Netherlands Naval Aviation Unit History
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Netherlands
Naval Aviation

Unit History


No.321 Squadron
Role: Fighter-pilot training

First formed 1 June 1940 at Pembroke Dock, Britain, as 321 (Dutch) squadron, RAF. 24 June moved to Carew Cheriton and received first Anson aircraft. Maritime patrol duties until disbanded 18 January 1941 and absorbed by 320 sqn.
March 1942 'Dutch Naval Squadron' formed at Koggala, Ceylon, with nine ex-NEI and RAF PBY-5 Catalinas. 15 August 1942 renamed 321 sqn, within 222 group at China Bay, Ceylon. Maritime patrol of Indian ocean, with detached flights to Capetown, Durban, Ratmalana and Socotra. Major repairs carried out at Bangalore.
December 1944 first Liberators transports arrive to supplement the Catalinas. 2 July 1945 detachment to Cocos Islands. October 1945 unit moved to Tandjong Priok, Java. December 1945 Liberators returned to USAAF. 19 (or 8th?) December 1945 unit transferred to Dutch control. 22 December 1945 Dakotas begin to replace Liberators. late 1946 unit renamed OVTS. 1 February 1950 Catalina Flight of OVTS renamed 321 sqn.
Following Indonesian independence, the sqn moved to Biak, Dutch New Guinea, and absorbed the Catalinas of 7 sqn there on 1 February 1951. Late 1955 fourteen Martin Mariners began to replace the Catalinas. Latter type scrapped 1956-57. Mariners retired March 1960. Two ex-KLU Dakotas delivered in February 1960, with 2 more in May. September 1961 start of re-equipment with thirteen P2V-7 Neptune. Dakotas returned to 336 sqn KLU December 1961. October 1962 sqn transferred to Valkenburg, Holland, on Dutch withdrawal from New Guinea. 28 December 1962 unit renumbered 320 sqn. 321 sqn reformed June 1969 at Valkenburg with nine Breguet Atlantic. The remaining six examples were retired January 1984 for cost reasons. The unit was reactivated June 1985 to operate P-3C Orion aircraft pooled with 320sqn. In 2004 the Orions were sold to Germany and Portugal and 321 Sqn was disbanded on 14 January 2005.


Air Bases:
Base Duration
Pembroke Dock1 June 1940 to 24 June 1940
Carew Cheriton24 June 1940 to 18 January 1941
Koggala, Ceylon March 1942 to 15 August 1942
China Bay, Ceylon 15 August 1942 to October 1945
Cocos Islands (Det.)2 July 1945 to 8 December 1945
Tandjong Priok, Java October 1945 to 1 February 1950
Biak, New Guinea late 1951 to 28 December 1962
Valkenburg October 1962 to 14 Jan 2005

Aircraft Used:
Type Qty Service Badge Example Serials
Anson I 24 June 1940 - 18 Jan 1941 N5064
Catalina II March 1942 - Feb 1945 Y-68 (HH)
Catalina III Nov 1942 - 1957 Y-82 (QQ)
Catalina V April 1945 - 1957 Y-86 (UU)
Liberator GR.VI Dec 1944 - Dec 1945 KG852 (A)
C-47 22 Dec 1945 - 1 Feb 1950  
PBM Mariner late 1955 - March 1960 16-314
C-47 Dec 1960 - Dec 1961  
P2V-7 Sept 1961 - 28 Dec 1962  
Atlantic June 1969 - Jan 1984 253/V, 254/V
P-3C Orion June 1985 - 14 Jan 2005  

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