No. 154 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.154 Squadron was a fighter squadron that had two incarnations during the Second World War, first serving in the UK briefly late in 1942 before moving to the Mediterranean and second providing bomber escorts from the UK.

No.154 Squadron reformed at Fowlmere on 17 November 1942 as a fighter squadron, equipped with the Spitfire IIA. Operations began on 24 February 1942, and over the next few months the squadron converted to the Spitfire V.

In May 1942 the squadron moved from East Anglian to the South West, where it spent one month providing fighter cover for coastal convoys. It them moved to Hornchurch, from where it took part in sweeps over northern France.

The squadron flew its last operation from the UK on 20 August, the day after taking part in the disastrous Dieppe raid, and then prepared to take part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. The aircraft moved to Gibraltar, while the ground crew embarked on the Carmania on 1 November. On 12 November the squadron flew onto the newly conquered airfield at Djidjelli, only to find that they had arrived ahead of their supplies, including fuel. One patrol of six aircraft was put into the air by draining fuel from other aircraft, but the squadron was then unable to fly and was thus vulnerable to Axis attack until more fuel arrived on the following day.

The squadron was reunited at Maison Blanche, and provided fighter cover for coastal shipping, ports and Allied army bases during the campaign in Tunisia. In May 1943 the ground echelon left Sousse and moved to Malta, followed on 4 June by the aircraft. The squadron flew offensive sweeps over Sicily before the invasion, covered the invasion itself on 10 July and then moved to the island on 20 July. The squadron later moved to mainland Italy, and flew defensive patrols until 9 December.

On 9 December sixteen of the squadron's aircraft flew to Syria, and for the next few months they provided air defence from the area, using bases in Palestine and Cyrpus.

On 2 April 1944 sixteen Spitfire IXs flew to Corsica, from where they flew offensive sweeps across northern Italy and provided bomber escorts. On 15 August they covered the landings in the south of France, moving to Frejus on 23 August to help cover the advance north. On 19 September the squadron passed its Spitfire IXs to a French wing, receiving some Spitfire Vs in return, before moving to Naples where it disbanded on 1 November 1944.

On 16 November the squadron reformed at Biggin Hill with twenty-one Spitfire VIIs from No.131 Squadron. On 1 February 1945 the squadron began to provide escorts for Bomber Command heavy bombers over Germany, converting to the Mustang in February. The squadron was disbanded on 31 March 1945.

Aircraft
November 1941-March 1942: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
February 1942-January 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VA and VB
January 1943-April 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VC
July 1943-September 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
November 1944-February 1945: Supermarine Spitfire VII
February-March 1945: North American Mustang IV

Location
November 1941-March 1942: Fowlmere
March-April 1942: Coltishall
April-May 1942: Fowlmere
May-June 1942: Churchstanton
June-July 1942: Hornchurch
July-August 1942: Fairlop
August 1942: Ipswich
August-September 1942: Wellingore

November 1942-January 1943: Djidjelli/ Taher
January 1943: Bone
January-March 1943: Tingley
March-May 1943: Souk-el-Khemis
May-June 1943: Protville
June-July 1943: Takali
July-September 1943: Lentini East
September 1943: Milazzo East
September-October 1943: Serretelle
October-December 1943: Gioia del Colle
Dcember 1943-February 1944: Minnick
February-March 1944: Ramat David
March-April 1944: Muqeibila
April 1944: Alto
April-July 1944: Poretta
July-August 1944: Calenzana
August-July 1944: Poretta
July-August 1944: Calenzana
August-September 1944: Frejus
September 1944: Montelimar
September 1944: Le Vallon

October-November 1944: Naples

November 1944-March 1945: Biggin Hull
March 1945: Hunsdon

Squadron Codes: HT

Duty
Part Of
10 July 1943: No.322 Wing; No.211 Group; Desert Air Force; N.A. Tactical Air Force; Northwest African Air Forces; Mediterranean Air Command

Role
November- December 1942: Home Based Fighter Squadron
December 1942-November 1944: Fighter Squadron, Mediterranean
1945: Home Based Fighter Squadron

Books

Spitfire Mark V Aces, 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price. A well written and nicely balanced look at the combat career of the Spitfire Mk V and of the men who flew it. The Spitfire V fought in more theatres than the more famous Mk I/II, including over France in 1941, on Malta, in North Africa and even in northern Australia. [see more]
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The Decisive Campaigns of the Desert Air Force 1942-1945, Bryn Evans. . Looks at the activities of the RAF's tactical air force in the North Africa and Italian Theatres, where it developed many of the close support techniques used with greater fame by 2nd Tactical Air Force in Normandy. This is a valuable account of the services of a key, but often overlooked, part of the wartime RAF. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 December 2010), No. 154 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/154_wwII.html

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