Historical Aircraft

443 Squadron

 

No. 443 Squadron

Badge: A hornet affronte Motto Our sting is death Authority King George VI, February 1946.

This unit was known as the Hornet Squadron.

Formed in Canada as No. 127 (Fighter) Squadron on 1 July 1942, the unit was the last of six home squadrons transferred overseas (complete in personnel but without aircraft) in preparation for the Allied invasion of Europe, and was redesignated No. 443 (Fighter) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England on 8 February 1944. It flew Spitfire aircraft on defensive and offensive air operations and, after D-Day, gave close support to ground forces in North-West Europe. After hostilities in Europe, the squadron served as one of four day fighter units assigned to the British Air Forces of Occupation (Germany) until disbanded at Utersen, Germany on 21 March 1946.

Brief Chronology: Formed as No. 127 (F) Sqn, Dartmouth, N.S. 1 Jul 42. Renumbered No. 443 (F) Sqn, Digby, Lines., Eng. 8 Feb 44. Disbanded at Utersen, Ger. 21 Mar 46.

Title or Nickname: “Hornet”

Commanders

  • S/L H.W McLeod, DSO, DFC and Bar 8 Feb 44 – 27 Sep 44 KIA.
  • S/L A.H. Sager, DFC 30 Sep 44 – 29 Mar 45 2 OTE.
  • S/L T.J. De Courcy, DFC 5 Apr 45 – 7 Jun 45 died. (1)
  • F/L H.R. Finley, DFC 8 Jun 45 – 17 Sep 45 OTE.
  • S/L C.D. Bricker, DFC 18 Sep 45 – 21 Mar 46.

Higher Formations and Squadron Locations

Air Defence Great Britain:

No. 12 Group,

  • Digby, Lines. 8 Feb 44 – 17 Mar 44.

Second Tactical Air Force:

No. 83 (Composite) Group,

No. 22 (RCAF) Sector,

No. 17 (RCAF) Sector (21 Apr 44, disbanded 13 Jul 44),

No. 144 (RCAF) Wing,

  • Holmsley South, Hants. 18 Mar 44 – 26 Mar 44.

No. 16 Armament Practice Camp, Hutton Cranswick, Yorks. 27 Mar 44 – 7 Apr 44.

  • Westhampnett, Sussex 8 Apr 44 – 21 Apr 44.
  • Funtington, Sussex 22 Apr 44 – 14 May 44.
  • Ford, Sussex 15 May 44 – 14 Jun 44.
  • B.(Base) 3 Ste. Croix-sur-Mer, Fr. 15 Jun 44 – 14 Jul 44.

No. 127 (RCAF) Wing,

  • B.2 Bazenville, Fr. 15 Jul 44 – 27 Aug 44.
  • B.26 Illiers l’Eveque, Fr. 28 Aug 44 – 20 Sep 44.
  • B.68 Le Culot, Bel. 21 Sep 44 – 29 Sep 44.
  • B.82 Grave, Netn. 30 Sep 44 -21 Oct 44.
  • B.58 Melsbroek, Bel. 22 Oct 44 – 3 Nov 44.
  • B.56 Evere, Bel. 4 Nov 44 – 2 Mar 45.

No. 17 Armament Practice Camp, Warmwell, Dorset., Eng. 18 Dec 44 – 2 Jan 44.

  • B.90 Petit-Brogel, Bel. 3 Mar 45 – 30 Mar 45.
  • B.78 Eindhoven, Neth. 31 Mar 45 – 11 Apr 45.
  • B.100 Coch, Ger. 12 Apr 45.
  • B.114 Diepholz, Ger. 13 Apr 45 – 27 Apr 45.
  • B.154 Soltau, Ger. 28 Apr 45 – 1 Jul 45.

British Air Forces of Occupation (Germany):

No. 83 (Composite) Group,

No. 126 (RCAF) Wing,

  • B.152 Fassberg, Ger. 2 Jul 45 – 6 Jul 45.
  • B.174 Utersen, Ger. 7 Jul 45 – 21 Mar 46.

Representative Aircraft (Unit Code 21)

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB (Feb – Mar 44, not on opera­tions)

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXB (Mar 44 – Feb 45)

  • MJ366 J MK343 G MK366 V MK397 T MK455 R MK605 W MK607 S MK636 E MLl 94 S MH300 V

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIV (Jan 45 – Jan 46)

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIVE (Jan – Mar 46)

Operational History: First Mission 13 April 1944, 12 Spit­fire IXB’s from Westhampnett – top cover escort for Bostons and Mitchells bombing Dieppe. Following this at­tack, 5 of the squadron’s aircraft carried out strafing attacks over Rouen.

First Victory: 19 April 1944, 6 Spitfire IXB’s from Westhampnett – part of a withdrawal fighter sweep for 64 Marauders of the USAAF returning from an attack on Malines, Belgium. S/L McLeod credited with a Do.217 destroyed near Brussels, the only enemy aircraft engaged.

Last Mission: 8 May 1945, 6 Spitfire XVl’s from Soltau – fighter escort for Dakotas bound for Copenhagen with relief supplies.

Summary Sorties: 5850.

  • Operational/Non-operational Flying Hours: 7660/5103.
  • Victories:
    • Aircraft: 42 destroyed, 2 probably destroyed, 29 damaged.
    • Ground: dropped 57 tons of bombs, credited with 19 rail and 3 road cuts; destroyed or damaged 1077 motor vehicles, 35 horsedrawn transport, 25 locomotives, 66 railway cars, 8 tanks.
  • Casualties:
    • Operational: 20 pilots of whom 1 was killed, 8 presumed dead, 6 POW, 1 evaded capture; 4 proved safe.
    • Non-operational: 7 personnel; 1 killed, 2 missing, 4 injured.

Squadron Ace: S/L H. W. McLeod, DSO, DFC and Bar 8-0-0.

Honours and Awards: 1 DSO, 6 DFC’s.

Battle Honours: Fortress Europe 1944. France and Germany 1944-1945: Normandy 1944, Arnhem, Rhine.

(1) As a result of an automobile accident near Schneverdingen, Germany.