Bomber Command Operational Losses in the European Theatre of War covering both Aircraft and Aircrew 1939-1945.
Bomber Command comprised a number of Groups. It began the war with Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Groups. No. 1 Group was soon sent to France. It was, however, returned to Bomber Command control after the evacuation of France, and reconstituted. No. 2 Group consisted of light and medium bombers who, although operating both by day and night, remained part of Bomber Command until 1943, when it was removed to the control of Second Tactical Air Force, to form the light bomber component of that command. Bomber Command also gained two new groups during the war: the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadrons were organised into No. 6 Group and the Pathfinder Force was expanded to form No. 8 (Pathfinder) Group from existing squadrons.
Many squadrons and personnel from Commonwealth and other European countries were distributed throughout Bomber Command. No. 6 Group, which was activated on 1 January 1943, was unique among Bomber Command groups, in that it was not an RAF unit; it was a Canadian unit attached to Bomber Command. At its peak strength, 6 Group consisted of 14 operational RCAF bomber squadrons, and 15 different squadrons served with the group. No. 8 Group, also known as the Pathfinder Force, was activated on 15 August 1942. It was a critical part of solving the navigational and aiming problems experienced. Bomber Command solved its navigational problems using two methods. One was the use of a range of increasingly sophisticated electronic aids to navigation and the other was the use of specialist Pathfinders. The technical aids to navigation took two forms. One was external radio navigation aids, as exemplified by Gee and the later highly-accurate Oboe systems. The other was the ‘centimetric’ navigation equipment H2S radar carried in the bombers themselves. The Pathfinders were a group of elite, specially trained and experienced crews who flew ahead and with the main bombing forces, and marked the targets with flares and special marker-bombs. No. 8 Group controlled the Pathfinder squadrons.
Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.
Original Source: The National Archives