No. 576 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.576 Squadron was a Lancaster bomber squadron that served with No.1 Group from its formation late in 1943 until the end of the Second World War.

The squadron was formed at Elsham Wolds on 25 November 1943 around C Flight, No.103 Squadron. It became operational on 2 December and formed part of Bomber Command's main force from then until the end of the war.

During this period No.576 Squadron flew on 189 bombing raids and two mine laying raids, losing 66 aircraft from a total of 2,788 sorties.

The loss of one of those aircraft nearly caused a major disaster. On the night of 6/7 May 1944 Air Commodore R. Ivelaw-Chapman, a former staff officer who had just taken command of a 'base' (several airfields) in No.1 Group, decided to fly as second pilot. His aircraft was the only one lost during an attack on Aubigne. Because of his previous staff role, in which he had been involving in the planning for D-Day, Ivelaw-Chapman wasn't meant to take part in raids over hostile territory. He survived the loss of his aircraft, and for some time afterwards there was a great deal of concern that he would be identified and handed over to the Gestapo for interrogation. Luckily he was never identified as a former staff officer and spent the rest of the war in a normal POW camp.

November 1943-September 1945: Avro Lancaster I and III

November 1943-October 1944: Elsham Wolds
October 1944-September 1945: Fiskerton

Squadron Codes: UL

November 1943-September 1945: Bomber Command main force

Part of
November 1943-September 1945: No.1 Group, Bomber Command


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 March 2012), No. 576 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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