No. 63 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No. 63 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War. At the start of the war it was a training unit equipped with a mix of the Fairey Battle and the Avro Anson. It performed this duty until 8 April 1940 when it was redesignated as No. 12 Operational Training Unit.

The second incarnation could not have been more different. On 15 June 1942 a detachment from No. 239 Squadron became the new No.63 Squadron, equipped with the Mustang I. Over the next three years the squadron would fly the Mustang, the Hurricane and finally the Spitfire.

Despite being equipped with these fighter aircraft, the squadron spend much of its time cooperating with either the Army, taking part in training exercises, or with the Navy, providing spotter aircraft for the naval bombardment on D-Day and during the Walcheren landings. The squadron also performed some tactical reconnaissance. The second incarnation of No. 63 squadron disappeared in a similar way to the first, giving its aircraft to No.41 OTU before being disbanded.

Aircraft
May 1937-April 1940:  Fairey Battle
March 1939-April 1940: Avro Anson
July 1942-May 1944: Mustang I and Mustang IA
March-May 1944: Hawker Hurricane IIC and Hurricane IV
May 1944-January 1945: Supermarine Spitfire VB

Location
17 February-7 September 1939: Upwood
7-17 September 1939: Abingdon
17 September 1939-8 April 1940: Benson
15 June-16 July 1942: Gatwick
16 July-6 November 1942: Catterick
6-13 November 1942: Weston Zoyland
13-20 November 1942: Catterick
20 November-26 July 1943: Macmerry
    6-17 December 1942: Detachment at Lossiemouth
    31 December 1942-19 February 1943: Detachment at Odiham
    6-14 June 1943: Detachment at Dalcross
    21-28 June 1943: Detachment at Acklington
26 July-8 November 1943: Turnhouse
8-12 November 1943: Thruxton
12-30 November 1943: Sawbridgworth
30 November 1943-16 January 1944: North Weald
    10 December 1943-21 January 1944: Detachment at Benson
16 January 1944-28 May 1944: Turnhouse
    14-16 February 1944: Detachment at Peterhead
    29-31 March 1944 : Detachment at Tealing
    29-31 March 1944 : Detachment at Peterhead
    9-21 April 1944 : Detachment at Dundonald
    26 April-25 May 1944: Detachment at Ballyhalbert
    27 April-26 May 1944: Detachment at Woodvale
28 May-3 July 1944: Lee-on-Solent
3 July-30 August 1944: Woodvale
    4 July-29 August 1944: Detachment at Ballyhalbert
30 August-19 September 1944: Lee-on-Solent
10 September-1 November 1944: North Weald
1-4 November 1944: Manston
4 November 1944-30 January 1945: North Weald

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
26 September 1939: Pool bomber squadron with No. 6 Group
April 1940: Renamed No. 12 OTU
June 1942-January 1945: Reconnaissance and naval spotting duties
January 1945: Aircraft to No. 41 OTU and disbanded.

Books

Spitfire Mark V Aces, 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price. A well written and nicely balanced look at the combat career of the Spitfire Mk V and of the men who flew it. The Spitfire V fought in more theatres than the more famous Mk I/II, including over France in 1941, on Malta, in North Africa and even in northern Australia. [see more]
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Hurricane Aces 1941-45, Andrew Thomas. This book covers the later career of the Hurricane, starting with its final months as a front line fighter in Britain in 1941 before moving on to look at its career in North Africa, the Mediterranean and over the jungles of Burma [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 March 2007), No. 63 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/63_wwII.html

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