No. 61 Squadron RAF

From Our Contribution

61 Squadron.jpg
Lancaster Mk II of 61 Squadron at RAF Syerston - IWM ATP 12118C

Brief History

No 61 Squadron was reformed on 8 MAr 1937 as a bomber squadron, and during WW2 was a part of No 5 Group, Bomber Command. Beginning operations with Hampdens, the squadron converted in July 1941 to the more modern Manchester and later in spring 1942 to Avro Lancaster aircraft.

In the summer of 1942 No. 61 was twice loaned to RAF Coastal Command for anti-submarine operations in the Bay of Biscay. It was detached from its base in Rutland to St Eval in Cornwall. On 17 July 1942, one of their Lancasters became the first Bomber Command crew to bring back irrefutable evidence that they had destroyed a U-boat at sea, in the form of a photograph showing the U-boat crew in the water swimming away from their sinking vessel.

The squadron's last operational mission was on 25/26 April 1945, when 10 Lancasters bombed an oil refinery and tankerage at Vallø (Tønsberg) in Norway. The last mission was on 6 May 1945, when the squadron's aircraft ferried 336 ex-POWs home to the UK from Europe. Fifty six Australian aircrew lost their lives while members of this Squadron.

Squadron personnel

Battle Honours

Individual Honours (Australian Personnel)

  • 12 x Distinguished Flying Cross & 1 bar
  • 3 x Distinguished Flying Medal
  • 1 x Distinguished Service Order


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