No. 78 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No. 78 Squadron was reformed in November 1936 from B flight of No. 10 Squadron, originally flying Heyford night bombers. By the start of the Second World War, the squadron was flying the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and was acting as a reserve squadron taking on pilots who had passed out from the Group Pool training units.

In the summer of 1940 the group pool training units were merged in the Operational Training Units, and No. 78 was freed to begin operations. The squadron flew its first mission on 19 July 1940.

The squadron remained part of Bomber Command's main bomber force until the end of the war. In March 1942 the Whitley was replaced by the Halifax, and the squadron retained that aircraft until the summer of 1945.

July 1937-October 1939: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley I
June 1939-February 1940: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley IV and IVA
September 1939-March 1942: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V
March 1942-January 1944: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk II
January 1944-April 1945: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III
April 1945-July 1945: Handley Page B. Mk VI

1-15 September 1939: Ternhill
15 September-15 October 1939: Dishforth
15 October 1939-15 July 1940: Linton-on-Ouse
15 July 1940-7 April 1941: Dishforth
7 April-20 October 1941: Middleton St. George
20 October 1941-10 June 1942: Croft
10 June 1942- 16 September 1942: Middleton St. George
16 September 1942- 16 June 1943: Linton-on-Ouse
16 June 1943- 20 September 1943: Breighton

Squadron Codes: EY

Group and Duty
On 26 September 1939: Reserve bomber squadron with No. 4 Group
By March 1942 to 7 May 1945: Bomber squadron with No.4 Group
From 7 May 1945: To Transport Command


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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Review of Halifax Squadrons by John lake Halifax Squadrons of World War II , Jon Lake. This is a very good book on the combat record of the Handley Page Halifax. It covers much more than just its role as a front line bomber, with chapters on the Halifax with Coastal Command, the Pathfinders and SOE, amongst others. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 January 2008), No. 35 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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