No. 14 Squadron RAF

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No. 14 Squadron RAF
14 Squadron badge
The official badge of No. 14 Squadron RAF[1]
Active 3 February 1915 – 4 February 1919
1 February 1920 – 1 June 1945
1 June 1945 – 31 March 1946
1 April 1946 – 17 December 1962
17 December 1962 – 30 June 1970
30 June 1970 – 1 June 2011
14 October 2011 – to date
Branch Royal Air Force RAF Air Command
Motto "I spread my wings and keep my promise"[1]
Equipment Beechcraft Shadow R1
Battle honours Egypt 1915–1917*, Gaza, Megiddo, Arabia 1916–1917*, Palestine 1917–1918*, Transjordan 1924 (Origin of motto), Palestine 1936–1939, East Africa 1940–1941*, Mediterranean 1941–1943*, Egypt and Libya 1941–1942*, Sicily 1943*, Atlantic 1945*, Gulf 1991*, Kosovo.
Honours marked with an asterisk are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard[2]
Insignia
Squadron Badge A winged plate charged with a cross throughout and shoulder pieces of a suit of armour
Squadron Roundel RAF 14 Sqn.svg
Squadron Codes BF (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)
CX (Sep 1944 – Jun 1945, Apr 1946 – Feb 1951)
B (May 1953 – Jun 1955)
A (Carried on Jaguars)
B (Carried on Jaguars)
BA – BZ (Aug 1985 – Jun 2011)

No. 14 Squadron of the Royal Air Force currently operates the Beechcraft Shadow R1 (a modified Beechcraft Super King Air) in the Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) role from RAF Waddington.

History[edit]

World War I[edit]

No. 14 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed on the 3 February 1915 at Shoreham with Maurice Farman S.11 and B.E.2 aircraft.[3] After a few months of training it departed for the Middle East in November of that same year for Army co-operation duties during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.[4] In 1916 the squadron's B.E.2s were supplemented with a small number of D.H.1A two seat fighters for escort duties, with the type remaining in use until March 1917.[5] Other fighters operated by the squadron's fighter flight included the Bristol Scout and Vickers FB.19, but the fighter flight left the squadron in August 1917 to form No. 111 Squadron.[6] The squadron flew in support of British forces in the Third Battle of Gaza in late 1917.[7] In November 1917 the squadron was equipped with Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8s, which were used to perform reconnaissance duties, attacking the Turkish Seventh Army as it retreated following the Battle of Nablus. It was recalled to the UK in January 1919 and disbanded the following month.[6][7]

Squadron motto[edit]

The Squadron motto - I spread my wings and keep my promise - is believed by many, including the RAF,[1] to be an extract from the Koran as suggested to the RAF by the Emir of Transjordan, but in Arabic, this is not quite as depicted on the Squadron badge.

Between the wars[edit]

On 1 February 1920 the squadron was reformed in Ramleh by renumbering No. 111 Squadron. The squadron operated Bristol Fighters and used them for various duties including photo surveying and air policing. The squadron patrolled Trans-Jordan and Palestine for the next 20 years, it was during this period that the squadron gained its Arabic motto.[8] Airco DH.9A bombers supplemented the squadron's Bristol fighters in June 1924, using them to attack and, together with RAF operated armoured cars, help defeat a several-thousand strong raiding force of Ikhwan tribesmen at Umm el Amad, 12 miles (19 km) south of Amman in Jordan in August that year.[9][10] The squadron fully equipped with DH.9As in January 1926.[6]

Fairey IIIFs replaced the squadron's DH.9As in November 1929,[6] deploying them on reconnaissance duties during civil unrest in Palestine.[11][12] The Fairey Gordon, a radial engined derivative of the IIIF re-equipped the squadron in September 1932, being used for operations against Arab rioters during the 1933 Palestine riots.[6][13] In March 1938, the squadron replaced its Gordons with Vickers Wellesley monoplane bombers.[6]

World War II[edit]

When World War II broke out the squadron was transferred to Egypt but soon returned to Amman.[4] In May 1940, with the likelihood of war between Britain and Italy increasing rapidly, 14 Squadron was ordered to move to Port Sudan to reinforce the weak RAF forces in East Africa facing Italian forces in Ethiopia and Eritrea.[14] On 10 June, Italy declared war on Britain and France, and on the night of 11/12 June 14 Squadron flew its first offensive mission of the Second World War, when nine Wellesleys bombed fuel storage tanks and the airfield at Massawa.[15] It lost its first Wellesley to Italian defences on 14 June during a second raid against Massawa.[16] The squadron received a single Supermarine Walrus from 47 Squadron which was used for patrols over the Red Sea in July 1940,[17] while the squadron's Wellesleys continued bombing missions against Italian targets.[18] The Squadron started to receive twin-engined Bristol Blenheims in September that year, flying its first Blenheim mission on 20 September,[19] and flying its final Wellesley sortie on 20 November.[20] In March 1941 it carried out bombing raids in support of the assault on Keren.[21]

A Martin Marauder of No. 14 Squadron in 1942

In April 1941, following the liberation of Addis Ababa, the squadron was sent to Egypt for operations over the Western Desert.[22] Martin B-26 Marauders were received in 1942 and used in bombing, mine-laying and shipping reconnaissance missions. In March 1943, it started performing anti-submarine missions out of Algeria before transferring back to the UK in October 1944.

On its return to the UK, the squadron was based at RAF Chivenor and carried out anti-submarine mission using Vickers Wellington Mk.XIVs. The squadron was again disbanded on 1 June 1945 but was reborn the same day, when No. 143 Squadron was renumbered. 143 Squadron were based at Banff at the time and were operating the De Havilland Mosquito Mk.VI. This incarnation of the squadron was short lived, being disbanded on 31 March 1946.

With RAF Germany[edit]

Disbandment did not last long however, the following day No.128 Squadron, operating Mosquito B.16s at RAF Wahn in Germany, was renumbered No.14 squadron and the squadron lived again. In December 1947 the Mosquito B.16s were replaced with the Mosquito B.35 variant. The squadron moved to RAF Celle in September 1949, but this was a short placement as they moved again in November 1950, this time to RAF Fassberg. In 1951 the squadron received Vampire FB.5s to replace the Mosquitos, while in 1953 the Vampires made place for Venom FB.1s. The squadron converted to the day-fighter role when it received Hunter F.4s in 1955 while based at RAF Oldenburg, where they stayed for two years before moving to RAF Ahlhorn. The squadron used the Hunters until 17 December 1962, when the unit was disbanded at RAF Gutersloh. The same day however No.88 Squadron was renumbered No.14 Squadron, flying Canberra B(I).8s from RAF Wildenrath until disbandment there on 30 June 1970.

On that same 30 June 1970 the squadron was reformed at RAF Bruggen and operated Phantom FGR.2s until April 1975, when they were replaced with the SEPECAT Jaguar. From 1976 their role at RAF Bruggen, assigned to SACEUR, was support of the army in a European land battle, first in a conventional role, and later in a nuclear delivery role should tactical nuclear weapons be used. The squadron's twelve Jaguars were expected by RAF planning staff to suffer attrition of one third their strength, leaving sufficient survivors to deliver their stockpile of eight WE.177 nuclear bombs.[23][24] From 1986 the squadron's twelve Jaguars were exchanged for twelve Tornado GR.1s, for use in a similar role.[25] Tornados were able to carry two WE.177 nuclear bombs, and the RAF staff expected that there would be enough survivors of the conventional war phase to deliver an increased stock of eighteen bombs. No.14 Squadron was believed to have relinquished its nuclear delivery role in 1994, the last year for which information is available, although the RAF retained some WE.177 bombs until 1998.

Back in the Middle East[edit]

In August 1990, the squadron was dispatched to Bahrain in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as part of Operation Granby along with two other squadrons from Bruggen, no. 9 and no. 31 Squadrons.

Recent history[edit]

The squadron returned to the UK in January 2001. It operated from RAF Lossiemouth, as the Tornado GR4 Force squadron specialising in Low Level TIALD, night electro-optical low level and operational low flying. It participated in Operation Resinate(South), flying sorties from Ali Al Salem AB, Kuwait until January 2003. The sqn returned to Ali Al Salem in the summer of 2003 as part of Operation TELIC (phase 4) and was the last Tornado squadron to fly operations from the Kuwaiti airbase. In September 2003, the 6 Tornado's took off from Ali Al Salem for the last time, flying operational missions over Iraq and landing at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, where the Tornado detachment remained until the cessation of operations over Iraq in the summer of 2009. Crews from the squadron took part in the first detachment of Tornado GR Force personnel to Operation HERRICK and supported the handover of RAF fast jet operations from the Harrier to the Tornado.

14 Squadron carried out its only autonomous detachment to Kandahar between November 2010 and February 2011, flying day and night in support of ISAF forces across Afghanistan. The squadron mounted ground alert as well as flying numerous planned recce sorties using the RAPTOR pod, and CAS sorties equipped with Paveway IV 500 lb bombs and Dual Mode Seeker MBDA Brimstone missiles.

Disbandment and Reformation[edit]

A Beechcraft Shadow R1 in June 2011

After its return to the UK in 2011, it was announced that it would be disbanded as one of the 2 Tornado squadrons due to cease operations as part of the 2010 SDSR[26] along with XIII Squadron based at RAF Marham.

The squadron ceased operations in March 2011, and was formally disbanded on 1 June 2011. HRH Prince Andrew, the Duke of York was the reviewing officer.

14 Squadron was one of the only RAF units to keep a mascot. Sqn Ldr Eric Aldrovandi, a Burmese Python, had been with the squadron since its transition to the Tornado in 1985. Sqn Ldr Aldrovandi took the opportunity of his squadron's disbanding to retire,[27] and is now kept at Amazonia, at Strathclyde Country Park. He was handed over by members of 14 Squadron in July 2011.

The Squadron was re-formed on 14 October 2011 at RAF Waddington operating the Beechcraft Shadow R1 previously on the strength of No. 5 Squadron RAF.

Aircraft operated[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Official RAF Squadron web page (retrieved 3 June 2014)
  2. ^ Orange et all 1966, frontpage
  3. ^ Halley 1988, pp. 46–47.
  4. ^ a b "14 Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  5. ^ Bruce 1982, p. 40.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Ashworth 1989, p. 58.
  7. ^ a b Rawlings 1982, p. 33.
  8. ^ Ashworth 1989, pp. 57–58.
  9. ^ Thetford Aeroplane Monthly August 1992, pp. 19–20.
  10. ^ Flight 18 January 1934, p. 50.
  11. ^ Thetford Aeroplane Monthly May 1994, p. 34.
  12. ^ "Memorandum by the Secretary of State for Air". Flight, Vol XXII, No. 1107. 14 March 1930. p. 300.
  13. ^ Thetford Aeroplane Monthly June 1994, pp. 17–18.
  14. ^ Napier Aeroplane June 2013, p. 96.
  15. ^ Napier Aeroplane June 2013, pp. 98–99.
  16. ^ Shores 1996, p. 21.
  17. ^ Shores 1996, p. 35.
  18. ^ Napier Aeroplane June 2013, pp. 99–102.
  19. ^ Shores 1996, pp. 60–61.
  20. ^ Napier Aeroplane June 2013, p. 102.
  21. ^ Shores 1996, pp. 124, 131.
  22. ^ Shores 1996, pp. 143–144.
  23. ^ "Weapon detail and No.14 Squadron data for 1976". Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  24. ^ "Weapon overview @ www.nuclear-weapons.info/vw.htm#WE.177 Carriage". Nuclear-weapons.info. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  25. ^ "Weapon detail and No.14 Squadron data for 1986". Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  26. ^ http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/sdsrequipment.cfm
  27. ^ http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/PeopleInDefence/SquadronsLongestServingMemberSlidesIntoRetirement.htm

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ashworth, Chris. Encyclopedia of Modern Royal Air Force Squadrons. Wellingborough, UK:PSL, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
  • Bruce, J. M. The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-x.
  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A Full Explanation and Listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Force Unit Codes Since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlif Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Lewis, Peter. Squadron Histories: R.F.C, R.N.A.S and R.A.F., 1912–59. London: Putnam, 1959.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (new edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • "No. 14 (Bomber) Squadron". Flight, Vol XXVI, No. 1308, 18 January 1934. pp. 49–53.
  • Napier, Michael. "Winged Crusaders: The Wellesley Years". Aeroplane, June 2013, Vol. 41 No. 6. pp. 96–102. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Orange, Dr. Vincent; The Lord Deramore; Wing Commander E. Donovan and Air Vice Marshal Deryck C. Stapleton. Winged Promises: A History of No. 14 Squadron RAF, 1915–1945. RAF Fairford, UK: The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises, 1996. ISBN 1-899808-45-0.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Shores, Christopher. Dust Clouds in the Middle East: The Air War for East Africa, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Madagascar, 1940–42. London: Grub Street, 1996. ISBN 1-898697-37-X.
  • Shores, Christopher, Giovanni Massimello and Russell Guest. A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940–1945: Volume One: North Africa June 1940 – January 1942. London: Grub Street, 2012. ISBN 9781908117076.
  • Thetford, Owen. "By Day and by night – Part 3". Aeroplane Monthly, August 1992, Vol. 20 No. 8. pp. 16–22. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Thetford, Owen. "Fairey IIIF and Gordon in Service: Part 1". Aeroplane Monthly, May 1994, Vol 22 No 5 Issue 253. London:IPC. pp. 32–38. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Thetford, Owen. "Fairey IIIF and Gordon in Service: Part 2". Aeroplane Monthly, June 1994, Vol 22 No 6. pp. 16–20. ISSN 0143-7240.

External links[edit]