View Full Version : 35 Squadron Role 1936 to 1939

29th January 2013, 16:57
Can anyone clarify the role of 35 Squadron when it reformed at Worthy Down in October 1936 under 2 Group, Bomber Command.

I know that prior to being posted to Sudan in 1935 it was “a mobile bomber squadron ready to be despatched overseas in times of emergency” but I don't know what its role was when it returned and reformed.

The next piece of information that I have is that in August 1939 it was “a non mobilising unit to train pilots, air observers and air gunners to replace casualties of No 15 and 40 Squadrons (71 Wing, Advanced Air Striking Force [AASF])”

I therfore have a three year gap with an undetermined role ..... were they deemed to be an operational squadron or a training squadron during this period?

Any help would be much appreciated



John Larder
30th January 2013, 15:56

'We Act Together - 35 Pathfinder Squadron' -Alan Cooper
On the 1st. Masrch 1929 at Bircham Newton, 35 Sq. became a bomber squadron. In 1935 they moved to the Sudan in the Middle East after the Italians had invaded Abyssinia. When they returned on 26th. August 1936 thetwere based at Worthy Down........The Squadron remained at Worthy Down until 1939 when it moved to Cottesmore as a training unit for Obs. & Wops

30th January 2013, 17:17
Thanks John

That confirms my understanding. I am working on the basis that it reformed after Sudan with the same crews, abeit down to two flights, and therefore was able to continue in the role of "a mobile bomber squadron ready to be despatched overseas in times of emergency” (until it took on the training role in 1939).

If anyone has any further evidence to support (or contradict) this then I would be pleased to hear from you.



David Duxbury
1st February 2013, 20:02
I would imagine that all fully formed RAF regular "operational" squadrons would have been available (in theory) for deployment to any part of the British Empire in the years between the wars to meet "emergencies" or perceived threats, and this tendency still holds to this day. By operational I mean actual fighting units as well as transport or communications units which have military value. This is the whole essence of air power at its simplest, as it is inherently very mobile. Of course some squadrons at certain times may have restrictions as to their mobility for various reasons, as they may be in fact conscripted for some type of training (as were the "Group Pool" squadrons of the approx 1938 - 1940 period, which were really, functionally, what later became known as OTUs). The only real restriction on the planned movement of regular squadrons to foreign parts would be the strength of the home commands, which would probably have what was considered to be a bare minimum strength; the most famous case of this was Fighter Command's reluctance to send yet more Hurricane squadrons to France when it was all turning to custard in May/June 1940. The ultimate decisions on the wisdom of ordering squadrons overseas at the expense of home commands was one for the politicians to make, but if they had any brains there would certainly listen to the advice of their own senior commanders - after all, their own safety might well be at stake too.
David D

1st February 2013, 22:52

Thanks for the feedback; I am now pretty confident that it was operational until September 1939 when its role changed to "train pilots, air observers and air gunners to replace casualties of No 15 and 40 Squadrons (71 Wing), Advanced Air Striking Force [AASF].

You may be aware that it later amalgamated with other squadrons to form No 1 Group Pool, which as you say became the Operational Training Units (in its case No 17 OTU).