Historical Information and Glossary

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272 Squadron link

272 Squadron (RAF)

First formed during WWI, the squadron was disbanded in 1919, but re-formed in November of 1940. Flying Bristol Blenheims and converting to Bristol Beaufighters, 272 Squadron became synonymous with operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean area. The squadron was disbanded in 1945. 

There are few detailed accounts of this squadron, however Roy Nesbitt's The Armed Rovers  provides one of the most vivid accounts of RAF operations in the Mediterranean, including 272 Squadron. 

Bristol Beaufighter

The twin-engine Bristol Beaufighter was a long-range heavy fighter that served in numerous roles during WWII. Designed in 1938 as a private venture of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, it was approved and put into production in a remarkably short time, owing in part to incorporated portions of the Bristol Beaufort, which was already in production. 

The pilot was positioned well forward, affording an excellent view. The navigator/radio operator sat mid-way down the fuselage, and had his own cupola, which was sometimes equipped with a small machine gun. Normal entry to the aircraft was from two drop-down hatches under the fuselage, the forward hatch incorporating a ladder. Both hatches were counterbalanced and provided a wind-break if used as an emergency exit during flight. 

The aircraft was extremely tough, and although not without some idiosyncrasies, was loved by its crews and feared by its enemies. Armed with four 20mm cannons under the nose, and four 303 machine guns in the wings, it could also be equipped with a torpedo, or rockets. 

Produced in England and Australia, the Beaufighter served with distinction with the RAF, the RAAF, and other allied air forces, including the United States. Following the war, the Beaufighter continued-on as a trainer and even served with other countries. The last Beaufighter aircraft was retired in 1960. 


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