No. 582 Squadron RAF

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No. 582 Squadron RAF
Active1 April 1944 – 10 September 1945
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchAir Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
RolePathfinder Bomber squadron
Part ofNo. 8 Group RAF, Bomber Command
Motto(s)Latin: Praevolamus designates
(Translation: "We fly before marking")[1][2]
Squadron Badge heraldryOn a hurt three mullets in a bend fimbriated[2]
A hurt represents the night sky while the three mullets, in the colours of flares used, symbolise the squadron's target-marking role[1]
Squadron Codes6O (Apr 1944 - Sep 1945)[3][4]
Aircraft flown
BomberAvro Lancaster
Four-engined heavy bomber

No. 582 Squadron RAF was a bomber pathfinder squadron of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.


The squadron was formed with Avro Lancasters on 1 April 1944 at RAF Little Staughton, Huntingdonshire, England, from 'C' Flight of 7 Squadron and 'C' Flight 156 Squadron. It was part of No. 8 Group RAF, also referred to as the Pathfinder Force, and began operation nine days later with a night raid on Lille on the 9/10 April 1944.[5] The squadron's last operational raid against enemy forces was a raid on gun batteries on the island of Wangerooge on 25 April 1945. The squadron spent the remainder of the war dropping food to the Dutch, during Operation Manna, and repatriating prisoners of war in Operation Exodus.[1] It was disbanded at RAF Little Staughton on 10 September 1945.

The squadron had operated 2,157 sorties and lost 28 aircraft during the war.[6]

Victoria Cross[edit]

During a raid on 23 February 1945, Captain Edwin Swales, a South African, won a posthumous Victoria Cross over Pforzheim.[7] In addition, a further posthumous VC was awarded to a pilot of a 582 Squadron aircraft. Sqn Ldr Robert "Bob" Palmer, a Mosquito pilot of 109 Squadron led a daylight attack on 23 December 1944, using OBOE, on the Gremberg marshalling yards in Cologne with his regular navigator Flt Lt George Russell. They were flying on the Lancaster (PB371) of Flt Lt Owen Milne alongside other 582 Squadron aircrew. Of those on board the aircraft, only the rear gunner survived the attack.

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by No. 582 Squadron RAF[2][5][8]
From To Aircraft Version
April 1944 September 1945 Avro Lancaster Mks.I & III

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by No. 582 Squadron RAF[2][5][8]
From To Base
1 April 1944 10 September 1945 RAF Little Staughton, Huntingdonshire

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Moyes 1976, p. 270.
  2. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 414.
  3. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 81.
  4. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 60.
  5. ^ a b c Moyes 1976, p. 271.
  6. ^ Falconer 2003, p. 256
  7. ^ Moyes 1976, p. 359.
  8. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 98.


  • 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.
  • J Falconer, Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945, 2003, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, England, ISBN 0 7509 3171 X.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Further reading[edit]

  • Feast, Sean Heroic Endeavour: The Remarkable Story of One Pathfinder Force Attack, a Victoria Cross and 206 Brave Men. London: Grub Street, 2006. ISBN 1-904943-51-9.
  • Feast, Sean Master Bombers: The Experiences of a Pathfinder Squadron at War, 1942-1945. London: Grub Street, 2008. ISBN 1-906502-01-3.
  • Feast, Sean The Pathfinder Companion". London: Grub Street, 2012. ISBN 1-908117-34-6.
  • Stocker, Flt Lt Ted, DSO, DFC A Pathfinders war: An extraordinary tale of surviving over 100 bomber operations against all odds. London: Grub Street, 2009. ISBN 1-906502-52-8.

External links[edit]