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No. 33 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 33 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 33 Squadron Royal Air Force

   No. 33 Squadron was formed at Filton on 1st January 1916. In March 1916 it became the first designated Home Defence Squadron charged with intercepting Zeppelin bombing raids, initially based at Tadcaster but later in North Lincolnshire. It was disbanded in June 1919. 33 Squadron was reformed at Netheravon in 1929 as a day bomber squadron. In 1935 during the Abyssinian Crisis it was deployed to Egypt to protect the Suez Canal. It then remained in the Middle East in air policing duties over Palestine, flying Gladiators.

At the outbreak of World War II, No. 33 moved back to Egypt remaining in North africa until 1944.

Airfields No. 33 Squadron flew from:

  • 24 March-24 April 1939: Ramleh
  • 24 April-25 May 1939: Helwan
  • 25 May-5 August 1939: Ismailia
  • 5 August-1 September 1939: Qasaba
  • 1 September-23 October 1939: Mersa Matruh
  • 23-28 October 1939: Qasaba
  • 28 October 1939-17 June 1940: Mersa Matruh
  • 17-22 June 1940: Qasaba
  • 22-25 June 1940: Gerawla
  • 25 June-22 September 1940: Helwan
  • 22 September 1940-15 January 1941: Fuka
  • 15 January-19 February 1941: Amriya (Egypt)
  • 19 February-4 March 1941: Eleusis (Greece)
  • 4 March-18 April 1941: Larissa
  • 18-27 April 1941: Eleusis
  • 27 April-1 June 1941: Maleme (Crete)
  • 1 June 1941: Ground echelon to Amriya
  • 13-19 June 1941: Gerawla
  • 19-6 July 1941: Amriya
  • 6-11 July 1941: Gamil
  • 11 July-24 August 1941: Amriya
  • 24-25 August 1941: Fuka
  • 25 August-1 September 1941: Amriya
  • 1-10 September 1941: Sidi Haneish
  • 10 September-8 November 1941: Gerawla
  • 8-20 November 1941: Giarabub 20 November 1941-1 January 1942: LG.125
  • 1-13 January 1942: Msus
  • 13-21 January 1942: Antelat
  • 21-24 January 1942: Msus
  • 24-28 January 1942: Mechili
  • 28 January-3 February 1942: Gazala No.1
  • 3 February-17 June 1942: Gambut
  • 17-18 June 1942: Sidi Areiz
  • 18-20 June 1942: LG.75
  • 20-23 June 1942: LG.76
  • 23-27 June 1942: LG.12
  • 27 June-27 July 1942: LG.154
  • 27 July-5 August 1942: LG.85
  • 5-31 August 1942: Idku
  • 31 August-2 October 1942: LG.85
  • 2-23 October 1942: LG.154
  • 23 October-11 November 1942: LG.172
  • 11-18 November 1942: LG.101
  • 18-28 November 1942: El Adem
  • 28 November 1942-11 February 1943: Benina
  • 11 February-24 June 1943: Bersis
  • 24 June-9 September 1943: Misurata West
  • 9 September 1943-17 January 1944: Bersis
  • 17 January-1 April 1944: Mersa Matruh
  • 1-23 April 1944: On way to Britain
  • RAF North Weald, Essex from 23rd April 1944
  • RAF Lympne, Kent from 17th May 1944
  • RAF Tangmere, Sussex from 3rd July 1944
  • RAF Funtington, Sussex from 17th July 1944
  • RAF Selsey, Sussex from 6th August 1944
  • RAF FAirwood Common, Glamorganshire from 10th August 1944
  • RAF Selsey from 18th August 1944
  • RAF Tangmere from 20th August 1944


14th June 1940 In Action

1st December 1940 Re-equipped with Hurricanes

27th February 1941 Deployment to Greece

16th April 1941 Airfield bombed

19th April 1941 Battle of Athens

19th May 1941 Defence of Crete

20th May 1941 On the Move

29th May 1941 Rebuilding

15th June 1941 Operation Battleaxe

18th November 1941 Operation Crusader

11th Nov 1942 El Alamein

June 1943 Refitting

23rd April 1944 Moved to Britain

31st August 1944 Into France  33 Squadron moved to France in September 1944 to undertake fighter sweeps in northwest Europe until the end of the war.

31st August 1944 Into France

October 1944 Reconnaissance

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

Those known to have served with

No. 33 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Garwood Edgar Taff.
  • Wade Desmond Percy. F/Lt. (d.23rd May 1942)

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/Lt. Desmond Percy "Buster" Wade 33 Squadron (d.23rd May 1942)

Desmond Wade was the brother of my late mother's friend Sheila M. Wade who lived in the Saint Stephen's area of Canterbury, Kent. 'Buster' Wade was a pupil at the Kings School, Canterbury as a Day Boy because he lived nearby. He signed up for RAF duty in his early 20s and became a pilot and served with the 247 British China Squadron and 33 Squadron and was for a while at an air station in Cornwall and at Roborough, Devon. He was shot down in the Western Desert while flying a Hawker Hurricane on May 23rd 1942. Further details are in the archive of Kings School, Canterbury. I was the executor of Sheila's will when she died some years ago and I inherited much of her personal belongings including some of the details of 'Buster's' RAF service.

As I am now retired and these pieces of memorabilia of a non-relation who died before I was born are of no personal significance to me, I have decided to donate them, including his posthumous war service medals, to Kings School, Canterbury archives on 23/05/2014 the anniversary of his death 72 years ago

Lawrence J. Blake

Edgar Taff Garwood 980 Sqdn.

My father, Edgar Taff Garwood, served in 980 and 33 Squadrons RAF. I am writing a history of 980 Sqdn. He was later transferred to 33 Sqdn. Any help with both Squadrons would be appreciated.

Peter Garwood

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