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463 Squadron

463 Squadron was formed in England on 25 November 1943 from personnel and aircraft allocated from 467 Squadron. The unit began operations immediately when six Lancaster's participated in an attack on Berlin. As 463 Squadron received more aircraft and personnel the weight of its attacks steadily increased. Operating against strong German fighter opposition and well organised anti aircraft defences squadron missions often resulted in considerable losses.

In the lead up to the Allied invasion of Europe, 463 Squadron attacked targets throughout France, concentrating on enemy batteries along the Normandy coastline. After the landings the Squadron flew an increasing number of daylight bombing missions as the German fighter defences became progressively disorganised and less effective.

463 Squadron regularly supported the activities of the RAF Film Unit, and aircraft assigned to this unique role were modified with cameras mounted in their front turret and near the crew access door.

On one film operation, the squadron was given the task of recording a series of attacks during November 1944 against the battleship Tirpitz in Tromso Fiord, Norway. On the third raid, the Lancaster crew were just leaving the area, when they returned to capture the battleships last moments as it slowly capsized. This mission took almost fifteen hours and established a new endurance record for the Lancaster.

1945 saw attacks continue against German industrial centres and tactical targets in support of the advancing Allied armies. In April the squadron flew its last wartime mission when it bombed the oil refinery at Tonsberg, and after participating in the evacuation of allied POWs from Europe, 463 Squadron was disbanded on 29 October 1945. back to top

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