The Fairey Battles Of The: Advance Air Striking Force (AASF)
Copyright: Joe Sharpe, 2002
At the outbreak of the Second World War, units from RAF Bomber Command were transferred to the Advance Air Striking Force (AASF) and posted to airfields in France.
Of those units, many were equipped with Fairey Battles.
The Suadron's of No. 1 Group of RAF Bomber Command had started to re-equip with Battles in April 1937. The first squadron to operate Battles was No. 105 Squadron, RAF, followed by No. 226, 88, 218, 12, 142, 15, 40 and 103 Squadron's.
In August 1938, No. 150 Squadron, which had been disbanded in 1919, was reformed with Battles. The ten squadron's of Battles were located in pairs at five RAF Stations, each pair designated to form the Bomber Wing in the AASF in the event of war. The Squadron's and their stations as on September 1, 1939 were:
No. 105 and 227 Squadron's, RAF at Harwell
No. 88 and 218 Squadron's, RAF at Boscombe Down
No. 12 and 142 Squadron's at Bicester
No. 15 and 40 Squadron's at Abingdon
No. 103 and 150 Squadron's at Benson
On September 2, 1939, No. 1 Group ceased to exist when the squadron's went to France to form the bomber arm of the AASF. The Group's Air Officer Commanding P.H.L. Playfair also moved to France and assumed command of the AASF.
No. 1 Group reformed in June 1940 with some of the surviving Battle squadron's which by this time had been evacuated from France.