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No. 279 Squadron RAF

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Title: No. 279 Squadron RAF  
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Subject: Lockheed Hudson, Vickers Warwick, RAF Tain, RAF Bircham Newton, Black Friday (1945), Supermarine Sea Otter
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No. 279 Squadron RAF

No. 279 Squadron RAF

One of No. 279 Squadron's Avro Lancasters carrying a lifeboat in December 1945
Active 16 Nov 1941 – 10 Mar 1946
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Air-sea rescue
Motto To See and be Seen[1]
Squadron Badge heraldry Above waves of the sea, nine flashes of lightning[1]
Squadron codes OS (Nov 1941 - Nov 1944)[2][3]
RL (Nov 1944 - Mar 1946)[4][5]

No 279 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force air-sea rescue squadron of World War II. The squadron was formed on 16 November 1941 and disbanded on 10 March 1946.


No 279 Squadron was formed at RAF Bircham Newton on 16 November 1941. It was originally equipped with Lockheed Hudson fitted, from 1943, to carry Mark I airborne lifeboats.[6] Detachments of the squadron were stationed at several RAF stations in the south-west of England between April 1942 and December 1943 to provide an air-sea rescue capability over the Bay of Biscay and Western Approaches.[7]

In October 1944 No 279 Squadron was transferred to RAF Thornaby and re-equipped with Vickers Warwick aircraft. The squadron subsequently deployed detachments to RAF airfields in the north of Scotland to provide support to patrol and strike squadrons. Following the end of the war the Warwicks were replaced with Avro Lancasters in September 1945. These were flown until the squadron was disbanded on 10 March 1946 at RAF Beccles by being renumbered to No. 38 Squadron. A detachment had left in January 1946 for Pegu in Burma and upon arrival there around March was designated 1348 Air Sea Rescue Flight.[7][8]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 279 Squadron RAF, data from[1][9][10]
From To Aircraft Version
November 1941 November 1944 Lockheed Hudson Mks. III, V, VI
November 1944 September 1945 Vickers Warwick ASR Mks.I, VI
April 1945 June 1945 Hawker Hurricane Mks.IIc, IV
July 1945 September 1945 Supermarine Sea Otter Mk.II
September 1945 March 1946 Avro Lancaster ASR.3

Squadron locations

Airfields used by No 279 Squadron RAF, data from[1][9][11]
From To Airfield Remark
16 November 1941 14 October 1944 RAF Bircham Newton Posted
28 April 1942 29 May 1942 RAF Sumburgh Detachment
29 June 1942 1942 RAF Benbecula Detachment
15 July 1942 1942 RAF Leuchars Detachment
26 July 1942 15 August 1942 RAF Reykjavik, Iceland Detachment
14 August 1942 15 August 1942 RAF Thorney Island Detachment
15 August 1942 19 August 1942 RAF Chivenor Detachment
23 August 1942 5 February 1943 RAF St Eval Detachment
25 September 1942 1942 RAF Beaulieu Detachment
5 February 1943 9 June 1943 RAF Davidstow Moor Detachment
9 June 1943 14 December 1943 RAF Harrowbeer Detachment
28 September 1943 1945 RAF Wick Detachment
1 January 1944 1 August 1944 RAF Reykjavik, Iceland Detachment
1 October 1944 September 1945 RAF Tain Detachment
1 October 1944 September 1945 RAF Wick Detachment
14 October 1944 3 September 1945 RAF Thornaby Posted
31 October 1944 27 December 1944 RAF Banff Detachment
27 December 1944 September 1945 RAF Fraserburgh Detachment
26 May 1945 September 1945 RAF Reykjavik, Iceland Detachment
July 1945 September 1945 RAF Banff Detachment
3 September 1945 10 March 1946 RAF Beccles Posted


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • 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.
  • Lake, Alan. Flying Units of the RAF: The ancestry, formation and disbandment of all flying units from 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • 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

  • RAF Bircham Newton
  • Squadron histories for nos. 276-280 Squadron on RafWeb's Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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