No. 12 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 12 Squadron began the war as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force, making it one of the first squadrons to be sent to France. The Fairey Battle suffered very heavy loses during the Battle of France. No. 12 Squadron was one of several squadrons to lose almost their entire strenght of aircraft during the fighting in France.

On its return to Britain, No. 12 Squadron received fresh supplies of the Battle, using them in attacks on the German invasion fleet then building the channel ports. The first Vickers Wellingtons began to arrive in October 1940, although the Battle did not disappear until November.

For the rest of the war No. 12 Squadron was part of the main bomber force of Bomber Command, concentrating on the night offensive against Germany. After two years operationing the Wellington from RAF Binbrook, the squadron moved to RAF Wickenby in September 1942, and soon after that converted to the Avro Lancaster, retaining that aircraft until 1946.

In November 1943 C Flight of No. 12 Squadron was detached to form No. 626 Squadron.

Aircraft
February 1938-November 1940:  Fairey Battle
October 1940-November 1942: Vickers Wellington II
August 1942-November 1942: Vickers Wellington III
November 1942-August 1946: Avro Lancaster I and Lancaster III

Squadron Codes: PH

Group and Duty
26 September 1939: Bomber squadron with No.1 Group, 76 Wing, Advanced Air Striking Force

Location
9 May-2 September 1939: Bicester
2 September-8 December 1939: Berry-au-Bac (France)
8 December 1939-16 May 1940: Amifontaine
16 May-8 June 1940: Echemines
8-16 June 1940: Souge
16 June-3 July 1940: Finningley (U.K.)
3 July-7 August 1940: Binbrook
7-12 August 1940: Thorney Island
12 August-7 September 1940: Eastchurch
7 September 1940-25 September 1942: Binbrook
25 September 1942-25 September 1945: Wickenby

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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Return Flights in War and Peace, the Flying Memoirs of Squadron Leader John Rowland, DSO, DFC. The memoirs of an RAF pilot who started with war in Army Co-Operation before joining Bomber Command, where he flew 50 missions, ending the war as a flight leader. Covers the experiences of a Bomber Command pilot in the second half of the war, when targets became rather more varied than earlier [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 March 2007), No. 12 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/12_wwII.html
Last updated: 2 May 2007

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