This website is dedicated to the proud memory of 624 (Special Duties) Squadron RAF. The Aircrew and Ground Staff of the Royal Air Force and Allied Air Forces involved in supporting the liberation of France , Italy and Yugoslavia.
A little about us.
The history of the Squadron.
Remembering all those who lost their lives whilst serving with 624 Squadron
In Memory of Ron McKeon 29 July 1947 - 25 July 2015
Songs, stories and visits
Recollections of 624 Squadron by John D Russell
624 (Special Duties) Squadron was formed at Blida Algeria in September 1943 from 1575 Flight. Its duties were to drop supplies & agents to the resistance in the South of France, Italy, Yugoslavia etc. It was tasked by a Special Operations Executive unit known as I.S.S.U.6 (Inter Services Signals Unit 6), and situated on the coast west of Algiers.
1575 Flight was formed at Tempsford in May 1943 with a flight of Halifaxes and two Ventura 11 aircraft under the command of Sqn Ldr J.B. Austin. I was the navigator of Ventura AE948, captained by P/O Bob Forbes RNZAF. We flew out to Blida in June 1943. The Halifax’s operating over the South of France, whilst the Ventura’s started operating from Tunisia and were also used as VIP transport by I.S.S.U.6.
Ventura AE 881 captained by Flying Officer Boothby went missing in September 1943 and the other crashed on landing on an airstrip in Tunisia on 27th September 1943. They were not replaced, my crew were posted, but I remained with the squadron at Sidi Amor in Tunisia.
Wing Commander C Stanbury now commanded 624 Squadron. A Flight commander was Squadron Leader Austin and B Flight commander was Squadron Leader Mawer. After a few weeks the Squadron moved to Brindisi, the advance party of about 200 airmen and motor transport under Flt Lt Short as O/C and myself as adjutant moved by road to Birgerta and then by Tank Handling Ship (LST) to Terants and on by road to Brindisi, which had only recently been evacuated by the Germans. The rest of the squadron followed with the Halifax’s and began operating over the Balkans.
After a couple of months,the squadron returned to Blida in February 1944 for operations over the South of France. I was acting as Squadron Operations Officer. A number of Stirling 1V aircraft wre added to the squadron. As the liberation of France proceeded the squadron was disbanded in September 1944.
I left the squadron in October 44, proceeding from Maison Blanche by C 47 for Cairo ,(10.5 hrs with refuelling stops at Castel Benito and Benina.A month at 22PTC (personnel transit centre) Almaza, awaiting a posting, Spent much of the time in Cairo, had my first butter in nearly 4 years at the NZ forces club ! Eventually posted as bombing instructor on the Baltimore at RAF Shandur a hutted camp halfway between Ismalia and Suez on the Suez canal. After promotion to Flight Lieutenant, I became Training Wing Adjutant
After V-E day the unit closed and it was back to 22 PTC with a mass of redundant aircrew....but thats another story.
John Russell celebrated his 100th birthday on July 25th
John served with 1575 flight / 624 SD squadron throughout it's existence and has been a mine of information with his stories and recollections of his time with the squadron.
We are proud to have him as a prominent member of our associated facebook group.
I know that all group members will join me in wishing John a very happy birthday
With great sadness I have to announce that another of our veterans, Stanley David passed away on Wednesday 22nd April 2020 at the age of 95. Stanley was with 624 (SD) Squadron from November 1943 until September 1944, flying 52 operations. Stanley was the youngest of the remaining 624 veterans and was therefore chosen to unveil the Commemorative Plaque at the NMA in 2012. He was so proud that day and fulfilled his duties impeccably. R.I.P Stanley and thank you.
You can read some of Stanley's memories on the Photographs and Memories page under Stories from the boys
4th February 1920
- 23rd December 2018
21st May 1924 - 27th March 2019
8th May 1923 - 11th May 2019
15th November 1922 - 5th July 2019
Please contact us if you have any information on or photos of the squadron, we would love to hear from you.
We would love to hear from you.
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