Neha Patil (Editor)

No. 161 Squadron RAF

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Country  United Kingdom
Motto(s)  Liberate
Branch  Royal Air Force
Squadron badge heraldry  An open fetterlock
No. 161 Squadron RAF
Active  9 May 1918 - 17 August 1918 15 February 1942 – 2 June 1945
Squadron codes  MA Feb 1942 - 1945 JR Apr 1944 - 1945 (Lysander Flight only)

No. 161 (Special Duties) Squadron was a highly secretive unit of the Royal Air Force, which, together with 138 Squadron and 148 Squadron, was tasked with missions of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. Their primary role was to drop and collect secret agents and equipment into and from Nazi-occupied Europe. The squadron had a secondary role in acting as the King's Flight.



A proposal was made on 9 May 1918 to create a Squadron flying the Airco DH.9A in a daylight bombing role. The scheduled formation date was postponed several times before the plans were entirely cancelled. The squadron was reformed at RAF Newmarket on 15 February 1942 when the King's Flight was combined with elements of 138 Squadron. In April, 161 Squadron moved to RAF Tempsford in Bedfordshire where it would remain until disbandment on 2 June 1945.


Several types of aircraft were used by the squadron in the course of their duties.

  • Westland Lysander February 1942 - November 1944
  • Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V February 1942 - December 1942
  • Havoc I February 1942 - December 1943
  • Handley Page Halifax B.Mk II September 1942 - December 1942
  • Handley Page Halifax B.Mk V November 1942 to November 1944
  • Lockheed Hudson III / V October 1943-June 1945
  • Short Stirling III and IV September 1943 - June 1945
  • The Lysanders were used for the landing and collection of agents, while the other types were used for parachuting agents and supplies.


    No. 161 Squadron RAF Wikipedia

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