No. 661 Squadron RAF


No. 661 Squadron RAF
Active31 Aug 1943 – 31 Oct 1945
1 May 1949 – 10 Mar 1957
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
RoleAir Observation Post squadron
Motto(s)Latin: Designo oculis ad caedem
("With my eyes i designate for slaughter")
Squadron BadgeA grenade enfiled by a compass ring[1]
Squadron CodesOE (Aug 1944 – Oct 1945)[2][3]
ROA (Feb 1949 – Apr 1951)[4][5]
Aircraft flown
ReconnaissanceAuster Single-engined Army liaison monoplane

No. 661 Squadron was a Royal Air Force Air Observation Post squadron associated with the Canadian 1st Army and later part of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. 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, 664–666, were manned with Canadian personnel. Their duties and squadron numbers were transferred to the Army with the formation of the Army Air Corps on 1 September 1957.[6][7]


Formation and World War II

No. 661 Squadron was formed at RAF Old Sarum on 31 August 1943 with the Auster III and in March 1944 the Auster IV. The squadron role was to support the Canadian 1st Army and in August 1944 it moved to France. Fighting in the break-out from Normandy it followed the Canadians across the low countries and into Germany. The squadron disbanded at Ghent, Belgium on 31 October 1945.[8]


After the war the Air Observation Squadrons were reformed and No. 661 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force was as such formed at RAF Kenley on 1 May 1949, consisting of five flights -nos. 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961 (Reserve) AOP Flights-,[9] to provide support to the Army in the south London and Surrey area until it was disbanded on 10 March 1957 at RAF Henlow.[8]

No. 1957 Air Observation Post Flight was formed within 662 Squadron along with No. 1958 Air Observation Post Flight, No. 1959 Air Observation Post Flight, No. 1960 Air Observation Post Flight & No. 1961 Air Observation Post Flight.[10]

Aircraft operated

Ex-661 Squadron Auster AOPIV NJ695.
Aircraft operated by no. 661 Squadron RAF, data from[1][8]
From To Aircraft Variant
August 1943 April 1944 Auster Mk.III
March 1944 October 1945 Auster Mk.IV
November 1944 October 1945 Auster Mk.V
May 1949 October 1951 Auster AOP.5
May 1949 February 1957 Auster AOP.6
Jul 1949 February 1950 Auster AOP.4

Surviving aircraft

One known 661 Squadron aircraft survives in airworthy condition.

Serial Geographic location Institutional location History Photo
NJ695 Lee on the Solent, Hampshire, UK The WW2 Hanger, "Hanger P", Solent Airport Auster MkIV, built in 1943 and deployed to France in July 1944 where it was operated by 661 squadron until the squadron was disbanded. Demobbed and civilianised by Taylorcraft England, it was sold to a flying school in East Anglia in 1948, then to a French parachuting club in 1958, before returning to the UK in 1973. Currently in flyable condition, restoration to full airworthiness is planned to be completed in 2022. Auster AOP IV.jpg

See also



  1. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 448.
  2. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 79.
  3. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 95.
  4. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
  5. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 187.
  6. ^ Halley 1988, pp. 444–451.
  7. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 102–104.
  8. ^ a b c Jefford 2001, p. 104.
  9. ^ Sturtivant & Hamlin 2007, p. 131.
  10. ^ Lake 1999, p. 101.


  • 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.
  • Sturtivant, Ray, ISO; Hamlin, John (2007). RAF Flying Training And Support Units since 1912. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-365-X.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing.

External links

  • Squadron history for nos. 651–670 sqn. at RAF Web
  • 661 sqn. page of RAF website