298 Squadron, 38 Group : History

Badge: A hand holding a dagger in bend sinister thrusting to the dexter

Motto: 'Silent we strike'

 

HISTORY

 

Squadron Code Letters '8A' & '8T'.
No.298 Squadron was formed at Thruxton - from a nucleus of No.297 Squadron - on 24 August 1942 as an airborne forces unit but after receiving a few Whitleys it was disbanded on 19 October 1942.
The squadron reformed on 04 November 1943 at Tarrant Rushton - from 'A' Flight of No.295 Squadron - with Halifaxes and in February 1944, began supply-dropping flights over France in addition to training for the invasion of Europe.
On 16 March 1944, No.298 Squadron’s 'C' Flight split off to form the nucleus of No.644 Squadron, 38 Group.
On 'D-Day', 06 June 1944, as part of Operation 'OVERLORD', No.298 Squadron was involved in taking of Caen Canal & River Orne bridges, Normandy in early hours. It was Operation 'COUP DE MAIN': With No.644 Squadron, 3 aircraft each, the operation took off at 22:30 on 05 June and they towed Gliders Horsas to the vital bridges - one of it would become the famous 'Pegasus Bridge'. Wing Commander Duder DSO DFC, No.298 Squadron, towed this night the glider in which was the also famous Major Howard, 'D' Company of 2nd Battalion the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. The 298 and 644 Squadrons tugs were a brilliant success and Major Howard's soldiers, the first British troops to land in occupied France on D-day took the 2 bridges.
After having released their task, the 6 aircraft made a diversionary bombing attack on a cements work at Caen.
No.298 Squadron supplied also 17 tugs, for Operation 'TONGA'. On 06 June at 01:30, Combinations Halifax/Horsa began to take off - 15 Horsas and 2 Hamilcars (which began to take off at 02:30), carrying the Royal Artillery Anti-Tanks Units. 2 Horsas had to release in England but others, despite the very bad weather, reached the other side. A burning Halifax was seen flying in the aera. It was Flying Officer Anderson's Halifax which had been hit by flak. All the aircrew returned to England safely.
Despite the light flak and the considerable amount of cloud, 'TONGA' was completed with success by No.298 Squadron.
Later on 06 June, 16 tugs - 15 Hamilcars and 1 Horsa were towed for Operation 'MALLARD', reinforcements to Normandy. No.298 Squadron carried light tanks, armoured carriers and their ancillaries, with Royal Armoured Corps personnel. The take off, the flight and the cast off were 100% successful. But after releasing, Flying Officer Carpenter's aircraft, Halifax LL407 T-'H', was hit by flak - The enemy were within a few hundred yards of the glider landing zone - and ditched 8 miles from the French coast. Squadron Leader Briggs circled until a naval vessel came up. All the crew returned safely to England.
Note:
During 'MALLARD', the gliders, including the Hamilcars carrying Tetrachs light tanks, appeared overhead just as 21st Panzer Division was slogging it out with the Staffordshire Yeomanry, and that was too much for the Germans. Convinced they were about to be cut off, and already battling against strong opposition, they turned about and headed back for Caen while they still could!
After 'D-Day' operations No.298 continued his supply-dropping flights (particularly for SOE and SAS).
An example:
On 05 August 1944, No.298 and No.644 Squadrons towed 10 Waco gliders for Operation 'DINGSON 35A' in Brittany, France (each glider carried 3 SAS and an armed jeep). No.298 Squadron towed 5 Waco gliders. One Waco was lost (team of Pierre Philippon, a French SAS and a former member of the Resistance Movement, Réseau 'Bordeaux-Loupiac', who was from Quimper, Brittany). The SAS teams stayed in occupied territory with their armed jeeps until the arrival of Allies. Their job should be impressive because Germans sticked posters promising 20 000 francs for the capture of each SAS dead or alive! But these SAS were loved and protected by the French people who welcomed them because they were the only British troops in the region.
On 17 September 1944 began Operation 'MARKET GARDEN', 45 tugs were towed by No.298 who participated to MARKET I, II and III, airborne parts of 'MARKET GARDEN', dropping paratroops from Eindhoven to Nijmegen. On 17 September, MARKET I, No.298 squadron towed 13 Horsas and 7 Hamilcars ; on 18 September, MARKET II, 7 Horsas and 8 Hamilcars and on 19 September, MARKET III, 10 Horsas.
No Halifaxes were lost during the operations 'MARKET', although many were hit by flak.
SOE and SAS missions didn't stop with this major operation and continued during it and until the end of the war over Europe.
On 24 March 1945, 30 tugs (24 Hamilcars + 6 Horsas) were towed by No.298 Squadron, in combination with 30 others of No.644 Squadron, for Operation 'VARSITY', troops over the Rhine.
Between 10 & 27 June 1945 saw intensive shuttle of resupply.
No.298 Squadron was also involved in Operation 'DOOMSDAY' on 10-11 May 1945 - No.298 landed troops into Norway to oversee the withdrawal of German Army.
In July 1945 No.298 Squadron was transferred to Raipur, India as part of Operation 'TIGER FORCE' but had to wait 3 months for new, heavier panniers to stop planes swinging in the wind. Before parts could arrive, Japan surrendered.
No.298 Squadron disbanded on 21 December 1946.

 

Commanding Officers:

14 September 1942    Squadron Leader L.C. BARTRAM                                  (O.C. when the Squadron was suspended on
                                  19 October 1942)

04 November 1943    Squadron Leader G.H. BRIGGS DFC                                  ('A' Flt Cdr and acting O.C.)

04 December 1943     Wing Commander D.H. DUDER DSO, DFC, LeoP(C),                                                                                                 CdeG(1940)(P)(B)

                                  LeoP(C): Order of Leopold (Chevalier) with Palm -                                   Belgium

                                  CdeG(1940)(P)(B): Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm -                                   Belgium

January 1945             Wing Commander H. LAW-WRIGHT DSO, DFC, MiD                                   (KiA, 03 April 1945)

17 April 1945             Wing Commander J. STEWART DFC

 

Date  /  Base  /  Aircraft

24 August 1942  Formed at Thruxton in No.38 Group - nucleus from No.297                                                                                                             Squadron

August 1942  /  Thruxton  /  Whitley V

19 October 1942  / Disbanded - formation suspended

04 November 1943  Reformed at Tarrant Rushton in No.38 Group - from 'A'                                                                                   Flight of No.295 Squadron

November 1943  /  Tarrant Rushton  /  Halifax V

September 1944  /  Tarrant Rushton  /  Halifax III, Halifax V

November 1944  Halifax V is retired

March 1945  /  Tarrant Rushton  /  Halifax III, Halifax A.7

05 July 1945  En route to India  /  Halifax III, Halifax A.7

15 July 1945 To Raipur detachments Akyab, Alipore  /  Halifax III, Halifax A.7

July 1945  Halifax III is retired

09 December 1945  To Digri detachments Alipore, Meiktila, Chaklala  /                                                                                                          Halifax A.7

20 May 1946  To Baroda  /  Halifax A.7

27 July 1946 To Mauripur detachment Risalpur  /  Halifax A.7

21 December 1946  Squadron Disbanded

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