Bomber Command

Bomber Command No.76 Squadron

No. 76 Squadron

Motto: "Resolute."
Badge: In front of a rose, a lion passant, guardant. The white rose is introduced in the badge to commemorate the squadron's association with Yorkshire where it was formed. The lion in its guard ant attitude is indicative of readiness to attack or defend at all times.
Authority: King George VI, March 1938.

No.76 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Ripon, Yorkshire, on 15th September 1916, as a Home Defence unit. Headquarters were at Ripon and flights were stationed at Copmanthorpe, Helperby and Catterick from its formation until March 1919. In June 1919, the squadron was disbanded at Tadcaster. The squadron was re-formed in April 1937, at Finningley, Yorkshire, as a bomber unit equipped with Wellesleys, but by the outbreak of the Second World War it had been re-equipped with Hampdens and Ansons and had assumed the role of a Group (No. 5) training unit. In late September 1939, it moved and transferred to Upper Heyford and No. 6 (Training) Group, and in April 1940, was absorbed into No. 16 OTU. After a false start it re-formed in May 1941 - again in Yorkshire - as a Halifax heavy bomber squadron in No. 4 Group. The second squadron to fly the Halifax, it began operations on the night of 12/13th June 1941, and maintained its offensive until the end of the European war was in sight.

The squadron bombed targets of the widest variety-from industrial centres, railways, gun batteries, oil and petrol installations, to the Channel Ports, Noball sites and concentrations of troops and armour-and on the night of 10/11th April 1942, it made history by dropping the first 8,000lb High Capacity bomb on the enemy in a raid on Essen1. Two further highlights of its war record were its participation in a series of three attacks on the Tirpitz in the Trondheim area in March and April 1942, and in the heavy raid on Peenemunde in August 1943. In addition to operating in Europe No. 76, or more accurately, a detachment from it, operated in the Middle East for a while (in 1942) and then merged with a detachment from No. 10 Squadron to become No. 462 Squadron, RAAF.

From August 1942 to April 1943, No 76 Squadron was commanded by Wing Commander GL Cheshire. When he left the squadron on being posted to Marston Moor as station commander, No. 76's diarist wrote: "What the squadron has lost Marston Moor will gain. It was under the character and personal supervision of Group Captain Cheshire that the squadron became what it is today-one of the best in Bomber Command".

On 7th May 1945, No.76 Squadron was transferred to Transport Command.

1 The aircraft that dropped the 8,000-pounder was Halifax B.II R9487 "A-Apple", captained by Pilot Officer MW Renaut.

Bomber Command WWII Bases:

  • Finningley : Apr 1937-Sep 1939
  • Upper Heyford : Sep 1939-Apr 1940

In 4.40 officially merged with No.7 Sqdn & SHQ Upper Heyford to form No. 16 OTU
Re-formed 30.4.40 as No. 76(B) Sqdn at

  • West Raynham : Apr 1940-May 1940

Disbanded 20.5.40 & re-formed 1.5.41 as No. 76(B) Sqdn from "C" FIt of No.35 (B) Sqdn

  • Linton-on-Ouse : May 1941-Jun 1941
  • Middleton St. George : Jun 1941-Sep 1942
  • Detachments in Northern Scotland early in 1942
  • (Lossiemouth in Jan. and late Apr. and Tain in Mar/Apr for ops against the Tirpitz in the Trondheim area of Norway. In July 16 Halifaxes and crews were detached to the Middle East and at Aqir, Palestine, the detachment was joined by No.454 Sqdn (non- operational) which acted as a servicing unit. During the next few weeks No. 76/454, operating from two advanced bases in Egypt (Shallufa & LG 224), made a series of attacks on Tobruk. Following a move in early Aug to Fayid, Egypt, the attacks were continued from Fayid & LG 224. In late Aug No. 462 Sqdn (also non-operational & not yet established) replaced No. 454 as servicing unit & on 7.9.42, No. 76/462 Sqdn combined with No 10/227 Sqdn to form No. 462 (RAAF) Sqdn. No. 76 Sqdn, which had meanwhile continued operations from the UK, left Middleton St. George in mid-Sep and returned to:
  • Linton-on-Ouse : Sep 1942-Jun 1943
  • Holme-on-Spalding Moor : Jun 1943-May 1945

Transferred to Transport Cmd. 7.5.45.

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

  • Handley Page Hampden : Mar 1939-May 1940.
  • Handley Page Halifax B.I, B.II, B.III, B.V and B.VI :
  • May 1941-May 1945

76 squadron Hampden

76 squadron Halifax B Mk III

Code Letters:

  • During the 1938 Munich crisis No.76 was allotted the code letters "NM". In
  • WW2 the sqdn's Halifaxes were coded "MP".

First Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 12/13th June 1941 : 3 Halifaxes despatched to bomb Hüls. 1 bombed Essen
  • instead & others completely aborted.

Last Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 25th April 1945 : 25 Halifaxes despatched to bomb gun batteries on island of
  • Wangerooge. 22 bombed primary 1 aborted & 2 FTR.

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