Number 2 Group
is a Group
of the Royal Air Force
which was first activated in
1918, served from 1918-20, from 1936 through the Second World War
to 1947, from 1948 to 1958, from 1993 to 1996, was reactivated in
2000, and is today part of Air
The group is currently referred to as the Air Combat
, as it controls the aircraft used to support
the Royal Navy and RAF's front line combat force. Assets under
command includes the Strategic and Tactical Air Transport aircraft
(including VIP/Communication), the RAF
(including RAF Regiment
assets), the Air-to-Air Refuelling aircraft. As from 1 April 2006,
with the disbandment of No. 3 Group RAF
, it controls also the Airborne
Early Warning aircraft, ground based radar installations, Maritime
Reconnaissance aircraft and the Search & Rescue helicopters for
six UK coastal bases. The group is based alongside Air Command at
As of 1 April 2006, the following stations and squadrons are under
the command of 2 Group.
No. 2 Group was originally formed as No.
(Training) Group on 1 April 1918 at Oxford.
was disbanded when need for training had lessened after the
armistice on 31 March 1920 at Uxbridge.
The Group was reformed as No. 2 (Bombing)
Group on 20 March 1936, with it headquarters base at
By the outbreak of war Group Headquarters
were at Wyton
and composed of the following
squadrons and Wings; Nos. 18 and 57 Squadrons (composing 70 Wing at
) ; Nos. 21 and 82 Squadrons
(79 Wing, Watton) Nos.
101 Squadrons (81 Wing, West Raynham), Nos.
114 and 139 Squadrons (82 Wing,
) and Nos. 107 and 110 Squadrons
(83 Wing, Wattisham)
79, 81, 82 and 83 Wings formed part of the Advanced Air Striking Force
70 Wing was earmarked for service with the Field Force in France.
The force consisted of Bristol
Mk. IVs and the Blenheim Mk. I.
On 3 September 1939, the day war broke out, a Blenheim from 2 Group
made the first British operational sortie to cross the German
frontier in the Second World War. The following day saw the Group's
Blenheims make the first British bombing attack of the war.
In April 1940, Norway was invaded by the Germans. In response to a
request for air support two Blenheim squadrons, Nos. 110 and 107, were
placed on temporary detachment to RAF Lossiemouth, from where they
could attack shipping and the German held airfield at Stavanger in southern Norway.
The Group carried out intensive operations against the advancing
Germans following their breakthrough of 10 May 1940, suffering
heavy losses.On 17 May, twelve crews of No. 82 Squadron left Watton
to attack enemy columns near Gembloux. A severe flak barrage split
the formation up, allowing Bf 109s to attack. Only one Blenheim,
managed to return to Watton, the rest shot down. No.82 Squadron was
again operational just three days later. During June, Blenheims
began a new phase by bombing Luftwaffe airfields in France. In July
the twelve Blenheim squadrons of 2 Group lost 31 aircraft, along
with three Wing Commanders.
During the summer the light bomber force also supported defensive
operations during the Battle of
, bombing German invasion barges concentrated in the
By mid 1941 the Group was engaged in daylight raids on coastal
shipping and heavily defended objectives in Occupied Europe. At
that stage stage of the war the Group’s Blenheims were near
obsolete and sustaining heavy operational casualties.
Nevertheless,operations continued unabated.No. 2 Group carried out
a low-level attack on Bremen in 2 July 1941 in which the leader,
Wing Commander Hughie Edwards
105 Squadron, won the Victoria
December 1942 Edwards led a combined force of Mosquitoes, Bostons
and Venturas on ‘Operation Oyster’, a pin-point daylight raid on
the Philips electrical works at Eindhoven in Holland.
RAF losses were 14 aircraft
brought down by flak and fighters. Substantial damage was inflicted
on the factory, but with few casualties suffered by the Dutch
workers and civilain population.
2 group supported the ill-fated Commando raid on Dieppe in August
1942. Mosquitoes Mk IV's also made the first daylight attack on
At the end of May 1943 the Group left RAF Bomber Command to join
the new Second Tactical Air
, and came under Fighter Command control until the
formation of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force five months
2 Group Mosquitoes also made the famous wall-breaching operation
against Amiens gaol in early 1944 which cost Group Captain Percy
Pickard (of Target for Tonight film fame) his life. By the D-day
landings, No. 2 Group consisted of four wings of Douglas Bostons,
Mitchells, and Mosquito light and medium bombers.
During Operation Market
in September 1944 it the Group included 136, 138
, & 140 Wings, flying Mosquito
. and 137 & 139 Wings,
flying the B-25 Mitchell
No. 2 Group flew just over 57,000 operational sorties at a cost of
2,671 men killed or missing and 396 wounded.
It was disbanded on 1 May 1947 and reformed on 1
within the British Air Force of Occupation
. It was
transferred again to Second
Tactical Air Force
on 1 September 1951.
No. 2 Group was disbanded on 15 November 1958.
It was reformed 1 April 1993 by renaming RAF
and was then disbanded on 1 April 1996 with absorption
into No. 1 Group RAF
.It was reformed on 7 January
2000 to take control of air transport, air-to-air refuelling and
airborne early warning within the RAF. The AOC's two principal
subordinates were Air Commodore AT/AAR & C3I (directing air
transport, AAR, and C3I
) and Air Commodore [RAF]
Regiment & Survive to Operate. On 1 April 2006 it took over the
responsibilities of No. 3 Group RAF
, which was disbanded.
1918 to 1920
1936 to 1947
- 1936 Air Commodore B E Sutton
- 1 September 1936 Air Commodore S J
- 2 December 1937 Air Commodore C H B Blount
- 16 May 1938 Air Vice-Marshal C
- 17 April 1940 Air Vice-Marshal J M Robb
- 12 February 1941 Air Vice-Marshal D F Stevenson
- 17 December 1941 Air Vice-Marshal A Lees
- 29 December 1942 Air Vice-Marshal J H
- 1 June 1943 Air Vice-Marshal B E Embry
- 8 August 1945 Air Vice-Marshal P E Maitland
- 18 March 1946 Air Commodore L
- 3 June 1946 Air Vice-Marshal A L Paxton
1948 to 1958
- 1 December 1948 Air Commodore L F Sinclair
- 16 January 1950 Air Commodore The Earl of Bandon
- 18 June 1951 Air Commodore H D
- 9 November 1953 Air Vice-Marshal J R Hallings-Pott
- 1 July 1955 Air Vice-Marshal S R Ubee
1993 to 1996
- 1 April 1993 Air Vice-Marshal G A Robertson
- 17 January 1994 Air Vice-Marshal R H Goodall
2000 to present
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. 2 Group RAF: A Complete History,
1936-1945. London: Faber and Faber
Ltd., 1974. ISBN 0-571-09491-0.
- Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury,
Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1994. ISBN
- Hunt, Leslie. From Hind to Hunter: A Short History of
N°. 2 (B) Group RAF. Chelmsford, UK: Leslie Hunt,
- Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their
Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964
(New revised edition 1976, ISBN 0-354-01027-1.)