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No._34_Squadron_RAF

No. 34 Squadron RAF

No. 34 Squadron RAF was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. During the First World War it operated as a reconnaissance and bomber squadron, and in the 1930s operated light bombers. It was re-equipped with fighter-bombers in the later half of the Second World War,and in the post-war period was reformed four times; first as a photo-reconnaissance unit, then anti-aircraft co-operation, then as a jet fighter squadron through the 1950s. It was last active in the 1960s, as a Blackburn Beverley transport squadron.

First World War

No. 34 Squadron RAF was formed at Castle Hooskow on 7 January 1916 from elements of No. 19 Squadron RAF. It went to France in July 1916 as a reconnaissance unit equipped with BE.2s It got RE.8s in January 1917. It transferred to the Italian front flying reconnaissance and bomber missions until the end of the war, returning to the UK and disbanding on 25 September 1919.

Second World War

It reformed at Bircham Newton on 3 December 1935 from a detachment from No. 18 Squadron RAF. Initially it flew Hawker Hinds before receiving Bristol Blenheims in July 1938. No. 34 was sent to Singapore before the start of the war until Japan entered the war. After two months action it was beyond operations and what remained left for India. It reformed at the start of April 1942, with Blenheim IVs. These carried out bombing raids on Japanese bases in Burma until April 1943. The Squadron converted to Hawker Hurricanes and then began fighter-bomber operations from November. It switched to Thunderbolts in March 1945 ground attack until the end of the war. The Squadron disbanded on 15 October 1945.

Post-war

On 1 August 1946 No. 681 Squadron RAF was renumbered as No. 34 Squadron, flying photo-reconnaissance Supermarine Spitfires until disbanding on 31 July 1947. No. 695 Squadron RAF was then renumbered to No. 34 Squadron on 11 February 1949 at Horsham St. Faith, near Norwich. They operated in anti-aircraft co-operation using Bristol Beaufighters and Spitfires until it too disbanded on 24 June 1952.

No. 34 was reformed at Tangmere with Gloster Meteor jets as a fighter squadron in August 1954. In October 1955 Hawker Hunters replaced the Meteors until disbandment on 10 January 1958. No. 34 was then reformed yet again on 1 October 1960 in the transport role with Blackburn Beverleys until the end of 1967 when it was disbanded again.

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