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No.281 Squadron was an air-sea rescue squadron that served all around the British coast in a large number of detachments. The squadron was formed for the first time on 29 March 1942 at Ouston, and was equipped with Boulton Paul Defiants, then being phased out as night fighters. The squadron was intended to provide short range cover for fighter command aircraft operating close to the British coast, and as such was part of Fighter Command.
The Defiants were soon replaced with rather more suitable Avro Ansons, while Walrus amphibians also arrived, but this version of the squadron was fairly short lived, and on 22 November 1943 was absorbed into No.282 Squadron.
No.281 Squadron reformed on the same day at Thornaby, this time equipped with the much longer range Vickers Warwick. The squadron was used to provide air-sea rescue detachments at a number of points around the British coast, with its home base at Tiree until February 1945 when it moved to Northern Ireland. The squadron was disbanded on 24 October 1945.
April 1942-June 1943: Boulton Paul Defiant I
February-November 1943: Supermarine Walrus I and II
April-November 1943: Avro Anson I
November 1943-October 1945: Vickers Warwick I
April 1944-October 1945: Supermarine Sea Otter II
September-October 1945: Vickers Wellington XIII and XIV
March 1942-June 1943: Ouston
June-October 1943: Woolsington
October-November 1943: Drem
November 1943-February 1944: Tiree
February 1944-February 1945: Mullagmore
March-August 1945: Limavady
August-October 1945: Ballykelly
Squadron Codes: FA (Anson, Warwick)
1942-1945: air-sea rescue
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