No. 91 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.91 Squadron was formed in 1941 from a Reconnaissance Flight, but soon became a conventional fighter squadron, flying sweeps over Occupied France, supporting the D-Day invasions and taking on the V-1 Flying Bomb.

On 11 January 1941 the Spitfire-equipped No.412 (Reconnaissance) Flight was redesignated as No.91 Squadron. Reconnaissance duties continued until the summer of 1941, but after that the squadron flew a mix of coastal shipping patrols (the short range of the Spitfire preventing the squadron from operating further afield), weather reconnaissance flights and air-sea rescue sweeps, finding downed aircrew and directing larger aircraft with rescue equipment to the area.

In April 1943 the squadron began to convert to the Spitfire XII, and in March it brought its new aircraft south to perform in a more conventional manner, taking part in offensive sweeps across occupied France.

In March 1944 the squadron joined the Second Tactical Air Force, the RAF's contribution to the Normandy invasion force. From then until D-Day the squadron flew armed reconnaissance missions in the invasion area, but soon after D-Day the V-1 campaign began, and No.91 was withdrawn from the fighting in France to take part in the campaign against the flying bombs.

By September No.91 was released from the flying bomb campaign, and began to fly long-range escort missions for day bombers. By the spring of 1945 there was no longer any real need to escort the bombers, and in April the squadron moved to East Anglia, from where it flew armed reconnaissance patrols over the German occupied Netherlands and maritime reconnaissance searching for midget submarines, one of the last threats to Allied shipping.

Aircraft
January-May 1941: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
March 1941-April 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VA and VB
April 1943-March 1944: Supermarine Spitfire XII
March-August 1944: Supermarine Spitfire XIV
August 1944-April 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IXB
April 1945-October 1946: Supermarine Spitfire F.21

Location
January 1941-November 1942: Hawkinge
November 1942-January 1943: Lympne
January-April 1943: Hawkinge
April-May 1943: Honiley
May 1943:Kings Cliffe
May-June 1943: Hawkinge
June-October 1943: Westhampnett
October 1943-February 1944: Tangmere
February 1944: Hutton Cranswick
February-March 1944: Castle Camps
March-April 1944: Drem
April-July 1944: West Malling
July-October 1944: Deanland
October 1944: Biggin Hill
October 1944-April 1945: Manston
April 1945-April 1946: Ludham

Squadron Codes: DL

Duty
Reconnaissance Squadron 1941
Fighter Squadron 1941-45

Books

Spitfire: Flying Legend - 60th Anniversary 1936-96, John M. Dibbs. A beautifully illustrated book focusing on surviving flyable Spitfires, with some very impressive modern colour photos backed up by a good selection of archival pictures and a good selection of relevant quotes from wartime Spitfire pilots [see more]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 July 2009), No. 91 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/91_wwII.html

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