Halifax Mk II
Handley Page Halifax Mk II DT543 NF-G
138 Squadron, Special Operations Executive, RAF Tempsford..
The role of the Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.) in World War II
can never be overstated. Agents droped into occupied
France not only provided assistance to the members of the French resistance
but would relay vital inteligence back to London to allow more strategic
attacks on enemy forces.
Based at RAF Tempsford 138 Squadron together with 161 Squadron were
responsible for transporting and supplying SOE agents into occupied
France. On the 25th of August 1941 No 1419 (Special Duties) Flight at
Newmarket became 138 Squadron. Its main task was maintaining communications
with resistance movements in occupied Europe. Whitleys dropped arms,
supplies and agents while Lysanders made landings in enemy occupied
territory to deliver and pick-up agents, the first successful pick-up
taking place in February 1942. On many supply flights bombs were carried
for attacks on communications targets as cover for their clandestine
operations. In October 1942 Halifaxes replaced Whitleys, the pick-up
task being taken over by 161 Squadron.
Agents and equipment were dropped from an altitude of only 400 feet.
Whether the agents were male or female they were all to be known only
as 'Joes'. The mid-upper gunner was specially trained as a dispatcher
responsible for the 'Joes' and had no contact with any other RAF personnel.
Handley Page Halifax Mk II's of 138 Squadron were modified in many ways
to suit their new SOE role. The mid upper turret was removed and a paratroop
drop or 'Joe hole' was fitted behind the bomb bay, to prevent agents
getting 'hung-up' on the tailwheel deflector guards were installed.
Later Halifaxes also had the front turret removed. To allow supplies
to be dropped special cannisters were designed to be dropped from the
bomb bay, these contained a parachute to minimise damage to the contents
After the war 138 Squadron operated Avro Lincolns before being disbanded
in September 1950.
On the 1st of January 1955 138 Squadron reformed at Gaydon as the first
Vickers Valiant squadron. In October 1956 it took these to Malta during
the Suez landings and on the 1st of April 1962 the squadron was disbanded.
Scale 1:144 Wingspan 8.22" (208 mm)
Base size 7.71" (196 mm) square (No. 5)
Weight not including base 14.5 ozs (406 grams) Limited edition of 100 only