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No. 186 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 186 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 186 Squadron Royal Air Force

   No 186 Squadron was a night training unit for home defence and the Western Front from 1918 to 1919 until it was renumbered 210 Squadron in 1920.

in April 1943, No 186 was re-formed as an army-support fighter-bomber squadron, moved to Ayr and received its first Hurricanes. It converted to Typhoons in November 1943, replacing them with Spitfire Vbs for cross-channel sweeps. In April 1944 the squadron was renumbered 130 Squadron. No 186 re-formed as a heavy-bomber squadron in October 1944 from C Flight of No 90 Squadron as a Lancaster unit in Bomber Command. It continued attacks on enemy targets for the rest of the war. After it took part in the dropping of food to the Netherlands and transported released POWs back to Britain, No 186 was disbanded in July 1945.

Airfields No. 186 Squadron flew from:

  • RAF Drem, East Lothian (formed the 27th April 1943. no aircraft)
  • RAF Ayr, Ayrshire from the 3rd August 1943 (Hurricane IV, Typhoon Ib)
  • RAF Tain, Ross from the 7th January 1944 (Spitfire Vb)
  • RAF Lympne, Kent from 1st March 1944
  • renumbered as No 130 Squadron, the 5th April 1944
  • RAF Tuddenham, Suffolk from 5th October 1944 (re-formed. Lancaster I, Lancaster III)
  • RAF Stradishall, Suffolk from 17th December 1944
  • disbanded 17th July 1945


27th Feb 1945 186 Squadron Lancaster lost

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

Those known to have served with

No. 186 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Gray Phillip.
  • Herriot Frank Sidney. LAC.
  • Hosier Ron.
  • McFalls James. W/O (d.16th November 1946)
  • O'Brien Jack Dennis. F/O.
  • Winton Edward Prosper. F/O (d.20th Nov 1944)
  • Wright James Benjamin. 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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Phillip Gray 186 Squadron

My name is Philip Gray, born in Ladybank on the east side of Scotland.

During WWII I was a pilot with 186 Squadron, Stradishall, Suffolk. This was a heavy bomber squadron using Lancasters Marks I and III. My crew were -

  • F/Sgt. Gerry Merrick, navigator.
  • F/Officer Jack Marner, air bomber.
  • F/Sgt. Harry Jenkinson, Wireless operator.
  • F/Sgt. Frank Parkhouse, enginer.
  • F/Sgt. Ivor 'Blondie' Foster, mid-upper gunner.
  • F/Sgt. Clin Booth, rear gunner

We bombed Gelsenkirchen four times, the target each time being a coking plant where the Germans made synthetic petrol. These plants were located all over the Reich. In all we took part in 16 raids on Germany.

It's all there in my book 'Ghosts Of Targets Past' published by Grub Street, London, which is now in its third edition and 10th print. I've had favourable reports on this book from all over the planet.

I earned my 'wings', pilots brevet, at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona, USA.

As the war faded away in 1945 we were occupied with the 'clean up' jobs -

  • Operation Mana, dropping food to the people of The Netherlands.
  • Operation Exodus, flying back ex-POWs from France to GB.
  • Operation Baedeker, low flying over Germany to allow ground crews and admin staff to monitor the bomb damage.
  • Operation Post Mortem, testing German radar

Leaving Bomber Command I carried out two mini tours of duty for Transport Command at Syerston airfield, towing military gliders and dropping food to British farmers.

In the mid 1950s on invitation, NOT AN ORDER, I flew for Fighter Command on the Island of Sylt, West Germany, as a staff pilot. There I flew Hawker Tempests, Mosquitos and Meteors on the four air-to-air firing ranges. For the record we lost more pilots there than on my bomber squadron during WWII. We were under the command of the 2nd Tactical Army on the Rhine. There was an emergency of one kind or another every single day on the Island of Sylt during that time. With club flying in both Scotland and New Zealand I then went on to fly for 46 years in all.

Philip Gray

LAC. Frank Sidney Herriot 90 Squadron

Frank Herriot served in the RAF with 90 and 186 squadron, at Dumfries, Gibraltar, Tuddenham, Stradishall and in Italy.

M Herriot

F/O. James Benjamin Wright 186 Squadron

186 squadron; Dad & crew

My dad, James Wright served as navigator with 186 Squadron on Lancasters flying out of Tuddenham, then Stradishall, from February to June 1945, flying 18 missions over Germany. His pilot was F/Lt Head.

John Wright

F/O. Jack Dennis O'Brien DFC. 186 Squadron

Jack O'Brien served with 186 Squadron and was awarded the DFC in 1945. My sister and I are trying to obtain more information on our father. He died as a civilian on 14th March 1955 and we have very little information. If anyone has any information or photos we would be most grateful.

Pauline Hawkswell

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