No. 17 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 17 Squadron was a fighter squadron that took part in the Battle of Britain, before being shipped to the Far East, just in time to take part in the retreat from Burma. At the outbreak of the Second World War, No. 17 Squadron was equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk I, but was not one of the Hurricane squadrons posted to France. During the phony war period, the squadron flew defensive patrols over southern England. It moved to Brittany in June 1940 to cover the final retreat of the BEF, before evacuating via the Channel Islands.

The squadron fought in the Battle of Britain, spending early September at Tangmere. It remained in the south of England until the spring of 1941, when it was moved to Scotland for a rest.

At the end of 1941 No. 17 Squadron was allocated to the Middle East, but before it could reach that theatre, war broke out in the Far East. The squadron was shiped to Burma, reaching Rangoon in January 1942. It arrived there just in time to take part in the retreat to India, eventually getting cut off at Lashio. The surviving aircraft had to be flown out, while the ground crew were forced to make their own way to safety.

New aircraft arrived in June 1942, and the squadron took part in the air defence of India. In February 1943, the squadron moved to ground attack duties, continuing until August, at which point it moved to Ceylon. In March 1944 they converted to the Supermarine Spitfire. In November 1944 they moved to the Burma front. In June 1945 they were part of the force allocated to the invasion of Malaya. After the Japanese surrender they were taken by aircraft carrier to Malaya, taking part in the re-occupation of Malaya. After the war the squadron formed part of the Commonwealth occupation forces in Japan.

Hurricane Aces, 1939-40, Tony Holmes. A look at the men who flew the Hawker Hurricane during the first two years of the Second World War, when it was arguably the most important front line fighter in RAF service. This book covers the Phoney War Period, the German invasion of the West, the Battle of Britain and the early use of the Hurricane in North Africa and from Malta. [see more]
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Hurricane Aces 1941-45, Andrew Thomas. This book covers the later career of the Hurricane, starting with its final months as a front line fighter in Britain in 1941 before moving on to look at its career in North Africa, the Mediterranean and over the jungles of Burma [see more]
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Aircraft
August 1936-June 1939: Gloster Gauntlet II
June 1939-February 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
February-April 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIA
April 1941-September 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
July 1941-November 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIB
January 1942-April 1942: Hawker Hurricane IIA
June 1942-August 1942: Hawker Hurricane IIB
August 1942-June 1944: Hawker Hurricane IIC
March 1944-June 1945: Supermarine Spitfire VIII
June 1945-February 1948: Supermarine Spitfire XIVe

Group and Duty
1939-November 1941: Fighter Command, Britain
January 1942-May 1942: Burma
May 1942-end of war: India

Location
23 May-2 September 1939: Kenley
2-9 September 1939: Croyden
9 September 1939-17 April 1940: Debden
17 April-8 June1940: Hawkinge
8-17 June 1940: Le Mans (France)
17-19 June 1940: Channel Islands
19 June-19 August 1940: Debden
19 August-20 September 1940: Tangmere
2 September-8 October 1940: Debden
8 October 1940-28 February 1941: Martlesham Heath
28 February-31 March 1941: Croydon
31 March-4 April 1941: Martlesham Heath
4 April-29 July 1941: Castletown
29 July-16 September 1941: Elgin
16 September-31 October 1941: Tain
31 October 1941-November 1942: Catterick
16 January-February 1942: Mingaladon
February-March 1942: Magwe
March 1942: Lashio
March-April 1942: Pankham Fort
May-August 1942: Jessore
August-4 September 1942: Alipore
4 September 1942-6 March 1943: Red Road
6 March-16 Apri; 1943: Kalyanpur
16 April-29 May 1943: Alipore
29 May-17 August 1943: Agartala
17 August 1943-13 January 1944: China Bay (Ceylon)
13 January-30 June 1944: Minneriya
30 June-20 November 1944: Vavuniya
20-30 November 1944: Sapam
30 November-17 December 1944: Palel
17 December 1944-19 January: Taukkyan
19 January-2 February 1945: Tabingaung
2 February-9 April 1945: Ywadon
9-18 April 1945: Meiktila Main
18-26 April 1945: Thedaw
26 April-10 May 1945: Tennant
10 May-17 June 1945: Thedaw
17 June-1 September 1945: Madura
1 September 1945-: HMS Trumpeter

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 October), No. 17 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/17_wwII

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