No. 652 Squadron RAF

Summary

No. 652 Squadron RAF
Active1 May 1942 – 1 September 1957
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
RoleAir Observation Post Squadron
Motto(s)Latin: Sive aere sive campo
(Translation: "In the air and in the field")[1]
Insignia
Squadron badge heraldryIn front of wings conjoined in base, a gun barrel fesswise[1]
Identification
symbol
XM (Sep 1946 – 1951)[2][3]
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissancede Havilland Tiger Moth
Taylorcraft Auster
Auster AOP.6

No. 652 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and afterwards in Germany. Numbers 651 to 663 Squadrons of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of these squadrons, 664, 665 and 666, were AOP units of the Royal Canadian Air Force manned by Canadian and British personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[1][4]

History

A postwar restored DH-82A Tiger Moth

Formation and World War II

No. 652 Squadron was formed at RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire, on 1 May 1942 and went into action in Normandy on 7 June 1944 in support of the British Second Army and the Operation Overlord landings. Most of its pilots and observers came from the British Army, while maintenance was carried out by RAF personnel. The squadron moved with the Second Army through France, Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany.

Claim to fame

'C' Flight, No. 652 Squadron RAF has been credited with firing the last British shots of the war in Europe while directing artillery fire at the siege of Dunkirk on 7 May 1945, sharing in this action with No. 665 Squadron RCAF.

Post war service

After the German surrender it remained as part of the British Air Forces of Occupation, later of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

No. 1902 Air Observation Post Flight was formed within 652 Squadron previously 'A' Flight also No. 1903 Air Observation Post Flight which was formed within 652 Squadron previously 'B' Flight[5] No. 1904 Air Observation Post Flight was formed within 652 Squadron previously 'C' Flight[5] No. 1905 Air Observation Post Flight was formed within 652 Squadron[5]

The unit was disbanded during September 1957, when it was merged into the Army Air Corps. It will be a Lynx Wildcat OCU Squadron in the future.[6]

The original squadron is represented today by 652 Squadron of 1 Regiment, Army Air Corps

Auster AOP.6 silhouette

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by 652 Squadron[1][7]
From To Aircraft Variant
May 1942 November 1942 de Havilland Tiger Moth Mk.II
August 1942 March 1943 Taylorcraft Plus C.2
October 1942 March 1943 Auster Mk.I
March 1943 March 1944 Auster Mk.III
February 1944 August 1946 Auster Mk.IV
December 1944 December 1953 Auster Mk.V
September 1946 September 1957 Auster AOP.6
January 1956 September 1957 Auster AOP.9

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no.652 Squadron RAF, data from[1][4]
From To Base Remark
1 May 1942 15 June 1942 RAF Old Sarum, Wiltshire
15 June 1942 11 August 1942 RAF Bottisham, Cambridgeshire
11 August 1942 31 December 1942 RAF Westley, Suffolk
31 December 1942 20 February 1943 RAF Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
20 February 1943 28 March 1943 RAF Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire
28 March 1943 2 July 1943 RAF Methven, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
2 July 1943 7 November 1943 RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
7 November 1943 25 March 1944 RAF Ipswich, Suffolk
25 March 1944 29 April 1944 RAF Denham, Buckinghamshire
29 April 1944 7 June 1944 RAF Cobham, Surrey
6 June 1944 7 June 1944 Bény-sur-Mer, Calvados, France Advance Party
7 June 1944 8 July 1944 Plumetot, Calvados, France
8 July 1944 1 August 1944 Reviers, Calvados, France
1 August 1944 13 August 1944 Blainville-sur-Orne, Calvados, France
13 August 1944 17 August 1944 Grentheville, Calvados, France
17 August 1944 23 August 1944 St-Pierre-sur-Dives, Calvados, France
23 August 1944 26 August 1944 Lisieux, Calvados, France
26 August 1944 3 September 1944 49 13'N 00 29'E, Calvados, France
3 September 1944 4 September 1944 Foucart, Seine-Maritime, France
4 September 1944 14 September 1944 Angerville-l'Orcher, Seine-Maritime, France
14 September 1944 17 September 1944 Héricourt-en-Caux, Seine-Maritime, France
17 September 1944 23 September 1944 Parfondeval, Seine-Maritime, France
23 September 1944 27 September 1944 Buken, Flemish Brabant, Belgium
27 September 1944 5 October 1944 Zoersel, Antwerp, Belgium
5 October 1944 13 October 1944 Het Geheul, Antwerp, Belgium
13 October 1944 19 October 1944 Turnhout, Antwerp, Belgium
19 October 1944 23 October 1944 51 17'N 04 39'E, Antwerp, Belgium
23 October 1944 1 November 1944 Maria ter Heide, Antwerp, Belgium
1 November 1944 4 November 1944 Brasschaat, Antwerp, Belgium
4 November 1944 10 November 1944 Roosendaal, North Brabant, Netherlands
10 November 1944 31 December 1944 Brasschaat, Antwerp, Belgium
31 December 1944 1 April 1945 Tilburg, North Brabant, Netherlands
1 April 1945 3 April 1945 Kleve, Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
3 April 1945 30 April 1945 Zutphen, Gelderland, Netherlands
1 May 1945 14 June 1945 Rhede, Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
14 June 1945 16 November 1945 Deilinghofen, Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
16 November 1945 29 April 1946 RAF Hoya, Province of Hanover, British Zone of Occupation
29 April 1946 1 December 1947 B.118/RAF Celle, Lower Saxony, British Zone of Occupation Nos. 1902, 1903 & 1904 Flts.
1 December 1947 1 May 1949 B.156/RAF Luneburg, Lower Saxony, British Zone of Occupation Nos. 1902, 1903, 1904 & 1905 Flts.
1 May 1949 1 September 1957 RAF Detmold, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany Nos. 1901, 1904, 1905 & 1909 Flts.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Halley 1988, p. 445.
  2. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 114.
  3. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 160.
  4. ^ a b Jefford 2001, pp. 102–105.
  5. ^ a b c Lake 1999, p. 99.
  6. ^ "Janes | Latest defence and security news".
  7. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 103.

Bibliography

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F.; Rawlings, John D.R. (1979). Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic; Thomas, Andrew (2003). Combat Codes: A Full Explanation and Listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Force Unit Codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • 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.

External links

  • Squadron histories for nos. 651–670 squadron on RAFWeb
  • Elite UK Forces