Historical Aircraft

417 Squadron

 

No. 417 Squadron
Badge In front of a palm tree eradicated a sword and fasces in salt ire
Motto Supporting liberty and justice Authority King George VI, October 1945
The squadron operated with the 8th Anny in North Africa, in the Sicilian landings, and in Italy in close support of the anny. The palm tree suggests the desert, the sword air support to the army, and the fasces the fighting in Italy

Formed at Charmy Down, Somersetshire, England on 27 November 1941 as the RCAF’s 16th – seventh Fighter – squadron formed overseas, the unit was ordered to the Middle East in the spring of 1942. Equipped with Hurricane and, later, Spitfire aircraft, it spent five months in the defence of the Suez Canal and the Nile Delta. In April 1943 it became the only Canadian squadron in the Desert Air Force and was to provide air defence and close support to the British Eighth Army through the closing stages of the Tunisian campaign, and throughout the Sicilian and Italian campaigns. The squadron was disbanded at Treviso, Italy on 30 June 1945.
Brief Chronology Formed at Charmy Down, Som., Eng. 27 Nov 41. Disbanded 30 Jun 45.

Title or nickname “City of Windsor”

Adoption City of Windsor, Ont. (May 1943)

Commanders

  • S/L C.E. Malfroy (RAF) 27 Nov 41 – 27 Mar 42
  • S/L P.B. Pitcher 28 Mar 42 – 17 Nov 42 repat.
  • S/L F. B. Foster 18 Nov 42 – 23 Jun 43 repat.
  • S/L P.S. Turner (Can/RAF), DFC and Bar 24 Jun 43 – 19 Nov 43
  • S/L A.U. Houle, DFC and Bar 20 Nov 43 – 17 Feb 44 repat.
  • S/L K.L. Magee, 18 Feb and 44 -12 Mar 44.
  • S/L W.B. Hay 13 Mar 44 – 23 Jun 44 OTE.
  • S/L O.C. Kallio, DFC 24 Jun 44 – 11 Nov 44 OTE.
  • S/L D. Goldberg, bFC 12 Nov 44 – 30 Jun 45.

Higher Formations and Squadron Locations

Fighter Command:
No. 10 Group,
Charmy Down, Som. 27 Nov 41 – 26 Jan 42.
Colerne, Wilts. 27 Jan 42 – 23 Feb 42.
No. 14 Group,
Tain, Ross., Scot. 25 Feb 42 – 12 Apr 42.
En route to Egypt 13 Apr 42 – 3 Jun 42.
Middle East Command:
Air Headquarters Egypt,
Kasfareet, Egypt 4 Jun 42 -17 Jul 42.’
Deversoir, Egypt 18 Jul 42 – 4 Sep 42.
Shandur, Egypt 5 Sep 42 – 9 Oct 42.
Idku, Egypt 10 Oct 42 – 24 Jan 43.
4 aircraft each at Cairo, Egypt 7 Oct – 22 Nov 42. Al Kufra Oasis, Libyan Desert 3-25 Nov 42. Cyprus 7 Dec 42 _ 7 Jan 43. Benghazi, Libya 7 Dec 42 – 7 Jan 43.
LG. 175 Alexandria, Egypt 25 Jan 43 – 7 Feb 43.
En route to Tripoli, Libya 8 Feb 43 – 18 Feb 43′.
Castel Benito, Tripoli, Libya 19 Feb 43 – 27 Feb 43.

Mellaha, Tripoli, Libya 28 Feb 43 – 11 Apr 43.
8 aircraft, Ben Gardane, Tunisia 19-29 Mar 3-10 Apr 43.
Ben Gardane, Tunisia 12 Apr 43 – 14 Apr 43.
Aircraft at La Fauconnerie.
Desert Air Force. 3
No. 211 Group,
No. 244 Wing,
Goubrine South, Tunisia 15 Apr 43 – 5 May 43. Hergla, Tunisia 6 May 43 – 14 May 43.
Ben Gardane, Tunisia 15 May 43 – 14 Jun 43.
Luga, Malta (Sicily landings) 15 Jun 43 – 15 Jul 43.

Cassibile, Syracuse, Sicily 16 Jul 43 – 25 Jul 43.

Lentini West, Sicily 26 Jul 43 – 18 Sep 43

Grottaglie, Italy 19 Sep 43 – 24 Sep 43

Gioia delle Colle, It. 25 Sep 43 – 4 Oct 43

Foggia, It. 5 Oct 43 – 17 Oct 43.
Triolo, It. 18 Oct 43 – 25 Nov 43.
Canne, It. 26 Nov 43 – 16 Jan 44.
Marcianise Landing Ground, Anzio, It. 17 Jan 44 – 23 Apr 44.
Venafro, Cassino, It. 24 Apr 44 – 12 Jun 44.
6 Jun 44.

Littorio, Rome, It. 13 Jun 44 – 16 Jun 44

Perugia, It. 4 Jul 44 – 25 Aug 44.
Loreto, It. 26 Aug 44 – 4 Sep 44.
Fano, It. 5 Sep 44 – 4 Dec 44.
Bellaria, It. 5 Dec 44 – 3 May 45.
Treviso, It. 4 May 45 – 30 Jun 45.
Representative Aircraft (Unit Code AN)
England
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.HA & IIB (Nov 41 – Feb 42) P8570 R
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB (Feb – Mar 42) AB797 Z AD319 U
Middle East
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIB (Sep – Oct 42)
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIC (Sep 42 – Jan 43) BD779 B BP590 R HL835 A HL843 C
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB & VC (Oct 42 – Sep 43) BR483 V EP315 F EP893 R ER134 Y ER364 T ER634 H ER944 C ES124
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII J (Aug 43 – Apr 45) JF336 O JF403 E JF469 M JF473 X JF557 D JF565 L JF579 JF586 C JF672 M JF781 J JF881 H HF932 W JF952 J Y JF956 B JF964 T JG184 A JG185 U JG240 R JG294 F JG317 V JG337 X JG475·z MT546 Z MT770 A Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXB (Apr – Jun 45) MJ818 U Operational History: First Mission, England 17 February 1942, 3 Spitfire VB’s from Charmy Down – uneventful scramble. First Mission, Middle East 13 September 1942, 2 Hurricane IIB’s from Shandur – patrol over the town of Suez at 25,000 feet. First Victory 26 September 1942, FS J.H.G. Leguerrier in Hurricane IIC HL891 AN-N from Shandur – patrol over the town of Suez, credited with a Ju.88 destroyed southeast of the town. First Offensive Mission 24 March 1943, 8 Spitfire VB’s from Mellaha, Tripoli – top cover for 18 Baltimores bombing targets on the Mareth Line. Last Mission 5 May 1945, 2 Spitfire IX’s from Treviso – patrol of Villach – St. Michael – Linz – Dobbiaco, in the Austro-Italian Alps. Summary Sorties: 12,116 (including 11 in England). Operational/Non-opera- tional Flying Hours: 15,088/4974. Victories: Aircraft: 29 destroyed, 8 probably destroyed, 22 damaged. Ground:dropped 1080 tons of bombs; destroyed/damaged 11/111 locomotives, 64/261 freight cars, 14/27 passenger cars;
79/137 motor vehicles; 7/11 tanks; 6/18 barges, plus
miscellaneous targets. Casualties: Operational: 32 aircraft; 28 pilots, of whom 7 were killed, 11 presumed dead, 8
POW, 2 evaded capture. Non-operational: 4 personnel, of whom 1 killed,3 died. Squadron Ace SIL A. U. Houle, DFC and Bar 7-0-4. Honours and Awards 1 DSO, 1 bar to DFC, 9 DFC’s, 5 MiD’s. Battle Honours Defence of Britain 1942. Egypt and Libya 1942 -1943. North Africa 1943. Sicily
1943. Italy 1943-1945: Salerno, Anzio and Nettuno, Gustav Line, Gothic Line. ‘No aircraft were available to the squadron from its arrival in Egypt until midsummer of 1942. Between June and August, under British command, pilots were employed on ferry duty and groundcrew on maintenance.
‘The squadron remained under Air Force Headquarters Egypt, but was at­tached to Air Headquarters Western Desert for operational control.
‘Until July 1943, still known officially as Air Headquarters Western
Desert.