Bomber Command

Bomber Command No.97 Squadron

No. 97 Squadron

Squadron badge Motto: "Achieve your aim."
Badge: An ogress pierced by an arrow, point downwards. The badge is indicative of accurate aim.
Authority: King George VI, January 1937.

No. 97 Squadron, RFC, was formed at Waddington, Lincolnshire, on 1st December 1917, and in the following summer went to France equipped with Handley Page 0/400s to undertake night-bombing operations with the Independent Force. It made its first raid on 19/20th August and by the end of the war had flown 91 bombing sorties (the majority into Germany), dropped 64 tons of bombs-including three 1,650-pounders.

Re-equipped with DH10s, No. 97 went to India in the summer of 1919 and subsequently operated on the Waziristan frontier and flew the first air mail services in India (Bombay-Karachi).

No. 97 was re-numbered 60 on 1st April 1920, and next appeared in September 1935, as a night-bomber squadron at Catfoss. Some of the main events in its subsequent history can be summarised as follows: June 1938-(at Leconfield) ceased to be an operational squadron and became part of an air observers' school; March 1939-became a No. 4 Group pool squadron; Sep 1939-moved to Abingdon and joined No. 6 (Training) Group; April 1940-merged with 166 Squadron and SHQ Abingdon to form No.10 OTU; May 1940 - re-formed at Driffield in No. 4 Group as a Whitley heavy bomber squadron but disbanded again same month; February 1941 - re-formed at Waddington in No. 5 Group as a heavy-bomber squadron equipped with Avro Manchesters; March 1941 - moved to Coningsby; April 1941 - began operations against Fortress Europe; January 1942 - began to convert to Lancasters; 17th April 1942 - in conjunction with No. 44 Squadron made historic low-level daylight attack on MAN Diesel engine works at Augsburg; June/July 1942 - took part in 1,000-bomber raids on Cologne, Essen and Bremen; October 1942 - took part in No. 5 Group's famous dusk attack on Schneider locomotive and armament works at Le Creusot and the Group's (and Bomber Command's) first daylight attack on Italy (Milan); April 1943 - moved to Bourn, joined No. 8 (PFF) Group and became a "marker" squadron; June 1943 - marked/illuminated Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen and Italian naval base at Spezia on occasion of first "shuttle-bombing" raid; April 1944 - returned to Coningsby and No. 5 Group to help lead the Group against separate targets; 25/26th April 1945 - flew final offensive mission.

In the Second World War No.97 Squadron flew a total of 4,091 operational sorties and lost 130 aircraft. The following decorations were awarded to members: 21 DSOs, 222 DFCs, 2 bars to DFCs 157 DFMs, 2 bars to DFMs 1 OBE and 1 BEM.

Bomber Command WWII Bases:

  • Leconfield : Feb 1937-Sep 1939
  • Abingdon : Sep 1939-Apr 1940

In 4.40 sqdn merged with No. 166 Sqdn & SHQ Abingdon to form No. 10 OTU.
Reformed 1.5.40 as No. 97 (B) Sqdn at:

  • Driffield : May 1940

Disbanded 20.5.40 & re-formed 25.2.41 as No.97 (B) Sqdn from nucleus provided by No.207 (B) Sqdn at:

  • Waddington : Feb 1941-Mar 1941
  • Coningsby : Mar 1941-Mar 1942
  • Woodhall Spa : Mar 1942-Apr 1943
  • Bourn : Apr 1943-Apr 1944
  • "A", "B" & "C" FIts detached to Gransden Lodge, Graveley &
  • Oakington, respectively, during Aug/Sep 1943.
  • Coningsby : Apr 1944 onwards

Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

  • Armstrong Whitworth Whitley II and III : Jul 1939-May 1940
  • Avro Manchester : Feb 1941-Feb 1942
  • Avro Lancaster B.I and B.III : Jan 1942 onwards

97 squadron Manchester B Mk IA

97 squadron Lancaster B Mk I

Code Letters:


First Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 8/9th April 1941 : 4 Manchesters bombed ship-building yards at Kiel.

Last Operational Mission in WWII:

  • 25/26th April 1945 : 11 Lancasters bombed oil refinery & tankerage at
  • Vallo (Tonsberg).

Last Mission before VE Day:

  • 7th May 1945 : 7 Lancasters ferried ex-POWs home to UK from Continent.
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