No. 205 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.205 Squadron was a flying boat squadron that became the first RAF squadron to be based in the Far East. Between October 1927 and February 1928 the Far East Flight flew its Supermarine Southampton flying boats from the UK to Singapore, where on 8 January 1929 it began No.205 Squadron. The Southamptons were used for survey flights until April 1935, when the squadron began to convert to the Short Singapore.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the squadron was used to fly patrols over Singapore and the Indian Ocean, operating in several detachments. Some aircraft remained at Singapore, while others were based on Ceylon and the Nicobar Islands. In April 1941 the first Catalina arrived, and in October the last of the Singapore flying boats was given to the RNZAF, for service with No.5 Squadron in Fiji. The squadron's wide spread dispersal meant that when the Japanese entered the war only three of the Catalinas were based in Singapore.

On 6 December 1941 Hudsons from No.1 Squadron, RAAF, located two Japanese convoys escorted by warships, heading towards the Kra Isthmus. On the night of 6-7 December two Catalinas from No.205 Squadron were sent out to try and shadow this fleet. The first failed to find the Japanese convoy, the second was shot down by its fighter escort. The surviving aircraft were soon forced to move to Java. They then had to move to the south coast of Java after the Japanese invaded, and then again to Australia in March 1942. This part of the squadron was disbanded on 31 March 1942.

Consolidated Catalina coming in to land, Sri Lanka
Consolidated Catalina
coming in to land,
Sri Lanka

The detachment on Ceylon had continued to fly patrols over the Indian Ocean during this period, and on 23 July 1942 the squadron was officially reformed at Koggala, Ceylon, with eight Catalinas from Nos.202 and 240 Squadrons. The squadron flew anti-submarine patrols and air-sea rescue for the rest of the war, as well as providing a mail and passenger link between Ceylon and Australia. In June 1945 the squadron began to convert to the Short Sunderland, before moving back to Singapore at the end of the war.

Aircraft
April 1935-October 1941: Short Singapore III
April 1941-March 1942: Consolidated Catalina I
July 1942-March 1945: Consolidated Catalina Ib
May 1944-September 1945: Consolidated Catalina IVb
June 1945-May 1959: Short Sunderland V

Location
January 1929-December 1941: Seletar
December 1941-January 1942: Batavia
January-February 1942: Oosthaven
February-March 1942: Tjilatjap
March 1942: Broome

July 1942-September 1949: Seletar

Squadron Codes: sss

Duty
1939-1942: Maritime Reconnaissance, Far East
1942-1945: Anti-submarine and air-sea rescue, Ceylon

Part of
September 1939: RAF Far East
1 July 1944: No.222 Group; Air Command South East Asia

Books
Short Sunderland Squadrons of World War 2, Jon Lake. A look at the service carrier of the most successful British flying boat of the Second World War, and a key component in Coastal Command's battle against the U-boat. Covers the introduction of the aircraft, its role in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, West Africa and other theatres. cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 February 2011), No. 205 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/205_wwII.html

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