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Squadron movements

Squadron movements 1937—1946

A summary of 211 Squadron movements and equipment, after Delve, Jefford, Lake and Sturtivant, extended and amended from the Squadron Operations Record Book, the Log Books of CFR Clark and other Squadron members.

Jefford has well described the difficulties of interpreting the surviving records. Dates may reflect thus the signal date, promulgation of a movement order, or the actual date of movement (departure or arrival), depending on available records. Some movements, though recorded as ordered, may not have occurred at all. The list also shows the dates at which aircraft types were held or released. These, too, may reflect administrative records rather than the exact circumstance on the ground.

Having arrived in Egypt in the Spring of 1938, by the time war broke out 211 Squadron was already accustomed to desert life. The posting of a Detachment of one or more of a Squadron’s established Flights to a more remote location was common practice throughout Middle East and Far East Commands: the Squadron was no exception.

Thanks to a thoughtful comment by my old friend Martin Smith, I added a column of national and international events during the period, drawn from contemporary primary sources or published accounts.


211 Squadron

National and international events







10 March


Bristol Blenheim I enters RAF service

19 February


Ethiopia: Italian occupying forces massacre 30,000 civilians in Addis Ababa

26 April


Spanish Civil War (July 1936 to April 1939): Republican-held Guernica destroyed by German and Italian bombing attacks under Nationalist direction

12 May


Coronation of HM King George VI

28 May


Neville Chamberlain PM, UK

24 June

211 Squadron re-formed, Mildenhall



Hawker Audax (to October 37)


7 July


Japanese troops invade China


Hawker Hind (to May 39)


2 September

To Grantham


26 September


Arab unrest in Palestine and Transjordan resumes.

11 December


Italy leaves League of Nations

13 December


Nanking occupied by Japanese. Very heavy Chinese civilian loss of life.

21 December


Duke d’Aosta Viceroy of Ethiopia & Italian East Africa




3 January

Detachment to Aldergrove, Northern Ireland:
Armament Training Camp duties


31 January

Detachment ends, Aldergrove


20 February


Resignation of Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden over Chamberlain’s Italian policy

12 March


Germany occupies Austria

16 April


Anglo-Italian Treaty signed

30 April

Embark HMT Lancashire for Alexandria


10 May

Arrive Alexandria and depart to Helwan


12 May

Established Helwan (RAF Middle East, Egypt)


18 July

To Ramleh (Palestine)
detachment Semakh (Palestine)

Arab unrest continues in Palestine

29 September

To Helwan, detachment El Daba
29 September to 7 October

Chamberlain & Deladier of France sign Munich Agreement with Hitler & Mussolini
“Peace for our time”

10 October


Germany annexes Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia

9 November


Kristallnacht Fascist anti-Jewish riots across Germany







27 January

To Ismailia (Egypt).
Advance party 3 January, main party 21 January,
Rear Party 27 January.


15 March


Final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia: German forces occupy Bohemia and Moravia,


Blenheim I (to November 41)
First aircraft collected by CO


1 April


Spanish civil war ends with Nationalist victory.
General Franco as dictator.

7 April


Italy occupies Albania

20 April

To El Daba, War Station


26 April


Robert Menzies Australian PM

1 May

To Ismailia to complete Blenheim re-equipment


22 May


Italo-German Pact

10 August

To El Daba detachment Qotafiyah


23/24 August


Russia and Germany sign Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

1 September


Germany invades Poland

3 September


British declaration of war on Germany







9 April


Denmark occupied. German forces land in Norway

29 April


EATS begins, Australia, Canada, New Zealand

10 May


German forces invade neutral Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Chamberlain resigns, Winston Churchill PM

26 May


Dynamo: evacuation of British and French forces from Dunkirk begins

4 June


Dynamo complete: 338,000 allied troops rescued

10 June


Italy declares war
Hostilities open, Egypt & Libya
Surrender of Norway

22 June


France surrenders

17 July

To Qotafiyah


2 September


Bristol Beaufighter enters RAF service

16 September


Italian advance from Libya into Egypt
halts having taken Sidi Barrani

28 October


Italian forces invade Greece

4 November


RAF operations in Greece begin

5 November


Roosevelt elected US President for third term

8 November

To Ismailia

Italian Greek offensive collapses

9 November


Death of Chamberlain

11 November

MT and equipt to Alexandria (Seagull Camp)


14 November

Personnel to Alexandria/Sidi Baber


15 November

Personnel board HMS Gloucester (dep Alexandria)
MT and equipt vessel nk


16 November

Disembark Piraeus


17 November

To Menidi (Tatoi)
[Reported detachment Paramythia: arrival of Ground Party at Tatoi but no indication, by ORB or Log, of movement to Paramythia at this date]


23 November

Air Party dep Ismailia for Menidi (Tatoi), via Fuka


11 December


British forces retake Sidi Barrani, advance into Libya







13 January


Greek government declines British troops

22 January


British and Australian forces take Tobruk

29 January


Greek PM General Metaxas dies

9 February

To Paramythia detachment Menidi


5 March


British troops sail for Greece

24 March


Afrika Korps advance in Cyrenaica, Libya

27 March


Peter II King of the Yugoslavs assumes his authority

6 April


German invasion of Greece begins

10 April


Axis forces besiege Tobruk

13 April

Easter Sunday unescorted daylight raid on Florina (Monastir Gap) by 6 Blenheims. None return.


17 April

To Agrinion

Yugoslavia surrenders

19 April

To Menidi


21 April

Evacuation from Scaramanga by 230 Squadron to Suday Bay


22 April

To Heraklion

British forces withdrawal from Greece begins

23 April

To Heliopolis (air echelon only)


24 April


British forces withdrawal from Greece complete

27 April

To Ramleh


30 April

To Lydda

German occupation of Athens complete

10 May

To Aqir


18 May


Italian East AFrica: d’Aosta surrenders to British forces

20 May


German invasion of Crete


Blenheim IV (to February 42)


24 May


Battle of Denmark Strait: HMS Hood sunk

27 May


Bismarck scuttled

5 June

To Heliopolis


10 June

To Wadi Gazouza initially as reserve training Squadron. Commanders continue to sign Log Books under their 211 Squadron titles.


22 June


Barbarossa: Axis forces invade Russia

7 October


John Curtin Australian PM

18 November

Acting as nucleus for and absorbed into 72 OTU. Commanders cite their 72 OTU titles.


27 November


Tobruk relieved

7 December


Japan attacks Malaya and Pearl Harbor

9 December


Sungei Patani, Alor Star airfields captured

10 December


HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse sunk

20 December

Re-established as 211 Squadron. Over 300 experienced 211 ground and aircrew personnel are posted from 72 OTU to rejoin Squadron at Helwan.

Butterworth airfield taken

30 December


113 Squadron Air Party depart for FE
16 Blenheim IV aircraft, 3 Flights over 3 days to 1 January 1942







7 January


113 Squadron Blenheim IVs at Toungoo, Burma.
Operations resume 8 January.

13 January


Kuala Lumpur taken by Japanese

14 to 18 January


84 Squadron Air Party departs Egypt for FE:
24 Blenheim IV & IVF aircraft in 4 Flights

15 January


Japanese forces advance into Burma

16 January

Groundcrew and spare aircrew depart Helwan to embark HMT Yoma at Port Tewfik, en route Far East


17 January

HMT Yoma, with 211 Squadron and 84 Squadron personnel aboard, departs Port Tewfik for Aden, arriving 22 January.

No 225 Group HQ ordered from Singapore to Sumatra (Palembang P1)

18 January


No 225 Group HQ setting up at Palembang P1

23 to 26 January

23 January: HMT Yoma sails for Colombo, Ceylon

84 Squadron Air Party
main arrivals at Palembang, Sumatra
Stragglers to 10/11 February

25 January


Japanese take Kluang (and airfield)

26 January


Japanese land at Endau

25 to 28 January

Air Party departs Helwan en route FE.
24 Blenheim IV aircraft
4 Flights (ie 2 Sections of 3 aircraft) daily over 4 days


31 January


Japanese occupation of Malaya complete.
Siege of Singapore

1 February

HMT Yoma arrives Colombo


2 to 6 February

Air Party arrivals at P II Sumatra
Operations resume 7 February.

113 Squadron at Magwe, Burma

3 February

Convoy JS1 with HMT Yoma departs Colombo


9 to 13 February


45 Squadron Air Party to Burma
24 Blenheim IV aircraft in 5 groups

14 February

HMT Yoma arrives Oosthaven, Sumatra with groundcrew & spare aircrew

Japanese forces land, Sumatra

15 February


Singapore surrenders

16 February

HMT Yoma departs Oosthaven for Batavia, Java, arriving 17 February

45 Squadron operations resume, Magwe, Burma

16 February

Air Party to Kalidjati, Java


18 February


RAF HQ Bandoeng order amalgamation of all Blenheim squadrons

19 February


Darwin bombed. Japanese air raids on NT, Qld and WA continue until 1943.

20 February

HMT Yoma departs Batavia for Colombo and Karachi


21/22 February

Last 211 Squadron operations from Java


25 February

Remaining aircraft of 211 Squadron pooled with 84 Squadron.


26 February

211 Squadron personnel withdraw via Poerwokerto to Tjilatjap


27 February

Tjilatjap: departure of Abbekerk and Kota Gede (at least 22 men of 211 Squadron aboard)

Battle of the Java Sea 27/28 February
Sunk: HMNLS De Ruyter, HMNLS Java, HMNLS Kortenaer, HMS Electra, HMS Jupiter

1 March

HMT Yoma arrives Colombo

Battle of Sunda Strait
HMAS Perth, USS Houston sunk
Second Battle of Java Sea
HMS Exeter, HMS Encounter, USS Pope sunk

2 March

Tjilatjap: RAFA Tung Song sails with 26 Officers, 169 OR RAF personnel; of 205 Squadron, 84 Squadron, 211 Squadron (65 men in all), 151 MU, and others.


4 March

Abbekerk arrives, Fremantle, Western Australia


6 March

Kota Gede arrives, Colombo


8 March


Java surrenders to Japanese

9 & 12 March


113 Squadron Sea Party and Air Party withdraw to India

12 March
13 March

Tung Song arrives, Fremantle
RAF personnel including 211 Squadron evacuees disembark to 5 Embarkation Depot Fremantle


17 & 22 March


45 Squadron air and ground personnel withdrawals from Burma to India

3 to 6 May


Last 45 Squadron echelon evacuated by air to India

4 to 9 April


Abortive Japanese naval and air attack on Ceylon

4 to 8 May


Battle of Coral Sea

31 May


IJN 2-man submarines attack Sydney Harbour

21 June


Tobruk surrendered to Axis forces

1 to 27 July


First Battle of El Alamein (Egypt)

23 October to
11 November


Second Battle of El Alamein
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” WS Churchill 10 November 1942

13 November


Tobruk retaken







13 May


Axis forces surrender in Tunisia.
End of North Africa campaign

8 July


Africa Star and 1939—1943 Star (later 1939—1945 Star) instituted. Ribbons to be issued from late 1943.

10 July


Husky: Allied forces land on Sicily

25 July


Mussolini dismissed by King Victor Emmanuel II

14 August

Re-formed in India at, Phaphamau (near Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh)


17 August


Sicily liberated

3 to 9 September


Italian government announces armistice.
Landings by Allied forces on mainland Italy.
German forces continue hostilities.


Beaufighter X (to May 45)


10 November

To Ranchi (Jharkhand)


28 November to
1 December


Tehran Conference, Iran
Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin 1st meeting

23 December

To Silchar West (Bengal)








26 ]an

To Bhatpara (Bengal) detachments Nazir, Ramu


26 February


Japanese offensive in Arakan halted

8 March


Japanese forces advance into India against Imphal and Kohina

26 May

To Feni (Bengal)


6 June


Overlord: D-Day. Allied forces land in France

3 July


Japanese forces withdraw to Burma

10 July

To Chiringa (Bengal), detachment Ranchi








4 to 11 February


Yalta Conference, Crimea
Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin 2nd meeting

29 March

7211 Servicing Echelon formed at Chiringa


12 April


Death of US President FD Roosevelt

28 April


Execution of Mussolini, Italy

30 April


Suicide of Hitler, Berlin

2 May


British forces enter Rangoon

7 May


Germany surrenders

8 May


VE day celebrations

31 May

To Yelahanka (near Bangalore, Southern India)



Mosquito FB VI (to February 46)


5 July


Australian PM Curtin dies

11 July

To St Thomas Mount (near Madras on the Coromandel Coast)


16 July


Trinity: first nuclear weapon test blast, USA

17 July to
2 August


Potsdam conference, Germany
Churchill/Atlee, Truman, Stalin meet

6 August


Hiroshima A-bomb

8 August


USSR declaration of war against Japan
(agreed at Yalta)

9 August


Nagasaki A-bomb
Russian forces invade Manchuria.

15 August


Hirohito announces surrender of Japan
VP day celebrations

2 September


Formal surrender of Japan

2 November

To Akyab (Aarakan, Burma)


27 November

To Don Muang near Bangkok, Thailand








18 January


SAC Lord Mountbatten arrives by air, Don Muang

19 January

211 Squadron takepart in Fly Past

Victory Parade & Fly Past, Bangkok

4 February

News of (pending) disbandment


22 February

AOCinC signal ordering disbandment


15 March

Disbanded, Don Muang, Thailand


72 Operational Training Unit Operations Record Book TNA AIR 29/686
84 Squadron Operations Record Book narrative TNA AIR 27/696
113 Squadron Operations Record Book TNA AIR 27/878
211 Squadron Operations Record Book 1937 TNA AIR 27/1302, TNA AIR 27/1303
Log Books of 211 Squadron members

Merchant Shipping Movement Card SS Cap St Jacques 1940—1946 TNA BT 389/6/131
Merchant Shipping Movement Card SS Kota Gede 1939—1946 TNA BT 389/38/217
Merchant Shipping Movement Card SS Tung Song 1940—1942, 1942—1945 TNA BT 389/27/515
Merchant Shipping Movement Card SS Yoma 1939—1946 TNA BT 389/32/212

RAAF 5 Embarkation Depot Fremantle:
NAA Series A9186/17 Item 457 RAAF Unit History Sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Books
NAA Series A10605 435/1 (5 ED Personnel Occurrence Reports 30/1942, 31/1942 etc)
RAN Merchant Ship Movement
Records Tung Song 1942—1945

Delve The Source Book of the RAF (Airlife 1984)
Hague The Allied Convoy System 1939—1945 (Vanwell 2000)
Historical Encyclopedia of World War II (Macmillan 1981)
House of Commons Hansard
3 August 1943
Jefford RAF Squadrons (Airlife 2001)
Jefford The Flying Camels: The History of No 45 Sqn RAF (Jefford 1995)
Lake Flying Units of the RAF (Airlife 1999)
Neate Scorpions Sting: The Story of No 84 Squadron RAF (Air Britain 1994)
Oxford Companion to World War II (OUP 2001)
Pitchfork The Royal Air Force Day by Day (RAF Museum/Sutton Publishing 2008)
Sturtivant RAF Flying Training and Support Units Since 1912 (Air Britain 2007)
Woodburn Kirby The War Against Japan Vol I The Loss of Singapore (HMSO 1968)


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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 31 Mar 2024. Page created 21 Feb 2005, last updated 13 April 2016
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