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No. 40 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed in 1916 at Gosport as No. 40 Squadron Royal Flying Corps and was disbanded for the last time in 1957. The squadron also included many non-British members, including volunteers from the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force.


World War I

Edward Mannock gained 16 of his 61 victories while with 40 Squadron, 15 of which he shot down while flying a Nieuport Scout. Highest scoring ace of the unit in World War I was Irish-born pilot George McElroy, having scored 30 of his total 47 aerial victories with the unit while flying an S.E.5a single seater scout. Others among the two dozen aces who served were Roderic Dallas, Albert Earl Godfrey, Arthur Keen, Reed G. Landis, Ian Napier, William Leeming Harrison, Gwilym Hugh Lewis, Indra Lal Roy, John Henry Tudhope, Edwin Benbow, Herbert Ellis, William Bond, Gerard Crole, Robert Hall, John Wallwork.[1] and Arthur Thomas Drinkwater.[2]

World War II

40 Squadron Blenheims running up engines at RAF Wyton

Wellington aircrew of 40 Squadron are briefed at Foggia Main, Italy, before a bombing raid on railway yards at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

No. 40 operated Bristol Blenheim Mk IV light bombers from RAF Wyton from December 1939 until November 1940, when it converted to Vickers Wellingtons in the night bombing role. On the 14 April 1940 one of the Squadrons Blenheims (L9207) was taken on an unauthorized flight by AC2 JFB Lewis and crashed in the Thames Estuary. His body was not found and he is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. After operating a detachment in Malta from October 1941, the squadron moved there in February 1942, the remaining UK-based element being renumbered No. 156 Squadron RAF.

It later moved to Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and then, in December 1943, to Italy. They participated in the successful Allied invasion of Sicily, concluding in August 1943. The Squadron re-equipped with Consolidated Liberators in March 1945.


The Squadron returned to Egypt in October 1945, and converted to Avro Lancasters in January 1947, before disbanding in April 1947.

The squadron reformed in December 1947 at RAF Abingdon, flying Avro York transport aircraft. Taking part in the Berlin Airlift, it was later stationed at RAF Bassingbourn from June 1949 until disbanding in March 1950.

In December 1953, the squadron reverted to the bomber role, reforming with English Electric Canberra B.2s at RAF Coningsby, moving to RAF Wittering and then RAF Upwood before disbanding for the last time in February 1957. However, No. 40 Squadron was expected to become the first operational BAC TSR.2 squadron, had it entered service.[3]

See also


  2. Franks, et al, p. 63.
  3. McLelland, Tim (2010). TSR2: Britain's Lost Cold War Strike Aircraft. Ian Allan. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-906537-19-7. 


External links

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