No. 349 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.349 (Belgian) Squadron was a fighter squadron formed for service in the Belgian Congo but that spent most of its existence operating from the UK and liberated Europe.

The squadron was formed on 10 November 1942 in Nigeria around a core of Belgian personnel. It was equipped with the Tomahawk I, and spent the first few months of 1943 operating in the Belgian Congo.

In April 1943 the squadron's aircraft were removed, and its pilots were used to ferry aircraft across Africa from the west coast to the Middle East, an essential supply route while Axis forces blocked the Mediterranean.

At the end of May 1943 the squadron's personnel left for the UK, and at the start of June the squadron reformed as a Spitfire squadron. Operations began on 13 August, but the squadron didn't move south until October, and the first offensive sweep over France wasn't flown until 24 October 1943.

The squadron covered the D-Day landings as part of No.135 Wing, part of 2nd Tactical Air Force. Like many 2nd TAF fighter squadrons, No.349 moved into the beachhead in August, and flew a mix of fighter-bomber and bomber escort missions in support of the Allied armies.

In February 1945 the squadron returned to the UK and began to convert to the Hawker Tempest. After two months the change was abandoned, and instead the squadron reverted to the Spitfire V (receiving the Spitfire XVI in May). On 19 April the squadron returned to the continent, to join No.132 Wing. It was used to fly armed reconnaissance sweeps over Germany, attacking targets of opportunity. After the end of the fighting the squadron joined the occupation forces, before being transferred to the Belgian Air Force on 24 October 1946.

January-April 1943: Curtiss Tomahawk I

June 1943-February 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VA and VB
October 1943-February 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VC
February 1944-February 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
February-April 1945: Hawker Tempest V
April-May 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
May 1945-October 1946: Supermarine Spitfire XVI

November 1942-May 1943: Ikeja

June 1943: Wittering
June 1943: Collyweston
June-August 1943: Kings Cliffe
August 1943: Wellingore
August-October 1943: Acklington
October 1943: Friston
October-November 1943: Southend
November 1943-March 1944: Friston
March-April 1944: Hornchurch
April-June 1944: Selsey
June-July 1944: Coolham
July-August 1944: Funtington
August 1944: Selsey
August 1944: Tangmere
August-September 1944: B.17 Carpiquet
September 1944: B.35 Le Treport
September-November 1944: B.53 Merville
November 1944-January 1945: B.65 Maldeghem
January-February 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
February-April 1945: Predannack
April 1945: B.106 Twente
April-June 1945: B.113 Varrelbusch
June-September 1945: B.116 Wunstorf
September 1945: B.56 Evere
September-November 1945: B.116 Wunstorf
November 1945-October 1946: B.152 Fassberg
October 1946: Beauvchain

Squadron Codes: GE

November 1942-April 1943: Fighter squadron, Belgian Congo
April 1943-May 1943: Ferrying fighters across Africa to Middle East
June 1943-August 1944: UK based fighter squadron
August 1944 onwards: Fighter squadron, based on continent

Part of
By 6 June 1944, to February 1945: No.135 Wing; No.84 Group; Second Tactical Air Force; Allied Expeditionary Air Force
April 1945 onwards: No.132 Wing



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 December 2011), No. 349 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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