No. 21 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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At the start of the Second World War No.21 Squadron was a light bomber squadron, equipped with newly arrived Blenheim IVs. Like many bomber squadrons it had a quiet start to the war, but that ended in May 1940 with the German invasion of the Low Countries. No.21 Squadron took part in the costly attacks on the advancing Germany columns, before at the end of May moving to Lossiemouth, to join Coastal Command.

The squadron spent most of the next two years operating as an anti-shipping unit, alternating between Lossiemouth and Watton between June and December 1941, before moving to Malta at the end of December 1941 to attack the vital Axis supply convoys attempting to get supplies to Rommel in North Africa.

The squadron was disbanded on Malta on 14 March 1942, and immediately reformed at Bodney, this time as a day bomber squadron. The new squadron inherited No.82 Squadron's Blenheims, which were soon replaced by the Lockheed Ventura, but it was not until the arrival of the Mosquito FB Mk.VI in September 1943 that the squadron gained a truly effective bomber. Its first operation as a day bomber squadron was an attack on the Philips works at Eindhoven on 6 December 1942.

The Mosquitoes were used for a mix of pinpoint daylight raids and night raids until February 1945, when the squadron moved to France. From then until the end of the war the squadron flew night intruder missions over Germany, helping add to the "mosquito panic". After the war the squadron spent two years as part of the occupation forces in Germany, before being disbanded in November 1947.

August 1938-September 1939: Bristol Blenheim I
September 1939-July 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV
May 1942-September 1943: Lockheed Ventura I and Ventura II
September 1943-October 1947: de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.VI

2 March 1939-24 June 1940: Watton
24 June-29 October 1940: Lossiemouth
29 October 1940-27 May 1941: Watton and Bodney
27 May-14 June 1941: Lossiemouth
14 June-17 July 1941: Watton
17-25 July 1941: Manston
25 July-7 September 1941: Watton
7-21 September 1941: Lossiemouth
21 September-26 December: Watton
26 December 1941-14 March 1942: Luqa

15 March-30 October 1942: Bodney
30 October 1942-21 March 1943: Exeter
21-24 March 1943: Methwold
24 March-1 April 1943: Oulton
27 September-31 December 1943: Sculthorpe
31 December 1943-17 April 1944: Hunsdon
17 April-18 June 1944: Gravesend
18 June 1944-6 February 1945: Thorney Island
6 February-17 April 1945: B.87 Rosières-en-Santerre
17 April-3 November 1945: B.58 Melsbroek

Squadron Codes: UP, YH

1939-June 1940: Light Bomber squadron
June 1940-March 1942: Coastal Command anti-shipping
March 1942-1945: Light Bomber squadron, ending with 140 Wing, 2 Group, 2nd TAF


Blenheim Squadrons of World War Two, Jon Lake. This book looks at the entire RAF service career of the Bristol Blenheim, from its debut as a promising fast bomber, through the deadly disillusionment of the blitzkrieg, on to its work in the Middle East and Mediterranean, where the aircraft found a new lease of life. Lake also looks at the use of the Blenheim as an interim fighter aircraft and its use by Coastal Command.
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 Mosquito Bomber/ Fighter-Bomber Units of World War 2, Martin Bowman. The first of three books looking at the RAF career of this most versatile of British aircraft of the Second World War, this volume looks at the squadrons that used the Mosquito as a daylight bomber, over occupied Europe and Germany, against shipping and over Burma. [see more]  
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 May 2008), No. 21 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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