No. 47 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.47 Squadron was one of the few squadrons to use the Vickers Wellesley in combat, using them against Italian forces in East Africa, before converting to the Beaufort then Beaufighter for anti-submarine and anti-shipping work in the Mediterranean. By the end of the war the squadron was operating as a ground attack unit, using the Mosquito to attack Japanese targets in Burma.

No.47 Squadron moved to the Sudan in October 1927, where it worked alongside the Sudan Defence Force. When Italy entered the Second World War in June 1940 most of the squadron was equipped with the Vickers Wellesley, although one flight retained the Vickers Vincent until the following month. The squadron used its Wellesleys during the fighting in Eritrea and Ethiopia, which ended in a clear Allied victory.

In December 1941 the squadron moved up to Egypt, where in April 1942 it began to use its Wellesleys on anti-submarine patrols. One flight continued to operate the Wellesley in this role until March 1943, but in July 1942 the rest of the squadron began to convert to the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber.

The Squadron's first Beaufort mission came on 8 October 1942, and began a period in which the squadron concentrated its efforts against Axis supply convoys attempting to reach Rommel's forces in Libya.

In June 1943 the squadron moved to Tunisia, from where it used its new Beaufighters on anti-shipping strikes off the Italian coast. Four months later the squadron moved back to Libya, to perform the same task around Greece, and in March the squadron moved even further east, to India, where it formed part of an anti-shipping strike wing.

In October 1944 the squadron made a first attempt to convert to the de Havilland Mosquito, but the harsh conditions exposed some structural problems in the wooden construction of the Mosquito, and in November the squadron temporarily reequipped with Beaufighters.

In January 1945 the squadron began to carry out ground attack missions over Burma, using rocket-armed Beaufighters. In February the Mosquito returned, this time more successfully, and from 1 March until August 1945 the squadron used its Mosquitoes for ground attack missions, concentrating on Japanese bases and transport links. After the war the squadron remained in the Far East until 21 March 1946, when it was disbanded.

Aircraft
January 1933-June 1939: Gordon
July 1936-July 1940: Vickers Vincent
June 1939-March 1943: Vickers Wellesley I
July 1942-June 1943: Bristol Beaufort I
June 1943-October 1944: Bristol Beaufighter X
October 1944-November 1944: de Havilland Mosquito VI
November 1944-April 1945: Bristol Beaufighter X
February 1945-March 1946: de Havilland Mosquito VI

Location
October 1927-May 1940: Khartoum
May-July 1940: Erkowit
July-November 1940: Carthago
November-December 1940: Sennar
December 1940-May 1941: Gordon's Tree
May-December 1941: Asmara

January-February 1942: Burgel Arab
February-March 1942: LG.87
March-April 1942: Kasfareet
April-July 1942: LG.89
July-September 1942: St. Jean
September 1942-January 1943: Shandur
January-March 1943: Gianaclis
March-June 1943: Misurata West
June-October 1943: Protville No.2
October 1943: Sidi Amor
October-November 1943: El Adem
November 1943-March 1944: Gambut
March 1944: Amriya South

March-October 1944: Cholavarum
October-November 1944: Yelahanka
November 1944-January 1945: Ranchi
January-April 1945: Kumbhirgram
April-August 1945: Kinmagan
August 1945-January 1946: Hmawbi

Squadron Codes: X, KU, S, H, Q, O, B

Duty
1927-1941: Supporting Sudan Defence Force
1941-1943: Anti-submarine patrols from Egypt
1942-1944: Anti-shipping strikes, Italy, Greece and finally from India
1945: Ground Attack, Burma

Books
 Mosquito Bomber/ Fighter-Bomber Units of World War 2, Martin Bowman. The first of three books looking at the RAF career of this most versatile of British aircraft of the Second World War, this volume looks at the squadrons that used the Mosquito as a daylight bomber, over occupied Europe and Germany, against shipping and over Burma. [see more]   cover cover cover
Bristol Beaufighter, Jerry Scutts (Crowood Aviation). A detailed look at the development and service career of the Bristol Beaufighter, the first dedicated night fighter to enter RAF Service. Superceded by the Mosquito in that role, the Beaufighter went on to serve as a deadly anti-shipping weapon, and to earn the nickname "whispering death" over the jungles of Burma. cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 June 2009), No. 47 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/47_wwII.html

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