No. 88 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No. 88 Squadron began the war as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force, making it one of the first squadrons to be sent to France. Like all of the Battle squadrons, No. 88 suffered very heavy loses during the Battle of France. The survivors retreated back to Britain in mid-June, before moving to Sydenham (Belfast) later in the month. There the squadron operated a mix of Battles, Boston Is and Blenheim IVs, carrying out patrol duties over the vital West Approaches.

Boston IIIs of No.88 Squadron
Boston IIIs of No.88 Squadron

In July 1941 the squadron moved to Swanton Morley (East Anglia), where it converted fully to the Boston III and IIIA. From there it carried out attacks on German coastal shipping and targets on the coast of occupied Europe.

August 1943 saw the squadron move to Hartfordbridge in Hampshire, in preparation for the invasion of Europe. From there the squadron attacked German communications and airfields, while on D-Day it laid a smokescreen to hide the first wave of landing craft.

In October 1944 the squadron returned to France after a gap of over four years, joining the tactical air forces that were supporting the Allied armies as they advanced across Europe. The squadron was disbanded on 4 April 1945.

Aircraft
December 1937-September 1941 :  Fairey Battle
December 1940-December 1941: Boston I
February 1941-December 1941: Bristol Blenheim IV
September 1941-April 1945: Boston III and IIIA
June 1944-April 1945: Boston IV

Location
17 July 1937-2 September 1939: Boscombe Down
2-12 September 1939: Auberive
12 September 1939-16 May 1940: Mourmelon
16 May-3 June 1940: Les Grandes Chappelles
3-14 June 1940: Moisy
14-23 June 1940: Driffield
23 June 1940-8 July 1941: Sydenham (Belfast)
8 July-1 August 1941: Swanton Morley
1 August 1941-29 September 1942: Attlebridge
29 September 1942-30 March 1943: Oulton
30 March-19 August 1943: Swanton Morley
19 August 1943-17 October 1944: Hartfordbridge (Hampshire)
17 October 1944-6 April 1945: Vitry-en-Artois

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
September 1939-June 1940: Bomber squadron with No.1 Group, 75 Wing, Advanced Air Striking Force
June 1940-July 1941: Patrol Duties from Northern Island
August 1941-October 1944: No. 2 Group attacking German targets in occupied Europe
October 1944-April 1945: Tactical bombing from Vitry-en-Artois, France

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 (31 January 2008), No. 88 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/88_wwII.html

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