Equipped with Wellington bombers, 466 Squadron formed in England on 10 October 1942. In addition to its night bombing role, the squadron was also heavily commited to mine-laying operations throughout 1943.
In April 1943, a Wellington was attacked by a German night fighter on a raid against the German city of Stuttgart. The aircraft was extensively damaged, the tail gunner killed and three crew members seriously wounded. Despite the severe damage to their aircraft and their injuries, the crew elected to press on with their mission. After bombing their target the crew made the long return flight to England, making an emergency landing at Ford airfield. The crew's actions on this night were recognised by the award of the a Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, a DSO, the DFC and the DFM to different personnel – the awarding of so many commendations to the one crew was highly unusual.
Following the conversion to Halifax's in August, squadron operations over Germany continued until May 1944, when 466 Squadron's bombing effort was directed against coastal batteries, marshaling yards and military bases in preparation for the invasion of Europe.
One of the most remarkable escapes of World War II occurred during a night mission over Germany when one of the squadron Halifax's was hit by anti-aircraft fire. After ordering his crew to bail out, the captain was blown out of the crippled aircraft without a parachute. As the pilot plummeted to the ground in total darkness, he bumped into something which he instinctively grabbed. The 'something' turned out to be his mid-upper gunner's legs and, remarkably, both airmen made a safe descent on the one parachute, surviving the rest of the war as prisoners.
With the war coming to its conclusion, the squadron flew an increasing number of daylight missions as it became apparent that the German Air Force was no longer able to operate in strength against the Allied air forces. After the German surrender, 466 Squadron became part of Transport Command and for a period jettisoned surplus bombs into the sea. When a plan to re-equip with Lancasters and Yorks did not eventuate, the squadron was disbanded on 25 September 1945.back to top back to RAAF units page