142 Squadron


Squadron badge




A winged sphinx. The badge commemorates the squadron's association with Egypt.


HM King George VI, June 1937.

History of 142 Squadron:

No. 142 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Ismailia, Egypt, on 2nd February 1918, as an army co-operation squadron. It moved to Palestine soon afterwards and took an active part in operations in that theatre until the end of the campaign. Re-numbered 55 (whilst still in Egypt) in 1920, No. 142 Squadron was re-formed in England as a bomber unit in 1934 and during 1935/36 again served in the Middle East. In the early months of the Second World War it served with the Advanced Air Striking Force in France and on 10th May 1940, the day the Germans invaded the Low Countries, it gained the distinction of being the first AASF unit to bomb the advancing enemy. Later that month No. 142 was one of the Fairey Battle squadrons which attacked the Meuse bridges in a further attempt to stem the German advance. The squadron was withdrawn to England in June 1940, and by the end of the year was converting to Wellingtons prior to engaging in the strategic night-bombing offensive.

In December 1942, No. 142 Squadron moved to North Africa and subsequently took part in the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns. It is recorded that on the night of 17/18th May 1943, Major-General James H 'Jimmy' Doolittle, USAAF, C-in-C North-West African Strategic Air Force (in which No. 142 served), flew with the squadron to observe the results of a raid against Alghero, Sardinia.1

The squadron was disbanded (in Italy) early in October 1944, but re-formed in England later that month and for the rest of the European war served as a Mosquito light-bomber unit of No. 8 (PFF) Group's Light Night Striking Force. During its service with No. 8 Group, the squadron flew 1,095 operational sorties (all but 23 of which were considered successful) gaining 64 DFC's and 52 DFM's among it's awards. The Squadron was disbanded on 28 September 1945

On 1 February 1959, No. 142 Squadron reformed at Eastleigh, Kenya, as a fighter-bomber unit with Venoms but was renumbered 208 Squadron on 1 April 1959. The Squadron next reformed at Coleby Grange on 22 July 1959 as a Thor strategic missile unit, disbanding again on 24 May 1963.

1. "Jimmy" Doolittle, it will be remembered, gained fame in April 1942, when he led the formation of 16 North American B-25's which flew from the carrier Hornet to make a daring low-level bombing attack on Tokyo.

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