No. 118 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.118 Squadron was a fighter squadron that spent most of its existence flying fighter sweeps and escorting bombers over occupied Europe.

No.118 Squadron reformed on 20 February 1941 at Filton as a fighter squadron equipped with the Spitfire. The squadron became operation on 28 March 1941, flying patrols over convoys close to the British coast. This lasted until June, when the squadron began to fly fighter sweeps and bomber escort missions, operating over northern France. This continued throughout 1942.

In January 1943 the squadron moved to East Anglia, and began to fly fighter sweeps over the Netherlands. This continued throughout the spring and summer of 1943, until September when the squadron moved to northern Scotland to perform defensive duties.

In January 1944 the squadron returned south to join 2nd Tactical Air Force. In March it returned to the Orkneys and remained there for four months, not returning south until July 1944. More fighter sweeps followed, mixed in with bomber escort duties.

In January 1945 the squadron converted to the Mustang, and on 1 February began flying long-range escort duties. These lasted until 3 May, and covered the period that saw Bomber Command return to day-time raids. The squadron was disbanded in March 1946.

Aircraft
March-September 1941: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
September 1941-January 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB
January-March 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
March-July 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB
July 1944-January 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
January 1945-March 1946: North American Mustang III
March 1946: North American Mustang IV

Location
February-April 1941: Filton
April 1941: Colerne
April 1941: Warmwell
April 1941-August 1942: Ibsley
August 1942: Tangmere
August-December 1942: Zeals
December 1942-January 1943: Ibsley
January 1943: Wittering
January-August 1943: Coltishall
August 1943: Westhampnett
August-September 1943: Merston
September-October 1943: Peterhead
October 1943-January 1944: Castletown
January 1944: Detling
January-February 1944: Peterhead
February-March 1944: Detling
March-July 1944: Skeabrae
July-August 1944: Detling
August 1944: Peterhead
August-September 1944: Westhampnett
September-December 1944: Manston
December 1944-August 1945: Bentwaters
August-September 1945: Fairwood Common
September 1945-March 1946: Horsham St. Faith

Squadron Codes: NK

Duty
6 June 1944: No.13 Group, Air Defence of Great Britain (Fighter Command)

Books

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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Spitfire: Flying Legend - 60th Anniversary 1936-96, John M. Dibbs. A beautifully illustrated book focusing on surviving flyable Spitfires, with some very impressive modern colour photos backed up by a good selection of archival pictures and a good selection of relevant quotes from wartime Spitfire pilots [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 December 2010), No. 118 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/118_wwII.html

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