No. 40 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Location - Group and Duty - Books

No. 40 Squadron began the war as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force, making it one of the first squadrons to be sent to France. The Fairey Battle suffered very heavy loses during the Battle of France, but by then No. 40 Squadron had returned to Britain to re-equip with the Blenheim.

When the German onslaught in the west began on 10 May 1940 No.40 Squadron's Blenheims were thrown into the battle, attacking German troops until the fall of France. The squadron then took part in the attacks on the German invasion barges during the period when that invasion was expected at any time.

In November 1940 the squadron converted to the Wellington, and spent the next year operating as a night bomber squadron with Bomber Command. In October 1941 the squadron's aircraft were flown to Malta, where they operated against targets in Italy and North Africa until May 1942, when the surviving aircraft were transferred to Egypt. Those parts of the squadron that had remained in the UK became No. 156 squadron on 14 February 1942

Once the squadron had recovered from its battering on Malta, it began to fly operations against the Axis forces in North Africa, moving west as the Allies advanced into Tunisia and Cyrenaica, before finally moving to Italy in December 1943. From there the unit carried out raids on targets in northern Italy and the Balkans.

Aircraft
July 1938-December 1939:  Fairey Battle
December 1939-November 1940: Bristol Blenheim IV
November 1940-May 1942: Vickers Wellington IC
May 1942-July 1943: Vickers Wellington III
May 1943-March 1945: Vickers Wellington X
March 1945-January 1945: Consolidated Liberator VI

Location
8 October 1932-2 September 1939: Abingdon
2 September-2 December 1939: Betheniville (France)
2 December 1939-2 February 1941: Wyton
2-14 February 1941: Alconbury
31 October 1941-May 1942: Luqa
1 May-23 June 1942: Abu Sueir
23 June-20 August 1942: Shallufa
20 August-7 November 1942: Kabrit
7-12 November 1942: LG.222A
12-25 November 1942: LG.104
25 November 1942-20 January 1943: Luqa
20 January-15 February 1943: LG. 237
15 February-13 March 1943: Gardabia East
13 March-26 May 1943: Gardabia South
26 May-25 June 1943: Kairouan/ Cheria
25 June-18 November 1943: Hani West
18 November 1943-4 December 1943: Oudna 1
16-30 December 1943: Cerignola (Italy)
30 December 1943-21 October 1945: Foggia Main

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
26 September 1939-December 1939: Bomber squadron with No.1 Group, 71 Wing, Advanced Air Striking Force
December 1939-November 1940: Blenheim bomber squadron
November 1940-October 1941: Wellington night bomber squadron, UK
October 1941-May 1942: Bomber Squadron, Malta
May 1942-December 1943: Bomber Squadron, North Africa
December 1943-end of war: Bomber Squadron, Italy

Books

Wellington in Action, Ron Mackay. A well illustrated guide to the development and service career of this classic British bomber. Mackay looks at the early development of the Wellington and the unusual geodetic frame that gave it great strength, the period when the Wellington was the mainstay of Bomber Command and the many uses found for the aircraft after it was replaced in the main bomber stream.
cover cover cover

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 March 2007), No. 40 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/40_wwII.html

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