No. 66 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.66 Squadron served as a fighter squadron throughout the Second World War, taking part in the Battle of Britain, escorting day bombers over France and joining the 2nd Tactical Air Force during the fighting after D-Day.

The squadron received its Spitfires in November 1938. Like other Spitfire squadrons it remained in Britain in 1939, and its real combat debut came in the skies over Dunkirk.

No.66 Squadron took part in some of the early fighting on 10 July 1940, officially the first day of the Battle of Britain, intercepting a German reconnaissance flight and shooting down a Dornier Do 17. It then remained in the south through the battle of Britain, and into 1941, taking part in some of the earliest fighter sweeps over France before moving to the south-west in February 1941.

For the next two years the squadron flew a mix of coastal patrols and bomber escort duties. The first half of 1943 was spent on the Orkneys, before the squadron returned to the south to join 2nd Tactical Air Force. Between then and D-Day the squadron took part in the RAF's campaign of preparation for the invasion.

Five days after D-Day the squadron used a French airfield for the first time, and in August it moved across the channel. It then advanced east across Europe with the advancing allied armies, spending the last months of the war flying armed reconnaissance sweeps (see it, shoot it) across Germany. Its last sorties came on 27 April 1945.

Aircraft
November 1938-November 1940: Supermarine Spitfire I
November 1940-February 1942: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
February 1942-November 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VA, VB and VC
November 1943-November 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
November 1944-April 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XVI

Location
July 1938-May 1940: Duxford
May 1940: Horsham St. Faith
May-September 1940: Coltishall
September 1940: Kenley
September-October 1940: Gravesend
October-November 1940: West Malling
November 1940-February 1941: Biggin Hill
February-April 1941: Exeter
April-December 1941: Perranporth
December 1941-February 1942: Warmwell
February-April 1942: Portreath
April-July 1942: Ibsley
July 1942: Tangmere
July-August 1942: Ibsley
August 1942: Tangmere
August 1942: Ibsley
August-September 1942: Zeals
September 1942: Predannack
September-October 1942: Zeals
October 1942: Hawkinge
October-November 1942: Zeals
November 1942: Warmwell
November-December 1942: Zeals
December 1942-February 1943: Ibsley
February-June 1943: Skeabrae
June-August 1943: Churchstanton
August 1943: Redhill
August-September 1943: Kenley
September-November 1943: Perranporth
November 1943: Hornchurch
November 1943: Southend
November 1943-February 1944: Hornchurch
February-March 1944: Llanbedr
March 1944: North Weald
March-April 1944: Bognor
April 1944: Southend
April-May 1944: Bognor
May 1944: Castletown
May-June 1944: Bognor
June-August 1944: Tangmere
August 1944: Funtington
August 1944: Ford
August-September 1944: B.16 Villonsles Buissons
September 1944: B.33 Camp Neuseville
September-October 1944: B.57 Lille/ Wambrechies
October-December 1944: B.60 Grimbergen
December 1944-Febriary 1945: B.79 Woensdrecht
February-March 1945: Fairwood Common
March-April 1945: B.85 Schijndel
April 1945: B.105 Twente

Commanding Officers
December 1941-March 1942: Sqn Ldr B. L Duckenfield
March-24 March 1942: Sqn Ldr (P) Daniel Edwards Cremin DFC (d.24 March 1942)

Squadron Codes: RB, LZ

Duty
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Books

Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1939-41, Dr Alfred Price. Slightly different to many books in the Aircraft of the Aces series, Price splits his material, concentrating on the wider picture in the first part of the book before looking at eleven of the top Spitfire aces in the last two chapters of the book [see more]
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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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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 June 2009), No. 66 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/66_wwII.html

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