No. 2 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.2 Squadron, RCAF, was an army co-operation squadron in the pre-war Permanent Force of the RCAF that was used to reinforce No.110 Squadron, the first Canadian squadron to move to Britain after the outbreak of the Second World War. In December 1940 No.112 Squadron, which was also in Britain, was renumbered as No.2, and flew convoy escort duties along the east coast. It was renumbered as No.402 Squadron in March 1941.

Before the outbreak of war No.2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron was part of the RCAF's small Permanent Force. It had been formed in 1935 from the Atlas and Siskin flights of the RCAF.

It's normal role was to sent detachments to militia camps to help with army co-operation exercises, but it also spent some of its time on gunnery and bombing practice.

During the Munich Crisis of September 1938 the squadron was equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas, which it had to move to Halifax to operate as a coast artillery co-operation squadron. The Atlas had been the first dedicated army co-operation aircraft built for the RAF, but it had entered service in the late 1920s and replaced by the RAF in 1935, and was obsolete by 1938. For most of the year the squadron only had seven servicable aircraft, although one was totally written off after a crash during the summer of 1938.

In January-February 1939 the squadron practised flying in two and three aircraft formations and night flying. In the spring it took part in intensive training in air firing, bombing, navigation, air drills, formation flying and camera practice, as well as preparing for the 1939 visit of King George VI to Canada. In July a detachment moved to Petawawa to take part in artillery exercises, flying spotting missions for 60-pounder guns and 4.5in howitzers.

When war broke out the squadron was used to reinforce No.110 (City of Toronto) Squadron, which was chosen to be the first Canadian squadron to move to Britain. It's commanding officer, Squadron Leader W. D. Van Vliet and many of the squadron's men moved to No.110 Squadron, and No.2 Squadron was disbanded.

A new No.2 Squadron was formed from No.112 Squadron, RCAF, at Digby (Lincolnshire) on 11 December 1940.

Until this point No.112 Squadron had been training for army co-operation duties using the Lysander, but it was now equipped with the Hawker Hurricane. It used its new aircraft to fly patrols over convoys along the British east coast.

No.2 Squadron re-numbered as No.402 Squadron on 1 March 1941.

Aircraft
December 1940-March 1941: Hawker Hurricane I

Location
December 1940-March 1941: Digby

Squadron Codes: -

Duty
December 1940-March 1941: Coastal patrols, UK East Coast

Books

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 May 2021), No. 2 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/2_wwII.html

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