Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
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Forming at Spittlegate on 1 September 1917, it moved to Chattis Hill on the 14th of the month. The squadron was involved W/T training being equipped with a variety of types for the purpose. This unit disbanded on 4 July 1918, but immediately the numberplate was transferred to a fighter squadron being formed at Kenley. In October 1918, it received its equipment in the form of Dolphins, but with the war ending the following month, the squadron never became operational. However, it remained in being and in March 1919 it moved to Lopscombe Corner, where it disbanded on 3 July 1919.
On 8 October 1940, No 421 (Reconnaissance) Flight had been formed at Gravesend to carry out shipping reconnaissance and to monitor the movements, tactics and marking of the enemy. This flight was raised to Squadron status on 11 January 1941, by which time it had moved to Hawkinge. Equipped with Spitfires, it became a normal fighter squadron in the summer but also continued to carry out weather reconnaissance mission and ASR patrols, the latter were eventually taken over by dedicated ASR squadrons.
In April 1943, the squadron and its fellow unit at Hawkinge, No 41, became the first to operate Griffon powered Spitfires, when the took delivery of the Mk XII. These were used to good effect combating the low flying FW190s. It now moved to Ramrods and bomber escort missions and in September 1943 became the highest scoring squadron in No 11 Group for the month. In March 1944, it received the Spitfire XIV and it was with these that it became heavily involved in 'anti-diver' operations from June until August. However, in August, it reverted to Merlin engined Spitfires, IXBs, and joined 2 TAF, although it remained based in the UK. Just before the end of the war in Europe, it received the latest version of the Griffon powered Spitfire, the F Mk 21, which it used briefly during armed reconnaissance missions over the low countries.
Retained as part of the post-war air force, it moved to Duxford in April 1946, were it received Meteor F Mk 3s in October, however, having moved north to Acklington on 6 January 1947, it was disbanded by being re-numbered No 92 on the 31st.
Motto: We seek alone
Squadron Codes used: -
For more details on the history of No 91 Squadron, order the book below: -
Formed at London Colney as a fighter unit on 1 September 1917, it operated a variety of types for training until receiving its main equipment in January 1918, SE5As. It took these to France in July 1918 and until the end of the war it flew both fighter and ground-attack missions. Becoming part of the Army of Occupation, it disbanded at Eil on 7 August 1919.
Reforming at Tangmere on 10 October 1939, it was intended to become a Blenheim fighter unit, but in March 1940, these were replaced by Spitfires, becoming operation in May. It spent the early part of the Battle of Britain on defensive duties in South Wales, operating from Pembrey. It eventually arrived in No 11 Group on 8 September as part of the Biggin Hill Sector. It remained in the south, going over to the offensive in 1941 until September of that year, when it moved to Digby.
However, in February 1942, the squadron embarked for the Middle East, arriving in Egypt in April. Unfortunately, on arrival it found there were no aircraft available to equip it and it had to undertake maintenance duties, although some of the pilots flew with No 80 Squadron. Spitfires arrived in August and with these it carried out escort and fighter sweeps in defence of the El Alamein area. Following the break out, it followed the 8th Army until the Axis forces capitulated.
June 1943 saw the squadron re-located to Malta, from where it covered the Operation Husky, the Allied landings in Sicily. Moving to Sicily in July 1943 and Italy in September , it continued to act in the fighter role until becoming a fighter-bomber unit in July 1944. It remained on the Italian Front in this role for the remainder of the war and in September 1946, it became part of the occupation forces in Austria, where it disbanded on 30 December 1946.
As stated in the previous entry, No 91 Squadron was disbanded on 31 January 1947 at Acklington by being re-numbered No 92. Equipped with Meteor F Mk 3s, it moved to Duxford on 15 February 1947 and then in October 1949 to Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire. Further moves followed to Middleton St George, Thornaby, back to Middleton St George before the squadron arrived at Leconfield in May 1961. During this period it was successively equipped with Meteor F Mk 8s, Sabre F Mk 4s and Hunters, F Mk 4s from April 1956 and F Mk 6s from February 1957.
Having moved into Leconfield, the squadron took over the role of RAF Aerobatic Display Team from 'Treble One', 92's team was named 'Blue Diamonds', their all blue Hunters being a familiar sight to the author as they practised over the local area. The Hunters were replaced by Lightning F Mk 2s in 1963 and for at least one season the 'Blue Diamonds' operated these aircraft. However, in December 1965, the two squadrons at Leconfield, No's 19 and 92, were reallocated to RAF Germany. Initially based at Geilenkirchen, they moved to Gutersloh in January 1968, where they remained until 31 March 1977 when the squadron disbanded.
In January 1977 No 92 (Designate) Squadron had begun training as a Phantom air defence unit at Wildenrath and on 1 April this unit formally adopted the 92 numberplate. The squadron continued to fly the Phantom from Wildenrath until 5 July 1991 when, owing to the rundown of RAF Germany following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, it disbanded. Just over a year later No 92 (Reserve) Squadron was reformed as part of No 7 FTS at Chivenor. It was now involved in weapons training being equipped with the Hawk, however, when No 7 FTSs role was transferred to No 4 FTS at Valley, No 92 was disbanded on 1 October 1994 but in November 2008 it was allocated to Tactics and Training Wing of the Air Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington.
Motto: Aut Pugna Aut Morere (Either fight or die)
Squadron Codes used: -
No 93 Squadron had a brief existence at the end of WW1, being formed on 23 September 1917 and disbanding on 14 October 1918, without becoming operational. It was formed at Croydon from a nucleus provided by No 40 Training Squadron and moved to Chattis Hill in October 1917 and Tangmere in March 1918. It had been planned to equip the squadron with SE5As and for it to go to France in April but this was cancelled and the squadron, after acting as a training unit using a variety of types, disbanded on 17 August 1918 . It reformed on 14 October at Port Meadow, its planned equipment being Dolphins, but the Armistice resulted in its disbandment on 21 November 1918.
No 420 ('Pandora') Flight had formed at Christchurch on 25 September 1940. Equipped with Harrows equipped to drop the 'Pandora' aerial mine. This flight was raised to squadron status on 7 December 1940 as No 93 Squadron, now based at Middle Wallop. Havocs were used as well as Harrows and from March to July 1941, the Harrows were replaced by Wellingtons. However, the increased effectiveness of AI equipped night fighters made weapons such as 'Pandora', obsolete and the squadron disbanded on 6 December 1941.
Its fourth incarnation began on 1 June 1942 when it was reformed at Andreas, equipped with Spitfires. In September , the squadron was earmarked to take part in the 'Torch' landing in North Africa and as a result ceased operations with its aircrew going out to Gibraltar. It then supported the First Army in its campaigns through Algeria and Tunisia. After the Axis surrender, it re-located to Luqa in Malta from 14 June 1943, from where it supported the Allied landings in Sicily and later Italy. It continued to support the advancing Allied armies in Italy carrying out escort missions, patrols over the beachheads and Rhubarbs until July 1944 when it moved to Corsica. From here it supported the Allied landings in Southern France in August, Operation Dragoon, after which it moved onto the French mainland and supported the ground forces moving north until these met up with the armies coming down from Normandy, when it returned to Italy. It continued to carry out fighter-bomber operations for the remainder of the war, joining the occupation forces in Austria until disbanded on 5 September 1945.
The squadron reformed again on 1 January 1946, when No 237 Squadron at Lavariano in Italy was re-numbered. The squadron was now flying Mustangs but on the last day of the year, it disbanded yet again. So far its last period on the Battle Order began on 15 November 1950, when it was reformed as a Vampire fighter-bomber unit at Celle in Germany. It converted to the fighter role when it received Sabres in April 1954, these being replaced by Hunters in 1956, but on 30 December 1960, the squadron disbanded for the last time. The squadron disbanded at Jever, to where it had moved on 3 March 1952.
Motto: Ad arma parati (Ready for battle)
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed from a nucleus of No 55 Training Squadron at Gosport on 1 August 1917, it was tasked with training Camel pilots, it used a variety of types including FK8s, Pups and Camels. However , in September 1918, it was re-equipped with SE5As and mobilised, arriving in France at the end of October. Arriving too late to take part in any operations, the squadron remained in France until February 1919, when it returned to Tadcaster, where it disbanded on 30 June 1919.
No 94 reformed for the air defence of Aden on 26 March 1939, being based at Khormaksar. It carried out patrols over British Somaliland as well as Aden using its Gladiators, but in April 1941, these were passed to the SAAF. In the meantime, No 94 moved to Egypt, where it was re-equipped with Hurricanes. Initially involved in both day and night fighter patrols, it also undertook ground attack missions from November. Kittyhawks arrived in February 1942 but these were replaced by Hurricanes again in May. During the advance following El Alamein the squadron was involved in protecting the coastal convoys responsible for re-supplying the Eighth Army.
Some Spitfires had been received at the end of 1942, but these left in January 1943. Spitfires began to arrive again in August 1943, but were only retained a month again. In February 1944 Spitfire IXs arrived and by April the last Hurricanes had left. Unlike many other squadrons it remained in North Africa following the Axis collapse and from there carried out fighter sweeps over Crete before re-locating to the Greek mainland in September 1944. The lack of suitable opposition lead to the IXs being replaced by Vs from August 1944 and at the end of that year it used these on internal security patrols against ELAS guerrillas. However, with the situation in Greece brought under control and the lack of employment for the squadron, it was disbanded 0n 20 April 1945.
Two further periods of existence followed, the first beginning on 1 December 1950 when it reformed at Celle in Germany as a Vampire fighter-bomber unit. Venoms replaced the Vampires in January 1954, but the squadron disbanded on 14 September 1957. 94's final incarnation was as a Bloodhound surface-to-air missile unit based at Misson, near Finningley from 1 October 1960 to 30 June 1963.
Squadron Codes used: -
Formed from a nucleus of No 43 Training Squadron at Ternhill on 1 September 1917, it moved to Shotwick in October. It had been planned to send the squadron to France in April with Camels and then Dolphins but delays resulted in the unit being equipped with a variety of types, which it used for training. However, before becoming operational it was disbanded on 4 July 1918, its personnel being used to reinforce other units at the front. Plans to reform the squadron in August and then September were cancelled but it did eventually reform on 1 October 1918 at Kenley as a fighter unit, its intended equipment being the Martinsyde F4 Buzzard, but the Armistice resulted in it being disbanded on 20 November 1918, without having received any aircraft.
It reformed at Pembroke Dock in South Wales on 16 January 1941 from a detachment of three Sunderlands of No 210 Squadron. However, it was soon on the move, initially to Gibraltar but by March 1941 it had arrived at its new operating base, Freetown, Sierra Leonne. It was involved in anti-submarine patrols over the South Atlantic. From July to October 1941, it operated a flight of Hurricanes to combat Vichy French reconnaissance aircraft. This flight became No 128 Squadron on 7 October. No 95 continued to operate over the vast expanses of the South Atlantic until the end of the war, although from March 1943 it moved its main operating base to Bathurst in The Gambia, where it disbanded on 30 June 1945.
Motto: Trans mare exivi (I went out over the sea)
Squadron Codes used: -
*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
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