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No. 209 Squadron RAF


No. 209 Squadron RAF

No. 209 Squadron RAF

Official squadron crest for no. 209 Squadron RAF
Active 1 February 1917 (RNAS) – 24 June 1919
15 January 1930 – 1 January 1955
1 November 1958 – 31 December 1968
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Ground support (World War I)
Maritime patrol (World War II & Korea)
Liaison and transport (Malaya)
Motto Might and Main[1]
Squadron Badge heraldry An eagle volant recursant descendant in pale, wings overture[1]
Squadron Codes FK[2][3]
WQ (Sep 1939 – Mar 1942 and 1950 – 1951)[4][5]

No. 209 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force was originally formed from a nucleus of "Naval Eight" on 1 February 1917 at Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, France, as No. 9 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS)[6] and saw active service in both World Wars, the Korean War and in Malaya. The use of the squadron number ceased in 1968 and has not been reused since by an RAF squadron.[7]


Formation and World War I

The Squadron was formed as a Royal Air Force Squadron on 1 April 1918, from No. 9 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service at Clairmarais.[8] (All former RNAS squadrons were renumbered by the addition of 200 to their RNAS number.) During the remainder of World War I, 209 Squadron flew Sopwith Camels over the Western Front on fighter and ground support missions. The Squadron badge, the falling eagle, symbolizes the destruction of Baron Manfred von Richthofen who, in the 1914–1918 War, was credited to the guns of a pilot, Roy Brown from No. 209 Squadron.[6] On 21 January 1919, the squadron was reduced to a skeleton organization and disbanded in the UK on 24 June 1919 at RAF Scopwick, Lincolnshire.[1][7]

The interbellum

No. 209 reformed at the flying boat base at RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth on 15 January 1930.[9][10] It was first equipped with Blackburn Iris flying boats and then from January 1934 by Blackburn Perth but neither of these types were built in sufficient quantities to equip the squadron fully. In July 1936, however, the squadron was fully equipped with Short Singapore Mk.IIIs and it was transferred to RAF Kalafrana, Malta in September 1937 for three months. In December 1938, No 209 began to convert to yet another flying boat type, the Supermarine Stranraer.[7][11]

World War II

When World War II was declared, No.209 moved to Invergordon to patrol the North Sea between Scotland and Norway. From October 1939 it patrolled the Atlantic from Oban. Two further re-equipments occurred, in December 1939 (Saro Lerwicks) and then in April 1941 (Consolidated Catalinas).[7] Familiarisation with the U.S. supplied Catalinas was aided by the secondment of U.S. military personnel who also flew on active service patrols, despite the U.S. being a neutral power at the time. Anti-submarine patrols were flown over the Atlantic from RAF Castle Archdale on Loch Erne, in Northern Ireland, using the Donegal Corridor over neutral Ireland. During this time, in May 1941, a patrol by No.209 (with an American crewman) located the German battleship Bismarck.[12]

In August 1941, the squadron moved to Iceland for two months. From March 1942 until July 1945, No.209 was stationed in East Africa. It flew patrols over the Indian Ocean with detached bases in South Africa, Madagascar, Oman and the Seychelles to extend its cover. In July 1945 the squadron moved to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), with recently acquired Short Sunderland MkVs, with a detachment at Rangoon (now Yangon), to harass Japanese shipping along the coast from Burma (now Myanmar) to Malaya.[7]

Post war

Hong Kong and Seletar

After the Japanese surrender in August 1945, a detachment was sent to Hong Kong in September, followed by the rest of the squadron in October. In April 1946 the squadron moved to Singapore. A detachment remained at RAF Kai Tak and became No.1430 flight and then No.88 Squadron. The squadron headquarters was established at RAF Seletar (sometimes referred to as "Seltar"), on Singapore Island on 18 May 1946 and No.209 and was named "City of Hong Kong" Squadron on 23 January 1947.[7]

To Korea

Operation Firedog missions during the Malayan Emergency began on 7 July 1948. In September 1950, during the Korean War, the aircraft were moved to Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan to patrol off the Korean coast from 15 September. On 1 January 1955 the squadron merged with No. 205 Squadron.[7]

With Pioneers in the transport role

On 1 November 1958 No. 267 Squadron at RAF Kuala Lumpur was renumbered 209 Squadron and flew Scottish Aviation Pioneers and Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneers on liaison and transport duties in Malaysia. No.209 Squadron was finally disbanded on 31 December 1968 at RAF Seletar.[7][13]

Notable personnel

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 9 Squadron RNAS or No. 209 Squadron RAF, data from[9][13][23]
From To Aircraft Version
February 1917 June 1917 Nieuport 17
February 1917 July 1917 Sopwith Pup
February 1917 July 1917 Sopwith Triplane
July 1917 February 1919 Sopwith Camel
January 1930 December 1932 Blackburn Iris Mk. III
February 1932 July 1932 Saro A.7
June 1932 June 1934 Blackburn Iris Mk. V
August 1932 November 1932 Short Singapore Mk.II
February 1933 June 1934 Supermarine Southampton Mk.II
January 1934 December 1934 Blackburn Perth
October 1934 November 1934 Supermarine Southampton Mk.II
October 1934 November 1934 Saro London Mk.I
December 1934 August 1935 Supermarine Scapa
January 1935 February 1935 Supermarine Southampton Mk.II
January 1935 February 1936 Saro London Mk.I
February 1935 September 1935 Supermarine Stranraer Mk.I
April 1935 September 1935 Short Knuckleduster
July 1935 May 1936 Blackburn Perth
January 1936 July 1936 Supermarine Southampton Mk.II
February 1936 April 1939 Short Singapore Mk.III
November 1938 April 1940 Supermarine Stranraer Mk.I
December 1939 April 1941 Saro Lerwick Mk.I
April 1941 April 1945 Consolidated Catalina Mks.I
July 1942 April 1945 Consolidated Catalina Mk.IIa
February 1945 December 1954 Short Sunderland GR.5
November 1958 March 1959 Auster AOP 6
November 1958 November 1959 Douglas Dakota C.4
November 1958 February 1960 Percival Pembroke C.1
November 1958 December 1968 Scottish Aviation Pioneer CC.1
March 1959 December 1968 Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer CC.1
October 1960 December 1968 Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer CC.2

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 9 Squadron RNAS or No. 209 Squadron RAF, data from[9][13][23][24]
From To Base Remark
1 February 1917 15 May 1917 Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, France
15 May 1917 15 June 1917 Veurne (Furnes), Belgium
15 June 1917 5 July 1917 Flez-Cuzy, France
5 July 1917 10 July 1917 Izel-lès-Hameau, France
10 July 1917 25 July 1917 Bray-Dunes, France Frontier Aerodrome
25 July 1917 28 September 1917 Leffrinckoucke, France
28 September 1917 10 October 1917 Bray-Dunes, France Frontier Aerodrome
10 October 1917 16 February 1918 Bray-Dunes, France Middle Aerodrome
16 February 1918 20 March 1918 RNAS Dover, Kent Guston Road
20 March 1918 23 March 1918 Bray-Dunes, France Middle Aerodrome
23 March 1918 27 March 1918 Cappelle-la-Grande, France
27 March 1918 29 March 1918 Bailleul, France Asylum Ground
29 March 1918 7 April 1918 Clairmarais-North, France
7 April 1918 20 July 1918 Bertangles, France
20 July 1918 6 August 1918 Quelmes, France
6 August 1918 14 August 1918 Bertangles, France
14 August 1918 24 October 1918 Izel-lès-Hameau, France
24 October 1918 22 November 1918 Bruille-lez-Marchiennes, France
22 November 1918 11 December 1918 Saultain, France
11 December 1918 14 February 1919 Froidmont, Belgium
14 February 1919 24 June 1919 RAF Scopwick, Lincolnshire
15 January 1930 1 May 1935 RAF Mount Batten, Devon
1 May 1935 22 September 1937 RAF Felixtowe, Suffolk
22 September 1937 31 September 1937 RAF Kalafrana, Malta
31 September 1937 17 December 1937 Arzew, Algeria
17 December 1937 27 September 1938 RAF Felixtowe, Suffolk
27 September 1938 8 October 1938 RAF Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
8 October 1938 22 May 1939 RAF Felixtowe, Suffolk
22 May 1939 17 June 1939 RAF Stranraer, Wigtownshire
17 June 1939 12 August 1939 RAF Felixtowe, Suffolk
12 August 1939 22 August 1939 RAF Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland Dets. at Sullom Voe, Shetland, Scotland and Falmouth, Cornwall
22 August 1939 30 August 1939 RAF Felixtowe, Suffolk
30 August 1939 7 October 1939 RAF Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
7 October 1939 12 July 1940 RAF Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland Det. at Falmouth, Cornwall
12 July 1940 3 January 1941 RAF Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales Det. at RAF Stranraer, Wigtownshire
3 January 1941 23 March 1941 RAF Stranraer, Wigtownshire
23 March 1941 26 July 1941 RAF Castle Archdale (Lough Erne)
26 July 1941 10 October 1941 RAF Reykjavik, Iceland
10 October 1941 30 March 1942 RAF Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
30 March 1942 15 June 1942 En route to East Africa
15 June 1942 21 July 1945 Kipevu, Kenya Dets. at Kisumu, Kenya; Kilindini, Kenya;
RAF Khormaksar, Aden; Masirah, Oman;
Congella, South Africa; Seychelles
and Diego Suarez, Madagascar
21 July 1945 17 September 1945 RAF Koggala, Ceylon
17 September 1945 28 April 1946 RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong
28 April 1946 1 January 1955 RAF Seletar, Singapore
18 May 1946 5 August 1946 RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong Detachment
11 September 1950 18 December 1950 Iwakuni, Yamaguchi, Japan Detachment
1 November 1958 1 October 1959 RAF Kuala Lumpur, Singapore Det. at Penang, Malaysia
1 October 1959 31 December 1968 RAF Seletar, Singapore Dets. at Kuching, Labuan and Bayan Lepas in Malaysia

See also


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A Full Explanation and Listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Force Unit Codes Since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians), 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Kennedy, Ludovic. Pursuit: The Sinking of the "Bismarck". London: Book Club Associates, 1975.
  • Lewis, Peter. Squadron Histories: R.F.C, R.N.A.S and R.A.F., 1912–59. London: Putnam, 1959.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company, 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers), 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Shores, Christopher; Franks, Norman; Guest, Russel. Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. Oxford: Grub Street, 1990. ISBN 0-948817-19-4, ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.

External links

  • No. 209 Squadron Coastal Command deployments
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