No. 145 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.145 Squadron was a fighter squadron that fought in the Battle of Britain and the cross-channel sweeps of 1941 before moving to the Mediterranean, where it took part in the campaigns in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, ending the war as a fighter-bomber squadron.

The squadron reformed on 10 October 1939 at Croydon as a fighter squadron. Its first aircraft, some Blenheim fighters, arrived in November 1939, but they were replaced with Hurricanes in March 1940.

The squadron entered combat during the fighting in France in May 1940. A section from the squadron joined No.85 Squadron on 13-14 May, and another flight moved to France on 16 May, operating alongside a flight from No.601 Squadron. After this all but one Hurricane squadron in Fighter Command was in France, and only 66 Hurricanes returned safely to Britain at the end of the campaign. After returning from France the squadron took part in the fighting over Dunkirk, often being badly outnumbered. In one incident on 27 May five of the squadron's Hurricanes attacked a formation of Dornier Do 17s only to be attacked by a force of 20-30 Bf 110s.

The squadron was heavily involved in the defence of Convoy 'Peewit' on 8 August, claiming 21 victories (of which 11 can be confirmed). Flt Lt A H 'Ginger' Boyd, commander of 'B' Flight, was credited with five victories during the fighting over the convoy. The squadron's commander, J R A Peel, also scored significant victories during this early period of the Battle of Britain. The squadron lost five pilots on 10 August, two more on 11 August and Peel was himself injured. After this the squadron was moved to Drem, east of Edinburgh, where it joined No.13 Group for a rest.

The squadron moved back south in October, after the main daylight phase of the Battle of Britain was over. The Hurricanes were replaced with Spitfires in February 1941, and in April the squadron began to fly offensive sweeps across the Channel. These only lasted to July 1941, when the squadron moved to Yorkshire.

Early in 1942 the squadron prepared to move overseas, and in February it departed for the Middle East, arriving in Egypt in April. At the end of May it moved to the western desert, becoming the first Spitfire squadron to do so. Operations began on 1 June, just in time to take part in the defence against Rommel's last offensive, the campaign that ended at El Alamein and the Egyptian border.

The squadron flew a mix of fighter patrols and bomber escort sorties between then and the end of the campaign in North Africa. It moved to Malta in June 1943 and began to fly offensive patrols of Sicily, then covered the Allied landings. It moved to Sicily soon after the Allied landings, arriving on 13 July, then moved to the Italian mainland in September 1943.

By the end of 1943 enemy fighters were becoming rare in the skies over Italy. No.145 Squadron began to carry out ground attack missions, before in June 1944 becoming a fighter-bomber squadron. It continued to perform this role to the end of the war, eventually disbanding on 19 August 1945 in northern Italy.

Aircraft
March-February 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
February 1941-February 1942: Supermarine Spitfire IIA and IIB
July 1941: Supermarine Spitfire VA and VB
November 1941-February 1942: Supermarine Spitfire VA and VB
April 1942-August 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VA and VB
August 1943-August 1945: Supermarine Spitfire VIII
June 1943-August 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX

Location
October 1939-May 1940: Croydon
May-July 1940: Tangmere
July-August 1940: Westhampnett
August 1940: Drem
August-October 1940: Dyce
October 1940-May 1941: Tangmere
May-July 1941: Merston
July 1941-February 1942: Catterick

April 1942: Heliopolis
April-May 1942: Helwan
May-June 1942: Gambut
June 1942: LG.155
June 1942: LG.76
June 1942: LG.13
June 1942: LG.15
June-August 1942: LG.154
August 1942: Idku
August-September 1942: LG.154
September-October 1942: LG.92
October-November 1942: LG.173
November 1942: LG.21
November 1942: LG.155
November 1942: Gambut West
November 1942-January 1943: Msus
January 1943: El Chel
January 1943: Hamraiet
January-February 1943: Wadi Sirru
February 1943: Castel Benito
February-March 1943: Hazbub
March 1943: Ben Gardane
March-April 1943: Bu Grara
April 1943: La Fauconnerie
April-May 1943: Goubrine
May 1943: Hergla
May-June 1943: Ben Gardane
June-July 1943: Luqa
July 1943: Pachino
July 1943: Cassibile
July-September 1943: Lentini West
September-October 1943: Gioia del Colle
October 1943: Tortorella
October-November 1943: Foggia/ Triolo
November 1943-January 1944: Canne
January-April 1944: Marcianise
April-May 1944: Venafro
May-June 1944: Lago
June 1944: Venafro
June 1944: Littorio
June-July 1944: Fabrica
July-August 1944: Perugia
August-September 1944: Loreto
September-December 1944: Fano
December 1944-May 1945: Bellaria
May-August 1945: Treviso

Squadron Codes: SO (1940-1942), ZX (1942-1945)

Duty

1939-1941: Fighter Command
1942-1943: Fighter Squadron, North Africa
1943: Fighter Squadron, Sicily and Italy
1944-1945: Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Italy

Part of:
8 August 1940: No.11 Group, Fighter Command
From mid-August 1940: No.13 Group, Fighter Command
27 October 1942: No.244 Wing; No.211 Group; A.H.Q. Western Desert; Middle East Command
10 July 1943: No.244 Wing; No.211 Group; Desert Air Force; North African Tactical Air Force; North West African Air Forces; Mediterranean Air Command

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] cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 December 2010), No. 145 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/145_wwII.html

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