No. 313 Squadron RAF

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No. 313 Squadron RAF
RAF313Sq.gif
Badge of № 313 Squadron RAF
Active 10 May 1941 – 15 February 1946
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Czech Republic Czechoslovakia
Branch Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
Motto(s) (Czech): Jeden jestřáb mnoho vran rozhání
("One hawk chases away many crows")
Insignia
Squadron Badge A hawk volant, wings elevated and addorsed
Squadron Codes RY (May 1941 – February 1946)

No. 313 Squadron RAF was a Czechoslovak-manned fighter squadron of the Royal Air Force in the Second World War.

History[edit]

The squadron was formed at RAF Catterick[1] on 10 May 1941.[2] It was the last RAF squadron to be formed mostly of escaped Czechoslovak pilots. Its first commander was the British Squadron Leader Gordon Sinclair.[3] On 29 July, Czechoslovak fighter pilot Josef Jaške was appointed as joint commander of the squadron.[4] The plan was for responsibility to be transferred gradually from Sinclair to Jaške.

The squadron was equipped initially with Supermarine Spitfire I fighters. On 30 June 1941 it moved to RAF Leconfield[1] in the East Riding of Yorkshire. In August the squadron was re-equipped with the Spitfire IIA,[5] and on 25 August it moved to RAF Portreath[1] in Cornwall. In October the squadron was re-equipped with the Spitfire VB/C.[5]

A 313 squadron pilot with a rigger, fitter and his Spitfire at RAF Hornchurch in April 1942

On 15 December 1941 Sqn Ldr Karel Mrázek succeeded Jaške as commanding officer[4] and the squadron moved to RAF Hornchurch[6] in Essex. On 8 June 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Church Stanton[6] in Somerset and on 26 June Sqn Ldr Jaroslav Himr succeeded Mrázek as commanding officer.[4]

In 1943 the squadron moved to Scotland, firstly on 28 June to RAF Sumburgh "A" on Shetland, and shortly thereafter to RAF Peterhead "B"[6] in Aberdeenshire. The squadron briefly flew the Spitfire VI in June and July 1943.[5] On 20 July it moved to RAF Hawkinge[6] in Kent. On 18 September it moved to RAF Ibsley[7] in Hampshire and on 24 September Sqn Ldr František Fajtl succeeded Himr as commanding officer.[4]

On 1 February 1944 Sqn Ldr Václav Bergman succeeded Fajtl as commanding officer.[4] Also in February the squadron was re-equipped with the Spitfire IX.[5] This model was fitted with 190-gallon "slipper" tanks to extend its range, enabling the squadron to escort bombers on raids deep into Germany.[8] On 20 February the squadron moved to RAF Mendlesham[7] in Suffolk. On 14 March it moved again, to RAF Rochford[7] in Essex.

Ground crew changing the engine oil of a Spitfire LF My IX at RAF Appledram

On 3 April 1944 the squadron moved to RAF Appledram[9] in West Sussex. On 22 May Sqn Ldr Alois Hochmál succeeded Bergman as commanding officer.[4] From 29 June the squadron spent a few days at RAF Tangmere,[9] also in West Sussex. On 4 July it spent a week at RAF Lympne[9] in Kent.

On 11 July 1944 the squadron moved to RAF Skeabrae[9] on Orkney in Scotland. The squadron briefly flew the Spitfire VII in July and August 1944.[5]

On 3 October 1944 the squadron moved to RAF North Weald[9] in Essex. Also in October it reverted to the Spitfire IX, which it continued to operate until the end of its history as an RAF unit.[5] On 1 September 1944 Sqn Ldr Karel Kasal succeeded Hochmál as commanding officer, and on 15 November Sqn Ldr Otmar Kučera succeeded Kasal.[1] On 29 December the squadron moved to RAF Bradwell Bay,[9] also in Essex.

Farewell parade of Czechoslovak squadrons at RAF Manston, Kent, on 3 August 1945. Air Marshal John Slessor, with walking stick, inspects some of the men. Air Marshal Karel Janoušek can be seen behind him.

From 27 February to 8 May 1945 the squadron was based at RAF Manston[9] in Kent. On 3 August members of all of the RAF's Czechoslovak squadrons held a farewell parade at RAF Manston. Air Marshal John Slessor inspected the parade, accompanied by A/M Karel Janoušek. On 24 August 313 Squadron moved to Ruzyně Airport in Prague. It became a squadron of the new Czechoslovak Air Force, and on 15 February 1946 was officially disbanded as an RAF squadron.[2][5]

Aircraft operated[edit]

A Spitfire Mk Vb in a sandbagged revetment at RAF Hornchurch in 1942 or 1943 as its pilot runs up its engine
Aircraft used[5]
From To Aircraft Variant Notes
May 1941 August 1941 Supermarine Spitfire I
August 1941 November 1941 Supermarine Spitfire IIa
October 1941 February 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Vb/c
June 1943 July 1943 Supermarine Spitfire VI
February 1944 July 1944 Supermarine Spitfire LF.IX
July 1944 August 1944 Supermarine Spitfire VII
July 1944 October 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Vb/c
October 1944 February 1946 Supermarine Spitfire LF.IX

References[edit]

313 Squadron pilot Arnošt Mrtvý, who was shot down and killed over Belgium on 19 April 1944

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d van Eyck 1993, p. 21.
  2. ^ a b Lewis 1968, p. 96.
  3. ^ "Squadron Commanding Officers, Nos 300 - 361 Squadrons". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation.
  4. ^ a b c d e f van Eyck 1993, p. 20.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Jackson 2003, p. 89.
  6. ^ a b c d van Eyck 1993, p. 22.
  7. ^ a b c van Eyck 1993, p. 24.
  8. ^ "Miroslav Liskutin – RAF's Czech fighter pilot". Chichester Observer. Johnston Press. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g van Eyck 1993, p. 25.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Halley, James J (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Hurt, Zdeněk (2004). In Focus: Czechs in the RAF. Walton-on-Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 0-9538061-9-7.
  • Jackson, Robert (2003). Spitfire The History of Britain's Most Famous World War II Fighter. Bath: Parragon. p. 89. ISBN 0-75258-770-6.
  • Jefford, Wg Cdr CG (2001) [1998]. RAF Squadrons, A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912 (second ed.). Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84037-141-3.
  • Lewis, Peter (1968) [1959]. Squadron Histories, RFC, RNAS and RAF, Since 1912. London: Putnam. p. 96. SBN 370-00022-6.
  • Liškutín, Miroslav A (1988). Challenge in the Air: a Spitfire pilot remembers. London: William Kimber. ISBN 0718306910.
  • Rawlings, John DR (1976) [1969]. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft (new ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • van Eyck, Manuel F (1993). Zemřeli jsme pro Anglii (in Czech). Translated by František Fajtl. prologue by František Fajtl. Prague: Naše vojsko. ISBN 80-206-0321-2.

External links[edit]