No. 502 "Ulster" Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.502 "Ulster" Squadron formed as a Special Reserve squadron in 1925, manned by a mix of regular and reserve aircrew. For the first decade of its existence the squadron was a heavy bomber unit, but in 1937 it converted to the Hawker Hind light bomber, and joined the Auxiliary Air Force.

Personnel of No.502 Squadron, May 1945
Personnel of No.502 Squadron, May 1945

On 28 November 1938, with war looking ever more likely, No.502 Squadron became part of Coastal Command, and was re-equipped with the Avro Anson. When war broke out, the squadron was used to fly patrol in the Atlantic off Ireland, guarding the crucial western approaches to Britain. On 30 November 1941 the squadron became the first Coastal Command unit to make a successful attack on a U-boat with air-to-surface radar, sinking U-206 in the Bay of Biscay.

In January 1942 the squadron officially moved to East Anglia, although it was soon operating from Cornwall. For the next two years the squadron carried out a mix of anti-submarine patrols and attacks on German coastal shipping. In September 1944, with the French coast back in Allied hands, the squadron moved to Scotland to carry out attacks on German shipping off the Norwegian coast, remaining there until the end of the war.

January 1939-November 1940: Avro Anson I
October 1940-February 1942: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V
February 1942-February 1943: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley VII
February 1943 to March 1945: Handley Page Halifax GR.Mk II
March 1945 to May 1945: Handley Page Halifax GR.Mk III and VI

27 January 1925-27 January 1941: Aldergrove (north west of Belfast)
27 January 1941-12 January 1942: Limavady
12-22 February 1942: Docking
22 February 1942-2 March 1943: St. Eval
2-25 March 1943: Holmsley South
25 March 1943-30 June 1943: St. Eval
30 June 1943-10 December 1943: Holmsley South
10 December 1943-11 September 1944: St. Davids
11 September 1944-25 May 1945: Stornoway

Squadron Codes: YG, TG, V9

1939-1945: Coastal Command
By February 1943: ASV warfare squadron with Coastal Command, No. 19 Group
25 May 1945: Disbanded


RAF Coastal Command in Action, 1939-45, Roy C. Nesbit. This is an excellent photographic history of Coastal Command during the Second World War. The book is split into six chapters, one for each year of the war. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the events of the year, and the aircraft that equipped the command before moving on to the photos. Each chapter contains a mix of pictures of the aircraft used by the command and pictures taken by the command. [see more]
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Review of Halifax Squadrons by John lake Halifax Squadrons of World War II , Jon Lake. This is a very good book on the combat record of the Handley Page Halifax. It covers much more than just its role as a front line bomber, with chapters on the Halifax with Coastal Command, the Pathfinders and SOE, amongst others. [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 March 2007), No. 502 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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