How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
FrenchieAtwar
Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 27 Nov 2020 16:03
Location: Marseille

How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by FrenchieAtwar » 27 Nov 2020 16:16

Hi, foreigners played a big role in the RAF, for exemple out of the 57,000 crews who died in the RAF bomber command, only 32,000 were actual british, the rest were eithers, Canadians,AUstralaians,Poles,French, CZecs or even N-Zealanders, Same thing for the the fighter or even coastal command.

So does anyone has a broad list of foreigners* that flew in the R.A.F during ww2? (1940-45), i tried to make a list.

A fighter squadron usually had 24 plane (of whom two flight), Free France had in Britain/E.T.O (1943) 4 fighter group (3 more on the M.T.O) .

Squadron "Ile-De-France"

Squadron "Alsac"e

Squadorn "Berry"

Squadron "Cigogne"

So in theory France had 96 pilot (24x4), but only in theory since the free french also flew in other squadron, for exemple the 602 "City of Glasgow" ( a british/scottish manned squadron) had 3 french, 1 belgian, some Canadians and New Zealanders (source. "The great circus " by pierre closterman p.167) So it's very hard to make a full list of foreigners in the R.A.F, so if anyone has a list or link page that could help me? :thumbsup:

EDIT; when i say foreigners i don't take in account commonwealth soldiers (canada,Asutralia,N-Zealander etc) , i mostly talk about Poles,Czecs,French,Dutch,Danes,Norwegians and Belgians.

Richard Sands
Member
Posts: 31
Joined: 13 Jun 2018 09:48
Location: Ipswich Suffolk UK

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by Richard Sands » 28 Nov 2020 09:31

Don't forget the American Eagle Squadrons before America came into the war. Comprised of mostly volunteer American pilots. When America entered the war the Eagle Squadrons went to eighth US air force as 4th Fighter group.

EwenS
Member
Posts: 212
Joined: 04 May 2020 11:37
Location: Scotland

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by EwenS » 28 Nov 2020 10:30

Don’t forget the Greeks of the Royal Hellenic Air Force that flew as part of the RAF in the Middle East. 13th Light Bomber Squadron RHAF and 335 & 336 (Greek) fighter squadrons RAF. Also the Yugoslavs. Two fighter RAF fighter squadrons, 351 & 352 again in the Med.

Some Egyptians also flew in RAF squadrons I believe, and 2 squadron Royal Egyptian Air Force was placed under RAF control from Jan 1944 to Jan 1945 equipped with Hurricane IIc for the defence of the Alexandria area.

In terms of Commonwealth/Empire countries don’t forget the contribution from the Indian Air Force (14 squadrons in Ww2) and personnel in RAF in other theatres as well as from Caribbean and Countries across the whole of Africa.

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3123
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Nov 2020 10:54

Many Americans joined as Southern Canadians. Some rejoined the USAAC after Pearl Harbour - perhaps out of patriotism or for the better pay and uniform with better pulling power...

At least one then continued to serve with the RAF in Bomber command as a US Serviceman attached to the RAF. http://aircrewremembered.com/rosner-eugene.html His is the closest Jewish grave to the exit (the old entrance) to the American Normandy Cemetery above Omaha Beach.

There were a few members of the Reichvolk - or rather the minority that the Nazis wanted to exterminate. Ken Adam Berlin born German Jew flew Typhoons, German Jew and member of the Communist party of Great Britain, Oliver Owen Bernard trained to fly with the RAF and Austrian George W. Berger was awarded the DFC flying Mosquitos and Sunderlands. (Fry, Helen. The King's Most Loyal Enemy Aliens . The History Press)

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 3123
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Nov 2020 11:08

FrenchieAtwar wrote:
27 Nov 2020 16:16

So does anyone has a broad list of foreigners* that flew in the R.A.F during ww2? (1940-45), i tried to make a list.

So in theory France had 96 pilot (24x4), but only in theory since the free french also flew in other squadron, for exemple the 602 "City of Glasgow" ( a british/scottish manned squadron) had 3 french, 1 belgian, some Canadians and New Zealanders (source. "The great circus " by pierre closterman p.167) So it's very hard to make a full list of foreigners in the R.A.F, so if anyone has a list or link page that could help me? :thumbsup:
Google is your friend here Foreign squadrons are in the series 300-350 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_R ... 2%80%93352

As you can see there were eight Free French squadrons: Three with single seat fighters, three bomber, one Boston and two Halifax and two Coastal Command squadrons One wellington and one Sunderland. The total is several hundred aircrew.

FrenchieAtwar
Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 27 Nov 2020 16:03
Location: Marseille

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by FrenchieAtwar » 28 Nov 2020 12:05

Richard Sands wrote:
28 Nov 2020 09:31
Don't forget the American Eagle Squadrons before America came into the war. Comprised of mostly volunteer American pilots. When America entered the war the Eagle Squadrons went to eighth US air force as 4th Fighter group.
i didnt really mentionned them, beacause America had a full fighting air force by 1942, whereas Poland, Czecs,Dutch,belgian, Frencgh (until 1942) didnt had one.

FrenchieAtwar
Member
Posts: 4
Joined: 27 Nov 2020 16:03
Location: Marseille

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by FrenchieAtwar » 28 Nov 2020 12:12

[/quote]

Google is your friend here Foreign squadrons are in the series 300-350 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_R ... 2%80%93352

As you can see there were eight Free French squadrons: Three with single seat fighters, three bomber, one Boston and two Halifax and two Coastal Command squadrons One wellington and one Sunderland. The total is several hundred aircrew.
[/quote]


Sure i does show me the number of free french squadron, but it wasnt my question, i ask how many foreigners flew in the R.A.F, even though the free french had full manned squadron, a lot of french (and other nationalities) fough in other anglophone squadron, like i said, the 602 had more then 10 foreigners within the squadron (of whom 3 french) out of 24 pilot. So my question is how many foreign personnel, fought in the Royal air force.

And you are wrong about the squadrons :P
it's 7 fighter/single seat (squadron provence,berry,nice,corse,ile de france, alsace, cigognes all of them flew supermarine spitifire)
1 bost bomber (Boston DB7/B25 mitchell, Lorraine squadron )
2 halfifax bomber (Guyenne and Tunisie squadron)
2 coastal (the picardie and artois squadron)

gebhk
Member
Posts: 1703
Joined: 25 Feb 2013 20:23

Re: How many foreigners flew in the RAF?

Post by gebhk » 29 Nov 2020 20:25

Hi FrenchieAtwar

Just to be clear, do you mean how many pilots flew at any one time (and if so when) or during a particular time-frame (eg WW2)? And by 'foreigners' do you mean foreign nationals?

To be pedantic, the Polish squadrons were not part of the RAF. The Polish Air Force was an allied force albeit fighting under RAF command. I believe this caused some aggravation when the BoB memorial was unveiled without the Polish squadron insignia.

To complicate things further, a fair number of Polish pilots fought as individuals in RAF squadrons.

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”