No. 117 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty

No.117 Squadron served as a transport squadron in the Middle East, before moving to Burma where it carried out parachute supply drops.

The squadron formed at Khartoum on 30 April 1941 and incorporated a local communications flight and its aircraft. It was also given four Bombays from No.216 Squadron for longer flights. These were joined in May 1941 by four Savoia-Marchetti S.79Ks and in October by the first DC-2s. The squadron's main role at this point was to operate the vital Takoradi to Khartoum route, a series of airstrips that linked the west coast of Africa with the Sudan and Egypt and that was used to fly vital fighter aircraft to the Middle East. The squadron was also sometimes used to fly supplies to some of the isolated desert outposts.

In November 1941 the squadron moved to Egypt, becoming part of No.202 Group, Middle East Command. The Bombays were returned to No.216 Squadron, the communications aircraft remained in the Sudan and only the DC-2s accompanied the squadron on this move. In December the squadron began freight flights to airfields in the Western Desert. More changes of aircraft followed. In March a flight of de Havilland D.H.86Bs arrived, in April the DC-2s went to No.21 Squadron in India and in May Lodestars and DC-3s arrived, to be followed before August by Hudsons.

In August the squadron began to use its DC-3s for passenger and freight flights to Malta, while the Hudsons were used in North Africa. In November 1942 the squadron standardised on the Hudson. In the first half of 1943 the squadron was used to ferry supplies out to the advancing 8th Army and bring casualties back for treatment. This lasted until June, when the squadron began to convert to the Dakota. 

In October 1943 the squadron moved to India and began to train to carry out parachute supply drops. The squadron began to fly supply drop missions in January 1944. It was also used to fly the Chindits into Burma in March-April 1944 and to keep them supplied. The squadron continued to fly parachute supply missions until the end of the war, apart from a brief period of rest in November-December 1944. The squadron was disbanded on 17 December 1945.

Aircraft
April-November 1941: Bristol Bombay I
May-November 1941: S.79K plus Percival Proctor I, Vickers Wellesley I, Gladiator I, Caproni Ca.148
October 1941-April 1942: Douglas DC-2K
March-May 1942: D.H.86B
May-November 1942: Lodestar II
May-September 1942: Douglas DC-3
July 1942-September 1943: Lockheed Hudson VI
June 1943-December 1945: Douglas Dakota III
January-December 1945: Douglas Dakota IV
January-December 1945: Sentinel I

Location
April-November 1941: Khartoum
November 1941-November 1942: Bilbeis
November 1942: Amriya
November 1942-January 1943: El Adem
January-March 1943: Marble Arch
March-April 1943: Castel Benito
April 1943: Gabes
April-May 1943: El Djem
May-September 1943: Castel Benito
September-October 1943: Catania
October 1943: Bari
October 1943: Cairo
October-November 1943: Karachi
November 1943-January 1944: Dhamial
January-March 1944: Lalmai
March 1944: Tulihal
March-June 1944: Sylhet
June-November 1944: Agartala
November 1944: Risalpur
November-December 1944: Bikrum
December 1944-May 1945: Hathazari
May-June 1945: Kyaukpyu
June-August 1945: Patenga
August-December 1945: Hmawbi

Squadron Codes: LD

Duty
November 1941: No.202 Group, Middle East Command
27 October 1942: No.216 Group, Middle East Command.
10 July 1943: No.216 Group, Mediterranean Air Command
1 July 1944: No.177 Swing, Third Tactical Air Force, Eastern Air Command, Air Command South-East Asia

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 December 2010), No. 117 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/117_wwII.html

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