RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 211 Squadron

Motto: Toujours a propos (Always at the right moment)

Formed originally at Petite Synthe as No 11 (Naval) Squadron RNAS on 8 Mar 1917 it disbanded on 27 August. It reformed, again at Petite Synthe on 10 March 1918 equipped with DH4s and DH9s but less then a month later it was absorbed into the RAF as No 211 Squadron. It took part in bombing and reconnaissance operations in the Flanders area for the remainder of the war, retuning to the UK in March 1919, disbanding at Wyton on 24 June.

Reformed in the day bomber role on 24 June 1937 at Mildenhall, it was initially equipped with Audaxes, with Hinds arriving in August and by October the last Audax had left. At the end of April 1938, the squadron embarked for the Middle East, arriving at Helwan in May. It undertook its first operations of the war in June 1940, following the declaration of war by Italy. These missions were mounted against Italian targets in Libya and continued until November 1940 when the squadron was sent to assist the Greeks following the Italian invasion of that country. It carried out raids against Italian bases in Albania into 1941 but was forced to withdraw back to Egypt in April following the German intervention in the campaign.

It now moved to Palestine where it re-equipped and then took part in the operation to capture Syria from the Vichy French, after which it moved south to the Sudan, where it undertook operational training duties as part of No 72 OTU from November 1941. However, the following month the squadron was re-established in its own right and embarked for the Far East. Destined for Singapore, the island had fallen by the time it arrived and it was redirected to Sumatra, from where it operated until mid-February, when it moved to Java, here its aircraft were handed over to No 84 Squadron and the squadron disbanded on 19 February 1942.

The squadron reformed again on 14 August 1943 at Phaphamau, but it was October before its equipment in the form of Beaufighter Xs arrived. Beginning operations on 13 January 1944, it carried out rocket and cannon attacks against river craft and other lines of communications. These operations continued until May 1945, when the squadron was withdrawn to India. Here it re-equipped with Mosquito VIs, which it was due to utilise in the projected invasion of Malaya. However, the invasion never took place, owing to the Japanese surrender following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result the squadron re-located to Bangkok in Siam (Thailand) in September 1945 and disbanded at Don Muang on 15 March 1946.

Squadron Codes used: -

AO Oct 1938 - Mar 1939; LJ Apr 1939 - Sep 1939; UQ Sep 1939 - Feb 1942

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023