No. 620 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.620 Squadron was formed in 1943 as a heavy bomber squadron, but after 61 missions became a transport and airborne forces squadron, flying a mix of glider towing, paratrooper and air supply missions.

The squadron was formed on 17 June 1943 as a Stirling equipped heavy bomber squadron. The first operation was flown on 19 June and between then and 19 November the squadron took part in 32 bombing and 29 minelaying missions as a bomber squadron, flying 339 sorties and losing 17 aircraft in combat. This might look like a small total, but it represented a loss rate of 5%, much higher than seen in Lancaster squadrons (or Halifax squadrons later in the war).

In November 1943 the squadron was transferred to No.38 Group where it became a transport and glider-towing unit. The squadron retained its Stirling IIIs during its training, but converted to the Stirling IV in February 1944, just before flying its first mission, a supply drop mission in support of SOE in France. The squadron continued to perform this role to the end of the war (with some breaks), mainly to France but also to Holland and Norway.

On the night of 5-6 June 1944 the squadron provided twenty-three aircraft to carry part of the 6th Airborne Division to France at the start of the D-Day landings. Later on 6 June the squadron provided 18 glider tugs.

In August the squadron combined its SOE duties with a number of low-level night bombing missions. In September it took part in the battle of Arnhem, providing twenty-five aircraft as glider tugs and paratroop transports on 17 September, eighteen glider tugs on 18 September before taking part in the air supply operation that lasted until 24 September.

At the start of 1945 the squadron began a more regular series of low level night bombing missions in support of the advancing armies. It also took part in the Rhine crossings, providing thirty glider tugs.

In May 1945 the squadron finally replaced its Stirlings with Halifaxes. The new aircraft were used to fly troops into Oslo after the German surrender. After the end of the fighting the squadron began to fly more regular transport missions, mainly trooping flights between the UK and an increasing number of overseas destinations, eventually reaching out as far as Palestine and Egypt. The squadron moved to Egypt in 1946 where on 1 September it was renumbered as No.113 Squadron.

June-August 1943: Short Stirling I
August 1943-February 1944: Short Stirling III
February 1944-July 1945: Short Stirling IV
May 1945-September 1946: Handley Page Halifax III and VII

June-November 1943: Chedburgh
November 1943-March 1944: Leicester East
March-October 1944: Fairford
October 1944-January 1946: Great Dunmow

Squadron Codes: QS

June-November 1943: Heavy Bomber Squadron
November 1943 onwards: Transport and glider-towing squadron

Part of
17 June-November 1943: No.3 Group; Bomber Command
November 1943-: No.38 Group;
6 June 1944: No.38 Group; Allied Expeditionary Air Force



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 April 2012), No. 620 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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