No. 331 Squadron RAF
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|331 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF|
Spitfire Vs of No. 331 Squadron, spring 1942.
|Allegiance||Norwegian Government in exile|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||RAF Fighter Command|
|Motto||Norwegian: For Norge
|Squadron Badge heraldry||Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet|
|Squadron Codes||FN (Jul 1941 – Nov 1945)|
Full control passed to RNoAF on 21 November 1945. Still active.
|Garrison/HQ||Bodø Main Air Station|
(Norwegian: "For Norway")
|Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet|
It was formed as a fighter squadron at RAF Catterick in Yorkshire on 21 July 1941. The squadron personnel were Norwegian, except for the ground crew and the commanding officer. 331 Squadron was the first fighter united manned by exiled Norwegians  It was given the RAF aircraft code prefix "FN", which was often said to be an abbreviation for "First Norwegian" or "For Norway", the latter being the squadron's official motto, in Norwegian (For Norge). The squadron badge was a Norwegian Viking sword and a British sword in saltire, bound together with a ring — symbolising the friendship between Norway and Great Britain.
The squadron was initially equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk 1s, inherited from a Polish RAF unit. These had to be rebuilt, before 331 Squadron could become operational, on 15 September. It provided defence for northern Scotland, moving to Castletown on 21 August and later to RAF Skaebrae.
331 Squadron was joined by a second Norwegian unit 332 Squadron, also flying Spitfires. Together they were known as North Weald Wing and were part of the Allied air umbrella over the landing area in the Dieppe Raid, and later flying fighter sweeps and escort operations over occupied France and the Low Countries.
In November 1943, 331 and 332 Squadrons were transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force and became known as No. 132 Airfield; later No. 132 Wing.
Following fighter bomber and tactical air superiority operations, connected to preparations for D-Day and the actual landings in France, the squadron moved to Caen, Normandy, in August 1944. From September onwards, 132 Wing participated in the Liberation of Holland and provided air support for the crossing of the Rhine.
Following the end of the war, the wing flew to Norway and on 21 September 1945, 331 Squadron was officially disbanded as an RAF unit, with control passed to the re-formed Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).
Between them during the war, 331 and 332 Squadrons scored 180 confirmed destroyed, 35 probables and more than 100 damaged. Combined losses were 131 aircraft lost with 71 pilots killed.
In honour of the achievements of the World War II squadrons, the RNoAF has maintained RAF squadron names, including a 331st Fighter Squadron, now flying F-16s and based at Bodø Main Air Station.
Aircraft operated during RAF service
- 1941 Hawker Hurricane I & IIB
- 1941 Supermarine Spitfire IIA
- 1942 Supermarine Spitfire VB
- 1942 Supermarine Spitfire IXB
- 1945 Supermarine Spitfire IXE
- Thomas 2003, p. 91
- 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.
- 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.
- Thomas, Andrew (2003). Hurricane Aces 1941–45. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84176-610-2.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to No. 331 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF.|
- Historical photos from the No. 331 Squadron during WW2 (Norwegian)
- History of No.'s 330–352 Squadrons at RAF Web
- Article about the No. 331-332 Squadrons' 60th anniversary visit to North Weald Airfield