No. 65 Squadron

The War Illustrated, Volume 10, No. 250, Page 634, January 17, 1947.

Motto: "By Force of Arms"

Disbanded after the First Great War, the squadron was reformed at Hornchurch, Essex, on July 10, 1934, was there at the outbreak of the Second Great War and was eventually equipped with Spitfires. At one time or another it had pilots from England, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Canada, Australia, Jamaica and Trinidad. Equipped and maintained by East India funds raised in 1940 for the British war services, it became known as No. 65 (East India) Squadron. It took no part in the campaign in Northern France, 1939-40.

For some time it operated with the U.S. 8th Army Air Force, accompanying the heavy bombers on a series of daylight raids to Berlin. Before D-Day it was converted to a Mustang squadron, and moved to France in June 1944, operating from an advanced airfield that was within range of the German guns. Forming part of a mobile wing that bombed and shot-up bridges, enemy armour, transport, troops, barges and trains, No. 65 was credited with having destroyed 1,000 armoured vehicles in two months.

Its moves were rapid, and carried out at short notice. At one airfield the squadron was able to fly only one mission before it was on the road again; on another occasion the entire airfield was transferred a distance of 75 miles in 13 hours. During the German retreat across France and the Low Countries, the squadron's pilots stated that once they saw British and German convoys on the same road, separated by only 200 yards.

No. 65 was eventually based near Brussels and flew in support of the air landings at Arnhem. Returning to England it acted as escort to R.A.F. bombers on missions to Norway and Germany, as well as operating over Denmark.

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