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  576 Squadron Royal Air Force

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Nationality based Sqns

Updated: 29 Sep 06

Formed: 25 Nov 1943

Disbanded: 13 Sep 1945

Squadron was based at:

RAF Elsham Wolds :: 25 Nov 1943 - 31 Oct 1944

RAF Fiskerton :: 31 Oct 1944 - Sep 1945

Squadron code: UL

Aircraft operated:

Lancaster Mk I, Mk III :: Nov 1943 - Sep 1945

576 Sqn was formed from C Flight of Elsham Wolds based 103 Sqn on 25 Nov 1943. 13 experienced air crews, 9 Lancaster and their ground crews transfered from C Flt, 103 Sqn to become B Flt, 576 Sqn. The new sqn's A Flight was made up of 4 experienced crews who transfered from 101 Sqn at RAF Ludford Magna with additional new crews coming straight from Heavy Conversion Unit.

The Sqn's first operational sortie was on 2 Dec 1943, flying against Berlin.

In Apr 1944 the Sqn was focussed on preparations for Op OVERLORD (D Day landings) and expended much effort on boming railway communications links and military installations. Missions were also flown against the V weapons sites.

576 Sqn relocated to RAF Fiskerton on 31 Oct 1944. From here is flew in a series of heavy raids against targets across Germany; fielded forces and industrial and manufacturing centres were on the target list.

Its last bombing operation was to attack Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden in which twenty-five 576 Sqn Lancasters and crews took part. In the closing stages of the war 576 Sqn supported Ops MANNA and EXODUS, like many other Lincolnshire-based sqns. MANNA was food drops to the residents of the Netherlands, whilst EXODUS was the repatriation of Prisoners of War from Europe to the UK, up to 4 Jun 1945.

On disbandment on 13 Sep 1945 the Sqn had flown in 189 bombing and 2 minelaying missions, generated 2788 sorties and lost 66 aircraft on ops. A further 9 crashed in the United Kingdom.

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 here.

576 Sqn history on the 103 and 576 Sqn website

RAF Elsham Wolds Association

Elsham Wolds, 103 and 576 Sqn biographies

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
(Tourism)

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