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  68 (Australian) Squadron Royal Flying Corps

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Nationality based Sqns

Updated: 30 Sep 06

Formed: 20 Sep 1916, Kantara Egypt

Disbanded: 6 May 1919

Squadron was based at:

RFC Harlaxton :: Jan 1917 - Sep 1917

RAF Coleby Grange :: 5 Feb 1944 - 1 Mar 1944

Squadron code:WN

Aircraft operated:

Beaufighter MkVI(F)

68 Sqn had a Czech Flight. More details on Czechoslovak Airman in the RAF :: website

68 (Austalian) Sqn RFC, later 2 Sqn Australian Flying Corps (refered to a 2 Sqn in this page for clarity) , was the first fighter sqn of the AFC to reach the Western Front. It formed as 68 (Australian) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (RFC), at Kantara in Egypt on 20 September 1916.

Its initial personnel were drawn from 67 (Australian) Sqn and were soon supplemented by volunteers from the light horse regiments and extra mechanics from Australia. The squadron proceeded to the United Kingdom to Harlaxton for training in January 1917, and in September was deployed for operations over the Western Front.

Equipped initially with DH-5 aircraft, 68 Squadron was a “scout” squadron, the main role of which was to escort larger, slower aircraft, seek out and destroy the enemy’s aircraft, and provide support for ground troops. In France, the squadron joined the 13th Army Wing, RFC, at Baizieux and its aircraft were involved in their first engagement on 2 October 1917. The squadron was soon drawn into the ongoing operations that constituted the third battle of Ypres, and was heavily involved in ground attack operations. This role continued during the battle of Cambrai (20 November – 7 December 1917). On the first day of the battle 67 Squadron lost seven of its eighteen aircraft either destroyed or badly damaged; on each day of the battle, losses among the ground attack squadrons averaged 30 per cent. Six Military Crosses were awarded to 68 Squadron personnel for their actions above the Cambrai battlefield.

The squadron was redesignated 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, on 4 January 1918. Early 1918 saw the squadron operate from a succession of airfields under the command of several RAF wings – 10th, 22nd and then 51st

0n 21 June 1918, 2 Squadron along with 4 Squadron, AFC, and 46 and 103 Squadrons of the RAF, became part of the newly formed 80th Wing. 2 Squadron was active throughout the Allied counter-offensive. It was almost as mobile on the ground as it was in the air, relocating on several occasions to ensure it was best placed to support the Allied advance. By this stage in the war the Allied air forces had almost complete dominance of the air.

The squadron’s last major operation of the war was flown on 9 November 1918. After the Armistice, squadron personnel were involved in evaluating captured German aircraft. The squadron relinquished its own aircraft and returned to the United Kingdom in February 1919. On 6 May it sailed for home aboard the Kaisar-i-Hind. 2 Squadron finally disbanded with disembarkation of last members in Sydney on 18 June.

2 Sqn AFC on Diggers History

68 Sqn on Czechoslovak Airmen website

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