No. 64 Squadron RAF
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|No. 64 Squadron|
|Active||1 August 1916 - 31 December 1919
1 March 1936 - 16 June 1967
16 May 1968 - 31 January 1991
|Motto||Tenax propositi - Firm of purpose|
|Battle honours||Western Front, 1917-1918
Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Somme, 1918
Lys, Channel & North Sea, 1940
Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, Home Defence, 1940
Fortress Europe, 1941-1944
Arnhem, Walcheren, France & Germany, 1944-1945
1916 to 1919
No. 64 squadron was originally formed at Sedgeford on 1 August 1916 as a training unit with FE.2b and Farman F.20 airplanes. In June 1917 the squadron received Avro 504 and Sopwith Pup fighters and DH.5 in October when the squadron moved to France to begin operations. The DH.5s were replaced by SE.5As in March 1918 and conducted both fighter and ground-attack operations for the remainder of the First World War. It returned to Narborough in February 1919, where it was disbanded on 31 December 1919. During the World War I era, the squadron claimed in excess of 130 victories, and produced eleven aces, among whom were James Anderson Slater, Edmund Tempest, Philip Scott Burge, Thomas Rose, Charles Cudemore, William H. Farrow, Dudley Lloyd-Evans, Edward Dawson Atkinson, and Ronald McClintock.
1936 to 1939
On 1 March 1936, No. 64 was reactivated at Heliopolis, Egypt, although for political reasons it was announced as having reformed at Henlow, Bedfordshire (UK). The squadron was equipped with Hawker Demon fighters which had already been sent out to Egypt where they had formed D Flights of 6 and 208 squadrons which were transferred during March 1936 to 64 squadron. It was immediately involved in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War carrying out attacks against Italian airfields and providing fighter cover to refuelling bombers at advance airfields. After the crisis had ended in May 1936 the squadron returned to RAF Martlesham Heath, Suffolk (UK), in August 1936 to become part of the UK air defences.
From May 1938 64 squadron's two-seat Demons were based at RAF Church Fenton, North Yorkshire and the unit was reequipped with Bristol Blenheim Mk I(F) fighters starting in December 1938. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the squadron was engaged in patrols off the British East Coast and in December 1939 provided fighter defence for the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow from Evanton, Scotland, for a month. From February to September 1939 64 Squadron used the squadron code "XQ", followed by "SH" from September 1939 to April 1951.
1940 to 1967
In April 1940 the squadron converted to the Supermarine Spitfire Mk I. It was immediately engaged in the covering of the Dunkirk evacuation and later took part in the Battle of Britain. In short order 64 squadron operated from Kenley starting 16 May 1940, from Leconfield starting 19 August, from Biggin Hill starting 13 October, from Coltishall starting 15 October, and from Boscombe Down starting 1 September 1940.
In May 1941, No. 64 Squadron moved up to Scotland for air defence duties but moved back south in November to take part in sweeps over northern France, until March 1943 when it moved back up to Scotland again. Then in August 1943 it moved back south again to resume offensive operations and in June 1944, moved to Cornwall for 2 months before beginning long-range escort missions from East Anglia. During that time the squadron was equipped with various marks of the Spitfire: Mk IIA January to November 1941, Mk VB November 1941 to July 1942, and March to September 1943, Mk VC September 1943 to July 1944, and finally Mk IX June 1942 to March 1943, and June to November 1944. In 1944 64 Squadron took part in the operations of the Normandy Landings, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Scheldt.
In November 1944 the squadron received the North American Mustang III and flew these for the rest of the war covering daylight raids of the RAF Bomber Command on Germany. After the end of hostilities the squadron moved to RAF Horsham St Faith and received the Mustang IV in August 1945.
In March 1946 No. 64 Squadron received De Havilland Hornet F.1 twin-engined fighters and moved to RAF Linton-on-Ouse in August of the same year. The F.1 was replaced by the Hornet F.3 in April 1948. In March 1951 the squadron converted to the Gloster Meteor F.4/F.8 jet fighter. The squadron was also relocated to RAF Duxford. In September 1956 the F.8s were replaced by the radar-equipped, two seat Meteor NF.12/NF.14.
1968 to 1991
Since then the squadron had been the 'Shadow'/Reserve identity of No. 228 OCU, flying the McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1/FGR.2, first from RAF Coningsby since 16 May 1968 and then from RAF Leuchars, to where the OCU moved on 22 April 1987. When No. 228 OCU was disbanded on 31 January 1991, so was No. 64 Squadron.
- Art Donahue
- Squadron Leader/Wing Commander Michel Donnet
- Flying Officer Raymond Sanders Draper
- Adrian Francis Laws
- Wing Commander Dudley Lloyd-Evans
- James O'Meara
No. 64 Squadron in fiction
At the start of episode 2 of the miniseries Piece of Cake the Adjutant, Flight Lieutenant 'Uncle' Kellaway reveals, during his recap of the events of episode 1, that it was one of the Bristol Blenheims of No 64 Squadron that was accidentally shot down by Hornet Squadron.
- Royal Air Force History: History of No. 64 Squadron
- Royal Air Force History: 64 Squadron during the Battle of Britain
- Air of Authority: No 61 - 65 Squadron Histories
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