No. 652 Squadron RAF

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No. 652 Squadron RAF
Active 1 May 1942 – 1 September 1957
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Air Observation Post Squadron
Motto Latin: Sive aere sive campo
(Translation: "In the air and in the field")[1]
Insignia
Squadron badge heraldry In front of wings conjoined in base, a gun barrel fesswise[1]
Identification
symbol
XM (Sep 1946 – 1951)[2][3]
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance de Havilland Tiger Moth
Taylorcraft Auster
Auster AOP.6

No. 652 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and afterwards in Germany. Numbers 651 to 663 Squadrons of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of these squadrons, 664, 665 and 666, were AOP units of the Royal Canadian Air Force manned by Canadian and British personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[1][4]

History[edit]

A postwar restored DH-82A Tiger Moth.

Formation and World War II[edit]

No. 652 Squadron was formed at RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire, on 1 May 1942 and went into action in Normandy on 7 June 1944 in support of the British Second Army and the Operation Overlord landings. Most of its pilots and observers came from the British Army, while maintenance was carried out by RAF personnel. The squadron moved with the Second Army through France, Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany.

Claim to fame[edit]

'C' Flight, No. 652 Squadron RAF has been credited with firing the last British shots of the war in Europe while directing artillery fire at the siege of Dunkirk on 7 May, 1945, sharing in this action with No. 665 Squadron RCAF.

Post war service[edit]

After the German surrender it remained as part of the British Air Forces of Occupation, later of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, until September 1957, when it was merged into the Army Air Corps. It will be a Lynx Wildcat OCU Squadron in the future.[5]

The original squadron is represented today by 652 Squadron of 1 Regiment, Army Air Corps

Auster AOP.6 silhouette.

Notable squadron members[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by 652 Squadron[1][4]
From To Aircraft Variant
May 1942 November 1942 de Havilland Tiger Moth Mk.II
August 1942 March 1943 Taylorcraft Plus C.2
October 1942 March 1943 Auster Mk.I
March 1943 March 1944 Auster Mk.III
February 1944 August 1946 Auster Mk.IV
December 1944 December 1953 Auster Mk.V
September 1946 September 1957 Auster AOP.6
January 1956 September 1957 Auster AOP.9

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no.652 Squadron RAF, data from[1][4]
From To Base Remark
1 May 1942 15 June 1942 RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire
15 June 1942 11 August 1942 RAF Bottisham, Cambridgeshire
11 August 1942 31 December 1942 RAF Westley, Suffolk
31 December 1942 20 February 1943 RAF Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
20 February 1943 28 March 1943 RAF Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire
28 March 1943 2 July 1943 RAF Methven, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
2 July 1943 7 November 1943 RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
7 November 1943 25 March 1944 RAF Ipswich, Sufffolk
25 March 1944 29 April 1944 RAF Denham, Buckinghamshire
29 April 1944 7 June 1944 RAF Cobham, Surrey
6 June 1944 7 June 1944 Bény-sur-Mer, Calvados, France Advance Party
7 June 1944 8 July 1944 Plumetot, Calvados, France
8 July 1944 1 August 1944 Reviers, Calvados, France
1 August 1944 13 August 1944 Blainville-sur-Orne, Calvados, France
13 August 1944 17 August 1944 Grentheville, Calvados, France
17 August 1944 23 August 1944 St-Pierre-sur-Dives, Calvados, France
23 August 1944 26 August 1944 Lisieux, Calvados, France
26 August 1944 3 September 1944 49 13'N 00 29'E, Calvados, France
3 September 1944 4 September 1944 Foucart, Seine-Maritime, France
4 September 1944 14 September 1944 Angerville-l'Orcher, Seine-Maritime, France
14 September 1944 17 September 1944 Héricourt-en-Caux, Seine-Maritime, France
17 September 1944 23 September 1944 Parfondeval, Seine-Maritime, France
23 September 1944 27 September 1944 Buken, Flemish Brabant, Belgium
27 September 1944 5 October 1944 Zoersel, Antwerp, Belgium
5 October 1944 13 October 1944 Het Geheul, Antwerp, Belgium
13 October 1944 19 October 1944 Turnhout, Antwerp, Belgium
19 October 1944 23 October 1944 51 17'N 04 39'E, Antwerp, Belgium
23 October 1944 1 November 1944 Maria ter Heide, Antwerp, Belgium
1 November 1944 4 November 1944 Brasschaat, Antwerp, Belgium
4 November 1944 10 November 1944 Roosendaal, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
10 November 1944 31 December 1944 Brasschaat, Antwerp, Belgium
31 December 1944 1 April 1945 Tilburg, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
1 April 1945 3 April 1945 Kleve, Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
3 April 1945 30 April 1945 Zutphen, Gelderland, Netherlands
1 May 1945 14 June 1945 Rhede, Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
14 June 1945 16 November 1945 Deilinghofen, Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
16 November 1945 29 April 1946 RAF Hoya, Province of Hanover, British Zone of Occupation
29 April 1946 1 December 1947 B.118/RAF Celle, Lower Saxony, British Zone of Occupation Nos. 1902, 1903 & 1904 Flts.
1 December 1947 1 May 1949 B.156/RAF Luneburg, Lower Saxony, British Zone of Occupation Nos. 1902, 1903, 1904 & 1905 Flts.
1 May 1949 1 September 1957 RAF Detmold, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany Nos. 1901, 1904, 1905 & 1909 Flts.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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 1918–1988. 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 Ltd., 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.

External links[edit]