By Christopher Shores
Last updated 2011-02-17
It was on 14 May that 1 Squadron lost two of its pilots, one of those killed being Flying Officer Leslie Clisby, who had been the unit's most successful pilot up to this point. By the following day it was becoming clear that provision would need to be made to evacuate the BEF if necessary, as the French prime minister admitted that the battle for France was lost, and as the Dutch surrendered.
Most of the RAF units in France were with the Air Component, which was directly supporting the BEF, and these now began withdrawing towards the Channel coast. The situation for the AASF's fighter squadrons, based further to the south, was different, and they continued to operate from French bases for a considerable period after the British forces' evacuation from Dunkirk. 1 Squadron therefore played no part in this famous evacuation, continuing to fly from airfields in the Reims-Paris area.
Fierce fighting continued until 19 May, when the squadron suffered its fifth and last pilot casualty of the blitzkrieg, with Flying Officer Paul Richey being shot down and seriously wounded. Action then became more desultory for 1 Squadron, as the Luftwaffe concentrated its efforts over the Dunkirk area during late May/early June. At this juncture Squadron Leader 'Bull' Halahan, and eight of his most experienced pilots, were ordered to England to rest, and to become instructors at operational training units.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.