COURAGE OVER MALTA

USING THE ‘LINE BOOK’ OF 185 SQUADRON, ANTHONY ROGERS RECOUNTS THE UNIT’S EXPLOITS DEFENDING MALTA

A few weeks before the end of the Great War, 185 Squadron formed at East Fortune in Scotland with Sopwith Cuckoo torpedo-bombers. It did not see active service in the conflict and was disbanded in April 1919.

The unit re-formed on June 1, 1938 at Abingdon, Oxfordshire, equipped initially with Hawker Hinds. These were soon replaced by Fairey Battles. Its crews were busy converting to Handley Page Hampdens at Cottesmore, Rutland at the outbreak of World War Two. It was not deployed and 185 was absorbed into the co-located 14 Operational Training Unit in April 1940.

At that point, whenever an RAF squadron had been assigned the number 185, it seemed destined for an inauspicious role. That was all about to change.

OWN GOAL

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