No. 84 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.84 Squadron had a relatively short active career during the Second World War, handicapped by a lack of aircraft or by the choice of aircraft for much of the time. After fighting in Greece between November 1940 and April 1941 the squadron moved to the Far East, and was involved in the retreat from Sumatra, but after that its active career was limited to six months flying the Vultee Vengeance over Burma in the first half of 1944.

No.84 Squadron spent the inter-war period serving in southern Iraq, helping to police vast areas of desert with slowly improving aircraft, eventually receiving the Bristol Blenheim I in February 1939.

Despite the Italian entry of war the squadron remained in Iraq until September 1940, when it moved to Egypt. In November the squadron took its Blenheims to Greece as part of the British expeditionary force sent to fight the Italians. After a period of successful operations against the Italians the German invasion of April 1941 forced the RAF to pull out of Greece. No.84 Squadron returned to Iraq, then moved on to the Western Desert, but once again only for a short time, from November until January 1942.

The Japanese entry into the war in December 1941 found the British Empire in the east woefully short of aircraft. No.84 Squadron was one of a number of squadrons that moved from the Middle East to the Far East in an attempt to restore the situation, reaching Sumatra in late January 1942 where it joined up with survivors of the defeat in Malaya, in particular from No.27 Squadron and No.34 Squadron.

This combined force was soon threatened by the Japanese invasion of Sumatra and Java. At the end of February most of the ground crew were evacuated by ship back to India, with the remaining air and ground crew not far behind.

Once back in India the squadron was issued with replacement Blenheims, but they were withdraw in June, leaving the squadron without aircraft until the arrival of the Vultee Vengeance in December 1942. 1943 was spent training to use the new dive bomber, and operations didn't begin until 16 February 1944. After six months operating over Burma the squadron was withdrawn and converted to the Mosquito. Once again the new aircraft was delayed, and No.84 Squadron was without aircraft from July 1944 until February 1945. Another long training period followed, and the squadron had still not returned to combat when the Japanese surrender ended the war.

Aircraft
February 1939-March 1941: Bristol Blenheim I
March 1941-February 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV
April 1942-June 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV
December 1942-October 1944: Vultee Vengeance I, II and III
February 1945-November 1946: de Havilland Mosquito VI

Location
September 1920-September 1940: Shaibah
September-November 1940: Heliopolis
November-April 1941: Menidi
April 1941: Haraklion
April-May 1941: Aqir
May-June 1941: Habbaniya
June-September 1941: Mosul
September-October 1941: Habbaniya
October-November 1941: Amriya
November 1941: LG.116
November-December 1941: LG.75
December 1941-January 1942: Gambut
January 1942: Heliopolis

January-February 1942: Palembang
February 1942: Kalidjati

March-April 1942: Karachi
April-June 1942: Drigh Road
June-November 1942: Quetta
November 1942-January 1943: Vizagapatam
January-April 1943: Cholavarum
April-August 1943: Ratmalana
August-December 1943: Ranchi
December 1943-February 1944: Maharajpur
February-July 1944: Kumbhirgram
July-October 1944: Quetta/ Samungli
October 1944-April 1945: Yelahanka
April-June 1945: Chharra
June-September 1945: St. Thomas Mount
September 1945: Baigachi
September 1945: Guindy
September-October 1945: Seletar

Squadron Codes: VA, D, PY

Duty
Bomber Squadron: Iraq, 1939-1940
Bomber Squadron: Greece, 1940-41
Bomber Squadron: Sumatra, early 1942
Dive Bomber Squadron: Burma, first half of 1944

Books

Blenheim Squadrons of World War Two, Jon Lake. This book looks at the entire RAF service career of the Bristol Blenheim, from its debut as a promising fast bomber, through the deadly disillusionment of the blitzkrieg, on to its work in the Middle East and Mediterranean, where the aircraft found a new lease of life. Lake also looks at the use of the Blenheim as an interim fighter aircraft and its use by Coastal Command.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 July 2009), No. 84 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/84_wwII.html

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