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No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -


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No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron Royal Air Force



   No 242 Squadron was formed in August 1918 at the seaplane station at Newhaven, carrying out anti-submarine patrols over the English Channel until the end of WWI. It was disbanded in May 1919.

No 242 re-formed in October 1939 at Church Fenton as a fighter squadron, initially composed largely of RCAF personnel. It received Blenheim fighters in December and in January 1940, Hurricanes, becoming operational on 23rd March 1940 with operations over France during May. Douglas Bader was Squadron Leader by the end of June 1940.

After taking part in the Battle of Britain, the squadron began offensive sweeps and bomber escort missions from December 1940 until September 1941 when it was sent to north Wales for Irish sea shipping lane patrols. In December 1941 it left for the Far East, the pilots being absorbed into No 126 Squadron in Malta and the ground echelon, arriving in Singapore in January 1942, merging with No 232 and 605 Squadrons to service Hurricanes in a composite unit. The Japanese advance forces a withdrawal to Sumatra and Java where the squadron was dispersed in March 1942.

No 242 re-formed at Turnhouse in April 1942, flying defensive patrols, then moved its Spitfires to North Africa in November to provide air cover for the First Army in the Tunisian campaign. In June 1943 the squadron moved to Malta supporting the landings in Sicily, and then moved to Italy in September. In April 1944, No 242 was sent to Corsica to fly sweeps over northern Italy and covered Allied landings in southern France in August. From France it disposed of its aircraft in September, and was disbanded in Naples in early November 1944.

No 242 reformed at Stoney Cross in November 1944 as a transport squadron, receiving eighty crows from No 232 and No 242 squadrons. Training began on Wellington XVIs, then Stirling Vs and then Yorks. The squadron was disbanded in 1950.

Airfields No. 242 Squadron flew from:

  • RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire from 30th October 1939 (re-formed. Blenheim I, Battle I, Hurricane I)
  • RAF Biggin Hill, Kent from 21st May 1940
  • RAF Coltishall, Norfolk from 18th June 1940
  • RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire from 26th October 1940
  • RAF Coltishall, Norfolk from 30th November 1940
  • RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk from the 16th of December 1940 (Hurricane IIb)
  • RAF Stapleford Tawney, Essex from 9th April 1941
  • RAF North Weald, Essex from the 22nd May 1941
  • RAF Manston, Kent from 19th July 1941
  • RAF Valley, Anglesey from 16th September 1941
  • RAF Seletar from 13th January 1942
  • Palembang, Java (dispersed 10th March 1942)
  • RAF Turnhouse, Midlothian from 19th April 1942 (re-formed. Spitfire Vb)
  • RAF Ouston, Northumberland from the 15th May 1942
  • RAF Drem, East Lothian from the 1st June 1942
  • RAF North Weald, Essex from 11th August 1942
  • RAF Manston, Kent from 14th August 1942
  • RAF North Weald from the 20th August 1942
  • RAF Digby, Lincolnshire from the 1st September 1942
  • RAF Maison Blanche, Algiers from 30th October 1942
  • Syria, 1944
  • Corsica, 1944
  • disbanded in Italy 4th November 1944
  • RAF Stoney Cross, Hampshire from the 15th November 1944 (re-formed. Stirling IV)


 

17th Jun 1941 Aircraft Lost


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



Those known to have served with

No. 242 (Canadian) 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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Donald Raymond Rice 242 Squadron

I only know a little about my Canadian grandfather's service in Squadron 242 under Douglas Bader and I have been trying to find out more. The MOD sent me three of his service medals he never received, but I have hit a brick wall because he was held by the Japanese in Java. I would like to ask if there are any other avenues that I can go down to try and find some answers as he would not talk about his experiences to me, so I know nothing.

David Roberts



Sgt. Arthur James Vaughan 242 Squadron (d.26th April 1941)

I live on the south coast in a place called Telscombe Cliffs, near to Newhaven Harbour. About 2 miles going inland from the coast is a little hamlet of about 6 cottages and a lovely old Saxon church and it goes by the name of Southease. In the little churchyard the graves go back 200 plus years apart from one and it is a typical war grave headstone with the RAF arms on the front, buried in the grave is Pilot Sgt. Vaughan. What we would like to unravel is the mystery of how Sgt. Vaughan came to be buried in our little churchyard. We are more than honoured to have Sgt. Vaughan in our church grounds but it would be nice just to know a little more about this very brave man.

Sgt. Vaughan was flying Hurricanes in 242 Squadron, being based at Stapleford Tawney, North Weald from April 9th to May 22nd and was shot down and killed near Chartham in Kent. We know he was married to a lady called Christine. Another strange thing was his age, he was 41 when he was shot down. As he was RAF Volunteer Reserve could he have been a ferry pilot who was in the wrong place at the wrong time? Does anybody know how Sgt. Vaughan came to be laid to rest in our little churchyard? If there is anyone with any clues no matter how small we would love to be able to put his story to rest.

We always place flowers on his grave on the anniversary of his death and say a little pray and thanks for the ultimate price he paid so we can tell this story.

G.Millard



F/Sgt. Ronald Willbie 166 Sqd.

I volunteered for Aircrew just before my eighteenth birthday in 1942. I was placed on reserve and called up almost a year later. After initial training wing in St. Andrews, Scotland, on passing out I was posted to Grading School at Perth. After this to the holding unit at Heaton Park, Manchester. I was graded for pilot instruction and began a prolonged wait for posting. All the cadets thought it was worse than being in the trenches, no heating, paddling around in 6 inches of water surrounding the billets, bullied by NCOs, sleeping with all one's clothes on top of the bed covered by the greatcoat to keep them dry. The authorities were no doubt worried as they decided to send large groups of cadets on temporary postings. One was to Scarborough for a second initial training course and this was followed by postings to various Bomber stations as dogsbodies. In my case this was to 166 Squadron at Kirmington in Lincolnshire working in the bomb dump. At the end of this time we went on leave but on returning found an almost empty camp at Heaton Park, due to an epidemic of Scarlet Fever. Postings were delayed until this cleared and finally in February 1944 we embarked on the Queen Mary for the States.

Great jubilation, but just before arrival two cases of the dreaded fever and the US Immigration authorities refused entry but allowed transshipment to Canada. More delay but in jollier surroundings of the bull pens in Toronto's fairground. Finally I was posted to 3BFTS in Miami,Oklahoma. At the end of the pilot's course, not without its trials and tribulations, I passed out as a Sergeant pilot in November.

We spent a happy two weeks in an American transit camp in New York, mostly spent with families in New England and we embarked on the Ile de France for England. There was only a small group of RAF personnel,99, amongst a large contingent of American Army personnel, who were not seen for about three days as about 99 per cent were sea sick in their bunks down in the bowels of the ship. We were told that the pumps were running all the way to Europe and on arrival constant announcements were made over the Tannoy not to congregate on the port side. On arrival at the reception centre at Harrogate all pilots, several hundred, were all made redundant unless they possessed certain qualifications, had flown twins, done an advanced course and most stupid of all, were 5ft6in or under or over 6ft. Alternative trades were offered, Fleet Air Arm, Glider pilot, Flight Engineer, with one or two stipulations. The form I handed in to the adjudicating officer had a selection for Single Engine Ground Attack (70% casualties at that time) and on being asked if I was over 6ft, obviously not, was threatened with court martial unless I completed the form was correctly.

The quickest way to action seemed to be Flight Engineer - 6 week course - so that was my choice. Again long delays and finally to St Athans, near Cardiff for the course in February. After a few delays I passed out in June, war over but the Japanese to be dealt with. Sent to 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit, Wigsley, Lincolnshire and joined a second tour crew for conversion on Lancasters. at the end of the course we were posted to Tiger Force and sent on embarkation leave. The war ended finally whilst we were on leave and I received a notice to report to 242 Squadron, Stoney Cross in the New Forest. Arrived to find that the Squadron was equipped with Stirlings, consequently more crew training to learn a lot of new information.

Thus ended one individual's war effort. I continued in the RAF, was made redundant again in 1948, became a Meteorological Air Observer, but finally finished flying as a pilot over the last few years of service

R.T.Willbie



Sgt Philip Dorian Seaborne 242 Sqdn. (d.5th May 1942)

Philip Seaborne was killed after crashing in poor visibility into a hillside in Scotland. He was stationed with 242 Sqdn RAF at Turnhouse. The aircraft he was flying was a Spitfire Mk Vb number W3244. He was 27 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in Nuneaton Warwickshire in Oasten Rd Cemetery. He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star and the War Medal.




F/O G. Campbell 242 Squadron

F/O Campbell was piloting a Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - when it was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.

    (Original from Mr Campbell in his own words: "Could not find the railroad. I was very hungry and thirsty and decided to sleep in a ditch by the side of the road. Fell asleep exhausted and hurting etc (ed. broken ankle). Daylight came and a farmer’s dog sniffed me out. The farmer came back with a soldier who was on leave and they took me to the farmhouse located above the stables. The old grandmother gave me the biggest mug of coffee. Then the soldier hobbled me to the enclosed chicken coop to await army officers who would then take over. Four showed up and demanded my parachute. I told them in German that I did not understand.

    They put me in the back of their staff car and drove to the Luftwaffe night fighter station where I was turned over to the Luftwaffe who looked after all the Air Force prisoners. One pilot (German) came into see me and to give me some food. He was quite sympathetic and said that the same thing could happen to him. What next?!"

  • W Reichert



    E. Harvey 242 Squadron

    Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.




  • F/O W. Barrett 242 Squadron

    Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.




  • F/O W. Cram 242 Squadron

    Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.




  • Sgt. L. Maki 242 Squadron

    Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.




  • Sgt. R. Austin 242 Squadron

    Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.




  • Sgt. W. Harris 242 Squadron

    Halifax III - LV-951 coded QB-A - was shot down on 13th August 1944 near Bremen, Germany. The crew were:
  • F/O G. Campbell RCAF–POW
  • Sgt E. Harvey RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Barrett RCAF–POW
  • F/O W. Cram RCAF–POW
  • Sgt L. Maki RCAF–POW
  • Sgt W. Harris RAF
  • Sgt R. Austin RCAF–POW

    Six of the crew were POWs and one was killed after being shot down by a nightfighter.








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