|103 Squadron Royal Air Force|
> Units and Formations
Formed: 1 Jan 1917, Beaulieu
Disbanded: Mar 1919
Renumbered: to 57 Sqn in Dec 1945
Squadron was based at:
RAF Andover :: 1936
RAF Unsworth :: 1937
RAF Abingdon :: Jun 1940 - Jul 1940
RAF Newton :: Jul 1940 - Jul 1941
RAF Elsham Wolds :: 11 Jul 1941 - Nov 1945
RAF Scampton :: Dec 1945 -
Squadron code: PM
DH9 :: < May 1918 -
Hawker Hind :: 1936 - 1937
Fairey Battle :: 1937 - Oct 1940
Wellington :: Oct 1940 - Aug 1942
Halifax Mk II :: Jul 1942 - Nov 1942
Lancaster Mk I :: Oct 1942
Lancaster Mk III :: Oct 1942 -
103 Sqn formed on 1 Sep 1917 as a day bomber squadron at Beaulieu, the nucleus being drawn from 16TS, moving one week later to Old Sarum. The Sqn deployed to Azelot on the Western Front in France on 12 May 1918, attached to 80 Wing of 10 Bde, tasked with daytime bombing and reconnaissance.
In Aug 1918, Lt Col Strange, OC 80 Wing, decided to strike at the German air force directly. On 16 Aug 1918 detailed 65 aircraft of the Wing to attack the German airfield at Haubourdin. 88 Sqn and 92 Sqn acted as fighter cover. 4 Sqn started the attack diving on to the airfield and releasing their bombs amongst the aircraft and buildings on the ground. 2 Sqn and 103 Squadron followed releasing their bombs at low level, destroying an ammunition dump and 30 aircraft, and damaging buildings aon the airfield.
103 Sqn was disbanded in Mar 1919, subsequently reformed in 1936 as the German threat menaced.
Flown to France at the outbreak of war as part of the Advanced Air Strike Force (AASF) all was peaceful until 10 May 1930 when Germany began its attack in the West. The Sqn flew into action immediately against a superior enemy and was withdrawn in Jun 1940 to RAF Abingdon when France neared defeat.
From Abingdon the Sqn moved to Newton and came once more under 1 Gp of Bomber Command. October saw re-equipping with the new Wellington bomber, with ops against Germany commending from Dec 1940. Night raids over the next 3 months concentrated on Germany. Spring and summer 1941 concentrated on U Boat bases and pens along the French Atlantic coast, and key German ships at Brest. The Sqn arrived at Elsham Wolds in Jul 1941, from where raids in force were conducted against Germany over the winter.
In May 1942 the Sqn participated in the series of Thousand Bomber Raids together with many other Lincolnshire based squadrons and re-equipped to the Halifax in Aug 1942.
576 Sqn was formed from C Flight of 103 Sqn in Nov 1943.
The RAF Elsham Wolds
website has a comprehensive and fascinating collection approximately
40 aircrew biographies and stories from World War II which put a fascinating
human dimension on the history of the station and 103 Sqn and 576 Sqn: click
103 Sqn history on the 103 and 576 Sqn website
103 Sqn in the Great War
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