I have found the following website quite useful. Please remember that units came and went, so this is only a snap shot in time.
I am unable to establish exactly the list of RAF units which deployed in France between September 1939 and June 1940. according to the (partial) solutions that I study, there would have been squadrons of Hurricanes, Blenheim , Fairey battle, Lysander, Tutor.
Would one of the actors on the site know if
- were there other aircrafts models?
- what were the squadrons detached to France?
thanking you for your interest
I have found the following website quite useful. Please remember that units came and went, so this is only a snap shot in time.
paulmcmillan (20th September 2023)
The RAF in France from late 1939 consisted of the
Advanced Air Striking Force
RAF Component of the British Expeditionary Force
which were under separate higher command.
Lake The Source Book of The RAF (Airlife 1994) provides this Order of Battle for November 1939 for both:
I've not tried to reconcile this table with the France 1940 set above found by Jonny, above: from two other sources, largely undated but extending to May 1940.
The image is hosted in my webspace for convenience, largely to save transcription: it will stay there for a limited time.
For what its worth, there is a Wikipedia article on the AASF
which includes an AASF Squadrons table in the Prelude Jan 40 section, sourced to
Jackson, R. Air War over France 1939–40 (1st ed.). London: Ian Allan (1974).
No separate listing of Air Component units.
How consistent these various sources are, overall or at any point in time, cannot say.
Last edited by Don Clark; 20th September 2023 at 15:10.
Toujours à propos
Just to add to Don's post, I have also found 'The Battle of France Then and Now' by After the Battle publishing, to be a most useful and detailed reference. It includes an order of battle for the RAF units involved between Sep 39 - May 40. As I mentioned above, units came and went, particularly following the German invasion. For example 17 Sqn deployed with its Hurricanes to France on 8 June as part of 67 Wing (to reinforce 1 and 73 Sqns who were already there). A detachment of 242 Sqn also came over to support the same Wing, and operated from French airfields for a few of weeks.
To add to your list, the Photographic Development Unit operated early PR Spitfires from French airfields during this period. They were officially redesignated 212 Sqn in Feb 1940.
Last edited by jonny; 20th September 2023 at 15:49.
Squadron list, aircraft type, date of departure from Britain, date of return, note
1 Hurricane 9-Sep-39 18-Jun-40
2 Lysander 29-Sep-39 20-May-40
3 Hurricane 10-May-40 20-May-40
4 Lysander 24-Sep-39 25-May-40
12 Battle 2-Sep-39 15-Jun-40
13 Lysander 24-Sep-39 29-May-40
15 Battle 2-Sep-39 10-Dec-39
16 Lysander 13-Apr-40 19-May-40
17 Hurricane 8-Jun-40 19-Jun-40
18 Blenheim 24-Sep-39 19-May-40
26 Lysander 3-Oct-39 22-May-40
40 Battle 2-Sep-39 3-Dec-39
53 Blenheim 20-Sep-39 20-May-40
57 Blenheim 24-Sep-39 22-May-40
59 Blenheim 5-Oct-39 20-May-40
73 Hurricane 9-Sep-39 18-Jun-40
79 Hurricane 10-May-40 21-May-40
81 Tiger Moth 21-Nov-39 5-May-40 Formed in France from Air Component Field Force Communications Squadron, which was formed in Britain on 25 August.
85 Hurricane 9-Sep-39 23-May-40
87 Hurricane 4-Sep-39 22-May-40
88 Battle 11-Sep-39 14-Jun-40
98 Battle 16-Apr-40 15-Jun-40 Reserve squadron
103 Battle 2-Sep-39 15-Jun-40
105 Battle 2-Sep-39 14-Jun-40
114 Blenheim 9-Dec-39 31-May-40 Aircraft to 18 Sqn on 19 May
139 Blenheim 1-Dec-39 30-May-40 Aircraft to another Sqn on 18 May
142 Battle 2-Sep-39 15-Jun-40
150 Battle 2-Sep-39 15-Jun-40
151 Hurricane 17-May-40 18-May-40
212 Blenheim, Hudson, Spitfire 10-Feb-40 14-Jun-40 Formed in France, ex Photographic Development Unit detachment, some 212 Sqn detachments remained in France for a time after 14 June
218 Battle 2-Sep-39 13-Jun-40
226 Battle 2-Sep-39 18-Jun-40
242 Hurricane 8-Jun-40 18-Jun-40
501 Hurricane 10-May-40 21-Jun-40
504 Hurricane 12-May-40 20-May-40
607 Gladiator 15-Nov-39 22-May-40 Hurricanes began arriving in March 1940, Gladiators left in May
615 Gladiator 15-Nov-39 22-May-40 Hurricanes began arriving in April 1940, Gladiators left in May
An original Source reference would be very helpful for current and future readers, please.
Toujours à propos
I believe it is the case that when British forces were sent to France in September 1939 there were two separate formations: the AASF (which reported directly and separately to the Air Ministry) and the Air Component British Expeditionary Force. These two formations were merged into "British Air Forces in France" in January 1940. The helpful list provided at #5 shows squadrons from both formations. So all the Lysander squadrons and some of the Blenheim squadrons were part of the Air Component BEF (I think 607 and 615Sqns were also Air Component).
Having looked at some of the relevant ORBs, and both written and online resources, I believe that the last 'formed' RAF unit to leave French soil was HQ 67 Wing on 18 June 1940. Both 1 and 73 Sqns (part of 67 Wing) had departed from France earlier that afternoon. Wing Commander Cyril Walter and elements of his HQ are recorded (in the 73 Sqn ORB) as leaving in an Anson aircraft from Nantes at around 1500 hrs on that day. Hurricanes from 73 Sqn then operated from the Channel Islands until 19 Jun, when the Islands were formally demilitarised, providing cover for further evacuations, ergo, the list in post #5 may be incorrect. Likewise, there seems to be some confusion as to when 501 Sqn (temporarily attached to 67 Wing) returned to the UK.
Does anyone know which unit was the last to leave, please?
There is always a degree of judgement about when a unit arrives or leaves. Look at the start of war moves listed below, air, road, rail components all leaving and arriving at different times. So which date is “correct”? The original list was mainly drawn from published sources like RAF Squadrons by Jefford.
AIR 22/679. Until 15th January 1940, The Advanced Air Striking Force operated under orders of Bomber Command, exercised through H.Q., A.A.S.F. and R.A.F. Component as a separate Force. On 15th. January, 1940, the B.A.F.F. was formed to command both the A.A.S.F. and R.A.F. Component. The Diaries of both A.A.S.F. and R.A.F. Component are shown separate until 15th. January, 1940, but after that date they are combined under B.A.F.F.
Second Echelon Consisting of No.2 (B) Group with Nos.79, 80, 81, 82 and 83 wings would only move to the Continent if required, and would mobilise with Bomber Command Units. In any event the Second Echelon will operate from War Stations on the outbreak of hostilities.
Planned Organisation of the Continental Contingents.
Advanced Air Striking Force (Wings are all Bomber)
1 Group - 71 Wing (15, 40 Sqns), 72 Wing (105, 226 Sqns), 74 Wing (103, 150 Sqns), 75 Wing (88, 218 Sqns), 76 Wing (12, 142 Sqns) (Battle)
2 Group - 79 Wing (21, 82 sqns), 81 Wing (90, 101 sqns), 82 Wing (114, 129 sqns), 83 Wing (107, 110 sqns) (Blenheim)
- 1 M.R.S, 2 Base Area (1 and 2 Port Detachments), 21 Aircraft Depot, 1 and 2 S&T Sec., 4 and 5 A.S.P. (First echelon)
- 2 M.R.S, 3 S&T Sec., 6 and 7 A.S.P. (Second echelon)
2 Base Area, 2 Port Detachment and 21 Aircraft Depot also serve RAF Component Field Force. 1 Port Detachment forms part of RAF Component Field Force
RAF Component, Field Force
50 (AC) Wing (4, 13, 53 Sqns), 51 (AC) Wing (2, 26, 59 Sqns), 60 (F) Wing (1, 29 or 87, 73, 85 Sqns), 70 (B) wing, (18, 57, Comms Sqns), 1 and 2 ASP, 1 Port Detachment (1 PD under 2 Base Area). AC Sqns Lysander, F Hurricane, B Blenheim. (87 squadron was sent, 29 stayed in Britain, also under 70 Wing was 16 AC squadron as a group pool unit, will not mobilise and will not go overseas until Z+5 months) Communications squadron to have 1 flight Tutor, 1 flight Tiger Moth
Not mentioned above 1 to 4 Servicing flight, all first echelon.
2 September 1939. Aircraft and advanced parties of the First Echelon of A.A.S.F. moved to War Stations in France as follows:- 1 Group HQ to Rheims, 71 Wing (15, 40 Sqns) to Bethenville, 72 Wing (105, 226 Sqns) to Rheims, 74 Wing (103, 150 Sqns) to Challerange, 75 Wing (88, 218 Sqns) to Auberive, 76 Wing (12, 142 Sqns) to Berry au Bac
8 to 11 September. Main bodies (road) of 1st. Echelon A.A.S.F. left their mobilisation stations for ports of embarkation.
12 September. Aircraft, crews and operational personnel of 1st Echelon were reported capable of operating from Air Stations in France at reduced effort. The move of the 2nd Echelon to France is temporarily postponed.
13 to 16 September. Main bodies (rail) of 1st. Echelon left their mobilisation stations for ports of embarkation.
15 September. Servicing flights will be numbered, 1 at Bethenville, 2 and 3 at Rheims-Champagne, 4 at Challerange, 5 at Auberive, 6 at Berry au Bac, 7 and 8 at Villeneuve les Vertus. The 2nd Echelon A.A.S.F. will be ready to move to the Continent on 30/9, if required.
18 September. The following moves of Squadrons were done- No.15 Sqn, No.71 Wing to CONDE, No.105 Sqn, No.72 Wing to Villeneuve les Vertus, No.150 Sqn. No.74 Wing to ECURY, No. 88 Sqn. No.75 Wing to Mourmelon. No.142 Sqn., No.76 Wing was also ordered to move to PLIVOT-PERNAY but as No.53 Sqn was at that aerodrome until 11 October, the move was not carried out.
20 September. All rail parties of 1st. Echelon A.A.S.F. have arrived at their War Stations
21 September. 2nd Echelon A.A.S.F. will be ready to move to the Continent on 9/10, if required.
26 September. 2nd Echelon A.A.S.F. will be held in readiness to move to the continent at 14 days
29 September. All road parties of No.1 Echelon A.A.S.F. arrived at War Stations in France and 1st. Echelon is now complete.
10 October, Nos. 1 and 73 Sqns. (Hurricanes) were transferred from No. 60 (F) Wing of the R.A.F. Component F.F. to the A.A.S.F. for all purposes, No.1(F) Squadron moved from Norrent-Fontes to Vassincourt No.73(F) Squadron moved from Norrent-Fontes to Rouvres
11 October. 53 Squadron (BLENHEIM IV) which had been temporarily detached from No. 50 Wing, R.A.F. Component, to carry out Strategical Recces from Plivot-Pernay handed over its task to No. 70 (B) Wing and returned to Poix in the R.A.F. Component Area.
11 November. 67 (F) Wing established at NEUVILLE and took over command of Nos. 1 & 73 Squadrons from Adv. H.Q.. 60 (F) Wing, which ceased to exist.
23 November. Instructions received that Squadrons in the A.A.S.F. equipped with Battle were to be re-equipped with Mark IV BIenheim Bombers. Re-equipment to take place 2 Squadrons at a time, being relieved by 2 Squadrons from Home. First relief to take place on 1/12/39 and 2/12/39 and on 8/12/39 and 9/12/39 respectively.
26 (25?) November. The following moves took place:- H.Q. No.74 Wing to Tours aur Marne, No.103 Squadron to Plivot-Pernay
25 November. 5 Air Stores Park, with No.2 S.&.T. Section moved to VERZENAY.
2 December. No.139 Sqn. (BLENHEIMS Mk IV.) No.2 Group, arrived at BETHENVILLE from WYTON, to carry out relief ordered on 23rd. November. No.40 Sqn. (BATTLES) left BETHENVILLE and arrived at WYTON
9 December. No.114 Sqn. (BLENHEIMS MK IV) No.2 Group arrived at CONDE-sur-MARNE, from WYTON, to carry out relief of No.15 Squadron. No.15 Sqn. (BATTLES) left CONDE-sur-MARNE and arrived at WYTON.
16 December. Decision given that if 2nd Echelon A.A.S.F. should be required in an emergency to operate temporarily from the A.A.S.F. Area, the Squadrons would be superimposed upon the present organisation of the 1st Echelon, and no additional group or wing Headquarters would be despatched.
8 September. No. 60 Wing detailed for the Air Defence of the field force.
9 September. Squadrons flew to France on dates as follows:- No. 1 Sqn. to HAVRE on 8th September. No.73 Son. to HAVRE on 9th September. No.85 Sqn. to ROUEN on 9th September. No.87 Sqn. to ROUEN on 9th September. Transport, equipment, and personnel arrived at stations in France on 21st September.
15 September HQ and 1 flight (Tutors) of Communication Squadron flew to AMIENS.
18 September No. 53(AC) Squadron (Blenheim IV) (No. 50 A.C. Wing) detailed as I Corps Strategical Recce. Sqn. flew to PLIVOT-PERNAY (17 miles south of REIMS) as a temporary measure until the field force arrived at the concentration area. Main body and equipment arrived some days later.
15 to 30 September. Personnel and M/T of all squadrons of No. 50 Wing (less No. 53 Sqn.), No. 51 Wing, and 70 Wing crossed over to France, but the aircraft remained in England until the end of the month.
29 September 60 (F) Wing, 1 (F), 73 (F) Squadrons moved from HAVRE TO NORRENT-FONTES. No. 85 (F), 87 (F) Squadrons moved from ROUEN to MERVILLE.
30 September. The following moves were carried out: H.Q. R.A.F. Component from Base to MOROEUIL (2 Echelon H.Q. R.A.F. arrived 9/10th October). No. 50 (A.C.) Wing (less No. 53 Sqdn.) No. 4 (AC) and 13 (AC) Sqn to Peronne (No.53 sqn already in France). No. 70 Wing, No. 18 (B) and 57 (B) Sqns. A/C flew to ROYE.
4 October. Information received that Nos. 607 and 615 (F) Squadrons (Gladiators) ear-marked to go to France if required. No. 61 (Fighter) Wing Servicing Unit disembarked in France on 4th October and proceeded to NORRENT-FONTES, to control these Squadrons on arrival.
6 October. The 2nd flight (8 Tiger Moths) of Communication Squadron left Andover for AMIENS. No. 51 (A.C.) Wing (allotted to II Corps) now came into being: 2 (AC) Sqn to Abbeville. (51 Wing)
8 October. 4 (AC) Sqn flew to Abbeville. (51 Wing)
9 October. Role of Strategical Recce. transferred to 70(B) Wing as from 0001 hours on 9th October.
10 October. Nos. 1 and 73(F) Sqns. were transferred from No. 60(F) Wing to A.A.S.F., and moved to A.A.S.F. Area, leaving NORRENT-FONTES available for the 2 expected GIadiator Squadrons.
11 October. 59 (AC) Sqn flew to Abbeville. (51 Wing). 53 Squadron moved from Plivot-Pernay to Poix returning to the operational and administrative Control of No. 50 (AC) Wing.
18 October. Owing to a reallotment of aerodromes, ROYE was handed back to the French and Nos. 18 and 57 Squadron moved to ROSIERES (Meharicourt), where, due to incessant rain the aerodrome became waterlogged and could not be used for several days.
31 October. Information received that Nos. 46 and 501 (F) Sqns. (Hurricanes) earmarked in England for R.A.F. Component of F.F. No. 62 Fighter Wing Servicing Unit, formed to control these squadrons on arrival, disembarked at ROUEN on 31st October.
5 November. Owing to MERVILLE Aerodrome being waterlogged and unsuitable for Hurricanes Nos. 85 and 87 (F) Sqns moved to LILLE-SECLIN and No. 61 Fighter Wing Servicing Unit moved from NORRENT-FONTES to MERVILLE, evacuating the former in favour of the French.
6 November. A temporary H.Q. for Nos. 53 and 59 (A.C.) Sqns. (Blenheims) known as H.Q. 53/59 Wing was formed at POIX to act as Station H.Q. and assume Operational control if the Squadrons are placed under G.H.Q. Meanwhile No. 52 (A.C.) Wing H.Q. formed at Hendon on 2/11, proceeded to France during the month and replaced H.Q. 53/59 Wing, the Sqns. however still remaining under the operational control of Nos. 50 and 51 (A.C.) Wings respectively until 13th December (q.v.) when the whole Wing reverted to G.H.Q. control.
7 November. A special SURVEY Flight arrived at LILLE-SECLIN from England.
15 November. Nos. 607 and 615 Sqns. (Gladiators) flew from Croydon to MERVILLE, coming under operational control of No. 60 (F) Wing.
30 November. Units formed. Air Raid Reporting Liaison Service with No. 1 Section at Rouen, No. 2 Lille, No. 3 at Dunkirk, under H.Q. R.A.F. Component. Wireless Intelligence Screen Along Coast under 60 (F) Wing. Mobile R.D.F. Stations No. 1 Section at Fort Vert (Calais), No. 3 Section at Escobecques, No. 4 Section at Desvres, under 60 (F) Wing.
6 December. Communication Squadron with the R.A.F. Component of the Field Force renumbered No. 81 Squadron, with an establishment of 18 Tutors (Stationed at AMIENS Civil Aerodrome) plus 2 Blenheims and 2 Lysanders as Operational Reserve Flight stationed at Amiens Glisy.)
13 December. Owing to MERVILLE Aerodrome again becoming unserviceable through rain, No. 61 F.W.S.U. with Nos. 607 and 615 Squadrons (Gladiators) moved to Vitry (4m. S.W. of DOUAI). Nos. 53 and 59 Squadrons (Blenheim IV) were withdrawn from Nos. 50 and 51 wings respectively, and came under G.H.Q., being placed under No. 52 (Nucleus) wing for operational and administrative control.
British Air Force in France.
15 January 1940. Formation of Headquarters British Air Forces in France. A new Royal Air Force Command has been established to co-ordinate the operations of all Air Force Units in France, and has been designated "British Air Forces in France". The new Command will be under the Command of an Air Officer Commanding in Chief.
Scope of the Command. (i) Advanced Air Striking Force. The new Command includes all Bomber Squadrons of the Advanced Air striking Force, and these are now detached from Bomber Command. The A.O.C. in C Bomber Command will, however, continue to be responsible for training, except for certain special training required in support of the Army. In the event of some major air operation, other than in support of the Armies in France, being undertaken, the operational control of the Force will pass temporarily to the A.O.C. in C. Bomber Command. (ii) Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force. The Air Component of the British Expeditionary Force is now absorbed into the new Command, but will remain under the command of an Air Officer Commanding, who will continue to act as Air Adviser to the Commander in Chief, British Expeditionary Force, and will work under his operational control.
The new Command is composed of the following:- Headquarters. B. A. F. F.
Headquarters. A. A. S. F. - No. 71 Wing Headquarters (No. 139, 114 Squadrons Blenheim IV), No.72 Wing Headquarters (No. 226 and 105 Squadrons Battle), No.74 Wing Headquarters, (No. 103 and 150 Squadrons Battle), No.75 Wing Headquarters (No. 218 and 88 Squadrons Battle), No.76 Wing Headquarters, (No. 12, 142 Squadrons Battle), No. 67(F) Wing Headquarters (No. 1 (F) and 73 (F) Squadrons Hurricane)
Headquarters, R. A. F. Component Field Force - No. 50 Wing (No. 4. and 13 Squadron Lysander), No. 51 Wing (No. 2 and 26 Squadron Lysander), No. 52 Wing (No. 53 and 59 Squadrons Blenheim IV (A. C. )), No.70 Wing (No.18 and 57 Squadrons Blenheim I (Bomber)). No. 14 Fighter Group). Commanding No. 60 Wing (No. 85 and 87 Squadron Hurricane (F)) and No. 61 Wing (No. 607 and 615 Squadron Gladiator (F))
20 January. Reorganisation of Fighter Functions in the Royal Air Force Field Component. (i) Present No.60 Fighter Wing becomes No.14 Fighter Group. (ii) No.61 Fighter Wing is formed to control Nos. 85 and 87 Squadrons. (iii) No.61 Fighter Wing is formed to control Nos. 607 and 615 Squadrons. (iv) No. 61 Fighter Wing Servicing Unit is disbanded.
7 February. Re-Equipment of A.A.S.F. Battles with Mk.IV Blenheim is discontinued. The interchange squadrons Nos. 114 and 139 will remain in the A.A.S.F and Nos. 14 and 40 in England.
12 February. No. 212 Squadron (Spitfires) has been formed for strategical photographic reconnaissance duties. The squadron comes under the operational control of the A.O.C. in C. B.A.A.F.
15 February. Nos. 72 and 74 Wing Headquarters have been disbanded and 3 Squadrons have been placed in each of Nos. 75 and 76 Wings, and 4 Squadrons in No. 71 Wing. 71 Wing Chateau Fagnieres (105 Sqn Villeneuve, 114 Sqn Vraux, 139 Sqn Plivot, 150 Sqn Ecury), 75 Wing St. Hilaire le Grand (88 Sqn Mourmelon, 103 Sqn Bethenville, 218 Sqn Auberive), No. 76 Wing Neufchateau (12 Sqn Amifontain, 142 Sqn Berrry Au Bac., 226 Sqn Reims Champagne).
23 February. Re-Organisation of Air Component Reconnaissance Squadrons, Blenheim Strategical Reconnaissance - 2 squadrons of 16 I.E. each for G.H.Q. Blenheim Tactical 1 squadron of 18 I.E. for each Army H.Q. The allocation of reconnaissance squadrons in the R. A. F. Component to the B.E.F. up to and including the formation of the 1st and 2nd Armies will be No.70 Bomber Wing (Allotted to G.H.Q.) No.18 and 57 Squadron. No.50 A.C. Wing (Allotted to 1st Army) No. 53 Squadron and Lysander Squadron not yet selected to Army H.Q. No.4 Squadron (Allotted to 1st Corps) No. 13 Squadron (Allotted to II Corps). No 51 A.C. Wing (Allotted to 2nd Army), No. 59 Squadron and Lysander Squadron not yet selected to Army H.Q. No.2 Squadron (Allotted to III Corps) No. 26 Squadron (Allotted to IV Corps). No 52 A.C. Wing projected for Allotment to 3rd Army when formed.
23 February. No.1 (Balloon Barrage) wing (Nos.912 and 921 Balloon Squadrons) now transferred to the R. A. F. Component of the B. E. F.
20 April. No. 98 Sqn (Battle) moved to France to train and provide crews for A.A.S.F.
26? April. No. 16 Sqn (Lysander) moved to France and was allotted to R.A.F. Component.
4 May. No. 501 Sqn to France, joining the A.A.S.F.
7 May. A composite Squadron consisting of six Lysander of No. 2 Sqn and twelve Hurricanes of No. 87 Squadron was formed to operate in the Metz area with the 51st Division.
10 May No.3 (79?) Squadron (HURRICANE) proceeded to FRANCE to join the R.A.F. Component and were located at MERVILLE?
11 May 1940. ORDER OF BATTLE - R.A.F. COMPONENT
50 Wing, H.Q. ATHIES (No. 4 Squadron MONS-EN-CHAUSSSE (ALG RONCHIN), No.13 Squadron PERONNE Civil (ALG DOUAI) No. 2 Squadron ABBEVILLE (ALG BETHUNE), No.16 Squadron (BERTANGLES), No.26 Squadron (DIEPPE)), 52 Wing (No.53 Squadron POIX (ALG VITRY), No.59 Squadron POIX (ALG VITRY) Blenheim), 70 Wing (No.18 Squadron ROSIERES (ALG VITRY), No.57 Squadron ROSIERES (ALG VITRY) Blenheim)
14 Group ACHICOURT, 60 Wing (No.85 Squadron SECLIN, No.87 Squadron LILLE-MARCQ HURRICANE), 61 Wing H.Q. VITRY (No.607 Squadron VITRY, No.615 Squadron ABBEVILLE GLADIATOR but pencil marks say Hurricane), 63 Wing H.Q. Merville (No.3 Squadron Merville, No.79 Squadron Merville HURRICANE)
11 May 1940. ORDER OF BATTLE – A.A.S.F. COMPONENT (H.Q. Reims)
71 Wing Chateau Fagnieres (105 Sqn Villeneuve, 114 Sqn Vraux, 139 Sqn Plivot, 150 Sqn Ecury), 75 Wing St. Hilaire le Grand (88 Sqn Mourmelon, 103 Sqn Bethenville, 218 Sqn Auberive (substituted for 150 Sqn.)), No. 76 Wing Neufchateau (12 Sqn Amifontain, 142 Sqn Berrry Au Bac., 226 Sqn Reims Champagne), No.67 Wing H.Q. BUSSY-LA-COTE (No. 1 Squadron VASSINCOURT, No.73 Squadron ROUVRES)
12 May. 504 Sqn to France.
18 May. Intention or A.O.C., R.A.F. was to retain the HURRICANE Squadrons and two Lysander Squadrons for the present in the B.E.F. Area and send the remaining squadrons to the UK for reforming.
19 May. Nos. 2, 16 and 26 Squadrons arrived at LYMPNE.
20 May. LYSANDER. No.2 Squadron moved to BEKESBOURNE. No.4 and 13 Squadron arrived at BEKESBOURNE. BLENHEIM No.18, 57, 53 and 59 Squadron arrived at LYMPNE. HURRICANE No.85 Squadron arrived at NORTHOLT, No.87 arrived at NORTH WEALD, DEBDEN, and TANGMERE. No. 3 arrived at KENLEY, No.79 arrived at BIGGIN HILL, No.504 arrived at MANSTON and CROYDON. GLADIATORS No.607 arrived at CROYDON, No.615 arrived at KENLEY and CROYDON.
21 May. Advanced Headquarters B.A.F.F. NORTH COULOMMIERS, Headquarters B.A.F.F. - COULOMMIERS, Advanced party standing by for ORLEANS. Advanced Headquarters EAST - NANCY.
A.A.S.F. Headquarters - TROYES. No.67 (F) Wing (No. 1 Squadron ALLEMANCHE, No.73 Squadron GAYE, No.501 Squadron ALLEMANCHE.), No.75 (B) Wing (No.88 Squadron ROMILLY, No.103 Squadron ST. LUCIEN FERME, No.150 Squadron ST. LUCIEN FERME), No.76 (B) Wing (No.12 Squadron ECHEMINES, No.142 Squadron VILLECERF, No.226 Squadron VILLECERF), No.71 (B) Wing (No.105 Squadron AT BASE FOR REFITTING, No.218 Squadron ON WAY TO BASE FOR REFITTING, No.114 Squadron, No.139 Squadron both RETURNED TO U.K TO BE REFORMED).
The R.A.F. COMPONENT is to continue to operate from England. The operational Headquarters, known as BACK VIOLET, will operate from HAWKINGE. An alternative location for use in emergency, to be known as NEW VIOLET, is located at HENDON. A detached element of Component Headquarters, known as SOUTH VIOLET will operate in ROUEN area.
26 May. Attack by six HECTORS of No.613 A.A.F. Squadron (acting temporarily under orders of BACK VIOLET) on an enemy battery South West of CALAIS. Bombs were observed to drop close to the target. All our aircraft returned. No. 18 and 57 Squadrons of the R.A.F. Component are now located at Watton and Wyton and have come under the orders of Bomber Command.
28 May. The Fighter Squadrons of R.A.F. COMPONENT, viz. Nos. 85, 87, 3, 79, and 504 Squadrons (HURRICANES) and Nos. 607 and 615 Squadrons (GLADIATORS) are now operating under FIGHTER COMMAND.
30 May. The following Squadrons of the A.A.S.F. are at the stations mentioned for the purpose of refitting, 12? Sqn Battle FInningley, 98 (88?) Sqn Battle Lossiemouth, 139 Sqn Blenheim W. Raynham, 114 Sqn Blenheim Wattisham. Lysander squadrons Nos. 4 and 13 are reforming, Nos. 2, 16, 26 conducting operations from England as are Blenheim Squadrons Nos. 53 and 59.
2 June. 53 and 59 Sqns from Andover to Eastchurch
3 June. 75 Wing and 501 sqn to Vendome, 1 Sqn temporarily at Rouen-Boos to cover the move.
6 June. 75 Wing Battle units changed bases. 501 Sqn now at Rouen-Boos. Only A.A.S.F. units still in South Champagne area were Advanced H.Q. A.A.S.F., 75 Sqn Hurricanes, servicing parties for Battles at 2 A.L.G. While no.105 and 218 Squadrons which have been sent to the Base, are to be sent to England and allotted to BOMBER COMMAND with Nos. 114 and 139 Squadrons. No.98 Squadron which came to France on 20th April to train and provide crew for the A.A.S.F., is to remain in France for the present.
7 June. The following is the location of Squadrons of the A.A.S.F., Headquarters A.A.S.F. BLOIS, Headquarters 67 Wing LIGNE (No.1 Squadron CHATEAUDUN, No.73 Squadron LE MANS, No.501 Squadron LE MANS), Headquarters 75 Wing (No.88 Squadron HERBOUVILLE, No.103 Squadron HERBOUVILLE, No.150 Squadron HOUSSAY (8 miles T. of VENDOME)) Headquarters 76 Wing MONTOIRE (10 miles W. of VENDOME) No.12 Squadron SOUGE (15 miles W. of VENDOME), No. 226 Squadron SOUGE (15 miles W. of VENDOME), No.142 Squadron HOUSSAY (8 miles T. of VENDOME))
8 June. LOCATIONS. No.96 Squadron (BATTLE) was reported to be returning from FRANCE to LOSSIEMOUTH. R.A.F. Component (SOUTH) moved from ROUEN-BOOS to DREUX.
9 June. Advanced Operational Headquarters NORTH B.A.F.F. moved from Coulommiers to Olivet.
10 June. No 242 Squadron moved to CHATEAUDUN, No. 17 Squadron Squadron moved to LEMANS, No. 75 Wing Squadron moved to ROCHEUX. The aerodromes at BEAUMONT and EVREUX were evacuated, the personnel moving to CAEN and CHATEAUDUN.
13 June. LOCATIONS. A.A.S.F. IN ENGLAND. No.105 Squadron - BATTLES moved to Honington. No.218 Squadron - BATTLES moved to MILDENHALL. HQ. B.A.F.F. and North H.Q. B.A.F.F. at OLIVET, but may move tonight to NANTES and ANGERS respectively. H.Q. A.A.S.F. at NUIDES. South H.Q. R.A.F. Component at Laigne (Le Mans?), pending a possible withdrawal to CAEN.
14/15 June. The B.A.F.F. are in process of returning to ENGLAND and by 1800 hours on 15th June the following BATTLE Squadrons landed at ABINGDON from FRANCE. No. 12, 88, 103, 142, 150 and 226 Squadron. H.Q. B.A.F.F., H.Q. R.A.F. Base Area, South H.Q. R.A.F. Component remain in France. The remainder are on the move or embarking.
19 June. No. 59 Squadron, R.A.F. COMPONENT is now stationed at Odiham. No.242 Squadron has been transferred to No. 12 Group at COTTISHALL, as a non-operational Squadron. The B.A.F.F. on arrival in England ceased to function as operational Squadrons and was set the task or re-forming itself.
R.A.F. COMPONENT of the B.E.F. The LYSANDER Squadrons were allotted to various Commands and Corps in England for working with the Army, and were incorporated into No. 22 Group. (S.D.155, 617/40 or 4th July 1940 refers). Nos. 50, 51 and 53 Wings therefore became redundant and were disbanded. Other units of the R.A.F. COMPONENT were disbanded, the operation being completed with effect from 24th July, 1940. (S.D.155, 523/40 and 686/40 refer).
Advanced Air Striking Force. Two BATTLE Squadrons, Nos.80 and 226 Squadrons, were incorporated in No.61 Group as from 6th July 1040, and stationed at BELFAST. (S.D.155, 686/40). The other Bomber Squadrons were transferred to BOMBER COMMAND, and the fighter squadrons to Fighter Command.
The other units of the B.A.F.F. were disbanded the operation being completed with effect from 24th July, 1940. (S.D.155, 569/40 of 24.6.40, 602/40 of 2.7.40, 654/40 of 11 July 1940 and 686/40 or 18.7.40. refer).
Don Clark (21st September 2023)