No. 161 Squadron RAF


No. 161 Squadron RAF
No. 161 (Special) Squadron RAF
Active 9 May 1918 - 17 August 1918
15 February 1942 - 2 June 1945
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Special Duties
Part of No. 3 Group
Base RAF Newmarket Feb 1942-March 1942
RAF Graveley March 1942-April 1942
RAF Tempsford April 1942-June 1945
Motto Liberate
Equipment Lockheed Hudson, Westland Lysander, Handley Page Halifax, Douglas Havoc, Shorts Stirling, Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
Insignia
Identification
symbol
MA / JR

No. 161 (Special) Squadron was a highly secretive unit of the Royal Air Force tasked with missions of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. Their primary role was to drop and collect secret agents and equipment into and from Nazi-occupied Europe. The squadron had a secondary role in acting as the King's Flight.


History

A proposal was made on 9 May 1918 to create a Squadron flying the Airco DH.9A in a daylight bombing role. The scheduled formation date was postponed several times before the plans were entirely cancelled. The squadron was reformed at RAF Newmarket on 15 February 1942 when the King's Flight was combined with elements of 138 Squadron. In April, 161 Squadron moved to RAF Tempsford in Bedfordshire where it would remain until disbandment on 2 June 1945.

Aircraft

Several types of aircraft were used by the squadron in the course of their duties.

The Lysanders, Hudsons and Havocs were used for parachuting/landing and collection of agents whilst the Whitworths, Halifaxes and Stirlings were used for supply-dropping missions.

External links

This aircraft and the remains of the pilot were discovered 53 years, to the day, after it went missing on an operation.


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