Bomber Command No.218 Squadron
No. 218 Squadron
Motto: "In time"
Badge: An hourglass. The hourglass symbolises the late forming of the squadron during the 1914-18 war, the golden sand having almost run through.
Authority: King George VI, December 1937
No. 218 Squadron was formed at Dover, Kent, on 24th April 1918, and about a month later went to France as a day-bomber squadron equipped with DH9 aircraft. It joined the 5th Group, working under the Dover-Dunkirk Naval Command, and during five months of operations made 117 raids on enemy targets in Belgium and France, dropped 94 tons of bombs and claimed the destruction of 38 enemy aircraft in air combat, Disbanded in 1919, the squadron was re-formed in 1936 and became one of the comparatively few bomber squadrons to serve continuously through the war against Nazi Germany.
No. 218 Squadron flew to France on 2nd September 1939, and made valuable reconnaissance flights and leaflet raids in Battle aircraft in the early days of the war. In June 1940, after having hindered the German advance into France by bombing the enemy's lines of communications and troop concentrations (and having suffered heavy casualties in the process) it was evacuated to England to be re-equipped with Bristol Blenheim medium-range bombers. Five months later, when it was equipped with Wellington long-range aircraft, it became a heavy-bomber squadron. Its targets were of the widest variety - from industrial centres, railways, Noball (V-weapon) sites and gun batteries, to the Channel ports, oil and petrol installations, and concentrations of troops and armour. The squadron was re-equipped with Stirling four-engined bombers (the first of the real "heavies") beginning in December 1941 - three months after His Excellency the Governor of the Gold Coast and the peoples of the Gold Coast territories officially adopted the squadron - and the Stirlings were, in turn, replaced by Lancasters in the summer of 1944.
Immediately before the German capitulation in May 1945, when the heavy bombers' offensive ceased, the Gold Coast squadron dropped food supplies to the starving Dutch people, and subsequently its aircraft were busily employed ferrying liberated POWs to England from the Continent.
No. 218 Squadron's awards include a Victoria Cross (awarded posthumously to Flight Sergeant AL Aaron for his "most conspicuous bravery" during a raid on 12/13th August 1943, 4 DSOs, 2 bars to the DSO, 109 DFCs, 2 CGMs, 1 MM, 46 DFMs and 1 BEM.
Bomber Command WWII Bases:
- Boscombe Down : Apr 1938-Sep 1939
- Auberive-sur-Suippes, France : Sep 1939-May 1940
- Detached to Perpignan/La Salanque : Feb 1940.
- Detachment at Perpignan/La Salanque : Apr 1940.
- Moscow Ferme, France : May 1940
- St. Lucien Ferme, France : May 1940
- Nantes, France : May 1940-Jun 1940
- Mildenhall : Jun 1940-Jul 1940
- Oakington : Jul 1940-Nov 1940
- Marham : Nov 1940-Jul 1942
- Downham Market : Jul 1942-Mar 1944
- Woolfox Lodge : Mar 1944-Aug 1944
- Detachment to Methwold in Jul 1944
- Methwold : Aug 1944-Dec 1944
- Chedburgh : Dec 1944 onwards
Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:
- Fairey Battle : Jan 1938-May 1940
- Bristol Blenheim IV : Jun 1940-Nov 1940
- Vickers Wellington IC and II : Nov 1940-Feb 1942
- Short Stirling I and III : Jan 1942-Aug 1944
- Avro Lancaster B.I and B.III : Aug 1944 onwards
- During the 1938 Munich crisis No. 218 was allotted the code letters "SV". In WW2 and afterwards the sqdn's a/c were coded "HA". "C" Flight's Lancasters were coded "XH".
First Operational Mission in WWII:
- 17th September 1939 : 3 Battles reconnoitred Franco-German frontier to Lautenbourg.
First Bombing Mission in WWII:
- 1Oth May 1940 : Unknown number of Battles bombed German troops advancing through Luxembourg.
Last Operational Mission in WWII:
- 24th April 1945 : 18 Lancasters bombed marshalling yards at Bad Oldesloe. Another Lancaster crashed on take-off, crew killed.
Last Mission before VE Day:
- 7th May 1945 : 23 aircraft dropped supplies to Dutch at The Hague.