Netherlands Naval Aviation Unit History
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Netherlands
Naval Aviation

Unit History


No.320 Squadron
Role: Fighter-pilot training

First formed 1 June 1940 as 320 (Dutch) squadron, RAF Coastal Command, with 10 Fokker T.VIII-W floatplanes at Pembroke Dock. Re-equipped with the Hudson at Leuchars from 15 October 1940. 18 January 1941 absorbed 321 sqn with Ansons at Carew Cheriton.
20 October 1941 last Anson retired, standardised on the Hudson at Leuchars and later Bircham Newton. 17 March 1943 started to re-equip with Mitchells at Methwold, while transferring to Bomber Command. Later based at Lasham and then Dunsfold, operating with the 2nd TAF. 18 October 1944 moved to Melsbroek, Belgium and then Achmer, Germany. Transferred to Dutch Naval control 2 August 1945. Returned to Twenthe 1 April 1946, but disbanded a month later.
Reformed 22 March 1949 at Valkenburg with Mitchells, Sea Otters, Oxfords and Austers for patrol and SAR work. 1 September 1951 began converting to the PV-2 Harpoon. SAR duty passed to 5 sqn along with the Mitchells and Sea Otters. December 1953 P2V-5 Neptunes replace the Harpoons, in turn replaced by Trackers in 1960.
28 December 1962 relinquished Trackers to 2 sqn for 11 P2V-7 Neptunes from 321 sqn. Three more Neptunes from 5 sqn later acquired, plus additional 4 from French Aeronavale in October 1965. 1974 detachment of 4 Neptunes to Hato, later became 'Detachment MLD'. March 1974 took over a flight of 4 target towing US-2N from 5 sqn, until the type was withdrawn 30 September 1975. Conversion from the Neptune to the P-3C Orion commenced 21 July 1982, when the first batch of 3 aircraft arrived. One aircraft was permanently deployed to Keflavik, Iceland from August 1984 to help track Soviet submarines. In 2004 the Orions were sold to Germany and Portugal and 320 Sqn was disbanded on 14 January 2005.
[See also Aviation News Vol 7 No.2 for history.]


Air Bases:
Base Duration
Pembroke Dock1 June 1940 to 1 October 1940
Leuchars 15 October 1940 to 20 April 1942
Carew Cheriton 18 January 1941 to 20 October 1941
Bircham Newton20 April 1942 to 10 March 1943
Methwold 15 March 1943 to 30 March 1943
Attlebridge30 March 1943 to 30 August 1943
Lasham30 August 1943 to 18 February 1944
Dunsfold18 February 1944 to 18 October 1944
B.58 Melsbroek 18 October 1944 to 30 April 1945
B.110 Achmer, Germany30 April 1945 to 2 August 1945
Fersfield 10 August 1945 to ?
Croft ? to 1 April 1946
Twenthe 1 April 1946 to 1 May 1946
Valkenburg 22 March 1949 to 14 Jan 2005

Aircraft Used:
Type Qty Service Badge Example Serials
Fokker T.VIII-W 1 June 1940 - Sept 1940 AV963
Hudson I 15 Oct 1940 - 10 March 1943 T9339 (TD-C)
Anson I 18 Jan 1941 - 20 Oct 1941 N5202 (TD-E)
Hudson II/III Oct 1940 - Sept 1942  
Hudson VI Sept 1942 - 10 March 1943 FK402 (TD-R)
Mitchell II 17 March 1943 - May 1946 FR143 (NO-A)
Mitchell III Feb 1945 - May 1946 HD358 (NO-J)
Mitchell 22 March 1949 - 7 May 1951  
Sea Otter 22 March 1949 - 1951  
Oxford 22 March 1949 - 1951 18-2
Auster III 22 March 1949 - 1951  
PV-2 Harpoon 1 Sept 1951 - Dec 1953  
P2V-5 Neptune Dec 1953 - 1960 19-32, 19-28
S-2A Tracker 1960 - 28 Dec 1962  
P2V-7 28 Dec 1962 - 1982 201/V, 218/V
US-2A March 1974 - 30 Sept 1975  
P-3C Orion 21 July 1982 - 14 Jan 2005 302/V, 300/V

Unit Insignia:
Figure 1
 

References:

  • To be added


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First Created: 3 November 2007 - Last Revised: 27 February 2008
Copyright © 2007 John Hayles.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk