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Thread: Squadron Names

  1. #1
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    Default Squadron Names

    I understand that RAuxAF squadrons were usually referred to as 6XX (City of X) Squadron, for example, and others also XX (Location, e.g. Madras) Squadron. However, in the case of country allocations is it also correct to say, for example, "467 (RAAF) Squadron", or "467 Squadron RAAF". I assume the former, as they were actually RAF Squadrons, but you see so many different versions of this about, I was wondering if there's a rule or preferred format, or is it more like English English vs. American English, i.e. no right or wrong, just choose one and stick to it?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Squadron Names

    Hi Steve,

    I believe that in the case of Commonwealth and Dominion squadrons within the RAF that the Air Force is used as a Suffix

    ie 400 Sqn RCAF or 485 Sqn RNZAF

    In the case of foreign manned squadrons in the RAF the nationality is bracketed

    ie 301 (Polish) Sqn or 332 (Norwegian) Sqn


    Though the convention varies from book to book and even ORBs. I'm sure somebody here will be able to provide a definitive answer.

    Best Regards

    Andy Fletcher
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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    Hi Steve,

    The best location where you can find such information is London Gazette, a very good reference of what was the rules during WW2. During the war, the origin of the unit was located between the number and squadron in braklets.
    Thence you will have No.467 (RAAF) SQuadron, 414 (RCAF) SQuadron and so on. For the Kiwis, you have to use (NZ) and not RNZAF.
    I believe that the numbers were at first a RAF sequence number, the RAAF, RCAF, and RNZAF having their own sequence (like the SAAF, for which you should have to write 12 Sqn, SAAF, for example even during the war, or 21 SQn, RAAF for the unit which fought in the Pacific). No SAAF Article XV units was formed during the war.
    After the war, the RAF (with the approval of HM George VI) relinquished those numbers to the Dominions, with no chance to see those numbers to become a new RAF sqn in the future. Only the Canadians kept the same sequence for their own air force and after the war, 414 (RCAF) SQn, became 414 Sqn, RCAF. No.75 (NZ) Sqn, became, 75 SQn, RNZAF.

    Hope this helps

    Phil (www.raf-in-combat.com)

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    Hi Steve,

    I can only confirm what Andy and Phil already wrote.
    Czechoslovak squadrons were:

    No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron
    No. 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron
    No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron
    No. 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

    Pavel

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    The quotes from the London Gazette may show the preferred UK usage, but most Canadian government records identify the RCAF squadrons with the Squadron type: for example, 416 (F) Squadron, RCAF. These were all RCAF units seconded to the RAF, in the view of the Canadian government (who was paying the bills). The first three 400 series squadrons were, in fact, renumbered from RCAF squadrons that had travelled to the UK after forming and training in Canada. The formation of all 3 of these units began before the war started. Another group of RCAF Home War Establishment squadrons travelled to the UK in early 1944, and were renumbered when they arrived there.

    To me, these various forms of identifying these units just reflects how fully integrated they were into the RAF organization.

    Note added: most of the 400 series RCAF squadrons also received an official name, but these appear to be rarely used in Squadron Diaries and other documents. For example, 416 (F) Squadron was the "City of Oshawa". These generally resulted from sponsership of the unit by a city or large company in Canada, and the names show up frequently in recruiting and fund raising material in Canada, but were rarely used in the UK.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 21st March 2008 at 13:21. Reason: noted added

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    Notwithstanding the variations recorded in various official and semi-offical documents, the actual format of title on the badges for RAF and Article XV Sqns is exactly the same for both.

    Therefore if referring to 1 Sqn RAF, as is the norm, it is logical to also refer to 416 Sqn RCAF, 485 Sqn RNZAF, etc. Badge design would have been required to been authorised by the RAF's Inspector of Badges, a more authentic authority than the London Gazette, for instance.

    Errol

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    Hello

    I would like to add a point, and I know that it might hurt some members from the former Dominions, but the fact is all Article XV squadrons were formed under RAF authority, thence that must be seen from a British point of view and respect the logical sequence in force in the RAF at that time.

    Even if, from a Canadian, an Australian or a New Zealander, a such unit was logically belonging to the RCAF, RAAF or RNZAF, they were all part of the RAF first, thence the writing in bracklets. I recall that most, if not all those units were formed on an RAF base.

    That is why, the Australians as the NZs did not kept in force those numbers in their respective postwar air forces, even if many of those units recorded an impressive operational record, because from their respective point of view, they were not a fully national unit, but a national-manned RAF unit only.

    Phil

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    Phil,

    "Even if, from a Canadian, an Australian or a New Zealander, a such unit was logically belonging to the RCAF, RAAF or RNZAF"

    This is a common error. The units did not 'belong' to these air forces and the dominions made no such claim. The purpose of giving them the titles of their respective air forces, and in manning them where possible with their personnel, was primarily to recognise their air forces contribution to the EATS/BCATP and not have their contribution enirely subsumed by the RAF.

    Notwithstanding that all Article XV squadrons were fully equipped, trained, accommodated and deployed by the RAF, and operated under its control at all times, insertion of the air force in brackets adds nothing to clarity. If one is to have No.416 (RCAF) Sqn then to be consistent one should also have No.1 (RAF) Sqn, etc. As pointed out in my previous post, I prefer to be guided by the duly authorised squadron badge, noting also that none of these encloses the RAAF, RCAF or RNZAF titles within brackets.

    Errol

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    Hello Errol,

    I can understand that you prefer to follow what the authorized badge tells. But what about for those which have not a such bagde, like the 418, 456, 457, 458 Sqns, just to give an example.?
    The NZs were lucky to have seen all their units to be granted with an authorized crest, but it is not the case for the Canadians or Australians for various reaons. Alos, what about 75 Sqn? Which crest you are refering to?

    Also, the reason why No.1 (RAF) Sqn is not written like this, it is because it is included in the RAF sequence number, and repeating "RAF" becomes a non-sens and exceptions must be stated somehow. And the RAF used to do it in writing it in bracklets, like for the Eagles Sqns. To refer to RNZAF, RCAF or RAAF means that you are talking about about the air force system, which is not the case here, or partially only. Two Australians units served far from Australia, No.3 Sqn in ME and 10 Sqn in UK. The official denomination did not changed even if they operated under RAF authority all war long. They did not become No.3 (RAAF) Sqn or 10 (RAAF) Sqn, because they a fully RAAF units.

    Bill was refering to the three last Canadians squadrons (438, 439, 440), which were formed from RCAF units. A point of interest, all three were renamed at arrival in the UK, not when they were selected to be sent overseas. They left HAlifax with the RCAF numbers.

    Phil

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    Default Squadron names

    31 Sqdn SAAF & 34 Sqdn SAAF were members of the 205 group RAF in Italy WW2
    Presumably other SAAF sqdns in Italy were members of another RAF group ?

    When I was involved in au unsuccessful search for the Liberator KH158 of 31 Sqdn SAAF ,an American built bomber in which my RAAF father disappeared, the Defence Attache' from the British Embassy in Rome directed operations and the South African Defence Attache' attended. This was at Lake Bolsena, north of Rome .

    The pilot was South African ,the co-pilot British, the six crew were South African ,British and one Australian -my father who was the bombaimer . The 31 SAAF Base Commander at Celone ,Foggia, at the time was South African.

    I attended a memorial last year in Poland, for a 31 Sqdn SAAF Liberator EW161, which crashed on the way back from dropping supplies to Warsaw partisans.The South African
    Ambassador and British Defence Attache' from Warsaw attended but this second memorial was organised by a Polish man and Polish people living near the crash site. The pilot and crew were SAAF and RAF. An earlier memorial had also been held many years ago.

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 22nd March 2008 at 08:55. Reason: adding more information

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