No. 252 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.252 Squadron was reformed on 21 November 1940, and was the first squadron in Coastal Command to be equipped with the Bristol Beaufighter. The first Beaufighters arrived in December, although they were used alongside a number of Blenheims until April 1941. Fully operational Beaufighters began to arrive in March (the first to reach Coastal Command), and in April the squadron took them to Northern Ireland. While based in Northern Ireland the squadron was used to provide convoy protection patrols.

In the summer of 1941 the squadron was transferred to the Mediterranean. The first fifteen aircraft were flown to Gibraltar on 1 May, but the rest of the squadron remained operational in Northern Ireland until 15 June 1941, at which point the remaining aircraft were passed to 15 June 1941.

The squadron remained in the Mediterranean for the rest of the war. Although it had been sent to the area to help Malta (and did cover the passage of one Malta convoy), it soon moved to Egypt, where for the first few months it worked under the control of No.272 Squadron, attacking enemy shipping in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Independent operations resumed on 14 November 1941, and the squadron remained based at Idku until early in 1943, when it moved west to the newly captured airfields in Libya. Its area of operation changed to Greece and the Aegean, and it was occupied with anti-shipping patrols over those waters for the next two years.

In February 1945 the squadron moved to Greece. Anti-shipping operations continued, but the squadron was also used for air-sea rescue missions, as well as flying ground attack missions against the Communist rebels during the civil war that followed the German retreat. The squadron remained in Greece after the war, until being disbanded on 1 December 1946.

December 1940-March 1941: Bristol Blenheim IF
December 1940-April 1941: Bristol Blenheim IVF
December 1940-December 1942: Bristol Beaufighter I
November 1942-August 1944: Bristol Beaufighter VI
June 1943-January 1943: Bristol Beaufighter XI
January 1944-December 1946: Bristol Beaufighter X

November-December 1940: Bircham Newton
December 1940-April 1941: Chivenor
April-June 1941: Aldergrove
    May 1941: Detachment to Luqa
    May 1941: Detachment to Heraklion
    May-June 1941: Detachment to Abu Sueir

June 1941-January 1943: Idku
January-February 1943: Berka 3
February-August 1943: Magrun
August-September 1943: Berka 3
September-December 1943: Lakatamia
December 1943-January 1944: LG.91
January-July 1944: Mersa Matruh West
July-November 1944: Gambut
November 1944-February 1945: Mersa Matruh
February 1945: Aboukir
February 1945: Gianaclis
February-August 1945: Hassani
August 1945-December 1946: Araxos

Squadron Codes: PN

1940-1941: Coastal patrols, Home based
1941-1945: Anti-shipping and coastal attack, Mediterranean

Part of
27 October 1942: No.201 Group; RAF Middle East
10 July 1943: No.247 Wing; No.201 Group; RAF Middle East; Mediterranean Air Command


Combat over the Mediterranean, Chris Goss. Focuses largely on the RAF’s anti-shipping missions, using the gun camera photographs taken during actual attacks to give a vivid picture of this important part of the war in the Mediterranean. Focuses largely on No.252 Squadron, as the pictures came from the collection of Dennis Butler, who commandeered the squadron twice during the war. Often includes a whole series of pictures from the same attack, giving us an unparalleled view of events as they happened(Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 July 2011), No. 252 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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