No. 255 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.255 Squadron served as a night fighter squadron through the Second World War, first in a home based defensive role, then in North Africa and Sicily and finally as a night intruder squadron operating over the Balkans.

The squadron was reformed on 23 November 1940 and was equipped with the Boulton Paul Defiant. This turret armed fighter had been proved inadequate as a day fighter, and its lack of radar meant it wasn't particularly successful as a night fighter either. In July 1941 the squadron received the Beaufighter, a much more effective night fighter, and these aircraft were used as part of the air defence of the Midlands from then until late in 1942.

In November 1942 the squadron was deployed to North Africa to take part in the invasion of North Africa. It was used to provide defensive cover at night over the Allied bases in Algeria, which were vulnerable to German attack from Tunisia. At first the squadron had to operate without its airborne radar, which was removed for security reasons, but in early December the radar was restored, and the night defences became rather more effective.

In August 1943 the squadron moved to Sicily, and in November to Italy. Its role now changed, and it went onto the offensive, flying intruder missions over the Balkans (including attacks on river traffic on the Danube). The Beaufighters were replaced with Mosquitoes at the start of 1945 and these aircraft were used until the end of the war. After the end of hostilities the squadron moved to Malta, and then to Egypt, before being disbanded on 30 April 1946.

November 1940-September 1941: Boulton Paul Defiant I
March-July 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
July 1941-May 1942: Bristol Beaufighter IIF
March 1942-February 1945: Bristol Beaufighter VI
January 1945-April 1946: de Havilland Mosquito XIX
April 1945-April 1946: de Havilland Mosquito 30

November 1940-May 1941: Kirton-in-Lindsey
May-September 1941: Hibaldstow
September 1941-March 1942: Coltishall
March-June 1942: High Ercall
June-November 1942: Honiley

November 1942-February 1943: Maison Blanche
February-May 1943: Setif
May-August 1943: La Sebala 2
August-November 1943: Borizzo
November 1943-January 1944: Grottaglie
January 1944-Febriary 1945: Rosignano
September 1945-January 1946: Hal Far
January-April 1946: Gianaclis

Squadron Codes: YD

1940-1942: Defensive night fighter, home based
1942-1943: Night fighter, North Africa
1943: Night fighter, Sicily
1943-1945: Night intruder over Balkan from Italy

Part of
10 July 1943: No.242 Group; North African Coastal Air Force; Northwest African Air Forces; Mediterranean Air Command



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 July 2011), No. 255 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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