No. 149 Squadron

The War Illustrated, Volume 10, No. 253, Page 730, March 14, 1947.

Motto: "Strength by Night"

Disbanded in August 1919, the Squadron was re-formed at Mildenhall, Suffolk, in April 1937, when it was equipped with Heyford aircraft. In February 1939 it received Wellingtons and made its first sortie on September 4, 1939 – a daylight attack on the German fleet near Heligoland. This was followed by months of reconnaissance flights, leaflet dropping and attacks on targets in enemy-occupied territory.

In August 1940 the Squadron made its first operational flight to Berlin, and by January 1941 it had engaged such targets as Turin, Milan, Genoa and Venice, in addition to the vital German centres of Bremen, Kiel, Wilhelmshaven and Munich. Converted to a Stirling squadron, it raided Lübeck in daylight on July 16, 1942. It was also one of the busiest mine-laying squadrons of Bomber Command, and in Dec. 1943 it introduced a new technique of high-level mining.

Daylight bombing became a regular operation during the last twelve months of the war; targets included flying-bomb sites, Channel ports, oil and petrol installations, dykes and concentrations of enemy troops and armour. The Squadron's last bombing mission was carried out against Bremen on April 22, 1945. In the final days of the war supplies of food were dropped for the starving population of the Netherlands.

Perhaps the Squadron's best work was on special missions, some of which, such as dropping of agents and supplies to the Maquis, were not divulged until some time after the end of the war. All these sorties required expert navigation; also it was highly dangerous work, the unescorted bombers running the gauntlet of the enemy's fighters and ground defences, and the routes to the dropping zones being long and intricate.

Advertisement