(Jamaica) Squadron Royal Air Force
'Si placet necamus' We destroy at will
> Units and Formations
Formed: 3 Jul 1918
Disbanded: 31 Dec 1959
Reformed: 1 Feb 1962
Disbanded: 31 Dec 1968
Squadron was based at:
RAF Hemswell :: 1946; Mar 1950 - Jan 1956
RAF Coningsby :: ?? - Mar 1950
RAF Wittering :: 1962 -
Sqn Code: ??
Bristol Fighter :: 1918 -
Hawker Hind ::
Blenheim IV:: - Dec 1941
Hudson :: Dec 1941 - Apr 1942
Mosquito Mk, H2S, Mk XX :: 1942 - Nov 1952
Canberra :: Nov 1952 - Dec 1959
Victor B2 :: Feb 1962 -
The first flight of 139 Sqn was originally attached to 28 Sqn after arriving in Italy, where 28 Sqn was based. It was later transferred to 34 Sqn upto 3 Jul 1918 when, along with a second flight, it formed 139 Sqn, most personnel being supplied by 34 Sqn. If formed at Villaverla, Italy, roled as fighter-recce, and disbanded in 1919.
Reformed in 1936 as a bomber sqn, 139 Sqn spent WWII equipped with the Blenheim and holds the honour of flying the first RAF sortie across into German airspace. The Sqn name is derived from a fund-raising campaign in the early years of the war led by the Jamaican newspaper 'The Gleaner' which subscribed to the Bombers for Britain Fund. There were enough donations via the newspaper and Jamaica itself to buy 12 Blenheim by 1941. On May 12 1940, nine 139 Sqn Blenheim made a desperate attack on the Maastricht bridges in Belgium in an attempt to halt the German advance. 7 out of 9 were shot down.
During early 1942 the Sqn was temporarily re-roled to general recce. After Apr 1942 it was only the second bomber sqn to receive the Mosquito which it employed in low-level precision attacks, often with 105 Sqn, the first Mosquito-equipped sqn.
A notable date from the Sqn diary is the attempt by a two-ship to interrupt German Propaganda Minister, Goebbels, during an important speech on 30 Jan 1943. This was only hours after the first RAF daylight raid on Berlin by 105 Sqn.
In mid-1943 109 Sqn was re-roled to night raiding as part of the Pathfinder Force.
From 20 Feb to 27 Mar 1945 the Sqn conducted 36 consecutive night attacks against Berlin. Shortly thereafter on 2 May the last offensive operations targetted Kiel. In the post-war period 139 Sqn was one of only two sqns left in the much reduced Marker Force, together with Hemswell stable-mate 109 Sqn.
The squadron moved with 109 Sqn to Hemswell from Coninsgby in Mar 1950 while the other squadrons at the station re-equipped.
The Mosquito was replaced in Nov 1952 by the Canberra, until Sqn disbandment at the end of 1959. Then in Feb 1962 Victor B2 Intensive Trials Unit at RAF Wittering became 139 Sqn.
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