No.161 Squadron

An open fetterlock
An open fetterlock
01 June 1918
02 June 1945

A nucleus of No 161 Squadron, intended as a DH 9A squadron, was formed in June 1918 but it was disbanded just over a month later to provide personnel for other units.

It was reformed at Newmarket on 15 February 1942, its core personnel supplied by No 138 Squadron and the King’s Flight and its major task throughout the war was the support of resistance units in Occupied Europe.

No 161 Squadron flew its first sortie on 27 February 1942 when an agent was taken to St. Saens in France and two were brought back. The landing and picking up of agents continued and in April supply-dropping was begun. In June the Squadron started bombing and Nickel sorties (the dropping of propaganda leaflets).

The number of operations steadily increased and in April 1944 107 sorties were flown in one month. Only one aircraft failed to return and it landed in Sweden. The Squadron began staging to Blida in North Africa doing drops in France on the way out and a second series on the way back.

As the invasion progressed across Europe much of No 161 Squadron’s work was eliminated and it was disbanded at RAF Tempsford in June 1945.


Whitley V 1942
Havoc I 1942 - 1943
Albermarle I 1942 - 1943
Lysander IIIA 1942 - 1944
Halifax II/V 1942 - 1944
Hudson I/III/V 1942 - 1945
Stirling IV 1944 - 1945

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

Coastal Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their aircraft
John D R Rawlings Jane’s Publishing 1982

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