Commanding Officer: Squadron Leader Frippe
Station: RAF Hornchurch
Call Letters: KL
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Aircraft listed in Green are reserved
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The repaint list will continue to expand as needed.
Each paint is available for all spitfire models.
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Call Letters & Reg #
No. 54 Squadron was formed at Castle Bromwich on 5 May 1916. Like many others formed at the same time, was tasked with Home Defence duties flying BE2Cs and Avro 504s. Four months later, however, it re-equipped with Sopwith Pups, being the first Royal Flying Corps Squadron to operate the Pup. It moved to France as a day fighter squadron in December 1916. It was initially used as for bomber escort, claiming its first kill, an Albatros D.III, in April 1917, but specialised in attacking enemy observation balloons during the Battle of Arras.
The Pup soon became outclassed in air combat, however, and No. 54 concentrated on ground attack missions until it could re-equip with Sopwith Camels in December 1917, allowing to to return to fighter duties, providing protection for Army co-operation squadrons. The German Spring Offensive saw a return to low level attack missions, carrying out both ground attack and fighter missions until the end of the War. In February 1919, the Squadron returned to RAF Yatesbury, reduced to cadre status and was disbanded on 25 October 1919.
Eleven flying aces had served in the squadron. They included Ernest James Salter, Henry Maddocks, George Hackwill, Frank Hudson, Francis Kitto, Oliver Sutton, Michael Gonne, George Hyde, Reginald Maxwell, Oliver Stewart, and William Strugnell.
Pilots of 54 Squadron, May 1941 gathered round a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IIA Rochford, Kent. On the wing sits their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader, R F Boyd, with the squadron mascot "Crash". Boyd had at this time destroyed 14 enemy aircraft. At the end of July 1941, he was promoted wing leader of the Kenley Wing, and by the end of his tour in the summer of 1942 had increased his score to at least 22.5
The Squadron was reformed at RAF Hornchurch on 15 January 1930 as a fighter squadron equipped initially with dual-control Siskin Trainers until Bristol Bulldog fighters were received in April that year. The squadron had a brief stay at RAF Upavon in 1931, prior to returning to RAF Hornchurch. The Bulldogs were replaced by Gloster Gauntlets, in September 1936 and Gladiators in April 1937, before the Squadron's first monoplane, the Supermarine Spitfire, arrived in March 1939.
The early days of World War II were spent patrolling the Kent coast until, in May 1940, the unit provided air cover for the evacuation of Dunkirk, claiming 31 aircraft shot down for the loss of 4 pilots and seven Spitfires.
From July, the Squadron was heavily engaged in the Battle of Britain, often using RAF Manston as a forward operating base. The fighting was intense, and losses were heavy, with the Squadron being withdrawn to RAF Catterick on 2 September 1940. One notable pilot during the first year of the year was "Al" Deere, who claimed 11 German aircraft shot down, hile himself being shot down 7 times.
No. 54 Squadron returned to Hornchurch in February 1941, flying fighter sweeps and bomber escort missions over Northern France until November 1941, when it moved north to RAF Castletown, Caithness, undertaking coastal patrols over the Pentland Firth. In June 1942, the squadron was moved to RAF Wellingore, to prepare for moving to Australia.
Locations in Britain
3 September 1939 - RAF Hornchurch, London Borough of Havering, east London
September 1940 - RAF Catterick, Catterick, North Yorkshire
February 1941 - RAF Hornchurch, London Borough of Havering, east London
November 1941 - RAF Castletown, Castletown, Scotland
June 1942 - RAF Wellingore, Lincolnshire
In mid-1942, the squadron left for Australia. In January, 1943, it joined No. 1 Wing (Spitfire Wing) of the Royal Australian Air Force, a Spitfire unit responsible for air defence duties against Japanese aircraft in the Darwin area. Initially, the wing as a whole suffered from the inexperience of its pilots and mechanical problems caused during the shipment of Spitfires. Although contact with the Japanese was generally brief, 54 Squadron pilots scored a number of kills. Following the end of the war, the squadron disbanded in Melbourne on 31 October 1945.
Locations in Australia:
13 August 1942: Ascot Vale, Melbourne, Victoria
24 August 1942: Richmond, Sydney, New South Wales
13 January 1943: Sydney, New South Wales
25 January 1943: Parap Airfield, Darwin, Northern Territory
9 May 1944: Potshot, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia
19 May 1944: Livingstone Airfield, Northern Territory
23 October 1945: Parap Airfield, Darwin, Northern Territory
30 October 1945: Melbourne, Victoria
Sqn.Ldr. E. M Gibbs - 13 August 1942
Sqn.Ldr. R.B Newton - 11 January 1944
Sqn.Ldr J.B.H Nicholas - 1 July 1945
F-Lt D.M Gossland - 30 October 1945
DL (Apr 1939 - Sep 1939 & Apr 1944 - Oct 1945)
KL (Sep 1939 - Jun 1942)
HF (Nov 1945 - Apr 1948)
Western Front 1916-1918
Home Defence 1940-1945
France and Low Countries 1940
Battle of Britain 1940
Fortress Europe 1941
Eastern Waters [Australia] 1943-1945