No. 139 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No. 139 Squadron was unfortunate enought to be caught up in two military disasters in the early days of the Second World War, first in France in 1940 and then in Burma in 1942.

At the start of the war No.139 was a day bomber squadron, equipped with the Bristol Blenheim. It took its aircraft to France in December 1939, but was quickly overrun during the early days of the German advance in May 1940, losing most of its aircraft.

The squadron returned to Britain, and was re-equipped with Blenheims. For the next year it operated as a day and night bomber squadron, attacking German held ports and airfields, but at the end of 1941 it equipped with Hudsons and sent to Burma.

The squadron reached Burma in February 1942, just in time to be caught up in the Japanese invasion. Once again the squadron was badly hit, and on 30 April the surviving aircraft were absorbed into No.62 Squadron.

The squadron reformed at Horsham St. Faith on 8 June 1942. It was originally equipped with Blenheims, but flew no missions before converting to the Mosquito in September 1942. The squadron carried out bombing missions over Germany, before in July 1943 joining the Path Finder Force, helping to lead the main bomber force for the rest of the war.

Aircraft
September 1939-December 1941: Bristol Blenheim IV
December 1941: Lockheed Hudson III

February-April 1942: Lockheed Hudson III

June-October 1942: Bristol Blenheim V
September 1942-July 1944: De Havilland Mosquito B.IV
September 1943-September 1944: De Havilland Mosquito B.IX
February 1944-November 1948: De Havilland Mosquito B.XVI
Novemnber 1943-September 1945: De Haviland Mosquito B.XX
September 1944-September 1945: De Haviland Mosquito B.25

Location
3 September 1936-8 November 1939: Wyton
8-17 November 1939: Alconbury
17 November-2 December 1939: Wyton
2 December 1939-18 February 1940: Betheniville
18 February-30 May 1940: Plivot
30 Mary-10 June 1940: West Raynham
10 June 1940-13 July 1941: Horsham St. Faith
  16 May-5 June 1941: Detachment to Luqa
13 July-23 October 1941: Oulton
  27 August-7 September 1941: Detachment to Manston
23 October-5 December 1941: Horsham St. Faith
5 December 1941: Oulton, before departing for Far East

February 1942-22 March 1942: Akyab
22 March-30 April 1942: Chittagong

8-15 June 1942: Horsham St. Faith
15-20 June 1942: Oulton
20 June-29 September 1942: Horsham St. Faith
29 September 1942-4 July 1943: Marham
4 July 1943-1 February 1944: Wyton
1 February 1944-4 February 1946: Upwood

Squadron Codes: XD

Group and Duty
26 September 1939: Bomber squadron with No.2 Group, 82 Wing Force

Books

Blenheim Squadrons of World War Two, Jon Lake. This book looks at the entire RAF service career of the Bristol Blenheim, from its debut as a promising fast bomber, through the deadly disillusionment of the blitzkrieg, on to its work in the Middle East and Mediterranean, where the aircraft found a new lease of life. Lake also looks at the use of the Blenheim as an interim fighter aircraft and its use by Coastal Command.
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 Mosquito Bomber/ Fighter-Bomber Units of World War 2, Martin Bowman. The first of three books looking at the RAF career of this most versatile of British aircraft of the Second World War, this volume looks at the squadrons that used the Mosquito as a daylight bomber, over occupied Europe and Germany, against shipping and over Burma. [see more]  
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Lockheed Hudson Aircraft in WWII, Andrew Hendrie, Crowood Press. A look at the development of the Hudson, and its career with the RAF, USAAF, RNZAF and RAAF. Covers the anti-submarine and anti-shipping uses of the Hudson, as well at its role in Air-Sea Rescue and special operations. The text is supported by a good collection of first hand accounts.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 April 2008), No. 139 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/139_wwII.html

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