No. 70 Squadron RAF

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No. LXX Squadron RAF
70 Squadron badge
Active 1916–1920
1920–1947
1948 – 2010
Role Air Transport
Garrison/HQ RAF Lyneham
Motto "Usquam" (Everywhere)
Equipment C-130 Hercules
Insignia
Identification
symbol
A demi-wing lion erased

No. 70 Squadron (also known as No. LXX Squadron) of the Royal Air Force most recently operated the Lockheed Hercules from RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire until September 2010.[1] It has stood up again on 1st October 2014.[2]

History[edit]

World War I[edit]

The squadron was formed on April 22, 1916 at Farnborough, and was equipped with the Sopwith 1½ Strutter. The squadron was posted to France, and in 1917 re-equipped with Sopwith Camels. The squadron briefly disbanded in January 1920, reforming nine days later at Heliopolis, Egypt via the renumbering of No. 58 Squadron. The squadron was equipped with the Vickers Vimy bomber.

A Sopwith 1½ Strutter #A1924 of 70th Squadron RAF. Wrecked 20 October 1916

During World War I, the squadron claimed 287 victories, and had as members nineteen aces, including Frank Granger Quigley, John Todd, Frank Hobson, Oscar Heron, Frank Gorringe, Walter M. Carlaw, George Robert Howsam, Clive Franklyn Collett, Alfred Michael Koch, Kenneth Bowman Watson, Noel Webb, Edward Gribben, and Frederic Laurence.[3]

Inter-war Years[edit]

The squadron briefly disbanded in January 1920, reforming nine days later at Heliopolis, Egypt, via the renumbering of No. 58 Squadron. The squadron was now a bomber-transport unit operating the Vickers Vimy bomber. After transferring to Hinaidi, Iraq in December 1921, the squadron was re-equipped with Vickers Vernon’s and subsequently by Vickers Victoria in 1926. In addition to providing heavy transport facilities to both air and ground units they were used as air ambulances and were responsible for maintaining the Cairo-Baghdad airmail route.[4] The squadron was commanded by Group Captain Eric Murray DSO MC. In 1929, he flew the first route to the Cape on behalf of Imperial Airways who were seeking routes for the civil flights.

In December 1928, a coup against the Amir of Afghanistan by Habibullah Kalakani supported by Ghilzai peoples led to the first large scale air evacuation, the Kabul Airlift. Over two months Victoria troop-carriers of 70 squadron played central role in the airlift of 586 British and European officials and civilians flying over mountains at a height of up to 10,000 ft (3,048m) often in severe weather.[5]

The Valentia replaced the Victorias in November 1934. 70 squadron is recorded as being based at RAF Habbaniya from 1937-9 and in August 1939, it returned to Egypt.

World War II[edit]

After Italy entered the war the squadron converted to Wellingtons, and on 18 September it began operations over the Western Desert, with targets ranging from shipping and airfields to road convoys and supply dumps[6]

In 1940 A detachment was sent to Tatoi, in support of Allied forces defending Greece and in 1941 the squadron was involved in the campaign to conquer Vichy-occupied Syria and the Rashid Ali rebellion in Iraq[7] . 70 Squadron relocated frequently in support of the 8th Army’s westward advance, first into Libya then Tunisia. In November 1943 it relocated to Djedeida 20 miles west of Tunis putting industrial targets in the North of Italy, within easy reach.

Between December 1943 and October 1945 the squadron relocated to Foggia, Italy where the Wellington's were replaced by the long range Liberators.[7] The squadron was already active over the Balkans, but the Liberator gave it the range to drop mines in the Danube, as well as to continue bombing targets in northern Italy, Austria and Southern France.

Post World War II[edit]

Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 of 70 Squadron RAF named Horatius in 1971

The squadron disbanded in April 1947 and was reformed in May 1948, at Kabrit, Egypt when No. 215 Squadron was renumbered No. 70 Squadron. The squadron was equipped with Dakotas until 1950, when it re-equipped with Valettas. In 1955, the squadron moved to Cyprus to RAF Akrotiri and re-equipped with the Hastings, Vickers Valetta and later used the Pembroke twin engined communication aircraft.After a brief period operating Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1s, the squadron began conversion to the Hercules in 1970, and moved to RAF Lyneham in 1975, after 55 years overseas. After 35 years of operating the Hercules C1/C3 from Lyneham, the squadron disbanded in September 2010. It is expected to reform in 2014 as the first RAF Airbus A400M squadron.[1]

Battle Honours[edit]

Western Front 1916–1918, Somme 1916, Arras, Ypres 1917, Somme 1918, Kurdistan 1922–1924, Iraq 1918–1929, Kurdistan 1930–1931, Northern Kurdistan 1932, North West Frontier 1937, Mediterranean 1940–1943, Egypt and Libya 1940–1943, Greece 1940–1941, Syria 1941, Iraq 1941, El Alamein, North Africa 1942-194, El Hamma, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943–1945, Salerno, Anzio and Nettuno, Gustav Line, Gothic Line, South East Europe 1944–1945, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991.

Aircraft operated[edit]

[8]

Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
1916–1917 Sopwith 1½ Strutter Single-engined biplane fighter
1917–1919 Sopwith Camel Single-engined biplane fighter
1919 Sopwith Snipe Single-engined biplane fighter
1920 Handley Page 0/400 Twin-engined biplane bomber
1920–1922 Vickers Vimy Twin-engined biplane bomber
1922–1926 Vickers Vernon Twin-engined biplane transport
1924–1926
1926–1934
1928–1934
1930–1935
1931–1935
Vickers Victoria I
III
IV
V
V
Twin-engined biplane transport
1935–1940 Vickers Valentia Twin-engined biplane transport
1940–1943
1943–1945
Vickers Wellington III
X
Twin-engined medium bomber
1945–1946 Consolidated Liberator VI Four-engined bomber
1946–1947 Avro Lancaster B1(FE) Four-engined bomber
1948–1950 Douglas Dakota Twin-engined transport
1950–1956 Vickers Valetta C1 Twin-engined transport
1956–1968 Handley Page Hastings C1 and C2 Four-engined transport
1967–1975 Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C1 Four-engined transport
1970–1980 Lockheed Hercules C1 Four-engined transport
1980–2010 Lockeed Hercules C3 Four-engined transport

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Jefford, C.G. (1988). RAF Squadrons. Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6. 

External links[edit]