640 Squadron



640 Squadron


The history of 640 Squadron from its formation in January 1944.



Four printed sheets


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[underlined] NO. 640 SQUADRON [/underlined]

(No Badge Authorised)

No. 640 Squadron was formed at Leconfield, Yorkshire, on 7th January 1944 as a heavy-bomber unit from "C" Flight of No. 158 Squadron. Equipped with Halifaxes, the Squadron flew its first two missions from Lissett – No. 158 Squadron's base – but flew all subsequent missions from Leconfield. In all, between January 1944 and April 1945, it dropped 8,482 tons of bombs. During the same period it won the No. 4 Group Bombing Cup (a trophy competed for by No. 4 Group's Squadrons each month) no less than five times – a record unequalled during any span of time, by any other Squadron in the Group. No. 640 Squadron was disbanded at Leconfield on 7th May 1945 – exactly 16 months after having formed.

Main Equipment (Code letters "C8")
Handley Page Halifax (Jan. 1944 – May 1945)
e.g. B.III (between Jan 1944 – Mar. 1945)
B.VI's (from March 1945 to May 1945)

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[underlined] 640 SQUADRON [/underlined]

No. 640 Squadron formed at Leconfield on 7th January 1944. C Flight of No. 158 Squadron formed the nucleus and aircrews of No. 466 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron were also posted to make up the Squadron strength. Under the command of Wing Commander D.J. Eayrs the Squadron was equipped with Halifax III aircraft.

The first operation of the Squadron took place on 20/21 January when eight aircraft were detailed for Berlin. Five aircraft successfully completed their mission, the three remaining aircraft returning early. The following night eleven aircraft attacked Magdeburg and on 28/29 January Berlin was again attacked.

Throughout February, March, April, the Squadron continued its attacks on German industrial targets such as Leipzig, Stuttgart, Schweinfurt, Augsburg, Essen and Frankfurt. Towards the end of April and in May the Squadron joined in attacks on flying bomb launching sites and on the gun emplacements and communication systems in Northern France. This was part of the general 'softening up' process prior to D Day.

On 14/15 June the Squadron attacked Evrecy which was the Headquarters of the Twelfth Panzer Disivion and it was subsequently learned that a German General was killed in the attack. On 22 June the first daylight attack was made by the Squadron when fifteen aircraft attacked Siracourt.

Re-equipped with a new type Halifax in July the crews were brought up to operational standard whilst operations continued with Halifax III aircraft. August saw the first major attack by aircraft of the Squadron on a target in daylight [inserted] in the [/inserted] Ruhr. This was completed on 27 August without loss to the whole Group. The Squadron operated five times in support of Army operations in Northern France and flying bomb installations were attacked on ten occasions. The enemy airfield at Eindhoven was attacked during the month and 160 craters were left on the main runways.

Daylight operations continued in September which also saw the introduction of formation flying. The first target to be attacked by the Squadron in formation was Boulogne sur Mer on 17 September and was a complete success. Operations against various targets continued throughout the year and many training trips were undertaken. By the end of the year the Squadron had made 1870 sorties entailing nearly 9000 flying hours and over 6600 tons of bombs were dropped.

In February several long distance sorties into Germany were made, one in particular against Chemnitz on 14/15 February when seventeen aircraft successfully attacked the target. March again saw the record for the

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number of operational and training hours broken, and the squadron began converting to Halifax VI. Attacks during April were made by night on Harbourg Rhenania, Hamburg, Nuremburg and by day on the island of Heligoland. The last operation by the squadron took place on the 25 April when eighteen aircraft made a daylight attack on Wangerooge. All aircraft attacked the target and returned safely. With May came the news that as 4 Group was transferred to Transport Command No. 640 Squadron, as one of the youngest squadron, would disband with effect 7 May 1945.

The squadron total of bombs dropped in 1945 amounted to 1,851 tons, making a grand total since formation of 8,482 tons.

[underlined] Commanding Officers. [/underlined]
7.1.44 Wg. Cdr. D.J. Eayrs.
20.4.44. Wg. Cdr. W. Carter, D.F.C.
4.6.44 Wg. Cdr. M.I. Maw
14.8.44 Wg. Cdr. J.M. Viney, D.F.C.
22.1.45. Wg. Cdr. E.C. Badcoe, D.F.C.

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[underlined] The WINTER NEWSLETTER 1992/1993...1. [/underlined]
[underlined] THE 640 SQUADRON ASSOCIATION. [/underlined]

[underlined] PRESIDENT. [/underlined] Group Captain R.H. Waterhouse (Rtd.) C.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C.,
Silver Star (U.S.A.)

From a sketch by Brian Gaunt 640 Squadron

of 640 Squadron (Bomber Command).

The Halifax was the second of Britain's four engined Bombers to enter service with the Royal Air Force in the Second World War. Externally very similar to the Mark III, the Mark VI mounted 1800 h.p. Hercules 100 engines, had additional fuel tankage for extended range, and incorporated a pressurised fuel system with special carburettor filters for tropical operation. The 640 Squadron operated in the B III from Jan. 1944 until Mar. 1945 and then the B VI's from March 1945 to May 1945. The above is from a pencil sketch by Brian Gaunt which he has presented to the Association with his compliments.



“640 Squadron,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/34467.

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