RAF No 234 (Madras Presidency) Squadron

Motto: Ignem Mortemque Despuimu (We spit fire and death)

No. 234 Squadron

No. 234 Squadron RAF had a long career within the RAF being operational on flying boats in World War I and on fighter aircraft in World War II. After the war it remained a fighter unit till 1957. In its last incarnation the squadron was in turn Operational Training Unit (OTU), Tactical Weapon Unit (TWU) and part of No. 4 Flying Training School RAF until lastly disbanded in 1994.


Formation and World War I

No. 234 Squadron RAF was officially formed on 20 August 1918 at Royal Naval Air Station Tresco in the Scilly Isles from No. 350, 351, 352 and 353 Flights, which had been equipped with amongst others Felixstowe F3's and Curtiss H.12 aircraft since February 1917. The squadron used these to patrol the Western Approaches of the English Channel and gained two DSCs, one DSM and a CGM in doing that. The unit flew its last World war I mission on 10 November 1918 and was disbanded half a year later at Tresco on 15 May 1919.

In World War II

The squadron was reformed on 30 October 1939 at RAF Leconfield, initially equipped with three Magisters, a Battle and three biplane Gauntlets, soon to be followed by some Blenheims Mk.Ifs, which were used flying on coastal patrols until March 1940. It then began to re-equip with Spitfires and moved to RAF Church Fenton in May 1940 when becoming operational. The following month it moved to RAF St Eval and operated from there and RAF Middle Wallop during the Battle of Britain. During 1941 and 1942 the squadron was operating from various bases in the south and carried out both offensive and defensive duties but in January 1943 it was transferred to Orkney, flying at first from RAF Grimsetter with a detachment at RAF Sumburgh, and later from RAF Skeabrae.')

Six months later the squadron returned to the South of England, firstly at RAF Church Stanton, and was soon operating over France again in preparation for the forthcoming invasion. However, after D-Day, the squadron converted to North American Mustang Mk.IIIs, which it used to provide long-range bomber escort missions from RAF North Weald and after December 1944 from RAF Bentwaters. On 1 May 1945 the squadron was moved to RAF Peterhead to provide a similar service to the RAF Coastal Command strike wings operating along the Norwegian coast, having received some additional new North American Mustang Mk.IVs (the RAF version of the P-51D Mustang) by this time.')

Post-war: from Spitfires to Jets

With the end of the war, the squadron reverted to Spitfire Mk.IXs and was retained as part of the post-war RAF. Jets arrived in February 1946, when Meteor F.3s replaced the Spitfires, but on 1 September the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 266 Squadron RAF. The squadron reformed at Oldenburg on 1 August 1952 in the ground attack role, equipped with Vampires FB.5 and FB.9s. In November 1953 it returned to the day fighter role when it began to receive North American Sabre F.4s, conversion being completed by January 1954. The squadron moved to RAF Geilenkirchen on 8 January 1954, where Hunter F.4s replaced the Sabres in May 1956, but following the 1957 Defence White Paper of Minister of Defence Duncan Sandys, No. 234 squadron was disbanded on 15 July 1957.')

With No. 229 OCU and No. 1 TWU
The squadron number popped up again when one of the squadrons of No. 229 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) at RAF Chivenor was given the number on 22 October 1958, operating Hunter F.6 and FGA.9 aircraft, to give Hunter pilots their operational training. On 2 September 1974 No. 229 OCU was redesignated as the Tactical Weapons Unit (TWU) and No. 234 (Reserve) Squadron was one of its components. When a second TWU was formed the original was renamed No. 1 TWU and No. 234 squadron remained a component. However, when No. 1 TWU was disbanded on 31 August 1992, so were its component squadrons, including No 234.

With No. 4 AFTS
The following day however, 1 September 1992, the number was allocated to a squadron of No. 4 Air Flying Training School (AFTS) at RAF Valley, which had taken over the duties of the TWUs. The squadron continued as part of no. 4 AFTS until 1 April 1994, when it was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 208 (Reserve) Squadron.

Squadron Codes used:
AZ Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939; AZ May 1940 - Aug 1945; FX Aug 1945 - Sep 1946; W Aug 1952 - Jan 1954

No. 234 Squadron

Additional History of No. 234 Squadron.

Motto: Ignem mortemque despuimus - 'We spit fire and death'
Badge: A dragon rampant, flames issuing from the mouth. The dragon indicates the fighting role and the flames associate with the name Spitfire.
No 234 Squadron was formed in August 1918 from Nos 350, 351, 352 and 353 Flights at the seaplane station at Tresco, Isles of Scilly, and flew anti-submarine patrols over the approaches to the English Channel until the Armistice, disbanding on 15 May 1919.

On 30 October 1939, No 234 was reformed at Leconfield as a fighter squadron. Originally intended for shipping protection duties, it flew a mixture of Blenheims, Battles and Gauntlets until March 1940, when it began to receive Spitfires, becoming operational on 11 May. Throughout the Battle of Britain, it was based in southern England and in April 1941 began sweeps over northern France. These continued between defensive patrols until January 1943, when it moved to the Orkney Islands, returning south in June. After covering the invasion beaches in Normandy, No.234 converted to Mustangs and began long range escort missions from East Anglia. A few days before the end of the war, the squadron moved to northern Scotland to escort strike Wings operating along the Norwegian coast, but returned to East Anglia in July to convert to Spitfires. These were flown until replaced by Meteors in February 1946, but on 1 September 1946 the squadron was renumbered 266 Squadron.

On 1 August 1952, No.234 reformed at Oldenburg as a Vampire ground attack squadron in Germany. In November 1953, it received Sabres for day fighter duties and replaced these with Hunters in May 1956. On 15 July 1957, the squadron was disbanded.

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019