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No. 511 Squadron RAF
Active 14 October 1942 – 7 October 1946
16 October 1946 – 1 September 1958
15 December 1959 – 6 January 1976
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Transport
Motto(s) Surely and Quickly[1][2]
Squadron Badge heraldry In front of a compass card, an eagle volant affrontée, the head lowered to the dexter holding in the claws a chain of five links[2]
This symbolises the squadrons function as a link between the five continents[1]
Squadron Codes BC (unconfirmed)[3][4]

No. 511 Squadron was a Royal Air Force transport squadron, active during World War II, the Berlin Airlift and during the sixties and early seventies. It operated, during its three periods of existence, aircraft such as the Douglas Dakota, the Avro York, the Handley Page Hastings and the Bristol Britannia.


In World War II

A 511 Sqn York CI on its way to the Far East at Luqa, Malta, 3 August 1945.

Formed on 14 October 1942, No. 511 Squadron was formed from No. 1425 Flight at RAF Lyneham. The squadron continued the work of the Flight operating regular transport schedules to Gibraltar using the Consolidated Liberators. To extend the route from Gibraltar to Malta the squadron also operated the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle. As the Second World War progressed, no. 511 Squadron expanded its long-range transport role and it was the first squadron to operate the Avro York transport (A transport based on the Avro Lancaster). At first the Liberators and Yorks were operated as separate Flights, but the Liberator Flight became 246 Squadron in 1944. The squadron continued to fly trooping flights, particularly between the United Kingdom and India until the squadron was disbanded on 7 October 1946.

Post-war 1: On Yorks and Hastings

Within a few days (16 October 1946) the squadron was formed again as an Avro York operator. It continued to fly the long-distance routes to India and the Far East until, like a lot of transport squadrons, it became involved in the Berlin Airlift. The squadron then re-equipped with the Handley Page Hastings and in 1957 the squadron moved to join other operators of the Hastings at RAF Colerne. A year later the squadron disbanded when it was re-numbered to 36 Squadron on 1 September 1958.

Post-war 2: Comes the Britannia

The squadron was formed again at RAF Lyneham on 15 December 1959, as the second squadron to operate the Bristol Britannia on long-range trooping flights. It moved out of RAF Lyneham for RAF Brize Norton in June 1970, as Lyneham became the base for the new Lockheed Hercules. The squadron was disbanded on 6 January 1976, when it was decided to withdraw the Britannia from service.

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 511 Squadron RAF, data from[2][5][6]
From To Aircraft Version
October 1942 March 1944 Consolidated Liberator Mk.I
October 1942 July 1944 Consolidated Liberator Mk.II
November 1942 March 1944 Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk.I
December 1942 December 1942 Handley Page Halifax Mk.II
September 1943 July 1944 Douglas Dakota Mks.I, III
November 1943 October 1946 Avro York Mk.I
July 1944 December 1944 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VII
October 1945 April 1946 Avro Lancastrian C.2
October 1946 September 1949 Avro York C.1
September 1949 September 1958 Handley Page Hastings C.1
May 1952 September 1958 Handley Page Hastings C.2
December 1959 January 1976 Bristol Britannia C.1 & C.2

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 511 Squadron RAF, data from[1][2][6]
From To Base Remark
10 October 1942 7 October 1946 RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire Dets. at RAF Gibraltar; RCAF Dorval, Canada and RAF Northolt, Middlesex
16 October 1946 1 May 1957 RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire Det. at RAF Wunstorf, Germany for Berlin Airlift
1 May 1957 1 September 1958 RAF Colerne, Wiltshire
15 December 1959 16 June 1970 RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire
16 June 1970 6 January 1976 RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

Commanding Officers

Officers commanding no. 511 Squadron RAF, data from[7]
From To Name
October 1942 March 1943 W/Cdr. W.J. Pickard
March 1943 June 1943 W/Cdr. J.N. Glover
June 1943 June 1944 W/Cdr. C.E. Slee, MVO, AFC
June 1944 August 1945 W/Cdr. E.W. Whitaker, DFC, AFC
September 1945 October 1946 W/Cdr. S.W.R. Hughes, OBE
October 1946 January 1948 W/cdr. R.J. Burrough, DFC
January 1948 January 1950 S/Ldr. G.H. Smith
January 1950 April 1952 S/Ldr. M.C.S. Haycroft
April 1952 May 1954 S/Ldr. Langdon
May 1954 June 1956 S/Ldr. R.E. Dyson, DFC
June 1956 May 1958 S/Ldr. G.W. Turner
May 1958 September 1958 S/Ldr. WL. Green
December 1959 W/Cdr. A.W.G. Le Hardy
W/Cdr. J.H. Lewis
June 1972 W/Cdr. P.A. Ward
June 1972 July 1974 W/Cdr. R.J. Hutchings
July 1974 January 1976 W/Cdr. R.G. Robertson

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rawlings 1982, p. 228.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Halley 1988, p. 394.
  3. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 21.
  4. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 64.
  5. Rawlings 1982, pp. 228–229.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  7. Rawlings 1982, p. 229.


  • 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.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1981–1988. 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.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft, (Part Work 1982–1985), Orbis Publishing

External links

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