466 Squadron (RAAF)


The Sqn Logos are used and produced under licence from the MOD

 

A History of 466 Squadron RAAF

466 Squadron RAAF was formed at RAF Driffield, Yorkshire, in 4 Group of the RAF on the 10th October 1942, as a medium-bomber squadron, equipped with Wellington Mk III aircraft.

 

The first four crews arrived from the Operational Training Unit on 26th October 1942, and by the end of the month there were fourteen complete crews.  Although the ultimate intention was the creation of an all Australian squadron, the majority of the aircrew and many of the ground crew at the outset were RAF.  The policy of replacing non-Australian personnel by Australians was a gradual process and after two years of operations some half of the flying personnel, including all captains of aircraft, was Australian. In the original crews were representatives of Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Malaya.

The Squadron’s code letters ‘HD’ were received on 8th November and inscribed on the sides of the aircraft and an identification letter, ranging from A to Z, followed the code letters of HD. The individuality and presence of the Squadron had been established.

On 27th December 1942, the Squadron moved to Leconfield, where it was to remain until 3rd June 1944 to Operate Wellington Mk X’s.

 

At the beginning of September 1943, 466 Squadron became non-operational owing to its conversion to Halifax Mk II aircraft. From this date, it became a heavy bomber squadron with an aircrew strength of 83 RAAF and 121 RAF personnel.

With all these new aircraft and training accidents were inevitable and in these few months there saw a sad loss of life, During an air to sea firing exercise on the 3rd November 1943, a Halifax Mk II, with Serial No.DT559, was lost near Flamborough Head in the North Sea. Seven persons in Crew No.66 were posted missing and subsequently recorded as having “No Known Grave”.

466 Squadron became operational once more on 1st/2nd December 1943, when 12 Halifax Mk III radial-engine aircraft from Leconfield carrying out mining sorties “Gardening” mission off Terschelling Island, Netherlands. Eleven laid their mines successfully while one aircraft crashed on landing at Catfoss in very poor visibility, but no casualties were sustained. Further mining sorties were carried out on 3rd/4th, 4/5th and 24/25th December.

After a number of operations of this type, the Squadron’s first bombing attack on Germany, with Halifax Mk III aircraft, was made on Frankfurt on the night of the 20/21st December 1943. The Squadron’s sixteen aircraft formed part of a bomber force of 650 aircraft and included, in all, 55 RAAF aircraft. Twenty planes were lost on this target.  466 Squadron was the first of Bomber Command’s main force to have H2S (Radar Navigation and Bombing Aid). However, the Frankfurt raid achieved little although it opened accurately. Many of the mainforce were deceived by dummy Target-indicators and the majority of bombs fell outside Frankfurt.

At the end of the first year of operations, including both Wellington and Halifax aircraft, Squadron records showed 4,610 operational hours; 759,321 miles; 917 sorties; 177,482 bombs dropped weighing 1,615,740 pounds; 666 mines laid weighing 943,000 pounds; two enemy aircraft

destroyed and four damaged. The aircraft loss rate was 4.5%.

 

Summary of 466 Actions and Aircraft Losses: December 1942 to May 1945

The following five tables numbered II to VI are summaries of 466 Squadron operational and training actions during December 1942 to May 1945.

 

Chronologically, the history of 466 Squadron RAAF is:

10th October 1942 - formed RAF Driffield, under terms of Article XV of the Empire Air Training Schemes

27th December 1942 - moved to RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire

3rd June 1944 - returned to RAF Driffield, Yorkshire

7th May 1945 - transferred from Bomber Command to Transport Command

20th June 1945 - Squadron renamed 10 Squadron RAAF

8th September 1945- moved to Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire

26th October 1945- Squadron disbanded

 

Aircraft operated by no. 466 Squadron RAAF

Oct 1942 - Dec 1942                         Vickers Wellington Mk.III

Nov 1942 - Sep 1943                        Vickers Wellington Mk.X

Sep 1943 - Nov 1943                        Handley Page Halifax Mk.II

Nov 1943 -May 1945                       Handley Page Halifax Mk.III

May 1945 - Oct 1945                        Handley Page Halifax Mk.VI

Oct 1945 - Oct 1945                          Consolidated Liberator MK. VIII

 

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 466 Squadron RAAF

10 Oct 1942 - 29 Sep 1943              Wing Commander R.E. Bailey

29 Sep 1943 - 23 May 1944            Wing Commander D.T. Forsyth

23 May 1944 - 20 Oct 1944            Wing Commander H.W. Connolly

20 Oct 1944 - 3 April 1945              Wing Commander A. Wharton

3 April 1945 - 26 Oct 1945              Wing Commander A. Hollings

 

Photos

 

Kingston upon Hull  26th Sept 1943

Ground staff of No  466 Squadron RAAF marching in the Battle of Britain parade

 

 

Memorial in Driffield

 

Thanks to John Dann and the friends of 466 & 462 sqn

Any more info about 466 Squadron can be found at

www.facebook.com/groups/349414338442678

http://www.halifaxlv827.co.uk

March in Hull picture copyright to Australian War Memorial

Also by contacting us at

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