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cazbar56 13th July 2008 05:15

21 aircraft depot - RAF
My father was stationed in France with the RAF from 1/1/40-17/6/40 and on his departure survived the Lancastria sinking. His records say he was in "21 aircraft depot" at this time and no mention of a squadron, he was previously in 218 squadron and HQ No.81 Group. Does anyone know where 21 aircraft depot was in France and should he have been attached to a squadron at this time. I've left it to late to ask him as he suffers dementia now. Thanks Carol

Ex Shack 14th July 2008 20:33

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Hi Carol
21 Aircraft Depot, was at Chateau-Bougon about 15 kms N E of Nantes. It was almost certainly an a/c repair facility and many battle damaged a/c ended up there . Those that were not repaired were often abandonned when the Germans overran France in 1940. Depending on your Father's trade it was not an unusual place to have been posted to and it would have had need for most of the trades available to the RAF. If he was not in Admin or Aircraft Servicing he could have wound up there during his own retreat from the Germans but from your post it sounds like it was a permanent posting for him.The location of the unit comes from a book-The Battle of France,then and now By Peter Cornwell

cazbar56 15th July 2008 02:06

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Hi Dick, Thankyou very much from your reply and that fits in with him saying he was in Nantes but we didn't know when. So going from what you have written it sounds as though my father was actually posted to that depot without a squadron. My dad was in the ground crew as a fitter, a much needed occupation at that time. Once again thankyou for your time. Regards Carol

Ex Shack 15th July 2008 12:44

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Hi Carol
A Fitter would have been one of the Trades needed in an Aircraft Depot and a posting there after having been on a Sqn would have been logical. The posting to the HQ Unit could have been a holding exercise whilst they considered where best to employ him. You will see from a map of France that Nantes is on the Western side of France and an evacuation through St Nazaire would have been a logical route. It was off St Nazaire that the Lancastria was bombed and sunk at a time when the Germans had proceeded far enough west to close off the entire N Coast of France.

GOFRIDUS 14th December 2008 22:27

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Firstly please excuse my poor english.
I am writing about the story of Nantes airfleds between 1907 and 1940. I have a few informations about the N°21 AD at Nantes Château-BOUGON but severla archives were destroyed before the departure from Nantes.
The beginning of this Air Depot is 23 september 1940 and the ROYAL AIR FORCE took place in the infrastructures used before by GAO 511 (Bessonneau hangars and the new mettalic hangar in the sud west of the airfield.
Many infrastructure were built by the RAF airmen between october and mars : several Bellman hangars, camp of Nissen huts. They finished also the concrete runway(13-31) and the control tower begun to build by French.

Many Fairey Battle came to Nantes to refuelling before going to war front (Squadron N°88, Squadron N°12, N°1 ATS, 218 squadron, N°105 Squadron, N°105 squadron). Other aircrafts maked the same thing before rejoining South as Bleinheim Wellesley, Gladiator, Swordfsh... Of course seceral were repaired at nantes before the departure.

The Air Base was organised in :
Depot Headquarters
Mechanical Transport Running Section
Aeroplane Repair and Salvage Section
Engine Repair section
General Engineering squadron

Until 16 April 1940, any RAF squadron wasn't based to Nantes. In april, it's the arrival of 98 Squadron with their 16 Battle. In may, two others came but without aircrafts (?) : 114 Squadron (Bleinheim) and N°218 Squadron (Battle).
Meanwhile note that many photos (taken by german troops) are showing many wrecks of Battle, Hurricane and a few Lysander (Squadron 2°Squadron).

To protect the re-embarcation of Allies Troops at St Nazaire, 3 Hurricane squadrons took place at Nantes at mid June (14 -18 june) : Squadron 1, Squadron 73, Squadron 242 (Canadian).

Once again sorry for the mistakes.
Friendly Alain Rabiller

cazbar56 19th December 2008 05:28

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Thanks everyone for replying, you have been very helpful. I needed the information because my father was on the Lancastria when it sank and I needed to get as much info as possible so he could receive the Commemorative Medal from the Scottish Government as his memory of specific details has been lost. His service records of his time in France were very vague in not having his squadrons and yet his time in Malta was very documented. Anyway he has now received his medal but the fight still goes on to get the Lancastria acknowleded by the British Government.

GOFRIDUS 30th December 2008 20:09

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
About the wreck of Lancastria, you can visit a site very interesting (in French)

There is a list of the victims with a few informations about the type of unity.
Friendly yours

Iain Torrance 6th April 2009 16:38

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF

218 Squ were camped with 105 Squ in woods near Nantes from 23 May 40 until they left for evacuation via Cherbourg on 11 June.

On 7 June, 162 technical personnel were transferred from 105 & 218 Squ to 21 Air Depot (in Nates).

Hence from the information you have it seems likely he was one of those personnel transferred.

Kind regards


Iain Torrance 10th April 2009 18:00

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Apologies - it was 168 were transferred from 218 Squ on 7 June, to form servicing flights, that idea was abandoned the next day but the men were not transferred back so presumably stayed at 21 AD. Prior to that on 4 June surplus fitters had been transferred from 218 Squ to 21 AD

Oggie2620 26th January 2015 17:38

Re: 21 aircraft depot - RAF
Hi I know this hasnt been used for a while but I am helping a lady whose father was based at 21AD to find info from his service record. Are you still on this thread Carol :)

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