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No. 287 Squadron RAF

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Title: No. 287 Squadron RAF  
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Subject: RAF Bradwell Bay, Airspeed Oxford, List of Supermarine Spitfire operators, No. 334 Squadron RAF, No. 69 Squadron RAF
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No. 287 Squadron RAF

No. 287 Squadron RAF
Active 19 November 1941 – 15 June 1946
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role anti-aircraft co-operation
Part of No. 11 Group RAF, Fighter Command[1]
No. 70 Group RAF, Fighter Command[2]
Motto French: C'est en forgeant
(Translation: "Practice makes perfect")[3]
Squadron Badge heraldry A popinjay displayed perched[3]
Squadron Codes KZ (Nov 1941 – Jun 1946)[4][5]

No. 287 Squadron was an anti-aircraft co-operation squadron of the Royal Air Force from 1941 to 1946.


The squadron was formed at RAF Croydon on 19 November 1941 from No. 11 Group RAFs Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation Flight. The squadron flew various aircraft, including Westland Lysanders and Bristol Blenheims. The role of No. 287 Squadron was to provide target towing and to carry out attack simulations during World War II. This was to enable continuation training for anti-aircraft units in the South of England. After spending a large period of time in Croydon, No. 287 Squadron moved to RAF North Weald in 1944, RAF Bradwell Bay in 1945 and RAF West Malling in September 1945. After Lysanders and Blenheims, No. 287 Squadron began to develop its aircraft strength, taking on board Miles Masters, Boulton Paul Defiants and Airspeed Oxfords in 1942, Miles Martinets and Spitfire VB's in 1943, Bristol Beaufighters, Spitfire IX's and Tempest V's in 1944 and Spitfire XVI's in 1945. The squadron was disbanded on 15 June 1946.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by No. 287 Squadron RAF, data from[6][7][8]
From To Aircraft Version
November 1941 January 1942 Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV
November 1941 March 1942 Lockheed Hudson Mk.III
November 1941 April 1942 Westland Lysander Mk.III
November 1941 March 1945 Hawker Hurricane Mks. I, IIb, IV
February 1942 August 1942 Miles Master Mk.III
March 1942 October 1943 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I
March 1942 June 1946 Airspeed Oxford
January 1943 October 1943 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.III
July 1943 June 1946 Miles Martinet
November 1943 March 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
September 1944 July 1945 Bristol Beaufighter Mk.VI
November 1944 September 1945 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
November 1944 June 1946 Hawker Tempest Mk.V
August 1945 June 1946 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by No. 287 Squadron RAF, data from[6][7][8]
From To Base Remark
19 November 1941 4 July 1944 RAF Croydon Dets. at RAF Debden, RAF Hornchurch, RAF Merston,
RAF Martlesham Heath, RAF Fairlop, RAF Biggin Hill,
RAF Northolt, RAF Ipswich, RAF Ford,
RAF Honiley, RAF Hunsdon, RAF Southend
and RAF Farnborough
4 July 1944 27 August 1944 RAF North Weald Dets. at RAF Farnborough and RAF Gatwick
27 August 1944 20 January 1945 RAF Gatwick Det. at RAF North Weald
20 January 1945 3 May 1945 RAF Redhill Det. at RAF North Weald
3 May 1945 15 June 1945 RAF Hornchurch Dets. at RAF Hunsdon and RAF North Weald
15 June 1945 10 September 1945 RAF Bradwell Bay
10 September 1945 15 June 1946 RAF West Malling



  1. ^ Delve 1994, pp. 57, 63.
  2. ^ Delve 1994, p. 72.
  3. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 348.
  4. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 64.
  5. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 87.
  6. ^ a b Rawlings 1982, p. 256.
  7. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 349.
  8. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 85.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens, 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, 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, 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, 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

External links

  • 287 Squadron history on MOD site
  • Squadron histories for nos. 286–290 sqn on RafWeb
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