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[RAF Elsham Wolds] [Coastal Command Lincolnshire] [236 Squadron RAF Coastal Command]

236 Squadron - RAF - Coastal Command.

236

236 Squadron will be forever associated with RAF North Coates and the North Coates Strike Wing where it served nobly flying extremely dangerous low level daylight anti shipping attacks against German convoys. These attacks were very demanding against formidable light and medium flak and requiring considerable courage, determination, training and coordination. They flew the mighty Bristol Beaufighter which was robust and hard hitting and perfect for this type of operation.

WW1 - The squadron was formed on 20 August 1918 at Mullion in Cornwall and equipped with DH6s. 236 flew anti-submarine patrols along the south west coast until the end of the WW1 and was disbanded on 15 May 1919.

DH6 236 Sqn

DH6

WW2 - Reformed as a fighter squadron at RAF Stradishall Suffolk on 31 October 1939 and equipped with Bristol Blenheim IF twin engined fighters. The Squadron was transferred to RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk in February 1940 and transferred to Coastal Command.

Bristol Blenheim 1F 236 Squadron

Bristol Blenheim 1F

In April 1940 236 was transferred to RAF Speke, Liverpool and rejoined Fighter Command.  The following month they moved again to RAF Filton, Bristol to fly patrols over the English Channel. In July 1940 they moved to RAF Thorney Island and reverted to Coastal Command.

From August 1940 236 operated from bases in the south-west of England carrying out anti-shipping patrols over the Channel, and Irish Sea having re-equipped with Beaufighters in October 1941.

236 Bristol_Beaufighter IC T4800 at_Wattisham June 1942

236 Squadron Bristol Beaufighter IC T4800 atWattisham June 1942

On 12 June, a Beaufighter flown by a volunteer crew of F/L A. K. Gatward and Sgt G. Fern, made a solo low level sortie to Paris intending to disrupt a noon parade of German troops down the Champs-Elysees. Several attempts were made but were thwarted by bad weather. However on the 5th try the weather was better and visibility adequate. On arrival it was seen that there was no parade but dropped a French tricolore over the Arc De Triumphe and shot up the secondary target of the Gestapo headquarters in the Ministry of Marine on the Place de la Concorde before returning.

The Beaufighter Raid that Embarrassed the Third Reich

236 Squadron Gatward

236 Squadron Gatward

236 were then transferred to RAF Wattisham Suffolk in February 1942 and reduced to a cadre. It received new Beaufighters in March and resumed its previous duties although these were now flown over the North Sea with detachments in the south-west who undertook similar duties over the Bay of Biscay. In September 1942 the squadron moved to North Coates, Lincolnshire and in April 1943 became a part of the Strike Wing formed there operating anti shipping strikes to great effect until the end of the war. The squadron disbanded on 25 May 1945.

236 Squadron Beaufighter attacks German Sperrbrecker ship

236 Squadron Beaufighter attacks German Sperrbrecker ship

236 Squadron Beaufighter TF Mark X, LZ293

236 Squadron Beaufighter TF Mark X, LZ293 - The Mighty Beau

Compiled by David Fell. Photos from WWP, AoA and my archive

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