No. 240 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.240 Squadron was a flying boat squadron that spend the first half of the war serving in Home Waters and the second half operating from India. The squadron was reformed on 30 March 1937 from C Flight, Seaplane Training Squadron at Calshot. At first it was equipped with the Supermarine Scapa, but converted to the Short Singapore before becoming operational in January 1939.

Saro London II Flying Boat

In June 1939 the squadron was withdrawn to convert to the Saro London, becoming operational in July. In September it moved to its war station at Invergordon, and patrols over the North Sea began on 3 September. At the same time the squadron began to convert to the Saro Lerwick, but this aircraft was quickly discovered to be unsatisfactory, and in October the conversion was cancelled.

In May 1940 the squadron moved to Pembroke Dock, from where it flew patrols over the Western Approaches, this time using the Supermarine Stranraer. In June a detachment was posted to Oban to widen the area being patrols. In March 1941 the squadron finally received a modern flying boat, when the first Consolidated Catalina arrived. The squadron spent the next year flying patrols over the Atlantic from Loch Erne, Northern Ireland. In May 1941 it took part in the hunt for the Bismarck, and an aircraft from the squadron shadowed the German battleship at a key part in the battle, just before the Swordfish attack that crippled its steering. The long range of the Catalina was demonstrated later in the year, when the squadron helped protect Convoy P.Q. 18 on its way to northern Russia.

In March 1942 the ground echelon departed for the Far East, followed by the aircraft in June. The squadron was based at Redhills Lake from early July 1942 until the end of the war. Patrols over the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean began at the same time. In December 1944 the squadron also began to fly agents and supplies into the Dutch East Indies, before being disbanded on 1 July 1945

November 1938-July 1939: Short Singapore III
July 1939-July 1940: Saro London II
June 1940-March 1941: Supermarine Stranraer I
March 1941-December 1945: Consolidated Catalina I, IB and II
May 1944-August 1945: Consolidated Catalina IV
July 1945-March 1946: Short Sunderland V


Saro London II Flying Boat
March 1937-August 1939: Calshot
August-November 1939: Invergordon
November 1939-April 1940: Sullom Voe
April-May 1940: Invergordon
May-July 1940: Pembroke Dock
July 1940-March 1941: Stranraer
March-August 1941: Killadeas
August 1941-March 1942: Castle Archdale

July 1942-July 1945: Red Hills Lake

July 1945-January 1946: Red Hills Lake
January-March 1946: Koggala

Squadron Codes: BN

1939-1942: Home based flying boat squadron
1942-1945: India based flying boat squadron

Part of
September 1939: No.18 G.R. Group; Coastal Command
1 July 1944: No.225 Group; Air Command South East Asia


Short Sunderland Squadrons of World War 2, Jon Lake. A look at the service carrier of the most successful British flying boat of the Second World War, and a key component in Coastal Command's battle against the U-boat. Covers the introduction of the aircraft, its role in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, West Africa and other theatres.
cover cover cover


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 July 2011), No. 240 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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