No. 97 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.97 Squadron went through three incarnations during the Second World War, of which only the third saw active service.

At the start of the war the squadron was a training squadron in No. 6 Group, operating a mix of Avro Ansons and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley. In April 1940 the squadron was redesignated as No. 10 Operational Training Unit.

The second incarnation was very short lived, lasting from 1-20 May 1940, disbanding before it received any aircraft.

The third and final incarnation of the squadron formed on 25 February 1941 around a nucleus provided by No. 207 Squadron. The new squadron was equipped with the troubled Avro Manchester, beginning operations on 8 April 1941. This aircraft was so unreliable that for a short time in the summer of 1941 the squadron had to supplement it with a number of Handley Page Hampden Is.

The much superior Avro Lancaster began to arrive in January 1942, and the squadron operated that type for the rest of the war, mostly with the main bomber force but from April 1943 to April 1944 with the Pathfinder Force.

Aircraft
February 1939-April 1940: Avon Anson I, Armstrong Whitworth Whitley II and Whitley III

March 1941-February 1942: Avro Manchester I and IA
July 1941-August 1941: Handley Page Hampden I
January 1942-July 1946: Avro Lancaster I and Lancaster III

Location
7 January-17 September 1937: Leconfield
17 September-6 April 1940: Abingdon

1-20 May 1940: Driffield

25 February-10 March 1941: Waddington
10 March 1941-2 March 1942: Coningsby
2 March 1943-18 April 1943: Woodhall Spa
18 April 1943-18 April 1944: Bourn
18 April 1944-5 November 1946: Coningsby

Group and Duty
26 September 1939-April 1940: Pool bomber squadron with No. 6 Group
February 1941-April 1943: Bomber Command, Heavy Bomber Squadron
April 1943-April 1944: Pathfinder Force
April 1944-end of war: Bomber Command, Heavy Bomber Squadron

Books

Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris. The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written (Read Full Review)
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Lancaster Squadron 1942-43, Jon Lake. This book looks at the early career of the Avro Lancaster. During this period the Lancaster was just one of a number of aircraft used by Bomber Command, important amongst them the Wellington, the Stirling and the Halifax. Only by the end of this period do we see the Lancaster begin to emerge as the most important aircraft in Bomber Command. Lake covers the wide range of activities performed by the Lancaster squadrons during this squadron, including the famous Dam Busters raid. [see more]
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Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45, Jon Lake. A well balanced look at the career of the Avro Lancaster in 1944-45, the period most famous for the systematic night bombardment of German cities. This was also the period that saw the Lancaster used to support the invasion of France, and the period that saw 617 Squadron drop Barnes Wallis's huge streamlined bombs with great precision. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 January 2008), No. 97 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/97_wwII.html

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