The history of the 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Airforce is available to buy from Airfield Publications
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Hardcover, 248 pages
Price £23.50 inc. Postage
This book tells the story of one of the leading WWII RAF fighter squadrons in great detail from its infancy at Liverpool (Speke) airport in 1936 to its final disbandment with all Auxiliary forces, in 1957. 611 Squadron started as a light bomber squadron but soon reformed to a fighter squadron and was one of the first to receive the revolutionary Spitfire. In 1939 the Squadron went for summer camp to Duxford in Cambridgeshire never to return to Speke as it was called up for war duty.
611 excelled in cover of the UK whilst France fell to the Nazis, patrolled high above the Dunkirk beaches during the evacuation, played an active part in the Battle of Britain, took a very active part in the ill-fated Dieppe raid, covered the Normandy landings, escorted bomber intrusions over occupied France and later, with Mustangs, was able to provide long range bomber cover for both RAF and USAAF raids deep into Europe.
Each phase of WWII is described in detail with extracts from Pilot's Combat Reports, some direct graphic descriptions from the pilots themselves and excellent photographic coverage. Disbanded in 1945, the Squadron re-emerged in Lancashire (at Woodvale) in 1946 to provide fighter cover for the North of England and be available anywhere required.
Initially equipped with Spitfires, they gave way to the more modern and efficient Meteor in 1951. The post war period, in the time of the Cold War, is also told in graphic detail, including the exercises, summer camps in Germany and Malta together with the shortcomings of a shrinking Air Force, political interference and eventual disbandment in March 1957.
Initially manned by volunteers from the Liverpool area the Squadron was proud to be home to many aircrew from the Empire and other countries whilst retaining Auxiliary members, both air and ground crew, for most of the war. Reformed with one of its original pre-war pilots as CO the squadron again drew all its members from the Merseyside area post-war both at Woodvale and, later, Hooton Park on the Wirral.
The narrative is supported by over 200 photographs and numerous appendices detailing every aircraft that served with 611, CO's, bases, Roll of Honour, combat claims, time charts, map of base locations and more.
This is the complete comprehensive history of a fighting Squadron and its men, both air and ground crews who put their lives at risk to stop the Nazi threat, many paying the ultimate sacrifice.
"Eighty years ago a bill became law creating the RAF Auxiliary Squadrons. On February 10, 1936, 611 West Lanes (Bomber) Squadron was born. On February 1939 they were redesignated a fighter Squadron, and in May equipped with Spitfire Mk I. This new book by Aldon Ferguson and John Hamlin tells the story of this Auxiliary Air Force Squadron from its inception to final disbandment. The tale is not unique in itself, but the whole is well worth the read. This Auxiliary Squadron was one of the first in the RAF to be equipped with Spitfires. They were on exercise at RAF Duxford when the War was declared, and were told to stay there. They saw action over Dunkirk, were part of the Battle of Britain, flew over the Normandy landings, and met Russian fighters over Berlin. Many of the pilots that flew with the Squadron are well known to us from other histories. Post-war, they flew Meteors until the Auxiliary Squadrons were dis-banded in 1957.
"This book successfully tells the tale of this busy and effective Squadron. It draws heavily on the contemporaneous official Squadron record and combat reports - the language is fascinating in itself - and because of this is strongly grounded in the period. The book is packed with pictures, many published for the areas during WW2 means that there will be something in this book for virtually anyone with an interest in the period. SG"
"No.611 is one of 'Our Very Own' and the subject is very close to the heart of the reviewer, it being the 'local' Auxiliary unit of the land of his birth. This an incredible book from an author/publisher with a proven track record. The copious text is backed with a barrage of illustrations, extensive appendices and crowned with first-class production values. All profits go to the RAF Benevolent Fund."