At the end of the hostilities in Europe on May 8 1945, 90% of RAF BD Squadrons and Flights were employed in clearing and dismantling of German Air Force (GAF) weapons in Belgium, Denmark, Italy and Norway.  By 1948. the Allied Air Forces own personnel who trained at the Bomb Disposal School in South Yorkshire were able to deal with their own GAF weaponry which resulted in the disbanding, one by one, of the original RAF BD Squadrons and Flights.  The last disbandment was 5131 RAF BD Squadron at Snaith in 1948.


5131 was later resurrected and reorganised to become No's 1 & 2 Flights RAF BD based at Leconfield and Bicester.   They both later moved to RAF Wittering as the primary RAF BD School and operating unit.  They are equipped with highly sophisticated equipment borne out of necessity in the hostile environments of places like Northern Ireland, Former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq wher the ever inventive terrorist plays a dangerous chess game with the lives of the EOD Operators.

1943 and another Reorganisation


On April 21 1943, the RAF Bomb Disposal Organisation was restructured into Squadrons and Flights.  The personnel compliment of the flights was not changed from the previous organisation in 1940.  On this occasion however, the Unit Commanding Officers  and locations changed.  The Squadrons were given a 4 figure number beginning with a 5 i.e. 5xxx Sqn RAF BD and the flights within the squadrons were given a 4 figure number beginning with a 6 i.e. 6xxx Flt RAF BD.  The Squadrons were located as follows.


5130 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr E Bentley Commanding

6201 Flt Macmerry Scotland

6202 Macmerry Scotland

6203 Hollywood Belfast

6204 Dalcross Inverness


5131 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr HH Apted Commanding

6205 Flt Snaith Yorkshire

6206 Snaith Yorkshire

6207 Morpeth

6208 Sealand Chester

6209 Thornaby Yorkshire


5132 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr HT Kennar Commanding

6210 Flt Bramcote

6211 Bramcote

6212 Cardiff

6213 Cosford

6214 Digby

6315 Digby


Except for changes in Commanding Officers and the transfer of Flights between Squadrons, this system continued throughout the war.


D Day and beyond


The ability to support the Allied Forces on D Day was improved by the formation of 3 new Bomb Disposal Squadrons made up of Flights from the existing organisation.  These were formed as follows:


5137 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr D Strachan Commanding

6220 Flt (from 5133)

6225 (from 5134)


5138 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr A Dykes Commanding (ex 5134)

6214 Flt (from 5132)

6228 (from 5135)

6337 (Origin unknown but could have been specially formed for D Day)


5139 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr K Scammel Commanding

6205 Flt (from 5131)

6206 (from 5131)

6210 (from5132)


The first BD Flight to embark for the beaches of Normandy was 6225 Flt commanded by Flt Lt Cartwright.  On D Day +1 at 04.00 hours, 6225 Flt encountered ememy action when the landing craft they were in, No 390 was shelled by the German Shore Batteries and and E Boat at the port of Le Havre.  The landing craft sank within two minutes.  Seven men were killed, 6 hospitalised and one taken prisoner.  In this incident, 90% of the equipment belonging to 6225 Flt was lost.  The survivors were picked up by another landing craft and set ashore at MIKE/NAN beaches on June 8.






1943 and another Reorganisation


On April 21 1943, the RAF Bomb Disposal Organisation was restructured into Squadrons and Flights.  The personnel compliment of the flights was not changed from the previous organisation in 1940.  On this occasion however, the Unit Commanding Officers  and locations changed.  The Squadrons were given a 4 figure number beginning with a 5 i.e. 5xxx Sqn RAF BD and the flights within the squadrons were given a 4 figure number beginning with a 6 i.e. 6xxx Flt RAF BD.  The Squadrons were located as follows.


5130 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr E Bentley Commanding

6201 Flt Macmerry Scotland

6202 Macmerry Scotland

6203 Hollywood Belfast

6204 Dalcross Inverness


5131 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr HH Apted Commanding

6205 Flt Snaith Yorkshire

6206 Snaith Yorkshire

6207 Morpeth

6208 Sealand Chester

6209 Thornaby Yorkshire


5132 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr HT Kennar Commanding

6210 Flt Bramcote

6211 Bramcote

6212 Cardiff

6213 Cosford

6214 Digby

6315 Digby









6225 Flight was non operational but by July 4 1944, having had personnel replaced and new equipment issued the Flight was able to make a successful landing on the Normandy beaches under their previous CO Flt Lt Cartwright.


On D Day + 2, 6220 Flight embarked for Gray-Sur Mer where the temporarily merged with the survivors of 6225 Flight.


As the Allied bridgehead strengthened and the Allied advances were being pushed home, more RAF BD Flights landed in Normandy with a formidable task ahead of them.  The flights that went to Normandy after D Day cleared minefields and German bomb dumps (some were booby trapped) that had been left by the retreating German Forces.

5133 Sqn RAF BD.  Sqn Ldr AE Haarer Commanding

6126 Flt Waterbeach

6217 Waterbeach

6218 Feltwell

6219 Feltwell

6220 North Weald

6221 Hornchurch


5134 Sqn RAF BD.  Sqn Ldr A Dykes Commanding

6222 Flt West Malling

6223 West Malling

6224 Hendon

6225 Kenley


5135 Sqn RAF BD. Sqn Ldr IH De Wynter Commanding

6226 Flt Harwell

6227 Middle Wallop

6228 Colerne

6229 Exeter