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Royal Commonwealth Society : No. 218 Gold Coast [i.e. Ghana] Bomber Squadron


Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This photograph shows a visit paid to the Squadron at R.A.F. Chedburgh by Sir Alan Burns, Governor of the Gold Coast, and Lady Burns.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Sir John Shuckburgh writes:</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>'Mention should be made to this place of the number of Bomber or Fighter Squadrons of the R.A.F. which bore Colonial names. These included Ceylon, Gold Coast and Hong Kong Squadrons, as well as others named after Malta, Jamaica, Uganda and Kenya. All such Squadrons were regular units in the R.A.F. which had either been 'adopted' by some Colonial territory or were named after it in recognition of generous contributions for the purchase of aircraft or for promotion of the general war effort ... In the Gold Coast a local 'Spitfire Fund' was inaugurated in june 1940, total contributions to which had reached the sum of £100,000 by June 1942. The title 'Gold Coast' was conferred upon a Fighter unit of the R.A.F. and later upon Bomber Squadron No. 218 (a pre-war formation) which was 'adopted' by the Governor and peoples of the Gold Coast in October 1941. The composition of these and other 'Colonial' Squadrons was similar to that of other R.A.F. units. Their personnel did not necessarily include any inhabitants of the eponymous Colony, though there were cases in which individuals from the territory did in fact see service with the unit. The choice of names was intended partly as a compliment, and partly as a means of associating outlying parts of the Empire as closely as possible with the general war effort. There is evidence to show that the policy was successful in both respects. The compliment was appreciated by those to whom it was paid, and the fortunes of the Squadrons were followed with interest and pride by their Colonial 'godparents'. Special steps were taken to ensure that their exploits obtained suitable publicity in the territories concerned'. (Shuckburgh n.d., p.65).</p>

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