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No. 333 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF
Active 10 May 1943 – 21 November 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Norway Norwegian Government in exile
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Motto(s) Norwegian language: For Konge, Fedreland og flaggets heder
("For King, country and the honour of the flag")
Squadron Badge heraldry In front of a pair of wings elevated and conjoined in base a Viking ship affrontée
Squadron Codes KK (Sep 1944 – Nov 1945)

No. 333 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron of the Second World War. After the war it became 333 Squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.



The Squadron was established as a detachment (No. 1477 (Norwegian) Flight) under the 210 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force, on 8 February 1942, by Captain Finn Lambrechts. The squadron was located in Woodhaven, Fife, Scotland. On 10 May 1943 333 squadron was formed from this flight[1] with Mosquito Mk.IIs at RAF Leuchars and PBY-1b Catalinas at Woodhaven. The Mosquitoes were operated on shipping reconnaissance flights along the Norwegian coast, whilst the Catalinas carried out anti-submarine patrols to the north of Scotland. The squadron's Catalinas also operated in the 'Special Duties' role landing both personnel and supplies at points along the Norwegian coast.[1] In September 1944 the Mosquito flight joined the Banff strike wing and acted in the Pathfinder role. However, on 30 May 1945 this flight was redesignated No. 334 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF and No. 333 became a pure Catalina unit.[2]

May 1942 : back from a mission over Norway. Nordahl Grieg 2nd from right

On their first mission to Norway, the poet, and news-reporter Nordahl Grieg was with 333 Squadron to report from the flight. This was then a secret mission. After this mission, he wrote the poem Flagget. During the Second World War, the missions of 333 Squadron included dangerous search-and-destroy submarine missions, patrolling, and secret missions along the Norwegian coastline, behind the German defence lines. They landed and picked up agents, illegal radios, and transmitters. They also dropped Christmas presents to the Norwegian population, and did search and rescue missions.


After the war, the squadron returned to Norway, being based at Fornebu, helping to rebuild the northern parts of the country, transporting people and equipment from the south to the north. The oil-activity, establishment of the Norwegian economic zone, and establishment of the coast-guard, created new demands on the squadron. They had to carry out surveillance of large sea areas, requiring new airplanes, the P-3 Orion.

In the 1980s the squadron undertook search-and-destroy submarine missions along the coastline and in the fjords. Several times they have dropped sharp weapons against submarines that were illegal in Norwegian territory. In the 1990s, the Russian Northern Fleet was reduced by half, although it still has 67 operational submarines, and a large fleet of ships.

Today the squadron regularly does various missions, including surveillance of military maritime operations, patrolling the economic zone, controlling fishing and resources, submarine searches, and search and rescue missions. They also take part in international missions and training. The squadron is the only one that has been active continuously since World War II, and is today a part of the 133 Air Wing.

Aircraft operated

From To Aircraft Version
May 1943 Nov 1943 De Havilland Mosquito[1] Mk.II
May 1943 Feb 1945 Consolidated Catalina[1] Mk.Ib
Nov 1943 Feb 1945 De Havilland Mosquito[1] Mk.VI
May 1944 Nov 1945 Consolidated Catalina[1] Mk.IVa
1945 1954 Consolidated Catalina PBY-5 (Vingtor, Jøssing, Viking, Ulabrand)
1954 1961 Consolidated Catalina PBY-5A (21 aircraft in total) these were never owned by Norway, but were on loan to them
1961 1969 Grummann Albatross HU-16 (amphibious)
1969 1989 Lockheed Orion P3-B*
1989 present Lockheed Orion P3-N
1989 present Lockheed Orion P3-C Update III (Vingtor, Jøssing, Viking, Ulabrand)
  • = Two of the P3-Bs were modified to P3-N and all still are in service (Fritjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen, Gunnar Isachsen, Otto Sverdrup, Hjalmar Riiser Larsen, Bernt Balchen, Finn Lambrechts)

Bases operated from

From To Base Remarks
May 1943 Aug 1944 RAF Leuchars[1]
May 1943 Jun 1945 Woodhaven, Scotland[1] Detachment
Aug 1944 Jun 1945 Banff[1]
Jun 1945 1963 Fornebu, Sola Detachments in Skattøra, Andøya and Bodø.
1963 Present Andøya Air Station, Norway




  • 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • 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.

Further reading

  • Joris Janssen Lok, 'Flying north for the winter,' Jane's Navy International, April 2001

External links

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