54 Squadron Royal Air Force

Formed at Castle Bromwich 16th May 1916 Motto: Audax omnia perpeti (Boldness to endure anything) Codes: DL (39-41, 42-45) KL (41-42) HF (45-48)
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RAF ground crew work on a Spitfire Mk VIII's Merlin engine at Darwin, Australia, c.1943.No. 54 (Spitfire) Squadron RAF, Darwin airfield in Northern Australia. Photographer: Argus newspaper, Melbourne Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

RAF ground crew work on a Spitfire Mk VIII's Merlin engine at Darwin, Australia, 54 (Spitfire) Squadron RAF, Darwin airfield in Northern Australia. Photographer: Argus newspaper, Melbourne Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria

Pilots of No 54 Squadron RAF gathered round a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IIA at Rochford, Essex. On the wing sits their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader, Robert Findlay Boyd DFC & bar, with the squadron mascot "Crash". ca. April 1941

Pilots of No 54 Squadron RAF gathered round a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IIA at Rochford, Essex. On the wing sits their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader, Robert Findlay Boyd DFC & bar, with the squadron mascot "Crash".

Ground crewmen prepare a Spitfire Mk. IIa of No. 54 Squadron RAF at RAF Hornchurch, Essex, in May 1941, while a group of pilots in the foreground pause to discuss tactics.

Preparing for battle: As ground crewmen inspect a Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane in a deserted field outside of London in 1941 pilots discuss their strategy for fighting in the air

On strength with No 54 Squadron RAF since 12 June 1940, Spitfire Mk I KL-O was flown by acting F/L Basil H "Wonky" Way from RAF Hornchurch on 25 July, when crashing into the Channel at 15.00hrs after being credited with an Me 109 destroyed 10m east of Dover. The 22-year-old pilot had achieved a personal score of 2 and 2 shared destroyed and 4 and 1 shared probably destroyed. His body was later washed up on a Belgian beach.

Spitfire Mk I versus Me 109 E performance comparison, wartime flight trials and data analysis.

Pair of Spitfires from No.54 Squadron. X4276 KL-B was the aircraft normally flown by the New Zealander Al Deere while withdrawn from the southeast of England to Catterick to rest and train new pilots to the Squadron. - Aviation Art by Alex Hamilton

Pair of Spitfires from Squadron. KL-B was the aircraft normally flown by the New Zealander Al Deere while withdrawn from the southeast of England to Catterick to rest and train new pilots to the Squadron. - Aviation Art by Alex Hamilton

Pilots of No 54 Squadron RAF

Pilots of No 54 Squadron RAF gathered round a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IIA at Rochford, Essex. On the wing sits their Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader, Robert Findlay Boyd DFC & bar, with the squadron mascot "Crash".

F/Sgt Phillip H Tew was posted to No 54 Squadron RAF at RAF Hornchurch, when the rest of No 65 Squadron RAF were moved to RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey in May 1940. The 27-year-old pilot claimed an Me 109 destroyed off Calais on 24 May, an Me 110 probably destroyed over Dunkirk 2 days later and a Do 17 destroyed on 28 May. An Me 109 was credited to him destroyed and an Me 110 shared on 8 August and an Me 110 shared on 18 August.

F/Sgt Phillip H Tew was posted to No 54 Squadron RAF at RAF Hornchurch, when the rest of No 65 Squadron RAF were moved to RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey in May 1940. The 27-year-old pilot claimed an Me 109 destroyed off Calais on 24 May, an Me 110 probably destroyed over Dunkirk 2 days later and a Do 17 destroyed on 28 May. An Me 109 was credited to him destroyed and an Me 110 shared on 8 August and an Me 110 shared on 18 August.

Leading No 54 Squadron RAF from RAF Hornchurch over the Dunkirk beaches on 24 May 1940, S/L Eric A Douglas-Jones lost consciousness at 32,000ft due to oxygen failure but regained consciousness again at 5,000ft in time to save himself and Spitfire Mk I KL-A. The 34-year-old South African had headed the first single-seat fighter sortie across the Channel at 10.35hrs 8 days earlier, patrolling the coastline from Ostend to Dunkirk for ½ hour.

Leading No 54 Squadron RAF from RAF Hornchurch over the Dunkirk beaches on 24 May 1940, S/L Eric A Douglas-Jones lost consciousness at 32,000ft due to oxygen failure but regained consciousness again at 5,000ft in time to save himself and Spitfire Mk I KL-A. The 34-year-old South African had headed the first single-seat fighter sortie across the Channel at 10.35hrs 8 days earlier, patrolling the coastline from Ostend to Dunkirk for ½ hour.

F/L Basil H "Wonky" Way of No 54 Squadron RAF was killed in combat off Dover on 25 July 1940, aged 22, immediately after destroying an Me 109 10m east of the Channel port. His body was washed up on a Belgian beach. During the fighting over Dunkirk in late May, he had been appointed to command B flight, having claimed 2 and 2 shared destroyed and 4 and 1 shared probably destroyed.

F/L Basil H "Wonky" Way of No 54 Squadron RAF was killed in combat off Dover on 25 July 1940, aged 22, immediately after destroying an Me 109 10m east of the Channel port. His body was washed up on a Belgian beach. During the fighting over Dunkirk in late May, he had been appointed to command B flight, having claimed 2 and 2 shared destroyed and 4 and 1 shared probably destroyed.


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