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No. 139 (Jamaicia) Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 139 (Jamaicia) Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 139 (Jamaicia) Squadron Royal Air Force

   139 Squadron was formed in Italy in 1918 as a fighter-reconnaissance squadron and disbanded in 1919.
It was re-formed as a bomber squadron with Blenheims, in 1936, although it had a general reconnaissance role between December 1941 and April 1942, flying Hudsons. After bomber duties in France with heavy casualties, No 139 re-formed and attached fringe targets in northwest Europe: invasion ports and anti-shipping sweeps. No 139 was known as the Jamaica Squadron because of Jamaica's Bombers for Britain fund which contributed 12 Blenheims to the RAF by 1941.
In late 1942 No. 139 was re-equipped with Mosquitos, and in conjunction with No. 105 squadron, made low-level daylight and dusk precision attacks on enemy-occupied Europe. In the summer of 1943, No 139 changed to night raiding in the Pathfinder Force, dropping Window (foil strips) in advance of heavy bombers, confusing early warning radar. It diverted enemy night fighters from planned bomber raids and in 1944 became a Mosquito marker squadron, marking Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Mannheim, Hanover, Duisburg and Lübeck to guide the main bomber force to its targets.
In early 1945 No. 139 made 36 consecutive night attacks on Berlin, and ended its war with a fourteen-Mosquito attack on Kiel. Airfields No. 139 Squadron flew from:
  • RAF Wyton, Huntingdonshire from 3rd September 1939 (82 Wing. Blenheim IV)
  • RAF Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, from 8th November 1939
  • RAF Wyton, from 17th November 1939 (to AASF 2nd December 1939)
  • AASF Betheniville, France from 2nd December 1939 (ex-2 Group, 71 Wing)
  • AASF Plivot, France, from 18th February 1940 (to 2 Group, 30th May 1940)
  • RAF West Raynham, Norfolk, from 30th May 1940 (ex-AASF)
  • RAF Horsham St. Faith, Norfolk, from 10th June 1940
  • Luqa, Malta from May 1941 (detached to Mediterranean)
  • RAF Horsham St. Faith, from 10th June 1940
  • RAF Oulton, Norfolk from 13th July 1941
  • RAF Manston, Kent, from 27th August 1941
  • RAF Oulton, from7th September 1941
  • RAF Horsham St. Faith, from 23rd October 1941
  • RAF Oulton, from 5th December 1941 (embarked for Far East, December 1941)
  • RAF Horsham St. Faith, from 8th June 1942 (re-formed. Mosquito IV, Blenheim V)
  • RAF Marham, Norfolk, from 29th September 1942 (Mosquito IX)
  • RAF Marham, from 1st June 1943 (ex-2 Group, to 8 Group)
  • RAF Wyton, from 4th July 1943 (Mosquito IX, XX)
  • RAF Upwood, Huntingdonshire, fdrom 1st February 1944 (Mosquito XVI, XXV)


3rd Sep 1940 Ships Sighted

4th Sep 1940 Air Raid

1st Oct 1939 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

30th Oct 1939 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

10th May 1940 Breaking Through

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

14th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

14th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

14th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

14th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

16th May 1940 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

28th Feb 1941 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

7th Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

1st May 1941 Aircraft Lost

6th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

8th May 1941 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

18th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

25th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

27th May 1941 Blenheim lost

2nd Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

3rd June 1941 Blenheim lost

4th Jun 1941 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

4th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

1st Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

3rd Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

7th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

14th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Jul 1941 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

16th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

20th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

30th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

8th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

12th Aug 1941 139 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

2nd Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

13th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

30th April 1942 Squadron reformed

25th Nov 1943 139 Squadron Mosquito lost

12th Jun 1944 139 Squadron Mosquito lost

1st Jul 1944 139 Squadron Mosquito lost

12th Aug 1944 139 Squadron Mosquito lost

6th Mar 1945 139 Squadron Mosquito lost

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

Those known to have served with

No. 139 (Jamaicia) Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Armin Norman. Sqd/Ldr.
  • Beckingham William Donald. WCdr.
  • Fenton K.. WO/Sgt.
  • George Alan.
  • Hassall Cyril. Sqn. Ldr.
  • Rattray Alexander. Flight Sergeant
  • Robins J. D.. Sqdn.Ldr.
  • Woollard Allan John Alexander. F/O

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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Flight Sergeant Alexander "Sandy" Rattray 139 Squadron

I am looking for history of pilot Alexander "Sandy" Rattray, Flight Sergeant 1571518.

All I know is he was in 139 squadron and flew Mosquitos. Any information, or where I should look, would be of great assistance.

Darrell Hankins

F/O Allan John Alexander Woollard DFM navigator 106 Squadron

My late father was a navigator and flew in Lancasters of 106 squadron under Guy Gibson and then 139 Jamaica Squadron Mosquito Pathfinders one of which he had to bale out of when a held up flare went off. I once saw a picture of him standing with Guy Gibson with his dog by his kennel and some other officers.Please, do you have a copy of this or similar. I am trying to put together his story for my sons and Grandchildren and this site may be the answer. I also have his log book with Guy Gibsons signature on a flight when he navigated for him and various other memorobilia. Please can you help. Regards Graham Woollard

Graham Woollard

Sqd/Ldr. Norman "Red" Armin DFC Pilot 57,139 & 608 Squadrons

My dad joined the RAF in 1942. He had red hair and a quick temper hence the nickname 'Red'. He was not the stereo typical RAF officer and got into numerous scrapes off duty. On the day he signed up the guy behind the desk slung the signing up forms at him and they landed on the floor. Typically he got down on the floor signed the forms and left. He detested arrogance and bad manners. After a brief introduction to the Lewis machine gun at RAF Shoreham he saw his first action as an AC2 against German tip and run raiders coming in low level across the English Channel. The enemy bombers were so low they had to depress their guns to take aim. They also managed to shoot at each other across the airfield. They did manage to shoot one bomber down and it crash landed in the field next to the airfield. One airman streaked ahead of the rest and by the time they caught up he had bayoneted the emerging pilot who according to him had resisted arrest. The airman's brother had been killed at Dunkirk. The reality of war was never far away. He completed his flying training in Canada On Tiger Moths and Avro Ansons and passed out as Pilot Officer. On his return to England he joined 57 Squadron flying Vickers Wellingtons. The Wellington could take a tremendous amount of punishment with its geodetic construction and fabric covering. It was a very heavy aircraft to fly. The controls had no power assistance. One night on a raid they were coned after the master searchlight locked on to then. My dad put the aircraft into a dive to evade the searchlights and it took him and his navigator their full combined force with their feet on the instrument panel to pull the aircraft out of the dive. My dad completed his first tour of operations with 57 Squadron and then joined an OTU Operational Training Squadron at Wellesbourne for a 'rest' He always maintained that this was as dangerous as operational flying because the Wellingtons they used for training were clapped out. On one training flight he was called away and had to leave the student with the aircraft with the engines ticking over. The student failed to periodically open and shut the engines which meant there was a danger of them overheating. He frantically tried to signal from the other side of airfield to the student to open up the engines but to no avail. On getting back to the aircraft he raised merry hell with the student while opening and closing the throttles. On take off they had just retracted the undercarriage when one of the engines caught fire and had to be immediately shut down. Climbing a Wellington on one engine particularly a clapped out one was unheard of at the time. With much cursing the hapless student was given the task of putting out the fire then manually lowering the undercarriage with a lever because the dead engine powered the hydraulics. After what was later considered to be an outstanding piece of airmanship dad managed to land the aircraft in one piece. By then he was raging and in a typical temper got out of the cockpit walked along the wing and peed on the offending engine. Unknown to him a party of WAAF's had been on a visit to the control tower and had observed the entire event. Needless to say the Station CO after commending him for his airmanship gave him a right old earwigging. On return to operations my dad joined the famous 139 Jamaica Squadron flying Mosquitoes. He loved the Mossie, no crew to worry about apart from the Navigator and they were so fast very few fighters could catch them. More importantly it kept him alive. As he was nearing the end of his second tour of operations he was asked to transfer to the newly re-formed 608 Squadron which needed some experienced crews to help bed the Squadron in. Most of the raids in 1944 were against Berlin and on his last raid he flew with a heavy head cold, came down too fast on his return and damaged his eardrums. This was the end of his flying career as he was grounded. His navigator was re-crewed and was killed over Berlin a few weeks later. He ended the war in Rangoon running an operational admin unit for General Slim. He caught malaria and it had a marked effect on his health for many years after his return to civilian life.

John Armin

WO/Sgt. K. Fenton 139 Sqdn.

My father was born in Drax, Yorkshire. He was Warrant Officer (Sgt) K. Fenton, No. 1053472 and was shot down on 1st July 1941 in Blenheim IV V6258 XD of 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, from Horsham St. Faith. His aircraft was shot down by Bf109F of Fw. Fredrich Karl Bachmann (3/JG 52, Leeuwarden) and ditched 60Kms NW of Vlieland. Other crew were Sgt A.A. Fuller (observer) and R.W. McDonald (wireless operator and air gunner). All became POWs in Stalag Luft III, Sagan. Also a note of Stalag IXc. Prisoner No. 39204. Noted in Blenheim Strike by Theo Boiten as Stalag 357, Kopernikus and 'among one of very few crews to survive a Blenheim crash in 1941'. I have his log book and a number of photos and would love to talk or correspond with anyone who might have known him or whose father was there also. Names listed in his log book include:
  • Harry Mahoney
  • Lioniel Raymond Silver
  • Balson
  • W W Hall
  • A A Fuller
  • W H E Harwood
  • R Evans
  • Joe Walker
  • Gordon Bottomley
  • Walter Kershaw
  • D A MacLeod
  • J Jones
  • N M Campbell
  • R MacDonald
  • R Duffield
  • Norman J Smith
  • Arthur Thomson
  • Harold E Bennett
  • Malcolm Gillies
  • W H Hard
  • E G Caban
  • Al Hard
  • E G R Daggett
  • Irena Spring
  • Ann Hemmingway

Not suggesting that the ladies were there but their names are.

Nick Fenton

Sqn. Ldr. Cyril Hassall DSO, DFC & bar. 142 Squadron

Squadron Leader Cyril Hassall, DSO, DFC and BAR flew Mosquitos in 1944 with 139 and 692 Squadrons. He then apparently served as a Navigation Flight Instructor before joining 142 Squadron on Mosquitos. He completed a total of 102 sorties, of which 67 were on Mosquitos.

Any picture of S/L Hassall, DSO, DFC and BAR is welcomed. It seems he started operations in August 1940, but I do not know in which Squadron. Any information is most welcomed.

Sqdn.Ldr. J. D. Robins DFC 139 Squadron

On the night of 7th of July 1944, Mosquito MM146 (XD-H), a B.XVI bomber, took off from RAF Upwood, one of the twelve machines from 139 Squadron detailed to bomb Berlin. After being hit and damaged by flak, it was flown to Sweden, where it landed at Kalmar and the crew was interned for a while. F/Lt J D Robins (pilot) RNZAF -and Sub/Lt (A) B M Vlielander- Hein (nav.) RNNAS were classified as evaders and likely returned via Sweden to the UK I am unable to find the full name of F/L J D Robins nor his service number with the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He was later Gazetted a DFC, as a Squadron Leader. Any information regarding J D Robins, DFC will most welcome.

Adriano Silva Baumgartner

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