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No. 240 Squadron RAF


No. 240 Squadron RAF

No. 240 Squadron RAF
Active 20 Aug 1918 - 15 May 1919
30 Mar 1937 - 31 May 1946
1 May 1952 - 1 Nov 1958
1 Aug 1959 - 8 Jan 1963
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Anti-submarine warfare
Maritime patrol
Strategic Missile Force
Motto Icelandic: Sjo-Vordur Lopt-Vordur
(Translation: "Guardian of the sea, guardian of the sky")[1]
Squadron Badge heraldry A viking helmet[1]
Squadron Codes SH (Apr 1939 - Sep 1939)[2]
BN (Sep 1939 - Jun 1942)[3]
L (May 1952 - 1956)[4]
240 (1956 - Nov 1958)

No. 240 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force flying boat and seaplane squadron during World War I, World War II and up to 1959. It was then reformed as a strategic missile squadron, serving thus till 1963.


Formation and World War I

No. 240 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed at RAF Calshot on 20 August 1918 to provide anti-submarine protection, using its Short 184s seaplanes and Felixstowe F2A flying boats. It was disbanded on 15 May 1919.[1][5]

Reformation and World War II

The squadron was reformed at Calshot on 30 March 1937. It was at first equipped with Supermarine Scapas and after a year converted to Short Singapores, which were followed a year later by the Saro London, planning to convert later to Saro Lerwicks, but getting Supermarine Stranraers in June 1940 instead. March 1941 these were replaced with Consolidated Catalinas, to carry out anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic ocean. It then moved to India in March 1942 where it flew anti-shipping and submarine patrols from Red Hills Lake, where it was disbanded on 1 July 1945.[1][5] The squadron reformed that same day, 1 July 1945, from elements of 212 sqn and 240 squadron's special duties flight. The squadron converted to Short Sunderland Mk.Vs and moved to Ceylon in 1945, where it disbanded on 31 March 1946 at RAF Koggala.[1][5]

Post war: Shackletons and Missiles

In 1 May 1952 the squadron reformed again at RAF Aldergrove and was equipped with Avro Shackleton Mk.1a maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The squadron moved to Northern Ireland in June 1952, where it disbanded on 1 November 1958 at RAF Ballykelly by being renumbered to 203 sqn.[1][5]

The squadron reformed once again on 1 August 1959, as one of 20 Thor Strategic Missile (SM) squadrons, associated with Project Emily. The squadron was equipped with three Thor Intermediate range ballistic missiles, and based at RAF Breighton.[1][5] In October 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, the squadron was kept at full readiness, with the missiles aimed at strategic targets in the USSR. The squadron was disbanded with the termination of the Thor Program in Britain, on 8 January 1963.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 240 Squadron RAF, data from[1][5]
From To Aircraft Variant
Aug 1918 May 1919 Curtiss H-12
Aug 1918 May 1919 Fairey Campania
Aug 1918 May 1919 Felixstowe F.2 a
Aug 1918 May 1919 Short 320
Aug 1918 May 1919 Short Type 184 b
Mar 1937 Jan 1939 Supermarine Scapa
Nov 1938 Jan 1939 Short Singapore Mk.III
Jul 1939 Jun 1940 Saro London Mk.II
Jun 1940 Jan 1941 Supermarine Stranraer Mk.I
Mar 1941 Dec 1945 Consolidated Catalina Mks.I, Ib & II
Jul 1945 Mar 1946 Short Sunderland Mk.V
May 1952 Nov 1958 Avro Shackleton MR.1a
Jul 1953 Aug 1954 Avro Shackleton MR.2
Aug 1959 Jan 1963 Douglas Thor SM.75

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 240 Squadron RAF, data from
From To Base Remark
20 August 1918 15 May 1919 RAF Calshot, Hampshire
30 March 1937 12 August 1939 RAF Calshot, Hampshire
12 August 1939 4 November 1939 RAF Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
4 November 1939 1 April 1940 RAF Sullom Voe, Shetland, Scotland
1 April 1940 27 May 1940 RAF Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
27 May 1940 30 July 1940 RAF Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
30 July 1940 28 March 1941 RAF Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Scotland Also flying Stranraer
28 March 1941 25 August 1941 RAF Killadeas, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
25 August 1941 6 June 1942 RAF Castle Archdale (Lower Lough Erne), County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland Ground echolon left 29 March 1942
29 March 1942 4 July 1942 En route to British India
4 July 1942 1 July 1945 RAF Red Hills Lake, Madras, British India
1 July 1945 10 January 1946 RAF Red Hills Lake, Madras, British India Reformation as Short Sunderland unit
10 January 1946 31 March 1946 RAF Koggala, Ceylon
1 May 1952 25 May 1952 RAF Aldergrove, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
25 May 1952 5 June 1952 RAF St Eval, Cornwall
5 June 1952 1 November 1958 RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
1 August 1959 8 January 1963 RAF Breighton, East Riding of Yorkshire as No. 240 (SM) Squadron


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, 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 Ltd., 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) Ltd., 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, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

External links

  • Squadron history (and more) on RafWeb
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