"Death and Life"
A guantlet holding a cross
History of 271 Squadron:
No 271 Squadron was formed on 27 September 1918 from Nos.357, 358 and 367 Flights of the former RNAS station at Otranto in southern Italy. The squadron's seaplanes were part of a force of ships and aircraft guarding the exit from the Adriatic against enemy submarines based at Austro-Hungarian ports breaking out into the mediterranean. As the war ended a few weeks later the squadron was disbanded on 9 December 1918.
On 1 May 1940, No.1680 Flight at Doncaster was redesignated 271 Squadron for transport duties. Its main equipment was Harrows supplemented by a few Bombays and ex-civil airliners and within a short time the squadron was engaged in evacuating units from France in the face of German invasion. From the end of June, No.271 was engaged in a lenthy period of transporting ground crews and equipment for squadrons moving base but in January 1941 an additional task was alloted, the maintenance of a regular service with Albatrosses between the UK and Iceland, though this was infrequent and dogged by inadaquete equipment. Other types were also used in small numbers but major re-equipment came in January 1944, when Dakotas were received and the squadron became an airbourne forces unit. Harrows were still retained for ambulance flights and soon after the squadron had supplied twenty two glider-tugs on D-Day, these began operating casualty evacuation missions from the beachhead. No.271 also supplied aircraft for the Arnhem landings in September 1944 and for the Rhine crossing in March 1945. After losing seven Harrows in the German air attacks on Evère on New Years Day 1945, the Harrow flight converted to Dakotas, the last being replaced in May. With the end of the war, the squadron began transport flights to Germany, Italy and Greece which continued until civil airlines were able to operate on European routes. The squadron was renumbered 77 Squadron on 1 December 1946.