No. 657 Squadron RAF

Summary

No. 657 Squadron RAF
Active31 Jan 1943 – 1 Nov 1955
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
RoleAir Observation Post Squadron
Motto(s)Latin: Per terras perque caelum
(Translation: "By land and sky")[1]
Insignia
Squadron badge heraldryA hand couped at the wrist, holding a gun barrel[1]
Squadron codesVA 1944–45 (HQ Flight)[2]
VB 1944–45 ('A' Flight)[3]
VC 1944–45 ('B' Flight)[3]
VD 1944–45 ('C' Flight)[3]
TS (1945 – Jan 1947)[4][5]

No. 657 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force in North Africa, Italy and the Netherlands 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 British Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[6][7]

A postwar Auster Mk.V, restored in wartime colours.

History

No. 657 Squadron was formed at RAF Ouston on 31 January 1943. It went into action in August of that year, in North Africa. It later served in Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. In November 1945, the squadron returned to the UK and continued to support army units in the South of England until disbanded by being renumbered No. 651 Squadron RAF on 1 November 1955.

No. 1900 Independent Air Observation Post Flight was formed within 657 Squadron previously 'A' & 'B' Flights along with No. 1901 Air Observation Post Flight which was formed within 657 previously 'C' Flight.[8]

The original squadron's heritage is being taken forward today by No. 657 Squadron AAC of the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.

Aircraft operated

A Sikorsky R-4 Hoverfly at the RAF Museum, London (RAF Hendon).
Aircraft operated by No. 657 Squadron RAF[1][9]
From To Aircraft Variant
Feb 1943 May 1943 Auster Mk.I
May 1943 Oct 1944 Auster Mk.III
Jun 1944 Mar 1945 Auster Mk.IV
Dec 1944 Mar 1945 Auster Mk.V
Apr 1945 Nov 1952 Auster Mk.V
Mar 1946 Dec 1952 Auster AOP.4
Jun 1946 Nov 1955 Auster AOP.6
Apr 1947 Apr 1951 Sikorsky Hoverfly Mk.II
Sep 1951 Nov 1955 Bristol Sycamore HC.11

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by No. 657 squadron RAF[1][9][10]
From To Base
31 Jan 1943 1 May 1943 RAF Ouston, Northumberland
1 May 1943 26 Jun 1943 RAF Westly
26 Jun 1943 15 Aug 1943 RAF Clifton
15 Aug 1943 24 Aug 1943 en route to North Africa
24 Aug 1943 22 Sep 1943 Algiers, Algeria
22 Sep 1943 16 Oct 1943 Bone, Algeria
16 Oct 1943 9 Jan 1944 Philippeville, Algeria
9 Jan 1944 16 Jan 1944 Châteaudun, Algeria
16 Jan 1944 28 Feb 1944 en route to Italy
28 Feb 1944 8 Apr 1944 Vasto, Italy
8 Apr 1944 11 May 1944 Presenzano, Italy
11 May 1944 5 Jun 1944 Campozilonne, Italy
5 Jun 1944 9 Jun 1944 Anagni, Italy
9 Jun 1944 23 Jun 1944 Civita Castellana, Italy
23 Jun 1944 29 Jun 1944 Città della Pieve, Italy
29 Jun 1944 4 Jul 1944 Ravigliano, Italy
4 Jul 1944 18 Jul 1944 Creti/Foiano, Italy
18 Jul 1944 19 Aug 1944 Carraia, Italy
From To Base
19 Aug 1944 1 Sep 1944 Iesi, Italy
1 Sep 1944 6 Oct 1944 Landing ground on south bank of river Foglia, Italy
6 Oct 1944 21 Oct 1944 Rimini, Italy
21 Oct 1944 4 Nov 1944 Savignano, Italy
4 Nov 1944 29 Nov 1944 Cesena, Italy
29 Nov 1944 15 Dec 1944 Cervia, Italy
15 Dec 1944 21 Mar 1945 San Pancrazio, Italy
21 Mar 1945 24 Mar 1945 Ravenna, Italy
24 Mar 1945 30 Mar 1945 Leghorn, Italy
30 Mar 1945 11 Apr 1945 Via Marseille, France, to The Netherlands
11 Apr 1945 16 Apr 1945 Gilze-Rijen, the Netherlands
16 Apr 1945 21 Apr 1945 Doetinchem, the Netherlands
21 Apr 1945 4 May 1945 Otterloo, the Netherlands
4 May 1945 16 May 1945 Teuge. the Netherlands
16 May 1945 20 Jun 1945 Hilversum, the Netherlands
20 Jun 1945 16 Nov 1945 Goslar, British Zone of Occupation
16 Nov 1945 26 Jan 1946 Wiltshire
26 Jan 1946 19 Jan 1948 RAF Andover, Hampshire
19 Jan 1948 1 Nov 1955 RAF Middle Wallop, Hampshire

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 447.
  2. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 114.
  3. ^ a b c Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 115.
  4. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 99.
  5. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 157.
  6. ^ Halley 1988, pp. 444–451.
  7. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 102–104.
  8. ^ Lake 1999, p. 101.
  9. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 104.
  10. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 246–247.

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

  • History of No.'s 651–670 Squadrons at RAF Web
  • 657 Squadron Army Air Corps at Elite UK Forces