|No. 601 (County of London) Squadron|
14 October 1925 – May 1945|
June 1946 – 10 March 1957
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||Royal Auxiliary Air Force|
The Millionaires' Squadron|
The Millionaires' Mob
|Post 1951 Squadron insignia|
France & Low Countries, 1940*|
Battle of Britain, 1940*
Home Defence, 1940–42
Fortress Europe, 1941–42
Egypt & Libya, 1942*
North Africa, 1943*
Anzio & Nettuno
Honours marked with an asterix* are those that are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
|Squadron Badge heraldry||A winged sword|
YN (Jan 1939 – Sep 1939)|
UF (Sep 1939 – Apr 1942, Apr 1942 – Aug 1945)
1 & 2 (Apr 1942)
RAH (May 1946 – 1949)
HT (1949 – Apr 1951)
No. 601 (County of London) Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, based in London. The squadron battle honours most notably include the Battle of Britain and the first Americans to fly in World War II were members of this squadron.
History[edit | edit source]
601 Squadron was formed at RAF Northolt on 14 October 1925 when a group of wealthy aristocratic young men, all of whom were amateur aviators, decided to form themselves into a Reserve Squadron of the RAF after a meeting in White's Club, London. The original officers were picked by the first commanding officer, Lord Edward Grosvenor, youngest son of Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster. Grosvenor tested potential recruits by plying them with alcohol to see if they would behave inappropriately. Grosvenor wanted officers "of sufficient presence not to be overawed by him and of sufficient means not to be excluded from his favourite pastimes, eating, drinking and Whites". The Squadron was initially known as "the millionaires squadron", a nametag gained because of a reputation for filling their ranks with the very 'well-heeled'. Most of these affluent young pilots had little regard for the rigid discipline of the regular service; they lined their uniform tunics with bright red silk and wore blue ties rather than the regulation black. They played polo on brand-new Brough Superior motor cycles, drove fast sports cars (the squadron car park was said to resemble a Concours d'Elegance) and most of the pilots owned their own private aircraft.
World War Two[edit | edit source]
The Squadron became a day fighter unit in 1940 and operated both the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire. Aircrew attrition and transfers to other units war quickly took its toll on the pre-war personnel and as replacements were drafted in from all walks of life and all parts of the Commonwealth to cover casualties and promotions, the Squadron became as cosmopolitan as any other.
Postwar operations[edit | edit source]
The unit reformed in 1946 as a fighter squadron within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF), initially equipped with the Spitfire, followed by the jet powered De Havilland Vampire and the Gloster Meteor twin-jet. The squadron disbanded along with all other RAuxAF units during the defence cuts of early 1957.
Aircraft operated[edit | edit source]
|May 1926||June 1926||Avro 504||K, N|
|June 1926||October 1930||Airco DH.9||A|
|November 1929||June 1933||Westland Wapiti||Mks.IIa, VI|
|February 1933||August 1937||Hawker Hart|
|August 1937||November 1938||Hawker Demon|
|November 1938||March 1939||Gloster Gauntlet||Mk.II|
|January 1939||March 1940||Bristol Blenheim||Mk.If|
|March 1940||March 1941||Hawker Hurricane||Mk.I|
|March 1941||January 1942||Hawker Hurricane||Mk.IIb|
|August 1941||March 1942||Bell Airacobra||Mk.I|
|March 1942||April 1942||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.Vb|
|May 1942||January 1944||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.Vc|
|June 1943||August 1943||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IX|
|July 1943||June 1944||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.VIII|
|June 1944||May 1945||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IXb|
|December 1946||December 1949||Supermarine Spitfire||LF.16e|
|November 1949||September 1952||de Havilland Vampire||F.3|
|August 1952||March 1957||Gloster Meteor||F.8|
Squadron bases[edit | edit source]
|14 October 1925||18 January 1927||RAF Northolt, Middlesex|
|18 January 1927||2 September 1939||RAF Hendon, Middlesex|
|2 September 1939||30 December 1939||RAF Biggin Hill, Kent|
|30 December 1939||1 June 1940||RAF Tangmere, Sussex (Dets. at Merville and Saint-Valery-en-Caux, France)|
|1 June 1940||17 June 1940||RAF Middle Wallop, Hampshire|
|17 June 1940||19 August 1940||RAF Tangmere, Sussex|
|19 August 1940||2 September 1940||RAF Debden, Essex|
|2 September 1940||7 September 1940||RAF Tangmere, Sussex|
|7 September 1940||17 December 1940||RAF Exeter, Devon|
|17 December 1940||1 May 1941||RAF Northolt, Middlesex|
|1 May 1941||30 June 1941||RAF Manston, Kent|
|30 June 1941||16 August 1941||RAF Matlaske, Norfolk|
|16 August 1941||2 January 1942||RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire|
|2 January 1942||25 March 1942||RAF Acaster Malbis, York|
|25 March 1942||10 April 1942||RAF Digby, Lincolnshire|
|10 April 1942||20 April 1942||en route to Egypt|
|20 April 1942||23 June 1942||RAF Luqa, Malta (aircrew)|
|23 June 1942||25 June 1942||Maryut, Egypt (ground- and aircrew reunited)|
|25 June 1942||29 June 1942||LG.13/Sidi Haneish South, Egypt|
|29 June 1942||24 July 1942||LG.154, Egypt|
|24 July 1942||29 July 1942||LG.173, Egypt|
|29 July 1942||5 August 1942||LG.85, Egypt|
|5 August 1942||11 August 1942||LG.219 Kilo 8/Matariyah/Payne Field, Egypt|
|11 August 1942||22 August 1942||Helwan, Egypt|
|22 August 1942||26 September 1942||LG.154, Egypt|
|26 September 1942||7 November 1942||LG.92, Egypt|
|7 November 1942||9 November 1942||LG.21/Qotafiyah III, Egypt|
|9 November 1942||12 November 1942||LG.13/Sidi Haneish South, Egypt|
|12 November 1942||14 November 1942||LG.155, Egypt|
|14 November 1942||25 November 1942||LG.143/RAF Gambut West, Libya|
|25 November 1942||4 December 1942||Msus, Libya|
|4 December 1942||8 December 1942||El Hassiet, Libya|
|8 December 1942||21 December 1942||El Nogra, Libya|
|21 December 1942||31 December 1942||El Merduma, Libya|
|31 December 1942||9 January 1943||Alem El Chel, Libya|
|9 January 1943||20 January 1943||Hamraiet Airfield, Libya|
|20 January 1943||17 February 1943||Darragh North, Libya|
|17 February 1943||26 February 1943||RAF Castel Benito, Libya|
|26 February 1943||1 March 1943||Hazbub Main, Tunisia|
|1 March 1943||9 March 1943||Ben Gardane South, Tunisia|
|9 March 1943||11 March 1943||Hazbub North, Tunisia|
|11 March 1943||4 April 1943||Bu Grara, Tunisia (Det. at El Hamma, Tunisia)|
|4 April 1943||12 April 1943||Gabes Main, Tunisia|
|12 April 1943||16 April 1943||La Fauconnerie, Tunisia|
|16 April 1943||7 May 1943||Goubrine North, Tunisia|
|7 May 1943||21 May 1943||Hergla North, Tunisia|
|21 May 1943||15 June 1943||Ben Gardane North, Tunisia|
|15 June 1943||13 July 1943||RAF Luqa, Malta|
|13 July 1943||17 July 1943||Pachino, Sicily, Italy|
|17 July 1943||25 July 1943||Cassibile, Sicily, Italy|
|25 July 1943||5 October 1943||Lentini West|
|5 October 1943||18 October 1943||Tortorella|
|18 October 1943||26 November 1943||Triolo|
|26 November 1943||18 January 1944||Canne|
|18 January 1944||23 April 1944||Marcianise, Italy (Det. at Madna)|
|23 April 1944||12 June 1944||Venafro, Italy|
|12 June 1944||17 June 1944||Littorio, Italy|
|17 June 1944||3 July 1944||Fabrica, Italy|
|3 July 1944||24 August 1944||Perugia, Italy|
|24 August 1944||4 September 1944||Loreto, Italy|
|4 September 1944||4 December 1944||Fano, Italy|
|4 December 1944||3 May 1945||Bellaria, Italy|
|3 May 1945||14 August 1945||Treviso, Italy|
|10 May 1946||28 March 1949||RAF Hendon, Middlesex|
|28 March 1949||10 March 1957||RAF North Weald, Essex|
Notable pilots[edit | edit source]
- Sqn Ldr Roger Bushell – took part in the Great Escape
- Sqn Ldr Gordon "Mouse" Cleaver DFC – Battle of Britain pilot whose accident aided the development of artificial optical lenses.
- Flt Lt Carl Davis DFC – American who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain
- Plt Off "Billy" Fiske – American who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain
- Plt Off B P Legge DFC
- Plt Off H C Mayers DSO DFC – Australian who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain
- Gp Cpt J A O'Neill
- Fg Off W H Rhodes-Moorhouse DFC
- Sqn Ldr "Jack" Riddle & Sqn Ldr Hugh Riddle – brothers and last surviving aircrew who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain (both died 2009)
- Sqn Ldr Stanislaw Skalski - Polish ace, the first Pole to command an RAF Squadron, and later Polish Air Force general
- Air Cdre Whitney Straight CBE MC DFC
- Plt Off R J W Stubbs OBE DSO DFC
For more pilots who flew with the Sqn during the Battle of Britain, see List of RAF aircrew in the Battle of Britain.
Commanding officers[edit | edit source]
|October 1925||Sqn Ldr Lord E. Grosvenor|
|1931||Sqn Ldr Sir Philip Sassoon, MP|
|1931||1934||Sqn Ldr Nigel Norman|
|July 1934||March 1936||Sqn Ldr R Shaw, DFC|
|March 1936||December 1939||Sqn Ldr B S Thynne|
|December 1939||June 1940||Sqn Ldr Loel Guinness|
|June 1940||July 1940||Sqn Ldr Sir Max Aitken, DFC|
|July 1940||August 1940||Sqn Ldr W F C Hobson|
|August 1940||August 1940||Sqn Ldr E F Ward|
|August 1940||December 1940||Sqn Ldr Sir Archibald Hope, OBE, DFC|
|December 1940||April 1941||Sqn Ldr J A O'Neill, DFC|
|April 1941||December 1941||Sqn Ldr E J Gracie, DFC|
|December 1941||March 1942||Sqn Ldr E J Jones|
|March 1942||April 1942||Sqn Ldr J D Bisdee, DFC|
|April 1942||July 1942||Sqn Ldr R G A Barclay, DFC|
|July 1942||August 1942||Sqn Ldr J D Bisdee, DFC|
|August 1942||March 1943||Sqn Ldr A V Clowes, DFC, DFM|
|March 1943||March 1943||Sqn Ldr G H F Plinston, DFC|
|March 1943||June 1943||Sqn Ldr J S Taylor, DFC|
|June 1943||September 1943||Sqn Ldr Stanisław Skalski, VM, KW, DSO, DFC and two Bar|
|September 1943||March 1944||Maj M S Osler, DFC|
|March 1944||July 1944||Sqn Ldr J H Nicholls, DFC|
|July 1944||January 1945||Sqn Ldr Robert Wilkinson Turkington, DFC|
|January 1945||May 1945||Sqn Ldr C T Stimpson|
|June 1946||June 1948||Sqn Ldr The Hon. Max Aitken, DSO, DFC|
|June 1948||1950||Sqn Ldr Hugh Dundas, DSO & Bar, DFC|
|1950||1952||Sqn Ldr P H M Richey, DFC|
|1952||January 1957||Sqn Ldr C C MacCarthy-Jones|
|January 1957||March 1957||Sqn Ldr Peter Edelston, DFC, AFC|
Note: Sir Philip Sassoon was Member of Parliament during his Squadron Leadership of 601 Squadron.
References[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Moyes 1976, p. 272.
- Hunt 1972, p. 67.
- Moulson 1964
- Rawlings 1978, p. 472.
- Halley 1988, p. 417.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 14.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, pp. 100–101.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 138.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 53.
- Royal Air Force (2004). "Battle of Britain history of No. 601 Squadron". Royal Air Force. http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/401to601.html. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "601 Squadron: Millionaire flying aces of World War II". BBC News. 14 December 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11951642.
- Rawlings 978, pp. 475–476.
- Halley 1988, p. 418.
- Jefford 2001, p. 99.
- Rawlings 1978, pp. 474–475.
- Halley 1988, pp. 417–418.
- Jefford 2001, pp. 230–249.
- Rawlings 1978, p. 477.
- "Flight Global Archive". 1959 - 0315.PDF. p. 148. http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1959/1959%20-%200315.html. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- Moulson 1964, pp. 172–177.
- Moulson 1964, p. 176.
- "Edelston". The Daily Telegraph. London. http://announcements.telegraph.co.uk/deaths/105490/edelston.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
- 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.`
- Hunt, Leslie. Twenty-one Squadrons: History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 1925–57. London: Garnstone Press, 1972. ISBN 0-85511-110-0. (New edition in 1992 by Crécy Publishing, ISBN 0-947554-26-2.)
- 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.
- Moulson, Tom. The Flying Sword: The Story of 601 Squadron. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1964.
- 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 and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
- Robinson, Anthony. RAF Squadrons in the Battle of Britain. London: Arms and Armour Press Ltd., 1987 (republished 1999 by Brockhampton Press, ISBN 1-86019-907-0.).
[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to No. 601 Squadron RAF.|
- Sqn history on Battle of Britain website
- Sqn history on RAF website
- Histories for nos. 600–604 sqn on Rafweb
- Sqn locations
- 601 Squadron (County of London) Recreated
- 601 Squadron: Millionaire flying aces of World War II, BBC News Magazine, 14 December, 2010
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