197 Sqdn in 1943 Top: “Mack”. 1st row, l. to r: Frankie Vance, Jack Turton, Roy Allan, Ted Jolleys, Jimmy Kyle (on the wheel), Peter Shelton, Bruce Gilbert, Nobby Clark, James Mackenzie Reid, Kiwi, N/K, Brian Thompson, N/K, W/O ?Wayne, N/K. 2nd row l. to r: Earl Lavery, Dickie Richards, Taffy Miles, Jack Watson, Rex Mulliner, Wally Ahrens, F/O Soors, Paddy O’Callaghan, N/K, Powell, G/Cpt. Paddy Gresham, C/O 486 Sqdn, W/C Desmond Scott, Sq/Ldr Jacko Holmes, N/K, N/K, ? Murphy, Allan Smith, N/K, N/K, N/K. What was the dog’s name? Photo courtesy Roy Allan

197 Squadron was formed on November 27, 1942. Declared operational on January 31, 1943, it flew mainly low-level fighter operations in the lead-up to D-Day. Throughout the N.W. Europe campaign it executed ground attack dive bombing and low-level bombing operations mainly in support of the Canadian Army. The squadron flew under Fighter Command up until April 1944 and then became part of 146 Wing (with 193, 257, 266 and later 263 squadrons) 84 group 2nd Tactical Air Force.

The Squadron flew Hawker Typhoon 1B aircraft armed with four 20mm cannons and two 500lb bombs – later two 1,000lb bombs – carried under the wings. It initially operated from the UK to targets in North-West Europe and then from Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Germany after D-Day until the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945.

The Squadron’s motto was: Findimus Cealum (“We cleave the sky”) and its badge was a sabre held in a lion’s paw, which was a reference to the Napier Sabre engine of the Typhoon.

197 Squadron was disbanded in August 1945.