No. 30 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.30 Squadron began the Second World War as a Blenheim bomber squadron based in Egypt, but went on serve as a fighter squadron in Egypt, Greece, on Crete and in the Far East, ending the war operating with Thunderbolt fighter bombers over Burma.

For two decades before the start of the Second World War No.30 Squadron had been part of the garrison of Iraq, but at the outbreak of war it was moved to Ismailia, Egypt, to guard the Suez Canal.

Republic Thunderbolt II of No.30 Squadron
Republic Thunderbolt II
of No.30 Squadron

This period ended after the Italian declaration war in June 1940. No.30 Squadron's Blenheims were converted into IF fighters, and were used to escort bombers as they attacked Italian targets in the Western Desert.

In November 1940 the squadron moved again, this time to Eleusis in Greece, as part of the British contribution to the Greek defence against the Italians. After the German invasion the squadron was forced to evacuate to Crete, and then back to Egypt.

A large proportion of the British aircraft sent to Greece were lost in the fighting, and on their return to Egypt No.30 Squadron was reequipped with the Hawker Hurricane. For the rest of the year the squadron operated as a night fighter unit, defending Alexandria.

The Japanese entry into the war forced another change of location, this time to Sri Lanka. They arrived just in time to take part in the last defence against the last Japanese air raids on Colombo and Trincomalee. From March 1942 to February 1944 the squadron was retained on Sri Lanka, just in case, but by the start of 1944 it was clear that no more attacks would come.

That month the squadron took its Hurricanes to the Burma front, and from then until 13 May 1945 it flew a mix of bomber escort and ground attack missions. The Hurricanes were replaced with Thunderbolts in May 1944, and these aircraft were used until the end of the war.

Aircraft
January 1938-May 1941: Bristol Blenheim I and IF
May-October 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
June 1941-August 1942: Hawker Hurricane IIA and IIB
August 1942-July 1944: Hawker Hurricane IIC
July 1944-January 1945: Republic Thunderbolt I
September 1944-February 1946: Republic Thunderbolt II

Location
25 August 1939-8 July 1940: Ismailia
8 July-3 November 1940: Ikingi Maryut
3 November 1940-17 April 1941: Eleusis (Greece)
17 April-16 May 1941: Maleme
16 May-14 June 1941: Amriya
14 June-25 October 1941: Idku
25 October-16 November 1941: LG.102
16 November 1941-23 January 1942: LG.05
23 January-25 February 1942: LG.121
25 February 1942: Embarked on HMS Indomitable
6 March-31 August 1942: Ratmalana
31 August 1942-15 February 1943: Dambulla
15 February-3 August 1943: Colombo
3 August 1943-23 January 1944: Dambulla
23 January-12 February 1944: Feni
12 February-9 April 1944: Fazilpur
9-25 April 1944: Comilla
25 April-13 September 1944: Yelahanka
13 September-5 October 1944: Arkonam
5 October-10 December 1944: Chittagong
10 December 1944-24 April 1945: Jumchar
24 April-18 May 1945: Akyab Main
18 May-3 July 1945: Chakulia
3 July-24 September 1945: Vizagapatam

Squadron Codes: RS

Duty
1939-1940: Bomber Squadron, Egypt
1940-1941: Blenheim Fighter Squadron, North Africa and Greece
1941-1942: Hurricane Fighter Squadron, Egypt
1942-1944: Fighter squadron, Sri Lanka
1944-1945: FIghter-bomber squadron, Burma front

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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Hurricane Aces 1941-45, Andrew Thomas. This book covers the later career of the Hurricane, starting with its final months as a front line fighter in Britain in 1941 before moving on to look at its career in North Africa, the Mediterranean and over the jungles of Burma [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 September 2008), No. 30 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/35_wwII.html

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