No. 80 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.80 Squadron was a fighter squadron that spend most of the Second World War operating in North Africa and the Mediterrean before returning to Britain in 1944 to take part in the D-Day landings.

No.80 Squadron was reformed on 8 March 1937 as a fighter squadron equipped with the Gloster Gauntlet. Gladiators arrived two months later, before in April 1938 the squadron moved to Egypt.

This meant that the squadron wasn't involved in the early fighting in the Second World War, only entering the fray after the Italian entry into the war in June 1940. The squadron moved to the Libyan border for several months, covering the early British successes in the western desert. In November 1940 the squadron became part of the RAF that was sent to Greece to help that country fight off an Italian invasion. At first all went well, and in February 1941 the squadron began to convert to the Hawker Hurricane, but in the spring of 1941 the Germans moved south to support Mussolini, and in April No.80 Squadron joined the evacuation from Greece.

After a short period of defensive duties in Syria, Palestine and Cyprus (May-July) the squadron concentrated on Cyprus, before in October returning to the Western Desert. From then until the battle of Alamein the squadron flew fighter patrols over the front line (Spitfires arrived during this period). During the German retreat after El Alamein No.80 Squadron remained in the western desert, to guard the ever-lengthening lines of communication against German attack. In January 1944 it moved to Italy, where it took on a more offensive role.

In April 1944 No.80 Squadron left Italy and returned to Britain, to take part in the D-Day landings. It used its Spitfires to fly fighter sweeps and bomber escort missions over occupied Europe, before receiving Hawker Tempests in August 1944.

In September No.80 Squadron moved to the Continent, where it flew armed reconnaissance missions behind German lines - finding targets and where possible attacking them). After the end of the war No.80 Squadron became part of the Allied occupation force in Germany, remaining there until it was moved to Hong Kong in August 1949.

Aircraft
March 1937-April 1941: Gloster Gladiator I and II
June-August 1940: Hawker Hurricane I
February 1941-January 1942: Hawker Hurricane I
January 1942-April 1943: Hawker Hurricane IIC
April 1943-April 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VC
July 1943-November 1943: Supermarine Spitfire IX
May 1944-August 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
August 1944-January 1948: Hawker Tempest V

Location
April 1939-August 1940: Amriya
August-November 1940: Sidi Haneish South
November-December 1940: Trikkala
December 1940-January 1941: Larissa
January-March 1941: Iannina
March-April 1941: Eleusis
April 1941: Argos

May-July 1941: Aqir
     June-July 1941: Detachment at Nicosia
     June-July 1941: Detachment at Haifa
July-August 1941: Nicosia
August-September 1941: Aqir
September-October 1941: Rayak
October 1941: Gaza
October-November 1941: LG.103
November 1941: LG.111
November-December 1941: LG.128
December 1941: El Gubbi
December 1941: Gazala No.2
December 1941-February 1942: El Adem
February 1942: LG.109
February-March 1942: LG.102
March-May 1942: Gambut
May-June 1942: LG.121
June 1942: LG.18 Fuka Main
June-September 1942: LG.92
September-October 1942: El Bassa
October 1942: LG.85
October-November 1942: LG.37
November 1942: LG.13
November 1942-May 1943: Bu Amud
May-July 1943: Idku
July-August 1943: Savoia
August-September 1943: St. Jean
September-November 1943: Derna
November 1943-January 1944: Kabrit
January-February 1944: Madna
February-March 1944: Canne
March 1944: Trigno

April-May 1944: Sawbridgworth
May 1944: Hornchurch
May-June 1944: Detling
June 1944: Merston
June-July 1944: Gatwick
July-August 1944: West Malling
August-September 1944: Manston
September 1944: Coltishall
September-October 1944: Deurne
October 1944: B.82 Grave
October 1944-April 1945: B.80 Volkel
April 1945: B.112 Hopsten
April-May 1945: Warmwell
May-June 1945: Fassberg

Squadron Codes: OD (Gladiator), YK (Hurricane), EY (Hurricane, Spitfire), W2 (Spitfire, Tempest)

Duty
Fighter Squadron: Middle East, Greece: 1939-1944
Fighter Squadron: Normandy, Northern Europe 1944-45

Books

Gloster Gladiator Aces, Andrew Thomas. A look at the wartime career of the only biplane fighter still in RAF service during the Second World War. Covers the Gladiator's service in Finland, Malta, North Africa, Greece, Aden, East Africa and Iraq, where despite being outdated it performed surprisingly well.
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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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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 (29 July 2009), No. 80 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/80_wwII.html

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