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No.153 Squadron had two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a night fighter squadron which served both at home and in the Mediterranean, and then as a Lancaster squadron in Bomber Command.
The squadron was formed from 'A' Flight of No.256 Squadron, which flew from Squires Gate to Ballyhalbert on 14 October 1941, and began flying on the following day although the squadron was not officially formed until 24 October.
The squadron began by flight night patrols using the Defiant two-seat turret fighter. The first Blenheim night fighters arrived on 10 December and were used for training, before the Beaufighter arrived in January 1942. While the rest of the squadron trained on the Beaufighter, A Flight remained operational with the Defiant. In May 1942 the Beaufighter became operational, and the Defiants were retired.
The squadron remained in Northern Ireland until December 1942, but in that month sixteen of its Beaufighters flew to Algeria via Gibraltar, and the squadron began to provide night cover for Allied bases in North Africa and fly convoy protection patrols. At this point the squadron was operating from a series of bases along the Algerian coast.
In July 1944 a detachment from No.153 moved to Sardinia, from where it flew intruder missions over southern France and northern Italy, as well as helping to cover the Allied landings in southern France. In August a flight of Spitfires and Hurricanes was added for dawn patrols, but on 5 September 1944 the squadron was disbanded.
One month later, on 7 October 1944, the squadron reformed at Kirmington around twenty Lancaster crews from No.166 Squadron. Operations began on the same night and the squadron remained with Bomber Command's Main Force until the end of the war. It was then used for trooping flights to Italy, before disbanding on 28 September 1945.
October 1941-May 1942: Boulton Paul Defiant I
January 1942-January 1943: Bristol Beaufighter I
August 1942-September 1944: Bristol Beaufighter VI
August-September 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VIII and IX
August-September 1944: Hawker Hurricane IIC
October 1944-September 1945: Avro Lancaster I and III
October 1941-January 1943: Ballyhalbert
December 1942-July 1943: Maison Blanche
July 1943-September 1944: Reghaia
July-September 1944: Detachment to Alghero
October 1944: Kirmington
October-September 1945: Scampton
Squadron Codes: TB (Beaufighter), P4 (Lancaster)
1941-1942: Home Based Night Fighter
1942-1944: Mediterranean Based Night Fighter
1944-1945: Bomber Command
10 July 1943: 2nd Air Defence Wing; North African Coastal Air Force; Northwest African Air Forces; Mediterranean Air Command