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RAF Thorney Island in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- RAF Thorney Island during the Second World War -

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RAF Thorney Island

   RAF Thorney Island opened in 1938 under 16 Group, Coastal Command.

After the war the site was used as a training base and today the airfield is used by the Royal Artillery.

Squadrons stationed here during the Second World War.
  • 21 Squadron.
  • 22 Squadron.
  • 42 Squadron.
  • 48 Squadron.
  • 53 Squadron.
  • 59 Squadron.
  • 86 Squadron.
  • 129 Squadron.
  • 130 Squadron.
  • 131 Squadron.
  • 143 Squadron.
  • 164 Squadron.
  • 183 Squadron.
  • 193 Squadron.
  • 198 Squadron.
  • 217 Squadron.
  • 220 Squadron.
  • 233 Squadron.
  • 235 Squadron.
  • 236 Squadron.
  • 278 Squadron.
  • 280 Squadron.
  • 404 Squadron.
  • 407 Squadron.
  • 415 Squadron.
  • 455 Squadron.
  • 464 Squadron.
  • 487 Squadron.
  • 489 Squadron.
  • 547 Squadron.
  • 609 Squadron.
  • 612 Squadron.
  • 703 Squadron FAA.
  • 704 Squadron FAA.
  • 810 Squadron FAA.
  • 816 Squadron FAA.
  • 819 Squadron FAA.
  • 822 Squadron FAA.
  • 833 Squadron FAA.
  • 836 Squadron FAA.
  • 838 Squadron FAA.
  • 842 Squadron FAA.
  • 848 Squadron FAA.
  • 854 Squadron FAA.
  • 855 Squadron FAA.


August 1939 

6th Jan 1940 Aircraft Lost

April 1940 On the Move

15th April 1940 New aircraft

May 1940 Mine laying

28th May 1940 Dunkirk

June 1940 Detachment

5th June 1940 On the Move

5th July 1940 On the Move

16th October 1940 Detachment

November 1940 Move

1st January 1941 Detachments

31st January 1941 Operations

February 1941 Patrols

23rd June 1941 On the Move

22nd July 1941 Rearming

1st August 1941 Another Move

20th October 1941 Detachment

28th Oct 1941 On the move

18th December 1941 Detachment to the Far East

17th Jan 1942 Another Move

1st Feb 1942 Crews reassigned

14th Feb 1942  Malta

28th Aug 1942 Conversion to the Liberator

24th October 1942 Escort Duty

13th December 1942 Conversion to the Flying Fortress

6th February 1943 On the Move

27th March 1943 Conversion back to the Liberator

20th April 1943 Move

11th May 1943 Posting to Northern Ireland

25th September 1943 Move

18th June 1944 Move

6th February 1945 Move into France

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have served at

RAF Thorney Island

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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F/O Daniel Joseph Heffernan New York 415 squadron

I have some photographs and documents from the late Major D J Heffernan USAF, Formally a Graduate of Loyola College. He served in the RCAF and then joined the USAAF after the USA entered the war. He was an Air Gunner in the RCAF with 415 Squadron based at Thorney Island, Hampshire, and a Gunnery leader/instructor in the USAAF based at Sudbury Suffolk UK. He kept a war diary during his USAAF service that shows although an American he had been schooled in flying and airmanship in a different culture than the one he later joined. He was a dedicated flyer and took the fight to the enemy, enjoyed the camaraderie and uniformed life in general even being a little bit of a dandy. He was pre-war a stock-broker in New York and although he did not have to involve himself in the war he joined the RCAF as an Airman Air Gunner at the age of 30+. He flew most of his 300 hours of operations in Hampdens and Wellingtons then a couple or more trips as an Aircrew Observer/Gunner in B 24s and possibly an odd trip in a B 17.He was divorced in the USA sometime in the early 1940s but re-married in England to a local Hampshire lady during the war.

After the war he and his wife returned to the US to Travis Air Force Base but he sadly died of Tuberculosis in 1953. A short purposeful life lived it would seem to the full.

D Donaldson-Davidson

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