Bomber Command

Bomber Command No.166 Squadron

No. 166 Squadron

Squadron badge Motto: "Tenacity".
Badge: A bulldog affrontée. The bulldog was chosen because of its reputation for courage and tenacity.
Authority: King George VI, September 1944.

No. 166 Squadron was formed at Bircham Newton, Norfolk, on 13th June 1918, for heavy bombing, and in the following September became the first mobilising unit of No. 27 Group which then began to prepare for long-distance raids into Germany. The squadron personnel were carefully selected, and the pilots and observers, many of them from night-bombing FE2b squadrons in France, underwent a special course at the School of Navigation at Andover. The squadron was to be equipped with the Handley Page V/1500 four-engined bomber - unofficially known as the Super Handley - with which it was hoped, Berlin would be reached from the base in Britain. The first V/1500 flew in May 1918, but was wrecked on test soon afterwards. The Armistice intervened before the squadron could be completely mobilised. Only three V/1500s were ready for use.

The squadron was re-formed in November 1936, as a heavy-bomber squadron equipped with Handley Page Heyford aircraft. It became part of an air observers' school in June 1938, than a Group pool squadron about May 1939 and by the outbreak of the Second World War was flying Whitleys. Soon after the outbreak of war it became a No. 6 Group training squadron. It remained as such until April 1940, and then merged with No. 97 Squadron and SHQ Abingdon to form No. 10 OTU.

No. 166 was re-formed in January 1943, at Kirmington, Lincolnshire - again as a bomber squadron. It remained based at Kirmington throughout the remainder of the war and, flying Wellingtons and Lancasters, participated in many major raids, and also played an active part in Gardening (minelaying). The squadron won at least two DSOs, two CGMs, 117 DFCs and 108 DFMs in the Second World War.

Bomber Command WWII Bases:

  • Leconfield : Jan 1937-Sep 1939
  • Abingdon : Sep 1939-Apr 1940
  • Detachment at Jurby from Feb 1940 onwards.

In 4.40 sqdn merged with No. 97 Sqdn & SHQ Abingdon to form No. 10 OTU. Re-formed 27.1,43 as No. 166(B) Sqdn from home echelons of Nos. 142 & 150(B) Sqdns at

  • Kirmington : Jan 1943 onwards

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

  • Armstrong Whitworth Whitley I and III : Jun 1939-Apr 1940
  • Vickers Wellington III and X : Jan 1943-Sep 1943
  • Avro Lancaster B.I and B.III : Sep 1943 onwards

166 squadron Lancaster B Mk III

Code Letters:

  • During the 1938 Munich crisis No. 166 was allotted the code letters "GB". In
  • WW2 its Wellingtons & Lancasters were coded "AS".

First Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 27/28th January 1943 : 7 Wellingtons laid mines in enemy waters.

First Bombing Mission in WWII:

  • 29/30th January 1943 : 12 Wellingtons despatched to bomb Lorient.

Last Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 25th April 1945 : 24 Lancasters bombed SS barracks at Berchtesgaden and
  • another Lancaster aborted.

Last Mission before VE Day:

  • 7th May 1945 : 31 Lancasters dropped supplies to Dutch.
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