No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF

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No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF
IWM-CH-1157-FOKKER-T-VIIIW.jpg
A Fokker T.VIII of No. 320 Squadron begins a patrol after taking off from Pembroke Dock, Wales
Active 1 June 1940 – 2 August 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Netherlands Dutch government in exile
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Type Inactive
Part of RAF Coastal Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Second Tactical Air Force
Motto(s) Latin: Animo libre dirigimur
("We are guided by the mind of liberty")
Dutch: ("Wij worden geleid door een vrije geest")
Insignia
Squadron Badge In front of a fountain an orange tree fracted and eradicated[1]The orange tree refers to the squadron's connection with the Netherlands and the fountain to its operations over the sea[2]
Squadron Codes SP (allocated June 1939 – Sep 1939)
TD (Jun 1940 – Oct 1940)
NO (Oct 1940 – Aug 1945)

No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during World War II formed from the personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Formed on 1 June 1940 at Pembroke Dock, after flying from the Netherlands in eight Fokker T.VIIIW twin-engined patrol seaplanes, as part of Coastal Command. The squadron flew coastal and anti-submarine patrols in the Fokkers until they became unserviceable due to lack of spares and were re-equipped with Ansons in August 1940 and supplemented in October with Hudsons. Due to insufficient personnel, the squadron absorbed No. 321 (Netherlands) Squadron on 18 January 1941.

To Bomber Command[edit]

The squadron moved to RAF Leuchars on 1 October 1941, re-equipped with Hudson IIIs, flying patrols and anti-shipping attacks in the North Sea. Detachments were located at RAF Silloth and RAF Carew Cheriton until 24 April 1942 when the squadron moved to RAF Bircham Newton. The squadron was reassigned to Bomber Command and loaned to No.2 Group on 15 March 1943. The squadron was re-equipped with Mitchells during spring 1943 and moved to RAF Methwold.

In the 2nd Tactical Air Force[edit]

Belgian aircrew of a 320 Squadron Mitchell bomber at B58/Melsbroek, Belgium

On 30 March 1943, the squadron moved to RAF Attlebridge, then was reassigned to Second Tactical Air Force on 1 June with the squadron attacking enemy communications targets and airfields. The squadron relocated to RAF Lasham on 30 August and to RAF Dunsfold on 18 February 1944. From these airfields the squadron participated in many "Ramrod" and "Noball" operations and bombing attacks on construction works, railway yards, fuel dumps and V-1 sites in the North of France, in advance of D-Day.

After D-Day the bombing of tactical targets continued and changed from France to the Dutch Coast of Zeeland, and in September 1944 the squadron was involved in bombing German troops in the surroundings of Arnhem during the Airborne battle. In September the squadron started bombing targets in Germany along the Rhine for the advancing allied troops. In October 1944 the squadron was transferred to Melsbroek (B.58), in Belgium. From there the bombing of bridges and airfields in the east of Holland and Germany continued. During 1943 and 1944 the squadron took heavy losses. On 30 April 1945 the squadron moved to Achmer (B.110), Germany.

Back Home[edit]

The squadron was passed to the control of the Dutch Naval Aviation Service (Marine Luchtvaart Dienst) on 2 August 1945, keeping the same squadron number No. 320 Squadron MLD. The squadron was disbanded in 2005, due to budget cuts.

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by 320 Squadron[3][4][5]
From To Aircraft Version
Jun 1940 Oct 1940 Fokker T.VIII TVIIIW/G (Floatplane version of TVIII)
Aug 1940 Jul 1941 Avro Anson Mk.I
Oct 1940 Oct 1942 Lockheed Hudson Mk.I
Mar 1941 Sep 1941 Lockheed Hudson Mk.II
Jul 1941 Sep 1942 Lockheed Hudson Mk.III
Jan 1942 May 1942 Lockheed Hudson Mk.V
Aug 1942 Mar 1943 Lockheed Hudson Mk.VI
Mar 1943 Aug 1945 North American Mitchell Mk.II
Feb 1945 Aug 1945 North American Mitchell Mk.III

Commanding officers[edit]

Commanding officers[3]
From To Name
July 1940 June 1941 Wing Cdr. J.M. van Olm
June 1941 June 1942 Wing Cdr. J.M van Olm
June 1942 Sept1943 Wing Cdr.K.J.A. Meester
Sept 1943 Oct 1943 Wing Cdr E.Bakker
Oct 1943 Dec 1943 Sqn.Ldr. J.F. Breedveld
Dec 1943 June 1944 Wing Cdr. H.V.B. Burgerhout
June 1944 Sept. 1944 Sqn. Ldr. J.N. Mulder
Sept 1944 Dec. 1944 Wing Cdr. H.V.B. Burgerhout
Dec. 1944 April 1946 Wing Cdr. A.W. Witholt

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rawlings 1982, p. 200.
  2. ^ Moyes 1976, p. 228.
  3. ^ a b Rawlings 1982, p. 201.
  4. ^ Halley 1988, p. 367.
  5. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 88.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Geldof, Nico. De Vliegtuigen van 320 Squadron, 1940 – 1946 (in Dutch). Maarssen, the Netherlands: Geromy Uitgeverij BV, 2006. ISBN 90-6720-397-1.
  • Geldof, Nico. De Operaties van 320 Squadron, 1940 – 1946 (in Dutch). Maarssen, the Netherlands: Geromy Uitgeverij BV, 2006. ISBN 90-6720-396-3.
  • Geldof, Nico. "'Alle Hens' van 320 Squadron: 'Regina et patria'" (in Dutch). Maarssen, the Netherlands: Geromy Uitgeverij BV, 2007. ISBN
  • 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Kloos, J.P. 320 Squadron R.A.F., Memorial 1940–1945 (in Dutch). J.P. Kloos Publisher, 1987 (republished in 1992).
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1964 (2nd 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.
  • Van der Kop, Hans. The Flying Dutchman: An Exciting True Story of War in the Air. Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1985. ISBN 0-85059-755-2.

External links[edit]