No 46 Squadron RFC & RAF

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History: 1944 - 1966

  On 26 Sept to 11 Oct (full moon period) a detachment was established at Gambut.  This short period was probably one of the most glorious in the Squadron's history with an outstanding record of 16 aircraft destroyed with 1 probable and 4 damaged.  No less than 4 Squadron members were decorated for their part
W/O Roy Butler (pilot) DFC (5 planes destroyed)
W/O Ray Graham (nav) DFC
W/O Denis Hammond (pilot) DFC (3 destroyed damaged)
F/Sgt. Harrison (nav) DFM.
A Ju52 destroyed by the detachment on 3 October proved to be the last enemy aircraft destroyed by the Squadron and, with the withdrawal of German forces from Greece almost completed, the Squadron's duty of night fighter defence of Egypt had been discharged.

The Squadron embarked for the UK at the end of December and arrived at Stoney Cross at the beginning of January 1945 and began operation under Transport Command.  Equipped with Stirlings, the Squadron operated the service to the Far East between Stoney Cross and Arkonam via Poona and between Stoney Cross, and Dum Dum via Palam.  With the end of the war in the Far East, the Squadron's flights were first confined to India and the Middle East and then, with Dakotas having replaced the Stirlings at the beginning of 1946, passengers and freight were carried mostly to Rome, Berlin, Warsaw and Vienna.

The Squadron moved to Manston in October 1946 and to Abingdon in December.  From July 1948, the Squadron was almost exclusively engaged on the Berlin Airlift; to begin with, it operated from Wunsdorf carrying food and later from Fassberg and Lubekc carrying coal.  The Squadron returned to Oakington in August 1949 and resumed its normal transport role until it disbanded on 20 February 1950.

The Squadron once again re-formed, this time at Odiham on 15 August 1954 as a night fighter squadron equipped with Meteor NF12 and 14s.  The early days were affected by shortages of manpower and equipment; although training began almost immediately, it took until the end of October for the Squadron to reach a strength of 12 NF12/14s and one Meteor 7 for training and categorisation.  By March 1955 when Wing Commander Birchfield took over as CO from Squadron Leader Ross, the manpower situation was improving, but MT shortages caused problems for the Squadron, whose dispersal was on the opposite side of the airfield to the rest of the station.  By June 1955, it was recorded that the Squadron had received "some Meteor 8s for target towing, and that its strength had reached 48 officers and 110 NCO/airmen.  By August, when the Squadron went to Acklington for APS, the aircraft totalled 16.

In January 1956, the Squadron began converting to Javelins, and the first Javelin Mk 1 arrived in February together with 8 Meteor NF 11s: the NF 12s were sent off to 72 Squadron.  By May, all squadron pilots had converted and 15 Javelin were held; 8 of these were earmarked for intensive flying trials whose target was 1000 hours in 2 months - a feat believed by some to be impossible, but achieved in fact by "a wartime spirit".  On 15 June, the Squadron lost its CO, Wing Commander Birchfield, in a Javelin crash.  He was replaced by Wing Commander H E White.

Over the years, the Squadron continued to train by participating in many exercises such as Halyard, Cold Wing, Kingpin Adex, Ciano and Bombex, and took part in various trails including those of new pressure suits and helmets.  The problem of poor serviceability and lack of spares continued when the Mk 2 Javelins replaced the Mk1s in 1957. In April 1959, the Squadron sent 6 Javelins to the French Air Force 1/30 Squadron at Tours, whilst the French sent Vautour aircraft to Odiham. In June the Squadron won the Ingpen Trophy after being 3rd in 1957 and 2nd in 1958. On 30 June 1961, the Squadron disbanded yet again.
Squadron History
Squadron History
Squadron History
Squadron History
Squadron History
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