No. 211 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.211 Squadron had two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a bomber squadron that served in the Middle East and in the disastrous early campaigns in the Far East, and second as a fighter-bomber squadron operating on the Burma front.

The squadron was reformed on 24 June 1937 as a day bomber squadron equipped with the Audax and the Hind. These aircraft were taken to the Middle East in April 1938, where in May 1939 they were replaced with Blenheims. After the Italian entry into the war the Blenheims were used as both bombers and reconnaissance aircraft over the Western Desert - on 11 June it was reconnaissance aircraft from the squadron that found the Italian airforce unprepared and on the ground at its main base at El Adem.

In November 1940 the squadron was one of the first RAF units to move to Greece after the Italian invasion, and was used to bomb Italian bases in Albania. The squadron remained in Greece for five months, but was forced to evacuate after the German invasion in April 1941. In May the squadron was involved in the Allied invasion of Syria, before moving to the Sudan for training with No.72 OTU.

At the end of 1941 the squadron was sent to Singapore in an attempt shore up the defences against the advancing Japanese, but by the time it reached the Far East the airfields in Malaya were already under attack and so the squadron moved on to Sumatra. A few operations were flown from Sumatra before the squadron was forced to retreat to Java in mid February, where on 19 February all surviving aircraft were handed over the No.84. No.211 Squadron was then disbanded.

The squadron was reformed on 14 August 1943 at Phaphamau, Allahabad, as a Beaufighter unit. The first aircraft arrived in October, and the squadron flew its first operation over Burma on 13 January 1944. From then until May 1945 the squadron was used for attacks on Japanese communications, river craft and coastal convoys, including an attack on a large coastal convoy in September 1944 in which aircraft from Nos.211 and 177 Squadrons damaged at least fourteen ships.

In May 1945 the squadron was pulled back to India to convert to the Mosquito, in preparation for the invasion of Malaya. The end of the war meant that this operation was not needed, and instead in October the squadron moved to Bangkok, where it was disbanded on 15 March 1946.

May 1939-May 1941: Bristol Blenheim I
May 1941-February 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV
October 1943-June 1945: Bristol Beaufighter IX
June 1945-March 1946: de Havilland Mosquito VI

January-April 1939: Ismailia
April-May 1939: El Daba
May-August 1939: Ismailia
August 1939-July 1940: El Daba
July-November 1940: Qotafiya
November 1940: Ismailia
November 1940-February 1941: Tatoi/ Menidi
Febriary-April 1941: Paramythia
April 1941: Agrinion
April 1941: Heraklion
April 1941: Heliopolis
April 1941: Ramlah
April-May 1941: Lydda
May-June 1941: Aqir
June 1941: Heliopolis
June-December 1941: Wadi Gazouza

January-February 1942: Palembang
February 1942: Kalidjati

August-November 1943: Phaphamau
November-December 1943: Ranchi
December 1943-January 1944: Silchar
January-May 1944: Comilla/ Bhatpara
May-July 1944: Feni
July 1944-May 1945: Chiringa (Chakeri, SE Bangladesh)
May-July 1945: Yelahanka
July-September 1945: St. Thomas Mount
October 1945-March 1946: Don Muang (Siam)

Squadron Codes: UQ (Blenheim I)

1939-1941: Bomber Squadron, Middle East
1941-1942: Bomber Squadron, Far East
1943-1945: Ground attack squadron, Far East

Part of
September 1939: Egypt Group; RAF Middle East
1 July 1944: No.169 Wing; No.224 Group; Third Tactical Air Force; Eastern Air Command; HQ Air Command South-East Asia



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 February 2011), No. 211 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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