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2 Tactical Air Force (2TAF) 88 Squadron RAF Missing Presumed Killed

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On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, 88 Squadron transferred from 1 Group to the RAF Advanced Air Striking Force, making it one of the first squadrons to be sent to France. The first recorded RAF kill of the Second World War was claimed on 20 September 1939 by air observer Sergeant F Letchford aboard a Fairey Battle flown by Flying Officer LH Baker. It suffered very heavy losses during the Battle of France, for example, when four Battles set out from its base at Mourmelon to attack German troop columns in Luxembourg, only 1 returned. (Four out of four Battles from 218 Squadron launched against the same targets that day were also lost.) The squadron was forced to retreat on 15 May, with any unserviceable aircraft being destroyed, together with stocks of spares and stores. For the rest of the squadron's time in France, it was confined mainly to night operations to minimise losses. It returned to Britain in June 1940, moving to RAF Sydenham, Belfast where it operated a mix of Battles, Douglas Boston Is and Bristol Blenheim IVs, carrying out patrol duties over the Western Approaches.

In July 1941 the squadron was moved to RAF Swanton Morley, East Anglia where it converted fully to the Boston III and IIIA. The aircraft was well received by the crews. In January 1942 Wing Commander James Pelly-Fry took over as commanding officer. He was a well experienced pilot who had flown in Africa. Pelly-Fry led a series of Circus missions over northern France, bombing targets while under heavy fighter escort, including the bombing of the Saint-Malo docks on 31 July 1942. On 19 August 1942 the squadron supported Canadian forces during the intense air battles of the Dieppe raid, where the RAF lost 91 aircraft. It flew repeated sorties attempting to destroy field gun positions overlooking the beaches at Dieppe. In September the squadron was moved to RAF Oulton in Norfolk, where it became an integral part of 2 Group. The crews were billeted at Blickling Hall, a stately home north of Aylsham in Norfolk. From Oulton the squadron carried out attacks on German coastal shipping, coastal targets and targets in northern France. On 6 December 1942 the squadron was the lead element in Operation Oyster, the daylight raid against the Philips works in Eindhoven. The raid was the most famous and successful raid conducted by 2 Group.

In August 1943 the squadron relocated to RAF Hartford Bridge, Hampshire with its sister squadron No. 342 Squadron (Dutch) as part of 137 wing of No.2 Group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force in preparation for the invasion of Europe. From there the squadron attacked German communications and airfields. On D-Day itself it was charged with laying the smokescreen to hide the first wave of landing craft.

In October 1944 the squadron returned to France based at Vitry en Artois to join the tactical air forces that were supporting the Allied armies as they advanced across Europe. The squadron was finally disbanded on 4 April 1945.

Personnel Posted as Missing During Service with 2TAF

F/Sgt. Davies, B.D. RAF 537136 88B 26/08/1941 Runnymede Panel 36

P/O. Dunn, G.B. RAF 44816 88B 26/08/1941 Runnymede Panel 32

P/O. Jones, J.R.A. RAF 39441 88B 26/08/1941 Runnymede Panel 33

P/O. Cooper, T.E. RNZAF 39901 88B 18/09/1941 Runnymede Panel 63

Sgt. Hambly, R.S. RCAF R/61085 88B 18/09/1941 Runnymede Panel 61

F/Sgt. Hammersley, S.R.E. RAF 581056 88B 18/09/1941 Runnymede Panel 36

P/O. Hislop, B.E. RAAF 400589 88B 18/09/1941 Runnymede Panel 62

Sgt. Andrews, E.W. RAF 1380771 88B 26/10/1941 Runnymede Panel 38

P/O. Day, A.E. RAF 102116 88B 26/10/1941 Runnymede Panel 32

P/O. Rollinson, J. RAF 103022 88B 26/10/1941 Runnymede Panel 34

Sgt. Elliott, T.W. RAF 1058216 88B 26/03/1942 Runnymede Panel 82

Sgt. Frame, W.V. RAF 1376982 88B 26/03/1942 Runnymede Panel 83

Sgt. Dean, E.H. RAF 1058480 88B 28/07/1942 Runnymede Panel 81

F/Sgt. Ganes, J.W. RCAF R/98016 88B 28/07/1942 Runnymede Panel 104

P/O. Matthews, T.K. RAF 109130 88B 28/07/1942 Runnymede Panel 70

P/O. Rogers, D. RAF 118628 88B 28/07/1942 Runnymede Panel 71

W/O.2 Beach, C.A. RCAF R/77144 88B 19/08/1942 Runnymede Panel 102

Sgt. Hinde, D.F.J. RAF 933418 88B 19/08/1942 Runnymede Panel 88

F/Sgt. Woolston, P.S. RAF 1254886 88B 19/08/1942 Runnymede Panel 77

Sgt. Gibbs, G.H. RAF 591664 88B 29/07/1943 Runnymede Panel 150

Sgt Riddell, J. RAF 1231536 88B 29/07/1943 Runnymede Panel 163

Sgt. Thompson, M.C. RAF 1272215 88B 29/07/1943 Runnymede Panel 167

F/O. Hay, A.J.F. RAF J/21713 88B 13/08/1943 Runnymede Panel 173

P/O. Boyle, A.J. RAF 179549 88B 06/06/1944 Runnymede Panel 210

P/O. Chalmers, J.C. RNZAF 413722 88B 06/06/1944 Runnymede Panel 263


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