No. 570 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 570 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No. 570 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War

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No.570 Squadron was an airborne forces squadron that took part in every major airborne operation from D-Day to the crossing of the Rhine, supported SOE operations in Europe and also served as a tactical bomber squadron during 1945.

The squadron was formed on 15 November 1943 from personnel taken from Nos.295 and 296 Squadrons. It was equipped with the Armstrong-Whitworth Albemarle, and trained to use this un-required heavy bomber as a glider tug and to drop paratroopers.

The squadron became operational in February 1944 when it was used to drop supplies to SOE parties operating in France. The squadron would continue to perform this role for the rest of the war, and its final sorties in April 1945 saw it dropping supplies to similar groups in Denmark.

The squadron's first standard airborne operation began on 5 June 1944 when it provided ten aircraft to carry the first pathfinder paratroops to France (their role was to mark the drop zones for the main paratroop drop on D-Day). Twelve gliders in two waves were also towed to France early on 6 June. During the day the squadron towed twenty gliders to the Caen area (Operation Mallard). On 7 June the squadron dropped SAS troops behind German lines (Operation Cooney).

Next was the attack at Arnhem. By this point the squadron had converted to the Stirling. On 17 September twelve Stirlings towed gliders containing part of the 1st Airborne Division, while another eight carried the controversial 1st Airborne HQ. In the second phase of the operation the squadron provided ten glider tugs and fifteen supply dropping aircraft. The squadron then flew supply drop missions on the following four days.

The squadron also took part in Operation Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. Thirty glider tugs were providing, towing Horsa gliders. In April the squadron took part in Operation Amherst, dropping paratroops into Groningen. After the war the squadron took part in one more airborne operation, carrying the 1st Airborne Division to Olso (Operation Doomsday).

Early in 1945 the squadron gained a third role, acting as a night tactical bomber squadron supporting the British armies as they fought their way into Germany, a somewhat ironic role for the Short Stirling, the first of Bomber Command's four engined heavy bombers.

November 1943-August 1944: Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
July 1944-January 1946: Short Stirling IV

November 1943-March 1944: Hurn
March-October 1944: Harwell
October 1944-January 1946: Rivenhall

Squadron Codes: V8 (Albermarle), E7 (Stirling)

1943-1944: Airborne forces and SOE support
1945: Airborne forces, SOE support and tactical bombing

Part of
6 June 1944: No.38 Group; Allied Expeditionary Air Force


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