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No. 148 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 148 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 148 Squadron Royal Air Force

   No. 148 Squadron was formed on 10th of February 1918 as a night bomber unit and saw action on the Western Front in April 1918, disbanding at Tangmere on 30 June 1919.

The squadron reformed on 7 June 1937 at Scampton flying Audaxes, which were soon replaced by Wellesleys and then Heyfords, with Wellingtons arriving in March 1939. In April 1939 148 became a Group Pool Squadron acting as an operational training unit for the other units in its group, flying Ansons and Wellingtons. On 9 April 1940 it was redesignated No 15 Operational Training Unit. On 14 December 1940 detachments from No 38, 99 and 115 Squadrons were amalgamated into a new No 148 Squadron at Luqa in Malta. 148 Squadron moved to Kabrit in Egypt in March 1941, to support the 8th Army in the North African Desert. In December 1942 having returned to Malta, the squadron disbanded, with the crews being absorbed by other units on the island. On 14 March 1943, No 148 Squadron reformed at Gambut in the ‘Special Duties’ role, equipped with Halifaxes and Liberators to supply Partisan groups throughout the Balkans and as far afield as Poland as well as undertaking bombing missions. 148 Squadron was disbanded on 15 January 1946.

Airfields at which No. 148 Squadron were based:

  • Scampton
  • Harwell
  • Luqa, Malta
  • Kabrit, Egypt
  • Gambut


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

Those known to have served with

No. 148 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Atkins Donald Charles Seymour. P/O.
  • Steed William Hugh. L.A.C

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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L.A.C William Hugh Steed Flight Mech. 462 Squadron

I was called up in 1941 and did my basic training at Boscombe, Bournemouth. Followed by Technical training at RAF Hednesford and was posted overseas in 1942 in troopship HMT F1 Arundal Castle. I joined 462 squadron, then at Fayid on nightly bombing of the German supply ports of Benghasi and Tobruk. We moved up the desert after Alemien and when the war in Africa ended I was posted to 148 ( SOE ) squadron engaged in dropping supplies and agents to Tito and other resistance groups. We moved to Brindisi in Italy and were amongst the squadrons that attempted to supply the Polish Home Army fighting in Warsaw in 1944 and suffered horrendous losses as a result.

Mr W H Steed

P/O. Donald Charles Seymour Atkins 148 Sqdn

My uncle Don Atkins volunteered for the RAF and was trained as a pilot in Pensacola, Florida, before joining 624 (Special Duties) Squadron based at Blida in North Africa in August 1944 as a 21-year-old Flight Sergeant. He flew all of his operations with the same crew, with a change of navigator in March 1945. They flew Short Stirlings, the first of the RAF's four-engine heavy bombers, which by then was considered obsolete in that role but widely used for the dropping of agents and supplies by parachute into occupied Europe. Don and his crew flew one operation on the night of 30/31 August, Operation Caracole, dropping supplies to the French Resistance engaging retreating German forces in southern France. In light of the success of the Allied invasions of June and August 1944, 624 Sqdn was disbanded, and Don and his crew were transferred to another Special Duties squadron, No 148, part of the Balkan Air Force at Brindisi, Italy.

148 Sqdn had sustained terrible casualties in the operations to supply the Warsaw Uprising, and many replacement crews arrived at Brindisi at that time. Don had a circuits-and-bumps conversion to flying the squadron's four-engine Handley Page Halifax aircraft courtesy of a very experienced pilot, Larry Toft. He then flew 36 operations with the squadron until the end of the war. They dropped supplies and agents and on one memorable occasion - in support of Operation Tombola - a jeep, to partisans in the Balkans and southern central Europe.

The life of a Special Duties crew was very different to that of a "typical" i.e. Bomber Command crew - for security's sake there were few communal activities with other crews, even operational briefings were usually individual, and the men lived isolated and fairly uncomfortable lives. In addition they faced danger on each operation: typically at this time, a drop was made in daylight at very low altitude, a few hundred feet, and often entailed several passes over the drop zone to make sure the reception party was there and was from the right side! Small arms and anti-aircraft fire from the ground caused casualties, as did mechanical failure and the weather; on top of this was the danger of low-flying between mountains, etc. The strain was considerable - the chances of bailing out safely at low altitude are low, and this alone must have given those young men considerable pause for thought - and increased as the end of the war in Europe approached. Don and his crew all survived the war, and went their separate ways on demobilisation. Don himself died in Brighton at the age of 42 in 1966.

The original crew (ranks given as of May 1945) were: P/O DC Atkins; P/O EF Lock; P/O WA Belson DFC (an Australian); F/Sgt D Sullivan; Sgt J Allcock; F/Sgt BA Lawler; F/Sgt J Sharples. F/O AS Allen (also an Australian) replaced P/O Belson DFC as navigator from March 1945.

The following aircrew flew with them on one or more occasions: Sgt JR Evans, F/Sgt FW Hubbard, W/O DF Hinsby, F/Sgt HS Milman, F/Sgt EG Ambrose, Sgt RG Heyward, F/Sgt PH Small, F/Sgt CW Bromage, F/Sgt RA Walkden.

Pat Atkins

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