No. 194 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.194 Squadron began life as a transport unit based in India, before becoming an airborne forces unit and helping to keep the army fighting in Burma supplied from the air.

The squadron was formed on 14 October 1942 around a core of personnel from No.31 Squadron as a Hudson-equipped transport unit. Its role was to provide regular mail and passenger flights in India, and the squadron flew its first scheduled flight on 26 November 1942 (between Lahore and Colombo). Routes to Cairo and Chittagong were added in December.

Unloading a Stinson L-5 Sentinel, Burma
Unloading a
Stinson L-5 Sentinel,

In February 1943 a detachment was sent to Tezpur, from where it was used to drop supplies to support the first Chindit operation. Between them Nos.31 and 194 squadrons flew 178 sorties and dropped 303 tons of supplies to the Chindits.

The detachment was withdrawn in June 1943, and rejoined the rest of the squadron, which had begun to convert to the Douglas Dakota in May. For the next three months the squadron flew on the routes operated in peace time by Indian National Airlines.

In September 1943 the squadron was reclassified as an Airborne Forces Squadron, and its transport role was taken over by No.353 Squadron. The next few months were spent training in the new role, before the squadron moved to the Burma front in January 1944.

In February the Japanese began their last major offensive in Burma, the attack that led to the battles of Kohima and Imphal. No.194 Squadron immediately switched to supply dropping duties, flying 291 sorties in February, 426 in March and 452 in April. Most of the sorties in February were flown over the Arakan, but in March the squadron played a major part in the Allied victory at Imphal by flying the 5th Indian Division into Imphal (alongside American transport aircraft withdrawn from the supply route to China). In April the squadron flew fighter aircraft and supplies into Imphal and casualties out. In May it was partially rested, alternating with crews from Wellington squadrons, but in June an impressive total of 941 sorties were flow, with most still around Imphal. A similar pace was maintained in August, before the squadron was given three months rest.

In January 1945 the squadron was given a flight of Stinson Sentinels for casualty evacuation from small jungle airstrips. In the same month it evacuated 529 casualties, as well as carrying over eight million lbs of supplies. The squadron was also sued to support the British breakthrough at Meiktela, and the attack on Rangoon. Activity peaked in July with 1,396 sorties, an impressive 45 per day.

After the end of hostilities the squadron provided general transport services in the Far East, and especially around Bangkok, as well as flying liberated POWs on the first stage of their journey home. The squadron was disbanded on 15 February 1946.

November 1942-September 1943: Lockheed Hudson VI
May 1943-February 1946: Douglas Dakota I, Dakota III and Dakota IV
January-September 1945: Sentinel I

October 1942-February 1943: Lahore
February-September 1943: Palam
September 1943-February 1944: Basal
February 1944: Comilla
February-September 1944: Agartala
September-November 1944: Imphal
November-December 1944: Basal
December 1944-March 1945: Imphal
March-May 1945: Maunybyin
May-August 1945: Ayyab Main
August 1945-February 1946: Mingaladon

Squadron Codes: W, H

1942-1944: Transport Squadron, India
1944-1945: Air Support, paratrooper drop and supply drops, Burma

Part of
No.177 Wing; Third Tactical Air Force; Eastern Air Command; HQ Air Command South-East Asia



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 January 2011), No. 194 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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