Bomber Command

Bomber Command No.420 Squadron RCAF

No. 420 Squadron RCAF

Motto: A snowy owl. The snowy owl is indigenous to Canada and hunts by night.
Badge: "Pugnamus finiturn" ("We fight to a finish").
Authority: King George VI, March 1943.

No. 420 Squadron was the fourth RCAF bomber squadron formed overseas. It came into being on 19th December 1941, at Waddington, Lincolnshire, as a unit of No. 5 Group. Early in August 1942, the squadron moved north from Waddington to Skipton-on-Swale, Yorkshire, simultaneously transferring from No. 5 to No. 4 Group. Some two months later it moved still further north to Middleton St George, Co. Durham, and on 1st January 1943, it became part of No. 6 (RCAF) Group. In May and June 1943, came a move to North Africa - eventually to Tunisia, the squadron's home for just over three months of active duty with No. 205 Group during which it attacked targets in Sicily and Italy. Rejoining No. 6 Group in the UK late in the year, the squadron was located briefly at Dalton before settling down at Tholthorpe for the remainder of the European war.

Having originally begun operations with Hampden I aircraft, the squadron, on moving to Skipton, switched to the Wellington III, which type it retained until converting to the Wellington X shortly before the move to North Africa. On returning to the UK it acquired Halifax IIIs, with which it operated until the end of the heavy-bomber campaign in Europe.

Bomber Command WWII Bases:

  • Waddington : Dec 1941-Aug 1942
  • Skipton-on-Swale : Aug 1942-Oct 1942
  • Middleton St. George : Oct 1942-May 1943

Squadron moved to North Africa May 1943
Rejoined No. 6 (RCAF) Group Nov 1943.

  • Dalton : Nov 1943-Dec 1943
  • Tholthorpe : Dec 1943 onwards

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

  • Handley Page Hampden : Dec 1941-Aug 1942
  • Vickers Wellington III and X : Aug 1942-Oct 1943
  • Handley Page Halifax B.III : Dec 1943-May 1945
  • Avro Lancaster B.X : Apr 1945 onwards

Code Letters:

  • "PT"

First Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 2lst/22nd January 1942 : 5 Hampdens despatched to bomb a target at Emden. 2
  • a/c bombed primary, 2 bombed alternative (town of Emden) & the other FTR. On same night another Hampden laid mines in Nectarines (Frisian Islands) area.

Last Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 18th April 1945 : 18 Halifaxes bombed Heligoland & another Halifax
  • crashed in sea en route to objective.
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