Squadron Aircraft - WWII

Dates Aircraft
(wikipedia links provided)
Comments/Quotes from Operational Record Books
Sep 1944
Taylorcraft Auster Single aircraft used for training and ferry flights.
24 June 1944
31 Mar 1946
Hawker Tempest V 5 Mar 44: "We are to be re-equipped with Tempests, and one of our chief roles will be the defence of the bridge-heads and bases necessary for the opening of this new front. Night flying is in future our most important training commitment."

24 Jun 44: "After much waiting the Squadron at last gets its first Tempest. This new fighter makes its debut with the Squadron at the height of the Flying Bomb Battle."

25 Jun 44: First 2 flights.

2 Jul 44: "... last Squadron escort with Spitfires took place in the early afternoon ... The first operation with Tempest aircraft carried out by the Squadron was an Anti 'DIVER' interception patrol. (The 'Flying Bomb' is now officially referred to as the 'DIVER'). This first sortie was flown by F/L. J.G. Mansfield and F/L R.K. Dean..."

2 Jul 44: "This Squadron was the first to be equipped with Typhoon aircraft, which were taken from us on the 11th of May this year when we were re-equipped with Spitfire IX (L.F.) pending the arrival of the Tempest V. With 3 and 486 (NZ) Squadrons we form the first Tempest Wing."

31 Jul 44: "This was the Squadron first month on Tempests and we flew a total of 1028 hrs. 20 mins. on anti 'DIVER' patrols. 45 hrs. 20 mins. operational flying on Spitfires."

31 Mar 46: Squadron disbanded, and takes over 16 Squadron name plate. Nine sorties flown the preceding day.
Jan 48: Tempest V flight time of 25 minutes listed.

13 Apr 1944
2 Jul 1944
Supermarine Spitfire IX 10 Apr 44: "On April 7 a chance visitor W/Cdr. Francis Blackadder, "en passant", informed the C.O. that the Squadron was about to lose its Typhoon aircraft, and be re-equipped with Spitfire IXB aircraft. This to be a interim measure whilst waiting for the Tempest aircraft to become available. Whilst the necessity of such a measure must not be doubted, since it must have been made with a great deal of fore-thought by those in a position to do so, on cannot but feel that it is very unfair to rob 56 of its Typhoons "as an interim measure" when we were the first Squadron ever to equip with them, and suffered from all the original faults of the Sabre engine."

13 Apr 44: "... a female A.T.A. pilot delivered our first Spitfire IX L F to give some excitement at the end of a dull day."

16 Apr 44: "The weather let up enough for F/Lt. N.E. Hancock to fly the Spitfire, with which he was duly impressed."

20 Apr 44: "Many people have now flown the Spitfire, and almost to a man declare their firm and immediate allegiance to that aeroplane. How fickle is man!"

2 May 44: "Twelve more Spitfire IX arrived to-day."

2 Jul 44: "First show for the day and last Squadron escort with Spitfires took place in the early afternoon."

6 Oct 1942
Sep 1944
de Havilland Tiger Moth II Single aircraft used for training and ferry flights.
24 Mar 1942
17 May 1944
Hawker Typhoon 1B 21 Mar 42: "We heard that we are to be re-equipped with 18 new Typhoons on which are embodied all the modifications decided upon to date, and that we are not to move to Snailwell till we have received them all."

24 Mar 42: "S/Ldr. Dundas and P/O. Macdonald fetched two of the new modified Typhoons, one of which was fitted with four cannons (All the machines we have had to date have twelve guns)."

26 Mar 42: "The C.O. went to Langley and fetched another of the modified Typhoons."

1 Apr 43: "...the Spitfire pilots are not keen on working in with Typhoons.  Their contention is that they are too like the FW.190 at that should there be a mix up on the other side, they would have to think twice before firing."

11 Sep 1941
6 Dec 1942
Hawker Typhoon 1A 3 Oct 41: Still only 4 Typhoons on strength

19 Oct 41: 8 Typhoons on strength

1 Nov 41 - "... a Typhoon dived into the ground from 3000 feet. This accident was found to be due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. All Typhoons were grounded pending further investigation."

8 Dec 41 - "Several Typhoons serviceable again after alterations to the exhausts and sealing of the cockpit."

1 Jan 42 - "Messrs. Gloster Aircraft Company's test pilot Mr. Michael Daunt arrived to carry out tests for carbon monoxide in the cockpits of the Typhoons."

11 Jan 42 - "To get over the danger of possible carbon monoxide posioning in the Typhoons it has been decided to fit them all with 4" exhausts in place of the original ones which only projected a very short way into the slipstream. This is now being done."

20 Jan 42 - "... although the first Typhoon was delivered in September the squadron is still far from being operational due to the "teething" troubles."

30 Nov 42: last indication of hours flown in Typhoon IA.

10 Apr 44: "...we were the first Squadron ever to equip with them, and suffered from all the original faults of the Sabre engine."

Feb 1941
3 Mar 1942
Hawker Hurricane IIA/B
15 Apr 41: 4xHurricane IID [B?] show up in Squadron Records as aircraft type.

7 Jun 41: 50/50 split between IIA and IIB.

3 Mar 42 - "The last of our Hurricanes was fetched away by an old member of the squadron, F/O. Wyatt."

27 May 1938
25 Feb 1941

30 May 1942
Jun 1944

Hawker Hurricane I
1 Apr 38: "Squadron AIRCRAFT ESTABLISHMENT now amended to read :-
Initial Equipment.Immediate Reserve.Initial Equipment.
Hurricane I....14.Hurricane I....5.Hind (T.)..... 1."

27 May 38: "TWO HURRICANE I aircraft received in the Squadron for the Makers."

3 Jun 38: "Mr. Hawker visited the Squadron and gave a lecture to pilots on the Hurricane I aircraft."

1 Aug 38: 19 Hurricanes on Squadron (14 Initial Equipment, 2 Squadron Reserve, 3 Command Reserve).

1 Sep 39: "Establishment of 20 Hurricane 8 gun fighters fitted with variable pitch airscrews."

30 May 42: Hurricane I with Merlin III engines shows up on Squadron Record aircraft manifest.

6 Oct 1942
Miles Magister Single aircraft used for training and ferry flights.

Information taken from raf.mod.uk website, National Archives and, with kind permission, the 56(R) Squadron archives.  UK Crown copyright.