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No. 66 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- No. 66 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 66 Squadron Royal Air Force

   No 66 Squadron was formed at Filton in 1916 and moved to France in March 1917 as a fighter unit. In March 1919 returned to the UK as a cadre, where it disbanded in October 1919.

On 20 July 1936, No 66 reformed at Duxford from C Flight of No 19 Squadron. In November 1938 it replaced its Gauntlets with Spitfires which were flown on defensive duties after the outbreak of World War Two. In May 1940, the squadron flew covering patrols over Dunkirk and remained in the south-east throughout the Battle of Britain. In February 1941, No. 66 took part in a few sweeps over France before moving to south-west England for coastal patrols. For the next two years it also provided escorts for day bombers over France before moving to the Orkneys for four months. No. 66 then moved south again and began fighter-bomber sorties shortly before the Normandy landings and five days after the landings, the Squadron made use of airstrips in the beachhead for the first time. No. 66 transferred its base to France in August and on to Belgium and the Netherlands in September before disbanding at Twente on 30 April 1945.
Airfields No. 66 Squadron flew from.

  • RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire from 3rd September 1939
  • RAF Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk from 16th May 1940
  • RAF Coltishall, Norfolk from 29th May 1940
  • RAF Kenley, Surrey from 3rd September 1940
  • RAF Gravesend, Kent from 10th September 1940
  • RAF West Malling, Kent from 30th October 1940
  • RAF Biggan Hill, Kent from 7th November 1940
  • RAF Exeter, Devon from 24th February 1941
  • RAF Perranporth, Cornwall from 27th April 1941
  • RAF Portreath, Cornwall from 14th December 1941
  • RAF Ibsley, Hampshire from 27th April 1942
  • RAF Tangmere, Sussex from 3rd July 1942
  • RAF Ibsley from 7th July 1942
  • RAF Tangmere from 16 August 1942
  • RAF Ibsley from 20th August 1942
  • RAF Zeals, Wiltshire from 24th August 1942
  • RAF Ibsley from 23rd December 1942
  • RAF Skeabrae, Orkney from 9th February 1943
  • RAF Church Stanton, Somerset from 28th June 1943
  • RAF Redhill, Surrey from 10th August 1943
  • RAF Kenley, Surrey from 13th August 1943
  • RAF Perranporth, Cornwall from 17th September 1943
  • RAF Hornchurch, Essex from 8th November 1943
  • RAF Llanbedr, Merioneth from 22nd February 1944
  • RAF North Weald, Essex from 1st March 1944
  • RAF Bognor, Sussex from 31st March 1944
  • RAF Castletown, Caithness from 8th May 1944
  • RAF Bognor from 14th May 1944
  • RAF Tangmere, Sussex from 22nd June 1944
  • RAF Funtington, Sussex from 6th August 1944
  • RAF Ford, Sussex from 12th August 1944
  • B16, France from August 1944
  • B79, France from Nov 1944
  • RAF Fairwood Common, Glamorganshire from 20th February 1945
  • Schijndel from March 1945


10th July 1940 Battle of Britain begins

29th July 1940 Battle of Britain

4th September 1940 Battle of Britain

5th September 1940 Battle of Britain

7th Sept 1940 Battle of Britain

9th Sept 1940 London Blitz begins

14th Sept 1940 Battle of Britain

15th September 1940 Battle of Britain Day

18th Sept 1940 London bombed

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

Those known to have served with

No. 66 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Mather John. Sgt. (d.27th Oct 1940)

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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Sgt. John Mather 66 Squadron (d.27th Oct 1940)

After extensive research a group of us who live locally are organising a tribute to Johnny Mather who crashed on Sunday 27th October 1940. Local artist, Malcolm Pettit, who actually retrieved the crashed Spitfire remains in the 1970s and filmed the removal of the engine, had created a painting of the incident using maps and photos of the period. Johnny is pictured heading down vertically towards the village of Hildenborough, Nr Tonbridge Kent while his leader circles his plane calling out his call sign. Unfortunately he did not recover and crashed behind the Half Moon public house. His body was recovered at the time and is buried at Ifield cemetery. The painting which has now been reproduced onto prints and also contains photos of Johnny being presented to the King, and various members of his squadron will be unveiled on a permanent wall in the Half Moon public house. A fly past of a Spitfire piloted by Peter Monk is also being arranged. There has always been a mystery about his death, as some locals heard gunfire shortly before his plane dived into the ground. Official records put it down to oxygen failure.

What we require, if possible, is to see if we can find a survivor of that period, whether it be ground crew or what to unveil the plaque and picture. Many thanks and hope to hear something favourable

Roger Knowles

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