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No. 137 Squadron RAF
Active 1 Apr 1918 – 4 Jul 1918
20 Sep 1941 – 25 Aug 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Part of RAF Fighter Command
Motto(s) Do right, fear naught[1][2]
Squadron Badge heraldry A horse's head couped[1][2]
Squadron Codes SF (Feb 1941 – Aug 1945)[3][4]

No. 137 Squadron RAF existed briefly as a day bomber unit in World War I but it never became operational. During World War II it flew as one of the two Whirlwind squadrons before converting to Hurricane Mk.IV fighter-bombers and later the Hawker Typhoon in the same role. The squadron was disbanded in August 1945.


Formation and World War I

No. 137 Squadron RAF existed briefly as a unit working up to be a day bomber unit on Airco DH.9s during World War I, but it never became operational. It was formed at Shawbury on 1 April 1918 and was disbanded there on 4 July 1918, together with 12 other such units. Plans to reinstate the squadron in September as laid out in Air Organisation Memorandum 939 of 13 July 1918 came to nought as Air Organisation Memorandum 999 of 17 August 1918 cancelled these.[5][6]

Second World War

A Westland Whirlwind as used by 137 squadron

The squadron was reformed at Charmy Down on 20 September 1941 and equipped with the then brand new two-engined Westland Whirlwind four-cannon fighter. The squadron became operational with them on 20 October and flew its first mission (a mandolin) four days afterwards. Unfortunately the new CO, S/Ldr Sample, was killed four days after this in a mid-air collision with a new pilot. Two days later another pilot crashed into the sea. After this bad start, No. 137 became non-operational for a period before resuming with coastal missions on 11 November. On one such mission on 12 February 1941, to escort some destroyers, they met by accident the fighter screen around the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau, losing four pilots in the event.[7]

A Hawker Hurricane Mk.IV

Crew attaching a long-range fuel tank to a Hawker Typhoon Mark IB of No. 137 Squadron at B78 Eindhoven, Holland

In June 1943 the by now worn-out Whirlwinds were replaced with Hurricane Mk.IV fighter-bombers and in July the squadron flew operationally with them again until February 1944 when the Hurricane was exchanged for the more modern and higher performance Hawker Typhoon. 137 flew this new fighter-bomber operationally from 8 February 1944 until 25 August 1945, when it was disbanded at RAF Warmwell by being renumbered to 174 Squadron.


Commanding officers

Officers commanding No. 137 Squadron RAF in the past:[8]
Served from Name Notes
September 1941 Sqn/Ldr J. Sample, DFC
November 1941 Sqn/Ldr H.St.J. Coghlan
May 1943 Sqn/Ldr J.B. Wray, DFC
December 1943 Sqn/Ldr J.R. Dennehey, DFC
April 1944 Sqn/Ldr G. Piltingsrud, DFC
September 1944 Sqn/Ldr E. T. Brough, DFC
December 1944 Sqn/Ldr R.G.V. Barraclough
March 1945 Sqn/Ldr D. Murray, DFC

Squadron Bases

Squadron Bases used by No. 137 Squadron RAF[2][8][9]
Arrival Base
1 April 1918 RAF Shawbury
20 September 1941 RAF Charmy Down
8 November 1941 RAF Coltishall
1 December 1941 RAF Matlaske detachments at RAF Snailwell & RAF Drem
24 August 1942 RAF Snailwell
17 September 1942 RAF Manston
12 June 1943 RAF Rochford
8 August 1943 RAF Manston
14 December 1943 RAF Lympne
2 January 1944 RAF Colerne
4 February 1944 RAF Lympne
1 April 1944 RAF Manston
13 August 1944 Coulombs (B.6)
29 August 1944 Créton (B.30)
3 September 1944 Amiens/Glisy (B.48)
6 September 1944 Melsbroek (B.58)
22 September 1944 Eindhoven (Welschap) (B.78)
13 January 1945 Helmond (B.86)
11 April 1945 Twente (B.106)
13 April 1945 Hopsten (B.112)
17 April 1945 Langenhagen (B.120)
30 April 1945 Lüneburg (B.156)
7 May 1945 RAF Celle (B118)
9 May 1945 Kastrup (B160)
21 June 1945 Husum (B172)
11 July 1945 Lübeck (B158)
20 August 1945 RAF Warmwell

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 Rawlings 1978, p. 276.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Halley 1988, p. 210.
  3. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 93.
  4. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 106.
  5. "Historic Squadrons". Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  6. Jefford 2001, pp. 107–108.
  7. Rawlings 1978, pp. 276–277
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rawlings 1978, p. 278.
  9. Jefford 2001, pp. 63 and 224–228.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd.). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links


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