Historical Aircraft

406 Squadron

 

No. 406 Squadron

Badge: A lynx salient affronte
Motto: We kill by night
Authority: King George VI, December 1942

The lynx, an animal possessing keen sight at night, typifies the unit’s operational role as a night fighter squadron.

Formed at Acklington, Northumberland, England on 10 May 1941 as the RCAF’s fifth – first Night Fighter – squadron formed overseas, the unit flew Blenheim, Beaufighter and Mosquito aircraft in the night air defence of Britain. On 27 November 1944 it was re-designated Intruder and converted to offensive opera­tions over Europe. Listed as the top-scoring RAF/RCAF in­truder unit at the war’s end, (1) the squadron was disbanded at Predannack, Cornwall on 1 September 1945.

Brief Chronology: Formed as No. 406 (NF) Sqn, Acklington, Northumb., Eng. 10 May 41. Re-designated No. 406 (I) Sqn, Manston, Kent 27 Nov 44. Disbanded at Predannack, Cornwall 1 Sep 45.

Title or Nickname: Lynx

Adoption: Women’s Air Force Auxiliary, Saskatoon, Sask. (August 1944)

Commanders

  • W/C D.G. Norris (RAF), DFC 28 May 41 – 6 Aug 42.
  • W/C R.A. Wills (RAF) 7 Aug 42 – 31 Jan 43.
  • W/C I.R. Stephenson (RAF) 1 Feb 43 – 24 Aug 43.
  • W/C R.C. Fumerton, DFC and Bar 25 Aug 43 – 26 Jul 44.
  • W/C D.J. Williams, DSO, DFC 27 Jul 4.4 – 3 Nov 44.
  • W/C R. Bannock, DFC and Bar 23 Nov 44 – 14 May 45.
  • W/C R.G. Gray, DFC 15 May 45 – 1 Sep 45.

Higher Formations and Squadron Locations

Fighter Command, renamed Air Defence Great Britain (15 Nov 43 – 15 Oct 44):

No. 13 Group,

  • Acklington, Northumb. 10 May 41 – 31 Jan 42.
  • Ayr, Scot. 1 Feb 42 – 15 Jun 42.
  • 4 aircraft, Scorton, Yorks. 2 Feb – 15 Jun 42.
  • Scorton, Yorks. 16 Jun 42 – 3 Sep 42.

No. 10 Group,

  • Predannack, Cornwall 4 Sep 42 – 7 Dec 42.
  • Middle Wallop, Hants., 8 Dec 42 – 30 Mar 43.

No. 9 Group,

  • Valley, Anglesey, Wales 31 Mar 43 – 14 Nov 43.

No. 10 Group,

  • Exeter, Devon. 15 Nov 43 – 13 Apr 44.
  • Winkleigh, Devon. 14 Apr 44 – 16 Sep 44.
  • Colerne, Wilts. 17 Sep 44 – 26 Nov 44.

No. 11 Group,

  • Manston, Kent 27 Nov 44 – 12 Jun 45.

No. 10 Group,

  • Predannack, Cornwall 14 Jun 45 – 1 Sep 45.

Representative Aircraft (Unit Code HU)

Bristol Blenheim Mk.I & IV (May – Jun 41)

Bristol Beaufighter Mk.HF (Jun 41 – Aug 42)

Bristol Beaufighter Mk.VIP (Jun 41 – Aug 44)

  • KW103 T

de Havilland Mosquito Mk.XII (Apr – Jul 44)

de Havilland Mosquito F.B.Mk.XXX (Jul 44 – Sep 45)

  • MM699 P MM727 B MM734 K MM739 D MM741 T MM744 G MM745 A MM751 S NT283 V NT312 M NT325 N NT423 0 NT433 Y NT477 H NT453 E NT478 R NT495 C NT498 P NT539 G NT544 Z
  • Also had the following F.B.Mk.VI RS525 F RS531 S

Operational History: First Mission, Night Fighter 17 June 1941, 2 Blenheims from Acklington – uneventful scramble.

First Victory: 1/2 September 1941, Beaufighter II R2336 from Acklington with F/O R.C. Fumerton and Sgt. L.P.S. Bing (observer) – night readiness, scrambled, and credited with a Ju.88 destroyed over Bedlington. This was the RCAF’s first night fighter victory. (Although the squadron itself was not operational at this time, several of the crews were declared operational and were standing night readiness.)

First Mission, Intruder: 5 December 1944, 5 Mos­quito XXX’s from Manston – 4 to Leeuwarden and Steen­wijk, 1 to Biblis – unable to complete mission owing to weather.

Last Mission: 9 May 1945, 6 Mosquito XXX’s from Manston covered the liberation of the Channel Islands.

Summary Sorties: 1835.

  • Operational/Non-operational Fly­ing Hours: 4552/19,274.
  • Victories:
    • Aircraft: 64 destroyed, 7 probably destroyed, 47 damaged. (2)
    • Ground: destroyed 88 locomotives, at least 8 freight cars 32 vehicles and 7 small vessels.
  • Casualties:
    • Operational: 11 aircraft; 20 aircrew killed or missing, 2 POW.
    • Non-operational: 17 personnel killed.

Squadron Aces: F/O C.J. Kirkpatrick (navigator), DFC 7-0-1. FIL W.A. Boak (navigator) 6-1-1. W/C D.J. Williams (pilot) DSO, DFC 5-0-0.

Honours and Awards: 3 DSO’s, 1 second bar to DFC, 1 bar to DFC, 14 DFC’s, 2 DFM’s, 4 MiD’s.

Battle Honours: Defence of Britain 1941-1945. English Channel and North Sea 1944. Fortress Europe 1943-1944. France and Germany 1944-1945: Biscay Ports 1944, Normandy 1944, Rhine. Biscay 1944.

(1) For the period 27 Nov 44 to the end of hostilities in Europe. The overall RCAF top-scoring unit was No. 418 Squadron.

(2) Breakdown of victories: Night Fighter: 31-5-11; Intruder: Air 23-1-13.