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No.609 Sqn RAF

Founded : 10th February 1936
Country : UK
Fate : Disbanded 10th March 1957
Known Aircraft Codes : PR, BL

West Riding (Auxiliary)

Tally ho!

609 (West Riding) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force: 609 Squadron came into being on the 10th February 1936 as part of the expanding Auxiliary Air Force. Initially a bomber squadron equipped with Hawker Harts. On 8th December, 1938, the Squadrons role was changed from bomber to fighter and the squadron took delivery of its first Spitfires Mk I during August 1939. The squadrons first victory was a Heinkel HE111 H-2 of 2/KG26 which was shot down near St. Abbs Head, 27th February 1940, by Flying Officer G. D. Ayre, Pilot Officer J R Buchanan and Flying Officer D Persse-Joynt. 609 squadron was, it is said, the first Spitfire Squadron to reach 100 victories (Ju88 A-5 1/KG51) on 21st October 1940. The victory was shared by Flight Lieutenant F J Howell and Pilot Officer S J Hill. During April 1942, 609 began to replace its Spitfires with Hawker Typhoons, and went on to become the first Typhoon squadron with 227 victories. Based at many RAF Stations 609 was in action throughout WWII, covering the Dunkirk evacuation, the Battle of Britain and supporting the D-Day landings as part of the 2nd TAF. There were many decorations awarded to squadron members, these included 3 DSOs, 22 DFCs and Bars and 4 DFMs. On 16th December 1947, King George VI gave permission for use of the Royal Prefix for all Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons. 609 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force was disbanded on 10th March 1957, whilst equipped with Gloster Meteors F8 at RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire. On 1st October, 1999, 609 (west Riding) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, was re-formed at RAF Leeming operating in the guise of Air Defence Support Squadron (ADSS).

No.609 Sqn RAF


Latest No.609 Sqn RAF Artwork Releases !
 609 Sqn Hawker Typhoons are shown taking off from Manson in Kent in February 1943. Nearest aircraft, R7872 (PR-S) is that of Sgt John <i>Johnny</i> Wiseman, the other, DN294 (PR-O) being the mount of Fl Sgt Alan <i>Babe</i> Haddon.  Both aircraft were tragically lost during an action on 14th February, the pair being taken by surprise by Focke-Wulf 190s over the Channel, Wiseman losing his life in the incident.

Red Section Scramble by Ivan Berryman. (D)
 Flt/Lt John Dundas, having already notched up eleven victories to his name during the Battle of Britain 1940, is viewed out on the last patrol of the day off the Isle of Wight.  In a few moments he will be heading back to his base at Middle Wallop.  Days later, John Dundas shot down the then leading German air-ace, Major Helmut Wick.  Sadly Dundas, in turn, lost his life to Wick's wingman.  He had fought with bravery but like so many of <i>the few</i> he paid the ultimate price, fighting for our freedom.
Top Cover by Philip West.
 The leadership qualities and grim determination of Squadron Leader J R Baldwin was seldom better demonstrated that when he led a small flight of Hawker Typhoons against a force of some thirty Focke-Wulf Fw.190s in January 1944.  Nine of the German aircraft were shot down that day, Baldwin himself being responsible for two of them.  He is shown here in Typhoon PR-A of No.609 Squadron.

A Busy Day at the Office by Ivan Berryman.
 Whilst in command of 609 Sqn in January 1944, F/Lt (later Wing Commander) J R Baldwin, leading a small formation of Hawker Typhoon 1Bs, encountered thirty Focke-Wulf  Fw190s and engaged them in a furious battle.  Nine enemy aircraft were shot down in the action, Baldwin accounting for two of them himself.  He went on to finish the war as the highest-scoring Typhoon pilot of all with 15 confirmed victories, one shared, one probable and four damaged. He is depicted here, flying  DN360 with the codes PR-A.

Hard Hitter by Ivan Berryman.

No.609 Sqn RAF Artwork Collection
Click the images below to view the fantastic artwork we have available to purchase!



Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia X4590 PR-F. by M A Kinnear.


Typhoon Attack by Robert Taylor.


F/Lt J R Baldwin by Ivan Berryman.


Hard Hitter by Ivan Berryman.


Red Section Scramble by Ivan Berryman.


Spitfire Tally-Ho by Geoff Lea.


Spitfires Over the Needles by Philip West.


Typhoon! by Ivan Berryman.


A Busy Day at the Office by Ivan Berryman.

Supermarine Spitfire MkI by Philip West.


Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a by Keith Woodcock.

Southern Patrol by Philip West.


Into the Blue by Simon Atack.

Typhoon Scramble by Stephen Brown.

Top Cover by Philip West.

Aces for : No.609 Sqn RAF
A list of all Aces from our database who are known to have flown with this squadron. A profile page is available by clicking the pilots name.
NameVictoriesInfo
J R Baldwin15.00
John Bisdee8.00The signature of John Bisdee features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.
Aircraft for : No.609 Sqn RAF
A list of all aircraft known to have been flown by No.609 Sqn RAF. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.
SquadronInfo

Hart



Click the name above to see prints featuring Hart aircraft.

Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1930
Number Built : 1042

Hart

During the mid 1920s The British Air Ministry recoignised the need for a light Bomber. The options were proposed the Avro Antelope, Fairey Fox and the Hawker Hart. Due to the low cost of maintenance for the hawker hart. It was chosen over the other two. The first prototype flew in June 1928 (J9052). Hawker Harts were first used in 1930 by No.33 Squadron at Eastchurch. Many of these aircraft were used overseas in India, the Middle East and South Africa, with some alterations being made to tropicalise the aircraft. With the Outcome being the Hart India. The Hawker Hart saw service during the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935/36 and served also in the North West Frontier of India. However, in Britain, most were being replaced by 1936, some still operating well into World War Two. Mainly in communication and Training roles until 1943 having been used by a total of 20 RAF and AAF Squadrons. A total of 1042 of this aircraft were built. The Hawker Hart saw service with many air forces. Including The Swedish Air Force who used it to great success as a dive bomber. (calling the Hart the B4), Egyptian Air Force, Royal Indian Air Force, Southern Rhodesian Air Force and Yugoslavian air force.

Harvard

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Harvard

Full profile not yet available.

Hind

Click the name above to see prints featuring Hind aircraft.

Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1935

Hind

The Hawker Hind entered service with the Royal Air Force in November1935 and eventually 20 RAF bomber squadrons equipped with Hawker Hinds. Many Hinds were also sold to foreign customers including Afghanistan, the Irish Free State, Latvia, Persia (Iran), Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. The Hawker Hind was gradually phased out of frontline service from 1936 onwards and replaced by the Fairey Battle and Bristol Blenheim. At the outbreak of world war two only 613 squadorn was still equipped with Hawker Hinds in the roll of Army co-operation before re-equipping the Hawker Hector in November 1939. The Hawker Hind became a training aircraft from 1938 being the next step up from basic training on Tiger Moths. In 1941, Hinds flew combat missions in their original role as light bombers. South African Hinds were employed against Italian forces in Kenya, Yugoslav Hinds were used against the Germans and Italians.

Meteor

Click the name above to see prints featuring Meteor aircraft.

Manufacturer : Gloster
Production Began : 1944
Number Built : 3947

Meteor

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, and built by the Gloster Aircraft Company, Armstrong-Whitworth, the Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Gloster Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft but the Gloster design team succeeded in producing an effective jet fighter that served the RAF and other air forces for decades. Meteors saw action with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Korean War and other air forces used the Meteor. The Royal Danish Air Force, The Belgian Air Force and Isreali Air Force kept the Meteor in service until the early 1970's. A Total of 3947 meteors were built and two Meteors, WL419 and WA638, remain in service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds.

Spitfire



Click the name above to see prints featuring Spitfire aircraft.

Manufacturer : Supermarine
Production Began : 1936
Retired : 1948
Number Built : 20351

Spitfire

Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.

Typhoon



Click the name above to see prints featuring Typhoon aircraft.

Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1941
Number Built : 3330

Typhoon

Single engine fighter with a maximum speed of 412 mph at 19,000 feet and a ceiling of 35,200 feet. range 510 miles. The Typhoon was armed with twelve browning .303inch machine guns in the wings (MK1A) Four 20mm Hispano cannon in wings (MK!B) Two 1000ilb bombs or eight 3-inch rockets under wings. The first proto type flew in February 1940, but due to production problems the first production model flew in May 1941. with The Royal Air Force receiving their first aircraft in September 1941. Due to accidents due to engine problems (Sabre engine) The Hawker Typhoon started front line service in December 1941.The Hawker Typhoon started life in the role of interceptor around the cost of England but soon found its real role as a ground attack aircraft. especially with its 20mm cannon and rockets. This role was proved during the Normandy landings and the period after. The total number of Hawker typhoons built was 3,330.
Signatures for : No.609 Sqn RAF
A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this squadron. A profile page is available by clicking their name.
NameInfo

Flight Lieutenant Ken Adam OBE
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Ken Adam OBE
Flight Lieutenant Ken Adam OBE

One of only two German nationals (the other was his brother) to fly operationally for the RAF, Klaus Hugo Adam was a German national, born in Berlin, who left Germany in 1934 to escape the Nazi persecution. He joined the RAF in August 1942 and after flying training, mostly in the USA, joined 609 Squadron flying Typhoons in October 1943. Known to everyone in the Squadron as Heinie, he served with the squadron until the end of the war, the hazards of operational flying increased for him by the knowledge that capture as a POW would certainly end in death. Demobilised in 1946 he went on to a very successful career as an art director in the film industry and is best known, perhaps, for his work on the Bond films. -- I think what affected me most and I will remember for the rest of my life, was the aftermath of the battle for the Falaise Gap. After it was all over, 609 Squadron were given a day off and we decided to drive into the Falaise area to get a first hand view from the ground of the results of our rocket attacks. Unfortunately our truck was trapped in an armoured column moving at a snails pace, since the road or what was left of it was choked with wreckage, swollen corpses of men of the SS divisions, dead cattle and horses. The stench of death was everywhere. We tried to breath through our handkerchiefs which we knotted over our mouths and noses, to little avail. The sickly sweet smell of death stuck to our uniforms and bodies for days to come. This was my first contact on the ground with the dead and what had been the enemy. Attacking a target from the air, one felt strangely removed from the realities and horror on the ground. This was our first decisive defeat of the German army, in which 609 Squadron and other rocket Typhoon squadrons of 84 Group played such a vital role, but my feelings of elation at this victory were muted by the carnage of dead bodies and even more so the grotesque spectacle of countless dead horses with their limbs rigidly sticking up in the air. It was an experience I will never forget.




Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL

19 / 11 / 2001Died : 19 / 11 / 2001
Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL

One of World War IIs great characters, Bee flew Hurricanes with 87 Squadron, later leading a Tempest Wing. He had 8 victories plus a further 32 VIs destroyed. After the war he became a highly respected Chief Test Pilot.Wing Commander Roland Beamont, one of the RAFs top buzz bomb interceptors, was born in Enfield England on August 10, 1920. Educated at Eastborne College, Beamont accepted a short service commission with the Royal Air Force in 1938. He commenced flying in 1939 at the the No. 13 Reserve Flying School at White Waltham. His initial duty was with the Group Fighter Pool at St. Athan where he learned to fly the Hurricane. Beamont was soon posted with the No. 87 Squadron which was part of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France. Seeing action in both France and Belgium prior to the Allied withdrawl, Beamont rejoined 87 Squadron in England during the Battle of Britain. In the spring of 1941 Beamont was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after destroying five enemy aircraft. As Commanding Officer of 609 Squadron, Beamont pioneered both day and night ground attack missions utilizing the Typhoon. Beamont was credited with destroying 25 trains in a three month period. He was then made responsible for organizing and commanding the first Tempest Wing at Newchurch. Three days after D-Day Bearnont shot down an Me-109, marking the first aerial combat victory for the Hawker Tempest. In the summer of 1944 Beamont destroyed 32 buzz bombs prior to leading his wing to a Dutch Airfield at Volkel on the Continent. In October of 1944 Beamont was shot down during a ground attack mission over Germany, and he remained a prisoner of war until wars end. Following repatriation Beamont became an experimental test pilot with the Gloster Aircraft Company, which had developed the RAFs first jet aircraft. Turning down a permanent commission with the RAF, Beamont then joined English Electric Company in Wharton as the Chief Test Pilot for the B3/45 (Canberra) jet bomber program. He managed all prototype testing on the Canberra, and in the process set two Atlantic speed records. Later Beamont was involved with the supersonic P1/Lightning program, and became the first British pilot to fly at twice the speed of sound. From 1965 until 1970 he was a founding member of Britains highly succesful Saudi Arabian export program. For several years prior to his retirement in 1979, Beamont was Director of Operations for British Aerospace and Panavia where he was in charge of flight testing for the Tornado. Since his retirement Beamont has authored nine books, and published numerous magazine articles. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Scociety and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in America. He died 19th November 2001.



Bee Beamont in the cockpit.



Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC

21 / 10 / 2000Died : 21 / 10 / 2000
21 / 10 / 2000Ace : 8.00 Victories
Group Captain John Bisdee OBE DFC

John Derek Bisdee was born on November 20th 1915 at Weston-Super-Mare, and educated at Marlborough. He joined the RAF Voluntary Reserve, and began the war as a sergeant pilot. His combat career started while with 609 (West Riding) squadron RAAF, flying Spitfires when the squadron was moved from Edinburgh to Drem in December 1939. They participated in the air cover of the evacuation of the BEF form Dunkirk. John Bisdee destroyed six aircraft between July 1940 and July 1941, including an Me110 during an eventful day n August 1940 when they attacked a strong Luftwaffe force of 45 JU88s escorted by many Me109s and Me110s. In July 1941 he became instructor at No 61 Operational training unit. While here he had a small speaking roll in the classic wartime film The First of the Few. John Bisdee became commander of 601 (County of London) auxiliary Spitfire squadron and embarked (along with 603 (Edinburgh) Squadron) for Malta on board the US carrier Wasp. While off Algiers 47 Spitfires took of for Malta. and almost immedniatly upon arriving took part in combat. John Bisdee shot down JU88. He himself had to bail out. with a damaged parachute dangling by one leg, he had to disentangle himself as he fell, managing just in time and landing in the sea, paddling his way 6 miles in his dinghy to Malta. in June 1942 the squadron went to Egypt. In August John Bisdee became flight training officer at the Middle East Headquarters, Cairo, moving in 1943 as Wing Commander for day fighters in Tunisia. In July 1943, after the capture of the island of Lampedusa, halfway between Malta and Sicily, Bisdee was appointed its governor - the first governor in liberated Europe, as he liked to claim. Returning to North Africa, Bisdee trained Free French pilots at Bone. Later, after a brief spell in Corsica, he commanded No 322 Wing at Bone. In 322 Wing wre three Spitfire squadrons, a Beaufighter Squadron a Wellington Squadon used in anti shipping role and an Air Sea Rescue unit. Group Captain John Bisdee left the Royal Air Force in 1945 with his offcial score of 8 but it is likely there were a few others. Sadly John Bidee died at the age of 84 on the 21st October 2000. Group Captain John Bisdee was awarded the DFC in 1941 and appointed OBE in 1943.



Squadron Leader Rik A C Dupre
Click the name above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Rik A C Dupre
Squadron Leader Rik A C Dupre

Rik Dupre joined the RAF in 1940 and on completing his pilot training in Canada returned to England to join 609 Typhoon Squadron at Manston. After D-Day the squadron moved to France and continued to serve in occupied Europe, providing close support for the Army. He stayed with 609 for the duration of the war, and in 1945 took a permanent commission serving mainly in the Far East. He retired from the RAF in 1967.




Flight Lieutenant Ron Grant
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Ron Grant
Flight Lieutenant Ron Grant

Ron was serving with the Auxilliary Air Force when war broke out. After operational training he joined 183 Squadron flying Typhoons. In March 1944 his Typhoon was converted to rockets for attacking ships, barges, rocket and radar sites in preparation for the Invasion. In July 1944 he transferred to 609 Squadron in Normandy. In August 1944 Ron was forced to bail out after engine failure and became a POW.



Group Captain Alec Ingle
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Group Captain Alec Ingle

31 / 7 / 1999Died : 31 / 7 / 1999
Group Captain Alec Ingle

Alec Ingle was commissioned in June 1940 and joined 615 Squadron at Drem flying Hurricanes before moving to Croydon during the Battle of Britain. He probably destroyed a Do17 in September; in October he shot down an Me109 and probably two more, and yet another victory in November, at which time he was appointed B Flight Commander. He later commanded 609 Squadron at Manston before leading 124 Wing in 1943 flying Typhoons. He was shot down in September 1943 after his Typhoon blew up in combat with an Fw190. Badly burned, he spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft III. Alec Ingle was awarded the AFC and DFC. Sadly Alec Ingle died on 31st July 1999.



Air Commodore David Roberts CBE AFC
Click the name above to see prints signed by Air Commodore David Roberts CBE AFC
Air Commodore David Roberts CBE AFC

Battle of Britain pilot, with 609 & 238 Squadrons




Squadron Leader L F W Stark DFC* AFC C de G (Belg)
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Squadron Leader L F W Stark DFC* AFC C de G (Belg)

1 / 8 / 2004Died : 1 / 8 / 2004
Squadron Leader L F W Stark DFC* AFC C de G (Belg)

Lawrence W F Stark was born on 16th November 1920 in Bolton, Lancashire and was educated at Bolton School and then The Lancashire and Manchester Technical College. Pinkie Stark joined the RAF in 1941 and trained to be a pilot in Canada. On his return to England he spent some time flying Avro Ansons and Boulton Paul Defiants before being sent to a Typhoon OTU and and to 182 Squadron, then posted on operations the 10th January 1943 to 609 Typhoon Fighter Squadron, based at Manston. The squadron had been tasked to counter the hit and run attacks over South-East England by Fw190s. On 12 March 1943 Lawrence W F Stark had his first victory when he downed a Fw190 over Dunkirk. He shot down two Ju88 bombers over France, one in October and the other on 2 November 1943. He flew so low when claiming the first of these Ju88s that he clipped the top of some trees, returning to base with branches in the now misshapen nose of his Typhoon. On 4th January 1944 he shared in the destruction of a Dornier Do217, he also shot down a Caudron Goeland transport and another Fw 190, with 5 victories and another aircraft destroyed on the ground he qualified as an Ace. He served on with 609 Squadron throughout occupied Europe, eventually taking over as the Squadron Commander and, awarded the DFC, became an Ace as one of the most successful Typhoon pilots in aerial combat. In February 1944 he moved to 263 Typhoon Fighter Squadron as a flight commander, to carry out ground-attack operations, still with the Typhoon. He flew sorties in support of the D-Day landing attacking ground targets in Northern France but in July 1944 he was shot down in Brittany. With the help of the French resistance he evaded capture and returned to England in a motor boat. Stark later returned to 609 Squadron as commanding officer to continue the ground-attack work. Stark continued flying in the RAF and gained a Bar to his DFC. In 1947 he completed the Empire Test Course and was posted to Boscombe Down as a test pilot, in particular with the Blind Landing Experimental Unit performing automatic landing trials. He was awarded the AFC and C de G (Belg). He retired from the RAF in 1963 and later became manager of Rochester Airport.. Sadly Squadron Leader Stark passed away on the 1st of August 2004.



Pinkie Stark with his damaged Typhoon, most likely taken after his scrape with treetops while shooting down a Ju88 in October 1943.

Citation for DFC, 7th March 1944 :

This officer is a cool and resourceful fighter who had invariably displayed great keenness and determination. He has shot down 6 enemy aircraft in combat, whilst in attacks on the enemy targets on the ground he has destroyed an aircraft and a locomotive; he has also attacked a number of small vessels such as tugs and barges with damaging effect.

Citation for the Bar to the DFC, 3rd October 1944 :

Flight Lieutenant Stark has a completed a large number of sorties. He has led his flight against many difficult and dangerous targets and despite heavy enemy opposition he has always pressed home his attacks to a successful conclusion. His excellent leadership, courage and fine fighting spirit have set a splendid example to all.

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