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No. 160 Squadron RAF
Active 16 Jan 1942 – 30 Sep 1946
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Part of No. 222 Group RAF, South East Asia Command[1]
Motto(s) Singhalese: Api soya paragasamu
(Translated: "We seek and strike")[2][3][4]
Squadron Badge heraldry A Sinhalese lion rampant holding a Sinhalese sword[2][3][4]
Squadron Codes BS (Dec 1944 – Oct 1946)[5][6]
Aircraft flown
Bomber Consolidated Liberator
Patrol Consolidated Liberator
Reconnaissance Consolidated Liberator
Avro Lancaster
Transport Consolidated Liberator

No. 160 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force unit during World War II, when it flew for four years in a number of roles including heavy bomber, minelaying, reconnaissance, special operations and transport unit in the Middle East and South-East Asian theatre of World War II.


World War I: False start

No. 160 Squadron was originally proposed on 9 May 1918 as a bomber squadron for deployment to France with DH.9As on 7 October, shortly afterwards amended to 20 October, but formation had not yet taken place when these plans were cancelled on 4 July. The formation was then rescheduled to take place on 20 September at Bristol (Filton) for deployment to France on 20 November, but this plan in its turn was suspended on 29 July and cancelled altogether on 17 August. The squadron thus never effectively formed during World War I.[7]

World War II

To India via Palestine

No. 160 Squadron RAF was formed at RAF Thurleigh, Bedfordshire on 16 January 1942 as a heavy bomber[2]/reconnaissance unit equipped with Consolidated Liberator aircraft. The squadron was posted to India on 12 February 1942, but without its aircraft and crews, who remained in England for training at RAF Polebrook, Northamptonshire. In June 1942 the crews and aircraft moved to the Middle East for bomber operations alongside No. 159 squadron. Whilst being based in Egypt and Palestine the squadron flew missions against targets in Libya and Crete. From November 1942 the squadron's crew and aircraft gradually moved to India, this being completed early February 1943, first mission was flown on 6 February over the Bay of Bengal.[4] The squadron moved to Ceylon on 19 February, being based first at Ratmalana and later at Sigiriya, Kankesanturai and Minneriya. At first the squadron was involved in reconnaissance missions and minelaying and later became involved in dropping supplies to units operating behind enemy lines. When the war ended 160 squadron returned to Kankesanturai and served for a while in the transport role.

Back in the UK

On 23 June 1946 the squadrons return to the UK was completed and they were based at RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland, operating as a reconnaissance squadron. The squadron converted to Lancaster GR.3s in August 1946, but was disbanded shortly after on 30 September 1946, being renumbered to No.120 squadron.[4][8]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 160 Squadron RAF, data from[4][8][9]
From To Aircraft Version
May 1942 January 1943 Consolidated Liberator Mk.II
November 1942 October 1945 Consolidated Liberator Mk.III
June 1943 November 1945 Consolidated Liberator Mk.V
January 1944 January 1945 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VI
October 1945 September 1946 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VIII
August 1946 September 1946 Avro Lancaster GR.3

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 160 Squadron RAF, data from[4][8][9]
From To From To Base Remark
16 January 1942 12 February 1942 RAF Thurleigh, Bedfordshire Ground personnel
January 1942 26 April 1942 RAF Polebrook, Northamptonshire Air echelon, training at 1653 HCU
12 February 1942 4 June 1942 Left for India Ground personnel
26 April 1942 7 May 1942 RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire Air echelon
7 May 1942 30 May 1942 RAF Nutts Corner, County Antrim, Northern Ireland Air echelon
30 May 1942 8 June 1942 RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire Air echelon
4 June 1942 17 June 1942 RAF Drigh Road, Karachi Ground personnel
8 June 1942 11 June 1942 Left for Middle East Air echelon
17 June 1942 22 November 1942 RAF Quetta, Balochistan Ground personnel
11 June 1942 16 September 1942 RAF Fayid, Egypt Air echelon (absorbed into 159 sqn)
16 September June 1942 8 November 1942 RAF Aqir, Palestine Air echelon
8 November 1942 15 January 1943 Shandur, Egypt Air echelon (leftovers absorbed by 178 sqn)
22 November 1942 19 February 1943 RAF Salbani, Paschim Medinipur, Bengal Ground personnel first,
later joined by greater part of air echelon
19 February 1943 2 August 1943 RAF Ratmalana, Ceylon Det. at RAF Sigiriya, Ceylon
2 August 1943 31 July 1944 RAF Sigiriya, Ceylon Dets. at RAF Cuttack, Orissa;
RAF Ratmalana, Ceylon;
RAF Vavuniya, Ceylon and
RAF Gan (Addu Atoll), the Maldives
1 August 1944 7 February 1945 RAF Kankesanturai, Ceylon Dets. at Addu Atoll, the Maldives and
RAF Kandy (Senkadagalapura), Ceylon
7 February 1945 17 October 1945 RAF Minneriya, Ceylon Det. at RAF Ramree Island, Burma
17 October 1945 23 June 1946 RAF Kankesanturai, Ceylon
23 June 1946 30 September 1946 RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 160 Squadron RAF, data from[9]
From To Name
March 1943 January 1944 W/Cdr. C.A. Butler
January 1944 November 1944 W/Cdr. G.R. Brady
November 1944 May 1945 W/Cdr. J.N. Stacy, DSO, DFC
May 1945 September 1945 W/Cdr. G. MacKenzie
September 1945 September 1946 W/Cdr. R.D. Williams



  1. Delve 1994, pp. 76, 83.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Moyes 1976, p. 182.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rawlings 1982, p. 109.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Halley 1988, p. 231.
  5. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 23.
  6. Flintham and Thomas 2003, pp. 65, 148.
  7. Jefford 2001, p. 113.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jefford 2001, p. 66.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Rawlings 1982, p. 110.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • 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.
  • Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W. Burma Liberators: RCAF in SEAC. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Next Level Press, 1991. ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
  • 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.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (2nd edition 1976) ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

External links

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