No. 57 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.57 Squadron served as a Blenheim squadron during the battle of France in 1940, before in 1941 joining Bomber Command's main force, flying the Lancaster from 1942 until the end of the war.

No.57 Squadron began the Second World War as a Blenheim squadron, and in September 1939 was one of the first RAF squadrons to move to France, where it operated as a strategic reconnaissance unit.

After the start of the German offensive in the west, on 10 May, the squadron began eight days of costly attacks on German columns, before a combination of heavy losses and the rapid German advance meant it had to be withdrawn to England. Reconnaissance missions continued throughout June, before in July the squadron was moved north to Scotland.

A few months of anti-shipping operations over the North Sea followed, before in November 1940 the squadron moved south to convert to the Vickers Wellington. On 13 January 1941 the squadron flew its first night bombing mission, the role it would continue to perform for the rest of the war. Lancasters arrived in September 1942, by which time the squadron was part of No.5 Group. The squadron operated the Lancaster as part of Bomber Command's main force from then until the end of the war, taking part in the 25 April 1945 attack on Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden, and in the final Lancaster operations of the war, when four aircraft from the squadron dropped mines in Oslo Fjord.

March 1938-March 1940: Bristol Blenheim I
March-November 1940: Bristol Blenheim IV
November 1940-February 1942: Vickers Wellington IC
July 1941-February 1942: Vickers Wellington II
February-September 1942: Vickers Wellington III
September 1942-May 1946: Avro Lancaster I and III

September 1932-September 1939: Upper Heyford
September-October 1939: Roye/ Amy
October 1939-May 1940: Rosieres-en-Santerre
May 1940: Poix
May 1940: Crecy-en-Ponthieu
May 1940: Wyton
May-June 1940: Gatwick
June 1940: Wyton
June-August 1940:Lossiemouth
August-November 1940: Elgin
November 1940: Wyton
November 1940-January 1942: Feltwell
January-September 1942: Methwold
September 1942-August 1943: Scampton
August 1943-November 1945: East Kirkby

Squadron Codes: 57, DX

Air Component, BEF: 1939-1940
Anti-shipping: 1940
Bomber Command Main Force: 1941-1945


Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris. The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written (Read Full Review)
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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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Lancaster Squadron 1942-43, Jon Lake. This book looks at the early career of the Avro Lancaster. During this period the Lancaster was just one of a number of aircraft used by Bomber Command, important amongst them the Wellington, the Stirling and the Halifax. Only by the end of this period do we see the Lancaster begin to emerge as the most important aircraft in Bomber Command. Lake covers the wide range of activities performed by the Lancaster squadrons during this squadron, including the famous Dam Busters raid. [see more]
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Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45, Jon Lake. A well balanced look at the career of the Avro Lancaster in 1944-45, the period most famous for the systematic night bombardment of German cities. This was also the period that saw the Lancaster used to support the invasion of France, and the period that saw 617 Squadron drop Barnes Wallis's huge streamlined bombs with great precision. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 June 2009), No. 57 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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