No. 235 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.235 Squadron served with Coastal Command for most of the Second World War, serving as an anti-shipping squadron from 1940-1943 and from 1944 to the end of the war, and as a fighter squadron over the Bay of Biscay in 1943-44.

The squadron was reformed on 30 October 1939 as a fighter squadron, but a shortage of suitable aircraft meant that its initial training was with the Fairey Battle. In February 1940 the squadron received its first operational aircraft, the Bristol Blenheim, and on 27 February 1940 it joined Coastal Command.

During 1940 the squadron was used for fighter-reconnaissance duties. During the German invasion of the Low Countries it was used to patrol over Holland. During the Battle of Britain in was used for convoy protection and reconnaissance over the North Sea, taking it a little away from the scene of the main convoy battles in the English Channel.

In 1941 the squadron went onto the offensive, beginning anti-shipping operations. In June the squadron moved to Scotland to attack shipping operating off the Norwegian coast. While in Scotland the squadron converted to the Beaufighter. In May 1942 the squadron moved south to East Anglia, where it spent just over a year, operating against enemy shipping off the Dutch coast. In June 1942 the squadron briefly moved to Malta to help protect a much needed convoy heading to the island.

In January 1943 the squadron moved from East Anglia back to Scotland to resume operations off Norway.

In August 1943 the squadron moved back to England and began to operate over the Bay of Biscay in support of Coastal Command's anti-submarine forces. Their main task was to attack any long range German fighters found over the area (Long range Ju 88s had been causing heavy losses amongst the anti-submarine aircraft). The squadron also helped rescue the crews of downed aircraft, finding them and guarding against attack. In June 1944 the squadron converted to the Mosquito.

By the autumn of 1944 the advancing Allied armies had forced the U-boats to abandon their bases in the west of France, and in September 1944 the squadron moved north to Banff, Scotland, to join the Banff Strike Wing. The squadron spent the rest of the war attacking enemy shipping off the coasts of Norway and Denmark. In April 1945 the squadron shared in the sinking of two U-boats, both in the Kattegat. On 9 April aircraft from Nos.143 and 235 Squadrons sank U-804, and ten days later on 19 April Nos.143, 235, 248 and 333 Squadrons shared the sinking of U-251.

The squadron was disbanded on 10 July 1945.

Aircraft
December 1939-February 1940: Fairey Battle I
February-May 1940: Bristol Blenheim IF
February 1940-December 1941: Bristol Blenheim IVF
December 1941-May 1942: Bristol Beaufighter I
May 1942-October 1943: Bristol Beaufighter VI
October 1943-May 1944: Bristol Beaufighter X
March-June 1944: Bristol Beaufighter XI
June 1944-July 1945: de Havilland Mosquito VI

Location
February-April 1940: North Coates
April-May 1940: Bircham Newton
May-June 1940: Detling
June 1940-June 1941: Bircham Newton
June 1941-March 1942: Dyce
March-May 1942: Sumburgh
May-July 1942: Docking
July 1942-January 1943: Chivenor
January-August 1943: Leuchars
August 1943-February 1944: Portreath
February-March 1944: St. Angelo
March-September 1944: Portreath
September 1944-July 1945: Banff

Squadron Codes: LA

Duty
1940: Fighter-reconnaissance, Coastal Command
1941-1943: Anti-shipping
August 1943-September 1944: Fighter sweeps, Bay of Biscay
September 1944 onwards: Anti-shipping with Banff Strike Wing.

Part of
15 February 1943: No.18 Group; Coastal Command

Books
The Strike Wings - Special Anti-Shipping Squadrons, 1942-45, Roy Conyers Nesbit. A history of Coastal Command's Strike Wings, dedicated groups of anti-shipping squadrons that devastated German coastal shipping during the Second World War, but at a very high cost, written by someone who flew in the same role after the war and with a great use of eyewitness accounts and both Allied and German sources. [read full review] cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 March 2011), No. 235 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/235_wwII.html

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