethersfield (later to RAF Shepherds Grove) (196 and 299) and RAF Woodbridge (298 and 644). 190 Squadron remained temporarily at RAF Fairford. On 10 March 1945 161 Squadron at RAF Tempsford also came under 38 Group control.

On 24 March 1945 the squadrons were fully employed in delivering airborne troops to the far bank of the Rhine as part of Operation Varsity, an operation which proved costly in terms of aircrew lives lost.

After the war most 38 Group squadrons were either disbanded or relocated to the Far East and the HQ moved to RAF Upavon. 295 and 297 Squadrons merged and moved to Fairford. 38 Group became part of RAF Transport Command on 1 June 1945.

In 1972, Headquarters 38 Group moved from RAF Odiham, Hants, where it had been since 1960, to RAF Benson, Oxon.[2]

Orders of Battle[edit]

1944[edit]

Order of Battle for No. 38 Group RAF, 06-06-1944[3]
Station Squadron Aircraft No Operational
RAF Brize Norton 296
297
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
37
36
RAF Fairford 190
620
Short Stirling
Short Stirling
33
30
RAF Harwell 295
570
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
34
36
RAF Keevil 196
299
Short Stirling
Short Stirling
36
35
RAF Tarrant Rushton 298
644
Handley Page Halifax
Handley-Page Halifax
30
21

1945[edit]

Order of Battle for No. 38 Group RAF, July 1945[4]
Station Squadron Aircraft
RAF Earls Colne 296
297
Handley Page Halifax
Handley-Page Halifax
RAF Great Dunmow 190
620
Handley Page Halifax
Handley-Page Halifax
RAF Rivenhall 295
570
Short Stirling
Short Stirling
RAF Shepherds Grove 196
299
Short Stirling
Short Stirling
RAF Tarrant Rushton 298
644
Handley Page Halifax
Handley-Page Halifax

1962[edit]

Order of Battle for No. 38 Group RAF, April 1962[5]
Station Squadron Aircraft
RAF Abingdon 47
53
Blackburn Beverley
Blackburn Beverley
RAF Aldergrove 118 Bristol Sycamore
RAF Colerne 24
36
Handley Page Hastings
Handley Page Hastings
RAF Odiham 66
72
225
230
Bristol Belvedere
Bristol Belvedere
Bristol Sycamore/Westland Whirlwind
Scottish Aviation Pioneer
RAF Waterbeach 1
54
64
Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
Gloster Javelin

1982[edit]

Order of Battle for No. 38 Group RAF, January 1982[6]
Station Squadron Aircraft
RAF Aldergrove 72 Westland Wessex
Ladyville, Belize 1417 Flt. Hawker Siddeley Harrier
RAF Brize Norton 10
115
Vickers VC10
Hawker Siddeley Andover
RAF Coltishall 6
41
54
SEPECAT Jaguar
SEPECAT Jaguar
SEPECAT Jaguar
RAF Lyneham 24
30
47
70
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
RAF Northolt 32
207
Hawker Siddeley Andover/Westland Gazelle/British Aerospace BAe 125/Westland Whirlwind
de Havilland Devon
RAF Odiham 18
33
Boeing Chinook
Westland Puma
RAF Wittering 1 Hawker Siddeley Harrier

Commanding officers[edit]

38 Wing[edit]

Commanding officers no. 38 Wing RAF[7]
Date Name
15 Jan 1942 Air Commodore Sir Nigel Norman (Killed on duty 19 May 1943)
May 1943 Air Commodore William H Primrose
6 Oct 1943 Air Vice-Marshal Leslie Norman Hollinghurst

38 Group[edit]

Commanding officers no. 38 Group RAF[7]
Date Name
11 Oct 1943 Air Vice-Marshal Leslie Norman Hollinghurst
18 Oct 1944 Air Vice-Marshal James Scarlett-Streatfield
31 Jul 1945 Air Vice-Marshal Ronald Ivelaw-Chapman
1946–1948 Air Vice-Marshal Arthur L Fiddament
17 Jan 1948 Air Vice-Marshal Alfred C H Sharp
25 Jan 1950 Air Vice-Marshal Edgar J Kingston-McClaughry
1 Jan 1960 Air Vice-Marshal Peter Wykeham
27 Jul 1962 Air Vice-Marshal Tim W Piper
1 Jan 1965 Air Vice-Marshal Leslie Mavor
1 Mar 1966 Air Vice-Marshal Peter C Fletcher
1 Aug 1967 Air Vice-Marshal Harold Brownlow Martin
24 Jun 1970 Air Vice-Marshal Denis Crowley-Milling
21 Feb 1972 Air Vice-Marshal Frederick S Hazlewood
2 Nov 1974 Air Vice-Marshal Peter G K Williamson
10 Dec 1977 Air Vice-Marshal Joseph A Gilbert
27 Feb 1980 Air Vice-Marshal Donald P Hall
1984–1985 Air Vice-Marshal David Parry-Evans
15 Jan 1993 Air Vice-Marshal J A G May
1994 Air Vice-Marshal David Cousins
21 Apr 1995 Air Vice-Marshal David A Hurrell
30 Jan 1998 Air Vice-Marshal Philip Sturley
2 July 2014 Air Vice-Marshal Tim Bishop [1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.

External links[edit]