MET 517 was one of a number of units formed in 1941 to support to war effort.
Without any of the modern technology or satellites that we have today, all weather data needed to be collected in person; this often this involved flying into the eye of extremely treacherous conditions as this was the only way of collecting accurate data.
This data was used to plan military aeronautical deployments and was invaluable in managing the significant threat posed by Mother Nature to our armed forces.
Throughout WWII there were a total of 18 squadrons and 750 men involved in 16,000 flying meteorological sorties – the price paid under these circumstances was that 52 of these aircraft never made it home.
MET 517 SQUADRON
No.517 Squadron was a meteorological squadron, forming as part of Coastal Command from No.1404 (Met) Flight in August 1943. A shortage of Halifaxes meant that the squadron was initially equipped with Hampdens and Hudsons, and even had to borrow four B-17F Flying Fortresses from the 379th Squadron, USAAF, to fill a gap between the end of Hudson and Hampden operations and the arrival of the Halifax. The squadron's main duty was to carry out meteorological flights over the western approaches, to help forecast the weather.
After the arrival of the Halifax in November 1943 the squadron moved to Pembrokeshire, continuing to carry out weather flights while also performing anti-submarine patrol duties.
August-October 1943: Handley Page Hampden I
August 1943-September 1943: Lockheed Hudson III
September 1943-23 November 1943: Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress (from 378th Squadron, USAAF)
November 1943 to June 1945: Handley Page Halifax Met.Mk V
March 1945 to June 1946: Handley Page Halifax Met.Mk III [RG380 was one of these aircraft]
11 August-26 November 1943: St. Eval
26 November 1943-1 February 1944: St. Davids
1 February 1944 to 26 November 1945: Brawdy [RG380 was stationed here]
26 November 1945 to 21 June 1946: Chivenor
Squadron Codes: X9
November 1943 onwards: Meteorological Squadron with 19 Group, Coastal Command
June 1946: Disbanded
Citation: Rickard, J (23 March 2007), No. 517 Squadron (RAF):
Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/517_wwII.html