85 Squadron

Noctu diuque vanamur ('We hunt by day and night')
Squadron Code(s):
Dates Mosquitos on Squadron Strength:
August 1942 to November 1951
Mosquito Variant(s) Flown:
Main Base(s):
Hunsdon (May 1941)
West Malling (May 1943)
Swannington (May 1944)
West Malling (July 1944)
Swannington (August 1944)
Castle Camps (June 1945)
Tangmere (October 1945)
West Malling (April 1947)
Commanding Officer(s):

Wg Cdr G. L. Raphael DFC (May 1942)
Wg Cdr J. Cunningham DSO, DFC (January 1943)
Wg Cdr C. M. Miller DFC (March 1944)
Wg Cdr F. S. Gonsalves DFC (October 1944)
Wg Cdr W. K. Davison (January 1945)

Aircraft Examples:
W4087; DD714; DD718; DD731; DD741; DD720; DZ366; DZ385; DZ417; DZ469; HJ864; HK107; HK111, 'T'; HK119, 'S'; HK120, 'P'; HK218, 'U'; HK245, 'X'; HK282, 'D'; HK299, 'C'; HK374, 'L'; KA117; MM625; MP469; MV525; MV533, 'G'; MV464, 'P'; MV565; NS998; NT252, 'Y'; NT324; RK982, 'B'; RK991, 'K'; RL128, 'D'; RL148, 'H'; RL174, 'L'; RL198; RL199, 'L'; RL203; RL205, 'M'; RL213, 'F'; RL232; RL246, 'C'
85 Squadron crest
Examples of Types of Operations:

This unit, which re-formed as a day-fighter squadron in 1938, became by the end of the war arguably the most famous night-fighter formation of the war, counting among its COs 'Cat's-Eyes' Cunningham.

The first Mosquitos were not taken onto Squadron strength until the end of July, 1942, with the first claims for the new type coming in October of that year.

With conversion onto the NF.XII in 1943 came an exceptionally productive period for the Squadron, with claims for five Fw190s being recorded in a single night in May. The first Me410 shot down over the U.K. also fell to the Squadron's guns in October of that year.

From the middle of 1944, the Squadron was transferred to Bomber Support duties with 100 Group, with most of July and August being dedicated to the interception of V-1 flying bombs. The Squadron's main function at this stage of the war was intrusion over enemy airfields, with the unit's 250th victory of the war being recorded with the NF.30 Mosquito.By the close of hostilities, the Squadron had amassed the amazing record of 278 aircraft destroyed for the cost of 28 crew dead or missing on operations.

Further Reading:
Mosquito Squadrons of the RAF by Chaz Bowyer


Squadron profile provided by Mark Huxtable.
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