RAF No 315 (Deblin) Squadron

Motto: -

Formed at Acklington on 21 January 1941 as a Polish fighter unit, it was equipped with Hurricane Is in February and moved to Speke in March.

In July 1941 the squadron moved to Northolt and re-equipped with Spitfires beginning offensive sweeps over the continent. These offensive operations interspersed with defensive duties in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland became the order of the day until 315 joined the 2nd Tactical Air Force in November 1943.

Mustangs replaced the Spitfires in March 1944 and in June the squadron covered the invasion of Normandy but instead of moving to France, it was retained in the UK to combat V-1 flying bomb attacks. With this threat reduced the squadron began bomber escort missions from East Anglia.

In November 1944 the range of the Mustang led the squadron to be posted to Peterhead in Scotland to provide protection to Coastal Commands strike wings operating off the Norwegian coast. A return to East Anglia came in January 1945 and from then until the end of war the squadron was involved in offensive sweeps over the Low Countries. The squadron was retained in Fighter Command until disbanding at Coltishall on 14 January 1947.

Squadron Codes used: -
OG Allocated Apr - Sep 1939
PK Jan 1941 - Jan 1946

No 315 (City of Deblin) Polish Fighter Squadron
315 Dywizjon Myśliwski 'Dębliński'

No 315 (City of Deblin) Polish Fighter Squadron (Polish: 315 Dywizjon Myśliwski 'Dębliński') was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1941. It was one of several Polish fighter squadrons that fought alongside the Royal Air Force during the World War II. It was named after the city of Dęblin, where the main Polish Air Force Academy has been located since 1927.

History

The squadron was formed at RAF Acklington, England on 21 January 1941. The squadron, equipped with Hurricanes, was moved in March to RAF Speke, Liverpool, where it made frequent patrols over naval convoys as part of No 9 Group RAF. Before July, when it came under Polish command, No 315 was commanded by Squadron Leader H.D. Cooke.

In July it was moved to RAF Northolt, West London, re-equipped with Spitfires, and began to conduct offensive fighter sweeps over occupied Europe. During two operations over France, on 9 August, the squadron achieved its first aircraft claims – two BF 109s destroyed, three probable, and three damaged. The squadron returned to Lancashire in April 1942, located at RAF Woodvale, Sefton. The squadron returned to Northolt in September and resumed operations over France. In June 1943, the squadron was withdrawn to Yorkshire, then to County Down, Northern Ireland in July.

Having returned to England in November, the squadron moved to the south west in April 1944, where they joined No 133 Polish Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force. The squadron was re-equipped with the P-51 Mustang Mk III, which they used for the remainder of the war. The squadron formed part of southern England's defence against the V-1 flying bombs and served in the Battle of Normandy.

During a sweep over France on 18 August, 12 Mustangs of No. 315 engaged 60 German fighters of JG2 and JG26, who were in the process of taking off and landing near Beauvais, France. In the ensuing battle, the Poles were officially credited with 16 victories, one probable, and three damaged for the loss of one pilot, Squadron Leader Eugeniusz Horbaczewski. Conversely, German claims were that 12 aircraft had been lost and that they had themselves shot down six aircraft (one of which was claimed to be a P-38 Lightning).

The squadron later carried out operations over Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands, where they carried out sorties until the end of the war. The squadron's claims during the war amounted to 86.33 confirmed victories, 18 probable, and 26 damaged. After the war ended No 315 Squadron remained part of RAF Fighter Command until disbanded on 14 January 1947.

No. 315 (Deblinski) Squadron RAF

Group Squadron Base County Arrived Comments
13 315 Acklington Northumberland 21/01/41 Formed. Hurricane I, 02/41.
9 315 Speke Lancashire 13/03/41  
11 315 Northolt Middlesex 14/07/41 Spitfire IIa, 07/41. Spitfire IIb, 07/41. Spitfire Vb, 08/41.
9 315 Woodvale Lancashire 01/04/42  
11 315 Northolt Middlesex 05/09/42 Spitfire IX, 11/42.
12 315 Hutton Cranswick Yorkshire 02/06/43  
82 315 Ballyhalbert County Down 06/07/43  
11 315 Heston Middlesex 13/11/43 Mustang III, 03/44.
2TAF 315 Coolham Sussex 01/04/44  
2TAF 315 Holmsley South Hampshire 22/06/44  
2TAF 315 Ford Sussex 25/06/44  
2TAF 315 Brenzett Kent 10/07/44  
11 315 Andrew's Field Essex 10/10/44  
12 315 Coltishall Norfolk 24/10/44  
14 315 Peterhead Aberdeenshire 01/11/44  
11 315 Andrew's Field Essex 16/01/45  

Commanding officers

From To Name Remark
Jan 1941 Jun 1941 S/Ldr. H.D. Cooke British Officer
Jun 1941 Sep 1941 Maj. Stanisław Pietraszkiewicz  
Sep 1941 Nov 1941 Kpt. Władysław Szczęśniewski  
Nov 1941 May 1942 Maj. Stefan Janus, VM, DFC  
May 1942 Oct 1942 Maj. Mieczysław Wiórkiewicz  
Oct 1942 Apr 1943 Kpt. Tadeusz Sawicz  
Apr 1943 Feb 1944 Kpt. Jerzy Popławski, DFC  
Feb 1944 Aug 1944 Kpt. Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, DSO  
Aug 1944 Apr 1945 Kpt. Tadeusz Andersz  
Apr 1945 Feb 1946 Kpt. Władysław Potocki  
Feb 1946 Dec 1946 Kpt. Janusz Siekierski  

Aircraft operated

From To Aircraft Version
February 1941 July 1941 Mk.I
July 1941 August 1941 Mk.IIa
August 1941 November 1942 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb
November 1942 June 1943 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX
February 1943 March 1944 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb, LF.Vc
March 1944 December 1946 Mk.III

Notable pilots

  • Francis S. Gabreski
  • Janusz Zurakowski
  • Eugeniusz Horbaczewski

Bibliography

  • 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, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Matusiak, Wojtek with Robert Gretzyngier and Piotr Wiśniewski. 315 Squadron. Sandomierz, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model publications, 2004. ISBN 83-89450-00-3.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers)Ltd., 1969 (revised edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

 

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019