No.171 Squadron

In front of an eagle displayed a portcullis
In front of an eagle displayed a portcullis
Per dolum defendimus - We defend by confusion or Confound the enemy.
15 June 1942
27 July 1945

Formed at Gatwick in June 1942, No 171 Squadron was a tactical reconnaissance unit of Army Co-operation Command. It began operations in October, which mainly consisted of sorties along the South Coast against German fighter-bomber raids. These defensive patrols became a settled pattern, with the unit flying the Shoreham-Beachy Head line. It also served as an instruction unit for Belgian pilots on how to fly the Curtiss Tomahawk. However, all of this activity was short-lived because on 31 December 1942 the Squadron was disbanded and its equipment passed to No 430 Squadron RCAF.

No 171 Squadron reformed at RAF North Creake on 8 September 1944 with its nucleus taken from ‘C’ Flight, No 199 Squadron. It was now a Radio Countermeasures squadron within 100 Group, Bomber Command. Operating over the North Sea and Germany it dropped Window (pieces of foil which acted to confuse German radar systems) and operated the Mandrel electronic radar jamming system. This action continued until VE Day and No 171 Squadron was disbanded on 27 July 1945.


Tomahawk I/IIA 1942
Mustang IA 1942
Stirling III 1944 - 1945
Halifax III 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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