No. 441 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.441 Squadron (RCAF) was a Canadian fighter squadron that had a varied career, supporting the D-Day landings, escorting Bomber Command's daylight raids over Germany and providing fighter defences for Scapa Flow.

The squadron was originally formed in Canada as No.125 Squadron, a fighter squadron on the east coast of Canada. Early in 1944 the squadron's personnel moved to the US, and on 8 February 1944 it reformed at Digby, Lincolnshire (along with Nos.442 and 443 Squadrons, which formed No.144 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force). At first it was equipped with the Spitfire VB, but in March these were replaced with the more modern Spitfire IX.

The squadron became operational on 27 March 1944, and was used to fly fighter sweeps across France. This was interrupted by a brief move to Hutton Cranswick in Yorkshire for a few days in April , but the squadron was back in the south by 23 April. All three squadrons in the wing made this move one at a time, first No.443, then No.441 and finally No.442. They were almost certainly visiting Hutton Cranswick to train at No.16 Armament Practice Camp, which was based there at the time.

On 4 June Nos.441, 442 and 443 Squadrons attacked the German radar base at Cap d'Antifer, achieving nine direct hits with 500lb bombs and destroying the Wurzburg radar.

On D-Day Nos.441, 442 and 443 Squadrons formed No.144 Wing of 83 Group. On D-Day the squadron provided fighter cover for the beachhead and the invasion shipping

The wing became the first RAF units to operate from a base in France after D-Day, when they used the first completed airfield to refuel after a sweep on 10 June. They then repeated the sweep before returning to Britain. Five days later the squadron moved to Normandy. The squadron spent the next few months providing air cover for the Allied armies fighting in Normandy and during the break out period.

At the end of September the squadron returned to the UK, and for the next three months it was based at Hawkinge (Kent), from where it was used to provide fighter escort for Bomber Command's renewed daylight raids over Germany.

At the end of December the squadron moved north to Skeabrae, on the Mainland of Orkney, from where it was used to protect the Fleet base at Scapa Flow.

At the start of April the squadron returned to Hawkinge, from where it resumed flying escort missions. However in May the squadron began to convert to the Mustang, and this wasn't complete when the war in Europe ended. The squadron was disbanded on 7 August 1945.

Aircraft
February-March 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB
March 1944-June 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
May-August 1945: North American Mustang III and Mustang IV

Location
8 February-18 March 1944: Digby (Lincolnshire)
18 March-1 April 1944: Holmsley South (Dorset)
1-12 April 1944: Westhampnett (West Sussex)
12-23 April 1944: Hutton Cranswick (Yorkshire)
23 April-14 May 1944: Funtington (West Sussex)
14 May-15 June 1944: Ford (West Sussex)
15 June-14 July 1944: B.3 St. Croix
14 July-13 August 1944: B.11 Longues
13 August-2 September 1944: B.19 Lingevres
2 September-5 September 1944: B.40 Beauvais
5-17 September 1944: B.52 Vitry-en-Artois
17-30 September 1944: B.70 Deurne
30 September-28 December 1944: Hawkinge (Kent)
28 December 1944-3 April 1945: Skeabrae (Orkney)
3-29 April 1945: Hawkinge
29 April-17 May 1945: Hunsdon (Essex)
16 July-7 August 1945: Molesworth (Cambridgeshire)

Squadron Codes: 9G

Duty
-6 June 1944-: No.144 (RCAF) Wing, No.83 Group, Second Tactical Air Force

Books

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 December 2021), No. 441 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/441_wwII.html

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