Saturday, January 21, 2012

222 Natal Squadron 1943

The first photo here was taken in 1943 and shows the CO, Dad and Pat Burke.

And the photo above has the explanation below.

222 Squadron Scoreboard

The much travelled No 222 (Natal) Squadron wartime scoreboard and related battle honours originally came from the wing of an Me 109. The Me109 was shot down over Kent by Flying Officer MacMullen, a 222 Squadron pilot, on 15 Oct 1940 at the end of the Battle of Britain. The Squadron flew Spitfires from 1940 through to 1944 when it was re-equipped with Hawker Tempests. The Squadron’s final score showed 120 enemy aircraft confirmed destroyed, 62 probably destroyed and 138 damaged.

From roots in the RNAS, No 222 Squadron was formed on 1 Apr 1918 at Thasos equipped with Sopwith Camels for duties in the Aegean area and was disbanded on 27 Feb 1919. It was reformed on 5 Oct 1939 with Blenheim 1Fs, converting to Spitfires in 1940. Post-war it was equipped with Gloster Meteors and in Dec 1954 received Hawker Hunters which were in use until 1957. From May 1960 until final disbandment in Jun 1964 222 Squadron operated as a Bloodhound missile unit.

The Squadron’s connection with South Africa started in 1940 when there was widespread fund-raising throughout the Commonwealth to equip fighter squadrons. At that time the cost of a Spitfire was 6,000 - 7,000 pounds and the people of Natal raised more than 250,000 pounds. The Air Ministry decided this would be best used to equip and maintain a squadron which was already operational. The choice fell to 222 Squadron which officially became 222 (Natal) Squadron. The Squadron badge reflects the South African connection - its central feature is a Wildebeest and the motto "Pambili Bo" means "Go straight ahead" in Zulu.

The best known among the many fine pilots who flew with 222 was Douglas Bader who developed several of his theories on the art of aerial combat during his period as flight commander from Feb - Jun 1940. The Squadron operated from RAF Manston in July 1941.
The scoreboard was placed in the Memorial Museum Building in Jan 1997.

And here is a group photo. The second image is my Mom's writing on the back of the photo. Dad is in the front row with the white scarf and the big grin.


  1. Hello and thank-you for your wonderful post. I had to reply because my dear dad was also in ' treble ' 2 Squadron. His name was Arthur Murphy and he was an ' armourer fitter '. His hope was to become a pilot but apparently you needed 20/20 vision back then, which he didn't, so they gave him the next best thing.
    My mother was managing the White Hart Hotel in Braintree at the time and my parents ended up marrying there as well ! --- I've photos :)
    Mentioning photos: I've a few of ' the crew ', some casual shots, a variety of what look like German planes and two extra special photos of some POW men. These two photos my dad had hidden away and he showed me them when I was in my teens. Sadly, dad did not tell me the full story but I am wondering if it might have something to do with the squadron emptying out a camp ?? I vaguely recall reading something online a couple of years ago, will have to go back and try to find it.
    I came into my parents lives in '67 ( adopted at birth ), roughly 12 years after they moved to Victoria B.C. Canada.
    Dad passed in '97 and mom in '08.
    I so wish my dad could have told me more of the war but what he did tell were always the good stories. Though curious as I was, I held back on asking more than wanted so as not to bring up any bad memories.
    Today, I'm thankful for all that is now online in regards to other's memories and photos.
    Oh, I've dad's wings pin, medals, a variety of money ( some German ) and a small metal Cross of Lorraine with a type of hook on the back ( to hang over a collar or pocket perhaps ).
    If you'd like to see the photos, etc....then please contact me and I'd be happy to scan and email the images.
    Thanks again for your post !

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Anne,
      Thank you for sharing all this information, it's fascinating to read. I believe your father and my grand father were in 222 squadron at the same time and I'm trying to fill a few gaps in our knowledge of his service. Firstly, I'm curious about the group photo; do you know if that's on public display anywhere as it appears to show my grand father. Also, looking at the operation records in the national archives I can see their names throughout 1943 in AIR27 for 222 squadron but before and after that period the names are all different, so I'm assuming they changed base/squadron but haven't been able to confirm that. What I know so far is that my grand father was flying spitfires but was shot down in Sept '43, taken as POW then escaped but I don't know whether he went back in to active service, particularly as this would have been near the end of the war.

      Many thanks again.