- No. 34 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -
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No. 34 Squadron Royal Air Force
No. 34 Squadron was formed at RAF Castle Bromwich on 7 January 1916 and went to France in July 1916 as an artillery reconnaissance unit. In November 1917 it transferred to the Italian front, flying reconnaissance and bomber missions until the end of the war. Returning to the UK, it was disbanded on 25 September 1919. The Squadron was reformed at Bircham Newton on 3rd of December 1935 from a detachment from No. 18 Squadron. It was equipped with Bristol Blenheims in July 1938.
Airfields used by 34 Squadron During WW2:
10 September 1939-18 January 1942: Tengah (Singapore) 18 January-15 February 1942: Palembang (Sumatra) 15-18 February 1942: Lahat 18-20 February 1942: Batavia (disbanded) 1-15 April 1942: (reformed) Chakrata (Northern India) 15 April-17 June 1942: Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) 17 June 1942-30 January 1943: Ondal (now Andal, West Bengal) 30 January-7 March 1943: Jessore (Bangladesh) 7-18 March 1943: Silchar (Assam) 18 March-3 May 1943: Kumbhirgram (Assam) 3 May-15 September 1943: St. Thomas Mount (Tamil Nadu, SE India) 15 September-15 October 1943: Cholavarum (Tamil Nadu) 15 October-1 November 1943: Alipore (West Bengal) 1 November 1943-10 April 1944: Palel (south of Imphal) 10 April-15 July 1944: Dergaon (Assam) 15 July-20 December 1944: Palel 20 December 1944-23 January 1945: Yazagyo (Burma) 23 January-15 March 1945: Onbauk (Burma) 15 March- 20 April 1945: Ondaw (Burma) 20 April-1 June 1945: Kwetnge (Burma) 1 June-1 July 1945: Kinmagan (Burma) 1 July-18 August 1945: Meiktila (Burma) 18 August-15 October 1945: Zayatkwin (Burma) Disbanded.
10th Sept 1939 Dispatched to Singapore
8th Dec 1941 Japanese Attack
9th Dec 1941 Aircraft attacked on the ground
10th Dec 1941 Withdrawal to Singapore
12th Dec 1941 Squadron destroyed
8th February 1942 Retreat from Singapore
12th February 1942 Sumatra abandoned; 27 Squadron disbanded
20th Feb 1942 Evacuation
26th Feb 1942 Evacuation from Java
1st April 1942 Reorganisation
17th June 1942 On the Move
9th Sept 1942 Aircraft Lost
April 1943 Move
17th April 1944 Battle of the Imphal Plain
March 1945 Advance
If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.
Those known to have served with
No. 34 Squadron Royal Air Force
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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Lt. Peter vanVlerk 34 SquadronThis item is the ID neck badge for a Prisoner of War of the Germans. Peter van Vlerk used to wear the POW ID around his neck - suspended from his uniform lanyard. The purpose of the perforations and the double set of numbers, is that in case of death it is broken in half and one side went to the Red Cross to advise family and the other half to German authorities. In this case you can clearly see his internment number - and that he was in Stalag 9C (1X9C) and POW number 53696. With so many of our chaps being taken prisoner there must be a large number around, however that being the case, I suspect once freed a large number of our chaps would have used these as Frisbees. There were different types, later in the war when the Germans were running short on metal, they even produced wooden ones.
At the time of his capture Peter van Vlerk was a Lieutenant with the South African Air Force - serving with the Squadron 34. They and one other Sq. were flying Liberators - an American Bomber that carried a crew of 8. They were flying ops into Hungary and were on their way to attack the Marshalling Yards at Zumbethly (spelling may need correction) When nearly over the target a German plane flying above them, illuminated flares above them. This was sufficient for ground anti-aircraft to hit them. Out of the 8 crew, all were killed – except Lt. van Vlerk - who was a gunner. He was badly wounded and was taken to hospital (another dodgy spelling - neither of us was sure ) at a place called Uburmarsfeld. When he had recovered sufficiently he was taken to Stalag 9C - which was at Zumbethly.
His medals are with his Grandchildren - which is where they should be. They didn't need his ID and WW2 Sam Browne cross belt - with date 1942 - and he wanted them to go to a collector, someone that could fully appreciate it. I wish more people were as sensible. It is now in my possession. I met him in Oct 2012 - he is now 93 years of age and living in sheltered housing in Durban South Africa. It was a pleasure to meet him and to listen to his WW2 experiences.Louis Scheepers
Freddie Coates 31 Squadron Group 205I have about 40 photos that my late dad, Freddie Coates, took during his service with SAAF Group 205, Squadrons 31 and 34.Lynda Coates
Sq.Ldr. Clifton Watt Harper DFC 113 Sqdn. (d.18th June 1942)Squadron Leader Harper DFC, was a member of both 34 and 113 Squadrons during WWII. He was killed in action on 18th June 1942 while bombing Japanese supply lines in Burma. I believe he was one of the first ten Canadians recruited by the RAF in 1939, under the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, to train other Canadians (and Commonwealth) pilots. S/L Harper trained pilots in England and Rhodesia before transferring to Libya, then Singapore, Sumatra and ultimately Burma.
I have only the last names of other original pilot officer recruits: Hale, Bligh, McDonald, Bagg, Waterton, Romans, Howitt, Stevens and, I believe, Goodyear.
S/L Harper is commemorated on Col 411 of the Singapore Memorial.Tom Philip
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