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No 456 Squadron

Equipped with Defiant night fighters, No 456 Squadron formed in England in June 1941. The Defiants were soon replaced with Beaufighters and on 11 January 1942 the Squadron claimed its first kill - a German bomber. For the next six months the Squadron's activities consisted of uneventful patrols with an occasional air-sea rescue mission.

In December the Unit began to re-equip with Mosquitoes and commenced offensive missions over occupied Europe - referred to as 'Rangers'.

The Mosquitoes' usual targets were road and rail transport, and during the month of May 1943, No 456 Squadron damaged or destroyed no less than eighteen locomotives.

From mid-1943, No 456 Squadron Mosquitoes hunted German Ju 88 fighters, which were attacking vulnerable Coastal Command aircraft. When located, the German twin-engine fighters often attempted to escape but were usually caught by the faster Mosquitoes.

In February 1944, after being re-equipped with Mosquitoes possessing more powerful radar, No 456 Squadron began operations against German bombers making night attacks against London.

In the month following the Normandy landings, No 456 Squadron met with outstanding success over France - destroying thirteen bombers. June also saw the commencement of V-1 flying bomb attacks against English cities. No 456 Squadron Mosquitoes achieved an impressive record against these rockets, with one pilot shooting down at least nine V1s.

From late 1944 until the end of the war, No 456 Squadron continued its 'ranger' missions over Germany, attacking airfields in support of Bomber Command as well as other targets of opportunity.

No 456 Squadron disbanded on 15 June 1945.

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