Last updated: 08 December 2017, 13:51

Quick Links:

Phonetic Alphabet
Acronyms, Abbreviations and Slang
Aircraft Types, Pip-squeak, Radar and IFF
Aircraft Serials, WWI
Aircraft Serials, WWII, UK only
Aircraft Serials, WWII, Africa only
Aircraft Serials, WWII Europe + Peacetime
Damage categories
Availability of TNA Records online
Bibliography / Recommended reading (WWI)
Bibliography / Recommended reading (Inter-War)
Bibliography / Recommended reading (WWII)

WWII Phonetic Alphabet

The phonetic alphabet as used by both British and American forces at the time of WWII was:


Acronyms, Abbreviations and Slang

Readers consulting this website or the original documentation used to compile it will encounter numerous instances of possibly unfamiliar terminology. The following may help with interpretation:

ATime zone A, same as GMT+1 / UTC+1 / BST.
AC1, AC2Aircraftman first/second class. See also "Erk".
Ack-AckWWII term for anti-aircraft artillery, in modern parlance "Triple A". See also "Flak", below.
AHBAir Historical Branch, the RAF’s own archive. Not the same thing as the RAF Museum Library.
AILiterally either "Airborne Interception" or "Air Intercept", but the true meaning was aircraft-mounted Radar.
A.L.63The original British Military Louse Powder. See: H.J.Craufurd-Benson & J.MacLeod, The Journal of Hygiene, Vol.44 No.4 (Jan.1946), pp.294–306.
AMESAir Ministry Experimental Station – a deliberately obscure term meaning a site equipped with Radar.
AOCAir Officer Commanding.
APAir Publication (number....).
ASRAir Sea Rescue.
AWOLAbsent Without Leave.
BHPBrake Horsepower.
BMABritish Military Authority - in the context of issue of banknotes.
BogeyA radar detection not yet labelled as either friendly or hostile.
BumpfPaperwork considered to be of low importance.
CalibrationSee "Radar Calibration" below.
CATDamage Category. See detail below.
CHLChain Home Low. Ground-based radar in the UK, able to detect low-flying aircraft.
CMFCentral Mediterranean Force.
C/NConstruction number. Like a Manufacturer's Serial Number, but within a single aircraft type.
C/O or COCommanding Officer.
CodeSee "Squadron Code".
COLChain Overseas Low. As CHL, but located overseas and nominally comprising "portable" equipment.
CROCivilian Repair Organisation.
CRTCathode Ray Tube, used as a visual display of radar echoes.
DA(In the context "Group 43 DA" on a Form 78): "Deposit Account", a list of aircraft awaiting or undergoing repair or modification. No.43 Group was part of the RAF’s in-house maintenance and repair system.
DAKThe German term for Rommel’s forces in North Africa. Acronym expands as Deutsches Afrikakorps, properly written in the German language as two words rather than three.
DAODirector of Air Organisation.
DEDDirectorate of Engine Development, a poorly documented division of the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
De WildeStrictly, incendiary machine gun ammunition containing the self-igniting material White Phosphorus. A greatly improved version of the pre-WWII Belgian original was developed by the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, using nitrocellulose as the incendiary material. This was also known as "de Wilde" ammunition, as a cover story intended to conceal the improvement.
DI’sDaily Inspections (of aircraft, especially).
EA or E/AEnemy Aircraft.
EACEastern Air Command. This refers to command of the Eastern portion of the area invaded during Operation Torch and the subsequent move eastwards into Tunisia, not to the whole of the Middle East or even the whole of North Africa. It’s counterpart, Western Air Command, covered the area taken by (predominantly) US troops, stretching roughly speaking from Oran to Casablanca.
E/FEngine failure.
ErkA somewhat derogatory term for a person in the junior ranks in the RAF. Very few records survive in the public domain regarding WWII “Erks”, hence the regrettable lack of detail here regarding the huge contribution such personnel made to the overall functioning of the Squadron.
FAFlying Accident. Loss or damage not attributable to enemy action.
FBFlying Battle. Loss or damage attributable to enemy action.
FISFighter Instructors School.
FlakAnother expression for anti-aircraft gunfire, the German abbreviation for Flugzeugabwehrkanone, meaning "aircraft defense cannon". 'Flak' was rapidly adopted by the Allies for reasons of brevity.
FlapTwo meanings... EITHER a component of an aircraft’s wing that shortens take-off and landing distances by lowering the stall speed and increasing the drag, OR slang for a panic.
FMEField Maintenance Equipment.
Form 78Administrative record showing which Squadron, Flight or Maintenance Unit had 'charge' of a particular aircraft at any given date. Original card index arranged by Aircraft Type and then in Serial order. Data is somewhat incomplete/unreliable in respect of 255 Squadron in the Mediterranean theatre of operations.
Form 441AStandard report of a sortie, even if uneventful. For an example of an unspectacular but rare surviving Form 441A relating to No.255 Squadron, see TNA : AIR50/98/14.
Form 449Monthly return of Officers and Airman Pilots – in effect, a roll call of officers and aircrew. Few of these survive for No.255 Squadron, but a similar list (usually minus Identity Disc numbers) often appears as the last entry in the month’s Form 540.
Form 540The standard printed form used to compile the Operations Record Book.
Form 541Appendix to Form 540, detailing Active Service sorties but not (usually) training or engineering test flights – unless something went wrong.
Form 765CReport of an incident involving equipment failure but no casualties or damage.
Form 1180Card index system abbreviating accident reports, to aid analysis of causes.
Form FAircrew report of combat.
f.p.Flare Path.
FreelancingA fighter aircraft operating without the benefit of guidance from a GCI Station.
FSFast Speed (a gear setting on the Merlin XX engine’s supercharger).
GCIGround-controlled interception.
GROGeneral Register Office.
GubbinsOne of several slang names for radar equipment.
HousewifeA small roll-up sewing and darning kit.
H/THorse Transport.
Huff-DuffA corruption of “HF/DF”, meaning High Frequency Direction Finding. In Squadron terms this was typically but not exclusively associated with the Pip-Squeak fighter tracking system fitted to the Boulton Paul Defiant I aircraft. (Do not confuse with Sir Hugh Pughe Lloyd’s nickname Huff-Puff.)
HunDerogatory reference to a German person or a German aircraft.
IASIndicated Air Speed.
IFFIdentification Friend or Foe. A radar-based system that caused the 'blip' on a radar screen to differ as between an aircraft transmitting an IFF signal (assumed friendly) and one that was not (assumed suspect or hostile). Technically, a forerunner of modern Transponder systems.
IMIA question mark in Morse Code. Dit-Dit-Dah-Dah-Dit-Dit. Like the individual Morse Code letters IMI, but run together.
Iti(Pronounced "Eye-tie"). A derogatory reference to an Italian person or an Italian aircraft.
JerryOne of several slang names for a German aircraft or a member of its crew. Basis of the pun behind the "Chain of Jerries" that was at one time the squadron’s trophy.
JinkboxOne of several slang names for AI radar equipment.
KR&ACIKing’s Regulations and Air Council Instructions – the Air Force "law", Code of Conduct and procedural Rule Book.
MACMediterranean Air Command.
MACAFMediterranean Allied Coastal Air Forces.
MAFOGMediterranean Area Fighter Operations Grid. Introduced at 00:01z, 20 May 1943, this was a coded grid reference system common to all Allied air forces in the region, simplifying and expediting exchange of Latitude/Longitude positions. The smallest division printed on charts identified an area ten minutes of latitude by ten minutes of longitude; finer resolution was estimated by eye.[1]
MAPMinistry (or Minister) of Aircraft Production.
M/CsMegacycles per second. Same meaning as MHz (Megahertz) in modern terminology.
MiDMentioned in Despatches. A "Mention" rates as the most minor form of recognition of exemplary service. At the time of 255’s existence, no medal or clasp accompanied a Mention. Notes of MiDs existing occur in the ORB, but the citations giving rise to the Mentions appear not to have survived.
MonicaActive tail warning radar, alerting aircrew to possible imminent attack from behind.[2]
MotherA Homing Beacon that showed as a distinctly different blip on (especially) a Mk.IV AI set, identifying the airfield’s position.
MSMedium Speed (a gear setting on the Merlin XX engine’s supercharger).
MSUMain Storage Unit.
M/TMotor Transport.
MUMaintenance Unit.
NACAFNorthwest African Coastal Air Force.
NATAFNorthwest African Tactical Air Force.
NFTNight Flying Test.
OADUOverseas Aircraft Despatch Unit.
OctaneA measure of the energy content of petrol (US English – "Gas" or "Gasoline").
ORBOperations Record Book. The master pages of the unit’s record-keeping (be the "unit" a squadron, an airfield, a radar station or whatever). Usually compiled on a Form 540, but sometimes supplies of these ran out – forcing units to improvise.
OTUOperational Training Unit. An individual’s final training location before being posted to a squadron. At the end of a tour of duty, aircrew sometimes transferred to OTUs as Instructors.
PEPermanent echo; a 'blip' on the radar screen that’s always there, caused by reflection of the radar transmission from a fixed natural or man-made object.
PPIPlan position indicator. The modern form of radar display, where the observer’s position is in the middle of the screen and targets appear as slow-to-fade blips. Increasing distance from the centre equates to increasing range. Before the development of PPI, the trace on the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) was a horizontal line, with targets appearing as spikes on it, range represented by distance (usually left-to-right) on the display.
PROThe Public Record Office, former custodians of the squadron’s historical records and forerunner of The National Archives.
RAAFEither Royal Australian Air Force or Royal Auxilliary Air Force (sometimes RAuxAF).
RADARRadio Aid to Direction And Ranging.
Testing of the coverage of a radar system, especially to identify any gaps that the enemy could exploit.
RAEThe Royal Aircraft Establishment. At the time of WWII, the RAE had only one site, at Farnborough.
RAFVRRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
RailingsDeliberate interference ("jamming") of a radio or radar signal, generally by means of an amplitude modulated transmission on the same frequency. In the case of radar of WWII era, it appeared on the GCI Controller’s screen as a series of very sharp spikes.[3]
RBLRoyal British Legion.
RDFLiterally, Radio Direction Finding, but the expression was used as a cover name for Radar.
Resin LightsOptical substitute for radar-based IFF; air-to-air signalling lights that shone through tinted plastic ("resin") lenses giving a colour-coded signal that identified the aircraft as friendly. The code typically changed daily.
ROCRoyal Observer Corps.
R/TRadio Telephone.
RSURecovery Storage Unit.
RXRadar or Radio Receiver.
SAS(In context such as "Reid & Sigrist SAS" on a Form 78): Servicing Aircraft Section.
SerialA unique alphanumeric identifier allocated to every aircraft in service with the RAF. (Examples: N3378, MM901) Do not confuse with Squadron Code or Manufacturer’s serial number. Beware of possible confusion between RAF Serials commencing "N" and United States civil aircraft registrations in identical format.
S/NSerial number (meaning Manufacturer’s serial number). Do not confuse with Serial (see above).
SNAFUSituation Normal, All F....d Up (insert your own choice of expletive beginning with the letter F).
SOCStruck Off Charge - normally to be interpreted as "scrapped" or "lost" but can also imply "cannibalised for parts" or "sold".
SommerfeldSommerfeld Tracking, a metallic mesh laid as a temporary runway surface. Often mis-spelled 'Summerfield' or 'Sommerfield'.
SPSergeant pilot.
Squadron CodeThe large identification letters appearing either side of the Roundel on RAF aircraft. (Example: YD-G) Unlike some squadrons, 255 retained the same code throughout WWII, that being YD. As aircraft allocated to the squadron changed, these codes were re-issued. Do not confuse with "Serial".
SSZSea Scout Zero – a class of non-rigid airship used for maritime patrols in WWI.
TNAThe National Archives (successor to the Public Record Office).
TradeSomething for a fighter patrol to investigate at the behest of the GCI Controller. Could be a 'Bogey', or a known hostile aircraft, or a 'Friendly' in need of escort.
TXRadar or Radio Transmitter.
under [Codename]Identifies by Callsign which GCI/AMES station was acting as an aircraft’s Ground Controller.
Weapon bentCode for defective radar equipment.
Wop[1] Officially: Wireless Operator.  [2] In contemporary USAAF slang: A derogatory term for an Italian or other foreigner of olive complexion. Derives from the Neapolitan dialect guappo meaning thug, bully or braggart.
WSEWhilst so employed (usually found in the context of a temporary promotion).
ZTime zone Z, same as GMT / UTC.

Aircraft Types

Aircraft operated by No.255 Squadron RAF, with details of usage, fitting of Pip-Squeak, Airborne Interception Radar and IFF:

FromToAircraftVariantRolePip-squeakAI RadarIFF
May 1918Jul 1918Sopwith CamelF1TransportNoneNoneNone
Jul 1918Jan 1919Airco DH6-PatrolNoneNoneNone
Nov 1940Sep 1941Boulton Paul DefiantMk.ICombatTransitionalNoTransitional
Mar 1941Aug 1941Hawker HurricaneMk.ICombatNoNoYes
Jun 1941Oct 1942Bristol BlenheimMk.ITraining?No?
Jul 1941May 1942Bristol BeaufighterMk.II FCombatNoMk.IVYes
Jan 1941Nov 1942Miles Magister / Miles HawkMk.ITransportNoNoNo
Mar 1942Aug 1943Bristol BeaufighterMk.VI FCombatNoMk.IVYes
Apr 1942Nov 1942Miles MasterMk.IIITransportNoNo?
Jul 1942Nov 1942Fairey BattleMk.IUnknownNoNo?
Aug 1942≤ Nov 1942Bristol Beaufighter Mk.I FUnknownNoMk.IVYes
Feb 1943≤ Jul 1943Bristol BeaufighterMk.VI FCombatNoMk.VIIYes
Jul 1943Feb 1945Bristol BeaufighterMk.VI FCombatNoMk.VIIIMk.III G
Sep 1944?Bücker Bü-181FunNoNoNo
Circa...Jan 1945Hawker HurricaneMk.II CTransportNoNoYes
Feb 1945Jul 1945de Havilland MosquitoMk.TIIITrainerNoNo?
Jan 1945May 1946de Havilland MosquitoMk.XIXCombatNoMk.XYes
Apr 1945Apr 1946de Havilland MosquitoMk.XXXCombatNoMk.XYes
Apr 1945Apr 1945Fiesler Fi.156 StorchRecceNoNoNo
Apr 1945Apr 1945Messerschmidt Bf.108RecceNoNoNo

NOTES to accompany the table above:

Pip-Squeak was removed and IFF installed as part of the change-over from HF to VHF radios. Hence the entries "Transitional" above. The whole Pip-Squeak system was obsolescent by 1941.

Miles Magister and Miles Hawk were essentially the same aircraft, in military and civilian versions respectively. The Squadron used both during the time period listed in this table. See also the Serials information below.

All AI equipment was removed from the Squadron’s aircraft in November 1942, before travel to Africa. Some was re-installed later the same month in Algeria and the remainder in December 1942.

New aircraft equipped with Mk.VIII AI started arriving 03 Jul 1943 at La Sebala II. The change-over continued until about 05 August; the exact date is unclear from the ORB.

Mosquito XIX aircraft were not normally fitted with Mk.X AI; this is a rare example.

‡ Captured Luftwaffe aircraft used by No.255 Squadron.

Sources: [4]  [5]  [6]  [7]

Aircraft Serials, WWI

The following DH6 aircraft are believed to have been flown operationally from RAF Pembroke during the period 6 July 1918 to 11 November 1918. Possible errors arise in part because the prefix letter was not always recorded in the Patrol Report and in part because some of the entries were written in minute handwriting, hard to read from a carbon copy nearly 100 years old. The squadron did eventually acquire a typewriter, but it was not accompanied by a proficient typist! Many errors were simply over-typed, creating ambiguity. The following list is believed to be reasonably accurate in respect of the Pembroke site but it does not include aircraft used at Llangefni, Bangor or Luce Bay prior to the spawning of Nos.244 and 258 Squadrons on 25 July 1918:
B2771, B2789, B3038, B3039, C2067, C5521, C5524, C7346 and/or C7436, C9412, C9413, C9415, C9418, C9423, C9428, C9430, C9438, C9439, C9440, F3349, F3350, F3351, F3353, F3354, F3367, F9340.[8]
It is possible that other aircraft (even other aircraft types) were flown during or after WWI, without ever appearing in Patrol Reports. One such was almost certainly a Sopwith F1 Camel, D9542.

Other researchers have suggested that the following DH6 aircraft were also used by 255:
B2781, B2786, B2791, B2903, C2021, C2076, C9443, C9482, F3352, F3357, F3440.

Aircraft Serials, WWII, within the UK

After reformation in WWII, the following aircraft were flown by the squadron whilst based in the UK. Data in the tables below comes primarily from the ORB, Flying Log Books and Forms 78. "Dates in" are the dates taken on charge – normally the date of safe arrival at, rather than date of despatch towards, the squadron. "Dates out" are the dates taken off charge except in cases of Cat E damage, where the date of actual loss is given precedence if known to be different. Wherever possible, clerical errors in the ORB, aircrew logbooks and other reference works have been eliminated.

BOULTON  PAUL  DEFIANT  Mk.I  in Serial order

SerialC/NCodeDate inFromDate outTo
L7012063YD-?08.Dec.194019 MU01.Feb.1941256 Squadron
L7036087YD-?08.Dec.194019 MU01.Feb.1941256 Squadron
N1581133YD-?02.Feb.1941264 Squadron06.Jul.194143 Group DA
N1617142YD-?10.Feb.1941Boulton Paul SAS14.Aug.1941151 Squadron
N1625150YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU01.Feb.1941256 Squadron
N1629154YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU01.Feb.1941256 Squadron
N1687195YD-?08.Dec.194019 MU01.Feb.1941256 Squadron
N1727217YD-?09.Dec.194019 MU30.Mar.194119 MU
N1740230YD-?06.May.194124 MU06.Jul.194143 Group DA
N1743233YD-?02.Dec.19406 MU≤ 23.Feb.194143 Group DA
N1763253YD-?≥ 16.Jan.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS22.Apr.194124 MU
N1765255YD-?23.Feb.194127 MU19.Mar.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N1770260YD-?17.Jan.194119 MU19.Mar.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N1810286YD-?28.Feb.194110 MU14.Aug.1941151 Squadron
N3306289YD-?09.Dec.194019 MU02.Feb.1941
FA, CAT E, 1 killed
N3309292YD-?02.Feb.1941264 Squadron22.Jun..194143 Group DA
N3310293YD-?02.Feb.1941264 Squadron17.Nov.194146 MU
N3312295YD-T27.Nov.19406 MU09.Jul.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N3316299YD-?16.Feb.194110 MU12.Jun.194143 Group DA
N3318301YD-?08.Dec.194019 MU19.Aug.1941409 Squadron
N3319302YD-?05.Feb.194119 MU23.Aug.194146 MU
N3321304YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU08.Apr.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N3323306YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU12.Jan.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
--- Ditto ---YD-?19.Jun.194119 MU30 Aug.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N3324307YD-?29.May.194143 Group DA16.Jun.194143 Group DA
N3329312YD-?09.Dec.194019 MU07.Mar.194143 Group DA
--- Ditto ---YD-?31.Mar.194143 Group DA18.Aug.194124 MU
N3333316YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU13.May.1941
N3334317YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU23.Feb.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N3335318YD-?27.Nov.19406 MU21.Jun.194143 Group DA
N3340323YD-?09.Dec.194019 MU20.Feb.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
N3364324YD-?09.Dec.194019 MU[Blank in original]410 Squadron
N3378338YD-?08.Dec.194019 MU29.Aug.1941
FA or FB, CAT E, 2 killed
N3398358YD-?02.Feb.1941264 Squadron19.Aug.1941409 Squadron
N3422367YD-?25.Feb.194119 MU11.Sep.194160 OTU
N3458403YD-?08.Apr.194127 MU29.Aug.1941456 Squadron
N3481410YD-?25.Feb.194119 MU23.Aug.194143 Group DA
N3511440YD-?10.Jul.194119 MU19.Aug.1941409 Squadron
T3920460YD-?09.Jul.194110 MU14,Aug.1941151 Squadron
T3995516YD-?19.Jun.194119 MU09.Jul.1941Reid & Sigrist SAS
T3998519YD-?16.Jul.194119 MU22.Aug.1941256 Squadron
T4005526YD-?31.May.194124 MU07.Sep.1941125 Squadron
T4045547YD-?09.Jul.194110 MU24.Aug.194146 MU
T4059561YD-?19.Jul.194110 MU22.Jul.194146 MU
Matching of Serial to C/N in this table relies on work published by Alex Brew (1996). See bibliography below.
Read symbol ≤ as "on or before".  Read symbol ≥  as "on or after".

The following Hawker Hurricane Mk.I aircraft were flown by the squadron mainly whilst based in Lincolnshire in 1941:

HAWKER  HURRICANE  Mk.I  in Serial order

Date inFromDate outTo
P2795 - ? 22.Mar.1941310 Squadron31.Mar.194155 OTU
P3644 - ? 22.Mar.1941310 Squadron31.Mar.194155 OTU
V6793 - ? 22.Mar.1941151 Squadron12.Oct.194155 OTU
V6796 - ? 22.Mar.1941151 Squadron27.Aug.194112 AAC Cp Flt
V6955No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error in Squadron record
V7008 - ? 22.Mar.1941310 Squadron31.Mar.194155 OTU
V7009 - ? 22.Mar.1941310 Squadron31.Mar.194155 OTU
V7222 - ? 22.Mar.1941151 Squadron08.Sep.194156 OTU
V7286No Form 78 survives in respect of this aircraft
V7304 - ? 22.Mar.1941310 Squadron27.Aug.194112 AAC Cp Flt

Bristol Blenheim Mk.I aircraft were initially used by the squadron for the purpose of basic training on twin-engined machines, prior to flying Mk.II Beaufighters, and thereafter for transport. This list may be incomplete:

BRISTOL  BLENHEIM  Mk.I  in Serial order

Date inFromDate outTo
K7116 - ? 28.Jan.194219 MU03.Oct.194260 OTU
L1223 - ? 06.Jul.194118 MU16.Aug.1941
FA, CAT E, 2 killed
L1301 - ? 16.Jun.194139 MU12.Aug.1941409 Squadron
--- Ditto --- ? 17.Jan.1942409 Squadron 13.May.1942256 Squadron
L8680 - ? 18.Jul.194168 Squadron≤ 19.Nov.1941SOC

The following Beaufighter Mk.IIF aircraft were used at various times by the Squadron in the UK, either at RAF Hibaldstow, RAF Coltishall or RAF High Ercall. This list is believed to be complete:

BRISTOL  BEAUFIGHTER  Mk.IIF  in Serial order, UK only

Date inFromDate outTo
R2276 - YD-A19.Sep.194143 Group DA23.Jan.1942409 Squadron
R2304 - YD-D03.Aug.194119 MU27.Apr.1942410 Squadron
R2308 - YD-P22.Jul.194127 MU29.Apr.1942410 Squadron
R2309 - YD-Q22.Jul.194130 MU13.Dec.1941
FA, CAT E, 1 killed
R2310 - ?30.Jul.194132 MU18.Sep.1941600 Squadron
R2313 - YD-H[Blank line in record card]600 Squadron
R2333 - YD-B15.Sep.194119 MU28.Feb.1942
FB, CAT E, 2 killed
R2340 - No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error. Maybe R2430?
R2370 - YD-N22.Jul.194127 MU09.Aug.194254 OTU
R2377 - YD-O22.Jul.194127 MU16.Oct.1941
FA, CAT E, 2 killed
R2397 - YD-T27.Jul.194119 MU23.Jul.194296 Squadron
R2398 - ?01.Aug.194127 MU08.Dec.1941
FA, CAT E, 2 killed
R2399 - ?02.Jul.194119 MU14.Sep.194143 Group DA
R2400 - YD-S22.Jul.194119 MU30.May.194296 Squadron
R2401 - ?01.Aug.194127 MU02.Jun.194260 OTU
R2402 - YD-G04.Aug.194119 MU19.Apr.1942410 Squadron
R2403 - YD-D31.Jul.194119 MU 22.Aug.1941
FA, CAT E, 2 killed
R2404 - No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error.
R2430 - YD-U27.Jul.194119 MU05.Jan.1942Manufacturer
R2431 - YD-E03.Aug.194127 MU20.Jul.194254 OTU
R2432 - ?05.Aug.194119 MU27.Sep.194143 Group DA
R2433 - YD-V30.Jul.194119 MU13.Jul.194254 OTU
R2436 - YD-R06.Aug.194119 MU19.Apr.1942307 Squadron
R2448 - ?14.Sep.1941406 Squadron15.Jan.1942
FA, CAT E, 2 killed
R2460 - YD-J25.Aug.194127 MU02.Apr.1942
R2461 - No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error.
R2470 - YD-U02.Jan.194227 MU??
R2471 - ?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error. Maybe R2431?
R2480 - ?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error. Maybe R2430?
R2481 - YD-ENo record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error. Maybe R2431?
R2488 - YD-ONo record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron - possible clerical error. Maybe R2448?
T2308 - YD-PTaken as being a clerical error for R2308
T3011 - YD-C?18.Sep.194127 MU06.May.1942410 Squadron
T3013 - YD-G30.Sep.194127 MU12.Jul.194254 OTU
T3016 - YD-K30.Sep.194119 MU19.Apr.1942410 Squadron
T3018 - ?30.Sep.194119 MU18.Apr.1942410 Squadron
T3023 - YD-C?30.Sep.194119 MU25.Feb.1942
FA, CAT E, 2 killed
T3040 - YD-?23.Apr.194227 MU27.Apr.1942410 Squadron
T3061 - YD-KNo Form 78 exists for this Serial. Taken as being a clerical error for T3016
T3073 - YD-C?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron. Taken as being a clerical error for T3023
T3143 - YD-W04.Jan.194227 MU29.Apr.1942410 Squadron
T3153 - ?25.Feb.194219 MU21.Apr.1942410 Squadron
T3389 - YD-?24.Mar.194227 MU19.Apr.1942410 Squadron
Regarding Mk.II Beaufighters generally, see also V8187 in the section relating to Sicily, August 1943.

A solitary Fairey Battle Mk.I was attached to the Squadron in 1942. Its deployment is unknown:

FAIREY  BATTLE  Mk.I  in Serial order

Date inFromDate outTo
N2174 ? ? 27.Jul.194227 MU15.Nov.194227 MU

The following Beaufighter Mk.VIF aircraft were used at various times by the Squadron in the UK, either at RAF High Ercall or RAF Honiley or both. This list may not be complete:

BRISTOL  BEAUFIGHTER  Mk.VIF  in Serial order, UK use only

Date inFromDate outTo
V8433 - YD-16.Sep.194251 MU27.Oct.1942Damaged at RAF Honiley. After repair, passed to Station Flight.
X7590No Form 78 exists for this Serial. Taken as being a clerical error for X7950
X7695?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron.Taken as being a clerical error for X7965
X7853No Form 78 exists for this Serial.Taken as being a clerical error
X7926?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron.Taken as being a clerical error
X7931?YD-A02.Apr.194219 MU15.Sep.1942125 Squadron
X7933?YD-U08.Apr.194227 MU15.Sep.1942125 Squadron
X7934?YD-F05.Apr.194219 MU15.Sep.1942125 Squadron
X7943?YD-?09.Aug.194219 MU01.Sep.1942
X7944?YD-L03.Apr.194227 MU25.Sep.194296 Squadron
X7945?YD-Q02.Apr.194219 MU12.Jul.1942
X7949?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron.Taken as being a clerical error
X7950?YD-J?24.Apr.194227 MU23.Sep.194296 Squadron
X7954?YD-C18.Apr.194219 MU15.Sep.1942125 Squadron
X7955?YD-?12.Apr.194227 MU16.Sep.1942125 Squadron
X7957?YD-?01.Apr.194227 MU04.Sep.1942
FATAL. Check Form 78 for Cat E
X7959?YD-J?02.Apr.194227 MU19.Sep.194296 Squadron
X7960?No record in Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron.Taken as being a clerical error
X7961?YD-D05.Apr.194227 MU08.Sep.1942125 Squadron
X7964?YD-?24.Apr.194219 MU24.Sep.194296 Squadron
X7965?YD-?29.Mar.194227 MU02.Oct.194296 Squadron
X7966?YD-P04.Apr.194219 MULeft behind in UK for Station Flight, RAF Honiley
X7969?YD-?03.Apr.194227 MU10.Oct.194296 Squadron
X8001?YD-?16.Apr.194219 MU25.Oct.194296 Squadron
X8002?YD-G29.Mar.194227 MU25.Sep.194296 Squadron
X8021?YD-?18.Apr.194227 MU27.Jul.1942
X8266?YD-?04.Aug.194219 MU17.Sep.1942125 Squadron
Aircraft taken on in preparation for the move to Africa appear in the separate table below, The following aircraft may well have been intended to form part of the initial group sent to Algeria, but it was damaged (belly-landed) on 27.Oct.1942 and V8550 substituted.

Extracts of Forms 78 suggest that a solitary Beaufighter Mk.IF was attached to the Squadron in 1942. The timing of its arrival suggests a possible stop-gap replacement for X7945:

Beaufighter Mk.IF in Serial order

Date inFromDate outTo
V8266 ? ? 04.Aug.1942141 Squadron[Blank]141 Squadron

Miles aircraft were used by the Squadron for the purpose of rapid transport within the UK.

MILES  aircraft,  all types

Magister Mk.I (the military version of the Miles Hawk trainer) serial T9820. An error on this aircraft’s Form 78 erroneously places it with No.225 Squadron. In fact it arrived from 37 MU in January 1941. It was transferred to 43 Group DA on 24.Jul.1941 following a forced landing consequent upon engine failure. Pilot: Sgt. S.J. Johnson. The Form 1180 survives in respect of this incident, documenting the connection with 255.

Magister Mk.I serial T9910. This aircraft seems to have joined the Coltishall Station Flight on 26.Sep.1941 from 32 MU. It returned to 32 MU on 19.Oct.1941, then came back to Coltishall 01.Nov.1941, leaving again 10.Nov.1941 for Phillips & Powis SAS having sustained some damage. There is no specific record on the aircraft’s Form 78 of allocation to 255 Squadron.

M14A Hawk Trainer Mk.3 BB665, impressed, ex G-AFWY. Collected from 37 MU, RAF St.Athan, 01.Jan.1942. Remained with 255 until the Squadron’s departure for Africa, at which time it was transferred to Station Flight, RAF Honiley. It subsequently left Honiley for 54 OTU on 16.Mar.1943. As with T9910, the aircraft’s Form 78 incorrectly records it being with 225 Squadron. Piers Kelly’s logbook incorrectly records it as BB650 on two occasions but BB650 did not exist. Situation clarified by reference to Freddie Lammer’s logbook, which has the correct Serial in it for the same flight as Kelly on 18.May.1942.

At least one Miles Master Mk.III aircraft, W8455, was used by the Squadron in the UK for the same purpose. Incoming from 61 OTU Rednall on 24.Apr.1942. The Squadron CO’s Flying Log Book refers to a flight 09.May.1942 from High Ercall. Out to Phillips & Powis SAS 18.May.1942.

At least one Spitfire was available for the Squadron’s use at RAF Coltishall. Serial AB329 appears in Piers Kelly’s logbook, entry dated 20.Feb.1942, but the Form 78 for this aircraft places it elsewhere, casting doubt on the accuracy of the logbook entry. Another Spitfire entry, dated 28.Dec.1941, lacks Serial.

Aircraft Serials, WWII, within Africa

Research into the Serials of Beaufighter aircraft flown by the squadron in the Mediterranean theatre of operations is ongoing. More information will be added here as it becomes available. It is likely to produce results less detailed and less complete than the listings above. This is because surviving records relating to North Africa, Sicily and Italy only show aircraft allocation to the Mediterranean area, not to individual squadrons.

The original 18 flown from RAF Honiley to Africa, in Serial order

Date inFromDate outTo
V838610544YD-22.Sep.194219 MU28.Dec.1942
NON-FATAL CAT E – Landing at Souk-el-Arba
V8390 - YD-13.Sep.194219 MU02.Jan.1943FA
V8391 - YD-13.Sep.194219 MU26.Jan.1943CAT E
V8392 - YD-10.Sep.194219 MU? ?
V8396 - YD-25.Sep.194227 MU20.Nov.1942
NON-FATAL CAT E – Air raid on Maison Blanche
V8399 - YD-22.Sep.194227 MU31.Dec.1942SOC
V8401 - YD-19.Sep.194227 MU26.Jan.1943CAT E
V8405 - YD-15.Sep.194251 MU28.Feb.1943SOC
V8407 - YD-16.Sep.194251 MU01.Jul.1943To Malta
V8409 - YD-14.Sep.194251 MU31.Jul.1943CAT E
V8413 - YD-13.Sep.194219 MU21.Nov.1942Damaged CAT B (at Maison Blanche?). After repair, sent to Malta.
V8416 - YD-15.Sep.194219 MU26.Jan.1943CAT E
V8417 - YD-15.Sep.194251 MU20.Nov.1942
NON-FATAL CAT E – Air raid on Maison Blanche
V8418 - YD-15.Sep.194251 MU20.Nov.1942
NON-FATAL CAT E – Air raid on Maison Blanche
V8550 - YD-02.Nov.194219 MU20.Nov.1942
NON-FATAL CAT E – Air raid on Maison Blanche
X8269 - YD-10.Sep.194219 MU??
Plus two more not yet identified - try V8461, V8462

Following the heavy losses sustained by the Squadron during the night of 20/21 November 1942, some aircrew returned to the UK to collect replacement aircraft from RAF Lyneham. These are included in the following list of top-ups received December 1942 to June 1943:

BRISTOL  BEAUFIGHTER  Mk.VIF  in Serial order, interim top-ups received in Africa

Date inFromDate outTo
??????YD- ? 01.Apr.1943
FATAL CAT E off Sardinia, 2 killed
??????YD- ? 13.Apr.1943
FATAL CAT E off Sardinia, 2 killed
V8500?YD-.1942 ??
V8523?YD-.1942 27.Jun.1943
FATAL CAT E in Algeria, 1 killed
V8547?YD-.1942 06.Jan.1943
FATAL CAT E in Algeria, 2 killed
V8582?YD- ? 12.Mar.1943
V8685?YD- ? 03.Jul.1943
FATAL CAT E in Tunisia, 1 killed
X7892?YD-.1942 ??
X8010?YD- ??
X8409?YD-.1942 ??
This table does not include re-equipping with new aircraft pre-fitted with Mk.VIII radar prior to the move to Sicily and is likely to be incomplete in other respects. Please report observed omissions/corrections, quoting source.

Aircraft Serials, WWII and beyond, Sicily through to Disbanding

Following the defeat of Rommel and the DAK, 255 Squadron completely re-equipped. This was a consequence of the change from Mk.IV to Mk.VIII AI, the latter requiring the RF-transparent plastic "thimble nose cone" to house the microwave radar dish. That in turn required airframe modifications too extensive to be done by squadron ground crew in the field. The whole squadron needed to change simultaneously so as to retain the ability for each aircraft to see the others’ IFF. The next table includes not only the full re-equip in Tunisia but also replacement aircraft right through to (but not including) the time when the Squadron commenced another full re-equip in northern Italy at the end of 1944, consequent upon the change to Mosquito aircraft. The table appearing here is a "work in progress"; more detail will be added as it becomes available:

BRISTOL  BEAUFIGHTER  Mk.VIF  in Serial order, received Jul.1943–Jan.1945

Date inFromDate outTo
??????YD-.1943 10.Sep.1943
FATAL CAT E off Italy, 2 killed
??????YD-.1943 12.Sep.1943
FATAL CAT E off Italy, 1 killed
??????YD-.1943 26.Sep.1943
FATAL CAT E off Sicily, 2 killed
KV933?YD-? 25.Jan.1944110 RSU
KW115?YD-?06.Jan.1944155 MU05.Feb.1945155 MU
KW123?YD-.1943 03.Apr.1944
FATAL CAT E off Italy, 1 killed
KW133?YD-?11.Jan.1944114 MU21.Jan.1944110 RSU
KW147?YD-?11.Jan.1944114 MU
KW167?YD-? 02.Feb.1945
MM838?YD-.1943 31.Aug.1944
FATAL CAT E in Serbia, 2 killed
MM842?YD-?.1943 01.Jan.1944110 RSU
MM864?YD-.1943 07.Jan.1944
FATAL CAT E in Italy, 2 killed
MM870?YD-? 01.Aug.1944
Non-fatal Cat E in Italy
MM900?YD-?.1943 01.Jan.1944113 MU
MM904?YD-? 25.Jan.1944110 RSU
MM911 ?YD-?07.Jan.1944
ND142?YD-? .1944
ND148?YD-? 05.Feb.1945155 MU
ND151?YD-.1943 08.Jan.1944
FATAL CAT E in Italy, 2 killed
ND157?YD-?.1943 04.Jan.1944113 MU
ND208?YD-? 25.Jan.1944110 RSU
ND258?YD-?11.Jan.1944114 MU
ND295?YD-.1943 24.Nov.1944
FATAL CAT E off Italy, 2 killed
ND312?YD-.1943 13.Nov.1944
FATAL CAT E in Italy, 2 killed
V8547?YD-.1943 ??
V8847?YD-? 01.Feb.1945?? MU
V8877?YD-.1943 16.Dec.1943
FATAL CAT E in Italy, 2 killed
V8884?YD-?.1943 01.Jan.1944155 MU
V8896?YD-.1943 23.Aug.1943
FATAL CAT E in Sicily, 2 killed
This table is likely to be incomplete. Please report observed omissions/corrections, quoting source. The Squadron’s last operational sortie using a Mk.VI Beaufighter took place on 25.Feb.1945.

Early on in the time period covered by the table above, a solitary Mk.II Beaufighter was attached, with crew, from the RDF Calibration Flight. It fell victim to a "friendly fire" incident blamed on a patrol of USAAF Spitfires:

BRISTOL  BEAUFIGHTER  Mk.IIF  in Serial order,  Mediterranean Area only

Date inFromDate outTo
V8187??Seconded to 255 with crew from RDF Calibration Flight, North Africa27.Aug.1943

The Flying Log Book of "Stew" Stewart (40646 Wing Commander C.L.W STEWART, AFC), 255’s Squadron Leader Feb–Nov 1944, is reported to contain references to the following miscellaneous aircraft being used by the squadron in Mainland Italy:
Hurricane Mk.II serial LB592, used as a comms/liason aircraft,
Spitfire Mk.Vc, serial JK180, similarly deployed. Some records give the serial as KJ180 in error.
A captured German Bücker Bü-181 Bestmann, Werk No.7154, repainted in RAF markings.
No Serial or Werk Numbers have yet been discovered identifying the captured Fiesler Fi.156 Storch and Messerschmidt Bf.108 used in France in the last days of the war.

De HAVILLAND  MOSQUITO  TIII and XIX  in Serial order, Feb.1945–May.1946
All Mk.XIX night fighters fitted with Mk.X A.I., except LR585 which was a dual-control TIII pilot trainer

Date inFromDate outTo
LR585? ? .1945 ?SOC 19.7.45
TA127?YD-Z28.Feb.1945144 MU06.May.1946
FATAL CAT E in Egypt, 1 killed
TA128?YD-L03.Feb.1945 ?u/c collapsed Hal Far 22.11.45
TA129?YD-?03.Feb.1945 ?u/c collapsed Istres 18.4.45
TA130?YD-?01.Feb.1945144 MU??
TA131?YD-H11.Feb.1945144 MU??
TA132?YD-?24.Feb.1945144 MU??
TA395?YD-?.1945 ?SOC 26.9.46
TA399?YD-?.1945 ?SOC 26.9.46
TA408?YD-D.1945 ??
TA412?YD-?.1945 ??
TA427?YD-03.Feb.1945 10.Mar.1945
FATAL CAT E off Corsica, 2 killed
TA430?YD-?03.Feb.1945 ??
TA431?YD-N.1945 ??
TA432?YD-?01.Feb.1945144 MU??
TA437?YD-S.1945 ??
TA440?YD-G06.Feb.1945144 MU??
This table is thought to be a complete list of the Squadron’s T111 and XIX aircraft. Please report suspected omissions/corrections quoting source.

De HAVILLAND  MOSQUITO  Mk.XXX  in Serial order, Apr.1945–May.1946
Otherwise described as NF30, fitted with Mk.X A.I.

Date inFromDate outTo
MV569?YD-.1945 ?SOC 29.10.45
NT246?YD-.1945 ?SOC 31.12.46
This table is thought to be a complete list of the Squadron’s NF30 aircraft. Please report suspected omissions/corrections, quoting source.

Damage categories. This section courtesy of the RAF Museum, Hendon

Before 1941

Cat. UUndamaged
Cat. M(u)Capable of being repaired on site by the operating unit
Cat. M(c)Beyond the unit’s capacity to repair
Cat. R(B)Repair on site is not possible; the aircraft must be dismantled and sent to a repair facility
Cat. WWrite-off


Cat. UUndamaged
Cat. AAircraft can be repaired on site
Cat. AcRepair is beyond the unit capacity, but can be repaired on site by another unit or a contractor
Cat. BBeyond repair on site, but repairable at a Maintenance Unit or at a contractor’s works
Cat. CAllocated to Instructional Airframe duties (for ground training)
Cat. EWrite-off
Cat. E1Write-off, but considered suitable for component recovery
Cat. E2Write-off and suitable only for scrap
Cat. E3Burnt out
Cat. EmMissing from an operational sortie (Missing aircraft were categorised 'Em' after 28 days)

TNA Records available online

The National Archives are (as at January 2015) part-way through copying large parts of their military collection into .pdf form. The results are being made available online, mostly on a pay-per-download basis. All parts of No.255 Squadron’s operational records are already available, but some are highly fragmented. For example AIR27/1518, the Operations Record Book for November 1940 to December 1943, is available but is split into 70 fragments. A key to what’s where appears below.

At a “Have your say” meeting of The National Archives User Forum, held in the Talks Room at Kew on 22 January 2015, a question was put by a representative of 255 Squadron Association regarding the irrational fragmentation of Class AIR27 records generally and AIR27/1518 in particular. It seems that TNA’s management is aware of the problem, but no timetable yet exists for remedial action. An undertaking was given that the microfilm copies will remain available for consultation at TNA Kew until such time as the online copies have been rationalised.

255 Squadron Association has submitted a recommendation that the existing seventy .pdf files be consolidated as follows:
AIR27/1518/1 through AIR27/1518/24 (Reformation in Nov.1940 to Dec.1941)
AIR27/1518/25 through AIR27/1518/46 (The calendar year 1942)
AIR27/1518/47 through AIR27/1518/70 (The calendar year 1943)
There appears to be no good cause to alter the digitisation of AIR27/1519 through AIR27/1522, the rest of The National Archives records relating specifically to No.255 Squadron. Comment is invited.

This table relates TNA Online references to original file/folio numbers and event dates

Online file Start Date End Date Content From folio To folio Footnote(s)
AIR27/1518/1 23.Nov.1940 29.Jan.1941 Form 540 1 side 1 6 side 1 A  ,  B
AIR27/1518/2 08.Jan.1941 15.Jan.1941 Form 541 7 side 1 7 side 1 C
AIR27/1518/3 01.Feb.1941 28.Feb.1941 Form 540 8 side 1 9 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/4 01.Feb.1941 26.Feb.1941 Form 541 10 side 1 11 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/5 01.Mar.1941 31.Mar.1941 Form 540 11A side 1 12 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/6 01.Mar.1941 31.Mar.1941 Form 541 13 side 1 14 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/7 01.Apr.1941 30.Apr.1941 Form 540 15 side 1 16 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/8 05.Apr.1941 30.Apr.1941 Form 541 17 side 1 18 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/9 01.May.1941 31.May.1941 Form 540 19 side 1 20 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/10 01.May.1941 29.May.1941 Form 541 21 side 1 24 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/11 01.Jun.1941 30.Jun.1941 Form 540 25 side 1 26 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/12 01.Jun.1941 30.Jun.1941 Form 541 27 side 1 28 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/13 01.Jul.1941 31.Jul.1941 Form 540 29 side 1 31 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/14 30.Jun.1941 31.Jul.1941 Form 541 32 side 1 34 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/15 01.Aug.1941 30.Aug.1941 Form 540 35 side 1 37 side 1 A
AIR27/1518/16 01.Aug.1941 23.Aug.1941 Form 541 38 side 1 39 side 1 D
AIR27/1518/17 01.Sep.1941 30.Sep.1941 Form 540 40 side 1 41 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/18 26.Sep.1941 30.Sep.1941 Form 541 42 side 1 42 side 1 D
AIR27/1518/19 01.Oct.1941 31.Oct.1941 Form 540 43 side 1 44 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/20 01.Oct.1941 31.Oct.1941 Form 541 45 side 1 46 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/21 01.Nov.1941 30.Nov.1941 Form 540 47 side 1 48 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/22 01.Nov.1941 30.Nov.1941 Form 541 49 side 1 50 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/23 01.Dec.1941 31.Dec.1941 Form 540 51 side 1 53 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/24 01.Dec.1941 31.Dec.1941 Form 541 54 side 1 55 side 2 E
AIR27/1518/25 01.Jan.1942 31.Jan.1942 Form 540 57 side 1 60 side 2 E
AIR27/1518/26 01.Jan.1942 31.Jan.1942 Form 541 60A side 1 61 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/27 01.Feb.1942 28.Feb.1942 Form 540 62 side 1 64 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/28 01.Feb.1942 28.Feb.1942 Form 541 65 side 1 66 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/29 01.Mar.1942 31.Mar.1942 Form 540 67 side 1 70 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/30 01.Mar.1942 31.Mar.1942 Form 541 71 side 1 71 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/31 01.Apr.1942 30.Apr.1942 Form 540 72 side 1 75 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/32 01.Apr.1942 30.Apr.1942 Form 541 76 side 1 77 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/33 01.May.1942 31.May.1942 Form 540 78 side 1 81 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/34 01.May.1942 31.May.1942 Form 541 82 side 1 83 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/35 01.Jun.1942 30.Jun.1942 Form 540 84 side 1 86 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/36 01.Jun.1942 30.Jun.1942 Form 541 87 side 1 89 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/37 01.Jul.1942 31.Jul.1942 Form 540 90 side 1 96 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/38 01.Jul.1942 31.Jul.1942 Form 541 97 side 1 99 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/39 01.Aug.1942 31.Aug.1942 Form 540 100 side 1 101A side 1 None
AIR27/1518/40 02.Aug.1942 31.Aug.1942 Form 541 102 side 1 104 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/41 01.Sep.1942 30.Sep.1942 Form 540 105 side 1 106 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/42 01.Sep.1942 30.Sep.1942 Form 541 107 side 1 107 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/43 01.Oct.1942 30.Nov.1942 Form 540 108 side 1 115 side 1 F
AIR27/1518/44 16.Nov.1942 30.Nov.1942 541 substitute 116 side 1 116 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/45 01.Dec.1942 31.Dec.1942 Form 540 117 side 1 120 side 1 F
AIR27/1518/46 04.Dec.1942 31.Dec.1942 Form 541 121 side 1 127 side 2 G
AIR27/1518/47 01.Jan.1943 31.Jan.1943 Form 540 129 side 1 130 side 1 G
AIR27/1518/48 01.Jan.1943 31.Jan.1943 Form 541 131 side 1 139 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/49 01.Feb.1943 28.Feb.1943 Form 540 140 side 1 140 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/50 01.Feb.1943 28.Feb.1943 Form 541 141 side 1 143 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/51 01.Mar.1943 31.Mar.1943 Form 540 144 side 1 148 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/52 01.Mar.1943 31.Mar.1943 541 Substitute 149 side 1 155 side 1 H
AIR27/1518/53 01.Apr.1943 30.Apr.1943 Form 540 156 side 1 159 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/54 01.Apr.1943 30.Apr.1943 541 Substitute 160 side 1 176 side 1 H
AIR27/1518/55 01.May.1943 31.May.1943 Form 540 177 side 1 178 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/56 01.May.1943 31.May.1943 541 Substitute 179 side 1 194 side 1 H
AIR27/1518/57 01.Jun.1943 30.Jun.1943 Form 540 195 side 1 197 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/58 01.Jun.1943 30.Jun.1943 541 Substitute 198 side 1 208 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/59 01.Jul.1943 31.Jul.1943 Form 540 209 side 1 211 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/60 01.Jul.1943 31.Jul.1943 Form 541 212 side 1 219 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/61 01.Aug.1943 31.Aug.1943 Form 540 220 side 1 222 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/62 01.Aug.1943 31.Aug.1943 Form 541 223 side 1 235 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/63 01.Sep.1943 30.Sep.1943 Form 540 236 side 1 237 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/64 01.Sep.1943 30.Sep.1943 Form 541 238 side 1 249 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/65 01.Oct.1943 31.Oct.1943 Form 540 250 side 1 251 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/66 01.Oct.1943 31.Oct.1943 Form 541 252 side 1 257 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/67 01.Nov.1943 30.Nov.1943 Form 540 258 side 1 260 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/68 01.Nov.1943 30.Nov.1943 Form 541 261 side 1 264 side 1 None
AIR27/1518/69 01.Dec.1943 31.Dec.1943 Form 540 265 side 1 266 side 2 None
AIR27/1518/70 01.Dec.1943 31.Dec.1943 Form 541 267 side 1 272 side 2 None
Online file Start Date End Date Content From folio To folio Footnote(s)
AIR27/1519 01.Sep.1944 31.Aug.1945 Form 449 2 side 1 13 side 2 J
AIR27/1519 01.Feb.1946 31.Feb.1946 [sic] Form 449 14 side 1 15 side 1 K
AIR27/1519 01.Jan.1944 31.Dec.1945 Forms 540/541 16 side 2 160 side 2 L
AIR27/1519 01.Feb.1946 31.Mar.1946 Form 540 161 side 1 166 side 2 M
Online file Start Date End Date Content From folio To folio Footnote(s)
AIR27/1520 25.Sep.1942 13.Sep.1943 Diary Front cover 33 side 2 N
Online file Start Date End Date Content From folio To folio Footnote(s)
AIR27/1521 12.Nov.1942 25.Dec.1942 Diary 1 side 1 25 side 1 P
Online file Start Date End Date Content From folio To folio Footnote(s)
AIR27/1522 Estimate: End of November 1944 Callsign list Inside front cover Q
AIR27/1522 23.Mar.1943 13.May.1943 Ops. Summary 1 side 1 1 side 1 R
AIR27/1522 31.Oct.1944 21.Jan.1945 Diary 2 side 1 10 side 1 S
A Signed off as if also covering the last day(s) of the month.
B No Forms 541 exist for November or December 1940. Squadron non-operational.
C No known operational flying outside this date range.
D No combat missions whilst retraining on Beaufighters.
E Folio 56 is a blank in the original and has not been copied to the .pdf file.
F Entries not in strict date order, due to split travel by sea/air.
G Folio 128 is a blank in the original and has not been copied to the .pdf file.
H See also AIR27/1522 folio 1.
J A good place to match Names with Service ("Dog Tag") numbers as well as 'posting in' dates. This 12-month uninterrupted run of surviving Forms 449 is somewhat unusual.
K February 1946 had 28 days, it was not a leap year.
L Forms 540 and 541 (where existing) are interleaved on a monthly basis.
M Records for January 1946 appear to be missing. It is likely that only a 540 ever existed; there are no known incidents that would have given rise to the creation of a 541.
N Handwritten. This version documents the move to Africa from the Sea Party’s viewpoint.
P Handwritten. This version documents the move to Africa from the Aircrew’s viewpoint.
Q Date estimate based on presumed date of death of 132071 Flight Lieutenant Thomas William Reynolds and 145097 Flying Officer Roy Edward Rudling.
R Logically, this belongs in AIR27/1518. It comprises a typewritten summary of Intruder Operations over Sardinia.
S Handwritten.

Combat Reports in respect of WWII fighter activity over England (AIR50/98) are available online but are split at individual crew member level.

World War One service records have, in the main, been declassified and are available online in Class AIR76. See table in our page about WWI History.

Background study applicable to WWI

Admiralty, The (1919). C.B.1515(22) Technical History and Index, Vol.3 Part 22 of The War Work of the Hydrographic Department (1914–1918). London : Technical History Section, Admiralty. This lengthy work, originally secret and for internal use only but now declassified, includes details of the cartographic theory, production, coverage and use of Squared Charts. Short title "TH.22". Available as a .pdf file from the archivist of the UK Hydrographic Office, Taunton.

Brock, D. (1989, 2008). Wings Over Carew, Milford Haven : Forrest Print. A 36-page collection of photographs of RNAS/RAF Pembroke (1915–1920) and RAF Carew Cheriton (1939–1945) plus, in the second edition, details of the restoration of the control tower ("Watch Office") in the years 2000–2008.

Campbell, J. (2013). Royal Air Force Coastal Command, Cirencester : Memoirs Publishing. This comprehensive history of Coastal Command and its constituent parts includes a detailed analysis of the development of anti-submarine aerial warfare, including several specific references to No.255 Squadron as it was in 1918.  ISBN 978-1-909544-73-4.

Dyfed Archeological Trust (2012). Twentieth Century Military Sites: Airfields. A threat-related assessment 2011–2012. Downloadable.

Background study applicable to the period between the wars

Lamb, R. (1989). The Drift to War 1922–1939, London : W.H.Allen & Co. Not exactly light reading, this thoroughly researched tome written by an accomplished journalist-historian explores the political and economic turmoil that was Europe in the inter-war years. As with many political commentaries, it is necessary to bear in mind the writer’s own standpoint – in Lamb’s case Liberal with Conservative tendencies, subject to Catholic influence. Born 1911, much of his writing drew on personal experience as a teenager and young adult, as well as the results of his later extensive delving into many archives. However, the work is light on affairs of the Monarchy, the Established Church, the likes of the Mitford sisters and the Right Club in comparison with the author’s in-depth analysis of the motives and actions of mainstream politicians. ISBN 1-85227-116-7.

Background study applicable to WWII

Aarons, N. (2011). "The Aristocrat and the Balkan Communists." Series 1, Episode 13 of Secret War. 50 minute video, Acorn Media, 29 Jun 2011. The background story explaining No.255 Squadron’s involvement in the Balkans.

Beale, N. (2001). Ghost Bombers : The Moonlight War of NSG 9. Crowborough : Classic Publications. ISBN 1-903223-15-6. The background to No.255 Squadron’s involvement in the Battle of Ancona, Italy, July 1944, analysed primarily from the Luftwaffe perspective.

Bingham, V. (1994). Bristol Beaufighter. Shrewsbury : Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-122-2.

Bowyer, C. (1976). Beaufighter at War. London (Shepperton) : Ian Allen Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-0704-7. See especially pages 54 and 60–63. Some errors slipped into these pages. The left hand column of the Tally Board depicted on p.54 lists 255's victories, not 600's, and the Combat Report on p.60 should read "255 Squadron" not 225. It also omits O'Sullivan’s first initial.

Brew, Alex (1996). The Defiant File. Tonbridge : Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-226-2.

Collier, R. and Wilkinson, R. (1990). Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks 1 (Revised). Barnsley : Leo Cooper. p.28–32. ISBN 0-85052-457-1. Includes photographs of the crash site of N3378. The speculative remarks quoted at p.31 fail to take account of the fact that the pilot of a Defiant had no control over the aircraft’s guns and that the occupant of the Air Gunner’s seat on the day was not trained in the operation of the gun turret. Would "friendly fire" have been returned anyway, had it been possible? Probably not.

Croft, P.L. (1992). A History of No 255 Squadron Royal Air Force. Unpublished typescript held at the RAF Museum, Hendon, as "Object number B3788". This 34-page document contains a number of uncorrected errors. See also annotated update held by 255 Squadron Association.

Croft, P.L. (2011). The Night Fighter World. Brighton : The Book Guild. p.13–40. ISBN 978-1-84624-580-0. Peter Lionel Croft (1920–2012) served with No.255 Squadron as a Navigator, joining at Hibaldstow at the point in time when the Squadron was converting from Defiants to Beaufighters and leaving whilst the Squadron was in Algeria equipped with Mk.VI Beaufighters and Mk.IV AI sets. Regarding the Mk.II Beaufighter issue, he suggests (at p.23) that the Squadron was “in disgrace because of the number of flying accidents that had occurrred” with the Mk.II Beau. He nevertheless concludes, as have others, that the underlying problem was with a mis-match between the airframe and the Rolls-Royce Merlin in-line engines rather than a case of collective incompetence amongst the pilots.

Cross, Sir K. and Orange, V. (1993). Straight and Level. London : Grub Street. This account of the RAF career of Sir Kenneth 'Bing' Cross does not specifically mention No.255 Squadron, but does provide an insight into the Senior Officers’ view of the Tunisian campaign and NACAF (North-west African Coastal Air Force), Bing holding the rank of Air Commodore at the time. Relevant part commences at p.229. ISBN 0-948817-72-0.

Cunningham, A. (1953). Tumult in the Clouds. London : Peter Davies. An authorised reprint of articles that originally appeared during WWII in the Royal Air Force Quarterly. Andrew Cunningham was a nom-de-plume; the author’s true identity being Walter Thomas Cunningham (1911–1979), one time Senior Navigator of No.255 Squadron. The content is not quite as fictitious as the Author’s Note in the preface might suggest. For example, compare pp.166–167 of Tumult with the bibliographic reference Eley, G.W. (1944) below. Publication predates the creation of the ISBN system.

Eley, G.W. (1944). Night Fighting : Five hours of a navigator’s life. Originally written as a private diary record, this account of one No.255 Squadron intruder mission was published by the BBC in 2005 and is archived on The People’s War website.

Goulding, J. and Jones, R. (1970–1971). Camouflage & Markings. London : Ducimus Books. In magazine format, Edition No.9 "Bristol Beaufighter". In book format, p.194–216.

Greaves, D.H. (Posthumous, 2016, re-edited from original manuscript by Marshall, S.). Diary of a Night Fighter Pilot, 1939–1945. Amazon (Kindle option). ISBN 978-09-558909-9-4.

Horlings, H. (2008–2010). Controlling Multi-Engine Airplanes after Engine Failure. Online publication, a mathematical approach to describing the asymmetrical forces at work when a multi-engined aircraft suffers an engine failure.

Kaššák, P. and Gunby, D. (2017). Gardening by Moonlight, Bratislava : Degart. ISBN 978-80-971891-3-6. Available in the UK via the Print-on-Demand service of Language - English. See especially Chapter 12 (pages 127–134), which deals exclusively with No.255 Squadron’s activities over the Rivers Danube and Sava.

Pretz, B. (1983). A Dictionary of Military and Technological Abbreviations & Acronyms. London, Boston, Melbourne and Henley : Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-7100-9274-1.

Rawlings, J.D.R. (1969). Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft. London : Macdonald. p.359–361. The work perpetuates the ORB’s Le/La Vallon discrepancy regarding airfield names in France. Publication predates the creation of the ISBN system.

Scutts, J. (2004). Bristol Beaufighter. Marlborough : Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-666-9.

Skybrary (2013). Engine Failure After Take-Off – Light Twin Engine Aircraft. Online publication, a non-mathematical approach to describing the essentials of retaining control during such an emergency. Page edition date: 13 June 2013.

Watson-Watt, R.A. (1937). Patent GB593017. “Aircraft, marine craft, or other objects are located by radiating intermittent carrier wave pulses and receiving in an indicating receiver the pulses reflected or re-radiated from the object”.

Wisdom, T.H. (1944). Triumph over Tunisia. London : George Allen & Unwin. The author, a Wing Commander and member of the Press Corps, was writing subject to wartime censorship. In consequence, not all squadrons are identified but the first part of Chapter 14, "Hunters of the Night Sky", is linked to No.255 Squadron both explicitly and through the many genuine names of both people and places appearing on pages 110–118.

Wynne-Willson, M.F. (1996, 2003). Before I Forget! Bloomington : 1st Books. Volume One of the autobiography of No.255 Squadron pilot Michael F. Wynne-Willson (1919–2013). His very revealing account of squadron life begins at page 148 and, at page 163, identifies supercharger failures as a relevant factor in many take-off accidents involving Mk.II Beaufighters (Page numbers refer to the 10 May 2001 revision).

Citations and Footnotes

Click on the ^ symbol to return to the text you were reading.

1. ^ TNA : WO201/2639, especially at folio 2a. Original document; requires TNA Readers Ticket to view.
2. ^ Bingham, V. (1994). Bristol Beaufighter. Shrewsbury : Airlife Publishing, p.85.  ISBN 1853101222.
3. ^ Pers. Corr. with Squadron Leader Mike Dean, MBE, of the Historical Radar Archive.
4. ^ Halley, J.J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918-1988, Tonbridge : Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, p.323.  ISBN 0851301649.
5. ^ TNA : AIR27/1518 and AIR27/1519, various folios.
6. ^ Personal papers of the late Freddie Lammer held in the Lammer Family Archive.
7. ^ Pratt, D. and Grant, M. (1998). Wings Across the Border : History of Aviation in NE Wales and the Northern Marches, Vol.1. ISBN 9781872424750.
8. ^ Gathered together from Patrol Reports contained in multiple files within TNA Class AIR1.

Copyright © 2014–2024.  All rights reserved except where otherwise stated.

Unicode logo (1896 bytes). W3C code verification logo (1894 bytes).