No. 100 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.100 Squadron went through two very different incarnations during the Second World War, first as a torpedo bomber equipped with the obsolete Vickers Vildebeest, and then as a Lancaster squadron with Bomber Command.

No.100 Squadron had originally been formed on 11 February 1917 as a night bomber squadron, and it remained a bomber squadron throughout the inter-war period. It became a torpedo-bomber squadron in November 1930, and in November 1932 began the first squadron to receive the new Vickers Vildebeest.

In December 1933 the squadron moved to Singapore, as part of the overly leisurely construction of the fortress that was seen as the bulwark of the British Empire in the East. The Vildebeests were forced to lumber on long after they became obsolescent, especially after the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe in 1939, but in 1941 plans were put in place for the squadron to convert to the Bristol Beaufort, using aircraft constructed in Australia. A detachment was formed at Bankstown, near Sydney, and in November 1941 the first Beauforts arrived.

The Japanese entry into the war ended this plan. A few of the Beauforts reached Singapore, only to almost immediately be evacuated back to Australia, where the detachment entered the Royal Australian Air Force as No.100 Squadron, RAAF.

The main part of the squadron was forced to fight on with the Vildebeest, operating alongside No.36 Squadron. In January the Japanese landed on the east coast of Malaya, and on 26 January 1942 nine aircraft from No.100 Squadron and three from No.36, with a small escort force of Hurricanes and Buffaloes, attempted to attack the Japanese transports at Endau. Despite their best efforts very little damage was done, and five aircraft were lost, amongst them the Vildebeest of Squadron Leader I.T.B. Rowland, the leader of the attack. By February losses had mounted so much that the squadron was merged with No.36 Squadron. No.36 was then forced to retreat to Java and then Burma, where it was disbanded after the loss of the last Vildebeest.

No.100 Squadron was reformed on 15 December 1942 as part of No.1 Group, Bomber Command, equipped with the Avro Lancaster, and began operations in January 1943. The squadron formed part of the main bomber force from then until the end of the war, taking part in the last day of Lancaster operations on 25 April, when it provided sixteen aircraft for an attack on Berchtesgaden.

As the war came to its end No.100 Squadron took part in Operation Manna (28 April-10 May), dropping supplies to the starving Dutch population. No.100 Squadron was used to drop supplies to The Hague. The squadron then became part of the post-war air force, flying the Lincoln then the Canberra.

August 1933-December 1941: Vickers Vildebeest II
January 1934-February 1942: Vickers Vildebeest III
November 1941-February 1942: Bristol Beaufort II
January 1943-February 1946: Avro Lancaster I and III

January 1934-January 1942: Seletar
    November-December 1941: Detachment to Fishermans Bend
    December 1941-January 1942: Detachment to Fishermans Bend
    January 1942: Detachment to Point Cook
January 1942-February 1942: Kemajoran
    January-February 1942: Detachment to Richmond

Dcember 1942-April 1945: Grimsby
April-December 1945: Elsham Wolds

Squadron Codes: S, RA, HW

September 1939: Royal Air Force, Far East
15 December 1941-4 March 1943-: No.1 Group, RAF Bomber Command

1933-1941: Torpedo Bomber, Singapore
1941-1945: Lancaster Squadron, Bomber Command


Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris. The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written (Read Full Review)
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Lancaster Squadron 1942-43, Jon Lake. This book looks at the early career of the Avro Lancaster. During this period the Lancaster was just one of a number of aircraft used by Bomber Command, important amongst them the Wellington, the Stirling and the Halifax. Only by the end of this period do we see the Lancaster begin to emerge as the most important aircraft in Bomber Command. Lake covers the wide range of activities performed by the Lancaster squadrons during this squadron, including the famous Dam Busters raid. [see more]
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Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45, Jon Lake. A well balanced look at the career of the Avro Lancaster in 1944-45, the period most famous for the systematic night bombardment of German cities. This was also the period that saw the Lancaster used to support the invasion of France, and the period that saw 617 Squadron drop Barnes Wallis's huge streamlined bombs with great precision. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 December 2009), No. 100 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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