No. 144 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.144 Squadron began the Second World War as a bomber squadron equipped with the Handley Page Hampden. Its first operation, a patrol over the North Sea, came on 26 September 1939, and the squadron then spent the next few months dropping leaflets over Germany. The leaflets were replaced by bombers after the German invasion of Norway, and the squadron spent the next two years operating with Bomber Command.

In April 1942 No.144 Squadron and its Hampdens were transferred to Coastal Command, where the squadron became a torpedo-bomber squadron, still equipped with its Hampdens. After training in Scotland, the squadron moved to northern Russia, to protect the Arctic convoys against German surface attacks, but no German warships were encountered during the two months that the squadron spent at Afrikanda and Vaenga. The squadron eventually sailed home without its aircraft, and began to fly anti-submarine patrols and attacks on enemy shipping, from bases in Scotland.

In January 1943 the Hampdens were finally replaced by Bristol Beaufighters, with which the squadron continued to carry out the same duties. From June-August 1943 part of the squadron was transferred to North Africa, carrying out anti-shipping strikes in the Mediterranean, while a detachment remained in Scotland.

In May 1944 No.144 Squadron moved to Davidstowe Moor in Cornwall, to take part in Operation Overlord. Its role was to protect the western flank of the invasion fleet against any German naval attack. By the end of June the threat of a surface attack from the west was gone, and the squadron moved to Lincolnshire, to attack German shipping off the Dutch coast. This was followed by a final return to Scotland, first as a torpedo bomber squadron, and then from January 1945 as an anti-flak squadron, suppressing German anti-aircraft fire to help the rest of the strike wing.

Aircraft
March 1939-January 1943: Handley Page Hampden I
January-May 1943: Bristol Beaufighter VI
May 1943-May 1945: Bristol Beaufighter X

Location
7 May 1938-6 September 1939: Hemswell
6-9 September 1939: Speke
9 Septemhber-17 July 1941: Hemswell
17 July 1941-21 April 1942: North Luffenham
21 April-4 September 1942: Leuchars (Scotland)
  17 July-3 August 1942: Detachment to Wick
  2-4 September 1942: Detachment to Sumburgh
4-6 September 1942: Afrikanda (Russia)
6 September-22 October 1942: Vaenga I (Russia)
29 October 1942-8 April 1943: Leuchars
8 April-15 May 1943: Tain
15 May-29 July 1943: Protville II (Tunisia)
  15 May-9 July 1943: Detachment remains at Tain
  9 July-9 August 1943: Detachment moves to Benson
  9 August-14 August 1943: Detachment moves to Tain
15 August-20 October 1943: Squadron reforms at Tain
20 October 1943-10 May 1944: Wick
10 May-30 June 1944: Davidstowe Moor (Cornwall)
30 June-3 September 1944: Strubby (Lincolnshire)
3 September-22 October 1944: Banff (Scotland)
22 October 1944-25 May 1945: Dallachy

Squadron Codes: NV, PL

Group and Duty
September 1939-April 1942: Bomber squadron with No. 5 Group
April 1942- May 1945: Coastal Command

Books

The Strike Wings - Special Anti-Shipping Squadrons, 1942-45, Roy Conyers Nesbit. A history of Coastal Command's Strike Wings, dedicated groups of anti-shipping squadrons that devastated German coastal shipping during the Second World War, but at a very high cost, written by someone who flew in the same role after the war and with a great use of eyewitness accounts and both Allied and German sources. [read full review]
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Bristol Beaufighter, Jerry Scutts (Crowood Aviation). A detailed look at the development and service career of the Bristol Beaufighter, the first dedicated night fighter to enter RAF Service. Superceded by the Mosquito in that role, the Beaufighter went on to serve as a deadly anti-shipping weapon, and to earn the nickname "whispering death" over the jungles of Burma.
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RAF Coastal Command in Action, 1939-45, Roy C. Nesbit. This is an excellent photographic history of Coastal Command during the Second World War. The book is split into six chapters, one for each year of the war. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the events of the year, and the aircraft that equipped the command before moving on to the photos. Each chapter contains a mix of pictures of the aircraft used by the command and pictures taken by the command. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 March 2007), No. 144 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/144_wwII.html

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