No. 36 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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At the outbreak of the Second World War No.36 Squadron was based in Singapore, and equipped with the Vickers Vildebeest, the only torpedo bomber available to the RAF in September 1939. Unfortunately for No.36 Squadron it was still operating it's by now obsolete Vildebeests at the end of 1941 when Japan entered the war, as was No.100 Squadron.

Vickers Vildebeest
Vickers Vildebeest
The two squadrons suffered devastating losses during the fighting in Malaya, and only two of No.36 Squadron's aircraft escaped to Java. When it became clear that Java was about to fall an attempt was made to fly these aircraft to Burma, but both were lost on 7 March 1942, and on the following day the squadron was disbanded.

No.36 reformed on 22 October 1942 in India, although without aircraft. The first Vickers Wellingtons arrived in December, for use on anti-submarine patrols. The squadron would continue to operate its Wellingtons on this duty until the end of the war.

The squadron changed theatres twice in the remaining years of the war. It flew its first anti-submarine patrols off the Indian coast from Madras on 13 January 1943, but the expected threat never developed, and in the summer the squadron was moved to Algeria. The first aircraft flew into Blida on 7 June 1943, but the ground echelon didn't arrive until the end of July. The squadron was then scattered around a number of bases in North Africa, from where it continued to fly on anti-submarine patrols.

The final major move came in September 1944 when the squadron returned to the United Kingdom where it continued to fly anti-submarine patrols, at first from Chivenor, and then from Benbecula. It was disbanded on 4 June 1945.

July 1935-March 1942: Vickers Vildebeest III
December 1942-November 1943: Vickers Wellington IC
January 1943-November 1943: Vickers Wellington VIII
June-November 1943: Vickers Wellington X, XI and XIII
July-November 1943: Vickers Wellington: XII
September 1943-June 1945: Vickers Wellington XIV

November 1930-August 1941: Seletar
August 1941: Kuantan
August 1941-February 1942: Seletar
February 1942: Kalidjati
February-March 1942: Tjikampeh
March 1942: Tjikamber

October 1942-March 1943: Tanjore
March-June 1943: Dhubalia
June 1943-April 1944: Blida
April-September 1944: Reghaia
September 1944: Tarquinia
September 1944-March 1945: Chivenor
March-June 1945: Benbecula

Squadron Codes: VU, RW, Q

1935-March 1942: Torpedo Bomber, Singapore
January-June 1943: Anti-submarine patrols, India
July 1943-September 1944: Anti-submarine patrols, North Africa
September 1944-June 1945: Anti-submarine patrols, UK


Wellington in Action, Ron Mackay. A well illustrated guide to the development and service career of this classic British bomber. Mackay looks at the early development of the Wellington and the unusual geodetic frame that gave it great strength, the period when the Wellington was the mainstay of Bomber Command and the many uses found for the aircraft after it was replaced in the main bomber stream.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 June 2009), No. 36 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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