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No.357 Squadron was a Special Duties squadron used to support guerrilla fighters and Allied agents operating behind Japanese lines in Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.
The squadron was formed on 1 February 1944, with two flights. A Flight had a mix of Hudsons and Liberators and was formed from No.1576 (Special Duties) Flight. B Flight was based at Redhills Lake, Madras, and was equipped with four Catalina flying boats.
The new squadron used its Hudsons for short range missions, dropping supplies to guerrilla troops fighting in Burma. The Liberators and Catalinas were used for longer range missions, reaching out as far as Malaya and Sumatra. The Liberators were used for supply drops, the Catalinas to land or retrieve agents from the long coastline of Japanese occupied territory.
The Catalinas didn’t stay with the squadron for long. On 21 March 1944, after just under two months, they were used to form No.628 Squadron. The Liberators remained in use through the war, while the Hudsons were replaced by Dakotas at the start of 1945. At the same time a new C Flight was formed, equipped with the Lysander. These aircraft were used to extract agents from Japanese held territory, a difficult role in the jungle filled areas it was operating over.
At the end of the war C Flight split off to form the Burma Communications Flight, and the rest of the squadron was disbanded on 15 November 1945.
February 1944-January 1945: Lockheed Hudson IIIA
February 1944-January 1945: Consolidated Liberator III
February-March 1944: Consolidated Catalina IV
September 1944-November 1945: Consolidated Liberator VI
January 1945-November 1945: Douglas Dakota IV and Westland Lysander IIIA
February 1944-September 1945: Digri (Bengal)
February 1944-October 1944: Detachment to China Bay (Eastern Sri Lanka)
February-March 1944: Detachment to Redhills Lake (Madras)
September-November 1945: Jessore (Bengal)
April-May 1945: Detachment to Meiktila (Burma)
May-September 1945: Detachment to Mingaladon (Burma)
September-November 1945: Mingaladon
Squadron Codes: Z, D, K, F
February 1944 onwards: Special Duties Squadron, Far East
1 July 1944: Air Command South-East Asia