No. 256 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.256 Squadron was a home based defensive night fighter squadron from 1940 until 1943, when it moved to the Mediterranean, ending the war flying intruder missions over the Balkans.

The squadron was reformed on 23 November 1940 at Catterick, and was equipped with the turret-armed Defiant. It became operational with these aircraft in February 1941, defending south-west England. In March it was moved to Merseyside, where in July some Hurricanes appeared. Neither of these aircraft were particularly effective night fighters, lacking radar, and in May 1942 the first Beaufighters arrived. In October 1941 'A' Flight of No.256 Squadron was used to form the new No.153 Squadron, which took some of the Defiants.

256 Squadron Picture Gallery

In April 1943 the squadron moved to the south of England, where it converted to the Mosquito night fighter. In July a detachment moved to Malta, to help provide cover for the invasion of Sicily, where it protected the Allied troops against attack by night bombers. The entire squadron moved to Sicily in October, but while many squadrons then moved to Italy, in April 1944 No.256 moved to Algeria.

In May the Spitfires of the Gibraltar Defence Flight joined the squadron, operating alongside the Mosquitoes for the rest of the war. The squadron moved to Sardinia in August 1944, and then to Italy in September. From then until the end of the war the squadron flew night intruder missions over the Balkans. The squadron moved to Egypt in September 1945, then to Cyprus in July 1946, before being disbanded on 12 September 1946. 

Aircraft
November 1940-May 1942: Boulton Paul Defiant I and II
July 1941-May 1942: Hawker Hurricane I and IIB
May 1942-January 1943: Bristol Beaufighter I
June 1942-May 1943: Bristol Beaufighter VI
May 1943-September 1945: de Havilland Mosquito XII
February 1944-September 1945: de Havilland Mosquito XIII
May-August 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VIII and IX
March-August 1945: de Havilland Mosquito IX
April-October 1945: de Havilland Mosquito VI
September 1945-September 1946: de Havilland Mosquito XIX

Location
November 1940-January 1941: Catterick
January-February 1941: Pembrey
February-March 1941: Colerne
March 1941-June 1942: Squires Gate
June 1942-April 1943: Woodvale
April-August 1943: Ford
    July-August 1943: Detachment to Luqa
August-October 1943: Woodvale
October 1943-April 1944: Luqa
April-August 1944: La Senia
    May-August 1944: Detachment to Reghaia
    July-August 1944: Detachment to Alghero
August-September 1944: Alghero
September 1944-February 1945: Foggia
February-June 1945: Forli
June-September 1945: Aviano
September-December 1945: El Ballah
December 1945-July 1946: Deversoir
July-September 1946: Nicosia

Squadron Codes: JT

Duty
1940-1943: Defensive night fighter squadron, home based
1943-1944: Night fighter, Malta
1944: Night fighter, Algeria
1944-1945: Night fighter Intruder over Balkans

Part of
10 July 1943: Detachment: AHQ Gibraltar; Mediterranean Air Command

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 July 2011), No. 256 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/256_wwII.html

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