No. 4 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 4 Squadron began the Second World War as an army-co-operation squadron, equipped with the Westland Lysander. As such it moved to France with the BEF in September 1940. In May 1940 it moved forward into Belgium, where it suffered very heavy loses - between 10 and 23 May 11 aircraft were lost in a period where the Lysander suffered very heavily.

In the aftermath of the collapse of France, No. 4 Squadron retained its Lysanders until June 1942. During this period the squadron performed coastal patrol and air-sea rescue duties. In April 1942 it began to receive more advanced aircraft -American Tomahawks and Mustangs.

In October 1942 the squadron received Mustangs, and began three years of tactical reconnaissance. During that time it operated Mustangs, Mosquitoes, Typhoons and Spitfires. In August 1943 it joined the Second Tactical Air Force, in preparation for the invasion of Europe. On 16 August 1944 the squadron returned to French soil. By the end of the war, it had reached Twente, in the Netherlands, soon moving from there to Celle, in Germany.

Aircraft
May 1937-January 1939 : Hawker Hector I
January 1939-September 1940: Lysander I, II
September 1940-June 1942: Lysander III, IIIA
April 1942-October 1942: Tomahawk IIA
April 1942-January 1944: Mustang I
January 1944-June 1944: Mosquito XVI
January 1944-August 1945: Spitfire XI
October 1944-February 1945: Typhoon IB

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
September 1939-May 1940: Army co-operation in France
May 1940-October 1942: Coastal patrols with some air-sea rescue duties
October 1942-August 1945: Tactical reconnaissance
August 1943: To Second Tactical Air Force

Location
16 February 1937-24 September 1939: Odiham
24 September-3 October 1939: Mons-en-Chaussée
3 October-16 May 1940: Monchy-Lagache
16-21 May 1940: Lille/ Ronchin
21-24 May 1940: Clairmarais
22-25 May 1940: Detachment to Detling
24-25 May 1940: Hawkinge
24 May-8 June 1940: Ringway
8 June 1940-27 August 1941: Linton-on-Ouse
27 August 1941-1 March 1943: Clifton
1-5 March 1943: Barford St. John
5-8 March 1943: Cranfield
8-12 March 1943: Duxford
12-20 March 1943: Clifton
20 March-16 July 1943: Bottisham
16 July-7 August 1943: Gravesend
7 August-15 September 1943: Odiham
15 September-6 October 1943: Funtington
6 October-15 November 1943: Odiham
15-30 November 1943: North Weald
30 November 1443-3 January 1944: Sawbridgworth
3 January-3 March 1944: Aston Down
3 March-4 April 1944: Sawbridgworth
4 April-27 June 1944: Gatwick
27 June-16 August 1944: Odiham
16 August-2 September 1944: B.4 Beny-sur-Mer (France)
2-5 September 1944: B.27 Boisney
5-11 September 1944: B.31 Fresney Folney
11-27 September 1944: B.43: Fort Rouge
27 September-11 October 1944: B.61 St. Denis Westrem
11 October-23 November 1944: B.70 Deurne
23 November-9 March 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
9 March 1945-17 April 1945: B.89 Mill
17 April 1945-30 May 1945: B.106 Twente
30 May-31 August 1945: B.118 Celle

Known Raids/ Significant dates
14 October 1942: First operation with Mustang
20 May 1944: Last Mosquito sortie
31 August 1945: Disbanded in Germany, later reformed from No. 605

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 April 2007), No. 4 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/4_wwII.html

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