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No. 239 Squadron RAF

No. 239 Squadron RAF
Official squadron crest for No. 239 Squadron RAF
Active 20 August 1918 – 31 May 1919
18 September 1940 – 1 July 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Motto Latin: Exploramus
("We seek out")[1][2][3]
Squadron Badge heraldry A winged spur
This was the first squadron to work with an armoured division, which included mechanised cavalry, with which the spur provided association[1][2]
Squadron Codes HB (Sep 1940 – Sep 1943 and Jan 1945 – Jul 1945)[4][5]

No. 239 Squadron RAF was an anti-submarine squadron of the Royal Air Force during World War I. During World War II the squadron performed as an army co-operation squadron and later as a night intruder unit. After the war the squadron was disbanded.


Formation and World War I

No. 239 Squadron RAF was formed from No 418 (Coastal reconnaissance) Flight at Torquay, on 20 August 1918, and was equipped with the Short 184, flying anti-submarine patrols with them until the Armistice. The squadron either disbanded on 15 May 1919[2] or on 31 May 1919[3][6]

World War II

On 18 September 1940, the squadron reformed at RAF Hatfield from a flight each of No. 16 and No. 225 squadrons. The squadron began with Westland Lysanders, and then later re-equipped with Curtiss Tomahawks and Hawker Hurricanes. The squadron converted to P-51 Mustangs in May 1942 and began ground attack and reconnaissance operations over Northern France, which lasted till August 1943, the squadron also taking part in the air cover during the Dieppe Raid.[2]

In September 1943 the squadron moved to RAF Ayr to train as a night fighter unit, and re-equipped with the De Havilland Mosquito. It then moved to RAF West Raynham to join No. 100 (Bomber Support) Group, participating in night time operations against enemy fighters. On 27 October 1944 during fighter affiliation training with No. 49 Squadron RAF, a Mosquito piloted by F/Lt J.H.Roberts and accompanied by Flight Engineer Sgt. A.M.Ashcroft, stalled and crashed in Stapleford Woods, Lincolnshire, with the immediate death of both pilot and passenger.[7]

The squadron disbanded on 1 July 1945.[3][6]

Aircraft operated

From To Aircraft Variant
Aug 1918 May 1919 Short 184
Sep 1940 Mar 1941 Westland Lysander Mk.II
Mar 1941 Jan 1942 Westland Lysander Mk.IIIa
Jun 1941 May 1942 Curtiss Tomahawk Mks.I & IIa
Jan 1942 May 1942 Hawker Hurricane Mks.I & IIc
Jun 1942 Dec 1942 Fairey Battle Mk.II
Mar 1942 Jul 1942 Miles Master Mks.I & III
May 1942 Sep 1943 North American Mustang Mk.I
Oct 1943 Jan 1944 Bristol Beaufighter Mk.If
Dec 1943 Sep 1944 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.II
Sep 1944 Jan 1945 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.VI
Jan 1945 Jul 1945 de Havilland Mosquito NF.30




  • 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.

External links

  • Squadron history on RafWeb
  • Squadron history on MOD site
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