Traces of World War 2 
RAF - No. 253 Squadron
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 6 February 2008

253 SQUADRON - Fighter, Hawker Hurricane Mk I

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

On 30 October 1939, No 253 Squadron reformed at Manston and was originally intended as a shipping protection unit with Blenheims. None were delivered, however, and the squadron began to receive Hurricanes in February 1940, becoming operational on 3 April. In May 1940 one flight was sent to France to reinforce the hard-pressed Hurricane squadrons while the second flight flew daily to French airfields from 17 to 23 May.

When the Germans invaded France, 253 were split into two flights, one went to Vitry and the other to Lille. "B" flight went to Lille, the CO and Adjutant remained in England. "B" flight was the only flight without armour plating and mirrors, also single blade wooden airscrew.

They were in France for four days in which they lost half their pilots including the flight commander. Only 3 aircraft flew back to the UK, the rest were broken up with axes.

After re-equipping in Lincolnshire, No 253 took part in the Battle of Britain from the end of August and remained in southern England until January 1941. In February the squadron moved to the Orkneys for air defence duties, returning to England in September for convoy patrols off the East Coast.

After taking part in the Dieppe raid, No.253 became non-operational in preparation for the invasion of North Africa and arrived in Algeria a few days after the landings. It provided air cover for the Army and its supply lines during the Tunisian campaign and its aftermath, moving to Italy in October 1943.

In February 1944, the squadron arrived in Corsica to undertake escort and anti-shipping missions, returning to Italy in April for similar duties over Yugoslvia. In April 1945, it moved to an airfield captured by Yugoslav partisans near Zadar for the last days of the war. After a period in northern Italy and Austria the squadron acquired a flight of Spitfire XIs from No.225 Squadron and disbanded on 16 May 1947.

Northolt: February 16th 1940 - May 9th 1940
Kenley: 10 May 1940 - 23 May 1940
France: May 17th 1940 - May 23rd 1940
Lille, France (B Flight)
Vitry, France (B Flight)
Kirton-in-Lindsey 24 May 1940
Turnhouse 21 July 1940
Prestwick 23 August 1940
Kenley (A) 29 August 1940
Kenley (G) 16 September 1940

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

18/05/1940: Patrol. 1 Plane lost
19/05/1940: ?, France. 3 Planes lost, 3 KIA
21/05/1940: ?, F. 1 Plane lost, 1 KIA

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18/05/1940: Patrol

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: L1600, SW-?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 18/05/1940
P/O J.D. Ford
Bailed out after combat. Returned on 21st May to unit.

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19/05/1940: ?, France

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: ?, SW-?
Operation: ?, France
Lost: 19/05/1940
Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) Harry T.J. Anderson, RAF 39021, 253 Sqdn., age unknown,19/05/1940, Lille Southern Cemetery, F

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Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: ?, SW-?
Operation: ?, France
Lost: 19/05/1940
Sergeant (Pilot) Gilbert MacKenzie, RAF 518372, 253 Sqdn., age 23,19/05/1940, Cysoing Communal Cemetery, F

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Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: ?, SW-?
Operation: ?, France
Lost: 19/05/1940
Pilot Officer (Pilot) Frederick W. Ratford, RAF 41951, 253 Sqdn., age unknown, 19/05/1940, Riencourt-les-Cagnicourt Communal Cemetery, F

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21/05/1940: ?, F

Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: L1600, SW-?
Operation: ?, F
Lost: 21/05/1940
Pilot Officer Desmond D.C.C. Gower, RAF 40905, 253 Sqdn., age 20, 21/05/1940, Etaples Military Cemetery, F.

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Air of Authority - 253 Squadron
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database
Australian War Memorial
Bail-outs for 1940
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
John Greenwood - 253 Squadron
Prisoners of War captured in Europe 1940
Royal Air Force - 253 Squadron
RAF Battle of Britain - 253 Squadron
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
RAF Order of Battle, France, 10th May 1940
Royal Air Force History Section
The Royal Air Force, 1939-1945
The Second World War - a day by day account

The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, by Major L.F. Ellis, 1954

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Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then & Now, After the Battle, London, Feb. 2008
T Gleave 'I had a row with a German' (MacMillan 1941)

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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)
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
United Sikhs
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway
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 253 Squadron.

© 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