No. 249 Squadron RAF
|No. 249 (Gold Coast) Squadron RAF|
|Active||18 August 1918 - 8 October 1919
16 May 1940 - 16 August 1945
23 October 1945 – 24 February 1969
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Latin: Pugnis et calcibus
("With fists and heels")
|Battle honours||Home Waters, 1918*; Battle of Britain, 1940*; Home Defence; Fortress Europe, 1941*; Malta, 1941-42*; Mediterranean, 1942-43*; North Africa, 1942*; Sicily; Italy, 1943-45*; South-East Europe, 1943-45*
Honours marked with an asterix* are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
|Squadron Badge||In front of a bezant an elephant passant|
|Squadron Codes||GN (May 1940 - May 1941,
Jun 1943 - Sep 1944,
Oct 1945 - Mar 1950)
T (Mar 1942 - Jun 1943)
No. 249 (Gold Coast) Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron, active in the sea-patrol, fighter and bomber roles during its existence. It was the top scoring fighter squadron of the RAF in World War II.
No. 249 Squadron was formed for the first time on 18 August 1918 from Nos. 400, 401, 419 and 450 flights at Dundee Equipped with a variety of seaplanes the squadron flew coastal patrol and anti-submarine duties as part of No. 78 Wing RAF. It remained at Dundee until April 1919 when it moved to RNAS Killingholme, without its aircraft. The squadron was disbanded not long after, on 8 October 1919.
During World War II
On 16 May 1940, 249 squadron reformed as a fighter squadron at RAF Church Fenton. Equipped with Hurricanes, the unit fought in the Battle of Britain. The only Victoria Cross awarded to an RAF Fighter Command pilot during the Battle of Britain, was won by James Brindley Nicolson while serving with 249 squadron. Offensive missions over France began in December 1940 but in May 1941, No. 249 was transferred to Malta by aircraft carrier. There it formed part of the fighter defences, converting to Spitfires in February 1942. Fighter bomber missions over Sicily began in November 1942 and October 1943 the squadron moved to Italy. Sweeps were carried out over Albania and Yugoslavia and in September 1944, No. 249 converted to Mustangs. In April 1945, it moved to Northern Yugoslavia for a month and after a short period in northern Italy the squadron disbanded on 16 August 1945.
On 23 October 1945, No. 500 Squadron at Eastleigh, Kenya was renumbered 249 Squadron and flew Baltimores for a short time before re-equipping with Mosquitoes in February 1946. After taking part in survey flights, No.249 moved to Iraq in June 1946 and became a Tempest fighter squadron.
Into the jet age
The squadron was stationed at RAF Deversoir in the Egyptian Canal Zone in 1952, flying Vampires. Vampires were received in 1950 and after a period in Egypt the squadron moved to Jordan and converted to Venoms. In August 1956, it moved to Cyprus and in July 1957 to Kenya where it disbanded on 15 October 1957. It reformed at Akrotiri on the same day and after twelve years in the area No.249 disbanded on 24 February 1969
In the year 2000 the Squadron gave its number to an Air Cadet Squadron based in Hailsham, England. This was because 249 Squadron lost a man over the town during the Battle of Britain. The Air Cadets Squadron is also an affiliated member of 249 Squadron Association.
A Battle of Britain Class steam locomotive, Number 34073, 249 Squadron, was named after the squadron. The locomotive escaped scrapping after it was withdrawn from service in 1964 and is currently awaiting restoration to running condition. In 2014 the locomotive was moved from Bury to storage at Carnforth.
A replica Hurricane was unveiled in 2012 in Alexandra Gardens, Barry Avenue, Windsor SL4 3HD. It bears the code letters GN-J of 249 Squadron.
Noted squadron members
- Wg Cdr John "Beazle" Beazley DFC
- Flt Lt George "Buzz" Beurling DSO DFC DFM*
- Wg Cdr Percy "Laddie" Lucas CBE DSO DFC
- Sqn Ldr Robert "Buck" McNair
- Wg Cdr Tom "Ginger" Neil DFC* AFC AE
- Wg Cdr Eric Nicolson VC DFC
- Flt Lt "Titch" Palliser DFC AE
- Sqn Ldr George Barclay DFC
- Sqn Leader A G Lewis DFC and bar
|Aug 1918||Mar 1919||Short 184|
|Aug 1918||Nov 1918||Sopwith Baby, Fairey Hamble Baby|
|Aug 1918||Mar 1919||Curtiss H.12B|
|Aug 1918||Mar 1919||Felixstowe F.2a, Felixstowe F.3, Felixstowe F.5|
|May 1940||Jun 1940||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.I|
|Jun 1940||Feb 1941||Hawker Hurricane||Mk.I|
|Feb 1941||Mar 1942||Hawker Hurricane||Mks.IIa, IIb|
|May 1941||Aug 1941||Hawker Hurricane||Mk.I|
|Feb 1942||Sep 1944||Supermarine Spitfire||Mks.Vb, Vc|
|Jun 1943||Nov 1943||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IX|
|Sep 1944||Apr 1945||North American Mustang||Mk.III|
|Apr 1945||Jun 1945||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IX|
|May 1945||Jun 1945||North American Mustang||Mk.III|
|Jun 1945||Aug 1945||North American Mustang||Mk.IV|
|Oct 1945||Apr 1946||Martin Baltimore||Mks.IV, V|
|Mar 1946||Aug 1946||de Havilland Mosquito||FB.26|
|Dec 1946||Mar 1950||Hawker Tempest||F.6|
|Feb 1950||May 1952||de Havilland Vampire||FB.5|
|Jan 1952||Apr 1955||de Havilland Vampire||FB.9|
|Oct 1954||Dec 1955||de Havilland Venom||FB.1|
|Jul 1955||Oct 1957||de Havilland Venom||FB.4|
|Oct 1957||Jan 1960||English Electric Canberra||B.2|
|Nov 1959||Oct 1961||English Electric Canberra||B.6|
|Oct 1961||Feb 1969||English Electric Canberra||B.16|
- Bowyer, Chaz. Mosquito Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1984. ISBN 0-7110-1425-6.
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
- Cull, Brian. 249 At War: The Authorized History of the RAF's Top Scoring Squadron of WWII. London, Grub Street, 1997. ISBN 1-898697-49-3.
- 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: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (second edition 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., 1964 (new edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
- Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
- Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
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