No. 422 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

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No.422 Squadron, RCAF, was a Canadian squadron that served with Coastal Command and mainly operated the Short Sunderland over the western approaches, sinking U-625 in 1944 as well as briefly using the Catalina to fly supplies to the Soviet Union.

The squadron was formed on Lough Erne on 2 April 1942, with one Saro Lerwick and three Catalinas.

The squadron was briefly equipped with the Saro Lerwick, a disasterous flying boat that had already been withdrawn from service with the only other squadron to attempt to use it. The squadron began with one, and had seven by the end of August 1942, but by the end of October they had all been sent to Greenock to be broke up.

No.422 Squadron RCAF briefly operated the Catalina from August-October 1942. These aircraft were used to fly supplies to the Soviet Union, and then to escort the Russian convoys.

In October 1942 a detachment was sent to Canada to collect a number of Consolidated Catalinas and fly them back across the Atlantic. This mission was completed by 16 November, but eleven days earlier the rest of the squadron had moved to Oban, where it converted to the Sunderland III.

In January 1943 the squadron began to use its Sunderlands, on transport missions to West Africa. A small detchment was left at Jui (Sierra Leone) to maintain the aircraft.

On 25 February 1943 the squadron began to fly anti-submarine patrols.

In November 1943 the squadron moved to Castle Archdale in northern Ireland, to fly patrols over the western approaches.

U-625 being depth charged, 10 March 1944
U-625 being depth charged, 10 March 1944

At the end of December 1943 the squadron took part in a series of attacks on the German blockade runner Alsterufer, heading to Bordeaux on its way back from the South Atlantic. The squadron scored some near misses, but not enough to stop the blockade runner. However a Liberator from No.311 Squadron scored direct hits, forcing her crew to abandon ship.

On 10 March 1944 Sunderland Mk.III EK591 'U' from the squadron attacked U-625. The submarine briefly submerged, but then came back to the surface in a sinking condition. Some of her crew managed to escape from her before she sank, but a storm hit on the following night and none survived.

In November 1944 the squadron moved to Pembroke Dock, from where it continued to operate on anti-submarine duties.

On 1 June 1944 the squadron was transfered to Transport Command. On 25 July the personel moved to Bassingbourn (Cambridgeshire), unsurprisingly without their Sunderlands, where it converted to the Liberator and prepared to operate on the transport route to the Far East.

The squadron was disbanded on 3 September 1945 after the Japanese surrender ended the need for a massive airlift to the Far East.

Aircraft
July-November 1942: Saro Lerwick
July-November 1942: Consolidated Catalina IB, III and IV
November 1942-June 1945: Sunderland III
August-September 1945: Consolidated Librator VI and VIII

Location
2 April-30 October 1942: Lough Erne
30 October-5 November 1942: Ground echelon at Long Kesh
5 November 1942-7 May 1943: Oban
7 May-4 November 1943: Bowmore
4 November 1943-4 November 1944: Castle Archdale
4 November 1944-25 July 1945: Pembroke Dock
25 July-3 September 1945: Bassingbourn

Squadron Codes: DG (Lerwick and Catalina)

Duty
-15 February 1943-: No.15 Group, Coastal Command

Books

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 October 2021), No. 422 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/422_wwII.html

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