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No. 681 Squadron RAF
Active 2 January 1943 - 1 August 1946
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Role photo-reconnaissance
Part of No. 221 Group RAF, RAF India Command[1]
No. 231 Group RAF, Air Command South-East Asia[2]
AHQ Burma, Air Command South-East Asia[3]
Squadron Badge heraldry No badge known to have been authorised[4]
Squadron Codes No code(s) are known to have been carried by this squadron[4][5][6]

No. 681 Squadron RAF was a photo-reconnaissance squadron of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.


It was formed out of No. 3 PRU, at Dum Dum in India on 2 January 1943,[4] as part of RAF Far East Air Force. Initially it was mostly equipped with Hurricane PR.Mk.II and Spitfire PR.Mk.IV fighters, but there was also a Dutch element in 'C' flight that operated North American Mitchells, which belonged to the former Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force.[4] The squadron re-equipped with Mosquito PR.IXs in August 1943, and Spitfire PR.XIs in October.

In November 1943 the twin-engined elements were used to form No. 684 Squadron RAF.[7] 681 Squadron, which was now entirely equipped with the Spitfire PR.XI, moved to RAF Alipore, Bengal in May 1944, and RAF Mingaladon, Burma in June 1945, receiving Spitfire PR.XIX photo-reconnaissance aircraft in August of that year. The squadron moved to RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong, in September 1945, when the war formally ended. Detachments from the squadron however were still located and kept busy at a wide range of airfields across the South-East Asian theatre of operations. The squadron was disbanded by renumbering it to No. 34 Squadron RAF on 1 August 1946 at RAF Palam, Punjab, (then) British India.[4][8][9]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 681 Squadron RAF, data from[4][8][9]
From To Aircraft Variant
January 1943 November 1943 North American Mitchell Mk.II (B-25C)
January 1943 November 1943 Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIc
January 1943 December 1944 Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk.IV[10]
August 1943 November 1943 de Havilland Mosquito Mks.II, IV & IX
October 1943 August 1946 Supermarine Spitfire PR.XI
August 1945 August 1946 Supermarine Spitfire PR.XIX

Squadron airfields

+ Stations and airfields used by No. 681 Squadron RAF, data from[4][8][9]
From To Name Remark
25 January 1943 9 December 1943 RAF Dum Dum, Bengal, British India Detachments at RAF Alipore, Bengal, British India and
RAF Agartala, Tripura, British India
9 December 1943 30 January 1944 RAF Chandina, Bengal, British India
31 January 1944 5 May 1944 RAF Dum Dum, Bengal, British India
5 May 1944 25 May 1945 RAF Alipore, Bengal, British India Detachments at RAF Comilla, Bengal, British India;
RAF Imphal, Manipur, British India;
RAF Kalemyo, Burma; RAF Meiktila, Burma;
RAF Monywa, Burma; and RAF Mingaladon, Burma
25 May 1945 27 September 1945 RAF Mingaladon, Burma Detachment at RAF Alipore, Bengal, British India
27 September 1945 23 December 1945 RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong
23 December 1945 9 January 1946 RAF Kuala Lumpur, Malaya Detachments at Kemayoran Airport Batavia, Dutch East Indies
and Tân Sơn Nhất Airfield, Saigon, Vietnam
10 January 1946 28 May 1946 RAF Seletar, Singapore Detachments at Kemayoran Airport, Dutch East Indies;
Don Muang Air Base, Thailand and RAF Mingaladon, Burma
28 May 1946 1 August 1946 RAF Palam, Punjab, British India Detachment at RAF Kohat, Punjab, British India

Commanding officers

Officers commanding No. 681 Squadron RAF, data from[4]
From To Name
January 1943 December 1943 W/Cdr. S.G. Wise, DFC and Bar
December 1943 April 1945 W/Cdr. F.D. Proctor, DFC
April 1945 May 1946 W/Cdr. D.B. Pearson
May 1946 August 1946 S/Ldr. H. Roberts



  1. Delve 1994, p. 68.
  2. Delve 1994, p. 77.
  3. Delve 1994, p. 83.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Rawlings 1982, p. 245.
  5. Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 148.
  6. Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 233.
  7. Rawlings 1982, pp. 245 and 247.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Halley 1988, p. 454.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Jefford 2001, p. 105.
  10. Freeman 2005, p. 14.


  • Bowman, Martin. Mosquito Photo-Reconnaissance Units of World War 2. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-85532-891-7.
  • Bowyer, Chaz. Mosquito Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. London: 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.
  • 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, 1918-88. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Freeman, Jon. Photo Reconnaissance Spitfires in Worldwide Service (On Target Profiles 8). Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK: The Aviation Workshop Publications Ltd., 2005. ISBN 1-904643-15-9.
  • 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.
  • Thomas, Geoffrey. Eyes for the Phoenix: Allied Aerial Photo-Reconnaissance Operations, South-East Asia, 1941-1945. Crowborough, East Sussex, UK: Hikoki Publications Ltd., 1999. ISBN 0-9519899-4-4.

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