Shackleton Mk1 and Mk2 Aricraft

The aircraft which served with the squadrons and other units at Ballykelly during the Shackleton era are listed below. It should be remembered that between 1955 and late 1959 the Ballykelly squadrons were unique in Coastal Command in not applying individual code letters to aircraft.

Joint Anti-Submarine School(JASS) Flight

Originally formed at Ballykelly in 1948 to support the activities of JASS based at the Londonderry Naval Base, HMS Sea Eagle. Equipped with Shackletons in March 1952, disbanding in March 1957. In contrast to the operational squadrons at Ballykelly, the unit retained individual code letters throughout its existence. Allocated unit code G, worn between 1952 and 1955. No known unit badge carried, although the Mark 1's, at least, carried twin black bands on the outer wings and a single black band on the rear fuselage.

CodeSerial No.PeriodComments
XWB8503/52-12/54To 240 Sqn
YWB8513/52-9/54To 269 Sqn.
 WB8569/54-1/55To 240 Sqn.
BWR9671/55-3/57Under repair 2/56-6/56

No 269 Squadron

No 269 Squadron Crest

  • Badge: An ancient ship in full sail.
  • Motto: Omnia Videmus - We see all things.

Formed out of No.224 Sqn. at Gibraltar on 1 January 1952. Moved to Ballykelly on 14 March 1952. Re-numbered 210 Sqn. on 1 December 1958. On arrival at Ballykelly the squadron applied small individual aircraft code letters to the nose and the squadron letter B to the rear fuselage. By 1955 the individual letters had been removed.

CodeSerial No.PeriodComments
AVP2562/52-10/54Crashed on take-off 26/10/54 and eventually struck off charge 14/4/55.
 VP26612/54-5/58To 204 Sqn.
BVP2872/52-6/58To 240 Sqn.
 VP2557/54-7/56At Langar for mods9/54-9/55.
EVP2848/54-8/58Mods from 1/55-2/55 and 5/57-7/57.
JVP2891/52-8/53Joined 269 at Ballykelly 7/52 following repair at Gibraltar as a result of landing accident 22/2/52.

In 1953 the squadron received a number of Mark 2's, the intention being that each unit should be equipped with four aircraft of each type. During the time spent on the squadron, the Mark 2's remained uncoded.

Serial No.PeriodComments
WL7464/53-12/53Crashed off the coast of Argyll, Scotland12/12/53. No.240 Sqn. crew.
WL7474/53-8/54To 204 Sqn.

Other Mark 1 aircraft which served with the squadron :-

Serial No.PeriodComments
WB8606/58-10/58To take part in Operation Grapple.
WB85210/54-1/58Reportedly coded C - conflicts with VP291.
VP2891/58-11/58To take part in Operation Grapple.
VP2635/58-5/58Immediately transferred to 204 Sqn. for Operation Grapple.

Immediately prior to re-numbering, 269 started to relinquish its Mark 1 aircraft in favour of the Mark 2.

Serial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
WL748Basic11/58-12/58To 210 Sqn.
WL750Basic10/58-12/58To 210 Sqn.
WL790Basic11/58-12/58To 210 Sqn.
WL795Basic11/58-12/58To 210 Sqn.
WR956Basic10/58-12/58To 210 Sqn.

No 240 Squadron

No 240 Squadron Crest

  • Badge: In front of a hurt, a winged helmet
  • Motto: Sjo Vordur Lopt Vordur - Guardian of the sea, guardian of the air.

Re-formed with Shackletons on 1 May 1952 at St.Eval, moving to Ballykelly on 6 June 1952.
Re-numbered 203 Sqn. on 1 November 1958.

From 1952-55 the unit's aircraft wore individual letters forward of the fuselage roundel, with the squadron letter L to the rear.

CodeSerial No.PeriodComments
BWB8595/52-11/58To 203 Sqn.
CWB8605/52-6/58To 269 Sqn. for Grapple detachment, to 203 Sqn., 11/58.
DWB8615/52-9/57Crashed on landing at Ballykelly 5/9/57.
EWG5075/52-11/58To 203 Sqn.
GWG5096/52-11/58To storage 23MU.
HWB8575/52-4/58Away for fitment of mods 5/52-9/52. To 204 Sqn.

In line with other Coastal Command squadrons, 240 received a number of Mark 2's in 1953 to operate alongside the Mark 1. All remained uncoded.

Serial No.PeriodComments
WL7383/53-8/54To 204 Sqn.
WL7393/53-12/53Under repair 5/53-12/53, then to 269 Sqn.
WL7484/53-8/54To 204 Sqn.
WL79010/53-8/54To 204 Sqn.

Further Mark 1's were delivered between 1954-1958, all of which carried squadron identification but no individual aircraft letters.

Serial No.PeriodComments
WB8241/54-9/55Away for mods 4/54-8/54.
WB83511/56-7/57To 269 Sqn.
WB8288/54-9/55Under inspection and repair at 38MU 12/54-8/55.
WB8561/55-6/58To 204 Sqn.
WB82812/57-6/58To 204 Sqn.

No 203 Squadron

No 203 Squadron Crest

  • Badge: A Winged Seahorse
  • Motto: Occidens Oriensque - "East and west".

Re-formed at Ballykelly on 1 November 1958 by re-numbering 240 Sqn.
Left Ballykelly on 30 January 1969 for Malta.
On re-numbering, the unit inherited some Mark 1's from 240 Sqn., which operated alongside the troublesome Mark 3's for a few months :-

Serial No.PeriodComments
WB86011/58-1/59To 204 Sqn.

Coinciding with the squadron re-numbering was the issue of Mark 3's :-

CodeSerial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
 WG558II8/62-4/63Classified as Station Reserve aircraft, used by all squadrons as necessary.
DWR987III12/66-1/72At Bitteswell for mods/overhaul 5/68-8/68.
FWR974I12/58-6/60Under repair in Canada 11/59-6/60
 WL750II6/62-12/66To 204 Sqn. retaining code.
 WL753II8/62-12/66To 204 Sqn. coded ?Q.
 WL742II5/62-12/66To 204 Sqn. coded R.
 WR957II4/62-12/66To 204 Sqn. retaining code J.
MXF709III8/66-1/67On arrival at Ballykelly code F was still allotted to WL750; re-coded F around 2/67.
NWR986III9/66-2/67On arrival at Ballykelly code was still allotted to WL753; re-coded G around 2/67.

No 204 Squadron

No 204 Squadron Crest

  • Badge: A cormorant perched on a mooring buoy.
  • Motto: Praedam Mare Quaero - "I seek my prey in the sea".

Reformed at Ballykelly on 1 January 1954.
Left Ballykelly on 31 March 1971 for Honington, Suffolk.
Allocated squadron code T carried on rear fuselage, removed in 1956 and replaced by the squadron number. No individual code letters carried 1954-1959.
The squadron planned to form with Mark 2's only. However, due to the slow delivery of their own aircraft a number of Mark 1's and 2's were borrowed from 240/269 Sqns. as required.

Aircraft known to have been borrowed from 240/269 Sqns :-

Serial No.PeriodComments
WL7901/54240 Sqn. aircraft.
WB8611/54240 Sqn. aircraft.
WG5092/54240 Sqn. aircraft.
WL7383/54240 Sqn. aircraft.
WL7483/54240 Sqn. aircraft.
VP2563/54269 Sqn. aircraft.
VP2554/54240 Sqn. aircraft.
VP2914/54269 Sqn. aircraft.
WB8186/54269 Sqn. aircraft.
WL7477/54269 Sqn. aircraft until 8/54.

Aircraft borrowing had ceased by August 1954. Aircraft allocated to 204 Sqn :-

Serial No.PeriodComments
VP2842/54-8/54To 269 Sqn.
WL7951/54-11/58To 269 Sqn.
WL7908/54-11/58Under repair 8/57-1/58. To 269 Sqn.
WL7398/54-12/58Attached to 38 Sqn. Luqa during 4/58.
WL7488/54-11/58To 269 Sqn.

Between 4/58 and 11/58 the squadron re-equipped with Mark 1's. to take part in Operation Grapple :-

Serial No.Period

As the squadron relinquished the Mark 1 in favour of Mark 2's, individual code letters started to re-appear on Ballykelly's aircraft. The Ballykelly Wing officially came into existence during 2/67, when 204/210 Sqn. aircraft were pooled and assigned to the Wing.

CodeSerial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
 WL748Basic10/59-1/60Probably no code letter allocated.
 WL795Basic11/59-12/59Probably no code letter allocated.
LWR952II12/65-12/66L not a regular 204 code.
 WR951II10/66-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WR966II5/61-12/66To 210 Sqn.
PWL797I11/59-1/61Under repair 9/60-1/61, then to 210 Sqn
 WL785III1/67-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WL753II12/66-2/67Probably only coded Q as part of the Ballykelly Wing after WR964's departure.
 WR957I1/60-7/61Under repair 4/61-6/61.
 WL742II12/66-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
JWR957II12/66-2/67From 203 Sqn. retained code. To Ballykelly Wing.
FWL750II12/66-1/67From 203 Sqn. retained code.

No 210 Squadron

No 210 Squadron Crest

  • Badge: A Griffin Segreant.
  • Motto: Yn Y Nwyfre Yn Hedfan - "Hovering in the heavens".

Formed by re-numbering 269 Sqn. at Ballykelly on 1 December 1958.
Disbanded at Ballykelly on 31 October 1970. Re-formed the next day at Sharjah, finally disbanding on 15 November 1971.
269 Sqn. had begun re-equipping with Mark 2's at the time of the re-numbering. These were :-

Serial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
WL748Basic12/58-10/59To 204 Sqn.
WL795Basic12/58-11/59To 204 Sqn.

In late 1959 code letters started to be applied to Ballykelly based aircraft :-

CodeSerial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
SWL793III1/67-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WL787II2/61-10/66To 204 Sqn.
 WB833III12/66-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WR958II1/66-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WL791II2/61-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WL748I1/61-10/62Being modified to Phase II 10/62-5/63.
 WL797II-5/63Was with 210 as a Phase II.
 WL738III11/66-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
 WR968II3/61-10/61Crashed on landing at Ballykelly 20/10/61.
 WL788II11/64-10/66Under repair 3/66-10/66.
 WL737III12/66-2/67To Ballykelly Wing.
-WR955Basic2/59-11/59Uncoded with 210. Then to 204 coded N.
OWR966II12/66-1/67Transferred from 204 Sqn.

Aircraft Assigned To The Ballykelly Wing

From February 1967, although crews continued to be part of 204 and 210 Sqns., the squadrons ceased to have aircraft specifically assigned. This situation persisted until 210 Sqn. disbanded at Ballykelly and re-formed elsewhere, at which time the Shackletons remaining came under 204 Sqn. control until the base closed in 1971. For the purposes of simplicity, this list runs from the official start of the Wing to the closure of the base.

CodeSerial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
BWG556III4/70-10/70Transferred to the Wing from ASWDU.
 WL800III3/67-4/71At Bitteswell for mods 6/69-11/69.
LWL755III3/67-4/71Under repair 5/70-7/70.
MWL751III4/67-4/71Major overhaul 6/70-11/70, after which code removed.
OWL745III2/67-3/70Became AEW2 prototype.
 WR956III1/68-4/68Crashed on landing at Ballykelly 1/4/68.
SWL793III2/67-4/71To Bitteswell for mods 2/68-4/68.
TWB833III2/67-4/68Crashed on Mull of Kintyre 19/4/68.
 WR961III9/67-4/71To HSA for mods 5/68-6/68.
 WL756III10/67-1/71To HSA for mods 10/69-12/69.
YWL738III2/67-4/71Loaned to Min Tech 3/67-4/67. To HSA for mods 5/69-7/69.
ZWL737III2/67-8/70Under repair 8/67-9/67 and 3/70-4/70.
-WR967III9/68-4/69Modified to T2 standard. To HSA for mods 11/68-1/69. Uncoded.

Air Sea Warfare Development Unit (ASWDU)

  • Badge: In front of a fountain, a winged torch
  • Motto: Scientia Et Armis - "Science and Weapons"

Unit moved to Ballykelly from St. Mawgan 1 September 1958.
Disbanded at Ballykelly 1 April 1970.
Introduced individual code letters in line with other units at Ballykelly in late 1959.

CodeSerial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
 WL789Basic9/53-12/58Earlier coded D at St. Mawgan.
 WG533Basic9/58-3/59Reportedly coded E.
 WG526-6/61-7/61With unit for only three weeks - not coded.
 WG556III9/66-4/70Remained with Ballykelly until 10/70.
-WR974III2/68-4/68Attached for trials of new equipment.

No 819 Naval Air Squadron

No 819 Naval Air Squadron Crest

  • Badge: Achilles Heel.

Moved to Ballykelly from Eglinton on 6 February 1963.
Moved to RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall to re-equip with the Sea King HAS1 on 28 January 1971.
Initially allocated individual codes in the 320-323 range, changing to 530-533 in July 1965.
Equipped with the Wessex HAS1 from October 1961, details given below relate from then. Re-equipped with the HAS3 from April 1968.

CodeSerial No.Mod StatePeriodComments
320XM872110/61-7/65Re-coded 530 in 7/65.
321XM915110/61-11/61Crashed off the North coast of Co. Londonderry.
 XM93112/62-2/65Crashed on 28/2/65 while operating off HMS Ark Royal.
322XM916110/61-7/65Re-coded 532 in 7/65.
323XP14517/63-10/63Crashed while operating off HMS Hermes.
530XM87217/65-9/65For HAS3 conversion.
 XS12719/65-5/66For HAS3 conversion.
 XS14915/66-7/67For HAS3 conversion.
531XM83317/65-1/66For HAS3 conversion.
 XP11411/66-7/66Crashed on 20/7/66.
 XP11317/66-9/66Ditched off Ballykelly on 9/9/66.
532XM91617/65-9/65For HAS3 conversion.