418 Squadron RCAF

Piyautailili ('Defend Even Unto Death') (Inuit)
City of Edmonton Squadron
Squadron Code(s):
Dates Mosquitos on Squadron Strength:
February 1943 to September 1945
Mosquito Variant(s) Flown:
FB.VI (February 1943 to September 1945)
Main Base(s):
Bradwell Bay (February 1943)
Ford (14th March 1943)
Holmsley South (April 1944)
Hurn (14th July 1944)
Middle Wallop (29th July 1944)
Hunsdon (28th August 1944)
Hartford Bridge (21st November 1944)
Coxyde (15th March 1945)
Volkel (25 April 1945 to 7th September 1945)
Commanding Officer(s):

Wg Cdr J. H. Little (December 1942)
Wg Cdr P. Y. Davoud DFC (June 1943)
Wg Cdr D. C. S. MacDonald DFC (January 1944)
Wg Cdr R. J. Bennell (February 1944)
Wg Cdr A. Barker (March 1944)
Wg Cdr R. Bannock DFC (October 1944)
Wg Cdr J. C. Wickett (November 1944)
Wg Cdr D. B. Annan (February 1945)
Wg Cdr H. D. Cleveland DFC (May 1945)

Aircraft Examples:
FB.VI NS850, crewed by Flt Lt Robert Kipp and Flt Lt Peter Huletsky, which on a day Ranger sortie on 14 April 1944 shot down two enemy aircraft over Denmark, destroying and damaging further aircraft on the ground.
Original 418 Squadron badgeOriginal 418 Squadron badge
Newer 418 Squadron badge More recent 418 Squadron badge
Examples of Types of Operations:

418 Squadron RCAF was Canada's highest-scoring squadron in WWII, in terms of both air-to-air and air-to-ground kills, and in terms of both day and night operations. The Squadron's most active period was 1944, when assigned to Intruder and Ranger sorties across occupied Europe.
These sorties, made at low level to escape radar detection, took 418 Squadron crews into the heart of enemy territory, there to wreak havoc among departing or returning Luftwaffe night-fighter crews (Intruder sorties), or to shoot up enemy airfields, or indeed anything else of military value, in Ranger sorties.
A typical sortie was the first flown by Russ Bannock and his navigator Bob Bruce. (Bannock, who had been both a peacetime pilot and a flight instructor for several years, went on to lead both 418 and 406 Sqn RCAF, before joining de Havilland in Canada as a test pilot). Having been assigned to Bourges-Avord airfield, to 'jump' night-fighters returning from the evening's operations, the crew spotted the exhaust flames of an aircraft in the circuit. After having to avoid anti- aircraft fire from the field, Bannock made a pass at the aircraft as it landed. The resulting fire and explosion revealed the aircraft to be an Me 110, and Bannock and Bruce escaped to the west.
As an Intruder squadron, 418 Sqn's aircraft did not carry radar sets - even at night targets had to be found, identified, lined up and attacked all with the naked eye. The squadron's success speaks volumes of the skill of its crews that it achieved such success under these conditions.

Day Ranger combat report for 418 Squadron by Sqn Ldr Kipp, 14th April 1944 - page 1, page 2.

Further Reading:
A large number of books deal with 418 Squadron's war record. The most readable is Terror in the Starboard Seat, (reviewed here). The story of Charles Scherf who, despite serving with a Canadian Squadron, was a top-scoring Australian Ace, is handled in-depth in Six Aces, from Banner Books. Martin Bowman relates a number of episodes from 418 Squadron in Mosquito Fighter / Fighter - Bomber Units of World War 2. Finally, a number of references to 418 Squadron are made in Sharp and Bowyer's definitive book entitled simply Mosquito.


Squadron profile provided by Mark Huxtable. Comments or additions? Please contact me.