No. 238 Squadron RAF

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No. 238 Squadron RAF
238 Squadron Badge (4022445439).jpg
Insignia of the squadron.
ActiveAugust 1918 - 20 March 1922
16 May 1940 - 31 October 1944
1 December 1944 - 27 December 1945
1 December 1946 – 4 October 1948
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchAir Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
Motto(s)Ad finem (Latin: To the end)[1]
Battle honoursBattle of Britain
Squadron BadgeA three headed hydra. Hydras, in Greek mythology, were most difficult creatures to destroy.[2]

No. 238 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It was first formed in 1918 by combining number 347, 348 and 349 Flights at RAF Cattewater by the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. It was reformed for the Second World War, the Berlin Airlift and currently is a Line Training Flight (LTF) squadron based at RAF Cosford, albeit in a non-flying capacity.


World War I[edit]

The squadron was formed at RAF Cattewater (later RAF Mount Batten) in August 1918 by combining number 347, 348 and 349 Flights into the one squadron.[3] All were flying boat flights and the squadron flew anti-submarine patrols until the end of the war, being reduced to a cadre on 15 May 1919. It remained as a storage unit until disbanded on 20 March 1922.[4]

World War II[edit]

On 16 May 1940, No. 238 reformed at RAF Tangmere as a fighter squadron with Spitfires but in June these were replaced by Hurricanes. It became operational on 2 July and spent the period of the Battle of Britain in the Middle Wallop sector, apart from four weeks in Cornwall.

In May 1941 the squadron left for the Middle East its aircraft being flown off HMS Victorious to Malta while the ground echelon sailed round the Cape of Good Hope. After refuelling in Malta the Hurricanes flew on to the Western Desert where they were attached to No. 274 Squadron, pending the arrival of the squadron's own ground crews. By the end of July, No. 238 was again operating as a complete unit, flying escort missions and fighter patrols throughout the campaign in the desert until after the Battle of El Alamein. Even so, some Beaufighters belonging to the squadron were based at RAF Pembrey temporarily during 1943.[5] The squadron was then withdrawn to Egypt for air defence duties and converted to Spitfires in September 1943. In March 1944, the squadron moved to Corsica for sweeps over Northern Italy and in August covered the Allied landings in Southern France. After moving there for two months, it was withdrawn to Naples and disbanded on 26 October 1944.[4]

On 1 December 1944, No. 238 reformed at RAF Merryfield as a transport squadron and was originally intended to fly Albemaries. In January 1945 it received Dakotas and on 14 February its first wave of ten aircraft left for India where they began supply-dropping and casualty evacuation missions over Burma. In June the squadron moved to Australia to provide transport support for the British Pacific Fleet as part of No. 300 Group, officially disbanding there on 27 December 1945.[4]


Its remaining aircraft left for Singapore on 9 February 1946, others having been flown back to the UK during January.

On 1 December 1946, No.525 Squadron at Abingdon was renumbered 238 Squadron and flew Dakotas until renumbered 10 Squadron on 4 October 1948, during the Berlin airlift.[6]

In 2007 Line Training Flight (LTF) at RAF Cosford were permitted to use the squadron numberplate as a non-flying unit.[7] The role undertaken is that of LTF and mechanical maintenance. Jaguars were formerly used on the taxiways at the RAF Cosford airfield site to train students in marshaling aircraft, this leaves only the Synthetic Environment Procedural Trainer (SEPT) to train marshalling and airfield situational awareness. The SEPT was initially designed in the early 2000’s to supplement training on live running aircraft. Despite the loss of live running aircraft, the squadron remains extant.[8]


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 5. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ "238 Squadron". Ministry of Defence.
  3. ^ Lake 1999, p. 74.
  4. ^ a b c Lake 1999, p. 246.
  5. ^ McLelland, Tim (2010). Action Stations Revisited: Wales and the Midlands No. Cheshire: Crecy Pub. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-85979-111-3.
  6. ^ Ashworth, Chris (1989). Encyclopaedia of modern Royal Air Force squadrons (1 ed.). Wellingborough: Stephens. p. 50. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
  7. ^ "238 Sqn | RAF Heraldry Trust". Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  8. ^ Williams, Simon, ed. (9 September 2009). "Last roar for Cosford Jaguars". RAF News. High Wycombe: Royal Air Force (1402): 7. ISSN 0035-8614.


  • Lake, Alan (1999). Flying Units of the RAF. Shrewsbury: AirLife. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.

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