No. 158 Squadron (RAF) "Strength in Unity"

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About This Unit

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For the purpose of the RSL Virtual War Memorial, No. 158 Squadron (RAF)  is included as one of the RAF Squadrons in which Australians served fought and died during WW II.

Composite content from Wikipedia and MoD UK

Having initially been raised in WW1, No. 158 Squadron reformed at RAF Driffield on 14 February 1942, as a bomber squadron in No. 4 Group. It was raised via the renumbering of No. 104 Squadron, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington medium bomber and 158 initially used these on night raids to Germany and occupied France. During the remainder of the Second World War took part in many major raids on naval and industrial targets (including the first 1,000-bomber raid) as well as playing an active part in the minelaying campaign.

Beginning operations with Vickers Wellington medium bombers - as they then were - in February 1942, 158 Squadron re-equipped with the Handley Page Halifax B.Mk.II four-engined heavy bombers and moved to RAF East Moor in June 1942.  It continued with Halifaxes for the rest of the war. 

On 6 November 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Rufforth, followed by a move to RAF Lissett on 28 Febrary 1943. In January 1944 the squadron had re-equipped with the Halifax B.Mk.III and the squadrons 'C' flight was used to form No. 640 Squadron at Leconfield.

 Among its Halifaxes (and a great many passed through its hands) were two particularly distinguished specimens - Halifax IIIs LV907 "F-Freddy", or Friday the 13th, as it was named, and LV917 Clueless, which was successively designated "T-Tare", "H-Harry" and "C-Charlie".  These aircraft both joined the squadron in March 1944, and between then and VE Day flew 128 and 99 (at least) operational sorties, respectively. Both of them participated in No. 158 Squadron's final wartime operation - an attack on Wangerooge on 25th April 1945.

 

During WW2 the Empire Air Training Scheme supplied tens of thousands of aircrew for the Royal Air Force (RAF) air war in Europe, and later in other theatres of war. 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 (and also to RCAF and RNZAF units) 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.

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