Dragon Rampant - The Story of No.234 Fighter Squadron, by Nigel Walpole
Book published by Merlin Massara in 2007. 285 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (N5181)
From the rear side cover: 'Dragon Rampant' is the story of a fighter squadron, No. 234, which had a fire breathing dragon for a centerpiece in its official crest. It began life with seaplanes operating from the Scilly Islands over the Western Approaches throughout the last year of WW1, after which it disbanded. However, when it was resurrected in 1939 it became a fighter squadron, and remained so throughout its life.
No.234 Squadron earned its place in history during the Battle of Britain, its Spitfires said to have shot down more German aircraft in a single day, 4 September 1940, than any other Fighter Command squadron, with 'aces' such as Pat Hughes and Bob Doe standing out. Pure air defence of the UK then gave way to offensive sweeps over Western France, the squadron losing many aircraft in 1944, the year of the great invasion of the Continent, as it contributed to the successful outcome. In September 1944, 234 Squadron exchanged its Spitfires for Mustangs, enabling it to carry out ever deeper penetrations into Europe on offensive and escort operations.
No.234 Squadron stood down at the end of WW2, only to be reactivated in Germany in 1951, as the Cold War evolved. Equipped first with Vampire fighter-bombers, F-86 Sabres and finally Hunter F4s, 234 remained in Germany until again disbanded in 1957. Within a year the Dragon came to life once more, as a war reserve squadron found from No. 229 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Chivenor, equipped with successive marks of the Hunter and flown by instructor pilots picked from the best on the front line squadrons. The squadron moved to RAF Brawdy as a Tactical Weapons Unit in 1984, re-equipped with the Hawk and later moved to RAF Valley until its disbandment in 1994.