No. 500 Squadron RAF
|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
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||Royal Auxiliary Air Force|
|Nickname(s)||County of Kent|
|Motto(s)||Latin: Quo fata vocent
(Translation: "Whither the fates may call")
|Battle honours||Channel and North Sea, 1939–41
Biscay ports, 1941
Operation Torch Arzeu -North Africa, 1942–43
Ghisonaccia Gare Aerodrome, Corsica 1943–44
These honours are all emblazoned on the squadron standard
|Honorary Air Commodores||The Duke of Kent
|Squadron Badge heraldry||A horse forcene
The white horse of Kent was adopted to commemorate the squadron's association with that country
|Squadron Codes||SQ (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)
MK (Sep 1939 – Apr 1944)
RAA (May 1946 – 1950)
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.
Formation and early years
The Squadron was formed at RAF Manston on 16 March 1931 as the first 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.
To Coastal Command
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, the squadron's Hudsons began to be replaced with Lockheed Ventura Mk.Vs. This process continued 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 Nazis were still on the island with the orders "to establish squatters rights". The squadron later operated up through Italy. It was briefly disbanded on 11 July 1944, but reformed soon after, handing over their Venturas to No. 27 Squadron SAAF.
Back in Bomber Command
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. During World War II the squadron members had been awarded with 1 GC, 2 DSOs, 21 DFCs, 1 bar the DFC, 9 DFMs and one CGM. Beside these, the squadron was mentioned in dispatches 25 times.
To Fighter Command
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. The squadron disbanded finally on 10 March 1957, along with all other flying squadrons of the RAuxAF.
Notable squadron members
|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|
|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|
|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|
- Hunt 1972, p. 327.
- Moyes 1976, p. 262.
- Rawlings 1982, p. 225.
- Halley 1988, p. 388.
- Brooks 1982, p. 156.
- Hunt 1972, p. 314.
- Brooks 1982, p. 138.
- Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 14.
- Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 51.
- Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 72.
- Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 90.
- Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
- Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 184.
- Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 95.
- Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 156.
- Hunt 1972, p. 313.
- Photographic evidence + crew reports and interviews
- Halley 1988, pp. 388,549.
- Halley 1988, pp. 318,388.
- Brooks 1982, p. 136.
- Brooks 1982, pp. 46–47, 68–69.
- Bowyer 1984, p. 113.
- Barrass, M. B. (2016). "No. 500–520 Squadron Histories". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Jefford 2001, p. 96.
- Moyes 1976, pp. 262–263.
- Rawlings 1982, p. 226.
- Brooks 1982, p. 157.
- Jefford 2001, pp. 95–96.
- Rawlings 1978, pp. 454–455.
- Rawlings 1978, p. 454.
- Brooks 1982, p. 155.
- 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.
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