No. 79 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.79 Squadron began the Second War as a home-based Hurricane squadron. After taking part in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain the squadron moved to the Far East, and operated over Burma until the end of the war.

No.79 was not one of the Hurricane squadrons that moved to France in 1939, but did move across to Mons-en-Chaussee on 10 May 1940 at the start of the German offensive in the west. After only ten days the German advance forced the squadron to return to Britain.

No.79 Squadron took part in the opening stage of the Battle of Britain from Biggin Hill, before in July 1940 moving to Sealand (Wales) and then Acklington (Northumberland) for a rest. This second move meant that the squadron was in the right place to intercept a major German raid across the North Sea from Norway on 15 August 1940 that ended with a major British victory.

Soon after this the squadron returned south to Biggin Hill, but by early September No.79 was the only squadron still to be based at the badly damaged Biggin Hill, and on 8 September the squadron moved to South Wales for a rest, and to block German aircraft heading up the Irish Sea to Liverpool.

The squadron remained in south Wales until 4 March 1942, when it sailed for India, arriving on 20 June. For the next few months it flew defensive patrols, before in December going onto the offensive, flying offensive sweeps over Japanese occupied Burma. No.79 Squadron continued to fly a mix of offensive sweeps, ground attack and bomber escort missions over Burma to the end of the war, retaining its Hurricanes until September 1944 when it converted to the Republic Thunderbolt. The squadron disbanded on 30 December 1945.

Aircraft
November 1938-June 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
June 1941-March 1942: Hawker Hurricane IIB
June 1942-July 1944: Hawker Hurricane IIC
June 1944-December 1945: Republic Thunderbolt II

Location
March 1937-November 1939: Biggin Hill
November 1939-March 1940: Manston
March-May 1940: Biggin Hill
May 1940: Mons-en-Chausee
May 1940: Norrent Fontes
May 1940: Merville
May 1940: Biggin Hill
May-June 1940: Digby
June-July 1940: Biggin Hill
July 1940: Hawkinge
July 1940: Sealand
July-August 1940: Acklington
August-September 1940: Biggin Hill
September 1940-June 1941: Pembrey
June-December 1941: Fairwood Common
December 1941: Warmwell
December 1941: Fairwood Common
December 1941-March 1942: Baginton

June 1942-January 1943: Kanchrapara
January 1943: Dohazari
January-May 1943: Ramu
May-July 1943: Comilla
July-October 1943: Ranchi
October-December 1943: Alipore
December 1943-January 1944: Chittagong
January-May 1944: Dohazari
May-September 1944: Yelahanka
September-October 1944: Arkonam
October-November 1944: Manipur Road
November 1944-April 1945: Wangjing
April-June 1945: Myingyang North
June-December 1945: Meiktila

Squadron Codes: AL, NV

Duty
1939-1942: Fighter Command
1942-1945: Burma

Books

Letters from my Son: A Texas Boy's Journey to the RAF, Dolcie Suggs Ehlinger & Karen Guelfo Ehlinger. Biography of Early Willson Jr, an American volunteer in the RAF, told through his letters to his parents stretching over a fifteen year period, and ending just before his tragic death in a flying accident in Wales in 1941. [read full review]

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Hurricane Aces, 1939-40, Tony Holmes. A look at the men who flew the Hawker Hurricane during the first two years of the Second World War, when it was arguably the most important front line fighter in RAF service. This book covers the Phoney War Period, the German invasion of the West, the Battle of Britain and the early use of the Hurricane in North Africa and from Malta. [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 (29 July 2009), No. 79 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/79_wwII.html

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