About this blog

Paying homage to a pilot and a squadron he flew with in North Africa


History of 238 Squadron:

No 238 Squadron was formed in August 1918 from Nos 347, 348 and 349 Flights at the seaplane station at Cattewater, Plymouth, and flew anti-submarine patrols until the end of the war, being reduced to a cadre on 15 May 1919. It remained as a storage unit until disbanded on 20 March 1922.

On 16 May 1940, No 238 reformed at Tangmere as a fighter squadron with Spitfires but in June these were replaced by Hurricanes. It became operational on 2 July and spent the period of the Battle of Britain in the Middle Wallop sector, apart from four weeks in Cornwall.

In May 1940, No.238 reformed at Tangmere as a fighter squadron with Spitfires but in June these were replaced with Hurricanes. It became operational on 2 July and spent the period of the Battle of Britain in the Middle Wallop sector, apart from four weeks in Cornwall. In May 1941 the squadron left for the Middle East its aircraft being flown off HMS ‘Victorious’ to Malta while the ground echelon sailed round the Cape of Good Hope. After refuelling in Malta the Hurricanes flew on to the Western Desert where they were attached to No.274 Squadron, pending the arrival of the squadron’s own ground crews. By the end of July, No. 238 was again operating as a complete unit, flying escort missions and fighter patrols throughout the campaign in the desert until after the battle of El Alamein.

Gil Gillis in the desert with Hawker Hurricane II C from 238 Squadron

It was then withdrawn to Egypt for air defence duties and converted to Spitfires in September 1943. In March 1944, the squadron moved to Corsica for sweeps over northern Italy and in August convered the Allied landings in southern France. After moving there for two months, it was withdrawn to Naples and disbanded on 31 October 1944.

On 1 December 1944, No.238 reformed at Merryfield as a transport squadron and was originally intended to fly Albemarles.


In January 1945 it received Dakotas and on 14 February its first wave of ten aircraft left for India where they began supply-dropping and casualty evacuation missions over Burma. In June the squadron moved to Australia to provide transport support for the British Pacific Fleet, officially disbanding there on 27 December 1945.

Dakota of 238 Sqn

Its remaining aircraft left for Singapore on 9 February 1946, others having been flown back to the UK during January.

On 1 December 1946, No.525 Squadron at Abingdon was renumbered 238 Squadron and flew Dakotas until renumbered 10 Squadron on 4 October 1948, during the Berlin airlift.

 238 Badge


Ad finem – ‘To the end’


A three headed hydra. Hydras, in Greek mythology, were most difficult creatures to destroy.

Source  RAF Website


39 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. Pingback: How Gil Gillis met the Russians… | RCAF No. 403 Squadron

  2. Hello Pierre
    I think the man holding the camera under the pith hat is Squadron Leader H A ‘Jimmy’ Fenton latter Air Commodore H A Fenton CBE DSO DFC


  3. Hi Pierre,
    You may like to know ‘Frank’ de Beauchamp Collenette was a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps, who passed out as an Observer on 13.7.1917 at No. 1 School of Aeronautics, in Reading.


  4. To Whom It May Concern

    My name is Mike O’Donoghue. I’m an independent film maker from Los Angeles, CA. I’m currently developing a film project about the Battle of Britain based on Randall Thompson’s musical piece Alleluia. This film would run between 5-6 minutes, depending on the arrangement selected for the music. I’m interested in using a photo of Jack Nichols as a LRAF pilot that you published in a recent blog post with the following URL:

    I’m not sure if Mr. Nichols flew in that battle, he has a very good face, especially his miles. The film would be for educational, non-profit, and for cultural uses only. I’d like to have your permission to use this picture for my film. I would also give your group above the line credit as well.

    Thanks for your help on this.

    Mike O’Donoghue


  5. 238 SQN, were they ever equipped with Lancasters one of my friends was a WOP, after 1945 and we want to find background info for a 90th birthday party.


  6. Hi,

    Having stumbled upon this blog by accident by looking at my Fathers logbook and trying to find out more about 238 squadron, since I sadly cannot ask him.
    Not sure though of any interest, but in his log book he has a copy of the same photograph and names the pilots around the Hurricane.
    He has recorded them from top to bottom as:
    Punk, Kenya…..Self( Michael Gibson)
    Robbie, Freddie, Jack, Chuck
    C.O, Curly, Taffy, Eddie, Freddie, Ted, Percy, Bill, Gill, George, B-J
    Ted, Nick, Bill, Chris

    Any further information from anybody would be most welcome.


    Mark Gibson


  7. I have an item which I believe was a gift of some sort from Emrys ‘Taffy’ Jones to my late father, who served with him through WW11. Are there any contact details i.e. from family that can be privately provided?




  8. I have just started sifting through some documents collected by Eleanor Lockyer (recently deceased) for Chilbolton Airfield. Among these records are the Operational Records for 238 Squadron around the later part of WW2. I’m not sure how useful these are and whether there would be any interest in them.


      • Hi Pierre

        Eleanor Lockyer wrote at least two books about Chilbolton air field during WW2. The first one, 1940-41 deals mainly with 238 Sqn

        It would will be very interesting to see what John has, some of the photos in her book I have not seen anywhere else




      • The records I have are mostly copies of the Operation activities – I guess that Eleanor must have chosen some of the detail for her books. As you can image there is a huge amount of paper to go through and I intend to catalogue this and will get back to you with more info when I can.
        Is Jon Fenton a relative of Squadron Leader Fenton who was the CO of 238?


      • Hi John

        Yes I am related to H A ‘Jimmy’ Fenton

        Might there be any photos? Eleanor used a photo of ‘Fenton’s Folly’, as the officers mess was known in her book which I would love a copy of

        Kind regards



  9. @ Jon Fenton: could you contact me on john.engelsted at gmail.com? I’m very interested in Jimmy Fenton’s flying career.

    John Engelsted


  10. What with the lockdown in the UK due to Covid -19 it is time to catchup on a few of my family related history projects, one of which is to record the history of 238 (Transport) Sqn, that flew Douglas Dakotas in India, Burma and later Australia. my Dad Frank Hayward was an engine fitter and often flew with Fl Lt Speed. Pierre has already added a photo of the Sqn’s Dakotas (above) seen at Parafield Airfield, in Adelaide on arrival in spring on 1945. The airfield is still in use as a flying club. I’m happy to supply what I know of 238’s movements and ops in the last year of the war. Any further info or requests to Chiltern Aviation Society via cas.clubsecretary@outlook.com. Kind Regards Larry Hayward


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