No. 644 Squadron RAF
|No. 644 Squadron RAF|
|Active||23 Feb 1944 – 1 Sep 1946|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||No. 38 Group RAF|
|Motto(s)||Latin: Dentes draconis serimus
(Translation: "We sow the dragon's teeth")
|Squadron Badge heraldry||In front of an increscent, a Pegasus rampant
The Pegasus signifies the Squadron's association with the Parachute Brigade
|Squadron Codes||2P (Feb 1944 – Sep 1946)
9U (Feb 1944 – Sep 1946)
|Transport||Handley Page Halifax
Converted four-engined heavy bomber
Formation and World War II
When the buildup for Operation Overlord got under way, an increasing need for transport and airborne assault squadrons became apparent. Therefore, personnel and aircraft from No. 298 Squadron RAF at RAF Tarrant Rushton were formed into No. 644 Squadron on 23 February 1944 as part of No. 38 Group RAF. Operations also included supply dropping to SOE forces and glider towing during the operations Overlord, Market Garden and Varsity. They also carried out supply drops over Norway and even some tactical night-bombing missions towards the end of the war.
Following the end of hostilities in Europe, 644 Squadron helped to transport the 1st Parachute Brigade to Copenhagen on 8 May, where they were to oversee the surrender and disarmament of the German forces in Denmark. On the following day they carried the remainder of the 1st Airborne Division to Norway for similar duties. Ever since the Normandy invasion, No. 46 Group RAF had been involved in a "shuttle service" of ferrying freight to the front line and removing either wounded or freed prisoners of war to Britain. Although most of the armies were more or less static now that the War was over, RAF Transport Command's responsibilities increased, and so No. 38 Group RAF received orders to assist in this capacity. In addition to the transport of freight and prisoners of war, No. 644 Squadron also flew service personnel to Greece, North Africa and Italy. In July, the Squadron lost a Halifax over the Pyrenees. In November 1945, the 6th Airborne Division was despatched to Palestine as a quick reaction peace keeping force for the British Empire, and 644 Squadron were ordered to lend them their support and so accompanied them to RAF Qastina in Palestine (now Hatzor Airbase). On 1 September 1946 No. 644 squadron disbanded by being re-numbered to No. 47 Squadron RAF.
The squadron today is represented by No. 644 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, which has the same squadron crest though with a different motto.
|February 1944||November 1944||Handley Page Halifax||Mk.V|
|August 1944||March 1945||Handley Page Halifax||Mk.IIIa|
|March 1945||September 1946||Handley Page Halifax||Mk.VII|
|August 1946||September 1946||Handley Page Halifax||Mk.IX|
|23 February 1944||1 December 1945||RAF Tarrant Rushton, Dorset|
|1 December 1945||1 September 1946||RAF Qastina, Palestine|
|23 February 1944||16 March 1944||S/Ldr. A.G. Norman, DFC|
|16 March 1944||10 November 1944||W/Cdr. V.A. Pope|
|10 November 1944||25 June 1945||W/Cdr. E.L. Archer, AFC|
|25 June 1945||1 September 1946||W/Cdr. W.H. Ingle AFC|
- Delve 1994, pp. 69–70, 81.
- Halley 1988, p. 443.
- Rawlings 1982, p. 243.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 84.
- Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 56.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 104.
- Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 61.
- Tugwell, Maurice (1971). Airborne to Battle. London: William Kimber. p. 294. ISBN 0-7183-0262-1.
- Barrass, M. B. (2015). "No. 621–650 Squadron Histories". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Rawlings 1982, p. 244.
- Jefford 2001, p. 102.
- "644 Squadron History". Pegasus Archive. 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "644 Squadron History". RAF 38 Group.org. 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
- Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
- 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.
- 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.
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