RAF No 210 Squadron

Motto: Yn y nwyfre yn hedfan (Hovering in the heavens)

Originally formed as No 10 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS at St Pol on 12 February 1917 as a scout unit tasked with escorting RNAS bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. In may its various Nieuports were replaced by Sopwith Triplanes and at the same time it was sent to the Western Front to assist the RFC. During this period ones of its pilots was Raymond Collishaw, who would become the third highest scoring Allied fighter pilot of the war.

In August 1917, the squadron received Camels and in October returned to its coastal defence duties. However, the German offensive of March 1918, resulted in the unit being sent back to the Western Front to help bolster the defences and during these action on 1 April 1918, it was absorbed into the newly formed RAF and renumbered as No 210 Squadron. In July 1918 it once again returned to the coast but rejoined the fighting on the Western Front for the last few weeks. It remained on the continent until February 1919, when it returned to Scopwick, disbanding there on 24 June 1919.

It reformed as a torpedo-bomber unit at Gosport on 1 February 1920, equipped with the Sopwith Cuckoo, but this was short lived, the squadron disbanding on 1 April 1923. It next reformed at Felixstowe on 1 March 1931 as a flying boat unit equipped with Southampton IIs. A move to a new permanent base came in June, when it arrived at Pembroke Dock, which was still under construction at the time. It re-equipped with Rangoons in August 1935, which it took to Gibraltar during the Abyssinian crisis returning to Wales in August 1936. On its return it re-equipped yet again, this time with Singapores. It also became involved in the Spanish Civil War, when it was detached to Algeria to protect neutral shipping from being attacked by submarines of the warring factions. Sunderlands arrived in June 1938.

On the outbreak of war the squadron was immediately involved in patrolling the Irish Sea and with detachments at Invergordon and Sullom Voe, the North Sea to the Norwegian coast. The squadron re-located its headquarters in July 1940, when it moved to Oban and began conversion to Catalinas. From October 1942, the squadron was back at Pembroke Dock with a detachment at Gibraltar covering the North African landings. The squadron moved to Hamworthy in April 1943, whilst the detachment at Gibraltar remained there , however, on 31 December the detachment was transferred to No 202 Squadron and the squadron HQ was disbanded.

The squadron was reformed on 1 January 1944 by renumbering No 190 Squadron at Sullom Voe in the Shetlands, where it continued to operate until the end of the war, disbanding on 4 June 1945. During this period one of its pilots, Flying Officer John Cruickshank carried out a daring attack on a German U-boat and despite severe injuries, managed to fly his aircraft home and waiting until daybreak was able to land it safely saving his crew, an achievement for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The squadron was reformed once again on 1 June 1946, when No 179Y Squadron at St Eval was renumbered. It was now operating as a land based maritime reconnaissance unit equipped with Lancasters. From 15 February 1949 until 13 January 1952, the squadron had No 217 Squadron linked to it in October 1952 it moved to Topcliffe, where it re-equipped with Neptunes in February 1953, disbanding again on 31 January 1957. It was soon reforming again, when No 269 Squadron at Ballykelly was renumbered on 1 December 1958. Equipped with the Shackleton MR Mk 2, it moved to Sharjah in the Persian Gulf in November 1970 but a year later disbanded on 15 November 1971.

Standards:

Award of Standard originally announced on 15 Oct 1953, effective from 1 Apr 1953 but presented:-

Battle Honours:

Western Front, 1916-18: Ypres 1917: Lys: Atlantic 1939-45: Arctic 1945: Bismarck: North Africa, 1942-43: Biscay 1943

Squadron Codes used: -

VG May 1939 - Sep 1939
DA Sep 1939 - Dec 1943
OZ Apr 1946 - 1951 (taken over from No 179 Sqn)
L 1951 - 1956
210 1956 - Jan 1957

Aircraft operated

From To Aircraft Variant
Feb 1917 May 1917 Nieuport 12  
Feb 1917 May 1917 Nieuport 17  
Feb 1917 Jul 1917 Sopwith Triplane  
August 1917 Jun 1919 Sopwith Camel  
Feb 1920 Apr 1923 Sopwith Cuckoo  
May 1931 Jul 1935 Supermarine Southampton Mk.II
Jan 1935 Aug 1935 Short Singapore Mk.III
Sep 1935 Aug 1936 Short Rangoon Mk.I
Oct 1935 Nov 1935 Saro London Mk.II
Oct 1935 Nov 1935 Supermarine Stranraer Mk.I
Sep 1936 Nov 1938 Short Singapore Mk.III
Jun 1938 Apr 1941 Short Sunderland Mk.I
Apr 1941 Mar 1944 Consolidated Catalina Mks.I and Ib
Aug 1942 Dec 1943 Consolidated Catalina Mks.IIa and III
Mar 1944 Jun 1945 Consolidated Catalina Mk.IV
Jun 1946 Oct 1952 Avro Lancaster ASR.3
Feb 1953 Jan 1957 Lockheed Neptune MR.1
Dec 1958 Nov 1971 Avro Shackleton MR.2

Squadron bases

From To Base
12 Feb 1917 27 Mar 1917 Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, Belgium
27 Mar 1917 15 May 1917 Furnes, Belgium
15 May 1917 4 Oct 1917 Droglandt, France
4 Oct 1917 27 Nov 1917 Leffrinckoucke, France
27 Nov 1917 31 Mar 1918 Téteghem, France
31 Mar 1918 9 Apr 1918 Treizennes, France
9 Apr 1918 27 Apr 1918 Liettres, France
27 Apr 1918 30 May 1918 Saint-Omer, France
30 May 1918 8 Jul 1918 Sainte-Marie-Cappel, France
8 Jul 1918 22 Jul 1918 Téteghem, France
22 Jul 1918 23 Oct 1918 Eringhem, Belgium
23 Oct 1918 17 Feb 1919 Boussières, France
17 Feb 1919 24 Jun 1919 RAF Scopwick, Lincolnshire
1 Feb 1920 1 Apr 1923 RAF Gosport, Hampshire
1 Mar 1931 15 Jun 1931 Felixstowe, Suffolk
15 Jun 1931 28 Sep 1935 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
28 Sep 1935 7 Aug 1936 RAF Gibraltar
7 Aug 1936 22 Sep 1937 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
22 Sep 1937 18 Dec 1937 Arzeu, Algeria
18 Dec 1937 29 Sep 1938 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
29 Sep 1938 8 Oct 1938 Tayport, Fife, Scotland
8 Oct 1938 23 Oct 1939 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
23 Oct 1939 6 Nov 1939 Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
6 Nov 1939 24 Nov 1939 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
24 Nov 1939 21 May 1940 Invergordon (Det. at Sullom Voe, Shetland, Scotland)
21 May 1940 13 Jul 1940 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales
13 Jul 1940 28 Feb 1942 RAF Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland (Dets. at Reykjavík, Iceland, Sullom Voe and Stranraer
28 Feb 1942 4 Oct 1942 Sullom Voe, Shetland, Scotland (Det. at Grasnaya, Russia)
4 Oct 1942 21 Apr 1943 Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales (Det. at Gibraltar)
21 Apr 1943 31 Dec 1943 RAF Hamworthy, Dorset (Det. at Gibraltar)
1 Jan 1944 4 Jun 1945 Sullom Voe, Shetland, Scotland (Det. at Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales)
1 Jun 1946 15 Apr 1952 RAF St Eval, Cornwall (Dets. at Ein Shemer, Israel, RAF Gibraltar and RAF Luqa, Malta
15 Apr 1952 26 May 1952 RAF St Mawgan, Cornwall
26 May 1952 15 Apr 1952 RAF St Eval, Cornwall
10 Sep 1952 26 Sep 1952 RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
26 Sep 1952 31 Jan 1957 RAF Topcliffe, North Yorkshire
1 Dec 1958 31 Oct 1970 RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland (Dets. at Sharjah, Trucial States and Majunga, Madagascar
1 Nov 1970 15 Nov 1971 Sharjah, Trucial States (United Arab Emirates)

Commanding officers

From To Name
Feb 1917 Apr 1917 Squadron Commander (S/Cdr.) C. D. Breese
Apr 1917 Sep 1917 S/Cdr. D.C. Bell (acting)
Sep 1917 Apr 1918 S/Cdr. D.C. Bell
Apr 1918 Oct 1918 Maj. D.C. Bell
Oct 1918 Jun 1919 Cpt. A.W. Carter, DFC
Feb 1920 Apr 1920 S/Ldr.J.A.G. de Courcy
Apr 1920 Sep 1920 S/Ldr. C. W. H. Pulford
Sep 1920 Apr 1923 W/Cdr. N.J. Gill
Mar 1931 Mar 1933 W/Cdr. R. Leckie,DSO, DSC, DFC
Mar 1933 Jul 1933 W/Cdr. A.T. Harris
Jul 1933 May 1934 W/Cdr. R.H. Kershaw
May 1934 Oct 1935 S/Ldr. A.F. Lang
Oct 1935 Dec 1938 W/Cdr. W.N. Plenderlieth
Dec 1938 Jan 1939 S/Ldr. G.A. Bolland
Jan 1939 Jan 1940 W/Cdr. W.J. Daddo-Langlois
Jan 1940 Jan 1941 W/Cdr. F.J. Fressanges
Jan 1941 Nov 1941 W/Cdr. G.G. Barret
Nov 1941 Jun 1942 W/Cdr. W.H. Hutton
Jun 1942 Jan 1943 W/cdr. H.B. Johnson
Jan 1943 Nov 1943 W/Cdr. C.H. Brandon
Nov 1943 Jan 1944 W/Cdr. S.R. Gibbs, DFC
Jan 1944 Mar 1944 W/Cdr. P.H. Allington
Mar 1944 Oct 1944 W/Cdr. L.W. Burgess
Oct 1944 Nov 1944 S/Ldr. Smallman
Nov 1944 Jun 1945 W/cdr. R.W. Whittome
Jun 1946 Jan 1947 S/Ldr. A. Henderson, AFC
Jan 1947 Oct 1947 S/Ldr. F.G. Paisley, DFC
Oct 1947 Apr 1949 S/Ldr. W.D. Hodgkinson, DFC, AFC
Apr 1949 Jun 1951 S/Ldr. P.R. Casement, DSO, DFC
Jun 1951 Nov 1951 S/Ldr. P.J. Cundy
Nov 1951 Aug 1952 S/Ldr. E.F.J. Odoire, DFC, AFC
Aug 1952 Jan 1954 S/Ldr. H.H. Eccles
Jan 1954 Dec 1955 S/Ldr. H.R. Kerr, MBE
Dec 1955 Jan 1957 W/Cdr. J.L. Nunn, DFC
Dec 1958   W/Cdr. J.F. Halton
    W/Cdr. J.W. King
    W/Cdr. D.G.F. Palmer
  Oct 1970 S/Ldr. G. Moule
Nov 1970 Nov 1971 S/Ldr. G. Moule

Bibliography

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937-56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Evans, John. Sopwiths to Sunderlands: The Story of No 210 Squadron RAF, 1917-1941. Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, UK: Paterchurch Publications, 1999. ISBN ISBN 1-870745-09-4.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd.). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Seymour, Mike and Bill Balderson. To The Ends Of The Earth: 210 Squadron's Catalina Years, 1941-1945. Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, UK: Paterchurch Publications, 1999. ISBN 1-870745-08-6.
  • Westrop, Mike. A History of No.10 Squadron Royal Navy Air Service in World War I. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-7643-2055-6.
  • 210 Squadron association periodical "Two ten - Two Six!". Nos. 4/7, Autumn 1991/Autumn 1993.

 

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019