No. 504 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.504 ‘County of Nottingham’ Squadron was formed as a Special Reserve bomber squadron in 1928, but spent the entire Second World War serving as a fighter squadron, ending the war as one of the first Meteor jet squadrons.

No.504 Squadron was formed as part of the Special Reserve in March 1928, with a mix of regular and part time personnel. It was equipped as a day bomber squadron, using the Horsley, then the Wallace and finally the Hind. In May 1936 the squadron became part of the Auxiliary Air Force, and on 31 October 1938, as the threat of German bombing raids came closer, the squadron became a fighter squadron.

The squadron received its Hurricanes in March 1939. Just before the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron moved to Digby, before in October 1939 moving to Debden. Over the next few months it moved between Debden and the forward base at Martlesham Heath. In May 1940 the squadron was one of the many rushed from Britain to France in an attempt to resist the Luftwaffe, but it was soon forced to retreat back to Britain. The squadron was then sent north to provide fighter cover over Scapa Flow, remaining there until early September.

The squadron moved back south on 5 September, just at the end of the third (and hardest) phase of the Battle of Britain – the assault on Fighter Command. It was based at Hendon (No.11 Group) from then until 26 September, during the main period of daylight attacks on London. It then moved to Filton (No.10 Group), where it remained for the rest of the battle. 

The squadron moved to Northern Ireland in August 1941 to provide fighter cover for the area. It returned to the south of England in the summer of 1942, and flew a mix of defensive and offensive missions, taking part in the sweeps across France. The squadron returned to Scotland in September 1943, but only for a few months, and at the start of 1944 it returned south to take part in the build-up to the D-Day landings.

The squadron spent the rest of 1944 and the first months of 1945 flying a mix of defensive and offensive missions, as well as some bomber escort duties. In March 1945 it was withdrawn and moved to Colerne, where it began to convert to the Gloster Meteor.

On 10 August the squadron was renumbered as No.245 Squadron, but No.504 reformed in the Auxiliary Air Force in May 1946.

Aircraft
March 1939-August 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
July-November 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIB
October 1941-October 1942: Supermarine Spitfire IIA and IIB
January 1942-January 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
September-November 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VI
March-July 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
January-March 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
July 1944-April 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
April-August 1945: Gloster Meteor III

Location
March 1938-August 1939: Hucknall
August-October 1939: Digby
October 1939-May 1940: Debden with detachments at Martlesham Heath
May 1940: Vitry-en-Artois
May 1940: Lille/ Marcq
May 1940: Norrent Fontes
May 1940: Manston
May 1940: Debden
May-June 1940: Wick
June-September 1940: Castletown
September 1940: Catterick
September 1940: Hendon
September-December 1940: Filton
December 1940-July 1941: Exeter
July-August 1941: Fairwood Common
August 1941: Chilbolton
August 1941-January 1942: Ballyhalbert
January-June 1942: Kirkistown
June-October 1942: Ballyhalbert
October-December 1942: Middle Wallop
December 1942-June 1943: Ibsley
June-August 1943: Churchstanton
August-September 1943: Redhill
September-October 1943: Castletown
October 1943-January 1944: Peterhead
January-March 1944: Hornchurch
March-April 1944: Castletown
April-July 1944: Digby
July-August 1944: Detling
August 1944-February 1945: Manston
February-March 1945: Hawkinge
March-August 1945: Colerne

Squadron Codes: TM

Duty
1939-1945: Fighter Command

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 January 2011), No. 504 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/504_wwII.html

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