139 (Jamaica) Squadron

 
Motto:
Si Placet Necamus (We Destroy at Will)
Squadron Code(s):
XD
Dates Mosquitos on Squadron Strength:

September 1942 to November 1953
(NB. 139 Sqd. flew Mosquitoes from June 1942. However these aircraft were borrowed from 105 Sqd.)

Mosquito Variant(s) Flown:
B.IV (September 1942 to July 1944)
B.IX (September 1943 to September 1944)
B.XVI (November 1944 to October 1948)
B.XX (November 1944 to September 1945)
B.25 (September 1944 to September 1945)
B.35 (July 1948 to November 1952)
Main Base(s):
Horsham St.Faith (June 1942)
Marham (29th September 1942)
Wyton (4th July 1943)
Upwood (1st February 1944)
Hemswell (4th February 1946)
Coningsby (4th November 1946)
Hemswell (1st April 1950 to November 1953)
Commanding Officer(s):

W/C.W.P.Shand DFC (3rd July 1942)
Sqd.Ld. V.R.G.Harcourt (4th April 1943)
W/C. R.W.Reynolds DSO.DFC. (4th May 1943)
G/C. L.C.Slee DSO.DFC. (August 1943)
W/C. G.H.Womersley DSO.DFC. (February 1944)
W/C. J.B.Voyce (7th October 1944)
W/C. J.R.G. Ralston DFC.AFC.DFM. (1st March 1945 to March 1946)
S/L.D.G.Stokes (April 1946)
S/L.J.H.Frampton (May 1947)
S/L.D.A.Green DSO.DFC. (November 1947)
S/L.J.W.Appleton (December 1947)
S/L.G.W.Curry DSO.DFC. (August 1948)
S/L.R.G.W.Oakley DSO.DFC.DFM. (September 1948)
S/L T.R.Pierce (January 1951)

Aircraft Examples:
B.IV Series II: DK285, DK302, DK313, DK336
B.IX: LR476, LR505, ML908-10
B.XVI
: ML925, ML934, MM115, MM126, MM200, PF465, PF463-7
B.XX: KB130-2, KB198-205
B.35: RV297, RV342, RV345, TA645
(214 different Mosquitoes were flown by 139 Sqd. from September 1942 to November 1953. The above are just a few examples)
Notes:
8/06/42: 139 Sqd., which had been overseas, was reformed at Horsham St Faith. The Sqd. was originally to re-equip with Blenheim V's, but fortunately, these aircraft were never used operationally & 139 Sqd. became only the second Mosquito Squadron in 2 Group, RAF.
Sept.42: 139 Sqd. starts to get it's own Mosquitoes. (139 Sqd. had been borrowing aircraft from 105 Sqd.up to this point in time). By November 1942, 139 Sqd. was fully equipped with all it's own Mosquitoes.
31/05/43: 139 Sqd.leaves 2 Group, to become part of the 8 Path Finder Force (8PFF). 139 Sqd. would become the nucleus for the Light Night Striking Force (LNSF), which would eventually be made up of Mosquito Bombers ( other Mosquito Squadrons in the LNSF would include 627, 692, 571, 608, 142, 128, 162 & 163 Sdrs.). 139 Sqd. would now carry out high level nuisance bombing raids, but would eventually act as a marking squadron for the LNSF.
03/10/43: G-H used for the first time by a 139 Sqd. Mosquito B IX ML 908 (XD-Y). The G-H failed on this occasion but was used successfully to bomb Dortmund. 10/10/43.
01/02/44: H2S used by 139 Sqd. for the 1st time on The Big City (Berlin).
139 Sqd. became the first squadron to operate Mosquito B XVI's and on 02/03/44 2 Mosquito B XVI's,ML 941 (XD-N) & ML 942 (XD-F),became the first B XVI's to drop a 4,000lb cookie. The target was Munchen Gladbach.
June 43 to May 45: 139 Sqd. completed 4187 operational sorties during this period with the LNSF. (225 operational sorties were carried out, when the Squadron was in 2 Group).
The last Mosquito was struck of squadron charge at end of 1952, having been finally replaced by Canberra bombers.
Examples of Types of Operations:

25/06/42: 1st operational sortie, carried out by S/L Houlston, a nuisance raid on Stade Airfield, after a 1000 bomber raid on Bremen.
06/12/42: 139 Sqd. takes part in Operation Oyster (see 105 Sqd. for details).
27/01/43: W/C H Edwards VC. leads 6 Mosquitoes, from both 105 &139 Sqds.on a daring low level raid on the Burmeister & Wain Diesel Engine Works, Copenhagen. (This sort of joint operation would be typical of the way these two squadrons would operate until the end of May 1943, when both squadrons left 2 Group (see above for 139 Sqd. see 105 Sqd for details).
03/03/43: 10 Mosquitoes from 139 Sqd., led by W/C Shand DFC, fly low level to attack the molybdenum mines at Knaben in Norway. This precision raid was highly successful.
During this period (up to 31/05/43), 139 Sqd. completed many low level attacks all over occupied Europe. Enemy communications, came in for a lot of attention. Many marshalling yards like those at Nantes, Tours,Trier & others got the 105/139 Sqd. calling card- 4x 500lb bombs, with devastating effect!
12/06/43: 139 Sqd. (now part of the LNSF) made it's first diversionary raid on Berlin. This was to draw off enemy night fighters, while the main bomber force attacked Milan & Turin. This was to set the scene for things to come, and would be a common tactic over the next two years. The Mosquito squadrons, like 139 Sqd., would operate regularly, even on nights when the main bomber force remained grounded.
01/02/43: 1st raid using H2S as a blind bombing aid, the target, The Big City- Berlin.139 Sqd. marked the target for the LNSF of Mosquitoes. The number of attacking Mosquitoes was only small, but the LNSF was expanding rapidly as more Mosquito squadrons became operational. The LNSF would become a major bombing force in it's own right, especially when the Mosquito bombers were able to carry 4000lb cookies!

Analysis of Sorties Flown by Sqd.
1943
May 12
Jun 84
Jul 111
Aug 145
Sep 127
Oct 109
Nov 149
Dec 105
1944
Jan 130
Feb 114
Mar 242
Apr 227
May 256
Jun 212
Jul 204
Aug 198
Sep 227
Oct 227
Nov 210
Dec 196
1945
Jan 182
Feb 332
Mar 301
Apr 232
   

(All the above figures, taken from Mosquito by Martin Sharp & Michael Bowyer)
Further Reading:
Mosquito by Martin Sharp & Michael Bowyer
Mosquito Squadrons of the RAF by Chaz Bowyer
Squadron Profiles No. 130: Mosquito Squadrons of the Pathfinder Force by Chris Ward

 

Squadron profile provided by Neil Hutchinson
Comments or additions? Please contact me.