No.59 Squadron

A broken wheel
A broken wheel
Ab uno disce omnes - From one learn all
01 August 1916
04 February 1961

No 59 Squadron was formed at Narborough on 1 August 1916 as a corps reconnaissance unit. It moved to France 13 February 1917. It undertook artillery spotting and reconnaissance missions until the end of the war. It joined the Army of Occupation in Germany for a short period before disbanding on 4 August 1919.

On 28 June 1937 the unit reformed at RAF Old Sarum as an army co-operation squadron. It undertook night and strategic reconnaissance. In October 1939 it moved to France to undertake these duties. Rapid advances by German ground units in May 1940 forced the squadron to return to the UK although it continued to operate over France. With much of it work taken over by the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit the squadron was redesignated a general reconnaissance unit on 1 April 1941. On 18 December 1941 the unit became non-operational as its crews were used to ferry aircraft out to the Far East.

After receiving new crews the squadron resumed operations in March 1942. It undertook anti-submarine patrols for the rest of the war.. In September 1945 it was transferred to Transport Command. It flew trooping flights to India until 15 June 1946 when it disbanded.

On 1 December 1947 the squadron reformed at RAF Abingdon as a transport unit. It took part in the Berlin Airlift before disbanding again on 31 October 1950. No 102 Squadron was renumbered No 59 Squadron on 20 August 1956. The squadron operated as an interdictor unit based in RAF Germany. On 4 January 1961 No 59 Squadron was renumbered No 3 Squadron.


Various types 1916 - 1917
RE8 1916 - 1918
F2b 1918 - 1919
Hector 1937 - 1939
Blenheim IV 1939 - 1941
Hudson III/V/VI 1941 - 1942
Liberator III 1942 - 1942
Fortress II 1942 - 1943
Liberator V/VIII 1943 - 1946
York 1947 - 1950
Canberra2/8 1956 - 1961

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

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

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