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No. 331 Squadron RAF

331 (Norwegian) Squadron RAF
Spitfire Vs of No. 331 Squadron, spring 1942.
Active 1942–1945
Country United Kingdom
Allegiance Norwegian Government in exile
Branch Royal Air Force
Role Fighter squadron
Part of RAF Fighter Command
Motto Norwegian: For Norge
("For Norway")
Aircraft Hawker Hurricane
Supermarine Spitfire
Battle honours
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldry Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet
Squadron Codes FN (Jul 1941 – Nov 1945)
331 Squadron
Active 1942
Full control passed to RNoAF on 21 November 1945. Still active.
Role Fighter
Garrison/HQ Bodø Main Air Station
Motto For Norge
(Norwegian: "For Norway")
Equipment F-16
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Two swords in saltire, enfiled by an amulet

No. 331 Squadron RAF was a Second World War squadron of the Royal Air Force.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Aircraft operated during RAF service 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Notes 4.1
    • Bibliography 4.2
  • External links 5

History

It was formed as a fighter squadron at saltire, bound together with a ring — symbolising the friendship between Norway and Great Britain.

The squadron was initially equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk 1s,[1] inherited from a Polish RAF unit. These had to be rebuilt, before 331 Squadron could become operational, on 15 September. It provided defence for northern Scotland, moving to Castletown on 21 August and later to RAF Skaebrae.[1]

In May 1942, the squadron moved south to RAF North Weald, having re-equipped with Spitfires in November 1941.[1]

331 Squadron was joined by a second Norwegian unit 332 Squadron, also flying Spitfires. Together they were known as North Weald Wing and were part of the Allied air umbrella over the landing area in the Dieppe Raid, and later flying fighter sweeps and escort operations over occupied France and the Low Countries.

In November 1943, 331 and 332 Squadrons were transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force and became known as No. 132 Airfield; later No. 132 Wing.

Following fighter bomber and tactical air superiority operations, connected to preparations for D-Day and the actual landings in France, the squadron moved to Caen, Normandy, in August 1944. From September onwards, 132 Wing participated in the Liberation of Holland and provided air support for the crossing of the Rhine.

On 24 April 1945, the squadron was transferred to North Weald and later to RAF Dyce in Scotland, where 331 and 332 Squadrons converted to Spitfire Mark IXe and Mk XVI.

Following the end of the war, the wing flew to Norway and on 21 September 1945, 331 Squadron was officially disbanded as an RAF unit, with control passed to the re-formed Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).

Between them during the war, 331 and 332 Squadrons scored 180 confirmed destroyed, 35 probables and more than 100 damaged. Combined losses were 131 aircraft lost with 71 pilots killed.

In honour of the achievements of the World War II squadrons, the RNoAF has maintained RAF squadron names, including a 331st Fighter Squadron, now flying F-16s and based at Bodø Main Air Station.

Aircraft operated during RAF service

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Thomas 2003, p. 91

Bibliography

  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Thomas, Andrew (2003). Hurricane Aces 1941–45. Oxford: Osprey.  

External links

  • Historical photos from the No. 331 Squadron during WW2 (Norwegian)
  • History of No.'s 330–352 Squadrons at RAF Web
  • Article about the No. 331-332 Squadrons' 60th anniversary visit to North Weald Airfield
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