|No. 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron RAF|
611 Squadron emblem
10 February 1936 – 15 August 1945|
10 May 1946 – 10 March 1957
|Branch||Royal Auxiliary Air Force|
|Part of||Royal Auxiliary Air Force|
|Honorary Air Commodore||G.L. Pilkington|
|Roland "Bee" Beamont|
In front of a trident, a rose|
The rose points to the County of Lancaster and the trident to Liverpool
History[edit | edit source]
Early years[edit | edit source]
The squadron was formed at RAF Hendon, Middlesex on 10 February 1936 as a day bomber unit. The squadron set up its permanent base at RAF Speke (now Liverpool John Lennon Airport) on 6 May and began recruiting personnel from Liverpool and the surrounding area. Its first Hawker Hart light bombers arrived in June, being replaced by Hawker Hinds from April 1938.
Wartime operations[edit | edit source]
On 1 January 1939, the unit became a fighter squadron, receiving its first Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I's in May. The squadron left for RAF Duxford on 13 August. After a period of defensive duties on the east coast, No. 611 became fully operational from its RAF Digby base in Lincolnshire in May 1940, firstly over Dunkirk and then taking part in the Battle of Britain campaign. The squadron commenced offensive sweeps over occupied northern France in January 1941, based at RAF Hornchurch, moving to RAF Drem in Scotland for recuperation in November 1941. The unit moved south again in June 1942 to RAF Kenley for deployment on shipping reconnaissance, escort and defensive missions. No. 611 provided covering patrols for the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 from its RAF Deanland, Sussex base. The squadron then moved to south-west England for a short period.
Long-range escort missions began to be flown from RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex, from late August 1944, until No. 611 moved to RAF Skeabrae in Orkney on 3 October. After converting to Merlin powered Mustang Mk.IV's the squadron again moved south, this time to RAF Hawkinge in Kent and resumed escort duties for the rest of the war. The squadron disbanded as an RAF squadron on 15 August 1945 at RAF Peterhead.
Postwar operations[edit | edit source]
The squadron reformed again at Liverpool's Speke airport on 10 May 1946 as a fighter squadron within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Because of growing airliner movements at Speke, the unit moved to RAF Woodvale near Southport on 22 July 1946 equipped with Spitfire F.14's and from June 1948 with the higher performance Spitfire F.22. Gloster Meteor F.4 jet fighters were received in May 1951, these requiring a move to the longer runways at RAF Hooton Park on the Wirral on 9 July. Re-equipment with updated Meteor F.8's came in December 1951 and these were flown from Hooton Park until the squadron disbanded on 10 March 1957, together with all other RAuxAF flying units.
Notable Pilots[edit | edit source]
- Eric Lock. July – November 1941 Top scoring British born pilot during the Battle of Britain and 26 confirmed victories during just six months of flying time.
- Barrie Heath. Heath shot down four German aircraft between 1940 and 1941. After the war he went on to become the chairman of the engineering giant GKN.
- Roland "Bee" Beamont. Famous test pilot.
Aircraft operated[edit | edit source]
|June 1936||April 1938||Hawker Hart|
|April 1938||June 1939||Hawker Hind|
|May 1939||September 1940||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.I|
|Aug 1940||October 1940||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IIa|
|October 1940||March 1941||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.I|
|February 1941||May 1941||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IIa|
|May 1941||July 1941||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.Va|
|June 1941||November 1941||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.Vb|
|November 1941||February 1942||Supermarine Spitfire||Mks.IIa, IIb|
|January 1942||July 1942||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.Vb|
|July 1942||July 1943||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IX|
|July 1943||July 1944||Supermarine Spitfire||LF.Mk.Vb|
|July 1944||March 1945||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.IX|
|December 1944||December 1944||Supermarine Spitfire||Mk.VII|
|March 1945||August 1945||North American Mustang||Mk.IV (P-51D)|
|November 1946||August 1949||Supermarine Spitfire||FR.14|
|February 1949||November 1951||Supermarine Spitfire||F.22|
|May 1951||April 1952||Gloster Meteor||F.4|
|March 1952||February 1957||Gloster Meteor||F.8|
Squadron bases[edit | edit source]
|10 February 1936||6 May 1936||RAF Hendon, Middlesex|
|6 May 1936||13 August 1936||RAF Speke, Lancashire|
|13 August 1936||10 October 1939||RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire|
|10 October 1939||14 December 1940||RAF Digby, Lincolnshire|
|14 December 1940||27 January 1941||RAF Rochford, Essex|
|27 January 1941||20 May 1941||RAF Hornchurch, Essex|
|20 May 1941||16 June 1941||RAF Rochford, Essex|
|16 June 1941||13 November 1941||RAF Hornchurch, Essex|
|13 November 1941||3 June 1942||RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland|
|3 June 1942||13 July 1942||RAF Kenley, Surrey|
|13 July 1942||20 July 1942||RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk|
|20 July 1942||27 July 1942||RAF Redhill, Surrey|
|27 July 1942||1 August 1942||RAF Ipswich, Suffolk|
|1 August 1942||23 September 1942||RAF Redhill, Surrey|
|23 September 1942||1 July 1943||RAF Biggin Hill, Kent|
|1 July 1943||31 July 1943||RAF Matlaske, Norfolk|
|31 July 1943||4 August 1943||RAF Ludham, Norfolk|
|4 August 1943||6 September 1943||RAF Coltishall, Norfolk|
|6 September 1943||13 September 1943||RAF Southend, Essex|
|13 September 1943||8 February 1944||RAF Coltishall, Norfolk|
|8 February 1944||19 February 1944||RAF Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland|
|19 February 1944||29 February 1944||RAF Coltishall, Norfolk|
|29 February 1944||23 June 1944||RAF Deanland, Sussex|
|23 June 1944||3 July 1944||RAF Harrowbeer, Devon|
|3 July 1944||17 July 1944||RAF Predannack, Cornwall|
|17 July 1944||30 August 1944||RAF Bolt Head, Devon|
|30 August 1944||3 October 1944||RAF Bradwell Bay, Essex|
|3 October 1944||31 December 1944||RAF Skeabrae, Orkney, Scotland|
|31 December 1944||3 May 1945||RAF Hawkinge, Kent|
|3 May 1945||7 May 1945||RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire|
|7 May 1945||15 August 1945||RAF Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland|
|10 May 1946||26 June 1946||RAF Speke, Lancashire|
|26 June 1946||22 July 1946||RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire|
|22 July 1946||9 July 1951||RAF Woodvale, Lancashire|
|9 July 1951||10 March 1957||RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire|
Commanding officers[edit | edit source]
|8 February 1939||4 September 1939||S/Ldr. G.L. Pilkington|
|4 September 1939||19 October 1940||S/Ldr. J.E. McComb, DFC|
|19 October 1940||18 May 1941||S/Ldr. E.R. Bitmead, DFC|
|18 May 1941||28 June 1941||S/Ldr. F.S. Stapleton, DFC|
|28 June 1941||17 November 1941||S/Ldr. E.H. Thomas, DFC|
|17 November 1941||12 September 1942||S/Ldr. D.H. Watkins, DFC|
|12 September 1942||17 February 1943||S/Ldr. H.T. Armstrong, DFC|
|17 February 1943||22 April 1943||S/Ldr. C.'Wag'Haw, DFM, Order of Lenin|
|22 April 1943||26 August 1943||S/Ldr. E.F.J. Chorley, DFC|
|26 August 1943||26 August 1944||S/Ldr. W.A. Douglas, DFC|
|26 August 1944||17 January 1945||S/Ldr. P.R. McGregor, CdG|
|17 January 1945||13 July 1945||S/Ldr. D.H. Seaton, DFC|
|13 July 1945||15 August 1945||S/Ldr. P.C.P. Farnes, DFM|
|10 May 1946||31 August 1948||S/Ldr. W.J. Leather, DFC|
|31 August 1948||6 November 1951||S/Ldr. R.P. Beamont, DSO, DFC|
|6 November 1951||May 1952||S/Ldr. H.R.P. Pertwee, DFC|
|May 1952||May 1952||S/Ldr. D.P. Sampson, DFC|
|May 1952||15 January 1954||S/Ldr. S.G. Nunn, DFC|
|15 January 1954||1 June 1956||S/Ldr. S. Kirtley|
|1 June 1956||10 March 1957||S.Ldr. S. Walker|
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of Royal Air Force aircraft squadrons
- List of Royal Air Force stations
- List of former Royal Air Force stations
References[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
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.
- Brown, Squadron Leader Peter, AFC. Honour Restored: The Battle of Britain, Dowding and the Fight for Freedom. Spellmount, 2005.
- Ferguson, Aldon P. and John Hamlin. Beware! Beware! The History of 611(West Lancashire)Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Reading, Berkshire, UK: Airfield Publications, 2004.
- 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.
- 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.
- Smith, Richard C. Hornchurch Eagles: The Life Stories of Eight of the Airfield's Distinguished WW2 Fighter Pilots. London: Grub Street Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-904010-00-8.
- Smith, Richard C. Hornchurch Offensive: The Definitive Account of the RAF Fighter Airfield, its Pilots, Groundcrew and Staff. Volume Two: 1941 to the Airfield's Final Closure. London: Grub Street Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-902304-79-9.
- Smith, Richard C. Hornchurch Scramble: The Definitive Account of the RAF Fighter Airfield, Its Pilots, Groundcrew and Staff. Volume One: 1915 to the End of the Battle of Britain. London: Grub Street Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-902304-62-4.
- Smith, Richard C. Second To None: A Pictorial History of Hornchuch Aerodrome through Two World Wars and Beyond, 1915–1962. London: Grub Street Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-904010-78-4.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft, (Part Work 1982–1985), Orbis Publishing, pp 4238/9
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