Historical Aircraft

421 Squadron

 

No. 421 Squadron
Badge In front of two tomahawks in saltire, a Red Indian warrior’s head­dress
Motto Bellicum cecinere (They have sounded the war trumpet)
Authority King George VI, September 1944
The Canadian Red Indian is well known for his courage and fighting qualities and with the tomahawks, his traditional weapon, makes an appro­priate device for a fighter squadron. Formed at Digby, Lincolnshire, England on 9 April 1942 as the RCAF’s 20th – eighth and last Fighter – squadron formed overseas, the unit flew Spitfire aircraft on offensive and defensive air operations; and in close support of ground forces in North-West Europe. The squadron was disbanded at Utersen, Germany on 10 July 1945.
Brief Chronology Formed at Digby, Lines., Eng. 9 Apr 42. Disbanded at Utersen, Ger. 10 Jul 45. ‘t

Title or Nickname “Red Indian”‘; Adoption McColl-Frontenac Oil Company of Canada Commanders
SIL F.W. Kelly 9 Apr 42 – 13 Jul 42.
SIL F.C. Willis (Can/RAF) 14 Jul 42 – 8 Nov 42 KIA.
SIL F.E. Green, DFC 17 Nov 42 – 12 Apr 43 OTE.
S/L J.D. Hall, DFC 13 Apr 43 – 16 Jun 43.
SIL R.W. McNair, DFC and 2 Bars 19 Jun 43 – 16 Oct 43. SIL C.M. Magwood, DFC 17 Oct 43 – 12 Dec 43.
SIL J.F. Lambert 13 Dec 43 – 20 Dec 43 KIA.
SIL W.A.G. Conrad, DFC 1 Jan 44 – 27 Jul 44 2OTE.
SIL W.A. Prest 28 Jul 44 – 22 Nov 44 OTE.
SIL J.D. Browne, DFC 23 Nov 44 – 10 Jul 45.
Higher Formations and Squadron Locations
Fighter Command:
No. 12 Group,
Canadian Digby Wing,
Digby, Lines. 9 Apr 42 – 2 May 42.
No. 10 Group,
Fairwood Common, S. Wales 3 May 42 – 14 Oct 42.
No. 17 Armament Practice Camp, Warrnwell, Dorset 14-28 Jun 42.
14 aircraft, Exeter and Bolt Head, Devon. 30 Jun – 8 Jul 42. 14 aircraft, Kenley, Surrey 8-10 Oct 42.
Angle, S. Wales 15 Oct 42 – 28 Jan 43.
14 aircraft, Zeals, Wilts. 21-24 Oct 42.
Exercise, Charrny Down, Sorn. 30 Nov – 3 Dec 42.
No. 11 Group,
Canadian Kenley Wing,
Kenley, Surrey 29 Jan 43 – 22 Mar 43.
Exercise, Croughton, Beds. 1-12 Mar 43.
8 aircraft, night fighter duty, Manston, Kent 19-25 Mar 43.
Redhill, Surrey 23 Mar 43 – 16 May 43.
No. 15 Armament Practice Camp, Martlesharn Heath, Suf­folk 10-21 Apr 43.
Kenley, Surrey 17 May 43 – 4 Jul 43.
Second Tactical Air Force:
No. 83 (Composite) Group,
No. 17 (RCAF) Sector (disbanded 13 Jul 44),
No. 127 (RCAF) Wing,
Kenley Surrey 5 Jul 43 – 5 Aug 43.
Lashenden, Kent 6 Aug 43 – 19 Aug 43. Headcorn, Kent 20 Aug 43 – 13 Oct 43. Kenley, Surrey 14 Oct 43 – 17 Apr 44. No. 16 Armament Practice Camp, Hutton Cranswick, Yorks. 2-9 Mar 44.
Tangmere, Sussex 18 Apr 44 – 15 Jun 44.
B.(Base) 2 Bazenville, Fr. 16 Jun 44 – 28 Aug 44
B.26 Illiers l’Eveque, Fr. 29 Aug 44 – 21 Sep 44.
B.68 Le Culot, Bel 22 Sep 44 – 30 Sep 44.
B.82 Grave, Neth. 1 Oct 44 – 22 Oct 44.
B.58 Melsbroek, Bel. 23 Oct 44 – 2 Nov 44.
B.56 Evere, Bel. 3 Nov 44 – 1 Mar 45.
No. 17 Armament Practice Camp, Warrnwell, Dorset, Eng. 6-20 Dec 44.
B.90 Petit-Brogel, Bel. 2 Mar 45 – 30 Mar 45.
B.78 Eindhoven, Neth. 31 Mar 45 – JO Apr 45.
B.100 Coch, Ger. 11 Apr. 45 – 13 Apr 45.
B.114 Diepholz, Ger. 13 Apr 45 – 27 Apr 45.
B.154 Soltau, Ger. 28 Apr 45 – 1 Jul 45.
B.152 Fassberg, Ger. 2 Jul 45 – 7 Jul 45.
B.174 Utersen, Ger. 8 Jul 45 – 10 Jul 45.
Representative Aircraft (Unit Code AU)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VA (May 42, not on operations) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB (May 42 – May 43)
AR430 Z BL450 M BL658 Y BL772 S
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX (May 43 – Feb 44) Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXB (Feb – Dec 44)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI (Dec 44 – Jul 45) Operational History: First Mission 16 May 1942, 2 Spitfire VB’s from Fairwood Common – convoy patrol. First Vic­tory 6 July 1942, FIL G.D. Robertson in Spitfire VB BL772 AU-S from Fairwood Common – scrambled, credited with a Bf.109 damaged over the Channel. (On a second scram­ble later that day, he was credited with a Ju.BB damaged over the Channel.) 27 July 1942 Sgt. C.D. Myers and Sgt. J.A. Omand in Spitfire VB’s from Fairwood Common – scrambled, shared in destruction of a Ju.88 south of Pem­broke, Wales. First Offensive Mission 31 July 1942, 8 Spit­fire VB’s from Fairwood Common, operating from Har­rowbeer for the day – rear cover for Bostons returning from a raid over St. Malo, France. Triple Victory 25 July 1944, 12 Spitfire IXB’s from Bazenville – armed recon­naissance in the Pont l’Eveque-Seine area, engaged 40-plus Bf.109’s, credited with 5 destroyed, 1 probably destroyed and 3 damaged for the loss of 1 Spitfire. FIL H.P.M. Zary in MK920 credited with 3 Bf.109’s destroyed southeast of Rouen, France. Last Mission 4 May 1945, 4 Spitfire XVl’s from Soltau – front line patrol along Hamburg-Luneburg, engaged Fw.190’s flying south. No claims, no losses. Summary Sorties: 10,915. Operational/Non-operational Flying Hours: 14,609/8216. Victories: Aircraft: 79 destroyed, 2 probably destroyed, 27 damaged. Ground: dropped 45 tons of bombs, no reliable record of damage. Casualties: Operational: 34 aircraft; 33 pilots, of whom 4 were killed, 25 missing, 4 injured. Non-operational: 2 air­craft; 2 pilots killed. Squadron Aces SIL R.W. McNair, DFC and 2 Bars 8 destroyed. F/L P.G. Johnson 5 destroyed. Honours and Awards 1 second bar to DFC, 2 bars to DFC, 5 DFC’s. Battle Honours Defence of Britain 1942-1943. Fortress Europe 1942-1944. France and Germany 1944-1945. Normandy 1944, Arnhem. Rhine.’The squadron was unique in that its aircraft carried the familiar Indian Head emblem of the McColl-Frontenac Oil Company.