Historical Aircraft

415 Squadron

 

No. 415 Squadron
Badge A swordfish
Motto Ad metam (To the mark) Authority King George VI, October 1942
The swordfish and motto indicate the squadron’s operational duties in at­tacking enemy shipping. Formed at Thorney Island, Hamp­
shire, England on 20 August 1941 as
the RCAF’s 13th – fourth coastal
and only Torpedo Bomber – squad­
ron formed overseas, the unit flew
Hampden, Wellington and Albacore aircraft on anti-ship­ping operations over the English Channel and along the Dutch coastline. Following the invasion of Europe in June 1944, and the resulting lack of enemy shipping activity in the English Channel, the squadron was redesignated Bomber at Bircham Newton, Norfolk on 12 July. Drawing from trained personnel within No. 6 (RCAF) Group, it was reorganized at East Moor, Yorkshire two weeks later as the group’s 14th bomber unit, and flew Halifax aircraft. The squadron was disbanded on 15 May 1945.
Brief Chronology Formed as No. 415 (TB) Sqn, Thorney Island, Hants., Eng. 20 Aug 41. Redesignated No. 415 (B) Sqn, Bircham Newton, Norfolk 12 Jul 44. Disbanded, East Moor, York. 15 May 45.

Title or Nickname: Swordfish

San Antonio Mines, Bissett, Man. (April 1945).
Commanders
W/C E.L. Wurtele 26 Aug 41 – 30 Jul 42.
W/C R.R. Dennis 31 Jul 42 – 10 Nov 42 repat.
W/C W.W. Bean 11 Nov 42 – 15 Mar 43.
W/C G.H.D. Evans 16 Mar 43 – 1 Aug 43.
WIC C.G. Ruttan, DSO 2 Aug 43 – 11 Jul 44.
W/C J.C. McNeill, DFC 12 Jul 44 – 21 Aug 44 KIFA.
W/C J.H.L. Lecomte, DFC 22 Aug 44 – 30 Oct 44.
W/C F.W. Ball 31 Oct 44 – 15 May 45.
Higher Formations and Squadron Locations
Coastal Command:
No. 16 Group,
Thorney Island, Hants. 20 Aug 41 – 10 Apr 42.
No. 19 Group,
St. Eva!, Cornwall 11 Apr 42 – 15 May 42.
No. 16 Group,
Thorney Island, Hants. 16 May 42 – 4 Jun 42.
North Coates, Lines. 5 Jun 42 – 30 Jul 42.
No. 18 Group,
Wick, Caith., Scot. 31 Jul 42 – 31 Aug 42.
Tain, Ross., Scot. 1 Sep 42 – 9 Sep 42.
Leuchars, Fife., Scot. 10 Sep 42 – 10 Nov 42.
No. 19 Group, 6 aircraft, St. Eval, Cornwall 18-31 Oct 42. No. 16 Group, 6 aircraft, Thorney Island, Hants. 18 Oct – 10 Nov 42.
No. 16 Group,
Thorney Island, Hants 11 Nov 42 – 14 Nov 43.
Bircham Newton, Norfolk 15 Nov 43 – 11 Jul 44.

Albacores at Manston, Kent and Thorney Island, Hants.; Wellingtons at Docking, Norfolk and North Coates, Lines., 8 Albacores at Winkleigh, Devon. 8 May – 12 Jul 44.
RAF Bomber Command:
No. 6 (RCAF) Group,
Bircham Newton, Norfolk 12 Jul 44 – 25 Jul 44.
No. 62 (RCAF) Base,
East Moor, Yorks. 26 Jul 44 – 15 May 45.
Representative Aircraft (Unit Codes GX, NH, GU)
Bristol Beaufort Mk.I (Sep 41 – Feb 42, not on operations) L9802 R L9819 Q L9893 B Nll02 S N1082 A AW219.C
Handley Page Hampden Mk.I (Jan 42 – Sep 43) X3140 T AD762 J AD767 Y AE360 H AE368 W AN124 K AT114 D AT152 S AT193 R AT230 L AT232 A AT233 B AT234 C AT235 P AT238 0 AT240 D AT242 F AT243 N AT244 M AT245 U AT247 W AT248 J AT250 K
Vickers Wellington Mk.XIII(L/L) (Sep 43 – Jul 44)
Fairey Albacore Mk.I (Oct 43 – Jul 44, coded NH)’
9272 NH-J BF600 NH-Pl
Handley Page Halifax B.Mk.III & VII (Jul 44 – May 45, coded GU) LW552 S LW595 Q MZ456 P MZ483 M MZ590 C MZ603 E MZ861 Z MZ946 0 MZ847 K NA124 I NA181 D NA185 A NA517 R NA600 U NA610 B NP199 N NP938 Y NR122 X NR156 K NR206 F NR253 L PN236 J PN239 V PN240 W
(The squadron had only six B.Mk.VII’s from March to May 1945)
Operational History: First Mission 27 April 1942, 2 Hamp­dens from St. Eva! – anti-shipping patrol. A T232 GX-A sighted two unidentified aircraft and two Spanish trawlers; AT244 GX-M reported no sightings. First Victory 29 May 1942, 3 Hampdens from Thorney Island – anti-shipping patrol; sighted an enemy convoy of six motor vessels and five flak (anti-aircraft) ships at 5337N 0545E, attacked the largest ship (6000 tons); claimed as damaged. Flak was heavy and 1 Hampden failed to return. The aircraft and captains were: AT229 GX-V, FS Garfin; AT236 GX-R, P/O Sargent (KIA); AT239 GX-T, P/O Lawrence. Last Mission, Torpedo Bomber 11 July 1944, 21 Albacore sorties flown from Manston over the Channel – 12 smoke-laying, 6 armed and 3 strike patrols; several vessels attacked without results. First Mission, Bomber 28/29 July 1944, 16 Halifaxes from East Moor despatched to bomb Hamburg; 1 crashed on takeoff (crew safe), 14 bombed primary target, 1 failed to return. Last Mission 25 April 1945, 18 Halifaxes from East Moor bombed gun positions on the Island of Wangerooge. Summary, Torpedo Bomber Sorties: 1645
(including 681 Albacore). Operational/Non-operational Fly­ing Hours: 6243/8510. Victories: Shipping: dropped 196 tons of bombs; credited with 5 ships (8836 tons) sunk, 2
(10,646 tons) damaged, plus 2 shared sinkings (8293 tons). Casualties: Operational: 33 aircraft; 116 aircrew, of whom 14 were killed, 97 missing, 4 POW, 1 wounded. Non­operational: 13 aircraft; 43 personnel, of whom 33 were killed, 4 missing, 5 injured, 1 died. Bomber Sorties: 1608 Operational/Non-operational Flying Hours: 9035/2669. Bombs dropped: 5041.7 tons of high explosive, 797.8 incendiary. Victories: Aircraft: 1 destroyed, 1 probably destroyed. Casualties: Operational: 22 aircraft; 151 air­crew killed, missing or POW. Non-operational: 1 aircraft; 12 personnel killed. Honours and Awards 1 DSO, 1 bar to DFC, 86 DFC’s, 1 GM, 9 DFM’s. Battle Honours Atlantic 1942. English Channel and North Sea 1942-1944. France and Germany 1944-1945: Biscay Ports 1944, Ruhr 1944-1945, German Ports 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Rhine. Biscay 1942-1943