|No. 608 (North Riding) Squadron RAF|
17 March 1930 – 31 July 1944|
1 August 1944 – 24 August 1945
10 May 1946 – 10 March 1957
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||Royal Auxiliary Air Force|
Latin: Omnibus ungulis|
(Translation: "With all talons")
Channel & North Sea, 1939|
Anzio & Nettuno
France & Germany, 1944–45
German Ports, 1944–45
These seven honours are all emblazoned on the squadron standard
|Honorary Air Commodore||Viscount Swinton (1934–1957)|
|Donald "Don" Osborne Finlay|
|Squadron Badge heraldry||
A falcon's leg, erased, belled and fessed|
The falcon's leg indicates the squadron's readiness to go into the air at any time and attack tooth and nail
PG (Oct 1938 – Sep 1939)|
UL (Sep 1939 – 1942)
6T (1944 – 1945,1949 – Apr 1951)
RAO (May 1946 – 1949)
No. 608 (North Riding) Squadron was an Auxiliary Air Force squadron of the Royal Air Force during World War II. It flew during its existence as a bomber, fighter and reconnaissance unit and was the only RAF squadron to be equipped with the unsuccessful Blackburn Botha torpedo bomber.
Formation and early years: Wapitis and Demons
No. 608 Squadron was formed at Thornaby-on-Tees, North Yorkshire as No. 608 County of York (North Riding) Squadron, on 17 March 1930 as a day bomber squadron within the Auxiliary Air Force. Its initial equipment was the Avro 504 N and Westland Wapiti, which the squadron flew until they were replaced with Hawker Demon fighters in January 1937, when the squadrons role was changed to that of a fighter squadron. In May 1937 the name of the squadron was changed to No. 608 (North Riding) Squadron. Shortly before the second world war broke out, on 20 March 1939, the squadrons role was changed yet again, now into that of a general reconnaissance unit flying under RAF Coastal Command and they were re-equipped for that role with Avro Ansons.
World War II
Reconnaissance with Ansons, Bothas, Blenheims and Hudsons
So the squadron started its role in World War II flying the Anson and in June 1940 began to re-equip with the Blackburn Botha torpedo bomber. These were found to be unsatisfactory however and by December 1940 the squadron only had its old Ansons on strength. These soldiered on till February 1941, when Bristol Blenheim Mk.IVs arrived, soon to be replaced with Lockheed Hudsons, which the squadron flew from bases in Scotland, North Africa and Italy until 31 July 1944, when it was disbanded for the first time at Pomigliano, Italy.
Pathfinding with Mosquitos
The squadron was reformed on 1 August 1944 at RAF Downham Market, Norfolk as a Mosquito squadron in No 8 (Pathfinder) Groups Light Night Striking Force. It continued to fly in this role, carrying out night attacks on Germany, until disbanding on 28 August 1945 at Downham Market.
Post-war reformation: Mosquitos, Spitfires and Vampires
No. 608 squadron was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Thornaby in its original role as a light bomber squadron in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. It had however no operational aircraft before being redesignated as a night fighter unit in July 1947, when it received Mosquito NF.30s. These were flown until the squadron changed role yet again, this time to that of a day fighter squadron, receiving Spitfire F.22s in May 1948. From December 1949 these were gradually replaced with de Havilland Vampires, which the squadron flew until, along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded on 10 March 1957.
|June 1930||January 1937||Westland Wapiti||Mk.IIa|
|January 1937||March 1939||Hawker Demon|
|March 1939||April 1941||Avro Anson||Mk.I|
|June 1940||December 1940||Blackburn Botha||Mk.I|
|February 1941||August 1941||Bristol Blenheim||Mk.I|
|March 1941||July 1941||Bristol Blenheim||Mk.IV|
|July 1941||July 1944||Lockheed Hudson||Mk.V|
|March 1943||July 1944||Lockheed Hudson||Mk.VI|
|June 1943||July 1944||Lockheed Hudson||Mk.IIIa|
|August 1944||April 1945||de Havilland Mosquito||Mk.XX|
|October 1944||April 1945||de Havilland Mosquito||Mk.XXV|
|March 1945||August 1945||de Havilland Mosquito||Mk.XVI|
|July 1947||January 1949||de Havilland Mosquito||NF.30|
|May 1948||January 1951||Supermarine Spitfire||F.22|
|December 1949||July 1953||de Havilland Vampire||F.3|
|May 1951||June 1951||de Havilland Vampire||F.1|
|April 1952||March 1957||de Havilland Vampire||FB.5|
|April 1956||February 1957||de Havilland Vampire||FB.9|
|17 March 1930||14 January 1942||RAF Thornaby, North Yorkshire (Det. at RAF Bircham Newton, Dyce)|
|14 January 1942||5 August 1942||RAF Wick, Caithness, Scotland|
|5 August 1942||27 August 1942||RAF Sumburgh, Shetland, Scotland|
|27 August 1942||14 September 1942||RAF Gosport, Hampshire|
|14 September 1942||29 October 1942||RAF North Coates, Lincolnshire|
|29 October 1942||9 November 1942||en route to North Africa|
|9 November 1942||14 November 1942||RAF Gibraltar|
|14 November 1942||6 August 1943||RAF Blida, Algeria|
|6 August 1943||4 September 1943||Protville Airfield, Tunisia|
|4 September 1943||23 October 1943||Borizzo Airfield, Sicily (Det. at Grottaglie)|
|23 October 1943||23 June 1943?||Montecorvino Airfield, Italy|
|23 June 1943?||31 July 1944||Pomigliano, Italy|
|1 August 1944||28 August 1945||RAF Downham Market, Norfolk|
|10 May 1946||16 June 1951||RAF Thornaby, North Yorkshire|
|16 June 1951||12 July 1951||RAF Leuchars, Fife, Scotland|
|12 July 1951||10 March 1957||RAF Thornaby, North Yorkshire|
|March 1930||1932||S/Ldr. W. Howard-Davies|
|1932||December 1934||S/Ldr. I.W.H. Thomson|
|December 1934||December 1938||S/Ldr. G.H. Ambler|
|December 1938||May 1941||W/Cdr. G. Shaw, DFC|
|May 1941||November 1941||W/Cdr. R.S. Derbyshire|
|November 1941||February 1943||W/Cdr. P.D.R. Hutchings, AFC|
|February 1943||December 1943||W/Cdr. C.M.M. Grece, DFC|
|December 1943||July 1944||W/Cdr. D.O. Finlay, DFC|
|August 1944||November 1944||W/Cdr. W.W.G. Scott|
|November 1944||April 1945||W/Cdr. R.C. Alabaster, DSO, DFC|
|April 1945||August 1945||W/Cdr. K. Gray|
|July 1946||1950||S/Ldr. W.A. Brown, DFC|
|1950||1952||S/Ldr. F.A. Robinson|
|1952||1955||S/Ldr. G.A. Martin, DFC, AFC|
|1955||March 1957||S/Ldr. H.D. Costain|
- Halley 1988, p. 424.
- Moyes 1976, p. 278.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 14.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 101.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 100.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
- Halley 1988, p. 425.
- Jefford 2001, p. 100.
- Rawlings 1982, p. 237.
- Rawlings 1978, pp. 491–492.
- Rawlings 1978, p. 491.
- Bowyer 1984, p. 123.
- Hunt 1972, pp. 181–194.
- Bowyer, Chaz. Mosquito Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1984. ISBN 0-7110-1425-6.
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
- 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.
- Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wilkinson, Louise. The Kipper Patrol: The History of 608 (NR) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force and Thornaby Aerodrome, 1930–1957. Dartford, Kent, UK: Pneuma Springs Publishing, 2009. ISBN 1-905809-45-X.
- Squadron history on MOD site
- Squadron histories for nos. 605–610 sqn of RafWeb's Air of Authority
- BBC WW2 People's War-608 sqn 1
- BBC WW2 People's War-608 sqn 2
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