About This Unit
No. 236 Squadron RAF, Coastal Command
For the purpose of the RSL Virtual War Memorial, No. 236 Squadron (RAF) is included as one of the RAF Squadrons in which Australians served fought and died during WW II.
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.
On 31 October 1939, No 236 Squadron reformed at Stradishall in Fighter Command and received Blenheim heavy fighters in December. It moved to North Coates at the end of February 1940 to join Coastal Command, but reverted to Fighter Command in April on arrival at Speke.
During May and June the squadron flew defensive patrols over shipping in the English Channel and on 4 July rejoined Coastal Command for fighter and reconnaissance duties. A detachment was based in Northern Ireland from 18 September, which became No. 272 Squadron on 19 November, but the bulk of the squadron's operations were flown from Cornwall and Pembrokeshire until 9 February 1942, when it moved to East Anglia and became a cadre unit, its Beaufighters having been withdrawn from service with other squadrons.
It became operational again on 15 March with Beaufighters, which it used for escort and shipping reconnaissance missions. In July 1942 it began taking part in attacks on enemy shipping off the Dutch coast, while detachments flew patrols over the Bay of Biscay to protect Coastal's anti-submarine aircraft from enemy fighters. In April 1943, a strike wing was formed at North Coates. No.236 joined it and remained an anti-shipping unit until the end of the war disbanding on 25 May 1945.