No. 2 GroupRSS

No. 2 Group

No. 2 Group

Motto: "Vincemus" ("We will conquer").
Badge: Perched on a helmet an eagle, wings expanded. The badge is symbolic of the Group's co-operation and close alliance with the Army.
Authority: Queen Elizabeth II, May 1952.

A frequent maker of headline news during the Second World War, No. 2 (Bomber) Group was formed on 20th March 1936, with headquarters at Abingdon, and took command of its first station and squadrons (Abbotsinch and Nos. 21 and 34 Hind bomber squadrons) on 1st August 1936. On the outbreak of war Group Headquarters were at Wyton and under their control were the following stations and squadrons organised into 5 Wings thus: No. 70 Wing, Upper Heyford, Nos. 18 and 57 Squadrons; No. 79 Wing, Watton, Nos. 21 and 82 Squadrons; No. 81 Wing, West Raynham, Nos. 90 and 101 Squadrons; No. 82 Wing, Wyton, Nos. 114 and 139 Squadrons; and No. 83 Wing, Wattisham, Nos. 107 and 110 Squadrons. Nos. 79, 81, 82 and 83 Wings formed the 2nd Echelon of the Advanced Air Striking Force, while No. 70 Wing was earmarked for service with the Field Force in France. Nos. 21, 18 and 57 Squadrons were re-arming, or were scheduled to re-arm, with Blenheim IVs (from Blenheim Is) in the order just given, the others having already done so.

On the same day that war broke out (3rd September 1939) a Blenheim from No. 2 Group made the first British operational sortie to cross the German frontier in the Second World War. On the following day some of the Group's Blenheims made the first British bombing attack of the war.

The Group bombed the advancing Germans following their breakthrough on the Continent in May 1940; bombed the German invasion barges lying in the Channel ports; operated against the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen during their famous Channel dash; supported the Commandos at the Dieppe landings; made the first daylight attack on Berlin; and bombed Gestapo headquarters and SS Barracks. Other highlights of No. 2 Group's history were the low-level attack on Bremen, in which the leader, Wing Commander HI Edwards, of No. 105 Squadron, won the Victoria Cross; and the famous wall-breaching operation against Amiens gaol which cost the heroic Group Captain Percy Pickard, of Target for Tonight film fame, his life.

Until the end of May 1943, the Group formed part of Bomber Command; it then left to join the new Tactical Air Force and came under Fighter Command control until the formation of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force five months later. In the closing months of the European war the Group was based on the Continent.

An official summary of No. 2 Group's wartime effort reveals that it started the war with 79 Blenheims and finished with more than 260 Mosquitoes and Mitchells; and that in all it flew just over 57,000 operational sorties at a cost of 2,671 men killed or missing and 396 wounded.

WWII Headquarters:

  • Wyton : Apr 1938-Oct 1939
  • Castlewood House, Huntingdon : Oct 1939-May1943

W.e.f. 1.6.43 transferred to 2nd Tactical Air Force (2TAF)

WWII Air Officer's Commanding:

  • Air Vice-Marshal CT Maclean : 16th May 1938
  • Air Vice-Marshal JM Robb : 17th Apr 1940
  • Air Vice-Marshal DF Stevenson : 12th Feb 1941
  • Air Vice Marshal A Lees : 17th Dec 1941
  • Air Vice-Marshal JH D'Albiac : 29th Dec 1942
  • Air Vice-Marshal BE Embry : 1st Jun 1943
Arendsdaalder 8, 8253 BT, Dronten, Netherlands
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