RAF Bomber Code system...

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Lieutenant Colonel
Apr 1, 2004
...how did it work?

The picture attached is a Wellington with the squadron code of 'KW' - 'KW' however refers to 615 (County of Surrey) Sqn. which was never equipped with Wellingtons - it was in the CBI with Hurricanes, Spitfires then Thunderbolts.

Obviously Bomber Command...or is that Coastal Command...had a different system...can someone explain please...and oh yeah, tell me what squadron the Wellington is from?


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From what I can tell, 5 squadrons used the fuselage code of KW!

615 flying P-47, Hurricane, Spitfire

267 flying Lysander, Hudson, Anson, Lodestar

47 flying Wellington, Mosquito, Beaufort

615 flying Gladiator

425 flying Wellington, Halifax, Lancaster

You would have to look at the individual units to see which one it was, either the 425 or 47.
4 Squadrons, you listed 615 Sqn. twice. 615 Sqn. had Gladiators at the start of World War II.

But still... :confused: :cry:
Please do...I officially declare I dislike the RAF coding system... :cry:
If only they were not using the same code to designate two fighter or two bomber squadrons, it would be just fine.

I mean, if a fighter with "KW" on his tail crash in a field, you know it is from the 615 Squadron. But if it is a bomber, you have the choice between three squadrons. It would have been better if only one fighter and one bomber squadron had the same code.
it wasn't that bad :lol:

it would be easy to tell what aircraft it was, it'd have the serial number on the tail, and they didn't actually have the same code at the same time, they were often changed in some cases, which i believe is what happened here.........
It is MUCH better for the sake of accuracy, if you can trace an aircraft by its serial number or the crews names, rather than by just its code letters, for as soon as an aircraft was lost in a squadron, then when it was replaced, the same code was more often than not, put on the replacement aircraft, you can see that on the following website where there could be twenty aircraft with the same code letters but with all different serial numbers, There were also some instances in bomber command where aircraft were transferred from squadron to squadron, but the code letters werent changed to the new squadrons codes straight away. and if the aircraft was lost in action as sometimes happened, the wrong squadron code was put against the squadron number losses. This also adds to the difficulty.


Things can also be made difficult when researching US aircraft as well, as they sometimes made one machine out of two!!


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IF the wellington shown in the photo has the serial number of "BJ864"

Then here are its details:

Wellington Mk III of 425 Squadron RCAF

Serial number BJ864 coded KW-E took off from Dishforth on the night of
11/12-11-1942 on a gardening mission, but crashed 21:30 after several unsuccessful landing attempts on the south side of the airfield at lacon hill
in yorkshire.

as far as my database shows all crew were KIA. :(
wait, so, when bombers went on a milk run, they weren't actually collecting milk :shcok:

i was wondering waht they'd do with 14,000lbs of milk :rolleyes:
hi plan_D,

i bet the depicted wellie is from (probably) 309 polish sqdn, since nos 310, 312 and 313 were Czechoslovak fighter squadrons and the only Cs bomber sqdn flying wellies was no. 311 sqdn and they had KX codes.

damn, i had all the used marking site url in my favorites but lost it during reinstall of windows...
so no, ain't a polish unit as well, no poles were marked like this... 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 24, 36, 37 38, 40, 57, 69, 70, 75, 93, 99, 101, 103, 104, 115, 142, 148, 149, 150, 156, 158, 162, 166, 172, 179, 192, 196, 199, 203, 214, 215, 218, 221, 232, 242, 244, 300, 301, 304, 305, 311, 405, 407, 415, 419, 420, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 431, 432, 458, 460, 466, 524, 544, 547, 612, 621... :lol: all these sdns flew wellies

we can scratch out those from 300-311, these were czech and polish
It's either 425 or 47 squadron, I've only got that far.

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