No. 512 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.512 Squadron was a transport squadron formed in 1943 and that spent the first half of 1944 working with the airborne forces, and took part in the D-Day landings.

The squadron was formed in June 1943 and Hendon, and was used to provide a transport link between the UK and Gibraltar and North Africa. In February 1944 the squadron was transferred to the airborne forces, and spent the rest of the winter and the spring of 1944 preparing for the D-Day landings. In the weeks before D-Day the squadron’s Dakotas were used on leaflet dropping missions over France, despite being unarmed.

On D-Day the squadron provided thirty-two aircraft for the initial paratrooper drop (carrying the 9th Battalion, 3rd Parachute Brigade, and seventeen glider tugs later in the day. After D-Day the squadron reverted to a more general transport role, although it was also used to fly the wounded back from France. These roles continued until the end of the war, but the squadron also took part in the two main airborne operations of the campaign, flying forty-six glider towing sorties on the first two days of fighting at Arnhem, and flying twenty-nine supply drop missions before the battle ended. In March 1945 the squadron provide twenty four glider tugs during the crossing of the Rhine.

After the end of the fighting in Europe the squadron provided transport services to the Middle East and to India. It then moved to Egypt, and later to Italy, before returning to the UK in February 1946. It was disbanded on 14 March 1946.

Aircraft
June 1943-March 1946: Douglas Dakota I, Dakota III
June 1943-September 1943: Lockheed Hudson IIIA
April 1945-March 1946: Douglas Dakota IV

Location
June 1943-February 1944: Hendon
February-March 1945: Broadwell
March-July 1945: B.56 Evere

August-October 1945: Holme-in-Spalding Moor
October 1945: Qastina
October-December 1945: Gianaclis
December 1945-March 1946: Bari

Squadron Codes: -

Duty
1943-February 1944: Transport Squadron
February 1944-June 1944: Airborne Forces
June 1944 onwards: Casualty evacuation and general transport

Part of
To February 1944: No.44 Group
February 1944 onwards: No.46 Group

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 January 2012), No. 512 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/512_wwII.html

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