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Thread: Bomber Reconnaissance Squadrons

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    Default Bomber Reconnaissance Squadrons

    Fellow Forumites,
    Does anybody, anywhere, have any knowledge of this type of squadron role designation being used by any RAF units at any time, particularly about the time of WW2, or immediately prior to or after? This term was quite widely used by the RNZAF from about 1943 to 1946 (mostly for PV-1 Ventura units), and replaced the earlier "General Reconnaissance" designation which was also widely used by the RAF, not only by squadrons as such but also by the various numbered "Schools of General Reconnaissance". It always seemed rather strange to me that the RAF apparently did not use the Bomber Reconnaissance designation, but I may have missed something. Perhaps it may also have been used by the RCAF and/or the RAAF?
    David D

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    David,,
    Examples can be found here: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2AirF-b1-2.html

    and more here: http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/secondwar/battlegulf/airforce

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    David,
    I don't quite understand what you are asking!
    The RAF had the PRU (Photo Reconnaissance Unit(s)) and the Met Recce Units. The PRU mapped the possible targets for all the RAF - not just Bomber Command. The Met Recce flew specific PAMPA weather flights prior to any Bomber operation. The PRU then went along to record how successful (or not!!!!!!!!!!) the operation had been.
    HTH
    Peter Davies

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    Hi David
    Take a look at http://www.griffon.clara.net/rafh/sqns.htm,which is a site that illustrates large numbers of RAF Unit Badges.It seems to be the work of the College Of Heralds or, at least, someone associated with the College. As Errol Martin pointed out some time back the Badges are relatively modern with none being authorised before about 1935, but as I know from 2 of the Sqns that I spent time with in the RAF, the symbols that form the badge centres are often allusions to the Sqn Histories from RFC days.The thing to notice is the lettering in the Blue rings surrounding the Sqn Symbols. In the lower numbered Sqns you will find them referred to as Fighter,Bomber,Army Cooperation(AC), Communications, Torpedo Bomber,General Reconaissance(GR) and Flying Boat etc Squadron,but no Bomber Reconaissance. IF we can accept that the titles also reflect the Sqn Histories, then you might have a clue from that. The practice seems to be dropped for the later higher numbers,although 201 onwards were created by adding 200 to the RNAS Sqn Nos in 1918 and it is among them that you will find many examples of General Reconaissance, and Flying Boat, perhaps reflecting what the Navy used them for in WW1.
    This is not conclusive but it may give a slight indication.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Leendert, Peter, Dick,
    I seem to have put my request rather poorly, as what I am really after is whether or not the Royal Air Force ever used the role designation term "Bomber Reconnaissance" in the formal title of any squadron or school, etc, particularly during the WW2 period, as this term was used by the RNZAF from 1942/43 onwards (and even as early as 1935 for a couple of independent Flights equipped with Vildebeests. I have never come across the term in connection with the RAF myself, but as practically all the terms used by the RNZAF originated with the RAF in the first instance, I am hoping that somebody will have spotted some prior use. And yes, these "role designations" (my terminology) such as F, B, AC, GR, did indeed appear in pre-war RAF unit badges, although their use probably dropped off because of the Air Minstry's propensity for changing the role of squadrons, particularly in the postwar years when the force as a whole was shrinking rapidly. This resulted in the surviving high-numbered squadrons (that is, under the number 300), which generally originated during the vast expansion of WW2, were sacrificed so that the much older numbers (dating in most cases from the RFC, or the original ex-RNAS squadrons in the 200 series) could remain in the front line by simply re-numbering existing units. A notable exception to this was the retention of the famous 617 Sqdn (Dambusters), but I digress. That the RNZAF used the term "Bomber reconnaissance" in its formal squadron titles has never been in doubt; it is the possible prior use of this term by the RAF that I am interested in. Generally these titles only appear in formal documents, or in Orders of Battle (but NOT in Battle orders!) where it is important that commanders are aware of the role of squadrons under their command at a glance.
    David D

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    In partial answer to your question, the BR designation was widely used by the RCAF, in both Eastern Air Command and Western Air Command. Just a few examples:

    4 (BR) Squadron - Vancouvers and Vedettes in early 1930s, later Sharks, Stranraers and Cansos, on the west coast
    5 (BR) Squadron - Stranraers, Catalinas and Cansos on the east coast
    6 (BR) Squadron - formed at Trenton with Sharks in 1937, moved to west coast by 1938, Stranraers by 1942, Cansos by 1943
    7 (BR) Squadron - Stranraers on both coasts, and Sharks, Wapitis and Cansos on the west coast
    8 (BR) Squadron - Deltas with EAC, then Bolingbrokes on the east and west coasts and Venturas with WAC
    9 (BR) Squadron - Stranraers, Catalinas and Cansos on west coast
    10 (BR) Squadron - formed on Wapitis on east coast in 1939, Digbys by 1940, operating Liberators by 1943
    11 (BR) Squadron - Hudsons and Liberators on east coast
    110 (BR) Squadron - Hudsons on east coast
    113 (BR) Squadron - Hudsons and Venturas on east coast
    115 (BR) Squadron - Bolingbrokes in Alaska, Venturas on west coast
    116 (BR) Squadron - Catalinas and Cansos on east coast
    117 (BR) Squadron - Stranraers, Catalinas and Cansos on east coast
    119 (BR) Squadron - Bolingbrokes and Hudsons on east coast
    145 (BR) Squadron - Hudsons and Venturas on east coast
    147 (BR) Squadron - Bolingbrokes on west coast
    149 (BR) Squadron - Venturas on west coast, including Alaska
    160 (BR) Squadron - Cansos on east coast
    161 (BR) Squadron - Digbys on east coast from 1943' later Cansos
    162 (BR) Squadron - Cansos on east coast, Iceland and Scotland

    The designation was also used for pre-war auxiliary squadrons, for example:
    20 (BR) Squadron with Moths at Vancouver
    120 (BR) Squadron (Auxiliary) - with Moths at Regina in 1937 and 1938, Deltas on west coast by 1940, replaced by Stranraers, Bolingbrokes and Hudsons

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    Bill,
    I always had a suspicion that the RCAF used the term, but was not aware that this was in the prewar period as well as WW2. It would seem as though the term was used in at least two countries; but what about Australia though? And where did the term originate? I still think the RAF would have to be behind it all somewhere, but perhaps they never in the event used it themselves.
    David D

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    Default Bomber Reconnaissance Squadrons

    G'day David

    The following Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons overseas were designated ‘General Reconnaissance’

    No. 407 ‘Demon (GR) Squadron
    No. 413 ‘Tusker (GR) Squadron
    No. 422 ‘Flying Yachtsman’ (GR) Squadron
    No. 423 (GR) Squadron


    The following Home War Establishment squadrons were assigned a bomber reconnaissance role:

    No. 4 (Flying Boat) Squadron was re-designated as a General Reconnaissance squadron on the 1st of January 1938 and later re-designated as Bomber Reconnaissance on the 31st of October 1939 after mobilization on the 10th of September 1939.

    No. 5 (General Reconnaissance) re-designated as Bomber Reconnaissance on the 31st of October 1939 after mobilization on the 10th of September 1939.

    No. 6 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron re-designated as Bomber Reconnaissance on the 31st of October 1939 after mobilization on the 10th of September 1939.

    No. 7 (General Purpose) Squadron was reformed as a Bomber Reconnaissance squadron on the 8th of December 1941

    No. 8 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron was re-designated No. 8 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron on the 31st of October 1939
    after mobilization on the 10th of September 1939.


    No. 9 (Bomber Reconnaissance) was formed on the 9th of December 1941.

    No. 10 ‘North Atlantic’ (Bomber) Squadron was re-designated
    No. 10 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron on the 31st of October 1939 after mobilization on the 10th of September 1939.

    No. 11 ‘The Joe Squadron’ (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was formed on the 3rd of October 1939.

    No. 115 (Fighter) Squadron was re-designated and re-equipped as No. 115 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron on the 22nd of June 1942.

    No. 116 (Fighter) Squadron was re-formed as No. 116 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron on the 28th of June 1942.

    No. 117 (Coastal Artillery Co-operation) Squadron reformed as a Bomber Reconnaissance squadron on the 1st of August 1941.

    No. 119 ‘City of Hamilton’ (Bomber) Squadron re-designated as No.119 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron on the 31st of October 1939.

    No. 120 (Bomber) Squadron re-designated as No. 120 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron on the 31st of October 1939 after mobilization on the 10th of September 1939.


    No. 145 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron formed on the 30th of May 1942.

    No. 147 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron formed on the 1st of July 1942.

    No. 149 ‘Sea Wolf’ (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron re-designated No. 149 ‘Sea Wolf’ (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron on the 1st of July 1943.

    No. 160 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron formed on the 3rd of May 1943.

    No. 161 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron formed on the 28th of April 1943.

    No. 162 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron formed on the 19th of May 1942.

    Cheers…Chris

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    Chris,
    Whew!! Thanks for that, man! However I still find it difficult to accept that we (that is, the RNZAF) copied the RCAF with respect to designation of operational roles, but unless somebody can conclusively refute that the RAF had nothing do do with it, I might have to admit the possibility. We did have a few RCAF officers out in New Zealand between 1942 and 1944, including the odd pilot, plus Admin, Signals, Radar and Engineer officers, but nobody of very high rank, so influence from this source seems unlikely. Unfortunately, in their infinite wisdom, the RNZAF powers-that-be seem to have decided (sometime in 1943) that the BR designation should replace the former GR, but do not seem to have promulgated this decision through the normal channels at the time. Therefore nothing on this subject appears in Air Department Orders or anywhere else for that matter, and none of the affected squadrons ever seems to have made a note of the fact at the time. However everybody seemed to just "know" that the change had taken place, perhaps by word of mouth, so all the squadrons eventually came to be known as such.
    David D

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Duxbury View Post
    Chris,
    Whew!! Thanks for that, man! However I still find it difficult to accept that we (that is, the RNZAF) copied the RCAF with respect to designation of operational roles...
    Well David, we are the Senior Dominion ;).

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