Battle of Britain

215 Squadron



"Surgite nox adest" ("Arise, night is at hand").


A porcupine. The Squadron was formed at Coudekerque in France, the arms of which are described as "de sable un porcepic d' argent, couronne d'or" and a porcupine was therefore considered an appropriate association.


HM King George VI, November 1937.

History of 215 Squadron:

This squadron was formed at Coudekerque, near Dunkirk, on 10th March 1918, as No. 15 Squadron, RNAS, and on 1st April 1918, became No. 215 Squadron, RAF. Its role was that of a heavy-bomber unit and it was equipped with Handley Page twin-engined bombers - initially O/1OOs.

On the night of 11/12th April, two of its O/1OOs participated with Naval Forces in the first attempt to block Ostend and Zeebrugge harbours, and in spite of bad weather, one aircraft attacked the Zeebrugge mole by desultory bombing for two hours. Towards the end of April the squadron returned to England to be brought up to full strength. It returned to France early in July equipped with ten Handley Page O/400s, and until 19th August was based at Alquines. From here night-bombing raids were made on the enemy's communications.

On 19th August the squadron joined the Independent Force (83rd Wing) at Xaffévillers, and during the remainder of the war made many notable bombing raids on railway junctions, munitions factories and airfields.

No. 215 returned to England in February 1919, and eight months later it disbanded.

It re-formed as a bomber squadron with Virginia aircraft in October 1935, converted (after having partially re-equipped with Ansons) to Harrows in 1937 and was flying Harrows and Wellingtons at the outbreak of the Second World War. In April 1940, it merged with SHQ, RAF Bassingbourn, to form No. 11 OTU, but after a false start re-formed in December 1941 - once again as a bomber unit - and early in 1942 went to India to operate against the Japanese in Burma.

At first it was engaged in supply dropping flights during the aftermath of the retreat from Burma and in August coastal patrols began along the east coast of India. In October airbourne forces training began and it was in March 1943 before the squadron undertook bombing missions over Burma. Wellingtons were withdrawn from operations on 23 June 1944, and No.215 moved back to Kolar for Liberator conversion training. Operations were resumed on 1 October by both day and night and in April the squadron's role was changed to transport duties, Liberators being replaced Dakotas. Supply dropping missions for the 14th Army continued while Burma was cleared of the Japanese and in October the Squadron was moved to Malaya, Java and Hong Kong until the squadron was renumbered 48 Squadron on 15 February 1946.

On 1 August 1947, No.215 reformed at Kabrit as a transport squadron equipped with Dakotas. It was renumbered 70 Squadron on 1 May 1948. The squadron was reformed at Dishforth on 30 April 1956 with Pioneers for Army support and communications duties, being renumbered 230 Squadron on 1 September 1958.

On 1 May 1963, No.215 reformed at Benson as an Argosy squadron and moved to Singapore in August to provide supply-dropping aircraft to support the army in Malaysia until disbanded on 31 December 1968.

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