No. 610 Squadron RAF

No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron of the Royal Air Force was a Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force. Comprising very high quality pilots, often ex-RAF officers and occasionally locally based company Test pilots from companies such as de Havilland and Airwork. Its pilots were initially part timers who would spend their weekends and spare time flying and practising combat manoeuvres. The squadron was named the "County of Chester" and adopted the motto "Alifero tollitur axe ceres"; which translates as "Ceres rising in a winged chariot". Ceres being the Roman Goddess of Wheat, a reference to Chester's Agricultural sector. Its badge contained the image of a garb (sheaf of wheat).

No. 610 (County of Chester) Squadron RAF
Active10 February 1936 – 3 March 1945
10 May 1946 – 10 March 1957
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
Part ofRoyal Auxiliary Air Force
Motto(s)Latin: Alifero tollitur axe ceres
(Translation: "Ceres rising in a winged chariot")[1]
EngagementsBattle of Britain
Commanders
Honorary Air CommodoreSir William Bromley-Davenport(1937–49)
I.R. Parker (1953–57)
Notable
commanders
J.E. "Johnnie" Johnson, Cyril Stanley Bamberger
Insignia
Squadron Badge heraldryA garb, divided into two parts and coloured red and blue
A wheatsheaf was chosen as such charges appear in the armorial bearings of the city of Chester; No. 610 Squadron was the County of Chester Squadron[2]
Squadron CodesJE (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)[3]
DW (Sep 1939 – Mar 1945, 1949 – Apr 1951)[4]
RAQ (May 1946 – 1949)[5]

610 Squadron Association, with headquarters at Hooton Park, has a substantial number of ex-members of the Squadron on its list of members.

History

Formation and early years

The squadron was formed on 10 February 1936 at Hooton Park, Wirral, Cheshire as one of the Auxiliary Air Force Squadron. It was equipped with Hawker Hart light bombers. As war approached, these were replaced by Hawker Hinds in May 1938. On 1 January 1939 the squadron role was changed into that of a fighter squadron, and on the outbreak of war in September 1939 it received its first Hawker Hurricane fighters. By the end of that same month it was flying the more advanced Supermarine Spitfire fighter.

Second World War

610 Squadron was attached to No. 13 Group RAF during the Battle of Britain. It had initially been based at RAF Gravesend, but moved to RAF Biggin Hill before the German offensive began and was one of the units bearing the brunt of German attacks. It moved to RAF Acklington for rest and recuperation at the end of August, having sustained severe casualties. During the Battle of Britain the squadron included Pilot Officer, later Squadron Leader, Constantine Pegge.

In 1941, the squadron moved south to RAF Westhampnett where it was one of Douglas Bader's three Spitfire squadrons of the Tangmere wing. 610 Squadron remained based in the UK until late 1944 when it moved to the continent to provide fighter cover as the allies entered Germany. 610 Squadron was disbanded before the end of the war at RAF Warmwell on 3 March 1945.

Post-war

The squadron was re-formed on 10 May 1946 at RAF Hooton Park as a Royal Auxiliary Air Force fighter squadron, embodied in June of that year and receiving its first Spitfire F.14s in November 1946, switching to more powerful Spitfire F.22s in March 1949. Gloster Meteor F.4 jet fighters were received in July 1951, being replaced by the later F.8 version in March 1952. Meteor T.7 twin-seat training aircraft were also used as advanced conversion trainers. The Meteors were flown until shortly before the squadron disbanded on 10 March 1957, together with all other RAuxAF flying units.[6]

See also

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 610 Squadron RAF, data from[1][6][7][8]
From To Aircraft Version
March 1936May 1938Hawker Hart
May 1938September 1939Hawker Hind
September 1939September 1939Hawker HurricaneMk.I
September 1939February 1941Supermarine SpitfireMk.I
February 1941July 1941Supermarine SpitfireMk.IIa
July 1941August 1941Supermarine SpitfireMk.Vb
August 1941November 1941Supermarine SpitfireMks.IIa, IIb
November 1941March 1944Supermarine SpitfireMks.Vb, Vc
December 1943March 1945Supermarine SpitfireMk.XIV
November 1946April 1949Supermarine SpitfireF.14
March 1949August 1951Supermarine SpitfireF.22
July 1951May 1952Gloster MeteorF.4
March 1952February 1957Gloster MeteorF.8

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields used by no. 610 Squadron RAF, data from[1][6][7]
From To Base
10 February 193610 October 1939RAF Hooton Park,
10 October 19394 April 1940RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire
4 April 194010 May 1940RAF Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland
10 May 194027 May 1940RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
27 May 19408 July 1940RAF Gravesend, Kent
8 July 194031 August 1940RAF Biggin Hill, Kent
31 August 194015 December 1940RAF Acklington, Northumberland
15 December 194029 August 1941RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
29 August 194114 January 1942RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
14 January 19424 April 1942RAF Hutton Cranswick, Yorkshire
4 April 194216 August 1942RAF Ludham, Norfolk
16 August 194221 August 1942RAF West Malling, Kent
21 August 194215 October 1942RAF Ludham, Norfolk
15 October 194220 January 1943RAF Castletown, Caithness, Scotland
20 January 194330 April 1943RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
30 April 194326 June 1943RAF Perranporth, Cornwall
26 June 194319 December 1943RAF Bolt Head, Devon
19 December 19434 January 1944RAF Fairwood Common, Glamorgan, Wales
4 January 19447 April 1944RAF Exeter, Devon
7 April 194423 April 1944RAF Culmhead, Somerset
23 April 194430 April 1944RAF Fairwood Common, Glamorgan, Wales
30 April 194416 May 1944RAF Culmhead, Somerset
16 May 194429 May 1944RAF Bolt Head, Devon
29 May 194419 June 1944RAF Harrowbeer, Devon
19 June 194427 June 1944RAF West Malling, Kent
27 June 19442 July 1944RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex
2 July 194412 September 1944RAF Friston, Suffolk
12 September 19444 December 1944RAF Lympne, Kent
4 December 194431 December 1944B.56/Evere, Belgium
31 December 194427 January 1945Y.32/Ophoven, Belgium
27 January 194521 February 1945B.78/Eindhoven, Netherlands
21 February 19453 March 1945RAF Warmwell, Dorset
10 May 194610 March 1957RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 610 Squadron RAF, data from[7][9]
From To Name
10 February 1936December 1939S/Ldr. I.R. Parker
January 194029 May 1940S/Ldr. A.L. Franks, AFC
29 May 1940July 1940S/Ldr. A.T. Smith
July 1940April 1941S/Ldr. J. Ellis, DFC & Bar
April 1941June 1941S/Ldr. H. de C.A. Woodhouse, AFC
June 19414 November 1941S/Ldr. K. Holden, DFC
4 November 1941December 1941S/Ldr. B.J. Wicks, DFC
December 1941February 1942S/Ldr. C.O.J. Pegge, DFC
February 1942July 1942S/Ldr. G.S.K. Haywood
July 1942March 1943S/Ldr. J.E. Johnson, DFC & Bar
March 1943January 1944S/Ldr. W.A Laurie, DFC
January 1944February 1945S/Ldr. R.A. Newbury, DFC & Bar
February 1945March 1945F/Lt. Shepherd
June 1946March 1948S/Ldr. P.G. Lamb, AFC
March 19481950S/Ldr. R.D. Graesser
19501952S/Ldr. C.S. Bamberger, DFC & Bar
19521954S/Ldr. H.C. Rigby
195410 March 1957S/Ldr. J.E. Storrar, DFC & Bar, AFC

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1981–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 2nd edition 1976. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1978. ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Robinson, Anthony. RAF Squadrons in the Battle of Britain. London: Arms and Armour Press Ltd., 1987 (republished 1999 by Brockhampton Press, ISBN 1-86019-907-0.).
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