No.38 Squadron

A heron volant
A heron volant
Ante lucem - Before the dawn
01 April 1916
31 March 1967

No 38 Squadron formed at Thetford on 1 April 1916 but almost immediately was redesignated No 25 (Reserve) Squadron. Another attempt to form the unit began on 14 July 1916 this time at Castle Bromwich. It began night flying training in September 1916. The squadron operated as a home defence unit defending the Midlands. It was commanded until September 1917 by Captain A T Harris (later MRAF Sir Arthur Harris). also and in May 1918 it was sent to France as a night bomber unit. After one abortive attempt to re-equip in the UK the squadron finally returned in February 1919 and disbanded on 4 July 1919.

On 16 September 1935 the squadron reformed at RAF Mildenhall as a heavy bomber unit. In November 1936 it became the only squadron to be equipped with the Fairey Hendon monoplane bomber. During 1940 the squadron concentrated on attacking German targets in the Low Counties and France. In November 1940 the unit moved to Egypt. As well as undertaking night bombing raids it was involved in nocturnal torpedo attacks as well. Torpedo attacks ended in January 1943 but the anti-shipping and submarine patrols continued. In November 1944 No 38 Squadron moved to Greece before moving again to southern Italy. In July 1945 it moved to Malta and became an air-sea rescue unit. In 1948 it moved to Palestine for several months before returning to Malta. The unit remained here until it disbanded on 31 March 1967.


BE2c/e 1916 - 1917
BE12 1916 - 1917
FE2b 1916 - 1919
Heyford 1935 - 1937
Hendon 1936 - 1939
Wellington I/III/VIII/X/XI/XIII/XIV 1938 - 1946
Warwick 1945 - 1946
Lancaster 3 1946 - 1953
Shackleton 2 1953 – 1967

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

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

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