No. 213 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.213 Squadron was a fighter squadron that took part in the fighting over Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain before moving to the Middle East, where it supported the 8th Army during 1942 and 1943, ending the war operating with the Balkan Air Force over Yugoslavia and Albania.

The squadron reformed at Northolt on 8 March 1937 as a Gauntlet-equipped fighter squadron. In January 1938 the squadron began to convert to the Hurricane, completing the move by the start of March. In May 1938 the squadron moves from Yorkshire to Wittering, where it remained until May 1940.

In May 1940 a detachment from the squadron flew to France to reinforce the Air Component of the BEF. The squadron also took part in the air operations over Dunkirk.

Hawker Hurricane IIA of No.213 Squadron
Hawker Hurricane IIC
of No.213 Squadron

The squadron was based in the south-west at the start of the Battle of Britain, and was heavily involved in the fighting on 13 August (the German's 'Adlertag', or Eagle Day). The squadron moved to Tangmere in early September and remained there until November when it was moved back to Yorkshire. In February 1941 the squadron moved to the north of Scotland to provide fighter cover for the naval base at Scapa Flow, but in May it began non-operational in preparation for a more dramatic move to the Middle East.

On 21 May 1941 the squadron flew its aircraft off the carrier HMS Furious, and landed on Malta. After pausing to refuel they then flew on to Egypt. The aircraft were attached to other squadrons for a short period, before in July the squadron resumed operations as a unit, initially over Syria and later from Cyprus.

In December 1941 the squadron moved to Egypt for defensive duties, before in June 1942 beginning to fly offensive sweeps over the Western Desert in support of the 8th Army. The most dramatic incident in this period came during the German retreat after El Alamein. On 13 November Nos.213 and 238 Squadrons were moved to a desert base 180 miles to the east of Agedabia, and well behind enemy lines. Over the next two days they destroyed or damaged nearly 300 enemy vehicles, before withdrawing on 16 November before the Germans could react.  

After a spell in Libya providing cover for coastal convoys the squadron moved to Cyprus in November 1943, remaining there for two months before moving to Egypt in February 1944 to convert to the Spitfire. This was a short-lived change, and in May the squadron converted to the Mustang. These aircraft were taken to Italy in July 1944 and for the rest of the war the squadron operated with the Balkan Air Force, flying sweeps over Yugoslavia and Albania, even moving to bases in Yugoslavia in the last weeks of the war.

January 1939-February 1942: Hawker Hurricane I
August 1941-March 1944: Hawker Hurricane IIA and IIC
February-May 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VC
February-June 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
May 1944-February 1947: North American Mustang III
February 1945-February 1947: North American Mustang IV

May 1938-June 1940: Wittering
    May 1940: Detachment to Merville
June 1940: Biggin Hill
June-September 1940: Exeter
September-November 1940: Tangmere
November 1940-January 1941: Leconfield
January-February 1941: Driffield
February-May 1941: Castletown
May 1941: HMS Furious
May-July 1941: Abu Sueir
July 1941: Haifa
July-December 1941: Nicosia
    October-December 1941: Detachment to Ismailia
    October-December 1941: Detachment to Idku
    December 1941: Detachment to Shandur
December 1941-January 1942: LG.90
January-May 1942: Idku
May-June 1942: LG.12
June 1942: Gambut West
June 1942: Sidi Azeiz
June 1942: LG.155
June 1942: LG.75
June 1942: LG.76
June 1942: LG.12
June 1942: LG.05
June-August 1942: LG.154
August 1942: Kilo 8
August-October 1942: LG.85
October-November 1942: LG.172
November 1942: LG.20
November 1942: LG.101
November 1942: El Adem
November 1942-January 1943: Martuba
January-July 1943: Misurata West
July-November 1943: Idku
    September-November 1943: Detachment to Paphos
November 1943-January 1944: Paphos
January-February 1944: Lakatamia
February 1944: Idku
February-May 1944: Gamil
   April-May 1944: Detachment to Lakatamia
   April-May 1944: Detachment to St. Jean
May-July 1944: Idku
July 1944: Leverano
July 1944-April 1945: Biferno
April-May 1945: Prkos
May-June 1945: Biferno
June-September 1945: Brindisi

Squadron Codes: AK

1939-1941: Fighter Command
1941-1944: Fighter Squadron, Middle East
1944-1945: Fighter Squadron, Balkan Air Force

Part of
September 1939: No.12 Group; Fighter Command
8 August 1940: No.10 Group; Fighter Command
11 November 1941: No.259 Wing; HQ RAF Palestine and Trans-Jordan; Middle East Command; detachment with No.252 Wing; No.202 Group; RAF Middle East
27 October 1942: No.243 Wing; No.212 Group; AHQ Western Desert; Middle East Command
10 July 1943: No.210 Group; Air Defences Eastern Mediterranean; RAF Middle East; Mediterranean Air Command



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (pending), No. 213 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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