No. 18 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No. 18 Squadron was a medium bomber squadron that spend a large part of the Second World Wars overseas, starting in France in 1939-40 and then serving on Malta, in North Africa, in Sicily and in Italy.

Up until May 1939 the squadron had been equipped with the Hawker Hind. It then received the Bristol Blenheim Mk I, the start of a relationship with the Blenheim that would last until the spring of 1943.

At the outbreak of the Second World War No. 18 Squadron was sent to France as part of the Air Component of the BEF. There it took part in the first ten days of the disasterous campaign of May 1940, before retreating to Britain.

This was followed by the squadron's wartime stay in Britain, lasting for seventeen months. During this period the squadron was engaged in attacks on the German invasion barges during 1940, before "leaning over the channel" in 1941 to attack German installations.

In October 1941 the squadron's aircraft flew to Malta, where they took part in raids against Axis shipping. By January 1942 the squadron was down to five aircraft, and was withdrawn to Egypt.

The squadron then reformed in Britain with new aircraft and new crews but many of the same ground crews. Most of 1942 was spent in Britain, before the squadron was moved to North Africa, in November.

The squadron remained in the Mediterranean theatre for the rest of the war, accompanying the Allied armies as they advanced from Algeria to Tunisia, across to Sicily and then finally to Italy. While based in North Africa, the squadron was re-equipped with the Boston bomber. While based in Italy, the squadron was used against targets in northern Italy and the Balkans.

Aircraft
April 1936-May 1939 : Hawker Hind
May 1939-February 1940: Bristol Blenheim I
February 1940-September 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV
September 1942-April 1943: Bristol Blenheim V
March 1943-July 1944: Boston III and IIIA
July 1944-March 1946: Boston IV and V

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
September 1939-May 1940: Air Component, France
May 1940-October 1941: Attacks on Channel Ports, France and the Low Countries
October 1941-January 1942: Malta
May-November 1942: United Kingdom
November 1942-August 1943: North Africa
August-October 1943: Sicily
October 1943-end of war: Italy

Locations:

United Kingdom
12 September 1936-30 September 1939: Upper Heyford

France
30 September 1939: Beauvraignes
16 October 1939: Meharicourt
17 May 1940: Poix
19 May 1940: Crecy and Abbeville

United Kingdom
20-26 May 1940: Watton
26 May-12 June 1940: Gatwick
12 June-8 September 1940: West Raynham
8 September 1940-3 April 1941: Great Massingham
3 April-13 July 1941: Oulton
13 July-16 August 1941: Horsham St. Faith
16-27 August 1941: Manston
27 August-12 October 1941: Horsham St. Faith

Malta
12 October 1941-21 March 1942

Egypt
10 January-5 February 1942: Helwan
5-14 February 1942: L.G.05
14 February-21 March 1942: Fuka

United Kingdom (with new crews)
13-15 May 1942: Dundonald
15-20 May 1942: Ayr
20 May-23 August 1942: Wattisham
23 August-11 November 1942: West Raynham
11-30 November 1942: Bilda

Algeria and Tunisia
30 November- 5 December 1942: Canrobert
5-17 December 1942: Setif
17 December 1942-7 March 1943: Canrobert
7 March-17 April 1943: Oulmene
17 April-7 June 1943: Souk el Arba
7 June-3 August 1943: Grombalia

Sicily
3-9 August 1943: Gela West
9-24 August 1943: Comiso
24 August-7 October 1943: Gerbini

Italy
7-30 October 1943: Brindisi
30 October 1943-16 February 1944: Foggia
16 February-14 June 1944: Marcianise
14-25 June 1944: Nettuno/ La Blanca
25 June-18 July 1944: Tarquinia
18 July-18 October 1944: Cecina
18 October 1944-7 March 1945: Falconara
7 March-13 May 1945: Forli
13 May 1945-12 September: Aviono

Greece
12 September 1945-13 March 1946: Hassani

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 October), No. 18 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/18_wwII.html

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