Unit History: RAF Redhills Lake
No. 240 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force flying boat and seaplane squadron during World War I, World War II and up to 1959. It was then reformed as a strategic missile squadron, serving thus till 1963.
Formation and World War I:
No. 240 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed at RAF Calshot on 20 August 1918 to provide anti-submarine protection, using its Short 184s seaplanes and Felixstowe F2A flying boats. It was disbanded on 15 May 1919.
World War II
The squadron was reformed at Calshot on 30 March 1937. It was at first equipped with Supermarine Scapas and after a year converted to Short Singapores, which were followed a year later by the Saro London, planning to convert later to Saro Lerwicks, but getting Supermarine Stranraers in June 1940 instead. March 1941 these were replaced with Consolidated Catalinas, to carry out anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic ocean. It then moved to India in March 1942 where it flew anti-shipping and submarine patrols from Red Hills Lake, where it was disbanded on 1 July 1945. The squadron reformed that same day, 1 July 1945, from elements of 212 sqn and 240 squadron’s special duties flight. The squadron converted to Short Sunderland Mk.Vs and moved to Ceylon in 1945, where it disbanded on 31 March 1946 at RAF Koggala.
Post war: Shackletons and Missiles
In 1 May 1952 the squadron reformed again at RAF Aldergrove and was equipped with Avro Shackleton Mk.1a maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The squadron moved to Northern Ireland in June 1952, where it disbanded on 1 November 1958 at RAF Ballykelly by being renumbered to 203 sqn.
The squadron reformed once again on 1 August 1959, as one of 20 Thor Strategic Missile (SM) squadrons, associated with Project Emily. The squadron was equipped with three Thor Intermediate range ballistic missiles, and based at RAF Breighton. In October 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, the squadron was kept at full readiness, with the missiles aimed at strategic targets in the USSR. The squadron was disbanded with the termination of the Thor Program in Britain, on 8 January 1963.