No. 621 Squadron RAF


No. 621 Squadron RAF
Active12 Sep 1943 – 1 Sep 1946
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Air-sea rescue
Part ofBritish Forces Aden[1]
Motto(s)Ever Ready to Strike
Squadron Badge heraldryA hooded cobra[2]

No. 621 Squadron RAF was a reconnaissance squadron of the Royal Air Force during World War II, flying from Somaliland and Aden. It was after the war stationed in Egypt and Palestine and tasked with air-sea rescue and was also active in Operation Sunburn, looking for illegal immigrants.


No. 621 Squadron RAF was at Port Reitz, Kenya, on 12 September 1943[3] as a general reconnaissance unit. The most unusual sortie flown by the squadron was in November 1943, when it had to look for four thousand stolen camels on behalf of the army.[4] In a more serious series of sorties, the squadron managed to knock out the German submarine U-852, but at the beginning of 1945 activities had dropped so low that the squadron was reduced from 16 to 8 aircraft. In November the squadron converted to Warwicks and started in Operation Sunburn, looking for illegal immigrants into Palestine. In April to squadron moved to Palestine and converted to Lancasters. Shortly after it had completed that conversion the squadron was disbanded at RAF Ein Shemer by being re-numbered to No. 18 Squadron RAF on 1 September 1946.[2][3][5]

The present 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron has no links with 621 Squadron, and in fact traces its lines back to No. 87 Glider School RAF.[6][7]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by No. 621 Squadron RAF[2][4][5]
From To Aircraft Variant
September 1943 January 1945 Vickers Wellington Mk.XIII
January 1945 December 1945 Vickers Wellington Mk.XIV
March 1945 November 1945 Vickers Warwick GR.5
April 1946 September 1946 Avro Lancaster ASR.3 (special air-sea rescue version)

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by No. 621 Squadron RAF[2][4][5]
From To Base Remarks
12 September 1943 4 November 1943 Port Reitz, Kenya Detachment at Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland
4 November 1943 5 December 1943 Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland Detachments at Scusciuban, Italian Somaliland; Bandar Kassim, Italian Somaliland
and RAF Riyan, Aden Protectorate
5 December 1943 12 November 1945 RAF Khormaksar, Aden Detachments at Scuscuiban, Italian Somaliland; Bandar Kassim, Italian Somaliland;
Riyan, Aden Protectorate; RAF Socotra, Aden Protectorate and Mogadishu, Italian Somaliland
12 November 1945 20 April 1946 RAF Mersa Matruh, Egypt Detachments at RAF Aqir, Palestine and RAF Benina, Libya
20 April 1946 6 June 1946 RAF Aqir, Palestine
6 June 1946 1 September 1946 RAF Ein Shemer, Palestine

Commanding officers

Officers commanding No. 621 Squadron RAF[4]
From To Name
September 1943 December 1944 W/Cdr. P. Green, OBE, AFC
December 1944 November 1945 W/Cdr. F.T. Gardiner, DFC
November 1945 February 1946 S/Ldr. G. Schofield
February 1946 September 1946 W/Cdr. B.E. Peck, DFC


  1. ^ Delve 1994, pp. 76, 83.
  2. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 438.
  3. ^ a b Lake 1999, pp. 272–273.
  4. ^ a b c d Rawlings 1982, p. 242.
  5. ^ a b c Jefford 2001, p. 102.
  6. ^ "History of 621 VGS". 621 Volunteer Gliding Squadron. 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  7. ^ Lake 1999, p. 113.
  • Delve, Ken (1994). The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, C.G. (2001). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912 (2nd ed.). Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Lake, Alan (1999). Flying units of the RAF. Shrewsbury: Airlife. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. (1982). Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

External links

  • History of 621 Squadron on RAF website
  • Airfields, operating dates and aircraft types for No.621 Squadron RAF, 1939–45
  • History of No.'s 621–650 Squadrons at RAF Web