Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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No 76 - 80 Squadron Histories


No 76 Squadron

No 76 Squadron BadgeFormed at Ripon for home defence duties in Yorkshire on 15 September 1916, it was equipped with a variety of BE2s and BE12s, and these remained until re-equipment with Bristol F2Bs in 1918.  The squadron disbanded at Tadcaster on 13 June 1919.  When it reformed at Finningley on 12 April 1937, it was in the bomber role, having been formed from 'B' Flight of No 7 Squadron and for the next two years was equipped with Vickers Wellesleys.  In April 1939 it received Hampdens and the following September moved to Upper Heyford.  However, in June it had become a Group Pool squadron, training crews for other bomber units.  This role continued until 22 April 1940 when it was merged with No 7 Squadron to form No 16 Operational Training Unit.

The squadron began to reform on 30 April at West Raynham but this was suspended three weeks later.  On 1 May 1941, the squadron reformed at Linton-on-Ouse as a Halifax unit in No 4 Group and began operations in June.  A detachment sent to Palestine in July 1942 together with one from No 454 Squadron formed the basis of No 462 Squadron in August. No 76 spent the rest of the war operating as part of Bomber Command's Main Force, moving to Middleton St George in June 1941, back to Linton in July 1942 and finally to Holme-on-Spalding Moor in June 1943.

Together with the rest of No 4 Group, it was transferred to Transport Command on 8 May 1945 and at the same time re-equipped with Dakotas, which it took to Broadwell in August.  In September it moved to India, where it operated until 1 September 1946 when it was disbanded by being re-numbered No 62 Squadron.   From 1 February 1949 to 8 December 1953 it was linked to No 7 Squadron.

The following day the squadron reformed in its own right at Wittering in the light bomber role, equipped with Canberras.  Some of these were used to collect air samples during the nuclear trials (Operation 'Grapple') in Australia and the Pacific in 1956 and 1957.  The squadron finally disbanded at Upwood on 31 December 1960.  However, on 1 May 2007 the squadron was reformed as No 76 (Reserve) Squadron from the Tucano Air Navigation Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse, but due to the run-down of the RAF fleet of two seat fast jets, the need for Weapons Systems Operators diminished and in 2011 the squadron disbanded again.

Motto:     Resolute

Squadron Codes used: -  

NM Oct 1938 - Apr 1939
MP May 1941 - Sep 1946

 

8 Wellesley Mk I aircraft of No 76 Sqn taken at RAF Finningley in April  1937 on reformation of the squadron in light bomber role. Photograph taken by Vickers-Supermarine photographer on the formation day.

Photo courtesy - Norman Hood

Heyfords of No 7 Squadron in front of the hangers at RAF Finningley in 1936, which is still under construction at the time.

Photo courtesy - Norman Hood

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 77 Squadron

No 77 Squadron BadgeFormed at Edinburgh on 1 October 1916 as a home defence unit, it was equipped with BE2s and BE12s.  Having operated a number of detached flight around Southern Scotland the squadron was operating a single unit at Turnhouse by April 1917, where it remained until disbanding on 13 June 1919.

When it reformed at Finningley on 14 June 1937, it was in the bomber role, having been formed from 'B' Flight of No 102 Squadron.  Initially flying Audaxes, it received Wellesleys in November 1937 and a year later it received Whitleys, by which time it was at Driffield and part of No 4 Group.  Its early raids were simple leaflet dropping missions, but the squadron built up its experience of night navigation which it put to good use when it began bombing raids in March 1940. These continued until throughout 1940 and 1941 and into 1942 but in May it was transferred to Coastal Command operating from Chivenor in the anti-submarine role.

When it returned to Bomber Command in October it converted to Halifaxes at Elvington operating from their until May 1944, when it moved to Full Sutton, from where it operated for the rest of the war.  Together with the rest of No 4 Group, it was transferred to Transport Command on 8 May 1945 and in July re-equipped with Dakotas, which it took to Broadwell in August.  In October it moved to India but on 1 November was disbanded by being re-numbered No 31 Squadron.

A month later the squadron was reformed at Broadwell, when No 271 Squadron was re-numbered.  It was again flying Dakotas, which it used throughout the Berlin Airlift but with the end of this operation, the squadron disbanded at Waterbeach on 1 June 1949.  The squadron's final incarnation, so far, began on 1 September 1958 when it reformed in the Thor equipped Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile role at Feltwell, which finally ended on 10 July 1963.

Motto:      Esse potius quarm videri (To be, rather than seem)

Squadron Codes used: -

 

ZL Nov 1938 - Sep 1939
KN Sep 1939 - Nov 1946
TB 1943 - May 1945 ('C' Flight only)
YS Dec 1946 - Jun 1949 (Codes taken over from No 271 Sqn)

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

For a more detailed squadron history and information on the Squadron Association, click below

No 77 Squadron Association

 

No 78 Squadron

No 78 Squadron BadgeAnother home defence unit , No 78 was formed on 1 November at Harrietsham, to cover the South coast area.  Initially equipped with a variety of BE2 and BE12 aircraft, these were replaced by  Sopwith 1 Strutters in October 1917, by which time the squadron had moved to Sutton's Farm in Essex.  Camels began to arrive in April 1918 and by July was fully equipped with this type.  In November some Snipes were taken on strength but left in September 1919, after which the squadron disbanded on 31 December.

When it reformed at Boscombe Down on 1 November 1938, it was in the bomber role, having been formed from 'B' Flight of No 10 Squadron.  The following February it moved north to Dishforth, where it received Whitleys in in July.  However, on the outbreak of war, the squadron was designated a reserve unit, to give further training to crews coming from the Group Pool squadrons, moving to Linton-on-Ouse on 15 October 1939.  On 15 July 1940, the squadron returned to Dishforth and now began operations as a normal night bomber squadron and these were continued to the end of the war.

In April 1941 the squadron moved to Middleton St George, being housed at its satellite of Croft from 20 October to 10 June 1942 and then in September 1942 it returned to Linton.  The formation of No 6 (RCAF) Group and the allocation of Linton to the new group, resulted in No 78 moving into East Yorkshire, when it established itself at Breighton in June 1943, where it remained for the rest of the war.  Various marks of Whitley were used until March 1942, when four-engined Halifax IIs arrived, these being replaced by Mk IIIs in January 1944 and Mk VIs in April 1945.

Together with the rest of No 4 Group, it was transferred to Transport Command on 8 May 1945 and in July re-equipped with Dakotas, which it took to the Middle East in September.  Unlike similar units it became established in the post-war RAF and in April 1950, its Dakotas were replaced by Valettas, which it continued to operate until disbanding on 30 September 1954 at Fayid.

The squadron reformed again on 24 April 1956, equipped with Pioneer CC Mk 2s to provide support to the ground forces operating in the Aden Protectorate.  In October 1958 Twin Pioneers began to replace the single engined Pioneers and by August 1959, this process was complete.  In June 1965 the squadron transferred its Twin Pioneers to No 21 Squadron and it re-equipped as a Support Helicopter unit with Wessex HC Mk 2s.  With the rundown of British Forces in Aden the squadron was transferred to Sharjah in October 1967, where it disbanded on 1 December 1971.

On 1 May 1986, No's 1310 and 1564 Flights at Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands were amalgamated and redesignated No 78 Squadron, operating Sea Kings for Search and Rescue purposes and Chinooks HC Mk 2s for heavy support to British forces on the islands.  In December 2007 the squadron disbanded in the Falklands, with the unit reverting to its previous identities and reformed at the same time at Benson as the second RAF unit to operate the Merlin HC Mk 3A.

Motto:      Nemo non paratus (Nobody unprepared)

 
Standards Battle Honours*
Award of Standard originally announced on 17 Jul 1962, effective from 1 Apr 1962 but presented:-

11 February 1965

Lt Gen Sir Charles Harrington

Home Defence, 1916-1918: Fortress Europe, 1940-1944: Ruhr, 1940-1945: Invasion Ports 1940: Biscay Ports, 1940-1943: Berlin, 1940-1944: Channel & North Sea, 1942-1945: Normandy, 1944: Walcheren: France & Germany, 1944-1945: Rhine:

Squadron Codes used: -

YY Nov 1938 - Sep 1939
EY Sep 1939 - Apr 1950
 A - Z Carried on Chinooks
SA - SZ Carried on Sea Kings

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 79 (Madras Presidency) Squadron

No 79 Squadron BadgeFormed at Gosport on 1 August 1917 as a fighter unit, it moved to France in December equipped with Dolphins and operated until the end of the war carrying out fighter patrols and ground attack sorties.  It remained on the continent, moving into Germany itself, as part of the Army of Occupation until 15 July 1919, when it disbanded at Bickendorf.

The squadron reformed, once again as a fighter unit on 22 March 1937, when 'B' Flight of No 32 Squadron was raised to squadron status.  Initially equipped with Gauntlets, these were replaced by Hurricanes in November 1938.  On the outbreak of war the squadron was retained in Britain as part of the home defences but in May 1940 was sent to France to reinforce the RAF there.  Returning to the UK after ten days, the squadron took part in the Battle of Britain before moving to Pembrey in Wales in September 1940.

The squadron remained in this area until December 1941 when it began preparations for service in the Far East.  Leaving in March 1942, it arrived in India in June and until December it flew defensive patrols over the sub-continent.  From January 1943 it began offensive operations over Burma, which lasted until July.  It was then rested and re-equipped until December when it resumed these operations until May 1944.  It was now withdraw from operations and began re-equipment with Thunderbolt IIs, with which it resumed operations in September 1944, remaining in action until the end of the war.  The squadron disbanded at Meiktila on 30 December 1945.

From 11 February 1949 to 14 November 1951 the squadron number was revived by being linked to No 234 Squadron.  However, the squadron reformed in its own right the following day at Gutersloh in the fighter-reconnaissance role equipped with Meteor FR Mk 9s.  These were replaced by Swift FR Mk 5s from June to August 1956 and had just started to replace these with Hunter FR Mk 10s when the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered No 4 Squadron on 1 January 1961.

On 2 January 1967 the squadron number was revived when it was allocated to one of the squadrons of No 229 OCU at Chivenor.  It was now responsible for the training of fighter-reconnaissance pilots on the Hunter FR Mk 10.  This role ceased on 2 September 1974, but on the same day the squadron number was transferred to a squadron of the Tactical Weapons Unit at Brawdy.  On 31 July 1978, the TWU was redesignated No 1 TWU, still with No 79 as a component unit, but when No 1 TWU was disbanded, so was No 79 Squadron, this taking place on 31August 1992.

Motto:  Nil Nobis Obstare Potest (Nothing can stop us)

Squadron Codes used: -  

AL Nov 1938 - Sep 1939
NV Sep 1939 - Mar 1942, 1943 - Dec 1945
T Nov 1951- 1956

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

 

No 80 Squadron

No 80 Squadron BadgeFormed at Montrose on 1 August 1917 as a fighter unit equipped with Camels.  It moved to the Western Front in January 1918 conducting fighter patrols, but after the German offensive of March 1918, it began ground attack operations, which it continued up until the end of war.  Retained in France after the Armistice, it replaced its Camels with Snipes in December and in May 1919 it was transferred to Egypt, where on 1 February 1920, it was disbanded by being renumbered No 56 Squadron.

The squadron reformed, once again as a fighter unit on 8 March 1937 at Kenley, initially equipped with Gauntlets, these were replaced by Gladiators in May.  In April 1938 the squadron was once again sent out to Egypt as an air defence unit.  Following the Italian declaration of war , the squadron moved to the Libyan border but in November was one of the units sent to assist the Greeks following the Italian invasion of that country.  Re-equipment with Hurricanes began in February 1941 but when British forces were compelled to evacuate the country, the squadron was still equipped with Gladiators as well.

On its return from Greece the squadron was sent to Syria, from where it operated detachments in Palestine and Cyprus before moving totally to Cyprus in July 1941 and then back to Syria in August.  The squadron finally joined the fighting in the Western Desert in October 1941 and following the breakout at El Alamein it was tasked with covering the lines of communication, remaining in North Africa until January 1944.  A move to Italy was short-lived as in April the squadron was sent back to Britain in preparation for Operation 'Overlord'.

Back in the UK, it re-equipped with Spitfire IXs and began fighter sweeps, escort duties and armed reconnaissance missions.  The Spitfires were replaced by Tempest Vs in August 1944 and these were soon being used to combat the V-1 flying bomb attacks against the South of England.  Once the V-1 launching sites had been over-run by te advancing armies, the squadron was able to move onto the continent and continue it previous duties in September until the end of war. 

Retained as part of the occupation forces, it continued to operate Tempests until January 1948, when these were replaced by Spitfire F Mk 24s, which it then took to Honk Kong in July 1949.  At this time a Communist revolution was taking place in nearby Chain, and No 80's task was to increase the air defences of colony.  The  Spitfires were replaced by Hornets in December 1951 and the squadron continued to serve in the colony until disbanding on 1 May 1955.  The squadron reformed, when No 80 Squadron was renumbered,  just over a month  later on 1 August 1955 as a photo-reconnaissance unit in RAF Germany at Laarbruch. Equipped with Canberra PR Mk 7s, it moved to Bruggen in June 1957 and remained there until disbanding on 28 September 1969.

Motto:      Strike true

 
Standards Battle Honours*
 

Lys: Western Front, 1918: Marne, 1918: Somme, 1918: Egypt & Libya, 1940-43: Greece, 1940-41: Syria 1941: El Alamein: Mediterranean, 1940-43: Italy 1944: South-East Europe, 1944:Normandy 1944: Home Defence 1944: Fortress Europe 1944: France & Germany 1944-45:  Arnhem: Rhine:

Squadron Codes used: -  

GK Oct 1938 - May 1939, 1940 - Jun 1940
OD May 1939 - 1940
YK Jun 1940 - Jan 1941
EY Apr 1943 - Apr 1944
W2 Apr 1944 - 1952

[Aircraft & Markings | Personnel, aircraft and locations]

8th Mobile Field Photographic Section

*Honours in Black are those the squadron has a been granted the right to emblazon on the Squadron Standard, but does not do so.

Honours in Red  are those actually emblazoned on the Squadron Standard

Honours in Blue are those the squadron has not been granted the right to emblazon on the Squadron Standard


All Squadron badges on this page are courtesy of Steve Clements

Crown Copyright is reproduced with the permission of the Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights

This page was last updated on 21/08/12 using FrontPage XP

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