No. 439 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.439 Squadron (RCAF) was a Canadian fighter squadron that served with 2nd Tactical Air Force, and supported the D-Day landings and the campaign in north-western Europe, ending the war in Germany.

The squadron had been part of the home based RCAF as No.123 Squadron, when it was equipped with the Westland Lysander, Hawker Hurricane and the Bristol Bolingbroke (a licence built version of the Bristol Blenheim IV built by Fairchild-Canada). The squadron performed local defence duties on the Canadian east coast.

By 1943 it was no longer needed for that role, so in November its personnel moved to the UK. The squadron reformed at Wellingore, Lincolnshire. At the start of January 1944 the squadron moved to RAF Ayr (near Glasgow), where it joined No.143 Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force and was equipped with a mix of Hurricanes and Typhoons. The squadron would still be equipped with both when it became operational, although the Hurricanes soon went.

The squadron moved south in March, and flew its first operation on 27 March 1944 from RAF Hurn (Dorset). It's main focus at this point were flying bomb sites, but it also took part in the wider attacks on German communications in France in the build-up to D-Day.

By the end of June the squadron had moved to Normandy, from where it provided close support for the advancing armies. Early in September it moved to Belgium and later in the month to Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

The squadron suffered relatively heavy damage during Operation Bodenplatte of 1 January 1945, the last major Luftwaffe operation in the west. Nos.438 and 439 Squadrons were about to take off from Eindhoven when the attack began, so many of their aircraft were caught exposed on the runway. Eight Typhoons from No.438 Squadron and eight from No.439 Squadron were caught lined up on the runway ready to take off. During the attack 60 of the 125 Typhoons at the base were damaged, although of these 24 were repaired locally and ten elsewhere, leaving 17 destroyed and nine damaged too badly to be worth repairing.

On 30 March 1945 the squadron moved to RAF B.100 Goch, which had been the first RAF base in Germany. However it was only there for a few days before moving to Warmwell in Dorset. By the end of April the squadron returned to Germany, where it flew sweeps against German communications and shipping.

The squadron was disbanded in Germany on 26 August 1945.

Aircraft
January-April 1944: Hawker Hurricane IV
January 1944-August 1945: Hawker Typhoon IB

Location
31 December 1943-8 January 1944: Wellingore (Lincolnshire)
8 January-18 March 1944: Ayr (Glasgow)
18 March-2 April 1944: Hurn (Dorset)
2-19 April 1944: Funtington(West Sussex)
19 April-11 May 1944: Hurn
11-20 May 1944: Hutton Cranswick
20 May-27 June 1944: Hurn
28 June-31 August 1944: B.9 Lantheuil
31 August-3 September 1944: B.24 St. Andre de l'Eure
3-6 September 1944: B.48 Amiens-Glisy
6-25 September 1944: B.58 Melsbroek (Brussels)
25 September 1944-30 March 1945: B.78 Eindhoven (Netherlands)
30 March-3 April 1945: B.100 Goch (Germany)
3-23 April 1945: Warmwell (Dorset)
23 April-29 May 1945: B.150 Hustedt
29 May-26 August 1945: B.166 Flensburg

Squadron Codes: 5V

Duty
-6 June 1944-: No.143 (RCAF) Wing, No.83 Group, Second Tactical Air Force

Books

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 December 2021), No. 439 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/439_wwII.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies