No. 101 Squadron (RAF) Bomber Command - Mens agitat molem - 'Mind over Matter'

About This Unit

Mens agitat molem - 'Mind over matter'

For the purpose of this website, 101 Squadron is included as one of the RAF Squadrons to which Australians were posted during WW II.

The Empire Air Training Scheme supplied tens of thousands of aircrew for the Royal Air Force (RAF) air war in Europe during WW II. While a number of so-called Article XV national squadrons were created in Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands of the RAF, the majority of Australian aircrew were posted, along with their Commonwealth colleagues, to RAF Squadrons as individual crew members,where they would 'crew up' often with a very multi-national aircrew comprised of men from all over the Commownwealth. Ground staff were similarly assigned. 

Extract from the UK RAF web page for this unit.  See the associated link.

During May and June 1941, No 101 Squadron converted to Wellingtons and in September it paid its first visit to Italy and successfully bombed Turin. In May and June 1942, it took part in the celebrated 1,000-bomber raids on Cologne, Essen and Bremen; on each occasion all its aircraft returned safely. In October 1942, the squadron got its first four-engined aircraft - Lancasters - and before the year ended paid four more return visits to Turin. In the New Year it added Milan and Spezia to its Italian targets in between supporting the ever-growing offensive on German industrial targets and minelaying. On the night of 17/18th August 1943, 20 of the squadron's Lancasters took part in the epic raid on Peenemunde and, despite a lively night-fighter defence, all the aircraft got back. A fresh task fell to the squadron on 7/8th October 1943, when for the first time it used the Airborne Cigar, or ABC, operationally. This apparatus, which searched out and then jammed enemy radio frequencies, was vital to the "Battle of the Ether", and a specially-trained German-speaking operator accompanied the crew. The special Lancasters - they were readily distinguishable from normal aircraft by their two large dorsal masts - carried a normal bomb load less the weight of the operator and the ABC apparatus.

In late April 1945, came the last of No 101's offensive missions during World War 2 - an attack on Berchtesgaden.

Just over a month before this operation, on 23rd March, the squadron was unfortunate enough to lose a most distinguished aircraft-Lancaster Ill DV245 "S-Sugar" (or The Saint as it was named), a veteran of 118 operational sorties. It was shot down by enemy fighters during its 119th sortie, a daylight raid against Bremen. Gloom spread over Ludford Magna - the airfield at which No 101 was then based - when it became known that The Saint would not be coming back.

Bomber Command WWII Bases:

  • West Raynham : May 1939-Jun 1940

  • Detachment at Manston on loan to Fighter Command Apr-May 1940.

  • Oakington : Jun 1940-Feb 1942

  • Bourn : Feb 1942-Aug 1942

  • Stradishall : Aug 1942-Sep 1942

  • Holme-on-Spalding Moor : Sep 1942-Jun 1943

  • Ludford Magna : Jun 1943 onwards

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

  • Bristol Blenheim I and IV : Jun 1938-May 1941

  • Vickers Wellington IC and III : Apr 1941-Oct 1942

  • Avro Lancaster B.I and B.III : Oct 1942 onwards

101 squadron Blenheim IVBristol Blenheim

101 squadron Wellington B Mk IIIVIckers Wellington

101 squadron Lancaster B Mk III Avro Lancaster

Read the full story of this important RAF Squadron here.  (



Squadron Battle Honours

101 Squadron is one of the most distinguished RAF Squadrons in its history. Its Battle Honours reflect its prodigious record of service.

Western Front 1917-1918*,
Ypres 1917*,
Somme 1918*,
Hindenburg Line,
Fortress Europe 1940-1944*,
Invasion Ports 1940*,
Ruhr 1940-1945*,
Berlin 1941*,
Channel and North Sea 1941-1944,
Biscay Ports 1941-1944,
German Ports 1941-1945,
Baltic 1942-1945,
Berlin 1943-1944,
France and Germany 1944-1945,
Normandy 1944*,
South Atlantic 1982,
Gulf 1991,
Iraq 2003.

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