No. 610 Squadron RAF

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No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron RAF
Active 10 February 1936 – 3 March 1945
10 May 1946 – 10 March 1957
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Part of Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Motto Latin: Alifero tollitur axe ceres
(Translation: "Ceres rising in a winged chariot")[1]
Engagements Battle of Britain
Commanders
Honorary Air Commodore Sir William Bromley-Davenport(1937–49)
I.R. Parker (1953–57)
Notable
commanders
J.E. "Johnnie" Johnson, Cyril Stanley Bamberger
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry A garb, divided into two parts and coloured red and blue
A wheatsheaf was chosen as such charges appear in the armorial bearings of the city of Chester; No. 610 Squadron was the County of Chester Squadron[2]
Squadron Codes JE (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[3]
DW (Sep 1939 – Mar 1945, 1949 – Apr 1951)[4]
RAQ (May 1946 – 1949)[5]

No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron of the Royal Air Force was as a Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force, its pilots were initially part timers who would spend their weekends and spare time flying and practicing combat maneuvers. The squadron was named the "County of Chester" and adopted the motto "Alifero tollitur axe ceres"; which translates as "Ceres rising in a winged chariot". Ceres being the Roman Goddess of Wheat, a reference to Chester's Agricultural sector. Its badge contained the image of a garb (sheaf of wheat).

History[edit]

Formation and early years[edit]

The squadron was formed on 10 February 1936 at Hooton Park, Wirral, Cheshire as one of the Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons, equipped with Hawker Hart light bombers. As war approached, it was upgraded to Hawker Hinds in May 1938. On 1 January 1939 the squadron role was changed into that of a fighter squadron, and on the outbreak of war in September 1939 it received its first Hawker Hurricane fighters. By the end of that same month it was flying the more advanced Supermarine Spitfire fighter though.

Second World War[edit]

A Spitfire Mk.I in the markings of no. 610 Squadron

610 Squadron was attached to No. 13 Group during the Battle of Britain. It had initially been based at RAF Gravesend, but moved to RAF Biggin Hill before the German offensive began and was one of the units bearing the brunt of German attacks. It moved to RAF Acklington for rest and recuperation at the end of August, having sustained severe casualties. During the Battle of Britain the squadron included Pilot Officer, later Squadron Leader, Constantine Pegge.

In 1941, the squadron moved south to RAF Tangmere where it was one of Douglas Bader's three Spitfire squadrons of the Tangmere wing. 610 Squadron remained based in the UK until 1945, when it moved to the continent to provide fighter cover as the allies entered Germany. 610 Squadron was disbanded before the end of the war at RAF Warmwell on 3 March 1945.

Post-war[edit]

The squadron was reformed on 10 May 1946 at RAF Hooton Park as a Royal Auxiliary Air Force fighter squadron, embodied in June of that year and receiving its first Spitfire F.14s in November 1946, switching to more powerful Spitfire F.22s in March 1949. Gloster Meteor F.4 jet fighters were received in July 1951, being replaced by the later F.8 version in March 1952. These were flown until shortly before the squadron disbanded on 10 March 1957, together with all other RAuxAF flying units.[6]

See also[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 610 Squadron RAF, data from[1][6][7][8]
From To Aircraft Version
March 1936 May 1938 Hawker Hart
May 1938 September 1939 Hawker Hind
September 1939 September 1939 Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
September 1939 February 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
February 1941 July 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa
July 1941 AUgust 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
August 1941 November 1941 Supermarine Spitfire Mks.IIa, IIb
November 1941 March 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mks.Vb, Vc
January 1944 March 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV
November 1946 April 1949 Supermarine Spitfire F.14
March 1949 August 1951 Supermarine Spitfire F.22
July 1951 May 1952 Gloster Meteor F.4
March 1952 February 1957 Gloster Meteor F.8

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no. 610 Squadron RAF, data from[1][6][7]
From To Base
10 February 1936 10 October 1939 RAF Hooton Park,
10 October 1939 4 April 1940 RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire
4 April 1940 10 May 1940 RAF Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland
10 May 1940 27 May 1940 RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
27 May 1940 8 July 1940 RAF Gravesend, Kent
8 July 1940 31 August 1940 RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
31 August 1940 15 December 1940 RAF Acklington, Northumberland
15 December 1940 29 August 1941 RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
29 August 1941 14 January 1942 RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
14 January 1942 4 April 1942 RAF Hutton Cranswick, Yorkshire
4 April 1942 16 August 1942 RAF Ludham, Norfolk
16 August 1942 21 August 1942 RAF West Malling, Kent
21 August 1942 15 October 1942 RAF Ludham, Norfolk
15 October 1942 20 January 1943 RAF Castletown, Caithness, Scotland
20 January 1943 30 April 1943 RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
30 April 1943 26 June 1943 RAF Perranporth, Cornwall
26 June 1943 19 December 1943 RAF Bolt Head, Devon
19 December 1943 4 January 1944 RAF Fairwood Common, Glamorgan, Wales
4 January 1944 7 April 1944 RAF Exeter, Devon
7 April 1944 23 April 1944 RAF Culmhead, Somerset
23 April 1944 30 April 1944 RAF Fairwood Common, Glamorgan, Wales
30 April 1944 16 May 1944 RAF Culmhead, Somerset
16 May 1944 29 May 1944 RAF Bolt Head, Devon
29 May 1944 19 June 1944 RAF Harrowbeer, Devon
19 June 1944 27 June 1944 RAF West Malling, Kent
27 June 1944 2 July 1944 RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
2 July 1944 12 September 1944 RAF Friston, Suffolk
12 September 1944 4 December 1944 RAF Lympne, Kent
4 December 1944 31 December 1944 B.56/Evere, Belgium
31 December 1944 27 January 1945 Y.32/Ophoven, Belgium
27 January 1945 21 February 1945 B.78/Eindhoven, Netherlands
21 February 1945 3 March 1945 RAF Warmwell, Dorset
10 May 1946 10 March 1957 RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire

Commanding officers[edit]

Officers commanding no. 610 Squadron RAF, data from[7][9]
From To Name
10 February 1936 December 1939 S/Ldr. I.R. Parker
January 1940 29 May 1940 S/Ldr. A.L. Franks, AFC
29 May 1940 July 1940 S/Ldr. A.T. Smith
July 1940 April 1941 S/Ldr. J. Ellis, DFC & Bar
April 1941 June 1941 S/Ldr. H. de C.A. Woodhouse, AFC
June 1941 4 November 1941 S/Ldr. K. Holden, DFC
4 November 1941 December 1941 S/Ldr. B.J. Wicks, DFC
December 1941 February 1942 S/Ldr. C.O.J. Pegge, DFC
February 1942 July 1942 S/Ldr. G.S.K. Haywood
July 1942 March 1943 S/Ldr. J.E. Johnson, DFC & Bar
March 1943 January 1944 S/Ldr. W.A Laurie, DFC
January 1944 February 1945 S/Ldr. R.A. Newbury, DFC & Bar
February 1945 March 1945 F/Lt. Shepherd
June 1946 March 1948 S/Ldr. P.G. Lamb, AFC
March 1948 1950 S/Ldr. R.D. Graesser
1950 1952 S/Ldr. C.S. Bamberger, DFC & Bar
1952 1954 S/Ldr. H.C. Rigby
1954 10 March 1957 S/Ldr. J.E. Storrar, DFC & Bar, AFC

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • 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, 1981–1988. 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, 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., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Robinson, Anthony. RAF Squadrons in the Battle of Britain. London: Arms and Armour Press Ltd., 1987 (republished 1999 by Brockhampton Press, ISBN 1-86019-907-0.).

External links[edit]