No. 356 Squadron RAF
|No. 356 Squadron RAF|
|Active||15 January 1944 – 15 November 1945|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||No. 231 Group RAF, South East Asia Command|
|Motto(s)||We bring freedom and assistance|
|Squadron Badge heraldry||A demi-tiger erased|
No. 356 Squadron RAF was a short-lived long-range bomber squadron of the Royal Air Force between 1944 and 1945.
The squadron was formed on 15 January 1944 at Salbani, Bengal, British India, as a long-range bomber unit equipped with the Consolidated Liberator. No.356 Squadron had many Canadian members from the Royal Canadian Air Force because the only British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Liberator Conversion Unit was in Canada at Boundary Bay, British Columbia. Wing Commander Hugo Beall, DSO, a Canadian in the RAF, was the first CO of 356 Squadron when it started operations in 1943. Under his leadership in the early raids this squadron developed techniques for low-level bombing of the dispersed and relatively small targets in Burma and Siam. After one intermediary, Beall was succeeded by another Canadian, Wing Commander G N B (Bryan) Sparks, DSO, RCAF, who led the Squadron until 11 August 1945.
The squadrons first flights were meteorological ones for training in June 1944. Its first bombing mission was on 27 July 1944. From then the squadron attacked Japanese bases in South East Asia and planted mines outside enemy harbours. On 15 June 1945 the squadron together with 159 Squadron destroyed the 10,000 ton Japanese tanker, Tohu Maru in the Gulf of Siam of Koh Samui Island.
On 23 August 1945, one of its aircraft, Serial Number KL654 flown by Flight Lieutenant John Watts, crashed at Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, Malaya after parachuting Claude Fenner, later Inspector General of Malaysian Police into Malaya. The wreck was discovered in the 1950s and again in 1996 by local tribes-people. The bodies of the crew were retrieved and buried in Cheras War Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur in 2012.
The end of the war came before the invasion was carried out and the squadron performed supply-dropping and transport duties until it was disbanded on 15 November 1945.
|January 1944||November 1945||Consolidated Liberator||Mk.VI|
|15 January 1944||22 July 1945||RAF Salbani, Bengal, British India|
|22 July 1945||15 November 1945||Cocos Islands, Straits Settlements|
- Delve 1994, pp. 77, 84.
- Moyes 1976, p. 233.
- Halley 1988, p. 385.
- Tohu Maru tabular record of movement, retrieved 23 March 2018
- The Wellington Bomber - Voices in Flight, Martin W Bowman, Pen and Sword, 2015, Page 146, ISBN 1473853680, 9781473853683
- B-24 Snake, Goh K Loon, retrieved 23 March 2018
- Jefford 2001, p. 90.
- Jefford 2001, pp. 268–278.
- Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
- Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W. Burma Liberators: RCAF in SEAC. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Next Level Press, 1991. ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
- Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force and Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
- Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd). RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1853100536. (second revised edition 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.)
- Jones, Mike. Signed with their Honour. 355/356 Squadrons' Association, 2005.
- Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (new edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
- Oughton, James D. with John Hamlin and Andrew Thomas. The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 2007. ISBN 978-0-85130-362-8.
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