Squadron Royal Air Force
"Cave canem" (Beware of the dog)
> Units and Formations
Updated : 28 Sep 06
Formed: 15 Apr 1916
Disbanded: Jul 1919
Disbanded: 1 Aug 1955
Reformed: 1 May 1956
Disbanded: 1 May 1965
Squadron was based at:
RAF Bircham Newton :: 1936 - ??
RAF Worthy Down :: ?? - Mar 1938
RAF Scampton :: 14 Mar 1938 - 2 Jan 1943
RAF Fulbeck :: 16 Oct 1944 - 22 Apr 1945
RAF Syerston :: 22 Apr 1945 - ??
RAF Mepal :: Sep 1945 - Jul 1946
RAF Upwood :: Jul 1946 -
Kenya :: Nov 1953 - Feb 1954
RAF Wittering :: 1 May 1956 -
Squadron Code: XU (pre-Sep 1939), EA
DH4 :: 1916 - Apr 1917
DH9 :: Apr 1917 -
Hind :: 1936 - Sep 1938
Hampden :: Sep 1938 - Apr 1942
Manchester :: Apr 1942 - ?? 1942
Lincoln :: Nov 1949 - Aug 1955
Valiant :: May 1956 - May 1965
49 Sqn RFC was formed at Dover on 15 Apr 1916 and moved to France in Nov 1917 for day bombing operations. In May 1919 it was posted to Germany as part of the Army of Occupation but disbanded in Jul 1919. It reformed in 1936 as a Hind bomber sqn. By the start of WWII it was at RAF Scampton equipped with Hampdens.
49 Sqn's wartime roles included laying seamines from Apr 1940. The Sqn was the first in Bomber Command to have a Victoria Cross awarded to one of its strength, Flt Lt Learoyd, for his role in a joint low level attack on the Dortmund-Ems canal with 83 Sqn.
On Wed 16 Oct 1940, orders were received detailing 12 aircraft of 49 Sqn for bombing and gardening: the main target was to be the submarines at Bordeaux. Take off began at 1900 hours at 5-minute intervals from Scampton until all 12 Hampden were airborne. Bad weather was to play a significant part in the night's proceedings especially when the aircraft returned. Futher details of the mission, and photographs of a memorial to the crew of L4128 are included.
Another notable Sqn achievement was to lead the 5 Gp attack on the Schneider arms and locomotive work at Le Creusot in on 17 Oct 1942, when 86 unescorted bombers flew one of Bomber Command's most memorable missions.
In 1943 the Sqn participated in the first shuttle bombing raid, targeting Friedrichshaven and Spezia. It also played a role in the Operation HYDRA, the famous Peenemunde Raid, launched on 17 Aug 1943. JA691, a Fiskterton-based Lancaster, was among the bomber aircraft involved and an extremely detailed account of the attack and JA691's crew's fate is on BomberHistory.co.uk. During 1943 the Sqn also operated out of Dunholme Lodge for one month while the Fiskerton runway was repaired.
Before disbandment in 1955 the Sqn was detached to Kenya with the Lincoln for recce and bombing missions during the Mau Mau rebellion. In its final reformation it was equipped with the Valiant, taking part in the Christmas Island nuclear bomb trials, during which it dropped Britain's first H-Bomb. The Valiant was withdrawn from service due to early superstructure fatigue and 48 Sqn disbanded on 1 May 1965.
49 Sqn info
49 Sqn Association website
Peenemunde raid on BomberHistory.co.uk
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