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No. 196 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 196 Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 196 Squadron Royal Air Force

   During WW1, No 196 was a training squadron at Heliopolis, Egypt in 1917 before being redesignated the Aerial Flying School.

No 196 Squadron was re-formed at Driffield in November 1942 as a night-bomber squadron, raiding enemy ports and industrial centres in Europe and mine-laying throughout 1943. It transferred from Bomber Command to the Allied Expeditionary Air Force in December 1943, training in parachute dropping and glider towing. In February 1944 the squadron was involved in supply drops to resistance forces in France, and on D-Day carried troops to Normandy. In September 1944 it took part in the Arnhem landings and in February 1945 began tactical bombing raids in support of the army, including the Rhine crossing in March 1945. It transported fuel to the advancing army, and troops to Norway and Denmark to disarm the German forces. No 196 was disbanded in March 1946.

Airfields No. 196 Squadron flew from:

  • RAF Driffield, Yorkshire from 7th November 1942 (formed, Bomber Command. Wellington X)
  • RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire from 22nd December 1942 (to 3 Group)
  • RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire from 19th July 1943 (ex-4 Group. Stirling III)
  • RAF Leicester East, Leicestershire from 18th November 1943 (Fighter Command. Stirling III, Stirling IV)
  • RAF Tarrant Rushton, Dorset from 7th January 1944
  • RAF Keevil, Wiltshire from 14th March 1944
  • RAF Wethersfield, Essex from 9th October 1944
  • RAF Shepherds Grove, Suffolk from the 26th January 1945 (Stirling V)
196 Squadron was disbanded the 16th of March 1946


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

Those known to have served with

No. 196 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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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W/O Louis Makens 196 Squadron

My father-in-law, Louis Makins, was in the RAF in WW2 in 196 Squadron. He was a rear gunner. The plane and crew were shot down over F and taken POW Stalag 1vb. He was also on the long march and is still very much alive to this day, 3rd october 2013 .

John Hill

F/O. Thomas Donald McKinlay Gordon 196 Squadron (d.26th Feb 1943)

Tom Gordon was my only uncle but sadly he was killed 5 years before I was born. He was a navigator in 196 Squadron and was in a Wellington X bomber serial BE161 code ZO when it crashed near Middleton on the Wold, Yorkshire on 26 February 1943. There were no survivors. The only other name from the flight that I have found is a Sergeant G.A.A. Ranken.

I have found it extremely difficult to ascertain whether Tom and his fellow crew members were embarking or returning from an operation or whether it was a training flight but there is a suggestion that an unsecured piece of canvas blew out of the bomb bay and lodged in the tail ailerons.

I have plenty of photographs of Tom including some taken during his training in South Africa on Avro Ansons that I would be pleased to post if anyone was interested.

Editors Note: Flying Officer Thomas Donald McKinlay Gordon served with 196 Squadron Royal Air Force during WW2 and was killed on the 26th February 1943.

The squadron was operating from RAF Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire from December 1942 to July 1943.

Crew List:

  • Ranken, George Alexander Aitken (1052516) RAFVR; age: 21 Sgt
  • Robinson, Walter (1073018) RAFVR; age: 32 LAC
  • Gordon, Thomas Donald (120884) RAFVR; age: 22 Fg Off
  • Herbert, Dennis (1425487) RAFVR; age: 19 Sgt
  • Smart, Nevill (124547) RAFVR; age: n/k Fg Off
  • Bernick, Lloyd Adolf (R/62500) RCAF; age: 21 WO II

Middleton on the Wolds is in East Yorkshire near Driffield. The aircraft crashed at 1210 hrs some 2 miles E of Middleton-on-the-Wolds, 7 miles SW of Great Driffield, Yorkshire, exploding on impact. The accident was attributable to the canvas bomb screen detaching and fouling the elevator control surfaces. This was apparently during an aircraft test flight.

Jim Gordon

W/O. Mervin Charles Westbrook 196 squadron

My father Mervin C. Westbrook served on Wellies & Stirlings of 196 Squadron. He talked about many, many supply trips over France and Holland; during one the flak so affected his aircraft that it lurched alarmingly just as he was dispatching a bicycle and other goodies to the Free French. How he escaped following it out of the plane he never knew! He was the Flight Engineer on the craft and was particularly friendly with his pilot Askew (who has a daughter Stella 10 days younger than myself) and Navigator MacFadyean (spelling?) who went to live at Westbrook End near Godalming of all places.

His flying stories were told matter of fact with no embroidery; everybody had a job to do and they just got on with it. He was particularly affected by the death of some of his friends who were in a plane that crashed in Norway. Routine early bombing missions were somewhat boring as his responsibilities amongst others were to wind the rear wheel up or down at take off and landing.

After the war he returned to his Civvy job with Portsmouth City Treasurer's Dept but each year he continued to serve in the Reserve; as a small child I recall being taken by relatives to a hilltop at a certain time and watched his flight fly over. He died in 1985 and now that my parents have both passed on to glory and I'm nearly 70 this is a very poignant memory and mental image for me.

Michael A. Westbrook

F/Sgt Town 196 Squadron

Sgt Town was an air gunner and a crew member of a Short Stirling that belonged to 196 Sqn & flew from RAF Tarrant Rushton, Dorset on a mission to parachute supplies to the resistance. Unfortunately the aircraft (EF469) crashed into a mountain in a snow blizzard & Sgt Town was captured & sent to Stalag 357. I am looking for any information, documents or photos.

Nick Pank

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