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No.658 Squadron was an Air Observation Post squadron that served in Normandy and northern Europe before moving to India after the end of the war.
Air Observation Post squadrons were created to provide airborne observers for the artillery (see No.651 Squadron for more details). Most of their aircrews came from the army, and they used light aircraft (most Austers) which flew above their own guns using the altitude to spot targets over the horizon.
The squadron was formed on 30 April 1943. It spent more than a year preparing for action, before finally moving to Normandy on 26 June 1944 (D+20). The squadron supported the 21st Army Group during the fighting in France, the Low Countries and Germany.
After the end of the war in Europe the squadron returned to the UK, before departing for India in October 1945. The squadron remained in India for the next year before being disbanded on 15 October 1946.
April 1943-March 1944: British Taylorcraft Auster III
March 1944-September 1945: British Taylorcraft Auster IV
August 1944-January 1946: British Taylorcraft Auster V
April-August 1943: Old Sarum
August 1943: Oatlands Hill
August-December 1943: Clifton
December 1943-January 1944: Burn
January 1944: Doncaster
January-March 1944: Burn
March-April 1944: Collyweston
April-May 1944: Hartfield
May-June 1944: Old Sarum
June 1944-June 1945: Dispersed bases Normandy and northern Europe
June-July 1945: Hawkinge
July 1945: Stapleford Tawney
July-October 1945: Matlask
October 1945: To India
Squadron Codes: -
April 1943-June 1944: Air Observation Post, Home Based
June 1944-October 1945: Air Observation Post, north-western Europe
October 1945-October 1946: Air Observation Post, India