The Stirling's early reputation was that it would be a fire trap for the crews. However, this was an exaggeration and many crews had great confidence in the Stirling.
In August 1940 the Stirling was made operational. It was initially used as both a day and night bomber. Until mid 1943 the Stirling was used as a night bomber. The Stirling then was used as a transport and a glider tug.
A total of eleven / 15 Bomber Command squadrons were outfitted with the Stirling.
The Stirling was used in 18,440 sorties. It dropped 27,821 tons / 28,268 tonnes of bombs. The Stirling was also used in laying 20,000 mines.
769 Stirlings were destroyed during World War II with 641 of those lost in action.
No. 7 Squadron
In August 1940 the first unit to receive the Short Stirlings was the No. 7 Squadron.
The No. 7 Squadron conducted its first raid on the night of February 10-11, 1941. This raid was against oil storage tanks in Rotterdam.
The first raid on Berlin by Stirlings was in April 1941.
The Short Stirling was the first to be outfitted with the Oboe, a pathfinding device which was first used operationally in August 1942.
By 1943 the Stirling was relegated to secondary roles such as glider towing and transporting as the Halifaxes and Lancasters were becoming operational.
The Stirlings were used as glider tugs and for air supply.
Stirling's last raid
On September 8, 1944 was the Stirlings last bombing raid. It was against Le Harve, France.
Arnhem and Rhine
The Stirlings were used as glider tugs in the operations at Arnhem and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.
Victoria Crosses Awarded
Flight Sergeant R. H. Middleton of the 149th Squadron and Flight Sergeant A. L. Aaron of the 218th Squadron were awarded Victoria Crosses posthumously.
The last of the Stirlings were retired in March 1946.
After World War II
A Belgian airline used 24 Stirling Mk Vs as cargo and passenger planes.