Black Friday: Coastal Command’s biggest defeat?

In a layby on the A98 near Portsoy, there stands a granite memorial dedicated to the Banff Strike Wing. Under the command of Canadian born Group Captain the Hon. Max Aitken, six multi-national squadrons formed the wing, which was tasked with protecting the area during World War II.

Comprising of four locations, RAF Banff, RAF Dallachy, RAF Fraserburgh and RAF Peterhead, the Banff Strike Wing was part of Royal Air Force Coastal Command and spent the years 1944 to 1945 attacking occupying Nazi forces in Norway. Between September 1944 and May 1945, crews flying in Mosquito and Beaufighter aircraft targeted U-boats and surface vessels in the North Sea. More than 80 airmen from the Wing gave their lives during the conflict. On February 9, 1945, the wing suffered its most devastating loss in a defeat that would later go on to be coined ‘Black Friday’ by the survivors. The loss was the highest taken by any Coastal Command strike wing throughout the entire war. 

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