RAF 290 Squadron in Northern Ireland

1st December 2016

Newtownards Airfield was the site of the formation of RAF 290 Squadron on 1st December 1943. The Anti-Aircraft Cooperation unit also flew from Long Kesh.

RAF 290 Squadron formed at Newtownards Airfield, Co. Down on 1st December 1943. The Royal Air Force Squadron was an anti-aircraft cooperation unit during World War Two. No. 1617 Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Flight and No. 1480 Anti-Aircraft Cooperation Flight joined with a detachment from RAF 289 Squadron to form the new unit.

Between December 1943 and January 1945, the squadron operated Hawker Hurricanes. Use of Airspeed Oxfords and Miles Martinets extended until October 1945. In the final year of the war, from December 1944 to October 1945, they flew Supermarine Spitfires.

RAF 290 Squadron towed targets and conducted simulated attacks providing practice for anti-aircraft defences. In March 1944, the squadron moved from the Newtownards Airfield, Co. Down to RAF Long Kesh, Co. Antrim.

In August 1944, they moved on to RAF West Freugh, Scotland and then to Knocke le Zout, Belgium in January 1945 to support the Allied advance in Europe. The unit disbanded on 27th October 1945.

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