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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, the table includes a separate column of national and international events during the period, drawn from contemporary primary sources or published accounts.

Date

211 Squadron

National and international events

 

 

 

1937

 

 

10 March

 

Bristol Blenheim I enters RAF service

26 April

 

Republican held Guernica destroyed by German and Italian bombing attacks under Nationalist direction in Spanish Civil War

12 May

 

Coronation of George VI

28 May

 

Neville Chamberlain PM, UK

24 June

211 Squadron re-formed, Mildenhall

 

July

Hawker Audax (to October 37)

 

7 July

 

Japanese troops invade China

August

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 civilian losses follow.

 

 

 

1938

 

 

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

 

 

 

1939

 

 

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,

April

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

 

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

 

Declaration of war on Germany

 

 

 

1940

 

 

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, 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

 

 

 

1941

 

 

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

Jugoslavia surrenders

19 April

To Menidi

 

30 April

 

 

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

 

20 May

 

German invasion of Crete

May

Blenheim IV (to February 42)

 

24 May

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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, enroute 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 Sections (ie 2 flights 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

 

 

 

1943

 

 

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.

October

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)

 

 

 

 

1944

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

1945

 

 

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)

 

June

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

 

 

 

 

1946

 

 

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

 

Sources
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

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 11 Nov 2016. Page created 21 Feb 2005, last updated 13 April 2016
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