No. 62 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.62 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War. The first was badly mauled in the early days of the war against Japan, while the second was formed from survivors of the defeat in Burma.

Just before the outbreak of war with German No.62 Squadron replaced its old Hinds with Bristol Blenheim, and shipped out for the far east. In December 1941 the squadron was based in northern Malaya, and was thus directly in the path of the Japanese invasion. After some desperate attacks on Japanese ships the squadron lost most of its aircraft on the ground.

As the Japanese overwhelmed the British in Malaya No.62 Squadron withdrew to Sumatra, having received Lockheed Hudsons to replace the lost Blenheims. The Japanese were not far behind, and when they landed close to No.62 Squadron's new airfields the survivors were forced to flee to Java, where they were absorbed by No.1 (RAAF) Squadron.

Further north No.139 Squadron had been involved in the defeat in Burma, before escaping to India. On 30 April 1942 the survivors of No.139 were used to form a new No.62 Squadron, once again equipped with the Lockheed Hudson. The new squadron used its Hudsons for attacks on Japanese shipping and to fly reconnaissance missions over the Bay of Bengal, but after the famous raid early in 1942 the Japanese didn't return to the area.

In May 1943 No.62 Squadron began to convert to the Douglas Dakota. Supply dropping flights began on 7 January 1944, and began to play an increasingly important part in Allied successes in Burma, following on from the Chindits, whose raids had been entirely depended on air supply.

The squadron concentrated on supply drop missions until the end of the war, when it became a standard transport squadron, before being disbanded on 24 March 1946.

Many thanks to L.M. Cloutt, who flew with the squadron, for reporting that his crew W.E. Besso, J.C.W. Williamson, S.J. Riding, A.E. Collingwood, G.H. Lloyd, and G. Firth, who were killed on 25 June 1945, are commemorated in Akyab (Sittwe) Cathedral and on the Kranju War Memorial in Singapore. In addition a new memorial to the squadron has been produced, and placed in the Cathedral in 2015.

Aircraft
February 1938-January 1939: Bristol Blenheim I
January 1942-December 1943: Lockheed Hudson III and VI
July 1943-March 1946: Douglas Dakota III and Dakota IV

Location
September 1939-February 1941: Tengah
February-December 1941: Alor Star
December 1941: Butterworth
December 1941-January 1942: Tengah
January-February 1942: Palembang (Sumatra)
February 1942: Semplak (western Java)

April-June 1942: Dum Dum
June-December 1942: Cuttack
December 1942: Asansol
December 1942-January 1943: Cuttack
January-February 1943: Dhubalia
February-May 1943: Jessore
May 1943-January 1944: Chaklala
January-April 1944: Comilla
April-July 1944: Chandina
July-August 1944: Agartala
August-November 1944: Basal
November-December 1944: Agartala
December 1944-March 1945: Comilla
March-May 1945: Maunubyin
May-August/ September 1945: Akyab Main
August/ September 1945-March 1946: Mingaladon

Squadron Codes: PT, P, X

Duty
Bomber squadron, Far East: 1939-February 1942
General reconnaissance: 1942-1943
Air supply missions: 1943-1945

Books

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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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 June 2009), No. 62 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/62_wwII.html

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