No. 576 Squadron RAF

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No. 576 Squadron RAF
576 Squadron RAF Lancaster Fiskerton 1945 AWM P00811.019.jpg
576 Squadron Avro Lancaster at RAF Fiskerton, 1945
Active25 Nov 1943 – 13 Sep 1945
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchAir Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
RoleBomber squadron
Part ofNo. 1 Group, RAF Bomber Command[1]
Motto(s)Latin: Carpe Diem
(Translation: "Seize the opportunity" or "Pluck the day")[2][3]
Squadron Badge heraldryA merlin, wings inverted and addorsed, preying on a serpent[3]
The squadron had its aircraft fitted with Merlin engines and the badge is symbolic of the unit seeking out and destroying its prey[2]
Squadron CodesUL (Nov 1943 – Sep 1945)[4][5]
Aircraft flown
BomberAvro Lancaster
Four-engined heavy bomber

No. 576 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force Second World War heavy bomber squadron.


576 Squadron was formed on 25 November 1943 at RAF Elsham Wolds in Lincolnshire under the command of Wing Commander G.T.B Clayton DFC. "A" Flight was formed under Squadron Leader Dilworth and composed of 4 experienced aircrews drawn from 101 Squadron, with the remainder drawn from the Group 1 Heavy Conversion Units. "B" Flight was formed under Squadron Leader Attwater and consisted of 13 experienced aircrew and 9 aircraft from "C" Flight of 103 squadron.

576 Squadron commenced operations in the night of 2/3 December 1943, when seven Avro Lancasters were sent out to bomb Berlin.[6] FSGT John Booth RAAF and crew in UL-R2 (W4123) failed to return from this operation. Eleven months later 576 Squadron moved to RAF Fiskerton, a little way outside Lincoln. During its brief period of existence 576 Squadron operated only one type of aircraft, the Avro Lancaster four-engined heavy bomber. It carried out 2,788 operation sorties with the Lancaster, with the loss of 66 aircraft.[7] The last bombs of the squadron were dropped on 25 April 1945, when 23 of the squadrons aircraft bombed Berchtesgaden with no loss of personnel. During this period, 576 Squadron flew 2,788 operational sorties; 67 aircraft were lost, including two abandoned over France in February 1945.

576 then took part in Operation Manna - the dropping of food supplies to the Dutch; Operation Exodus - repatriation of British ex-POWs to Great Britain; Operation Post Mortem - testing the efficiency of captured German early-warning radar; and Operation Dodge-the transport of British troops to Great Britain from Italy. 576 Squadron's last operation was part of Operation Manna in which 28 aircraft were detailed to drop food to the starving Dutch people in Rotterdam on 7 May 1945.[6]

576 Squadron was disbanded at Fiskerton on 13 September 1945.

Aircraft operated[edit]

Aircraft operated by no. 576 Squadron, data from[3][6][8]
From To Aircraft Version
November 1943 September 1945 Avro Lancaster Mks.I, III

Notable aircraft[edit]

Four of the Lancasters that flew with 576 squadron managed to survive one hundred operations or more:

No. 576 Squadron RAF aircraft with the most number of operations, data from[9]
Serial no. Name Operations Call-sign Fate Remarks
ED888 "Mike Squared" 140 UL-V2, UL-M2 Struck off charge, 8 January 1947 Flew 140 missions in total, initially with No. 103 Squadron RAF from April 1943, and then with 576 Squadron. The aircraft was returned to 103 Squadron when 576 moved to RAF Fiskerton and was re-coded PM-M2. This is the code which she is traditionally shown in, however most of her 140 operations were flown while at 576 Squadron.[10][11]
ME801 "Nan" 114 UL-C2, UL-N2 Struck off charge, 16 October 1945 [12]
LM594 "A Able" 104 UL-G2, UL-A2 Struck off charge, 13 February 1947 [13]
LM227 "Item" 100 UL-I2 Struck off charge, 16 October 1945 [14]

Squadron bases[edit]

Bases and airfields used by no. 576 Squadron, data from[3][8][15]
From To Base
25 November 1943 31 October 1944 RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire
31 October 1944 13 September 1945 RAF Fiskerton, Lincolnshire



  1. ^ Delve 1994, pp. 68, 77.
  2. ^ a b Moyes 1976, p. 269.
  3. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 413.
  4. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 101.
  5. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 109.
  6. ^ a b c Moyes 1976, p. 270.
  7. ^ Falconer 2003, p. 256.
  8. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 98.
  9. ^ Moyes 1976, p. 362.
  10. ^ "ED888 'Mother'/'Mike Squared'". Build the Lancaster. Hachette Partworks. 2011.
  11. ^ Franks 1994, pp. 72–78.
  12. ^ Franks 1994, pp. 154–158.
  13. ^ Franks 1994, pp. 141–144.
  14. ^ Franks 1994, pp. 130–134.
  15. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 269–270.


  • Bowyer, Michael J.F.; John D.R. Rawlings (1979). Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Delve, Ken (1994). The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Flintham, Vic; Andrew Thomas (2003). Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Franks, Norman (1994). Claims to Fame: The Lancaster. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-220-0.
  • Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Falconer, Jonathan (2003). Bomber Command Handbook 1939–1945. Stroud, England: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-3171-X.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G. (2001). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. (1976). Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.

External links[edit]