No. 681 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.681 Squadron was a photographic reconnaissance squadron operating in the Far East that mainly focused on Burma but that also ranged further afield.

The squadron was formed in January 1943 from No.3 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit at Dum Dum. The squadron flew a mix of Spitfire, Hurricanes and Dutch Air Force Mitchells, which formed part of C Flight. The new squadron operated over Burma and Siam, paying particular attention to Rangoon, Mandalay and the Andaman Islands.

In July-August 1943 the squadron was given some Mosquitoes, but late in the year these aircraft went to No.684 Squadron (as did the Mitchells) and No.681 Squadron standardised on the Spitfire XI.

Early in 1944 the squadron took part in a major photographic survey of Burma, producing valuable information for the campaigns of 1944 and 1945. After the re-conquest of Burma the squadron moved on to Malaya, but the Japanese surrender meant that these maps weren't needed.

During 1944 the squadron also operated over Japanese airfields, railway lines and oilfields. Late in the year river traffic became a main target, before the target moved onto Akyab Island, a target for Allied troops. Rangoon was the main target early in 1945. At the end of the war the squadron searched for POW camps, before in September 1945 moving to Hong Kong.

In December 1945 a detachment was sent to Java to take part in fighting in Indonesia. Another detachment was based at Saigon, operating over French Indo-China. The squadron moved to Selatar (Singapore) in January 1946 and then to India in April, before being renumbered as No.34 Squadron in August 1946.

Aircraft
January-September 1943: Hawker Hurricane IIB
January-December 1943: North American B-25B and B-25C
January 1943-December 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IV
August-December 1943: de Havilland Mosquito VI
September-Ddecember 1943: de Havilland Mosquito IV and IX
September 1943-April 1946: Supermarine Spitfire XI
July 1945-August 1946: Supermarine Spitfire XIX

Location
January-December 1943: Dum Dum
December 1943-January 1944: Chandina
January-May 1944: Dum Dum
May 1944-May 1945: Alipore
May-September 1945: Mingaladon
September 1945-January 1946: Kai Tak
January-May 1946: Seletar
May-August 1946: Palam

Squadron Codes: -

Duty
1943-46: Photo reconnaissance, South East Asia

Part of
1 July 1944: No.171 Wing; Photographic Reconnaissance Force; Eastern Air Command; Air Command South-East Asia

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (pending), No. 681 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/681_wwII.html

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