Return to History

WW2 Facts & Figures

IX(B) Squadron was part of No.3 Group, flying Wellingtons from the outbreak of war until August 1942, when the Squadron re-equipped with Lancasters and became part of 5 Group.

Official Motto: Per noctem volanus (Throughout the night we fly)

Authority: King Edward VIII – November 1936

Unofficial Motto: There’s Always Bloody Something

Aircraft Bases

RAF Honington 15 July 1939 – 7 Aug 1942
RAF Waddington 8 Aug 1942 – 14 April 43
RAF Bardney 14 April 1943 – 6 July 1945
Code Letters  – WS

Raids Flown

Wellingtons 272 bombing, 7 mine-laying, 8 leaflet
Lancasters 289 bombing, 12 mine-laying

Sorties and Losses

Wellingtons 2,333 sorties, 66 aircraft lost (2.8 per cent)
Lancasters 3,495 sorties, 111 aircraft lost (3.2 per cent)
Total 5,828 sorties, 177 aircraft lost (3.0 per cent)

22 Lancasters destroyed in crashes

On 4 September 1939, 6 Wellingtons from IX(B) Squadron were despatched to bomb German warships at Brunsbuttel. 3 aircraft bombed a German warship off Brunsbuttel with no observed results. 1 jettisoned bombs over the harbour (which hit a merchantman). 2 Wellingtons failed to return. 11 crew members killed. This was the first operational sortie of WW2.

Last Operational Mission in WW2

25 April 1945 – 17 Lancasters were despatched to bomb target at Berchtesgaden. 11 bombed primary, 1 bombed an alternative target (a bridge) at Berchtesgaden.

Last Mission before VE Day

6 May 1945 – 5 Lancasters ferried ex-PoWs home to UK from the Continent.

Points of interest

Victoria Cross: Flight Sergeant George Thompson, posthumously.

Dortmund-Ems Canal raid on 1 January 1945.

Continuous service in Bomber Command throughout the war except for a short detachment to Coastal Command in April 1940.

The Squadron’s Lancasters were fitted with bomb bays capable of taking ‘Tallboy’ bombs in 1944 and 1945 and were the only Main Force aircraft to carry out precision bombing with the junior Sqn.

IX(B) Squadron sank the TIRPITZ battleship on 12 Nov 1944.