Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books
No.200 Squadron was a maritime patrol squadron that flew anti-submarine warfare patrols off West Africa from 1942 to 1944 before moving to India to operate over the Indian Ocean.
The squadron was reformed on 25 May 1941 at Bircham Newton around a nucleus from No.206 Squadron. The ground echelon left for West Africa a few days later, while six (or seven) Hudsons left on 12 June to fly to Gambia via Gibraltar. While at Gibraltar they were used to escort 48 Hurricanes from HMS Ark Royal and HMS Victorious to Malta.
The first five Hudsons reached Jeswang on 18 June and the squadron began to provide anti-submarine cover over the South Atlantic. Although the number of sorties being flown reached 172 by September 1942 very little enemy activity was seen. The Hudsons were replaced by Liberators in July 1943, and the increase in range offered by the new aircraft meant that during the first month of Liberator operations the squadron finally saw some action.
One of the squadron's first sorties with the new Liberators ended with the loss of an aircraft and the award of a posthumous Victorious Cross on the testimony of the German survivors of the incident. On 11 August 1943, Flying Officer Lloyd Allan Trigg, a New Zealander, flying his first operational sortie in a Liberator, found U-468 240 miles to the south-west of Dakar. The U-boat's anti-aircraft fire was accurate and the Liberator was soon on fire. Despite this Trigg pressed on with the attack, fatally damaging the U-boat with his bombs. The Liberator then crashed into the sea with the loss of the entire crew. Some of the U-boat crew survived on one of the aircraft's dinghy and it was their testimony that led to the award of Trigg's VC.
A second victory followed six days later when the squadron (along with No.697 Squadron) sank U-403, but after this things quietened down. Anti-submarine patrols continued until March 1944, when the squadron prepared for a move to India. Taking advantage of the long range of its aircraft the squadron flew from Yundum to St. Thomas Mount on Ceylon, arriving on 29 March after a trip that lasted thirteen days.
Convoy escort and anti-shipping patrols over the Indian Ocean began on 28 April 1944, along with some limited anti-submarine patrols, one of which, in December, saw the squadron damage a surfaced submarine. In January 1945 the squadron began to train with the Leigh Light, but then in April was transferred to Special Duties, flying supplies to agents and guerrilla bands in Burma. The squadron was renumbered as No.8 Squadron on 15 May 1945.
May 1941-September 1943: Lockheed Hudson III, IV and V
July 1943-November 1944: Consolidated Liberator V
November 1944-May 1945: Consolidated Liberator VI
May-June 1941: Bircham Newton
June 1941-March 1943: Jeswang
March 1943-March 1944: Yundum
March 1944-April 1945: St. Thomas Mount
April-May 1945: Jessore
Squadron Codes: P, C, U
1941-April 1944: Anti-submarine patrols, West Africa
April 1944-January 1945: Convoy Escort and anti-shipping patrols, Indian Ocean
1 July 1944: No.225 Group; Air Command South East Asia