No. 18 Squadron RAF
|No. 18 Squadron RAF|
|Active||11 May 1915 -,|
Search and rescue
|Motto||Animo et fide (With courage and faith)|
No. 18 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the CH-47 Chinook HC.2 from RAF Odiham. No. 18 Squadron was the first and is currently the largest RAF operator of the Chinook. Owing to its heritage as a bomber squadron, it is also known as No. 18 (B) Squadron.
First World War
The squadron was formed on 11 May 1915 at Northolt as part of the Royal Flying Corps. It was posted to France in November 1915, equipped with the Vickers FB5 'Gunbus'. In April 1916 the squadron re-equipped with FE2bs; Victor Huston became a flying ace piloting one of these. They then re-equipped with De Havilland DH-4s in May 1917. George Darvill became an ace on DH.4s, scoring nine victories. The squadron disbanded at Weston-on-the-Green on 31 December 1919.
Second World War
When the war began No. 18 Squadron along with 57 Squadron comprised No. 70 Wing at RAF Upper Heyford, flying Bristol Blenheims as part of No. 2 Group RAF. The wing went to France as part of the BEF Air Component. The Squadron was then assigned to anti-shipping duties, but during one raid over France in August 1941, one aircraft dropped a box over St Omer airfield containing an artificial leg. It was a spare for Wing Commander Douglas Bader. The Squadron then moved to North Africa with the Blenheim V and took up day bombing duties. During an unescorted raid on Chouigui airfield in December 1942 led by Wing Commander HG Malcolm, his aircraft was shot down and he was posthumously awarded the VC. During 1943-45, No. 18 Squadron supported the allied advance through Italy before moving to Greece in September 1945, disbanding there a year later.
The squadron received its Chinooks HC.1s in 1981 and today operates 18 of the helicopters. The Chinook HC.2, equivalent to the US Army CH-47D standard, began to enter RAF service in 1993.
18 Squadron was the only Chinook squadron that took part in Operation Corporate during the Falklands War in 1982. All the Chinooks were lost, except one, when the Atlantic Conveyor was sunk. The remaining aircraft (Bravo November, ZA718) flew almost continuously until the end of the conflict. The pilot of the aircraft Squadron Leader Richard "Dick" Langworthy AFC RAF was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his part in the air operations.
18 Squadron took part in the UK's deployment to the Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 15 HC.2s were sent from No. 7, No. 18, and No. 27 squadrons during Operation Telic.
- http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/ireland/huston.php Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- http://www.theaerodrome.com/services/gbritain/rfc/18.php Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/darvill.php Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- RAF - Bomber Command No. 18 Squadron
- Butterworth, A. With Courage and Faith: the Story of No.18 Squadron Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1989. ISBN 0-85130-173-8.
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