No. 10 Squadron, RFC, was originally formed at Farnborough, Hampshire, on 1st January 1915, from a nucleus supplied by No. 1 Reserve Squadron. It went to France in July 1915, equipped with BE2c's for what are now known as army co- operation duties, and served on the Western Front until the Armistice. During the British advance in September 1918, a novel task undertaken by the squadron was the dropping of baskets of pigeons to advanced parties of infantry so that they could report progress of their advance to their headquarters. The BEs were exchanged for Armstrong Whitworth FK8s in July 1917.
The squadron returned to England in February 1919, and was disbanded on the last day of that year.
In January 1928, the squadron was re-formed as a heavy-bomber unit with Handley Page Hyderabads, followed by Hinaidis and Heyfords. Equipped with Whitleys by the outbreak of the Second World War, No.10 made a leaflet raid on Berlin on 1st/2nd October 1939 (and in so doing became the first RAF aircraft to visit that city in wartime) in very severe weather conditions. Slight enemy opposition was encountered and one of the four aircraft operating failed to return.1
The squadron's first bombing raid of the war was on 19/20th March 1940, when eight Whitleys, each carrying mixed bomb loads of 1,500 lb, attacked the German minelaying seaplane base at Hornum on the island of Sylt. All returned safely.
Italy's declaration of war on 10/11th June 1940 brought a swift reply. The following night the squadron flew from an advanced base in the Channel Isles (Guernsey Airport) through thunderstorms and severe icing to attack the Fiat Works at Turin. One aircraft was struck by lightning and had to abandon the mission because of shock to the rear gunner who had been leaning on his guns, and burns to the wireless operator. One other aircraft failed to return.
The squadron converted to Halifaxes in 1941 and continued to operate with these for the rest of the European war.
In an attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in Foetten fjord, Norway, on 27/28th April 1942, the commanding officer, Wing Commander DCT Bennett, who later formed the Pathfinder Force, was shot down. He escaped through Sweden and within five weeks was back in command of the squadron.
Between September 1939 and May 1945, the squadron earned 523 awards, including 9 DSOs, 333 DFCs and 173 DFMs.
On 7th May 1945, No.10 Squadron was transferred from Bomber Command to Transport Command.
1 Three of the Whitleys claimed to have dropped leaflets on Berlin. The other was unable to reach Berlin, disposed of its leaflets over Denmark (thus violating neutrality of that country) and was last heard of approximately 180 miles from St. Abbs Head.
Bomber Command WWII Bases:
Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:
Noye: Transferred to Transport Command 7.5.45
First Operational Mission in WWII:
First Bombing Mission in WWII:
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Date Last Updated : Wednesday, April 6, 2005 2:40 AM
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