No. 27 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

For nearly twenty years before the outbreak of the Second World War No.27 Squadron had been serving on the North West Frontier of India. At the start of the war in Europe, the squadron became a training unit, equipped with a mix of Harts and Tiger Moths, performing this role for the next year.

On 21 October 1940 the squadron returned to operations as a Blenheim-equipped fighter squadron, and in February 1941 it moved to Malaya.

When the Japanese invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941 No.27 Squadron was based at Sungei Patani, in the north west of the country. The squadron attempted to attack the invasion fleet at Kota Bahru, but was foiled by poor weather. The Japanese struck next, destroying eight Blenheims on the ground on 8 December, and the squadron withdrew south to Butterworth, before a second move all the way to Singapore.

From Singapore the survivors of the squadron moved to Palembang on Sumatra, effectively merging with No.60 and No.34 Squadron - the three squadrons could only produce around a dozen aircraft. On Sumatra they joined up with No.84 Squadron, newly arrived from the Middle East, but even with these reinforcements it was impossible to stop the Japanese advance. No.27 Squadron effectively ceased to exist in February 1942, and most of the survivors went to No.84 Squadron.

It was reformed on 19 September 1942 at Amarda Road. In November it received its Beaufighter Mk.VIs, and on 25 December returned to operations, attacking Japanese targets in Burma.

The squadron was briefly equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito. The first aircraft arrived in April 1943. They had been sent to India for tests, to see it their wooden construction would stand up to the climate. A number of missions were flown, before one of the six aircraft was lost in a crash, and in the summer of 1943 the remaining five aircraft were given to No.681 Squadron.

No.27 Squadron was then given rocket-armed Beaufighters, and combined with No.47 Squadron to form an anti-shipping strike wing, but a lack of suitable targets meant that the two squadrons spent more time operating over Burma. In April 1945 No.27 Squadron became an air-jungle rescue squadron, helping to recover airmen shot down over the Jungle, performing this role to the end of the war. The squadron was disbanded early in 1946.

Aircraft
May 1930-October 1940: Westland Wapiti IIA
October 1939-October 1940: Hawker Hart
October 1939-October 1940: Tiger Moth
November 1940-January 1942: Bristol Blenheim IF

November 1942-March 1944: Bristol Beaufighter VI
March 1944-February 1946: Bristol Beaufighter X
April 1943-March 1944: de Havilland Mosquito II
December 1943-March 1944: de Havilland Mosquito VI

Location
14 February 1937-25 September 1939: Kohat
25 September 1939-17 February 1941: Risalpur
17 February-17 May 1941: Kallang
17 May-21 August 1941: Butterworth
21 August-10 December 1941: Sungei Patani
10-12 December 1941: Butterworth
12 December 1941-23 January 1942: Kallang (Singapore)
23 January-18 February 1942: Palembang

19 September 1942-9 January 1943: Amarda Road
9 January-11 February 1943: Kanchrapara
11 February 1943-9 February 1944: Agartala
9 February-30 March 1944: Parashuram
30 March-23 September 1944: Cholavarum
23 September-21 October 1944: Ranchi
21 October-5 November 1944: Agartala
5-19 November 1944: Dohazari
19 November 1944-19 June 1945: Chiringa (Chakeri, SE Bangladesh)
19 June-12 October 1945: Akyab
12 October 1945-1 February 1946: Mingaladon

Squadron Codes: A, C, T, V, J

Duty
1939-1940: Training
1940-1942: Fighter Squadron, Malaya
1942-1945: Ground attack, Burma

Books

Blenheim Squadrons of World War Two, Jon Lake. This book looks at the entire RAF service career of the Bristol Blenheim, from its debut as a promising fast bomber, through the deadly disillusionment of the blitzkrieg, on to its work in the Middle East and Mediterranean, where the aircraft found a new lease of life. Lake also looks at the use of the Blenheim as an interim fighter aircraft and its use by Coastal Command.
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 Mosquito Bomber/ Fighter-Bomber Units of World War 2, Martin Bowman. The first of three books looking at the RAF career of this most versatile of British aircraft of the Second World War, this volume looks at the squadrons that used the Mosquito as a daylight bomber, over occupied Europe and Germany, against shipping and over Burma. [see more]  
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 May 2008), No. 27 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/27_wwII.html

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