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No. 85 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 85 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 85 Squadron Royal Air Force

   No. 85 Squadron was formed on the 1st of June 1938, when A Flight of 87 Squadron was renumbered at Debden, they flew Gladiators until re-equipped with Hurricanes in September 1938.

At the outbreak of war, the squadron moved to France as part of the Air Component of the BEF. With the German invasion in May 1940, it gave fighter cover to the Allied armies until its bases were overrun. It re-equipped and resumed operations early in June. After taking part in the first half of the Battle of Britain over southern England, the squadron moved to Yorkshire in September and in October began night fighter patrols. In November it returned south to fly night patrols. In January 1941, it began to receive Defiants but these were soon replaced by Havocs, although the Hurricanes continued to be flown until July. Mosquitoes arrived in August 1942 and in March 1943 the Squadron began flying intruder missions over France. They transferred to No. 100 Group on 1 May 1944 and No. 85 flew bomber support missions, intruding over German night-fighter airfields and intercepting enemy fighters by accompanying the main bomber force.

After the war ended No. 85 continued to operate and in September 1951 converted to Meteor night-fighters which the squadron flew until it was disbanded on the 31st of October 1958.
Airfields No.85 Squadron flew from:

  • RAF Debden, Essex 3rd to 9th September 1939
  • With BEF 9th September 1939 to 23rd May 1940
  • RAF Debden 23rd May 1940 to 19th August 1940
  • RAF Croydon, Surrey 19th August 1940 to September 1940
  • RAF Castle Camps, Essex 3rd September 1940 to 5th September 1940
  • RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire 5th September 1940 to 23rd October 1940
  • RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire 23rd October 1940 to 23rd November 1940
  • RAF Gravesend, Kent 23rd November 1940 to 1st January 1941
  • RAF Debden 1st January 1941 to 3rd May 1941
  • RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire 3rd t0 13th May 1941
  • RAF West Malling, Kent 13th May 1943 to 1st May, 1944
  • RAF Swannington, Norfolk 1st May, 1944 to 21st July 1944
  • RAF West Malling, Kent 21st July 1944 to 29th August 1944
  • RAF Swannington 29th August 1944 to 27th June 1945
  • RAF Castle Camps 27th June 1945


10th May 1940 Seven Aircraft Shot Down

29th July 1940 Battle of Britain

11th August 1940  Battle over Harwich

11th August 1940  Ports and ships attacked

26th August 1940  Battle of Britian

28th August 1940 ` Battle of Britain

30th August 1940 Battle of Britain

31st August 1940  Battle of Britain

14th Apr 1945 85 Squadron Mosquito lost

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

Those known to have served with

No. 85 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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