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202 Squadron Association

Index constitution NOTICES UPDATE Squadron History Mucky Duck Recollections Linebook Items of Interest Requests

In January 1929 a number of new Squadrons were created by the simple expediency of raising the existing flights to Squadron status. On the 1st  January 1929, No. 481 (Coastal Reconnaissance Flight), became No 202 (Flying Boat) Squadron, a slight misnomer as none of the squadrons aircraft inventory could be classed as "Flying Boats", the Fairey III D's were little more than float planes.

At this time the Squadron was located at Marsaxlokk Bay, Calafrana in Malta and had it's first public airing in May 1929, when it gave an air show with 5 of it's aircraft.

On the 14th  June 1930, the Squadron's replacement aircraft began arriving. These were modified Fairey III's, designated Fairey III F. They were essentially still the same aircraft but fitted with up rated Lion engines, a more streamlined nose and exhaust system and improved floats. Unfortunately, the new floats were in short supply (nothing changes). It was to be a full year before the Squadron was fully equipped.

In July of 1931, the Squadron undertook the first of their Summer Tours. The tour consisted of visiting such exotic locations as Augusta, Corfu, Athens, Mirabella, Aboukir, and Sollum. The tour was not without a few mishaps, one Fairey III F had a total engine failure shortly after take off and had to be towed back to base. A second, suffered a loss of engine coolant and only just made it to Corfu. The Squadron completed their first Summer tour without any other major incidents.

The Squadron took part in it's first Air Sea rescue on 16th  February 1932, when they went to the aid of an Italian Wal flying boat that had gone down some 50 miles from Malta. The crew from the Squadron quickly found the Italian flying boat and directed a Royal Navy vessel to the location. This was the start of the Squadrons long association with the Air Sea Rescue role that it continues to this day.

In June 1932 the Squadron toured Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt and finally Khartoum. In 1933 the tour was to the Adriatic with stopovers at Kotor and Split.

The 1st May 1935 saw the arrival of the first "proper" seaplane on the squadron when a Supermarine Scapa arrived. It was the start of 202's conversion from the little trusty Fairy III's,  to the all metal Scapa. The Squadron received a total of 6 aircraft, the last being delivered on 3rd  August 1935. The arrival of the Scapa's came at a time when tensions were rising in the area. The Italians had invaded Ethiopia and the RAF and 202 Squadron had a role to play under the League of Nations mandate. 202 Squadron flew anti-submarine patrols around Malta. The "troubles" lasted for almost a year but by the end of 1936 the Squadron was back home.

In 1937 the replacement program of the Saunders & Roe (SARO) London's commence, during this transition period, the Squadron once again became involved in a burgeoning crisis, the Spanish Civil War had started and the interference by outside countries, namely Germany, Italy & the USSR and a number of international incidents which saw the sinking of several unarmed and neutral merchant ships,  once again prompted an international patrol to "Police" the area. During this period of time,  the Squadron flew 111 patrols. A nine month respite from confrontation allowed the Squadron to complete the replacement program started in September. The squadron was finally up to strength on 10th  December 1937.

Again the Squadron was placed on standby for Active Duty, as the Czechoslovakian crisis deepened. The Squadron was ordered to Alexandria. The "crisis" lasted until 10th  October 1937, when Mr Chamberlain returned to England with that famous piece of paper declaring "peace in our time". For some reason the RAF were slightly sceptical about this statement and spent a few weeks photographing ports and airfields in Sicily and Libya.

The Squadron left on what would be it's final summer cruise in June of 1939, touring Greece and the Agean. When hostilities commenced the Squadron had 6 London's, 12 Officers and 120 other ranks  at Kalafrana

Squadron Formation Navy Co-Operation Malta Gibraltar Meteorological Castle Archdale Search & Rescue