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No. 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron Royal Air Force in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- No. 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron Royal Air Force during the Second World War -

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No. 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron Royal Air Force

   No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron was formed at Turnhouse in October 1925 as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. It was re-designated a fighter unit in October 1938, receiving Spitfires with the outbreak of war in September 1939. No 603 intercepted the first German air raid on Britain on 16th October shooting down the first enemy aircraft of the war. It remained in Scotland until the end of August 1940, moving south for the rest of the Battle of Britain, returning to Scotland at the end of December 1940. In May 1941 it moves south to take part in sweeps over France, returning to Scotland at the end of 1941. No 603 left for the Middle East in April 1942, the aircraft embarked on the US Carrier Wasp and flown off in Malta, reinforcing the fighter defence of Malta for four months before pilots and aircraft being absorbed by No 229 Squadron on 3rd August 1942.

Ground crew of No 603 moved to Cyprus as a servicing unit before returning to Egypt. In February 1943 Beaufighters and crews began convoy patrols and escort missions along the African coast, and in August 1943 conducted sweeps over German-held islands in the Aegean. Attacks on enemy shipping continued until December 1944, when the squadron returned to Britain.

No 603 reassembled at Coltishall on 10 January 1945. Fighter-bomber sweeps over the Netheland began in February 1945 and continued until April, when the squadron returned to Turnhouse. The squadron was disbanded on 15th August 1945.

Airfields No. 603 Squadron flew from:

  • RAF Turnhouse, Midlothian from 3rd September 1939 (Spitfire I)
  • RAF Prestwick, Ayrshire from 16th December 1939
  • RAF Dyce, Aberdeenshire from 17th January 1940
  • RAF Montrose from August 1940
  • RAF Hornchurch, Essex from 28th August 1940 (Spitfire IIa)
  • RAF Rochford, Essex from3rd December 1940
  • RAF Drem, East Lothian from 13th December 1940
  • RAF Turnhouse from 27th February 1941
  • RAF Hornchurch from 16th May 1941 (Spitfire Va)
  • RAF Rochford from 16th June 1941
  • RAF Hornchurch from 9th July 1941 (Spitfire Vb)
  • RAF Fairlop, Essex from 12th November 1941
  • RAF Dyce from 15th December 1941
  • RAF Peterhead, Aberdeenshire from 14th March 1942
  • Malta from 13th April 1942
  • RAF Coltishall, Norfolk from 10th January 1945 (renumbered from No 229 Squadron. Spitfire LFXVIe)
  • RAF Ludham, Norfold from 24th February 1945
  • RAF Coltishall from 5th April 1945
  • RAF Turnhouse from 28th April 1945
  • RAF Drem from 7th May 1945
  • disbanded 15th August 1945


20th July 1940 Battle of Britain

28th August 1940 ` Battle of Britain

30th August 1940 Battle of Britain

31st August 1940  Battle of Britain

2nd Sept 1940 

2nd Sept 1940 Battle of Britain

3rd September 1940 Airfields bombed

3rd September 1940 

5th September 1940 Battle of Britain

7th Sept 1940 Battle of Britain

15th Sep 1940 Battle of Britain Day

18th Sept 1940 London bombed

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

Those known to have served with

No. 603 (City of Edinburgh) 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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F/S A. C. Hunter 603 Sqd.

F/Sgt A C Hunter of 603 sqd. was shot down in Spitfire X4665 on 14-7-41 near Hazebrouck, France and taken POW. He was interned at Stalag 357 Kopernikus, Poland and given POW No.39273. He had previously served with 260 sqn. He was later promoted to W/O. I would be most grateful if anyone could give any details however trivial they may seem on this pilot, as I do not even know of his first names, nationality etc. Thanking you

Roy Nixon

Harold "Harry" Yorke 603 Sqd.

We are hoping to publish our father, Harry Yorke's wartime diary about his experiences in Stalag Luft 7 Bankau and then Stalag Luft 3a Luckenwalde. We have made contact with one of his pals' family but if anyone has information about the following POW's who were with Dad in these camps and on the Long March please email us.
  • Laurie Benson,
  • Johnnie Perkins,
  • Bill Swinson (Kiwi)
  • "Red" Tarlton
Grateful thanks.


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