1939

The squadron operated as a light, day bomber squadron until May 1939 when it was redesignated as a non-mobilising unit

Stationed at:

  • RAF Cottesmore (Rutland)
  • Detached to West Freugh (20/02/1939 to 01/03/1939)
  • Moved to RAF Cranfield (Bedfordshire) [25/08/1939]
  • Flying Training moved to Bassingbourn (December 1939)

In December 1939, with flying becoming impossible at RAF Cranfield due to the construction of the perimeter track, runways and hardstandings, the squadron transferred its flying training to RAF Bassingbourn. The squadron’s HQ and Servicing Flight remained at Cranfield.


Role

  • Light, day bomber squadron for despatch overseas in support of the RAF’s role in maintaining law and order in overseas territories, in times of emergency
  • 13/05/1939: The Squadron was redesignated as a non-mobilising unit:
    • to provide No. 15 and No. 40 Squadrons with a reserve from which replacements could be drawn
    • to train the output of the Flying Training Schools up to an operational standard
  • 01/10/1939: The squadron amalgamated with No. 207 Squadron (also based at Cranfield) and No. 52 and No. 63 Squadron (based at Benson) to form No. 1 Group Pool which was tasked with:
    • providing all ten squadrons in the Advanced Air Striking Force [AASF] with a reserve or pool from which replacements could be drawn
    • training the output of the Flying Training Schools up to an operational standard

Command

  • No. 2 (Bomber) Group, Bomber Command
  • 03/09/1939: No. 6 (Bomber) Group, Bomber Command

Squadron Command

  • Commanding Officer:
    • Squadron Leader HF Chester
    • 12/10/1939: Handed over to Wing Commander WNM Hurley

Strength


Events affecting the squadron

On the 3rd September 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany and No. 35 Squadron was confirmed in its role as a non-mobilising unit to train the output of the Flying Training Schools up to an operational standard


Activities (Up to 13th May 1939)

Air Crew

  • Ground Training
  • Flying Training
  • Ongoing checks and assessments
  • Cross Country, Bombing, Air Defence and Fighter Affiliation Exercises
    • None Recorded
  • Armament Training (live bombing / firing practice at one of the Armament Training Camps)
    • West Freugh (February 1939)
  • Displays (to ensure ongoing public awareness of the need for a highly trained, efficient air force during peacetime)
    • None Recorded

Ground Personnel

  • Daily servicing, ongoing maintenance and scheduled servicing of squadron aircraft and equipment
  • Other squadron related technical and administrative duties (such as Logistics, Air Operations Support, Intelligence, Administration and Personnel / Medical support)

Activities (13th May 1939 onwards)

Air Crew

  • Ground Training and Flying Training given to newly qualified air crew (pilots, observers and air gunners), to bring them up to operational standard. Training included Operational Flying, Instrument Flying, Cloud Flying, Bombing, Night Flying and Air Gunnery

Ground Personnel

  • Daily servicing, ongoing maintenance and scheduled servicing of squadron aircraft and equipment
  • Other squadron related technical and administrative duties (such as Logistics, Air Operations Support, Intelligence, Administration and Personnel / Medical support)

Events

As part of the Government’s “Municipal Affiliation of Squadrons” Scheme, the squadron was affiliated to the city of Shrewsbury and to the King Henry VIII School in Coventry in April / May 1939.

It has not been possible to establish why the squadron was linked with the school.


Aircraft

The squadron was equipped with the following aircraft types (from its own establishment):

FAIREY BATTLE

Fairey Battle Profile © Malcolm Barrass


AVRO ANSON

On 12th July 1939, the squadron received two Avro Anson for use in training of observers and wireless operators. Additional aircraft were taken on strength throughout the year

Avro Anson Profile © Malcolm Barrass


BRISTOL BLENHEIM

On 8th November 1939 the squadron took delivery of three Bristol Blenheim IV, with a further two being collected later in the month. Additional Mark IV and Mark I aircraft were delivered during November and December

Bristol Blenheim Profile © Malcolm Barrass

The following pages identify the serial numbers of the aircraft that were on charge of No. 35 Squadron during 1939, along with details of known losses and incidents: