No. 600 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.600 'City of London' Squadron was an Auxiliary Air Force squadron that spent most of the Second World War serving as a night fighter unit, first from the UK and later in the Mediterranean.

The squadron was formed in 1925 as a day bomber squadron. It was designated as a fighter squadron in 1934, although the first fighters didn't arrive until January 1935. In January 1939 the squadron converted to the Blenheim fighter

Bristol Beaufighter of No.600 Squadron
Bristol Beaufighter of
No.600 Squadron

At the start of the Second World War the squadron flew a mix of day and night patrols. The vulnerability of its fighter Blenheims in daylight was exposed soon after the start of the German offensive in the west. On 10 May 1940 the squadron was sent to attack the captured airfield at Waalhaven (at the request of the Dutch government). Six aircraft took part in the attack and five were shot down by Bf 110s. In the aftermath of this disaster the squadron was limited to night patrols only.

Work on improving the Blenheim's capabilities at night had begun in December 1939, when the squadron began to experiment with airborne radar. The Blenheim wasn't really fast enough to serve as a night fighter, even with radar, but it wasn't in use for long. No.600 Squadron began to receive Beaufighters in September 1940. In October it moved to Yorkshire, where early in 1941 it completed the conversion to the Beaufighter.

In March 1941 the squadron moved to the south-west of England, providing night cover in that area until September 1942. It was then allocated to the force taking part in Operation Torch, and in November 1942 moved to North Africa. It was used to provide night cover over Allied bases and shipping.

In June 1943 the squadron moved to Malta, and in September to mainland Italy. It now flew a mix of defensive missions and intruder missions, still with the Beaufighter. Conversion to the Mosquito began in January 1945 and the squadron used that aircraft until being disbanded on 21 August 1945.

Aircraft
January 1939-February 1941: Bristol Blenheim IF
November 1939-April 1940: Bristol Blenheim IVF
September 1940-June 1941: Bristol Beaufighter I
April 1941-April 1942: Bristol Beaufighter II
February 1942-February 1945: Bristol Beaufighter VI
January-August 1945: de Havilland Mosquito XIX

Location
October 1925-January 1927: Northolt
January 1927-October 1938: Hendon
October 1938: Kenley
October 1938-August 1939: Hendon
August-October 1939: Northolt
October 1939: Hornchurch
October 1939: Rochford
October-December 1939: Hornchurch
December 1939-May 1940: Manston
May-June 1940: Northolt
June-August 1940: Manston
August-September 1940: Hornchurch
September-October 1940: Redhill
October 1940-March 1941: Catterick
March-April 1941: Drem
April-June 1941: Colerne
June-? 1941: Fairwood Common
?- October 1941: Colerne
October 1941-September 1942: Predannack
September-November 1942: Church Fenton
November 1942: Portreath
November-December 1942: Blida
December 1942-January 1943: Maison Blanche
January-June 1943: Setif
June-July 1943: Luqa
July-October 1943: Cassibile
October 1943-February 1944: Montecorvino
February-June 1944: Marcianise
June 1944: La Banca
June-July 1944: Voltone
July 1944: Follonica
July-August 1944: Rosignano
August-December 1944: Falconara
December 1944-May 1945: Cesenatico
May-July 1945: Campoformido
July-August 1945: Aviano

Squadron Codes: BQ

Duty
September 1939-September 1942: Home based night fighter squadron
November 1942-June 1943: Night fighter squadron, North Africa
June-September 1943: Night fighter squadron, Malta
September 1943-August 1945: Night fighter squadron, Italy

Part of
September 1939: No.11 Group, Fighter Command
8 August 1940: No.11 Group, Fighter Command
10 July 1943: A.H.Q. Malta; Mediterranean Air Command

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 March 2012), No. 600 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/600_wwII.html

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