RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 253 (Hyderabad State) Squadron

Motto: Come One, Come All

Formed by amalgamating Nos 412, and 413 (Seaplane) Flights with Nos 511, 512 and 513 (Special Duties) Flights at Bembridge on 7 June 1918. The seaplane flights were equipped with Short 184s and Short Campanias, whilst the land based special duties flights used DH6s. All types were used for anti-submarine patrols right up until the Armistice, with the unit being disbanded on 5 May 1919.

The squadron reformed on 30 October 1939 at Manston as a Blenheim coastal fighter unit, however, no aircraft were received and in February 1940, it began to receive Hurricanes, becoming operational in April. As the losses in France mounted, one flight was detached to join the BAFF, whilst the other flew over daily to operate from French bases but returned to Kenley every evening. With the fall of France, the squadron retired to Kirton-in-Lindsey, where it re-equipped until July, when it moved even further north to Turnhouse and later Prestwick.

The squadron finally joined the action in the south in August when it moved to Kenley, remaining there until January 1941 when it was rested at Leconfield. From February to September 1941, the squadron provided air defence cover for the Orkneys, returning south to fly convoy and coastal patrols along the East Coast. In August 1942, it was detached to Friston, from where it flew in support if the Dieppe landing, but two months later it was preparing for a move overseas.

It arrived in Algeria on 13 November 1942 and provided air cover for the 1st Army and its supply lines for the remainder of the North African campaign. In June 1943 it moved over to Sicily and the following October transferred to Italy. During this period, the squadron converted from Hurricanes to Spitfires and from February to April 1944 it flew anti-shipping operations and escort mission from Corsica, before returning to Italy, from where it continued these types of operations over the Balkans. The squadron finally moved into its area of operations in April 1945 when it relocated to Prkos in Yugoslavia itself. With the end of the war, it undertook occupation duties in Northern Italy and Austria, disbanding at Treviso on 16 May 1947.

No 253s final incarnation began on 18 April 1955 when it reformed as a night fighter squadron at Waterbeach, equipped with Venom NF Mk 2s, but this part of its career was short-lived as it was disbanded on 1 September 1957.

Squadron Codes used: - TL Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939; SW Oct 1939 - May 1947

RAF No 253 (Hyderabad State) Squadron bases

From - To Stationed
October 1939-February 1940 Manston
February-May 1940 Northolt
May 1940 Kenley
May-July 1940 Kirton-in-Lindsey
July-August 1940 Turnhouse
August 1940 Prestwick
August 1940-January 1941 Kenley
January-February 1941 Leconfield
February-September 1941 Skeabrae
September 1941-June 1942 Hibaldstow
June-July 1942 Friston
July-October 1942 Hibaldstow
August 1942 Detachment to Friston
November 1942 Maison Blanche
November 1942-January 1943 Philippeville
January-February 1943 Setif
February-March 1943 Jemappes
March-April 1943 Maison Blanche
April-June 1943 Jemappes
June-August 1943 Lampedusa
August-October 1943 La Sebala I
October-November 1943 Montecorvino
November 1943-February 1944 Capodichino
February-April 1944 Borgo
April-July 1944 Foggia
July 1944-April 1945 Canne
September-November 1944 Brindisi
April-May 1945 Prkos
May-June 1945 Brindisi
June 1945-September 1946 Treviso
September 1946-January 1947 Zeltweg
January-May 1947 Treviso

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023