No.139 Squadron

In front of a crescent, a fasces
Badge
In front of a crescent, a fasces
Motto
Si placet necamus - We destroy at will
Formed
03 July 1918
Disbanded
31 December 1968

No 139 Squadron formed at Villaverla, Italy from Z Flight on 3 July 1918 as a fighter unit. Z Flight had previously been attached to No 34 Squadron. Its aircraft were used in northern Italy to provide fighter patrols and reconnaissance. In February 1919 the squadron returned to UK and disbanded on 7 March 1919.

On 3 September 1936 No 139 Squadron reformed at RAF Wyton as a day bomber unit. By the outbreak of war it had re-equipped with Blenheims and one of the squadron’s aircraft made the first RAF reconnaissance mission of the Second World War. In December 1939 the unit moved to France. During the German invasion during 1940 it quickly lost most of its aircraft in a period of intensive operations. It returned to the UK to re-equip and then began attacking German occupied ports to disrupt plans for invasion. It continued its attacks against ports and other facilities throughout 1941. In December 1941 it was transferred to the Far East. It became involved in the bitter fighting over Burma as British forces retreated in front of the Japanese invasion. The unit was absorbed into No 62 Squadron on 30 April 1942.

On 8 June 1942 the unit reformed at RAF Horsham St Faith but did not fly operational sorties until September when it had re-equipped. In July 1943 the squadron joined the Pathfinder Force. The squadron remained in Bomber Command after the war not disbanding until 31 December 1959.

On 1 February 1962 The Victor B.2 Intensive Trials Unit was re-titled No 139 Squadron and it formed a part of the V-bomber force until the unit’s final disbandment on 31 December 1968.


AIRCRAFT

Bristol F2b 1918 - 1919
Camel 1918 - 1918
Hind 1936 - 1937
Blenheim I/IV 1937 - 1941
Hudson 1941 - 1942
Mosquito V/IV/IX/XVI/XX/25/35 1942 - 1953
Canberra 2/6 1952 - 1959
Victor 2 1962 – 1968


Reference Sources

The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force
James J Halley Air Britain (Historians) Ltd 1988

RAF Squadrons
Wg Cdr C G Jefford Airlife 2001

Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft
Phillip J R Moyes Macdonald & Jane’s 1976

Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft
John D R Rawlings Crecy Books 1993

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