No. 602 Squadron
Aircraft: Spitfire Mk.1
Motto: Cave leonem cruciatum – ‘Beware the tormented lion’
Badge: In front of a saltire, a lion rampant. The lion was adopted in view of the squadron’s association with Scotland and the saltire to represent the cross of St Andrew, being fimbriated to show it as a white saltire on a blue background.
- Drem – 28 May 1940
- Westhampnett – 13 August 1940
No. 602 Squadron was formed on 12 September 1925 at Renfrew as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. Initially equipped with DH9As it began to replace these with Fawns in September 1927, though the latter were in turn replace by Wapitis in 1929. Harts began to arrive in February 1934 and the squadron re-equipped with Hinds in June 1936. On 1 November 1938 No. 602 was redesignated an army co-operation squadron, but on 14 January 1939 this was changed to become a fighter unit, Gauntlets being received. These were replaced by Spitfires in May 1939 and during the early months of the war the squadron was engaged in intercepting German bombing raids on Scotland. When the Battle of Britain began, No. 602 was still in Scotland, moving south in mid-August.
No. 603 Squadron
Aircraft: Spitfire Mk.I
Motto: Gin ye daur – ‘If you dare’
Badge: On a rock a triple-towered castle, flying therefrom to the sinister a pennon. The castle in the badge is similar to that in the Arms of the City of Edinburgh.
- Turnhouse – 5 May 1940
- Hornchurch – 27 August 1940
No. 603 Squadron was formed on 14 October 1925 at Turnhouse as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. Originally equipped with DH9As and using Avro 504Ks for flying training, the squadron re-equipped with Wapitis in March 1930, these being replaced by Harts in February 1934. On 24 October 1938, No. 603 was redesignated a fighter unit and flew Hinds until the arrival of Gladiators at the end of March 1939. Within two weeks of the outbreak of war in September 1939, the squadron began to receive Spitfires and passed on its Gladiators to other squadrons during October. It was operational with Spitfires in time to intercept the first German air raid on the British Isles on 16 October, when it destroyed the first enemy aircraft to be shot down over Britain in the Second World War. It remained on defensive duties in Scotland until the end of August 1940, when it moved to southern England for the remaining months of the Battle of Britain.
No. 604 Squadron.
Aircraft: Blenheim Mk.IF
Motto: Si vis pacem, para bellum – ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’
Badge: A seax. No. 604, being the County of Middlesex squadron, took part of the armorial bearings of the county, a seax, to commemorate that associaton.
- Manston – 15 May 1940
- Gravesend – 3 July 1940
- Middle Wallop – 26 July 1940
No. 604 Squadron was formed on 17 March 1930 at Hendon as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. On 2 April it received its first DH9As and flew these till the arrival of Wapitis in September 1930. On 23 July 1934, it was redesignated a fighter squadron and received Harts as an interim type, pending the delivery of Demon two-seat fighters which arrived in June 1935. Shortly before the outbreak of war, it converted to Blenheims with which it flew defensive patrols and undertook early experiments with airborne radar.
When Germany invaded the Low Countries in May 1940, No. 604 flew sweeps over the battle areas, but reverted to night patrols in July and became a full-time night fighter squadron, with Beaufighters beginning to arrive in September.
No. 605 Squadron
Aircraft: Hurricane Mk.I
Motto: Nunquam dormio – ‘I never sleep’
Badge: On a mount a bear supporting a ragged staff. The device on the badge has long been associated with Warwickshire, No 605 being the County of Warwick Squadron.
- Drem – 28 May 1940
- Croydon – 7 September 1940
No. 605 Squadron was formed on 5 October 1926 at Castle Bromwich as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force, recruiting in the Birmingham area. Initially equipped with DH9As it received Wapitis in April 1930 and Harts in October 1934. The latter were replaced by Hinds in August 1936 and on 1 January 1939 No. 605 was redesignated a fighter squadron and re-equipped with Gladiators. Hurricanes began to arrive a few weeks before the outbreak of World War Two and the squadron took up its war station at Tangmere with a mixture of six Hurricanes and ten Gladiators, completing re-equipment during October. In February 1940 the squadron moved to Scotland, but returned south in May to fly patrols over northern France for a week before moving back to Drem. It moved south again in September for the closing stages of the Battle of Britain.
No. 607 Squadron
Aircraft: Hurricane Mk.I
Badge: A winged lion salient, the hind legs also winged. The badge was an official authorisation of an unofficial badge in use by the squadron.
- Usworth – 5 June 1940
- Tangmere – 1 September 1940
- Turnhouse – 10 October 1940
No. 607 Squadron was formed on 17 March 1930 at Usworth as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. The former landing ground at Hylton used during World War One was in course of preparation as the squadron’s base, but it was not until September 1932 that any personnel could move to the site. Next month a Gipsy Moth arrived to allow flying training to commence, and in December the first Wapitis were received. These were replaced by Demons. No. 607 being redesignated a fighter squadron on 23 September 1936. In December 1938 conversion to Gladiators began and these were taken to France in November 1939 to join the Air Component of the BEF. In March 1940 Hurricanes began to arrive and within a few days of the German invasion in May had completely replaced Gladiators. With its airfields overrun, the squadron moved back to the UK to re-equip and in September moved south to defend southern England during the Battle of Britain.