No. 14 Squadron RAF
|No. 14 Squadron RAF|
The official badge of No. 14 Squadron RAF
|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 – present
|Branch||Royal Air Force RAF Air Command|
|Motto(s)||"I spread my wings and keep my promise"|
|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
|Squadron Badge||A winged plate charged with a cross throughout and shoulder pieces of a suit of armour|
|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.
World War I
No. 14 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed on 3 February 1915 at Shoreham with Maurice Farman S.11 and B.E.2 aircraft. 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. 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. 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. The squadron flew in support of British forces in the Third Battle of Gaza in late 1917. 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.
The Squadron motto—I spread my wings and keep my promise—is believed by many, including the RAF, 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
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 and it was during this period that the squadron gained its Arabic motto. 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. The squadron fully equipped with DH.9As in January 1926. Fairey IIIFs replaced the squadron's DH.9As in November 1929, using them on reconnaissance duties during civil unrest in Palestine. 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. In March 1938, the squadron replaced its Gordons with Vickers Wellesley monoplane bombers.
World War II
When World War II broke out the squadron was transferred to Egypt but soon returned to Amman. 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. 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. It lost its first Wellesley to Italian defences on 14 June during a second raid against Massawa. The squadron received a single Supermarine Walrus from 47 Squadron which was used for patrols over the Red Sea in July 1940, while the squadron's Wellesleys continued bombing missions against Italian targets. The Squadron started to receive twin-engined Bristol Blenheims in September that year, flying its first Blenheim mission on 20 September, and flying its final Wellesley sortie on 20 November. In March 1941 it carried out bombing raids in support of the assault on Keren.
In April 1941, following the liberation of Addis Ababa, the squadron was sent to Egypt for operations over the Western Desert. The squadron was deployed in support of Operation Brevity on 15–16 May 1941, an unsuccessful British offensive, and carried out attacks on German and Italian motor transport, with five Blenheims being shot down by Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters of III Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 27 while carrying out strafing attacks along the Tobruk–Capuzzo road on 21 May. The squadron flew attacks against Maleme Airfield on 25 and 27 May during the Battle of Crete, and in June, flew in support of Operation Battleaxe, another unsuccessful British offensive in the Western Desert. On 7 July 1941, the squadron withdrew from the Western Desert, being based in Palestine and Iraq until it returned to Egypt in November 1941.
On 17 August 1942, 14 Squadron was withdrawn from operations to convert to the Martin Marauder, the first RAF Squadron to operate this American bomber. The squadron flew its first operational mission with the Marauder, a maritime reconnaissance mission on 26 October 1942. The squadron used its Marauders for ling-range maritime reconnaissance missions, minelaying and anti-shipping attack with torpedoes. The squadron's Marauders sank a Tanker with torpedoes on 19 January 1943 and two more merchant ships on 21 February. In March 1943, it started performing anti-submarine missions out of Algeria, basing detachments in Italy and Sardinia, moving completely to Alghero in Sardinia in June 1944. The Squadron flew its last Marauder mission on 21 September that year, leaving its equipment behind when it transferred back to the UK.
On its return to the UK, the squadron was based at RAF Chivenor and carried out anti-submarine mission over the Western Approaches and the Bay of Biscay using Vickers Wellington Mk.XIVs. The squadron was again disbanded on 1 June 1945 but was reborn the same day, when 143 Squadron at Banff, equipped with the De Havilland Mosquito Mk.VI in the anti-shipping strike role, was renumbered. This incarnation of the squadron was short lived, being disbanded on 31 March 1946.
With RAF Germany
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. From 1986 the squadron's twelve Jaguars were exchanged for twelve Tornado GR.1s, for use in a similar role. 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
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
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 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, and is now kept at Amazonia, at Strathclyde Country Park. He was handed over by members of 14 Squadron in July 2011.
- B.E.2c: 1915–1917
- D.H.1A: 1916–1917 (for escort work with B.E.2)
- R.E.8: 1917–1918
- Bristol Fighter: 1920-1930s
- De Havilland D.H.9A: 1924–1929
- Fairey IIIF: 1929–1932
- Fairey Gordon: 1932
- Wellesley Mk.I: 1938–1940
- Blenheim Mk.IV: 1940–1942
- Marauder Mk.I: 1942–1944
- Wellington Mk.XIV: 1944–1945
- Mosquito Mk.VI/B.16/B.35: 1945–1951
- Vampire FB.5: 1951–1955
- Venom FB.1: 1953–1955
- Hunter F.4/F.6: 1955–1962
- Canberra B(I).8: 1962–1970
- Phantom FGR.2: 1970–1975
- Sepecat Jaguar GR.1: 1975–1985
- Tornado GR.1/GR.1A: 1985–2004
- Tornado GR.4: 2004–2011
- Beechcraft Shadow R1: 2011–present
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