No. 129 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.129 Squadron was a fighter squadron that was based in the UK from 1941 until the end of the Second World War, providing bomber escorts, taking part in the D-Day landings and the campaign against the V-1 flying bomb.

The squadron was reformed at Leconfield on 16 June 1941 as a Spitfire fighter squadron. The squadron became operational on 24 July and in August moved south to provide escorts for day bombers operating over occupied Europe, part of the RAF's attempt to 'lean over the Channel' and put the Germans on the defensive. In December the squadron began to fly offensive operations in its own right, attacking ground targets as well as escorting the bombers.

The squadron moved to the Orkneys to provide local air defence between September 1942 and February 1943, before returning to the south coast to resume its escort role. Anti-shipping strikes were also carried out at this time.

In June 1943 the squadron became one of the founding members of Second Tactical Air Force, the British contribution to the massive Allied air fleets created to support the D-Day landings. In April 1944 the squadron converted to the Mustang, and it was these aircraft that were used to support the D-Day landings themselves.

Soon after the D-Day landings the German V-1 offensive began, and like many squadrons No.129 was pulled away from the front in Normandy to deal with this new threat. 'Diver', or anti-flying bomb operations were carried out from July to September. The squadron then moved to East Anglia and resumed its bomber escort duties, but this time it was escorting the heavy bombers of Bomber Command as they returned to daylight operations after the long night bombing campaign.

In July 1945 the squadron, by now equipped with Spitfires, moved to Norway. It remained there until November when it returned to the UK. The squadron was renumbered as No.257 Squadron on 1 September 1946. 

Aircraft
June 1941-August 1941: Supermarine Spitfire I
August 1941: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
August 1941-June 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
December 1942-January 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VI
June 1943-April 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX

April 1944-May 1945: North American Mustang III
May 1945-September 1946: Supermarine Spitfire IX

Location
June-August 1941: Leconfield
August-November 1941: Westhampnett
November-December 1941: Debden
December 1941-July 1942: Westhampnett
July-September 1942: Thorney Island
September 1942-January 1943: Grimsetter
January-February 1943: Skeabrae
February 1943: Ibsley
February-March 1943: Tangmere
March-June 1943: Ibsley
June 1943-January 1944: Hornchurch
January-March 1944: Peterhead
March 1944: Heston
March-April 1944: Llanbedr
April-June 1944: Coolham
June-July 1944: Holmsley South
July-October 1944: Brenzett
October-December 1944: Andrews Field
December 1944-May 1945: Dyce
May-June 1945: Sumburgh
June-July 1945: Vaernes
July-November 1945: Gardermoen
November-December 1945: Moleworth
December 1945-January 1946: Hutton Cranswick
January-February 1946: Spilsby
February-May 1946: Hutton Cranswick
May-June 1946: Lubeck
June-September 1946: Church Fenton

Squadron Codes: DV

Duty
6 June 1944: No.133 Wing, No.84 Group, Second Tactical Air Force, Allied Expeditionary Air Force

Books

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 (13 December 2010), No. 129 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/129_wwII.html

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