No. 227 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.227 Squadron went through three active incarnations during the Second World War, the first two as anti-shipping and maritime reconnaissance squadrons in the Mediterranean and the last as a Lancaster squadron in Bomber Command

The squadron was partially reformed early in 1942 but this version of the squadron never became operational. Instead its aircraft were used to form No.272 Squadron in June 1942, while its ground crews went to No.10 Squadron.

The first operational No.227 Squadron of the Second World War was formed on 20 August 1942 by the re-designation of a detachment of Beaufighters from No.235 Squadron on Malta. The new squadron became operational on the same day, providing a fighter escort for No.39 Squadron. The squadron flew escort missions in August-October, before starting to fly offensive patrols of its own from November. The pressure of continuous operations from Malta slowly took its toll, and in February 1943 the squadron was withdrawn from operations and dispersed.

The second operational version of the squadron formed at Idku (Egypt) around a core of personnel from Nos.252 and 272 Squadrons, as a Beaufighter equipped anti-shipping and maritime reconnaissance squadron. Operations began on 21 April, and with most taking place over the Aegean. The squadron was also used for some attacks on targets on Crete and to provide fighter cover for convoys and for the short-lived garrisons of Kos and Leros.

A similar mix of operations was flown in the first half of 1944, but in July the squadron was withdrawn from operations, its RAF crews replaced with South African crews and on 12 August the squadron was renumbered as No.19 Squadron, SAAF.  

The squadron was reformed for the last time on 7 October 1944 at Bardney around 'A Flight' of No.9 Squadron and 'B Flight' of No.619 Squadron. The reformed squadron was a Lancaster bomber squadron and was part of Bomber Command's main force until the end of the war. This version of the squadron was disbanded on 5 September 1945.

Aircraft
August 1942-August 1944: Bristol Beaufighter I and VI
September 1943-August 1944: Bristol Beaufighter X and XI
October 1944-September 1945: Avro Lancaster I and III

Location
August-November 1942: Luqa
November 1942-March 1943: Takali
March-May 1943: Idku
May-June 1943: Derna
June-July 1943: El Magrun North
July 1943: Gardabia West
July-August 1943: Derna
August-September 1943: Limassol
September-November 1943: Lakatamia
November 1943-August 1944: Berka 3
August 1944: Biferno

October 1944: Bardney
October 1944-April 1945: Balderton
April-June 1945: Strubby
June-September 1945: Graveley

Squadron Codes: X, R, 9J (Lancaster)

Duty
1942-1944: Anti-shipping, Mediterranean
1944-1945: Lancaster Squadron, Bomber Command

Part of
27 October 1942: AHQ Malta; detachment with No.245 Wing; No.205 Group; RAF Middle East
10 July 1943: No.209 Group; 247 Wing; No.201 Group; RAF Middle East; Mediterranean Air Command; detachments with No.235 Wing and No.238 Wing, both No.201 Group

Books

Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris. The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written (Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 March 2011), No. 227 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/227_wwII.html

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