Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 223 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 12 September 2014

223 SQUADRON - Bomber, Vickers Wellesley

History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks

On 25 September 1936, a detached flight of No 45 Squadron began operating at Nairobi in Kenya and on 15 December was raised to squadron status as No 223 Squadron. Initially it remained a single flight unit equipped with Gordons, which were replaced by Vincents in February 1937 but in June 1938, it began to re-equip with Wellesleys and at the same time was brought up to full strength. When Italy entered the war in June 1940, the squadron was in the Sudan and immediately began operations against Italian targets in neighbouring Italian territories.

In May 1941, the squadron moved to Shandur in Egypt, where it began to re-equip with Marylands, but having done it was retained as a training unit to train crews for the other Maryland units then forming, although a detachment began reconnaissance operations in October. The training role ended in January 1942, with the squadron, receiving Baltimores, with which it immediately resumed bombing operations. For the rest of the north African campaign the squadron supported the advancing 8th Army as it pushed westwards across the desert.

Having arrived in Tunisia in April 1943, the squadron aircraft began operating from Malta in July and carried out attacks against targets in Sicily. In August the squadron transferred to Sicily, where it was re-united with its ground personnel, moving once again in September, to Italy. Operations continued until 12 August 1944, when the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered No 30 Squadron SAAF.

Eleven days later, the squadron reformed in the Bomber Support role at Oulton as part of No 100 Group. Equipped with Liberators, it was involved in providing radio counter measures support to Bomber Command's Main Force until the end of the war. Just before the end of war the squadron received some Fortress aircraft, but on 29 July 1945, it was disbanded.


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Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Not all operations listed; those with fatal losses are. (incomplete)

16/06/1940: ? 1 Plane lost, 2 MIA
30/06/1940: Massawa, Eritrea. 1 Plane lost, 2 MIA

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Losses 01/01/1940 - 09/05/1940 (incomplete)

Sergeant Ronald Hawes, RAF 565704, 223 Sqdn., age 25, 04/04/1940, missing
Sergeant (Pilot) John A. Lewis, RAF 563644, 223 Sqdn., age 27, 04/04/1940, L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, France (see also 113 Sqn)

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16/06/1940: ?

Vickers Wellesly
Serial number: ?, OA-?
Operation: ?
Lost: 16/06/1940
Leading Aircraftman John J. Dixon, RAF 532692, 223 Sqdn., age 22, 16/06/1940, missing - Alamein Memorial
Pilot Officer Michael T.E. Jenkins, RAF 40832, 223 Sqdn., age 23, 16/06/1940, missing - Alamein Memorial

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30/06/1940: Massawa, Eritrea

Type: Vickers Wellesly I
Serial number: L2654, OA-?
Operation: Massawa (now: Mitsiwa)
Lost: 30/06/1940
Sergeant Bernard Poskitt, RAF 522475, 223 Sqdn., age 24, 30/06/1940, missing - Alamein Memorial
Leading Aircraftman Lewis P. Jepp, RAF 550735, 223 Sqdn., age 20, 30/06/1940, missing - Alamein Memorial
Took off 0435 hrs, Summit, one of five aircraft detailed to bomb Massawa. The formation was attacked by one CR.32 and two CR.42 fighters, which probably shot this aircraft down.

The CWGC lists Sgt Poskitt as member of the non existing 323 Sqdn.

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Air of Authority - 223 Squadron
Bail-outs for 1940
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The invasion of British Somaliland by Bill Stone
Middle East - the opening rounds (from the RAF 1939-1945)
New Zealanders in the Royal Air Force (Vol III) - Africa
RAF Bomber Command - 223 Squadron
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

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RAF Bomber Losses in the Middle East and Mediterranean Vol I. Gunby - Temple.
J Pelly-Fry 'Heavenly Days' (Crecy 1994)
Ron Johnson 'A navigators tale'

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Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Armée de l'Air - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots

Dutch Pilots in RAF Squadrons
Eagles Squadrons (American pilots in the RAF)
Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland 1939-1946
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
'High flight', poem by John Gillespie Magee
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
RAF Upwood
De Slag om de Grebbeberg
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

Aircraft crashes on the North Yorkshire Moors, England
The Lancastershire Aircraft Investigation Team
Luftfahrt-Archäologie in Schleswig Holstein (in German)
North East Diary 1939-1945
Wartime Leicester and Leicestershire

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
WW1 Cemeteries

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This page is dedicated to the men of 223 Squadron.

With thanks to Peter Clare.

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to