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No 400 - 410 Squadron Histories


Squadrons numbered in the 400 series were technically units of the RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF, but their members were placed under the operational control of the RAF  and are usually considered to be part of the RAF's organisational structure, hence their inclusion here. Squadron Badges on this page - courtesy of 'Wing for Freedom' at www.rcaf.com.

No 400 (City of Toronto) Squadron

No 400 Squadron BadgeFormed as No 10 (Army Co-operation) Squadron in 1932, it was re-numbered as No 110 in 1937.  It arrived in Britain on 25 February 1940 and was posted to the RAF's home of Army Co-operation, Old Sarum in Wiltshire.  It was equipped with Lysanders but was too late see action in France and settled down to a routine of exercises and AA co-operation.

On 1 March 1940, the squadron was re-numbered as No 400 and the following month, it began to re-equip with Tomahawks, although it did not become operational until November.  It carried out Rhubarbs over France and Populars over the channel until late December and did not resume operations until May 1942.

In July 1942 the Tomahawks were replaced with Mustang Is and these were used to cover the Dieppe landing in August.  The squadron reverted to Rhubarbs, Jim Crows, Populars and Insteps for the remainder of 1942 and early 1943.  In April the squadron began night rangers and also carried out daylight photo recce missions.  New equipment arrived in January 1944 in the shape of Mosquito XVIs and Spitfire XIs and now became a photo recce squadron. 

Following the invasion on 6 June, the squadron's 'B' Flight moved over to the beachhead on 1 July with the rest of the squadron following in August.  As the Allied armies advanced through France and the Low Countries, the squadron following close behind providing both high level and low level tactical reconnaissance.  The squadron disbanded at Lüneburg on 7 August 1945.

Motto:     Percussuri vigiles (On the watch to strike)

 
Battle Honours
Fortress Europe 1941-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Dieppe Normandy Arnhem Rhine Biscay 1942-43

Squadron Codes used: -

SP Apr 1941 - Dec 1943

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 401 (Ram) Squadron

No 401 Squadron BadgeOriginally formed in 1931 equipped with Siskins as No 1 (F) Squadron RCAF, it absorbed No 115 Squadron prior to mobilisation and arrived in Britain on 21 June 1940, moving into Middle Wallop.  Its Hurricanes had been brought over from Canada and needed updating and so it was August before the unit became operational.  Prior to gaining operational status, the pilots operated alongside No 111 Squadron to gain experience.

It operated from Northolt until October 1940 when it moved to Prestwick in Scotland, moving south again in stages until February 1941 when it arrived at Digby.  It was here in 1 March that No 1 Squadron RCAF was re-numbered No 401.  Operating from Digby until October 1941, it saw little action, but it then moved south to Biggin Hill and remained in No 11 Group carrying out offensive operations until January 1943.

Moving to Catterick the squadron was mainly involved in training as well as coastal patrols for four months before returning to action .  The Squadron had replaced its Hurricanes with Spitfires in September 1941, first Mk IIs and then Mk Vs and later Mk IXs.   Returning south in May 1943 the squadron joined No 83 Group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in June, still equipped with Spitfire Vbs.  In October it received Spitfire IXs again and began escorting attacks against V-1 sites, as well as training for and conducting sweeps in preparation for Operation Overlord.

From 18 June 1944, the squadron was operating from France, conducting ground attack missions and armed recces.  On 5 October, a squadron patrol met a Messerschmitt Me262 jet and shot it down, the first victory over this type credited to either the RAF or RCAF.  Operations were restricted in the early part of 1945 due to bad weather, but from the end of February it was heavily involved in the offensive until the end of the war.  The squadron received a few Spitfire XIVs in May 1945 but Mk XVIs became standard equipment until the squadron disbanded at Fassberg on 3 July 1945.

Motto:     Mors celerrima hostibus (Very swift death for the enemy)

 
Battle Honours
Battle of Britain 1940, Defence of Britain 1940-41, English Channel and North Sea 1942, Dieppe Arnhem Fortress Europe 1941-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944 Arnhem, Rhine

Squadron Codes used: -

YO Mar 1941 - May 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 402 (Winnipeg Bears) Squadron

No 402 Squadron BadgeNo 12 Squadron RCAF was formed in 1932 and was re-numbered No 112 in 1937, however, on its arrival in Britain on 11 December 1940, it was re-numbered  once again, this time becoming No 2 Squadron RCAF.

Equipped with Hurricanes, the squadron became operational at the end of February 1941 and on the first day of March was re-numbered No 402 Squadron, inline with other 'Article XV' units.  Initially it carried out patrols along the East Coast from its base at Digby, moving to Martlesham Heath in June but the following month it was posted to Ayr in Scotland.  Returning to the Rochford in August, it now joined in the offensive over the continent.

During this period the squadron was involved in bomb carrying trials on its Hurricanes and in November began operations in this new role.  In March 1942 the squadron reverted back to the fighter role when it converted to Spitfire VBs and in August Mk IXs.  In March 1943 the squadron returned to Digby, loosing its Mk IXs in the process and for a while trained for possible deployment overseas from a carrier, but this was cancelled. 

Returning south in May 1944 the squadron supported the D-Day landings and received Spitfire IXs in July.  From August the squadron was involved in 'anti-Diver' operations against the V-1 flying bombs, but in September with the threat reduced, the squadron moved to the continent carrying out armed recces and dive-bombing operations until the end of the war.  The squadron disbanded at Fassburg on 2 July 1945.

Motto:     We stand on guard

 
Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1941-44, Fortress Europe 1941-44, English Channel and North Sea 1941-45, Arnhem Rhine Dieppe France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944

Squadron Codes used: -

AE Mar 1941 - Jul 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

  No 403 (Wolf) Squadron

No 403 Squadron BadgeThis was the first RCAF unit to be formed overseas, with no previous link to a existing unit.  Formed at Baginton on 1 March 1941 in the Army Co-operation role, it was equipped with Tomahawks, but in May it began to re-equip with Spitfires and transferred to the fighter role.

Moving to Hornchurch, it began operations on 7 August 1941 and from then was involved in the normal round of offensive sweeps from bases in the south and defensive duties and coastal patrols from bases in the north and East Anglia until mid 1943 when it joined 2nd Tactical Air Force.

It was now involved in the preparations for D-Day and began to practice its forthcoming mobile role, now equipped with Spitfire IXs.  Having covered the landings themselves, it moved to the continent in mid June and moved forward through France and the Low Countries to support the Allied advance.  In December bad weather prevented many operations and the squadron took the opportunity to fly out new Spitfire XVIs to replace its Mk IXs.

In April 1945, it moved onto German soil and having taken part in the victory fly-past over Copenhagen on 19 June, it was disbanded at Soltau on 30 June

Motto:     Stalk and Strike

 
Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1941-44,English Channel and North Sea 1942, Fortress Europe 1941-44, Dieppe France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944 Rhine

Squadron Codes used: -

KH Feb 1941 - Jan 1945

Aircraft & Markings

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 404 (Buffalo) Squadron

No 404 Squadron BadgeFormed at Thorney Island on 1 May 1941, it was equipped with Blenheim Is and IVs and was intended to for the coastal fighter role.  It moved to Castletown in Scotland in June 1941 and began operations in September carrying out convoy escort duties and anti-shipping operations over the North Sea.

In September 1942 the squadron re-equipped with Beaufighters re-commencing operations in November taking them to Chivenor in January 1943, from where it operated over the Bay of Biscay and the Western Approaches.  In April it returned to Scotland, where it remained until May 1944, when it moved to Davidstow Moor in Cornwall in readiness to support Operation Overlord

With the invasion over, the squadron returned to Scotland, joining the Banff Strike Wing in September 1944.  In October it re-located to Dallachy remaining there until Mar 1945, when it returned to Banff and converted to Mosquito VIs.  It disbanded at Banff on 25 May 1945.

Motto:     Ready to fight

 
Battle Honours
Atlantic 1941-45, English Channel and North Sea 1941-45, Baltic 1944-45, Normandy Biscay 1943-44

Squadron Codes used: -

EE Apr 1941 - Aug 1943
2 Aug 1943 -Jul 1944
EO Jul 1944 - May 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 405 (Vancouver) Squadron

No 405 Squadron BadgeThe first RCAF bomber unit to form overseas, this took place at Driffield on 23 April 1941 and it began operations on 12/13 June.  Its main equipment was the Wellington until April 1942 when it began to convert to the Halifax in common with the rest of No 4 Group and with these it took part in the 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne.

In October 1942 the squadron was transferred to Coastal Command to assist in protecting the convoys going to North Africa for Operation Torch.  When it returned to Bomber Command in March 1943, it was to the newly formed No 6 (RCAF) Group and was based at Leeming.

However, in April the squadron was selected as the No 6 Group representative to be allocated to the new Pathfinder Force, which later became No 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group.  In August 1943 the squadron re-equipped with Lancasters and flew these to the end of the war.  In May 1945 it returned to Yorkshire, Linton-on-Ouse and the following month left RAF control and flew back to Canada where it disbanded in September

Motto: Ducimus (We lead)

 
Battle Honours
Fortress Europe 1941-44, France and Germany Biscay Ports 1941-45, Ruhr 1941-45, Berlin 1941, German Ports 1941-45, Normandy 1944, Walcheren Rhine Biscay 1942-43

Squadron Codes used: -

LQ Apr 1941 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 406 (Lynx) Squadron

No 406 Squadron BadgeFormed at Acklington on 10 May 1941 under the command of Wg Cdr D G Morris, it was the RCAF's first night fighter unit.  It was equipped with Beaufighter IIs and on 1 September it scored its first victory over Newcastle.

In January 1942 it moved to Ayr with a detachment at Scorton in Yorkshire, but with the detachment seeing most action it was decided to move the whole squadron to Scorton in June.  In August it moved south to join No 10 Group at Predannack and in March 1943  re-located to Valley in defence of Liverpool.  From November it was made responsible to the night defence of the invasion build-up areas, but following the invasion the squadron suffered from a lack of targets.

In April 1944 the squadron received more modern equipment in the form of Mosquito XIIs and later XXXs, with which it was fully equipped by September.  With these and a move to Manston, it now began night intruder operations in earnest, having carried out  some on a minor scale previously.  Following the end of hostilities, the squadron returned to Predannack in July 1945, where it disbanded on 1 September.

Motto:     We kill by night

 
Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1941-45, English Channel and North Sea, Fortress Europe 1943-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Rhine Biscay Ports 1944, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1944

Squadron Codes used: -

HU May 1941 - Sep 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 407 (Demon) Squadron

No 407 Sqadron BadgeFormed at Thorney Island on 8 May 1941, it was intially equipped with Blenheims and was intended to for the anti-shipping role.  It received Hudsons in June and moved to North Coates in July, being declared operational in September.

In January 1942, the squadron converted to the night bombing role and began operations against shipping along the German and Dutch coasts.  Although a coastal squadron, it provided crews and aircraft to the '1,000 Bomber' raid on Bremen in June 1942.

In January 1943, the squadron began converting to Wellingtons and was operational  again by March.  It was now flying anti-submarine patrols over the Western Approaches but in January 1944 it moved to Northern Ireland for operations over the Atlantic and in November it moved again to cover the Northern Transit Area from Wick.  In November it moved to Chivenor, where it disbanded on 4 June 1945.

Motto:     To hold on high

 
Battle Honours
Atlantic 1943-1945, English Channel and North Sea 1941-1945, Fortess Europe 1942, German Ports 1942, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1942-1945

Squadron Codes used: -

RR May 1941 - Aug 1943
1 Aug 1943 - Jan 1944
2 Jan 1944 - Jul 1944
C1 Jul 1944 - 1945 (not confirmed)

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 408 (Goose) Squadron

No 408 Squadron BadgeFormed on 15 June 1941 at Lindholme as a RCAF Bomber squadron, only the second formed overseas under Clause XV of the BCATP agreement.  Initially equipped with Hampdens, it was part of No 5 Group, but in July the squadron moved to Syerston in Nottinghamshire and the following December to Balderton.

The squadron carried numerous raids against Germany as well as being involved in Gardening operations.  In June 1942 it took part in the '1,000 bomber' raids and in September it moved north to Leeming, where in October year it transferred to the newly formed No 6 (RCAF) Group.

The same month it joined no 6 Group, it also received new equipment in the form of Halifaxes, initially mk V's but in December 1942, Mk II's.  Halifaxes were used until August 1943, when the squadron moved to Linton-on-Ouse where it received the Lancaster Mk II.  Halifaxes returned in July 1944, this time in the form of Hercules engined Mk III's and VII's (the same type of engine as the Lancaster II) and these were used for the remainder of the war.  During the war the squadron carried out 4,610 sorties delivering over 10,00 tons of bombs and mines and gaining over 210 awards (160 DFC's and 30 DFM's)

With the end of the war the squadron was re-equipped with Lancaster X's and was earmarked to become part of 'Tiger Force' in the Far East.  Having flown back to Canada in June 1945, the squadron was preparing to take part in the second phase of the operations against Japan when the war ended with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.  As a result the squadron was disbanded on 5 September 1945.  It has reformed subsequently, but that part of its history is not relevant here.

Motto: For Freedom

 
Battle Honours
English Channel and North Sea 1941-1943, Baltic 1941-1943, Fortress Europe 1941-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Rhine Biscay Ports 1941-1944, Ruhr 1941-1945, Berlin 1943-1944, German Ports 1941-1945, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1942-1943

Squadron Codes used: -

EQ Jun 1941 - Sep 1945

 
Photo of Hampden AE433 after crashing in Holland, 8/9 November 1941 Photo of the engine of Hampden AE433 after crashing in Holland, 8/9 November 1941 Photo of the tail of Hampden AE433 after crashing in Holland, 8/9 November 1941
Photographs of the wreck of Hampden AE433 (EQ-D) 0f No 408 Sqn, which crashed at Limburg Holland after being shot down on the night of 8/9 Nov 1941.  Its crew, who were all taken prisoner, being : -

P/O E L Houghton RNZAF, P/O J C Monkhouse RCAF, Sgt A J Gallan, Sgt J E Woodward.

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 409 (Nighthawk) Squadron

No 409 Squadron BadgeFormed at Digby on 17 June 1941 as the second Canadian night fighter unit in Britain, although it initially had no aircraft.  Defiants arrived in July and the squadron began operations with these in August. However, in September Beaufighter IIFs replaced the Defiants and in  November it claimed its first victory.   Beaufighter VIFs were received in June 1942 and these in their turn were replaced by Mosquito XIIIs in March 1944.  From formation until February 1943 the squadron operated in the Digby Sector, when it moved north to Acklington.

In May 1944 the squadron moved to No 85 Group of 2nd Tactical Air Force, providing night cover patrols.  Following the D-Day landings, the squadron became involved in night 'anti-Diver' operations against the V-1 been launched against the South of England.  In August it became the first night fighter unit to be stationed in France and followed the Allied advance until it reached Germany in April 1945.  With the end of the war the squadron moved back to Holland, disbanding at Twente on 1 July 1945.

Motto:     Media nox meridies noster (Midnight is our moon)

 
Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1941-44, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944 Rhine

Squadron Codes used: -

KP Jun 1941 - Jul 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

 

No 410 (Cougar) Squadron

No 410 Squadron BadgeFormed at Ayr as the RCAF's third night fighter unit on 30 June 1941, it was equipped with Defiants.  These were used until May 1942 when Beaufighters, which began arriving in April, finally replaced them.

 From Ayr, it operated a detachment at Acklington, which was continued when the squadron moved to Drem in August, where it remained until returning to Ayr in June 1942.  in September it moved to Scorton but in October was back at Acklington to convert to Mosquitoes.  Moving to Coleby grange in February 1943, It was now involved in Bomber Support operations as well as the more normal night fighter duties.

In October 1943 the squadron moved again, this time to West Malling, where it joined No 11 Group, from where it undertook night patrols.  After D-Day the squadron began re-equipping with Mosquito XXXs and with these it joined 2nd Tactical Air Force in September, moving onto the continent in the same month.  However, following the end of hostilities, the squadron was disbanded on 9 June 1945 at Gilze-Rijen.

Motto:     Noctivaga (Wandering by night)

 
Battle Honours
Defence of Britain 1941-44, Fortress Europe 1943, Rhine France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1943, Gulf War

Squadron Codes used: -

RA Jun 1941 - Jun 1945

Aircraft & Markings    

For details of this squadron's post war service - click here

This page was last updated on 28/03/08 using FrontPage XP©

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