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421 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force


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Updated: 28 Oct 08

Formed: 9 Apr 1942, RAF Digby

Disbanded: ??

Squadron was based at:

RAF Digby :: 9 Apr 1942 - 3 May 1942

RAF Fairwood Common :: 3 May 1942 -

Squadron code: AU

Aircraft operated:

Spitfire MkVa :: Apr 1942 - May 1942

Spitfire MkVb :: May 1942 - May 1943

Spitfire MkIXb :: May 1943 -

421 Squadron RCAF was formed at RAF Digby on 9 Apr 1942 under the command of Sqn Ldr FW Kelly, with an initial complement of 11 pilots and 108 ground crew. On formation there were 17 MK VA Spitfires on charge. Although no exact record of these planes has been found these are most certainly the Spitfires left behind by the departing 601 Squadron which embarked to Malta. Two days later, Sqn Ldr Kelly tried to acquire the service of the ex-601 Sqn personnel who were on the strength of SHQ RAF Digby to service his newly-acquired aircraft. By 18 Apr he had also managed to secure 2 ex-601 Sqn pilots, Plt Off J H Murray and Sgt A R McDonald, for 421 Sqn.

After the initial period of rapid organization flying began on 23 April 1942, with sector reconnaissance, local flying, areo engine tests and formation flying. During April aircrew with no or limited operational experience, such as Flt Lt Hill, the second flight commander, were sent to fly with 411 Squadron on Circus operations over Dunkirk. By the end of the month the squadron had flown 230 hrs 40 mins. The squadron total strength was now 135 including 11 RCAF and 1 RAF officers, 15 RCAF and 1 USAF airmen.

The Sqn began to move to RAF Fairwood Common with its advance party setting off on 1 May 1942 and the balance of the ground crew on 3 May, along with 16 of the aircraft at 1100 hrs. However by 10 May it had taken over 19 MK VB cannon Spitfires on strength. The MK V planes had been used for initial training exercises during April and early May before being dispatched to other squadrons.

421 Squadron became officially operational on 13 May 1942, taking over the operational commitments of 402 Squadron and running its first operational convoy patrols on 16 May. 421 Sqn spent most of the remainder of the war based in Glamorganshire and Surrey/Kent.

421 Squadron Pilots at RAF Digby and later RAF Fairwood Common.

S. Ldr F.W. KELLY
Flt/ Lt J.H. LONG no 1 Flight Commander
Flt/Lt G.V. HILL no 2 Flight Commander
P/O J.H. MURRAY ( ex 601)
Sgt A.R. McDONALD (ex 601) May 8th posted to 301 Squadron.
Sgt B. STRACHAN May 8th posted to 301 Squadron.
Sgt W.H. FELL
Sgt C. G. HUTCHINGS
Sgt L.N. LARDEN
P/O A.H. SAGER
Sgt W.E. COOK
Sgt R. H. LOYNS
Sgt A.V. KELMAN
Sgt J.A. OMAND
Sgt R. CLASPER
P/O F. WIHAK
P/O J. OWEN
P/O D.M. IVERACH
Sgt L.H. MELDEAU
Sgt D.M. GOODWIN

Ops records from May 13th records the following additional names -
Sgt CARMODY
Sgt TODD
Sgt ROBINSON

Ops records from May 26th records the following additional names -
Sgt WENDT
P/O WESTHAVER

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