No. 627 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.627 Squadron was formed on 12 November 1943 as a Mosquito squadron within No.8 Group, where it served with the Night Light Striking Force. While part of this force the squadron took part in 73 bombing missions, flying 477 sorties and only losing 4 aircraft. 

On 15 April 1944 the squadron was transferred to No.5 Group, which was operating as a semi-independent bombing force with its own pathfinders. The squadron remained with No.5 Group for the rest of the war, flying 1,058 sorties during 166 missions. The squadron lost 15 Mosquitoes during this period, an unusually high loss rate of 1.4%, suggesting that No.5 Group's low level marking system might have been more dangerous than the Pathfinder Group's methods. No.627 Squadron played an important part in the No.5 Group method, using its Mosquitoes for the first low-level marking of a target. Pathfinder Lancasters would then drop more markers and the main part of the group would bomb on those markers. The technique meant that the group was more accurate than most of Bomber Command on clear nights.

Guy Gibson, commander of No.617 Squadron for the dam busters raid, became a master bomber with No.627 Squadron, and was killed in action on the night of 19/20 September 1944.

On 31 December 1944 twelve Mosquitoes from the squadron made a daring attack on the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo. Eight aircraft in two waves bombed the target.

During its time with the pathfinders the squadron flew a number of photographic reconnaissance missions and also operated in daylight from time to time. The squadron was renumbered as No.109 Squadron on 1 October 1945.

Aircraft
November 1943-September 1943: de Havilland Mosquito IV
March-September 1945: de Havilland Mosquito XVI
July 1944-September 1945: de Havilland Mosquito XX
October 1944-September 1945: de Havilland Mosquito 25

Location
November 1943-April 1944: Oakington
April 1944-September 1945: Woodhall Spa

Squadron Codes: AZ

Duty
November 1943-April 1944: Night Light Striking Force bomber squadron
April 1944-October 1945: No.5 Group pathfinder squadron

Part of
November 1943-April 1944: Night Light Striking Force; No.8 Group; Bomber Command
April 1944 onwards: No.5 Group; Bomber Command

Books

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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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 May 2012), No. 627 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/627_wwII.html

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