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No. 218 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

No. 218 Squadron Royal Air Force



   No 218 Squadron was formed in April 1918 as a day-bomber squadron in the 5th Group under Dover-Dunkirk Naval command. Disbanded in 1919, it was re-formed in 1936 as a bomber squadron and served continuously throughout WWII against Germany.

No 218 was in France in September 1939 doing reconnaissance and leaflet raids. In June 1940 it bombed the enemy's lines of communications and troops, hindering the German Advance into France. Having received heavy casualties it was evacuated to England and re-equipped with Blenheim medium-range bombers. It then was equipped with Wellington long-range aircraft, becoming a heavy-bomber squadron, targetting industrial centres, railways, V-weapon sites and gun batteries, the Channel ports, oil and petrol installations, troops and armour. In May 1945, with the cessation of heavy bombing, No 218 dropped food supplies to the Netherlands and ferried liberated POWs to England.

Airfields No. 218 Squadron flew from:

  • Auberive-sur-Suippes, France from 3rd September 1939 (75 Wing, Battle I)
  • Mosou Ferme, France from the 1st May, 1940
  • Rheges-St-Lucien Ferme, France from 2nd May 1940
  • Nantes-Chateau Bougon, France from 3rd May 1940 (to 2 Group)
  • RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk from 13th June 1940 (Blenheim IV)
  • RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire from 18th July 1940 (to 3 Group)
  • RAF Marham, Norfolk from 25th November 1940 (Wellington Ia, Wellington Ic, Wellington II, Stirling I)
  • RAF Downham market, Norfolk from 7th July 1942 (Stirling III)
  • RAF Woolfox Lodge, Rutland from 7th March 1944
  • RAF Methwold, Norfolk from 4th October 1944 (Lancaster I, Lancaster III)
  • RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk from 5th December 1944
  • disbanded 10th October 1945


 

10th May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

11 May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

11th May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

12th May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

14th May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

14th May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

14th May 1940 218 Squadron Battle lost

15th May 1940 On the Move

23rd Aug 1940 218 Squadron Blenheim lost

12th Mar 1941 Night Ops

22nd Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

24th Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

25th Apr 1941 Aircraft Lost

18th May 1941 Aircraft Lost

20th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

24th Jul 1941 218 Squadron Wellington lost

24th Jul 1941 Aircraft Lost

3rd Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

14th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

18th Aug 1941 Aircraft Lost

2nd Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

7th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

12th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Sep 1941 Aircraft Lost

10th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

12th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

14th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

29th Oct 1941 Aircraft Lost

7th Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost

15th Nov 1941 Aircraft Lost

11th Dec 1941 Aircraft Lost

16th Dec 1941 Aircraft Lost

21st Aug 1942 218 Squadron Stirling lost

2nd Sep 1942 218 Squadron Stirling lost

19th Mar 1943 218 Squadron Lancaster lost

14th May 1943 218 Squadron Stirling lost

22nd June 1943 218 Squadron Stirling lost

24th Oct 1943 Bomber Command

7th Nov 1943 Bomber Command

19th Nov 1943 Bomber Command

22nd Nov 1943 Bomber Command

1st Dec 1943 Bomber Command

28th Jan 1944 Bomber Command

18th Apr 1944 Bomber Command

20th Apr 1944 Bomber Command

22nd Apr 1944 Bomber Command

23rd Apr 1944 Bomber Command

25th Apr 1944 Bomber Command

1st May 1944 Bomber Command

7th May 1944 Bomber Command

13th May 1944 Bomber Command

5th Jun 1944 Bomber Command

17th Jun 1944 Bomber Command

21st Jun 1944 Bomber Command

24th Jun 1944 Bomber Command

23rd Jul 1944 Bomber Command

25th Aug 1944 Bomber Command

29th Aug 1944 Bomber Command

10th Oct 1944 Bomber Command

14th Oct 1944 Bomber Command

18th Oct 1944 Bomber Command

22nd Oct 1944 Bomber Command

23rd Oct 1944 Bomber Command

26th Oct 1944 Bomber Command

30th Oct 1944 Bomber Command

31st Oct 1944 Bomber Command

31st Dec 1944 218 Squadron Lancaster lost


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



Those known to have served with

No. 218 Squadron Royal Air Force

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Anderson B. O.. Sgt.
  • Banks George Leslie. Sergeant (d.27th Jan 1943)
  • Bray Earl Clarence. F/Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Burke Hugh. Sgt. (d.20th Sep 1942)
  • Dunham Peter Francis.
  • Empson Gordon E.. Sgt.
  • Findley George Fenwick.
  • Frankton Jack Gordon.
  • Guest Peter C..
  • Jamieson Thomas Arthur. Sgt. (d.13th May 1943)
  • Lister H. J... P/O
  • Needle Charles.
  • Pickard Raymond Stuart. Sgt. (d.30th July 1943)
  • Saunders Albert Edward. LAC.
  • Searle Ray Horace Brook. Sgt.
  • Snook Alfred Arthur. Sgt. (d.2nd May 1944)
  • Strand W. L.. Sgt.
  • Turner H.. Sgt.
  • Warnes Jack. Flt Sgt (d.21st Apr 1943)
  • Warrington George Ninian. Grp.Cpt. (d.8th Sep 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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Flt Sgt Jack Warnes 218 Squadron (d.21st Apr 1943)

Dave Hooper



Sgt. Hugh Burke DFM. 218 Squadon (d.20th Sep 1942)

My father Hugh Burke was a wireless operator with 218 Sqd, flying from Gibraltar Farm, Tempsford and S.O.E, S/Ldr Dick Wilkin was the pilot.

Dick Wilkin

Dick Wilkin

Air crew group after "ops" with Hugh Burke, Dick Wilkin & crew members

Valerie Hutchinson



George Fenwick Findley 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron.

My uncle George Fenwick Findley was the last of his crew members of 218 Gold Coast Squadron. They were:
  • Bill Streeter RAF
  • Tom Mankelow RAF
  • Robert Daniel Stirling DFC, pilot RAAF
  • Paul Chase Miller RAAF
  • Lancelot Keith Gregory RAAF
  • George Seymour RNZAF

Uncle George was an air gunner. He enlisted at No2 ITS Bradfield park and trained at No2 WAGS parkes, Port Pirie, Bradfield Park, Melbourne. He travelled to England and continued his training at 11OTU, 1657CU RAF Stradishall, 1483 RAF Newmarket and joined 218 Squadron. He flew from Downham Market, Tempsford, Woolfox Lodge, and Methwold. Operations he flew were:

  • 3/10/1943 ops mining
  • 24/10/1943 ops mining Frisian islands
  • 7/11/1943 ops mining Bordeaux
  • 18/11/1943 ops Mannheim
  • 19/11/1943 ops Leverkusen
  • 22/11/1943 ops Berlin
  • 1/12/1943 Skaggerack
  • 28/1/1944 ops mining Denmark
  • 4/3/1944 special target
  • 7/3/1944 special target
  • 18/4/1944 ops mining Keil Bay
  • 20/4/1944 ops bombing Chambley
  • 22/4/1944 bombing Laon
  • 23/4/1944 ops bombing Brussels
  • 25/4/1944 ops bombing Chambley
  • 1/5/1944 ops bombing Chambley
  • 7/5/1944 ops mining La Rochelle
  • 13/5/1944 ops mining Cherbourg
  • 5/6/1944 ops special duties for D-Day
  • 17/6/1944 ops bombing Montider
  • 21/6/1944 ops mining Guernsey
  • 24/6/1944 ops bombing Rimeux
  • 23/7/1944 ops mining Brest
  • 25/8/1944 ops bombing Russelsheim
  • 29/8/1944 ops bombing Stettin
  • 31/8/1944 ops bombing
  • 10/9/1944 ops bombing le Harve
  • 14/10/1944 ops bombing Duisburg
  • 14/10/1944 ops Duisburg
  • 18/10/1944 ops bombing Bonn
  • 22/10/1944 ops bombing Neuss
  • 23/10/1944 ops bombing Essen
  • 26/10/1944 ops Leverkusen
  • 30/10/1944 ops bombing Wesseling
  • 31/10/1944 ops bombing Bottrop
The aircraft he flew in are: Wackett, Fairy Battle, Wellington, Stirling 111, Lancaster 1. He was a member of 218 squadron from 29/9/1943 to 21/10/1944 in the crew of Lancaster HA-E.

Evelyn E Hill



Sgt. Alfred Arthur Snook 218 Squadron (d.2nd May 1944)

Alred Snook was the Wireless Operator on Stirling EF504, which took off from RAF Woofox Lodge at 2214hours on the night of 1st of May 1944, detailed to bomb the railway and stores depot at Chambly. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.

The crew were:

  • RAF FO Arthur Ieuan Iorwerth Jones (Pilot)
  • RAF Sgt Eric Wright, (Flight Engineer)
  • RCAF FO Taylor, Samuel (Navigator)
  • RAAF 418560 Flt Sgt Ronald Henderson Osborne, (Air Bomber)
  • RAF Sgt Alfred Arthur Snook, (Wireless Operator Air)
  • RAF PO Twining, Robert Ernest Samuel (Air Gunner)
  • RCAF WO2 Murray Richard Bell, (Air Gunner)
The aircraft crashed on 2nd May 1944 in the vicinity of Poix-de-la-Somme, France. Five of the crew were killed and Sgt Eric Wright and PO Samuel Taylor evaded capture. Those killed are buried in the Poix-de-Picardie Churchyard, France. The men who perished are buried, from left to right, Bell, Jones, Osborne, Snook, Twining - Row A Coll Grave 12-14. The two who did survive made their way to Freteval, were liberated by American troops in August and returned to England.

Elizabeth Elam



Sgt. Ray Horace Brook Searle 218 Squadron

My father, Raymond Horace Brook Searle, was shot down whilst on a bombing raid on 27/28th August 1943. He was the wireless operator. He was sent to camp Stalag IVB and stayed there until liberation by the Russians. He wrote a diary for most of the first year of his imprisonment which we only discovered after he died. An awful lot of it talks about food or rather the lack of it and also all the illnesses. He died peacefully in 2005.

Heather Brogan



Sgt. Thomas Arthur Jamieson 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron (d.13th May 1943)

Sgt Thomas Arthur Jamieson, the only son of James and Ellen, was born on 12th February 1923 in Larch Road, Balham, London. He volunteered for the RAF and after training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, joined 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron on 23rd April 1943. He flew his first combat operation on 5th May. His second combat op commenced on13th May, taking off from RAF Downham Market, Norfolk at 00:25 on a course for Bochum in Germany's Ruhr valley. En-route, at approximately 01:45, an unseen enemy aircraft came up from the port and underneath and opened fire with a long burst from cannon and machine gun. This killed the rear gunner, wounded the mid-upper gunner, disabled the intercom and severely damaged the plane. Jettisoning their bombs and losing fuel, they limped off towards the nearest friendly aerodrome - Chedburgh, Suffolk - where they crash landed at approximately 04:00. Of the seven crew, five were killed and the Pilot was badly injured. Only the Navigator was relatively unharmed. Thomas Jamieson was 20 years old and is buried with his father in Wandsworth (Streatham) Cemetery, London. The aircraft was Stirling III HA-G EF367. The crew:
  • Sgt Nichols T J (Pilot)
  • P/O Pierce E G (Navigator)
  • Sgt Jamieson T A (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
  • Sgt Gargest J P V (Bomb Aimer)
  • Sgt Cleveland S G (Mid-upper Gunner)
  • Sgt Howard J S (Rear Gunner)
  • Sgt Wurr I (Flight Engineer)

David J Redman



Sergeant George Leslie "Les" Banks 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron (d.27th Jan 1943)

The Crew of N3721 were as follows:-

  • Pilot Officer A.E.Gough age 20 Pilot and Captain
  • Pilot Officer K.A. Taylor age 23 2nd Pilot 1st Trip
  • Pilot Officer G C Layley age 23 Navigator
  • Sergeant N W Whithead age 20 Bomb-Aimer
  • Sergeant G L Banks age 31 Wirless Operator
  • Sergeant L C Ehrhart 22 Mid-Upper Gunner
  • Sergeant E J Forward age 24 Flight Engineer
  • Sergeant W E Jackson 22 Rear Gunner( Later Warrant Officer) Survivor

Their last flight, No 19, was mine-laying in the Baltic. On their return journey they crashed into the forest near the village of Grassborn at Dassel. They were not in their usual aircraft N3721 'P' for Peter as it was being repaired. They were in N6077. The crew are all buried at Limmer Military Cemetry Hannover.

Bill Jackson was the only survivor and he ended up in a POW Camp. He wrote a book called Three Stripes and Four Brownings which details all their Missions. G C Layley's brother was killed 12 months later and is also buried jut behind him in Hanover.

Susan Henshall



Peter C. Guest 116 Wing Transport

I served first at Glider & Paratroop Command near Stony Cross 116 Wing Transport in the New Forest. After D-Day went to St Athens for flight engineer training course. Then posted to 218 Gold Coast Squadron at Chedburgh No. 3. Group Bomber Ops. Afterwards sent to 107MU Egypt, then finally to northeast Italy near Udine in 1946/47.

Peter C Guest



Peter Francis Dunham 90 Sqdn.

My uncle, Peter Francis Dunham, was an RAF regular and trained (I think) at RAF Halton. He flew Battles in Canada, and was in the RAFVR with 90 Sqdn. He also flew with 218 Squadron and had already done 222 hours of operational flying by 1941.

Adrian Bailey



Jack Gordon Frankton 218 Sqdn.

My grandad was in 218 Squadron - he was a rear gunner. I would love to find out more about his WWII history with 218 Sqdn.

Lisa Dalby



F/Sgt. Earl Clarence Bray 218 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

A Sterling III of 218 Squadron was first hit by flak over its target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Two members of the crew died and are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. They were:
  • R. S. Pickard (pilot)
  • Sgt E. C. Bray RCAF

    Four members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B:

  • Sgt G. E. Empson (airbomber)
  • Sgt H. Turner
  • P/O H. J. Lister
  • Sgt W. L. Strand
  • Sgt B. O. Anderson RCAF.




  • Sgt. Raymond Stuart Pickard 218 Sqdn. (d.30th July 1943)

    A Sterling III of 218 Squadron was first hit by flak over its target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Two members of the crew died and are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. They were:
  • R. S. Pickard (pilot)
  • Sgt E. C. Bray RCAF

    Four members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B:

  • Sgt G. E. Empson (airbomber)
  • Sgt H. Turner
  • P/O H. J. Lister
  • Sgt W. L. Strand
  • Sgt B. O. Anderson RCAF.




  • Sgt. B. O. Anderson 218 Sqdn.

    A Sterling III of 218 Squadron was first hit by flak over its target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Four members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B:
  • Sgt G. E. Empson (airbomber)
  • Sgt H. Turner
  • P/O H. J. Lister
  • Sgt W. L. Strand
  • Sgt B. O. Anderson RCAF.

    The two members of the crew died and are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. They were:

  • R. S. Pickard (pilot)
  • Sgt E. C. Bray RCAF




  • Sgt. W. L. Strand 218 Sqdn.

    A Sterling III of 218 Squadron was first hit by flak over its target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Four members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B:
  • Sgt G. E. Empson (airbomber)
  • Sgt H. Turner
  • P/O H. J. Lister
  • Sgt W. L. Strand
  • Sgt B. O. Anderson RCAF.

    The two members of the crew died and are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. They were:

  • R. S. Pickard (pilot)
  • Sgt E. C. Bray RCAF




  • P/O H. J.. Lister 218 Sqdn.

    A Sterling III of 218 Squadron was first hit by flak over its target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Four members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B:
  • Sgt G. E. Empson (airbomber)
  • Sgt H. Turner
  • P/O H. J. Lister
  • Sgt W. L. Strand
  • Sgt B. O. Anderson RCAF.

    The two members of the crew died and are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. They were:

  • R. S. Pickard (pilot)
  • Sgt E. C. Bray RCAF




  • Sgt. H. Turner 218 Sqdn.

    A Sterling III of 218 Squadron was first hit by flak over its target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Four members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B:
  • Sgt G. E. Empson (airbomber)
  • Sgt H. Turner
  • P/O H. J. Lister
  • Sgt W. L. Strand
  • Sgt B. O. Anderson RCAF.

    The two members of the crew died and are buried in Becklingen War Cemetery. They were:

  • R. S. Pickard (pilot)
  • Sgt E. C. Bray RCAF




  • Sgt. Gordon E. Empson 218 Sqdn.

    My brother Gordon E. Empson, was a sergeant air bomber when he was shot down over Hamburg with the rest of his crew on 24/25th July 1943. They were flying a Sterling III of 218 Squadron that was first hit by flak over the target and soon afterwards was attacked and shot down by a night-fighter (Uffz Walter Rohlfing). The aircraft crashed at 01.45 at Ahrenswohlde 17 km SW of Buxtehude. Gordon and four other members of the crew became POWs in Stalag 4B; they were Sgt H Turner, P/O H J Lister, Sgt W L Strand and Sgt B O Anderson RCAF. Sgt R S Pickard (pilot) and Sgt E C Bray RCAF, were sadly killed. Strangely, official records appear to show that Gordon and his fellow crew members were interned in Stalag Luft 3 rather than Stalag 4B which I believe not to have been the case. Sadly, Gordon passed away in 2004. I would be most grateful, therefore, to hear from any fellow aircrew or POWs who remembered him.

    Derek Empson



    Grp.Cpt. George Ninian Warrington 215th Sqd. (d.8th Sep 1945)

    My father, Gp Capt George Warrington commanded 215 Squadron in December 1941 and then took the squadron of Wellingtons to Burma in March/April 1941. He lost his life along with his wife, my mother, in September 1945, in a boating accident off S W Scotland. I am interested to hear any stories about his time in Burma, and indeed before that as I only have his flying log book up to the outbreak of war, I know he flew Fairey Battles with 218 squadron in 1939/40.

    Alastair Warrington



    LAC. Albert Edward Saunders 218 Squadron

    L.A.C Albert Saunders Fitter 2A. with 218 Sqdn RAF survived the sinking of the Lancastria.








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