The Way We Were - 36 Squadron
Andrew Thomas reflects on the long and gallant service of 36 Squadron, an RAF unit that literally fought to the last man
Few Royal Air Force squadrons have battled against insuperable odds, down to the last aircraft and the very last man, but this was the fate of 36 Squadron in 1942. Flying its antiquated biplanes, it was to be central to one of the most tragic yet heroic episodes in the RAF’s proud history.
The unit was formed for aerial defence of Newcastle, the Tees and Forth under Capt RO Abercrombie on February 1, 1916 at Cramlington, Northumberland, with flights at Turnhouse and Seaton Carew, equipped with the BE.2c. Unlike many home defence units, it soon saw action when the Germans launched a Zeppelin raid on the area on November 27.