No. 640 Squadron RAF

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No. 640 Squadron RAF
Active 7 January 1944 – 7 May 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Bomber Squadron
Part of No. 4 Group, RAF Bomber Command[1]
Base RAF Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire
Insignia
Squadron Codes C8 (Jan 1944 – May 1945)[2][3]
Aircraft flown
Bomber Handley-Page Halifax

No. 640 Squadron RAF was a heavy bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

History[edit]

No. 640 Squadron was first formed at RAF Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire on 7 January 1944,[4] from 'C' Flight of No. 158 Squadron RAF. It was equipped with Halifax Mk.III bombers, and operated as part of No. 4 Group in Bomber Command. It re-equipped with Halifax VI bombers in March 1945, and was disbanded at RAF Leconfield on 7 May of that year.[5]

Operational Highlights[edit]

A crew from No. 640 Squadron at Leconfield taken in December 1944, with a Halifax III in the background. Photograph features: Captain F/O R.Wakeman, DFC; Navigator P/O Reginald William Parr, DFC; Bomb Aimer F/O C.B.Morrison, RCAF, DFC; W/Op. F/Sgt H. Bearyman; Flt.Eng F/Sgt P/McPhie; Mid-upper Gunner F/S H.Thomas; Rear Gunner F/Sgt E.G. Humphries.
  • First Operational Mission 5 Halifaxes bombed Berlin while 3 others aborted on the night from 20 to 21 January 1944
  • Last Operational Mission 18 Halifaxes bombed gun batteries on the island of Wangerooge on 25 April 1945[6]
Listed below are further operational highlights for the following crew (see photograph right)[7]
Position Name crew member Known as
Captain F/O R.Wakeman, DFC Jimmy
Navigator P/O Reginald William Parr, DFC Reg
Bomb Aimer F/O C.B.Morrison, RCAF, DFC Cliff
W/Op F/Sgt. H.Bearyman Harry
Flt.Eng. F/Sgt. P.McPhie Peter
Mid-upper Gunner F/S H.Thomas Tommy
Rear Gunner F/Sgt. E.G.Humphries Eric
Individual missions for the above named crew, data from[7][8][9][10][11][12]
Date (all dates are in 1944) Off Back Target Mission Detail Bomb Load (lbs) Individual Aircraft Code Aircraft Serial No.
6 August 11:12 14:27 Forêt de Nieppe V-Weapon Sites. 16×500 X
7 August 20:53 01:48 May-sur-Orne Army Support – Five aiming points in front of Allied ground troops in Normandy. 9×1000 H NA573
9 August 11:53 15:28 Le Châtellier Chemical works. 4×500 X
10 August 20:50 03:50 Dijon A railway junction and the railway yards. 4×500 J
11 August 18:22 22:07 Étaples Railway bridge. 4×500 Z
15 August 09:40 13:45 Eindhoven Airfield 4×500 B MZ561
16 August 21:40 01:45 Kiel 4×500 B MZ561
18 August 22:20 03:00 Sterkrade/Holten, Ruhr. Ruhrchemie AG synthetic oil plant
(SBC = small bomb container)
1×2000, 4×SBC B MZ561
9 September 06:44 11:09 Le Havre Abandoned – cloud. 16×500 G
11 September 05:19 09:49 Cadillac 7×1000, 6×500 K
12 September 16:15 20:50 Münster 1×2000 & Incendiary P MZ678
17 September 06:52 10:43 Boulogne German positions in preparation for an attack by Allied troops. 9×1000, 4×500 J NP631
25 September 06:35 10:36 Calais German defensive positions. 9×1000, 4×500 J NP931
27 September 09:29 13:03 Calais German defensive positions. 9×1000, 4×500 D LW554
30 September 09:45 14:22 Bottrop, Ruhr. Oil plant. 16×500 H MZ344
6 October 14:28 19:04 Sterkrade/Holten, Ruhr. Ruhrchemie AG Synthetic oil plant. 16×500 J NP931
7 October 11:45 16:03 Kleve Army support – Approach routes by which German units could threaten the vulnerable Allied right flank near Nijmegen. 9×1000, 4×500 J NP931
15 October 00:16 05:53 Duisburg 8×1000, 5×500 K MZ930
15 October 17:48 21:41 Wilhelmshaven 8×1000, 5×500 K MZ930
25 October 12:09 17:51 Essen Industrial concerns, particularly to the Krupps steelworks. 9×1000, 4×500 J NP931
28 October 09:45 13:05 Walcheren Gun positions at 5 places on the rim of the island. 1×2000, 7×1000, 4×500 L NP931
31 October 18:03 23:10 Cologne 1×2000, 6×1000, 5×500 G MZ404
2 November 16:05 22:00 Düsseldorf 1×2000 & Incendiary J NP931
4 November 17:34 22:34 Bochum Industrial areas, particularly the steelworks. 1×2000, 6×1000, 5×500 J NP931
6 November 11:42 16:42 Gelsenkirchen Nordstern synthetic-oil plant. 1×2000, 6×1000, 5×500 J NP931
16 November 12:43 17:30 Jülich Army support – cut communications behind the German lines. 1×2000, 6×1000, 5×500 J NP931
21 November 17:25 23:55 Sterkrade/Holten, Ruhr. Ruhrchemie AG Synthetic oil plant. 16×500 J NP931
29 November 02:26 08:22 Essen Industrial areas, including the Krupps works. 1×2000, 16×500 J NP931
2 December 17:35 00:07 Hagen Industrial areas – unknown at the time this included a factory making U-boat accumulator batteries. 1×2000 & Incendiary J NP931
12 December 16:24 21:58 Essen Industrial areas, including the Krupps works. 1×2000, 4×1000, 6×500 J NP931
22 December 15:05 21:33 Bingen am Rhein Railway yards. 1×2000, 4×1000, 6×500 J NP931
24 December 11:17 16:42 Essen/Mülheim Airfields. 5×1000, 8×250 J NP931

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 640 Squadron RAF, data from[4][5][6]
From To Aircraft Version
January 1944 March 1945 Handley-Page Halifax Mk.III
March 1945 May 1945 Handley-Page Halifax Mk.VI

Squadron Bases[edit]

Base operated by no. 640 Squadron RAF, data from[4][5][6]
From To Name
7 January 1944 7 May 1945 RAF Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire

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.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • 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, 1918–88. 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 Ltd., 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • 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.
  • Norman, Bill. Halifax Squadron: the Wartime Bombing Operations of No. 640 Squadron, Leconfield. Preston, Lancashire: Compaid Graphics/Bill Norman Publications, 2005. ISBN 0-9547325-1-0.
  • Norman, Bill. No. 640 (Halifax) Squadron, RAF Leconfield: a Diary of Wartime Bombing Operations. Warrington, Compaid Graphics/Bill Norman Publications, 1999. ISBN 1-900604-08-6.

External links[edit]