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Questions re. 201/230 Sqn. (Pembroke Dock) Sunderland GR5 squadron codes & call signs 1950-54

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I'm in the midst of doing some research on 201 & 230 Squadron Sunderlands based at Pembroke Dock in the first half of the 1950s. I'm trying to allocate specific serial numbers to call signs used during a couple of missions. The most informative books from the era only refer to particular Sunderlands by call sign ('Charlie', 'Dog', etc.). Careful cross-referencing with more modern volumes on the Sunderland ('Ocean Sentinel', Chaz Bowyer's 1989 'Sunderland', etc.) provide most of the my answers BUT there seems to be an information gap when it comes to missions in 1950-54 assigned to 230 Sqn. (squadron code 'B'). I find no reference anywhere to 230 Sqn. Sunderland assigned the call signs 'Charlie' and 'Dog'. 


Delving further into the subject, I looked at 201 Sqn. (code 'A') call signs and found that none of the them were assigned from the second half of the alphabet. Conversely, 230 Sqn. ('B') call signs started with 'Zebra' and progressed backwards through the alphabet, remaining within the second half of the alphabet. Forgive my ignorance but two questions arise:


1. Was it common practice in the 1950s for (Coastal Command) squadrons based at the same location to assign mutually exclusive call signs?

2. Was it likely that a mission assigned to one particular squadron (let's say a five-ship) could also include an aircraft from the neighbouring Squadron?


If the answers to both above questions is 'yes', then I've resolved my conundrum. If the answer to either is 'no', then it casts doubt on the accuracy of quite a few Sunderland books.


Many thanks in advance for any informed advice on the subject.

Edited by Linden Hill
Removed unnecessary capitalisation
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In the absence of a better answer, my understanding is

It was practice for Coastal Command to allocate the individual aircraft codes in blocks to different squadrons based at the same station.  So purely as a made up examples, 203 Sqn might be A to H, 210 Sqn J to N, and 236 Sqn O to Z.


230 Sqn used the squadron code '4X' to April 1951, then 'B'.  Their aircraft were allocated late letters in the alphabet for the individual aircraft codes, examples RN299 and SZ567 B P, SZ563 B R, JM718 B Y, RN290 and DP200 wore B Z.

201 Sqn used the squadron code  'NS' to April 1951, then 'A'.  Their aircraft were allocated early alphabet letters, examples SZ576 A A, NJ267 and SZ567 A B, PP115 A C,  VB889 A E, RN284 A F


However I stumble across pictures like this which challenges my knowledge!    I think A W is possibly PP117.





I have heard of Coastal Command sharing aircraft from a another based squadron, but I'm more familiar with land planes rather than the Sunderland units.


The best way to research actual squadron codes used is through the Operational Records Books held at The National Archives, luckily the records for 230 Sqn are open, but the system takes some navigating,



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In the summer of `54 I " homed " two Sunderlands from Pembroke Dock into Malta for a summer camp/exercise , ( VHF / DF ) . I don`t know what

squadron they were , but their radio callsign would have been " Mike Charley Sugar and the two letters on the fuselage " Back then the British

military was still using the phonetic alphabet starting Able Baker , where as every one else ( as now ) , was using the Alpha Bravo one .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Don .

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