RAF Badges Cigarette Cards (Part 3)

No 38 (Bomber) Squadron

This squadron was formed in July 1916 for home defence duties in the Midland counties area, and took action in all the Zeppelin raids from January 1917 onwards. In May 1918 the squadron was transferred to Dunkirk for night bombing operations associated with the naval attacks on Zeebrugge and Ostend. Thereafter, during the final operations in Belgium, No 38 was engaged in bombing the enemy’s lines of communication. The squadron returned to England in 1919 and was disbanded. In September 1935 it was reformed at Mildenhall and later moved to Marham, Norfolk, its present station.

No 39 (Bomber) Squadron

This night-flying squadron came into being with headquarters at Hounslow on April 15, 1916. The first squadron to be formed specially for home defence, it gained distinction for its part in extinguishing the airship as a weapon of offence. While engaged in the defence of London from 1916 to 1918, the squadron was responsible for the destruction of three raiding Zeppelins over this country and also helped bring down a fourth. The unit was disbanded in November 1918. In July of the following year, No 37 Squadron at Biggin Hill was re-designated No 39. The squadron was transferred in 1928 to Risalpur, India, its present station.

No 40 (Bomber) Squadron

Formed in February 1916, No 40 left for France the following August, in time to take part in the Somme battles. Its work as a fighter squadron during two years’ war service was outstanding. The squadron, in the summer of 1917, also made a number of successful organised attacks on German kite balloons. During the final battles of the war, this unit was repeatedly called upon to harass the retreating enemy by low flying attacks. Returning to England, the squadron was disbanded in 1919. In April 1931, No 40 was reformed as a bomber squadron at Upper Heyford and is now stationed at Abingdon, Berks.

No 41 (Fighter) Squadron

Formed at Gospost as a fighter squadron in July 1916, No 41 crossed to France three months later. Although its main duty was fighting enemy aircraft, it was frequently employed during the major offensives in attacks on ground targets. For the squadron’s work during the final battles of the war, it was congratulated by H.M. King of the Belgians. The squadron returned to England in February 1919 and in the following December disbanded. No 41 was reformed at Northolt in April 1923, and is at present stationed at Catterick, Yorks.

No 43 (Fighter) Squadron

Formed at Stirling in April 1916, the squadron left for France in January 1917, equipped for fighting duties. In May 1917 it made one of the first concerted attacks with machine gun fire from the air on massed enemy troops- a form of air warfare which was later extensively developed. Engaged continuously in combat with enemy aircraft, it remained on the Western Front until the Armistice. The squadron accompanied the Army of Occupation into Germany until August 1919. Disbanded in December 1919, No 43 reformed at Henlow in July 1925 as a fighter squadron and is now located at Tangmere, Sussex.

No 45 (Bomber) Squadron

Formed in March 1916, this squadron flew to France in the following October, where its most important work was fighting and reconnaissance. Re-equipped as a fighter unit in July 1917, the squadron was transferred later in the year to Italy. Its record in this theatre of war was consistently brilliant, especially during June 1918, when it helped by bombing bridges to break up the enemy attacks across the River Piave. No 43 returned to France in September 1918 and joined the Independent Force. It returned to England in 1919 and was then disbanded. During April 1921 it was reformed as a bomber squadron in Egypt where it still remains, being located at Helwan.

No 55 (Bomber) Squadron

Formed in April 1916 at Castle Bromwich, No 55 flew to France in March 1917. In spite of opposition from the German Air Force, at that time at a high peak of efficiency, the squadron maintained day bombing attacks on communications and aerodromes behind the German battle front throughout the Allied offensives of 1917. In October, No 55 Squadron with other units was sent to Ochey for action against munition and rail centres in the Rhineland area. It continued on this duty until the end of the war. Disbanded in January 1920, the squadron reformed in Egypt in the following month and subsequently served in that country, Turkey and Iraq. It is now located at Hinaidi, Iraq.

No 56 (Fighter) Squadron

Formed in June 1916, the squadron went overseas in the following April. Arriving in France at a time when the German Air Force was making a strong bid for air supremacy, No 56 soon established itself in the forefront of fighter squadrons. Most feared by the enemy, its history is one brilliant record of achievement, and many of the greatest British air fighters of the war learnt their technique while serving with No 56. Returning to England in 1919, the squadron was disbanded in January 1920. In the following month, No 80 Squadron in Egypt was redesignated No 56. The squadron is now located at North Weald, Essex.

No 57 (Bomber) Squadron

The squadron was formed at Copmanthorpe in June 1916 and in December of the same year left for the Western Front equipped as a fighter reconnaissance squadron. In May 1917 it was re-equipped for bombing and continued on this duty until the Armistice. Throughout its war service the squadron maintained a high standard of efficiency. Disbanded in December 1919, No 57 reformed as a bomber squadron at Netheravon in October 1931 and is now stationed at Upper Heford, Oxon.

No 64 (Fighter) Squadron

Formed August 1916 at Sedgeford, No 64 remained in England training fighter pilots until October 1917. The squadron then flew to France and quickly established a high reputation as a fighter squadron. During the big offensives from Cambrai, 1917, onwards the squadron was frequently called upon to assist the infantry by attacking enemy troops and guns. It has the unique record of having had only one commanding officer throughout its war service of about two and a half years. It returned to England in February 1919 and was disbanded in the following December. In March 1936, No 64 was reformed in Egypt and is now stationed at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.

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