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Lancaster Unit Code - 100 Squadron RAF - use of JA and HW (1943)

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  • londonclanger
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2012
    • 13

    Lancaster Unit Code - 100 Squadron RAF - use of JA and HW (1943)

    Hello

    I've been researching Lancaster ED559 (lost March 4/5 March '43) from 100 Squadron at RAF Grimsby (Waltham).

    For the squadron's first operation, aircraft featured the "JA" unit designation. Later they adopted "HW".

    Does anyone know when they changed? Also, according to one resource JA was used for 1652 HCU.

    I've got quite a lot of information on this aircraft (see www.lancaster-ed559.co.uk) but interested in resolving this little nugget.

    Thanks

    Craig
  • Wokka Bob
    Thread Killer
    • Jun 2011
    • 382

    #2
    From a myriad of resources, I can only find JA allocated to 1652 Conversion Unit for Halifaxes and 65 Wing HQ USAAF (Liaison aircraft).

    From what I can gather 100 Sqn Vildebeests were allocated the code HJ and when they reformed in December 1942 at Waltham, 100 Sqn were allocated HW which was then continuously carried until April 1951.

    W.R. Chorley reports that on the night of 4/5 March 1943, 100 Sqn lost 2 aircraft whilst minelaying. ED549 (HW-S) & ED559 (HW-D). This Op was their first since being reformed and only one crewmember out of the 2 crews survived.

    Hope I haven't muddied the waters too much.

    Comment

    • octavian
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Oct 2013
      • 19

      #3
      From: Bomber Squadrons of the RAF, Philip Moyes (1964). "From Jan 1943 to 1951 or thereabouts the sqn used the code letters HW". This appears to co-incide with 100 re-equipping with Lancasters.

      Comment

      • londonclanger
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Feb 2012
        • 13

        #4
        Turning into a bit of a conundrum this.

        On this previous thread - see response #18

        And I came across this model of ED559 - not evidence but you would think that the modeller would have got the unit code spot on.

        Additionally, another Lancaster - ED549 - on the same operation as ED559 crash landed at Plungar. I've seen this as HW-S. I just wish the IWM collection that has a photo of this Lancaster was view-able.

        Would dearly love to get to the bottom of this one...

        Comment

        • M-62A
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Jul 2012
          • 45

          #5
          Craig,
          I have to admit to passing by on your query earlier because I expected a Lancaster expert would be along sometime soon to provide a more authoritative answer. I can only agree with what "gregh" stated on your previous thread.

          An answer lies between the covers of Ian Reed's excellent "Lancaster Operations - One squadron's contribution to the bomber offensive" - effectively a history of No.100 Squadron from December 1942 to May 1945.

          ED559 and crew have the tragic distinction of going missing on the first operational mission on 4th April 1943 - target St Nazaire.

          ED559's codes worn were JA-D on this raid. Individual codes letters were reissued, thus "D" was carried by ED710 from 26th March until 13th May 1943.

          Approximately twenty-five No.100 Sqdn Lancasters are listed as carrying "JA" squadron codes during March and April 1943 - plus another ten carried "FZ" squadron codes ("A" to "K") during May and June 1943. The better known "HW" codes would appear to have been first taken up during May.

          It would appear that serious questions about aspects of RAF or Commonwealth squadron histories are best placed on forums such as RAFCommands.

          Tony Broadhurst

          Comment

          • jack windsor
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Dec 2008
            • 917

            #6
            hi,
            Harry Holmes's Avro Lancaster the Definitive Record, reformed at Waltham 14/12/42 immediately began receiving Lancasters, first mission, mine-laying 4/5 March 1943, with HW code...

            regards,
            jack...

            Comment

            • papajuliet
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jan 2014
              • 24

              #7
              The book " The Hornet's Nest a history of 100 squadron." contains a facsimile of the battle order for that operation.It only shows ED559 as D. - no squadron codes. The book has a photo of a 100 squadron crew standing in front of ED988, coded FZ. Harry Holmes' book shows that aircraft as HW-J.

              Comment

              • londonclanger
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Feb 2012
                • 13

                #8
                Originally posted by M-62A View Post
                Craig,
                I have to admit to passing by on your query earlier because I expected a Lancaster expert would be along sometime soon to provide a more authoritative answer. I can only agree with what "gregh" stated on your previous thread.

                An answer lies between the covers of Ian Reed's excellent "Lancaster Operations - One squadron's contribution to the bomber offensive" - effectively a history of No.100 Squadron from December 1942 to May 1945.

                ED559 and crew have the tragic distinction of going missing on the first operational mission on 4th April 1943 - target St Nazaire.

                ED559's codes worn were JA-D on this raid. Individual codes letters were reissued, thus "D" was carried by ED710 from 26th March until 13th May 1943.

                Approximately twenty-five No.100 Sqdn Lancasters are listed as carrying "JA" squadron codes during March and April 1943 - plus another ten carried "FZ" squadron codes ("A" to "K") during May and June 1943. The better known "HW" codes would appear to have been first taken up during May.

                It would appear that serious questions about aspects of RAF or Commonwealth squadron histories are best placed on forums such as RAFCommands.

                Tony Broadhurst
                Tony, many thanks for the detailed reply and for answering this puzzle.

                C

                Comment

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