No 42 Squadron

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No 42 squadron formed at Filton on 1 April 1916 and, after training, moved to France in August with BE2D and BE 2E 42 Sqn C Flt, click here to continueaircraft for reconnaissance duties over the western front. In April 1917 the Squadron re-equipped with RE 8s and moved to northern Italy to cover the Austro-Italian Front, but returned to France in march 1918. In Feb 1919 it came back to the UK and disbanded at Netheravon on 26 June 1919.

No 42 Squadron reformed at Donibristle on 14 December 1936   from 'B' Flight of No 22 Squadron equipped with Vildebeest IIIs and became only one of two torpedo strike units in the UK. After a number of moves the Squadron settled at the new airfield at Thorney Island, but relocated to Bircham Newton on 12 August1939. It exchanged its Vildebeests for Beauforts in 42 Sqn Beauforts, click here for larger imageApril 1940 with which it specialised in anti-shipping and mine laying along the coasts of northern  Europe. On 18 June 1942 it left for the Far East but delayed in the Middle East for operations there until December, when it finally arrived in Ceylon. It converted to Blenheim Vs in India, which were used for bombing missions over Burma from March 1943 but re-equipped with Hurricane II's in October for ground attack duties, adding MK IVS in November 1944.

A change to Thunderbolt II's took place in July 1945, but the Squadron disbanded at Meiktala in Burma on 30 December 1945. It reformed with Beaufighter Xs at Thorney Island 1 October 1946 as part of Coastal Command's Strike Wing, but disbanded again on 15 October 1947.

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No 42 Squadron's current commission started on 28 June 1952 when it reformed at St Eval in Cornwall equipped with Shackleton MR I for maritime reconnaissance duties. The MR II's were received in April 1954 and the Squadron moved to a permanent home at ST Mawgan on 8 October 1958, where MR III's were accepted in December 1965. It converted to the 42 Sqn Nimrod MR2Nimrod MR1 in April 1971 and received the upgraded Nimrod MR2 in 1983. No 42 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron has been involved in numerous overseas detachments and operations the most significant of which took place in April 1982 when it despatched two aircraft to Ascension Island as part of the first phase of Operation 'Corporate'- the recovery of the Falkland Islands - gaining its 16th Battle Honour in the process. From October 1990 it provided crews as part of the Nimrod detachment in Oman involved in Operation 'Granby' and in January 1991 it set up a major detachment in Cyprus to give further support to the Allied forces. Disbanded as a front-line unit on 1 October 1992 the No.42(TB) Squadron number continues as the Nimrod OCU No.42 (Reserve) Squadron, formerly No.236 OCU, at Kinloss in Scotland.

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The history of 236 OCU goes back to August 1947 at Kinloss with the re-naming of No 6 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit and inherited Lancaster and Beaufighter aircraft. With revisions in Coastal Command training and the introduction of the School of Maritime Recce, course 32, click here for enlargementShackleton the School of Maritime Reconnaissance was formed at ST Mawgan in June 1951 using Lancasters to teach general maritime procedures. No 236 OCU then converted Aircrew to Shackleton Mk1, and from Nov 1952 to July 1956 to Neptune aircraft.

SMR and 236 OCU were combined at Kinloss in Sept 1956 as an economy measure to form the Maritime Operational Training Unit, this also saw the end of the Lancaster in Maritime. During its 14 A MOTU Shackleton T2 year life MOTU was equipped with Shackleton MK1A, the T4 an updated training version of the MK1A was introduced in July 1957, subsequently replaced by the T2 (A MK III trainer) in June 1968.

MOTU moved to ST Mawgan in June 1965 but disbanded 30 June 1970 when No 236 OCU was resurrected to start conversion to the Nimrod MR1. On the introduction of Nimrod MR2 the OCU closed at ST Mawgan 1 April 1982 but reopened at Kinloss as the MR2 OCU joining the Nimrod Conversion Flight who had been at work since October 1979. 1st November 1983 saw a return to ST Mawgan, however, a reversion to Kinloss took place 31 Jul 1992. With the disbandment on No 42 Squadron, 236 OCU was renamed Nimrod Operational Conversion Unit, No 42 (Reserve) Squadron. This is not the first time the unit has had a shadow role, 220 Sqn was allocated during the 1960's and 38 Sqn from Aug 1970. No 42 Reserve Squadron continues this policy, prolonging the number of a "Famous" Maritime Squadron. During 1997 the Nimrod OCU, No 42 [R] Squadron was renamed to No 42 (Reserve) Squadron.

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