No. 102 "Ceylon" Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No. 102 "Ceylon" Squadron was a heavy bomber squadron that served with Bomber Command for most of the Second World War, equipped first with the Whitley and then with the Handley Page Halifax. The squadron had been formed in 1935 from B Flight of No. 7 Squadron, and had originally been equipped with the Heyford bomber, but the first Whitleys arrived in 1938, and the squadron would operate that aircraft until the start of 1942.

At the outbreak of war No. 102 Squadron began leaflet-dropping raids over Germany, but like the rest of Bomber Command was not able to begin bombing raids until the Germans invaded Norway in April 1940. From then until the end of the war the squadron took part in the strategic bombing campaign, with only two breaks.

The first came in September-October 1940, when the squadron was loaned to Coastal Command, and spent six weeks carrying out convoy escort duties from Prestwick.

The second came at the start of 1942, when the squadron was in the process of converting from the Whitley to the Halifax. The last Whitley operation was flown on 31 January 1942, but the conversion took longer than expected, and the first Halifax raid did not take place until 14 April 1942.

At the end of the war the squadron moved to Transport Command, and in September began to prepare for a move to India, but this never came and the squadron was disbanded on 28 February 1946.

October 1938-January 1940: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley III
November 1930-February 1942: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V
December 1941-March 1944: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk II
March 1944 to September 1945: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III
February 1945 to September 1945: Handley Page Halifax B.Mk VI

11 July 1938-25 August 1940: Driffield
25 August-1 September 1940: Leeming
1 September-10 October 1940: Prestwick
10 October-15 November 1940: Linton-on-Ouse
15 November 1940-15 November 1941: Topcliffe
15 November 1941-7 June 1942: Dalton
7 June-7 August 1942: Topcliffe
7 August 1942-8 September 1945: Pocklington

Squadron Codes: DY

Group and Duty
On 26 September 1939: Reserve bomber squadron with No. 4 Group
By December 1941, to 7 May 1945: Bomber squadron with No.4 Group
From 8 May 1945: Transport Command


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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Review of Halifax Squadrons by John lake Halifax Squadrons of World War II , Jon Lake. This is a very good book on the combat record of the Handley Page Halifax. It covers much more than just its role as a front line bomber, with chapters on the Halifax with Coastal Command, the Pathfinders and SOE, amongst others. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 April 2008), No. 102 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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