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UK Short S.25 Sunderland S.29 Stirling Photos & Drawings

Short Stirling - Royal Air Force in WW2

SQUADRON USE

No.7 Squadron reformed at Leeming on 1 August 1940 as the first Stirling squadron. It moved to Oakington on 29 October 1940 before flying its first operation on 10 February 1941. It flew Stirling Is between August 1940 and July 1943 and Mark IIIs between March 1943 and July 1943.

No.15 Squadron became the second Stirling squadron at Wyton in April 1941. It moved to Bourn on 13 August 1942 and to Mildenhall on 14 April 1943. Stirling Is were flown between April 1941 and January 1943 and Mark IIIs between January 1943 and December 1943.

No.46 Squadron reformed at Stoney Cross on 9 January 1945 as a transport unit. It began tropping flights to India with Stirlings on 1 April 1945 and re-equipped with Dakotas in February 1946.

No.51 Squadron was transferred from Bomber Command to Transport Command on 8 May 1945 at Leconfield and began conversion to Stirlings in June. Trooping flights to India and the Middle East began in July, the squadron moving to Stradishall on 21 August 1945. Conversion to Yorks began in February 1946.

No.75 Squadron converted from Wellingtons to Stirlings at Mildenhall in October 1942. It moved to Mepal on 28 June 1943 and converted to Lancasters in March 1944.

No.90 Squadron reformed at Bottesford on 7 November 1942 with Stirlings and began operations on 8 January 1943, having moved to Ridgewell on 29 December 1942. After further moves to Wratting Common on 31 May 1943 and Tuddenham on 13 October 1943, it flew its last operation with Stirlings on 17 June 1944 and converted to Lancasters.

No.138 Squadron flew Stirling IVs as part of its establishment between June 1944 and and March 1945 on supply drops to resistance forces in occupied Europe. It was transferred to Bomber Command on 9 March 1945 and converted to Lancasters.

No.148 Squadron at Brindisi flew Stirling IVs on supply dropping missions over Italy and the Balkans in November and December 1944.

No.149 Squadron converted to Stirlings from Wellingtons at Mildenhall in November 1941, moving to Lakenheath on 6 April 1942 and Methwold on 15 May 1944. It flew Mark Is between November 1941 and June 1943 and Mark IIIs between February 1943 and September 1944.

No.158 Squadron converted to Stirling Vs from Halifax VIs at Lissett in June 1945. It moved to Stradishall in stages during August 1945 and flew trooping flights to India and the Middle East for the rest of the year. The squadron disbanded on 31 December 1945.

No.161 Squadron at Tempsford flew Stirling IIIs and IVs alongside Hudsons and Lysanders, using them to drop supplies to resistance forces in German-occupied Europe. The squadron was disbanded on 2 June 1945.

No.171 Squadron reformed at North Creake on 8 September 1944 from 'C' Flight of No.199 Squadron for bomber support duties. It flew Stirling IIIs from September 1944 to January 1945 alongside Halifax IIs but converted completely to Halifaxes during January 1945.

No.190 Squadron reformed on 5 January 1944 at Leicester East with Stirling IVs as a glider-tug unit. After moving to Fairford on 25 March 1944 and Great Dunmow on 14 October 1944, the squadron converted to Halifaxes in May 1945.

No.196 Squadron converted to Stirlings from Wellingtons in July 1943 as part of Bomber Command. It was transferred to airborne support duties in November 1943, moving from Witchford to Leicester East on 18 November 1943. Re-equipment with Stirling IVs took place in February 1944 and further moves took place to Tarrant Rushton on 7 January 1944, Keevil on 14 March 1944, Wethersfield on 9 October 1944 and Shepherds Grove on 26 January 1945. Some Mark Vs were added in January 1946 and the squadron disbanded on 24 March 1946.

No.199 Squadron converted to Stirlings from Wellingtons in July 1943 at Lakenheath and moved to North Creake on 1 May 1944 to become an electronics counter-measures unit in No.100 Group for radar jamming and deception. It converted to Halifax IIIs in March 1945.

No.214 Squadron converted to Stirlings from Wellingtons in April 1942 at Stradis-hall, moving to Chedburgh on 1 October 1942, Downham Market on 10 December 1943 and Sculthorpe on 16 January 1944. The last Stirling sortie was flown on 24 January 1944 and the squadron converted to Fortress IIs for radar counter-measures duties.

No.218 Squadron converted to Stirlings from Wellingtons at Marham in January 1942. It moved to Downham Market on 7 July 1942, Woo Ifox Lodge on 7 March 1944 and Meth-wold on 4 August 1944 before converting to Lancasters in August 1944.

No.242 Squadron converted from Wellington XVIs to Stirling Vs in February 1945 at Stoney Cross for transport duties. Conversion to Yorks began in July but these were withdrawn again until September. The squadron was completely converted to Yorks by January 1946, a few Stirling Vs having been used between September and December 1945.

No.295 Squadron converted to Stirling IVs from Albemarles in July 1944 at Harwell. It moved to Rivenhall on 7 October 1944 and was disbanded on 14 January 1946.

No.299 Squadron converted from Venturas to Stirling IVs at Stoney Cross in January 1944. After moving to Keevil on 15 March 1944. Wethersfield on 9 October 1944 and Shepherds Grove on 25 January 1945, the squadron disbanded on 15 February 1946.

No.513 Squadron was formed at Witchford on 15 September 1943 in Bomber Command and received Stirling IIIs in October 1943. Formation was abandoned to increase the size of Stirling conversion units and the squadron disbanded on 21 November 1943.

No.525 Squadron used one Stirling for trials at Lyneham between June and August 1944.

No.570 Squadron converted to Stirling IVs from Albemarles at Harwell in July 1944. It moved to Rivenhall on 7 October 1944 and disbanded on 8 January 1946.

No.620 Squadron was formed at Chedburgh on 17 June 1943 as a night bomber unit. It moved to Leicester East on 23 November 1943 to join Transport Command as an airborne support squadron, later moving to Fairford on 18 March 1944 and Great Dunmow on 17 October 1944. Conversion to Halifax VIIs began in May 1945 and was completed in July. The squadron flew Mark Is between June and August 1943, Mark IIIs between August 1943 and February 1945 and Mark IVs between February 1944 and July 1945.

No.622 Squadron was formed at Mildenhall on 10 August 1943 from 'C' Flight of No. 15 Squadron, beginning operation immediately. It converted to Lancasters in December 1943.

No.623 Squadron was formed at Downham Market on 10 August 1943 from a flight of No.218 Squadron and began operations the same night. It was disbanded on 6 December 1943 to provide aircraft for the expansion of Stirling conversion units.

No.624 Squadron received Stirling IVs at Blida, Algeria in June 1944 for SOE operations over Italy and Southern France, flying them alongside Halifax IIs. The squadron disbanded on 5 September 1944.

OTHER UNITS

No.7 Conversion Flight was formed at Oakington on 5 October 1941 and was merged with No.1657 Conversion Unit on 1 October 1942.

No.15 Conversion Flight was formed at Alconbury on 26 January 1942 and moved to Waterbeach in May 1942 where it was absorbed by No.1651 Conversion Unit.

No.26 Conversion Flight was formed in November 1941 at Waterbeach and merged with No.1651 Conversion Unit on 2 January 1942.

No.101 Conversion Flight was formed at Oakington as part of No.101 Squadron and merged with No.1657 Conversion Unit on 1 October 1942.

No.149 Conversion Flight was merged with No.1657 Conversion Unit on 1 October 1942 after being based at Mildenhall as part of No.149 Squadron.

No.214 Conversion Flight was formed at Waterbeach as part of No.214 Squadron, moving to Stradishall on 3 May 1942 and back to Waterbeach on 8 August 1942.

No.218 Conversion Flight was part of No.218 Squadron and was based at Barton Bendish until moved to Oakington on 2 October 1942 to join No.1657 Conversion Unit.

No.1332 Heavy Conversion Unit was formed at Longtown on 11 August 1942 for heavy transport training. It moved to Nutt's Corner on 7 October 1944 and to Riccall on 25 April 1945. Stirlings were discarded in May 1945, the unit also flying Liberators and Yorks.

No.1651 Conversion Unit was formed on 2 January 1942 from No.26 Conversion Flight at Waterbeach. It moved on 20 November 1943 to Wratting Common and on 9 November 1944 to Woolfox Lodge, converting to Lancasters in December 1944.

No. 1653 Conversion Unit was formed on 21 November 1943 at Chedburgh and moved on 27 November 1944 to North Luffenham where it converted to Lancasters forthwith.

No. 1654 Conversion Unit at Wigsley converted to Stirlings from Halifaxes in December 1943 and replaced these with Lancasters in January 1945.

No. 1657 Conversion Unit was formed on 1 October 1942 at Stradishall and absorbed Nos.7, 101, 149 and 218 Conversion Flights and No.1427 Flight. It moved to Shepherd's Grove on 14 May 1944 and returned to Stradishall on 5 October 1944 where it disbanded on 15 December 1944.

No. 1660 Conversion Unit at Swinderby converted to Stirlings in November 1943 and replaced these by Lancasters in January 1945.

No. 1661 Conversion Unit at Winthorpe converted to Stirlings in November 1943 and replaced these by Lancasters in December 1944.

No. 1665 Conversion Unit was formed at Waterbeach on 1 May 1943. Moves were made to Woolfox Lodge on 5 June 1943, Tilstock on 23 January 1944, Saltby on 26 March 1945, Marston Moor on 5 August 1945 and Linton-on-Ouse on 7 November 1945 where it merged with No.1332 HTCU on 13 July 1946. The unit also flew Halifaxes from March 1945.

No. 1427 (Training) Flight was formed at Thruxton in December 1941 to train ATA pilots on four-engined aircraft. It moved to Hullavington on 18 May 1942, Marham on 4 August 1942, Stradishall on 2 October 1942 where it merged with No.1657 Conversion Unit although it retained its identity until 1 April 1943.

No. 1588 (Heavy Freighter) Flight was formed at Melton Mowbray with five Stirling Vs for service in India, the first aircraft arriving at Bombay/Santa Cruz on 10 October 1945. The unit disbanded on 20 May 1946.

No. 1589 (Heavy Freighter) Flight was formed at Melton Mowbray with five Stirlings on 28 September 1945 and moved to Cairo West on 10 October 1945. In December 1945 it received some Dakota IIIs and disbanded on 30 April 1946.

No. 21 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit used two Stirlings in July and August 1945 at Brize Norton for trials.

Operational and Refresher Training Unit began using Stirlings at Matching in February 1945 and moved to Wethersfield on 15 October 1945 where it became No.1385 Heavy Transport Unit and disposed of its Stirlings on 1 April 1946.

No. 303 Ferry Training Unit/No.11 Ferry Unit at Talbenny flew some Stirlings, changing designation to No.11 FU on 8 September 1944. It merged with No.3 Aircraft Preparation Unit to form No.11 Ferry Unit in August 1945 and disposed of its Stirlings.

No. 304 Ferry Training Unit/No.12 Ferry Unit at Melton Mowbray flew some Stirlings, becoming No.12 Ferry Unit on 9 October 1944. The unit disbanded on 7 November 1945.

Other units flying Stirlings in small numbers.

Photo Description
W7455 of No. 149 Squadron at Mildenhall, February 1942

W7455 of No. 149 Squadron bombing up at Mildenhall, February 1942 [Planet 3742]

Refueling a Stirling I, October 1941

Refueling a Stirling I, October 1941 [Keystone KY 68873]

Stirling Is of No.7 Squadronn lined up at Oakington, March 1942

Stirling Is of No.7 Squadronn lined up at Oakington, March 1942 [IWM CH5282]

Bombing up N6073 of No. 7 Squadron, March 1942

Bombing up N6073 of No. 7 Squadron, March 1942 [IWM CH 5285]

A Mark IV tows off a Horsa during a training sortie

A Mark IV tows off a Horsa during a training sortie [IWM CH 18786]

EF506 rear view shows tow-rope stirrup fitted under tail turret

EF506 rear view shows tow-rope stirrup fitted under tail turret [IWM MH 5163]

Stirling V PK124 of No.51 Squadron in India soon after the end of the war

Stirling V PK124 of No.51 Squadron in India soon after the end of the war [IWM CI 1703]

An anonymous Mark V of No. 46 Squadron

An anonymous Mark V of No. 46 Squadron [IWM MH 6858]

A post-war silwer Mark V of No. 242 Squadron, PK143 at Stoney Cross

A post-war silwer Mark V of No. 242 Squadron, PK143 at Stoney Cross [IWM CH 16500]

Newly-built Stirling IVs await delivery, Long Kesh

Newly-built Stirling IVs await delivery, Long Kesh [Shorts ST 641]

Mark I N3638 taxies out at Sudenham

Mark I N3638 taxies out at Sudenham [Shorts 76A]

Mark I N3641 of No.7 Squadron in flight

Mark I N3641 of No.7 Squadron in flight [IWM E 674-MOS]

HA-Q of No.218 Squadron was W7530

HA-Q of No.218 Squadron was W7530 [IWM CH 6308]

Mark III BF 509 on production test flight, March 1943

Mark III BF 509 on production test flight, March 1943 [Short ST 509]

Mark I N3725 of No.218 Squadron, 1942

Mark I N3725 of No.218 Squadron, 1942 [IWM CH 16996]

N6065 on display in Belfast

N6065 on display in Belfast [Short CT 539]

Mark I W7459 of No.1651 Heavy Conversion Unit

Mark I W7459 of No.1651 Heavy Conversion Unit [MoD H 1475]

Specially-built bomb trolleys deliver their load to N6101 at Waterbeach

Specially-built bomb trolleys deliver their load to N6101 at Waterbeach [IWM CH5465]

PK237, the thousand Stirling built at Belfast, 6 December 1944

PK237, the thousand Stirling built at Belfast, 6 December 1944 [Shorts ST 719]

2014 09 05


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