No. 68 Squadron RAF


No. 68 Squadron RAF

The name No. 68 Squadron has been used by the Royal Air Force for two quite different units.

No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps was formed at Heliopolis, Egypt in 1916. For a while it was known to the British military as "No. 68 Squadron RFC" - according to some accounts in order to avoid confusion with No. 2 Squadron, RAF. This designation was never accepted by the squadron or the Australian Imperial Force, and was in fact officially dropped by the British by early 1918, before the formation of the RAF.

During World War II, a new No. 68 squadron (the first RAF squadron to actually bear the number) was formed at RAF Catterick on 7 January 1941 as a night fighter Squadron equipped with Bristol Blenheims and became operational on 7 April before moving to High Ercall. In May 1941 No. 68 converted to Bristol Beaufighters and in March 1942 they went to RAF Coltishall in Norfolk. In July 1944 the Squadron converted to de Havilland Mosquitoes.

The poet James Farrar was a Pilot Officer of 68 Squadron. He was killed on the night of 25/26 July 1944 when, on patrol over the Thames (as navigator of a Mosquito piloted by Fred Kemp), he was ordered to intercept a V1 flying bomb.

On 1 January 1952, the squadron reformed again as a night-fighter Squadron at RAF Wahn in West Germany and flew Gloster Meteors until renumbered as No. 5 Squadron RAF on 20 January 1959.

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