No. 402 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War

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No.402 Squadron, RCAF, was a fighter squadron that was mainly used on offensive duties, including the raid on Dieppe and supporting the D-Day lands, as well as taking part in the campaign against the V-1 Flying Bomb.

No.402 Squadron originally arrived in the UK on 29 May 1940 as No.112 Squadron, RCAF. It was equipped with the Lysander, and trained in army co-operation duties.

Hawker Hurricane IIB Hurribomber of No.402 Squadron, RCAF
Hawker Hurricane IIB Hurribomber of No.402 Squadron, RCAF

On 11 December 1940 it moved to Digby, where it was renimbered as No.2 Squadron, RCAF. The Lysanders were replaced with Hurricanes, and it became to train as a fighter squadron. No.2 Squadron was renumbered as No.402 Squadron on 1 March 1941.

While it was based at Didby the squadron carried out defensive duties, including convoy escort duties over the North Sea. According to an official wartime publication, twelve aircraft from the squadron took part in a sweep over the French coast near Boulogne on 15 April 1941, making it the first RCAF squadron to operate over enemy held territory. This may be the raid on the German airfield at Berck-sur-Mer on 16 April

The unit then converted to the Hurricane IIA and moved to East Anglia, and in August 1941 it began to carry out offensive sweeps over France.

In October the squadron began to train as a fighter-bomber unit, and its first bombing raid came on 1 November. The squadron performed this duty until March 1942, when it was withdrawn to convert to the Spitfire. It's Hurricanes were then used to form No.175 Squadron, RAF.

The squadron spent two months on defensive duties in South Wales, then returned to offensive operations in May 1942. This lasted until March 1943. During this time the squadron took part in the disasterous raid on Dieppe of August 1942.

From March-July 1943 the squadron was used on defensive duties.

In August-September 1943 it briefly returned to offensive operations, before returning to defensive duties from October 1932-April 1944.

In April 1944 the squadron returned south, and began to carry out ground attack missions over France.

The squadron was then used to provide fighter cover for the D-Day invasion.

In August 1944 the squadron converted to the Spitfire XIV, which it then used against the V-1 Flying Bombs.

This delayed its move to the Continent until 30 September 1944, when it moved to Belgium. From then to the end of the war it was used to fly sweeps over Germany, provide air support for the British and Canadian armies, on fighter-bomber, bomber escort and defensive missions.

The squadron briefly joined the occupation forces in Germany, but then returned to the UK where it was disbanded on 24 July 1945.

 

Aircraft
March-May 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
May-August 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIA
August 1941-March 1942: Hawker Hurricane IIB
March-August 1942: Supermarine Spitfire VB
August 1942-March 1943: Supermarine Spitfire IX
March 1943-July 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB
July-August 1944: Supermarine Spitfire IX
August 1944-June 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XIV
June-July 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XVI

Location
1 March-23 June 1941: Digby
23 June-10 July 1941: Martlesham Heath
10 July-19 August 1941: Ayr
19 August-6 November 1941: Southend
6 November 1941-4 March 1942: Warmwell
4 March-17 March 1942: Colerne
17 March-14 May 1942: Fairwood Common
14-31 May 1942: Kenley
31 May-29 June 1942: Redhill
29 June-6 July 1942: Ipswich
6 July-13 August 1942: Redhill
13 August 1942-31 March 1943: Kenley
21 March-7 August 1943: Digby
7 August-19 September 1943: Merston
19 September 1943-12 February 1944: Digby
12 February-21 March 1944-: Wellingore
12 March-30 April 1944: Digby
30 April-19 June 1944: Horne
19-27 June 1944: Westhampnett
27 June-8 August 1944: Merston
8 August-30 September 1944: Hawkinge
30 September-1 October 1944: B.70 Deurne
1 October-1 November 1944: B.82 Grave
1 November-29 December 1944: B.64 Diest
29 December 1944-14 January 1945: B.88 Heesch
14 January-1 February 1945: Warmwell
1 February-12 April 1945: B.88 Heesch
12-15 April 1945: B.108 Rheine
15 April-12 May 1945: B.116 Wunstorf
12 May-5 July 1945: B.152 Fassberg
6-10 July 1945: B.174 Utersen
10-24 July 1945: Dunsfold

Squadron Codes: AE

Duty
-6 June 1944-: No.11 Group, Air Defence of Great Britain

Books

 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 June 2021), No. 402 Squadron (RCAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/402_wwII.html

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