No. 61 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No. 61 Squadron was reformed in 1937 as a bomber squadron. In the two years before the war it was equipped with four different types of aircraft, starting with the Hawker Audax, then the Avro Anson, followed by the Bristol Blenheim and finally the Handley Page Hampden.

The squadron went to war with the Hampden, with the first operation over Germany coming on 24 February 1940. The squadron would spent the rest of the war operating as a night bomber squadron with Bomber Command. It was one of the small number of squadrons to use the troubled Avro Manchester. The slow delivery of the Manchester meant that the squadron operated both aircraft from July 1941 when the first Manchesters arrived, through to October 1941 when the Hampdens finally left. The squadron struggled on with the Manchester for six months, before converting to the Avro Lancaster in 1942, retaining that aircraft for the rest of the war.

Aircraft
February 1939-October 1941:  Handley Page Hampden I
July 1941-June 1942: Avro Manchester I
June 1942-May 1946: Avro Lancaster I and Lancaster III

Location
8 March 1937-17 July 1941: Hemswell
17 July 1941-November 1941: North Luffenham
November 1941-5 May 1942: Woolfox Lodge
5 May 1942-16 November 1943: Syerston
16 November 1943-1 February 1944: Skellingthorpe
1 February-15 April 1944: Coningsby
15 April 1944-16 June 1945: Skellingthorpe

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
Bomber squadron with No. 5 Group

Books

Lancaster Squadron 1942-43, Jon Lake. This book looks at the early career of the Avro Lancaster. During this period the Lancaster was just one of a number of aircraft used by Bomber Command, important amongst them the Wellington, the Stirling and the Halifax. Only by the end of this period do we see the Lancaster begin to emerge as the most important aircraft in Bomber Command. Lake covers the wide range of activities performed by the Lancaster squadrons during this squadron, including the famous Dam Busters raid. [see more] Lancaster Squadron 1942-43 at Amazon.co.uk Lancaster Squadron 1942-43 at Amazon.com Lancaster Squadron 1942-43 at Amazon.ca
Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45, Jon Lake. A well balanced look at the career of the Avro Lancaster in 1944-45, the period most famous for the systematic night bombardment of German cities. This was also the period that saw the Lancaster used to support the invasion of France, and the period that saw 617 Squadron drop Barnes Wallis's huge streamlined bombs with great precision. [see more] Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45 at Amazon.co.uk Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45 at Amazon.com Lancaster Squadrons 1944-45 at Amazon.ca
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 March 2007), No. 61 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/61_wwII.html

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