- No. 163 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -
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No. 163 Squadron Royal Air Force
No 163 Squadron existed for only a few weeks near the end of 1918.
It re-formed at Suez in July 1942 for transport duties, embarking for Massawa in Eritrea and proceeding to Asmara where it received its Hudsons. In September 1942 it opened a mail service between Asmara and Khartoum, opening communications in Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Madagascar. By December 1942 the squadron was reduced to a cadre, and disbanded in June 1943.
No 163 reformed in January 1945 at Wyton with Mosquitoes, in No 8 Group for night raids on Germany. These continues until the end of the war, and the squadron was disbanded in August 1945.
Airfields No. 163 Squadron flew from:
- Suez. Reformed 10th July 1942 (Transport Command)
- Asmara from 15th July 1942 (Hudson)
- disbanded 16th June 1943
- RAF Wyton, Huntingdonshire from 25th January 1945 (re-formed, Bomber Command. Mosquito XXV, Mosquito XVI)
- disbanded 10th August 1945
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Those known to have served with
No. 163 Squadron Royal Air Force
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Broom Ivor Gordon. Wing Co.
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Wing Co. Ivor Gordon Broom DSO, DFC. 163 SquadronIvor Broom was born at Cardiff on June 2 1920 where his father was district manager for the Prudential Assurance Company and a Baptist preacher. Ivor was educated at the Boys' County School, Pontypridd. When he was 17, Broom passed the Civil Service exam and began work with the Inland Revenue.
He joined the RAF in 1940 and was posted to No 114 Squadron at the rank of Sergeant, where he flew Bristol Blenheim bombers against targets in the Channel along the French and Dutch coasts as well as in Germany. In September 1941 he was detailed to lead six Blenheims to Malta, en route to reinforce Singapore. At Malta Air Vice Marshal Hugh Lloyd commandeered Broom and his aircraft due to the heavy losses his squadron had suffered, leaving the other five planes to proceed to the Far East. Broom was then transferred to 107 Squadron, which was engaged in attacks upon Axis shipping, and land targets in North Africa and Italy.
During 1941 Broom was promoted to Pilot Officer. On November 17 1941 he bombed and set ablaze a 4,000-ton ship in the Gulf of Sirte, and helped attack a destroyer for which he was awarded the DFC. By January 1942 when he returned to England he had survived 43 operations with 107 Squadron.
After his return from Malta, Broom took an instructor's course at the Central Flying School at Upavon, and he then spent a year there teaching novice Blenheim pilots how to attack at low level. Later he became an instructor for pilots on the de Havilland Mosquito twin-engined fighter-bombers for No 8 Pathfinder Group.
In May 1944 Broom went back onto operational flying and joined No 571 squadron, flying the Mosquito XVI. There he teaming up with his navigator (and namesake), Flt Lt Tommy Broom, and they became known as the 'Flying Brooms' and had their plane emblazoned with crossed broomsticks. At this time 571 squadron was part of the Light Night Striking Force (LNSF) making targeted raids into Germany. In their Mosquito - modified to carry a 4,000lb bomb known as 'cookies' they made numerous raids over Germany undertaking precision bombing of selected targets. They also excelled at mine-laying, and Ivor Broom was awarded his second DFC followed a neat low-level operation in which he dropped mines in the path of shipping in the Dortmund-Ems canal. On another raid the Flying Brooms with two fighters on their tail dropped a cookie up the mouth of a railway tunnel in Germany, for which Ivor Broom received a second Bar to his DFC.
In autumn 1944 he was promoted acting squadron leader in command of a flight in No 128 (another LNSF Mosquito squadron). A few months later he was appointed acting wing commander to lead No 163 Squadron. Tommy Broom, now DFC and Bar, joined him as squadron navigation officer. The pair then led a series of brilliant offensive operations over Germany and Occupied Europe. When the war in Europe ended on May 8 1945, the Flying Brooms had undertaken 58 missions together (including 22 raids on Berlin). Ivor Broom was awarded a DSO, and Tommy a third DFC.
After VE Day, Broom was posted to Ceylon, but was spared further action by the Japanese surrender.
Ivor Broom remained in the RAF for the rest of his career, commanding No 28 Spitfire fighter squadron in Singapore and then 57 squadron flying English Electric Canberra jet bombers. In 1955 Broom piloted a specially-modified Canberra from Ottawa to London via the North Pole after which Broom was awarded the AFC. In 1956 he was made responsible for the Bomber Command Development Unit at Wittering, where he led intensive trials on Valiants and Canberras of the nascent nuclear deterrent, V-Force. In 1959 he moved into the Air Secretary's department until 1962, when he was appointed station commander at RAF Bruggen in Germany. Following a year at the Imperial Defence College, two years at the Ministry of Defence, and a spell as commandant of the Central Flying School (relocated by then to Rissington), Broom took command in 1970 of No 11 fighter Group. He was appointed CB in 1972, and KCB in 1975. He concluded his RAF career as controller of National Air Traffic Services and retired in 1980.
He died on the 24th January 2003.
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