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No. 98 was a British bomber squadron that operated in the RAF during WWII. It was formed 1917 and served during World War I in the Western Front and continued to serve throughout WWII in the same area. Its official motto was "Never Failing". The squadron was initially armed with Airco DH.9 bombers during World War I but was later given Hawker Hinds and then Fairey Battles as replacement bombers. It wasn't until late 1942 that the squadron finally received North American B-25 Mitchells which stayed with the squadron until the end of the war.

Commanders

The first commander of No. 98 Squadron after its first reformation around WWII was squadron leader P. Hume-Wright who served for around a year with the squadron in 1936 and he was succeeded by R. H. Donkin who himself had command until 1939. Donkin was then replaced by Wing commanders Dixon-Wright, Anderson, Ashton, and Wilcox who served for several months each until 1941 when the squadron was disbanded once more. After the squadron was reformed, it was taken up by Wing commander Lewer up to 1943 and Philips to 1944. From there, several commanders were placed in charge of the squadron but none more than a year.[1]

Structure

No. 98 Squadron consisted of four flights all operating under the squadron commander or the wing commander. The squadron itself was a part of RAF Group No. 6 for the most part but was reassigned to Group No. 2 in 1944. A Group which is a series of bomber squadrons organized together for combat operations. 


Unit History

After the unit's initial formation on 15th August 1917,[N 1] it was immediately sent to the Western Front of World War I where it saw heavy fighting in the battles of Lys, Marne, and Amiens. However, after the war had ended, the squadron was disbanded for a period of time before being declared operational once more[3] at Abingdon on 17th February 1936, following the redesignation of 'C' Flight of 15 Squadron. The squadron was equipped with Hawker Hind and Fairey Battle aircraft.[2] During the early phases of World War II, the squadron was held in reserve yet was still sent to France to assist allied forces. However, during the British evacuation following the Fall of France, most of No. 98 Squadron's personnel boarded the cruise liner Lancastria which was then sunk off of the coast of Saint Nazaire taking with it 90 of the Squadron's men.[4] The squadron was reformed at West Raynam on 12th September 1942, and allocated squadron code VO[2] after a brief reformation and deformation from 1940-1941. Its first combat mission was in 1942 when the squadron was finally given B-25 Mitchells and joined the Allied Strategic Bombing Campaign. Notably, the squadron also took part in attacks against German coastal defenses in preparation for the Allied assault in Normandy. 

Notes

  1. This resulted from the redesignation of an element of 44 Training Squadron.[2]

References

  1. http://www.rafjever.org/98squadhistory3.htm#AppA
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lake, Alan. Flying Units of the RAF. Airlife Publishing. 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6 Page 221
  3. http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h98.html
  4. http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/98_wwII.html

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