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No. 515 Squadron RAF
Active 1 Oct 1942 – 10 Jun 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Electronic countermeasures
Part of No. 11 Group RAF, Fighter Command
No. 100 Group RAF, Bomber Command
Motto(s) Latin: Cleriter ferite ut hostes nacesit
(Translation: "Strike quickly to kill the enemy")[1][2]
Squadron Badge heraldry A gauntlet holding a winged dagger in bend sinister, trusting to the dexter[1][2]
Squadron Codes 3P (Feb 1944 – Jun 1945)[3][4]

No. 515 Squadron RAF was a squadron of the Royal Air Force formed during the Second World War. It ushered in Electronic countermeasures (ECM) warfare, jamming enemy radar installations from October 1942 as the only such squadron in the RAF initially. Later in the war 515 Sqn was joined by other squadrons as part of No. 100 Group RAF. The squadron disbanded after VE day, when the need for such a specialised squadron had reduced.


Fighter Command

The squadron was formed from Defiant Flight, also known as Special Duties Flight, at RAF Northolt on 1 October 1942,[5] equipped with Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.II redundant night-fighters. As part of No. 11 Group RAF 515 Sqn performed radar jamming duties with Moonshine and Mandrel, moving to RAF Heston later that month, and was re-equipped with Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IIf aircraft from May 1943.

Bomber Command

The squadron transferred to No. 100 Group RAF in December 1943 as part of Bomber Command, and moved to RAF Little Snoring in Norfolk. There they re-equipped with de Havilland Mosquito Mk.VIs in March 1944, and operated these for the remainder of the war. At the time of its disbandment on 10 June 1945, 515 squadron had carried out 1,366 operational sorties with the Mosquito with a loss of 21 aircraft, with most of its aircrew transferring to No. 627 Squadron RAF.[6] T[1][7]


Moonshine was the code-name for ARI TR1427, (Airborne Radio Installation Transmitter Receiver), a British airborne spoofer/jammer installed in the 20 modified Boulton Paul Defiants of No. 515 Squadron RAF to defeat Freya radar and was developed at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE).


Mandrel was the code-name for a jammer deployed against Freya and Würzburg radars used by aircraft of 515 sqn and 100 Group. Developed at the TRE, Mandrel was also built in the United States as AN/APT-3.

Aircraft operated

File:Boulton Paul Defiant 3D ExCC.gif

The Boulton Paul Defiant

Aircraft operated by no. 515 Squadron RAF, data from[7][8][9]
From To Aircraft Version
October 1942 December 1943 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.II
June 1943 April 1944 Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IIf
February 1944 April 1944 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.II
March 1944 June 1945 de Havilland Mosquito Mk.VI

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 515 Squadron RAF, data from[1][7][9]
From To Base Remark
1 October 1942 29 October 1942 RAF Northolt, Middlesex dets. at RAF Coltishall, RAF West Malling,
RAF Tangmere and RAF Exeter[1]
29 October 1942 31 May 1943 RAF Heston, Middlesex
31 May 1943 15 December 1943 RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire
15 December 1943 10 June 1945 RAF Little Snoring, Norfolk

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 515 Squadron RAF, data from[8]
From To Name
October 1942 July 1943 S/Ldr. S.R. Thomas, DFC, AFC
July 1943 January 1944 W/Cdr. J.F. Inkster
January 1944 December 1944 W/Cdr. F.F. Lambert, DSO, DFC
December 1944 June 1945 W/Cdr. H.C. Kelsey, DFC

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rawlings 1978, p. 462.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Halley 1988, p. 395.
  3. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 84.
  4. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 56.
  5. Brew 1996, pp. 42–44.
  6. Falconer 2003, p. 255.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Jefford 2001, p. 96.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rawlings 1978, p. 463.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Halley 1988, p. 396.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Brew, Alec. The Defiant File. Tundbridge Wells, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1996. ISBN 0-85130-226-2.
  • Falconer, John. Bomber Command Handbook 1939–1945. Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 0-7509-3171-X.
  • 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 & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links

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