No. 500 Squadron RAF

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No. 500 (County of Kent) Squadron RAuxAF
Active 16 Mar 1931 - 11 Jul 1944
1 Aug 1944 - 23 Oct 1945
10 May 1946 – 10 Mar 1957
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Various
Part of Royal Auxiliary Air Force
Nickname(s) County of Kent
Motto Latin: Quo fata vocent
(Translation: "Whither the fates may call")[1][2][3][4]
Battle honours Channel and North Sea, 1939-41
Dunkirk
Biscay ports, 1941
Atlantic, 1941-42
Operation Torch Arzeu -North Africa, 1942-43
Ghisonaccia Gare Aerodrome, Corsica 1943-44
Mediterranean, 1942-44
Italy, 1944-45.[5]
These honours are all emblazoned on the squadron standard
Commanders
Honorary Air Commodores The Duke of Kent[6]
Anthony Eden[7]
Notable
commanders
Denis Spotswood
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry A horse forcene[4]
The white horse of Kent was adopted to commemorate the squadron's association with that country[2][3]
Squadron Codes SQ (Apr 1939 - Sep 1939)[8][9]
MK (Sep 1939 - Apr 1944)[10][11]
RAA (May 1946 - 1950)[12][13]
S7 (1950 - 1951)[14][15]

No. 500 (County of Kent) Squadron AAF was formed in 1931 as a Special Reserve squadron and in 1936 became part of the Auxiliary Air Force. It served in a number of roles before being disbanded in 1957.

History[edit]

Formation and early years[edit]

The Squadron was formed at RAF Manston on 16 March 1931 as the first[16] Special Reserve night-bomber squadron with Vickers Virginia Mk.X aircraft. On 25 May 1936 the role changed to day-bombing and the squadron became part of the Auxiliary Air Force, flying Hawker Harts, later replaced with Hawker Hinds.[2][4]

To Coastal Command[edit]

On 7 November 1938 the squadron saw another role change as it was transferred to RAF Coastal Command and became a general reconnaissance squadron flying on Anson Mk.Is. In April 1941 these were replaced with Blenheim Mk.IVs which the squadron used till November 1941, when Lockheed Hudsons took their place. Some of 500 squadron ground crew, went in with the first wave of Operation Torch on 7 November, to secure beachheads and airfields around Arzeu, North Africa. ( Later, from December 1943, Hudsons were replaced with Lockheed Venturas Lockheed Ventura Mk.V's, until the squadron was completely equipped with them in April 1944). In September 1943, a Special Detachment of RAF 500 squadron was flown into Ghisonaccia, Corsica over several days while the Nazi's were still on the island with the orders ' to establish squatters rights' <Photographic evidence + crew reports and interviews ref>. The squadron later operated up through Italy. ( It was briefly disbanded on 11 July 1944 but reformed soon after, handing over their Ventura's to No. 27 Squadron SAAF.[2][17]

Back in Bomber Command[edit]

The Squadron was reformed on 1 August 1944 at La Sénia as a bomber squadron, receiving Martin Baltimores. In September 1945 No. 500 squadron left Italy and headed for Kenya, being renumbered on arrival 23 October 1945 at RAF Eastleigh to No. 249 Squadron RAF.[2][18][19] During World War II the squadron members had been awarded with 1 GC,[20] 2 DSOs, 21 DFCs, 1 bar the DFC, 9 DFMs and one CGM. Beside these, the squadron was mentioned in dispatches 25 times.[5]

Gloster Meteor preserved wearing the postwar unit markings of No. 500 Squadron.

To Fighter Command[edit]

RAF West Malling Station Crest

The Squadron was reformed again on 10 May 1946 at RAF West Malling, equipped with Mosquito NF.19s and later NF.30s, as a night fighter squadron in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Later, following an Air Ministry decision to convert all RAuxAF units to day fighter roles, the squadron became equipped with Meteor F.3s.[21] The squadron disbanded finally on 10 March 1957, along with all other flying squadrons of the RAuxAF.[4][22][23]

Notable squadron members[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 500 Squadron RAuxAF[24][25][26][27][28]
From To Aircraft Version
March 1931 January 1936 Vickers Virginia Mk.X
January 1936 May 1937 Hawker Hart
February 1937 March 1939 Hawker Hind
March 1939 April 1941 Avro Anson Mk.I. Some of these were modified by the squadron by putting a 303 in the tail, which shocked a lot of Nazi planes and also increased the speed by a few knots when fired!
April 1941 November 1941 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
November 1941 April 1944 Lockheed Hudson Mks.III, V. In 1943, 500 Squadron B Flight Unit, adapted their own aircraft by putting a 303 in the nose perspex.
December 1943 July 1944 Lockheed Ventura Mk.V
September 1944 February 1945 Martin Baltimore Mk.IV
September 1944 October 1945 Martin Baltimore Mk.V
February 1947 August 1947 de Havilland Mosquito NF.19
April 1947 October 1948 de Havilland Mosquito NF.30
May 1948 October 1948 Supermarine Spitfire F.22
July 1948 October 1951 Gloster Meteor F.3
July 1951 February 1952 Gloster Meteor F.4
November 1951 March 1957 Gloster Meteor F.8

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no. 500 Squadron AAF, data from[2][25][26][27][29]
From To Base
16 March 1931 28 September 1938 RAF Manston, Kent
28 September 1938 30 July 1939 RAF Detling, Kent
30 July 1939 13 August 1939 RAF Warmwell, Dorset
13 August 1939 30 May 1941 RAF Detling, Kent
30 May 1941 2 April 1942 RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk
2 April 1942 31 August 1942 RAF Stornoway, Western Isles, Scotland
31 August 1942 5 November 1942 RAF St Eval, Cornwall
5 November 1942 11 November 1942 RAF Gibraltar
11 November 1942 19 November 1942 RAF Tafaraoui, Algeria
19 November 1942 3 May 1943 RAF Blida, Algeria
3 May 1943 6 January 1944 RAF Tafaraoui, Algeria
28 September 1943 January 1944 RAF Ghisonaccia Gare, Corsica
6 January 1944 11 July 1944 RAF La Senia, Algeria
1 August 1944 24 August 1944 RAF La Senia
24 August 1944 14 September 1944 en route to Italy
14 September 1944 15 October 1944 Pescara, Italy
15 October 1944 9 December 1944 Perugia, Italy
9 December 1944 10 May 1945 Cesenatico, Italy
10 May 1945 28 September 1945 RAF Eastleigh, Kenya
10 May 1946 10 March 1957 RAF West Malling, Kent

Commanding officers[edit]

Officers commanding no. 500 Squadron RAuxAF, data from[25][30]
From To Name
March 1931 July 1931 S/Ldr. S.R. Watkins, AFC
July 1931 July 1933 W/Cdr. L.F. Forbes, MC
July 1933 May 1935 W/Cdr. R. Halley, DFC, AFC
May 1935 April 1936 S/Ldr. G.M. Lawson, MC
April 1936 October 1936 F/Lt. W.G. Wooliams
October 1936 October 1939 S/Ldr. G.K. Hohler, Aux.AF
October 1939 June 1940 S/Ldr. W. LeMay, Aux.AF
June 1940 March 1941 W/Cdr. G.H. Turner
March 1941 July 1941 W/Cdr. M.Q. Candler
July 1941 April 1942 W/Cdr. G.T. Gilbert
April 1942 April 1943 W/Cdr. D.F. Spotswood, DSO, DFC
April 1943 April 1944 W/Cdr. D.G. Keddie
April 1944 June 1944 W/Cdr. C.K. Bonner
June 1944 July 1944 W/Cdr. C.E.A. Garton
July 1944 August 1945 W/Cdr. H.N. Garbett
August 1945 October 1945 W/Cdr. Matson
August 1946 February 1949 S/Ldr. P. Green, OBE, AFC, R.Aux.AF
February 1949 March 1952 S/Ldr. M.C. Kennard, DFC, R.Aux.AF
March 1952 August 1954 S/Ldr. D. de Villiers, R.Aux.AF
August 1954 October 1954 S/Ldr. D.M. Clause
October 1954 March 1957 S/Ldr. D.H.M. Chandler

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hunt 1972, p. 327.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Moyes 1976, p. 262.
  3. ^ a b Rawlings 1982, p. 225.
  4. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 388.
  5. ^ a b Brooks 1982, p. 156.
  6. ^ Hunt 1972, p. 314.
  7. ^ Brooks 1982, p. 138.
  8. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 14.
  9. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 51.
  10. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 72.
  11. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 90.
  12. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
  13. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 184.
  14. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 95.
  15. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 156.
  16. ^ Hunt 1972, p. 313.
  17. ^ Halley 1988, pp. 388,549.
  18. ^ Halley 1988, pp. 318,388.
  19. ^ Brooks 1982, p. 136.
  20. ^ Brooks 1982, pp. 46–47, 68–69.
  21. ^ Bowyer 1984, p. 113.
  22. ^ RafWeb
  23. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  24. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 262–263.
  25. ^ a b c Rawlings 1982, p. 226.
  26. ^ a b Brooks 1982, p. 157.
  27. ^ a b Jefford 2001, pp. 95–96.
  28. ^ Rawlings 1978, pp. 454–455.
  29. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 454.
  30. ^ Brooks 1982, p. 155.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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.
  • Brooks, Robin J. Kent's Own: The History of 500 (County of Kent) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Rainham, Gillingham, Kent, UK: Meresborough Books, 1982. ISBN 0-905270-54-1.
  • 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.
  • Hunt, Leslie. Twenty-one Squadrons: History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925-57. London: Garnstone Press, 1972. ISBN 0-85511-110-0. (New edition in 1992 by Crécy Publishing, ISBN 0-947554-26-2.)
  • 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, 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.

External links[edit]