No. 2 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 2 Squadron was one of the founder units of the Royal Flying Corps in 1912. During the First World War it had served as a reconnaissance squadron, but at the outbreak of the Second World War it was an Army Cooperation squadron with the ill fated Westland Lysander. In that role the squadron moved to France in October 1939, where it remained until the fighting began in May 1940.

Within ten days of the start of the German offensive in the west on 10 May 1940, No. 2 Squadron had been forced back to Britain, escaping from the chaos of France to Lympne of 19 May. From Britain it continued to operate over France until the collapse.

'C' Flight, No.2 Squadron, September 1942
'C' Flight,
No.2 Squadron,
September 1942

From June 1940 the squadron began to revert to the reconnaissance role. Its first duty in that new role was to conduct a daily inspection of the British coast, searching for any German raiders. With the arrival of a number of Tomahawks in August 1941, the squadron began to fly low level tactical reconnaissance missions over occupied France and the Low Countries. 1942 saw the Tomahawk and Lysander replaced by the Mustang. 1944 saw the squadron take part in the preparations for D-Day, surveying Hitler's Atlantic Wall. On D-Day itself No. 2 Squadron reverted to another of its First World War duties, acting as "artillery" spotters for the massive naval bombardment of the German beach defences.

On 30 July 1944 the Squadron returned to French soil, after a gap of just over four years. For the rest of the war it accompanied the 21st Army Group, on the left flank of the allied advance, ending the war at Twente, in the eastern Netherlands.

Aircraft
September 1938-September 1940: Lysander I and Lysander II
September 1940-July 1942: Lysander III
August 1941-April 1942: Tomahawk I, IIA
April 1942-May 1944: Mustang I, Ia
May 1944-January 1945: Mustang II
November 1944-January 1951: Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
September 1938-June 1940: Army Cooperation squadron
June 1940 onwards: Tactical Reconnaissance

Location
30 November 1935-6 October 1939: Hawkinge
6 October 1939-19 May 1940: Abbeville/ Drucat (France)
19-20 May 1940: Lympne (UK)
21-21 May 1940: Bekesbourne and Croydon
21 May-8 June 1940: Bekesbourne only
8 June-24 October 1940: Hatfield
24 October 1940-3 February 1943: Sawbridgeworth
3 February-20 March 1943: Bottisham
20 March-27 April 1943: Fowlmere
27 April-16 July 1943: Sawbridgworth
17 July-10 August 1943: Gravesend
10 August 1943-22 January 1944: Odiham
29 February-11 March 1944: Sawbridgworth
11-24 March 1944: Dundonald
24 March-4 April 1944: Sawbridgworth
4 April-30 July 1944: Gatwick
30 July-14 August 1944: B.10 Plumetot (France)
14 August-3 September 1944: B.4 Beny-sur-Mer
3-6 September 1944: B.27 Boisney
6-11 September 1944: B.31 Fresnoy Folney
11-27 September 1944: B.43 Fort Rouge
27 September-11 October 1944: B.61 St. Denis Westrem
11-23 October 1944: B.70 Deurne
23 October 1944-9 March 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
9 March-18 April 1945: B.89 Mill
18 April-30 May 1945: B.106 Twente
30 May-18 June 1945: B.116: Celle
18 June 1945: B.150 Hustedt

Significant Dates
6 October 1939: Moves to France with BEF
19 May 1940: Forced to return to Britain by the rapid German advance
14 November 1942: First Mustang sortie
July 1944: Moves to Normandy after the D-Day invasion.
17 January 1945: Last Mustang sortie

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 April 2007), No. 2 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/2_wwII.html

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