74 SQUADRON - Fighter, Supermarine Spitfire Mk I
History | Operations and losses | Sources | Links | Books | Questions and/or remarks
The outbreak of the Second World War found No. 74 Sqdn. at Hornchurch but often operating from the satellite aerodrome at Rochford. By this time Sailor Malan had joined the Squadron and during the months ahead he and his colleagues, including H.M. Stephen, John Freeborn and John Mungo Park, were to be involved in extensive operations against the Luftwaffe.
In the Phoney War there was little operational activity but when the Low Countries were invaded in May 1940, 74 Squadron flew extensively on offensive operations and soon afterwards, when Fighter Command was engaged in establishing air supremacy over the beaches of Dunkirk, the Squadron was fully employed on convoy protection and patrols over the French coast.
During the Battle of Britain and with Sailor Malan now its Commanding Officer, 74 flew against German raiders over London and the Thames estuary and they met with considerable success. On 11th August, for example, the Squadron flew into battle four times and at the end of the day claimed twenty four enemy aircraft destroyed and fourteen damaged. From the Chief of the Air Staff came a telegram:
'A magnificent day's fighting, 74... Mannock started it and you keep it up.'
But the hectic pace of operations took its toll and on 14th August the Squadron was retired to Wittering for a short rest before moving to Kirton-in-Lindsey, Coltishall and then in October back to the front line at Biggin Hill. The RAF had now gone on to the offensive and during November 1940, 74 destroyed 26 enemy aircraft. In February 1941 it moved to Manston but was then sent up to Acklington before moving across to Llanbedr and Long Kesh where, after the hectic pace of operations, they found themselves in a backwater by comparison.
It was at this time that the Governor of Trinidad made a presentation of Spitfires to 74 which subsequently became known as 'Trinidad' Squadron. This remained so until the 1950s.
Hornchurch 25 June 1940
Wittering 14 August 1940
Kirton-in-Lindsey 21 August 1940
Coltishall 9 September 1940
Biggin Hill 15 October 1940
Operations and losses 10/05/1940 - 31/05/1940
Not all operations listed; those with losses are.
24/05/1940: ? 1 Plane lost, 1 MIA
Type: Supermarine Spitfire Mk I
Serial number: ?, JH-?
Pilot Officer Richard D. Aubert, RAF 41361, 74 Sqdn., age unknown, 24/05/1940, missing
See TOCH Forum: F/L Wilfred Patrick (Paddy) Francis Treacy (37617) - When exactly was he shot down in 1940
74 Squadron Association
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RAF Battle of Britain - 74 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
War over Holland
R Cossey 'Tigers: the story of 74 Squadron' (A&A 1992)
A Deere 'Nine Lives' (Autobiographical; Gauntlets) (Wingham Press 1991)
I Jones 'Tiger Squadron - 74 Sqn RAF' (White Lion 1972)
Anthony Robinson 'RAF fighter squadrons in the Battle of Britain'
R Spurdle 'The blue arena' (Crecy 1995)
D Tidy 'I fear no man: history of 74 Sqn' (MacDonald 1972)
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Pilotfriend.com: aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
De Slag om de Grebbeberg (Dutch)
The Aerodrome -
Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
This page is dedicated to the men of 74 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 http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/index.html