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Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland Coastal Command

RAF 201 Squadron

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201 squadron crest as it was in WW2.


                                     No 201 Squadron

Formed at Antwerp on 1 September 1914, it was disbanded during the British retreat from Belgium on 14 October.  Three days later it was reformed at Fort Grange, Gosport on 17 October 1914 as No 1 Squadron RNAS, like most units at that time it operated a variety of types.  It was initially involved in coastal patrols from Gosport, with various  detachments but in January 1915, it moved to Dover, still maintaining its detachments, until moving to St Pol in February.  On its move to Dover it had begun bombing raids against Ostend and Zeebrugge and these continued following its move to St Pol.  In June 1915, it was renamed No 1 (Naval) Wing and was now mainly carrying out defensive operations against Zeppelins and on 6 June 1915, Flight Sub-Lieutenant R A J Warneford attacked the LZ37 with bombs, destroying it.  This was the first successful destruction of an airship by an aeroplane.

On being redesignated No 1 (Naval) Wing its constituent units were designated as lettered squadrons, 'A' Squadron being equipped with Nieuport 17 scouts.  In June 1916 'A' Squadron received its first Sopwith Triplane, although it was December before the squadron had a full complement of these and February before the last Nieuport left.  In December 1916, 'A' Squadron reverted to the designation No 1 (Naval) Squadron and the following month moved to Chipilly, joining 14th Wing of the RFC.  The squadron operated with the RFC until November 1917, when it returned to naval control at Dunkirk and the following month returned to Britain, where it re-equipped with Camels.

The squadron returned to France in February 1918 and the following month became involved in combating the German's spring offensive, gradually moving from defensive duties to a ground attack role.  Shortly after the start of the spring  offensive on 1 April 1918, the squadron was absorbed into the newly formed RAF and was renumbered as No 201 Squadron.  For the remainder of the war, the squadron continued both these types of operations as well as escorting day bombers of the Independent Force.  Remaining in France immediately after the war, it returned to Britain (Lake Down) in February 1919, disbanding on 31 December of the same year.

Although classed as a senior RAF squadron, it was 1 January 1929 before it reformed at Calshot when No 480 (General Reconnaissance) was raised to squadron status.  It was equipped with Southampton flying boats until December 1936 when re-equipment with Saro Londons was completed, having begun the previous April.  A year before war broke out, the squadron moved to Invergordon for a month and then the month before war was declared it moved to Sullom Voe.  From November 1939 to May 1940 it was back at Invergordon, where it converted to the Sunderland before returning to Sullom Voe.  From these bases it carried out anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols of the North Sea and along the Norwegian coast.

From October 1941 until August 1945 the squadron was based at Castle Archdale on Lough Erne in Northern Ireland except for April to November 1944, when it was based at Pembroke Dock to assist in covering the English Channel during the build up to and after the Normandy landings.  During this period it was gradually upgraded in equipment from the Sunderland I to the Sunderland III and in February 1945  it began to receive the Sunderland V, which it then operated until February 1957.  In August 1945, it moved to its new peacetime base of Pembroke Dock but in March 1946 this was changed to Calshot.  From here it was involved in the Berlin Airlift flying supplies onto Lake Havel in the city.  After the Airlift it returned to Pembroke Dock and remained there until disbanding on 28 February 1957.

The squadron reformed on 1 October 1958, when No 220 Squadron at St Mawgan was renumbered.  It was still a Maritime Reconnaissance unit but was now equipped with the Shackleton MR Mk 3 and in March 19665 it moved to Kinloss in Scotland, where it is still based today, having re-equipped with the Nimrod MR Mk 1 in October 1970 and MR Mk 2 from January 1982 to February 1983.

Motto:     Hic et ubique (Here and everywhere)

Standards Battle Honours*
Award of Standard originally announced on 15 Jan 1952, effective 1 Apr 1951 but presented:-

lst - 16 December 1955

AVM G W Tuttle

2nd - 9 November 1984

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Western Front, 1915-1918: Arras: Ypres, 1917: Somme, 1918: Amiens: Hindenburg Line: Channel & North Sea, 1939-1945: Norway, 1940: Atlantic, 1941-1945: Bismarck: Biscay, 1941 1945: Normandy, 1944:

South Atlantic, 1982: Gulf, 1991:  Iraq 2003:

Squadron Codes used: -  

VQ Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
ZM Sep 1939 - Aug 1943
NS Jul 1944 - Apr 1951
A Apr 1951 - Feb 1957
201 Oct 1958 - 1966

April 1936-April 1940: Saro London I and II
April 1942-January 1942: Short Sunderland I
May 1941-March 1944: Short Sunderland II
January 1942-June 1945: Short Sunderland III
February 1945-February 1957: Short Sunderland V

January 1929-September 1939: Calshot
September-October 1938: Invergordon
October 1938-August 1939: Calshot
August-November 1939: Sullom Voe
November 1939-May 1940: Invergordon
May 1940-October 1941: Sullom Voe
October 1941-April 1944: Castle Archdale
April-November 1944: Pembroke Dock
November 1944-August 1945: Castle Archdale
August 1945-March 1946: Pembroke Dock
March 1946-January 1949: Calshot
January 1949-February 1957: Pembroke Dock

Squadron Codes: VQ (London), ZM, JS, A (Sunderland)







Special thanks to:
 James Stewart     N.Ireland 
Joe O'Loughlin     N.Ireland
    Breege Mc Cusker  N.Ireland 
John Newall         Canada
                               Richard Lebek  Canada ( crew member U-672)
Norman Lebek   Canada
 Roland Berr      Germany
                                Harry Lorkin   U.K. (RAF 226 Squadron)          
     John Rogers          UK            
                                    N.Jack Logan       Canada   (RCAF 422 Squadron)
              Les and Maureen Ingram  Scotland
   Bill Barber            Canada    
  Robert Walsh        N.Ireland  
                         Capt. Jerry Mason USN (ret.)  Canada         
             Blake Wimperis      Canada              
                                   Robert Quirk     Canada                                          
                                    Norm Muffitt          Canada                                      
                         Lt/Col S. Beaton     Canada  (Camp Borden)
       Stephanie Pinder     USA            
    Alec (Johnny) Johnston    N.Z.
                 Stephen Kerr           N.Ireland             
                                   Reg Firby               Canada (RCAF 423 Squadron)
         Maurice Duffill         Australia     
                   John Hartshorn              UK                     
                                  Don Macfie      Canada ( RCAF 422/423 Squadron)
                               Frank Cauley   Canada  ( RCAF 422 Squadron)
                                Harold O'Brien  Canada  ( RCAF 423 Squadron)
                                   James Newall          UK        ( RAF 423 Squadron)
      Ian Meadows                    UK
                     Bill Baker                 Canada               
John Taylor      Canada
            Gordon Burke              Canada
          Carol Whittle                    U.K.

Last Update on Dec 07 , 2010