602 Squadron History

602602 Squadron History


In 1919 Sir Hugh Trenchard set out the basis for an Air Force Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force organised on a Territorial system similar to the Territorial Army. The first of these Squadrons, 602 (City of Glasgow) was raised in 1925. In 1947 the “Royal ” prefix was granted by King George VI. In all, twenty one Squadrons were raised before the Royal Auxiliary Air Force was disbanded in 1957. A history of all of these Squadrons entitled “Twenty-one Squadrons” by Leslie Hunt is listed in the printed sources section of SAW/RAF. Relevant archive material can be consulted at The Public Record Office, the RAF Museum Hendon and the Imperial War Museum. Material relating to 603 Squadron can be found in The National Library of Scotland. (See Records section of SAW/RAF) (See also the Royal Auxiliary Air Force’s own Web Site)

602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron

602, the first Auxiliary Air Force Squadron, was formed on 12 September 1925 with its Headquarters at Renfrew Aerodrome. In 1933 they moved to Abbotsinch. In April 1939 the Squadron was equipped with Spitfires. On the outbreak of war they moved first to Grangemouth and then to Drem and it was from this station that planes from 602 flew to attack incoming enemy aircraft near the Forth Bridge on the 16th October 1939. That afternoon they shot down a Junkers Ju. 8 8 over the sea near Crail;this may well have been the first enemy aircraft to be shot down over Britain in the Second World War. The pilot was Flight Lieutenant George Pinkerton from Millerston, Glasgow. An outline of the Squadron record is as follows:

YEAR DATE Base Plane Type
1925 12th Sep Formed at Renfrew
1925 Oct DH9A (Jan 1928)
1927 Sep Fawn (Oct 1929)
1929 Jul Wapiti (Apr 1934)
1933 20th Jan to Abbotsinch
1934 Feb Hart (Jun 1936)
1936 Jun Hind (Nov 1938)
1938 Nov Hector (Jan 1939)
1939 Jan Gauntlet II (May 1939)
1939 May Spitfire I (Jun 1941)
1939 7th October to Grangemouth
1939 13th Oct to Drem
1940 14th Apr to Dyce, det Montrose
1940 22nd May to Drem
1940 13th aug to Westhampnett
1940 17th Dec to Prestwick
1941 15th Apr to Ayr, det Montrose
1941 May Spitfire IIA (Aug 1941)
1941 10th Jul to Kenley
1941 Jul Spitfire VB(Sep 1942)
1942 14th Jan to Redhill, dets Kenley
1942 4th Mar to Kenley
1942 13th May to Redhill, dets Kenley
1942 17th Jul to Peterhead
1942 16th Aug to Biggin Hill
1942 20th Aug to Peterhead
1942 10th Sep to Skaebrae, det Sumurgh
1942 Sep Spitfire VA (Oct 1942)
1942 Sep Spitfire VI (Nov 1942)
1942 Oct Spitfire VC (Apr 1943)
1943 20th Jan to Perranporth
1943 Jan Spitfire VB (Oct 1943)
1943 14th Apr to Lasham
1943 29th Apr to Fairlop
1943 1st Jun to Bognor
1943 1st Jul to Kingsnorth
1943 13th Aug to Newchurch
1943 Oct Spitfire IXB (Jan 1944)
1943 12th Oct to Detling
1944 17th Jan to Skaebrae
1944 Jan Spitfire LF VB (Mar 1944)
1944 12th Mar to Detling
1944 13th Mar to Llanbedr
1944 20th Mar to Detling
1944 Mar Spitfire IXB (Aug 1944)
1944 18th Apr to Ford
1944 25th Jun to B11/Longes
1944 Aug Spitfire IXE (Sep 1944)
1944 13th Aug to B19/Lingevres
1944 2nd Sep to B 40/Beauvais/Nivillers
1944 5th Sep to B52/Douai
1944 17th Sep to B70/Deurne
1944 30th Sep to Coltishall
1944 Sep Spitfire IXB (Nov 1944)
1944 18th Oct to Matlask
1944 Nov Spitfire XVI (May 1945)
1944 20th Nov to Swannington
1945 19th Feb to Coltishall
1945 23rd Feb to Ludham
1945 5th Apr to Coltishall
1945 15th May Disbanded
1946 10th May Reformed at Abbotsinch
1946 11th Jun embodied
1946 Oct Spitfire F.14 (Oct 1948)
1947 Aug Spitfire F.21 (Jan 1951)
1948 Oct Spitfire F.22 (May 1951)
1951 Jan Vampire FB5 (Mar 1957)
1951 15th Apr to Leuchars
1951 13th Jul to Abbotsinch
1952 15th Apr to Renfrew
1954 18th June to Abbotsinch
1957 10th Mar Disbanded

Notable engagements in which 602 Squadron took part include The Battle of Britain, a night patrol to search for the plane which was later found to carry Rudolph Hess, escorts for daylight bombing over Europe, the sighting of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the Dieppe Raid, escorts for pre-invasion bombing, divebombing of V.1 launch platforms, the random attack on the car carrying Field Marshall Irwin Rommel, Arnhem and attacks on V.2 rocket launch sites. The Squadron Codes painted on their aircraft were ZT, LO and RAI. By 1943 only 15 of the original City of Glasgow airmen were still with the Squadron and in 1944 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron was made up of aircrew from six countries including Frenchmen, Australians, South Africans, New Zealanders and Canadians. 602 was reformed in 1946 at Abbotsinch and was finally disbanded in March 1957