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No. 578 Squadron RAF
578 Squadron RAF Halifax aircrew AWM P03759.001.jpg
578 Squadron aircrew in front of their Handley Page Halifax
Active 14 January 1944 – 15 April 1945
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role Bomber squadron
Part of No. 4 Group RAF, Bomber Command[1]
Motto(s) Accuracy[2][3]
Battle honours France and Germany, 1944–1945
Honours marked with an asterisk* are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Squadron Badge heraldry An arrow in pale, the point downwards, cleft by amother[2][3]
Squadron Codes LK (Jan 1944 – Apr 1945)[4][5]
Aircraft flown
Bomber Handley Page Halifax
Four-engined heavy bomber

No. 578 Squadron RAF was a heavy bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.


578 Squadron was formed at RAF Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire on 14 January 1944 from 'C' flight of No. 51 Squadron RAF,[2] equipped with Halifax Mk.III bombers, as part of No. 4 Group RAF in Bomber Command. It transferred to RAF Burn, North Yorkshire in February, and was disbanded there on 15 April 1945. The squadron carried out 2,721 operational sorties with the Halifax for a loss 40 aircraft.[6]

Notable squadron members

The first Commanding Officer was W/Cdr. D.S.S. Wilkerson, DSO, DFC and the aircrew included Pilot Officer Cyril Joe Barton, VC.[7][8]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 578 Squadron RAF, data from[2][3][9]
From To Aircraft Version
January 1944 March 1945 Handley-Page Halifax Mk.III

Notable aircraft

Two of the Halifaxes of 578 squadron passed the century mark and flew more than 100 operational sorties:

No. 578 Squadron RAF aircraft with the most number of operations, data from[10]
Serial no. Name Operations Call-sign Fate Remarks
MZ527 105 LK-W, LK-D Struck of charge, April 1945
LW587 104 LK-V, LK-A Scrapped, September 1946 Did their 100th operation together, 3 March 1945

Squadron bases

bases and airfields used by no. 578 Squadron RAF, data from[2][3][9]
From To Base
14 January 1944 6 February 1944 RAF Snaith, East Riding of Yorkshire
6 February 1944 15 April 1945 RAF Burn, North Yorkshire



  1. Delve 1994, p. 69.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Moyes 1976, p. 270.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Halley 1988, p. 414.
  4. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 67.
  5. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 88.
  6. Falconer 2003, p. 255.
  7. Moyes 1976, p. 357.
  8. Jones 1978, pp. 121–128.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Jefford 2001, p. 98.
  10. Moyes 1976, p. 362.


  • Adams, Chuck. 578 Squadron Operations, 1944–45. self-published, 1983.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Cawdron, Hugh. Based at Burn – 578 Sqn airmen recall.... Middlesex: Hugh Cawdron/578 Burn Association,1995
  • Cawdron, Hugh. Based at Burn Mk.II: After 50 Years the Biography of an Outstanding Airman and a Diary of the Bomber Squadron he Founded and Commanded. Bristol: Hugh Cawdron/578 Burn Association, 2001. ISBN 0-9525317-1-2.
  • Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Falconer, Jonathan. Bomber Command Handbook 1939–1945, Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing, 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Jones, Geoffrey. Raider: The Halifax and its Flyers. London: William Kimber & Co. Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-7183-0066-1.
  • Marshall, Ken. The Pendulum and the Scythe: A History of No.4 Group Bomber Command. Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, UK: Air Research Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-871187-32-X.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1964 (2nd edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Ward, Chris. Royal Air Force Bomber Command Squadron Profiles: 578 Squadron – "Accuracy" (Bomber Command Profile no. 113). Lutterworth, Berkshire, UK: Ward Publishing, 1998.

External links

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