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No. 138 Squadron
138 Squadron was formed in 1918 as a fighter-reconnaissance squadron and disbanded in 1919. It was re-formed at Newmarket in 1941 as a special duties squadron.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was formed to promote sabotage by stimulating subversive activities, spreading political discontent, disorganising and dislocating communications. The agents, ammunition and equipment to achieve this were dropped inside enemy territory, first by No 1419 Flight, which eventually formed the nucleus of the newly re-formed No 138 Squadron.
For the rest of the war the squadron ranged from Norway to Yugoslavia and into Poland. Flying Whitleys and Lysanders, then Halifaxes and Stirlings it flew from Newmarket, Stradishall and Tempsford with agents, arms, explosives, radio sets and other sabotage equipment, dropping them at rendezvous points for local underground members . Less frequen was the pick-up in which the aircraft (always a Lysander) landed to collect some prominent public man, or an agent, or special plans and articles. During 1942 the squadron operated with the bomber force when not required for special duties.
In March 1945 No. 138 Squadron was switched from special duties to the main force of No. 3 Group. It re-equipped with Lancasters and flew 105 sorties on 9 bombing missions, dropping approximately 440 tons of bombs on the enemy. No. 138 also carried out food-dropping operations over Holland and POW repatriation flights during which it brought home nearly 2,500 men before VE Day. Airfields No. 138 Squadron flew from:
- RAF Newmarket, Cambridgeshire from 25th August 1941 (formed: Lysander III, Whitley V, Halifax II)
- RAF Stradishall, Suffolk from 1st January 1942 (Special Duties)
- RAF Tempsford, Bedfordshire from 14th March 1942 (Halifax V, Liberator III, Stirling IV)
- RAF Tuddenham Suffolk from 9th March 1945 (Lancaster I)
List of those who served with No. 138 Squadron during The Second World War
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