Bomber Command

Bomber Command No.10 Squadron

No. 10 Squadron

Squadron badge Motto: "Rem acu tangere" (To hit the mark).

Badge: A winged arrow. The winged arrow is to indicate great speed and is also a reminder that the air bomb is the successor of the arrow of medieval times.
Authority: King George VI, September 1937.

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:

  • Dishforth : Jan 1937-Jul 1940
  • Detachments in France (Villeneuve, code name Sister) at various times during
  • period Oct 1939-Mar 1940.
  • Detachment at Kinloss on loan to No. 18 Group Coastal Command in Nov/Dec
  • 1939.
  • Leeming : Jul 1940-Aug 1942
  • Detachments at Lossiemouth in Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr & April (again) 1942 for
  • ops against the Tirpitz in the Trondheim area of Norway.
  • In Jun/Jul 1942 16 Halifaxes and crews were detached to the Middle East and
  • in July at Aqir, Palestine, the detachment was joined by No 227 Squadron (non-operational) which acted as a servicing unit. No official records exist for the next few weeks but it is known that No. 10/227 made a series of attacks on Tobruk from various advanced landing grounds in Egypt and then, on 7.9.42, by which time it was based at Fayid, Egypt, combined with No. 76/462 Squadron to form No.462 (RAAF) Squadron. No.10, which had meanwhile continued operations from the UK, left Leeming in August and moved to
  • Melbourne (Yorkshire) : Aug 1942 onwards

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

  • Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Is, IVs and Vs - early 1937-Dec 1941
  • Handley Page Halifax B.IIs and B.IIIs - Dec 1941 onwards

10 squadron Whitley Mk V

10 squadron Halifax B Mk III

Noye: Transferred to Transport Command 7.5.45

Code Letters:

  • During the 1938 Munich crisis No.10 was allotted the code letters "PB". In
  • WW2 the squadron's aircraft were coded "ZA".

First Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 8/9th September 1939 : Nickel raid and reconnaissance over NW Germany by 8
  • Whitleys.

First Bombing Mission in WWII:

  • 19/20th March 1940 : 8 Whitleys bombed seaplane base at Hornum.

Last Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 25th April 1945 : 20 Halifaxes bombed gun batteries on island of Wangerooge

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