|No. 99 Squadron RAF|
|Active||15 August 1917 – 1 April 1918 (RFC)|
1 April 1918 – 1 April 1920 (RAF)
1 April 1924 – 15 November 1945
17 November 1945 – 6 January 1976
November 2000 – present
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Role||Strategic and tactical air transport, aeromedical evacuation|
|Part of||No. 2 Group|
|Home station||RAF Brize Norton|
(Latin for 'Each tenacious')
|Aircraft||Boeing C-17 Globemaster III|
|Squadron badge heraldry||A puma salient. Selected because the squadrons first aircraft had Puma engines, the cat chosen for independence and tenacity while the black colour signifies the night-bombing role.|
|Squadron codes||VF (Apr 1939 – Sep 1939)|
LN (Sep 1939 – Feb 1942)
The squadron conducts global deployments on behalf of the British Armed Forces and the UK Government, notably delivering emergency aid during natural disasters and supporting military operations overseas.
No. 99 was a bomber squadron in both World War I and World War II. The squadron was the first RAF unit to receive the Avro Aldershot, Handley Page Hyderabad, Handley Page Hinaidi, Vickers Wellington, Bristol Britannia and Boeing Globemaster III. In the case of the Avro Aldershot, the squadron was its only operator, as it is now for the Globemaster III.
World War I
What would later become No. 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was originally formed at Yatesbury, Wiltshire, England on 15 August 1917 from elements supplied by No. 13 Training Squadron, RFC. It was equipped with de Havilland DH.9 bombers in 1918, deploying to France to form part of the Independent Air Force, the RAF's strategic bombing force. It flew its first mission on 21 May and continued to take part in large scale daylight raids against targets in Germany, sustaining heavy losses due both to the unreliable nature of the DH.9 and heavy German opposition. As an example, during one raid against railway targets in Saarbrücken on 31 July 1918, seven out of nine aircraft from 99 Squadron were shot down, with a further three DH.9s turning back with engine trouble before the formation crossed the enemy lines 99 Squadron was withdrawn from the front line on 25 September to be re-equipped with de Havilland DH.9A bombers, and it was still in the process of converting when the war ended. During the war it had taken part in 76 bombing raids, dropping 61 tons of bombs and claiming 12 German aircraft, of which eight were during the raid of 31 July.
In 1919 the squadron was sent to India, flying patrols over the North-West Frontier from Mianwali and Kohat during the Mahsud and Waziristan campaigns. It was disbanded by being renumbered to No. 27 Squadron on 1 April 1920.
No. 99 Squadron reformed on 1 April 1924 at Netheravon, Wiltshire, flying Vickers Vimys. In May 1924, it moved to RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk, uniquely receiving the Avro Aldershot single-engined heavy bomber. These were replaced at the end of 1925 by twin-engined Handley Page Hyderabads, the squadron moving to RAF Upper Heyford in December 1927. In 1929, it again switched to new aircraft when it began receiving Handley Page Hinaidis, a radial engined derivative of the Hyderabad. By 1933, the Hinaidi, which was little improvement over bombers in use during the First World War, was recognised as obsolete, and in November the unit received the first production Handley Page Heyford heavy bombers. While these carried twice the bombload of the earlier aircraft, and had significantly better performance, they soon became outclassed. However, 99 Squadron, which had moved to RAF Mildenhall in November 1934, was obliged to retain the Heyford until October 1938, when it converted to Vickers Wellington monoplanes. In September 1935, "B" flight of 99 Squadron was split off to form 38 Squadron, while on 12 April 1937 the squadron again detached "B" flight, this time to form 149 Squadron.
World War II
The squadron was the first unit to be equipped with Vickers Wellingtons, just before the start of World War II. It flew its first operational mission of the war on the night of 8/9 September 1939, when three Wellingtons set off from Mildenhall to drop leaflets over Germany. The squadron temporarily dispersed to RAF Elmdon (now Birmingham Airport) the next day before moving to a more permanent new home at RAF Newmarket, Suffolk on 15 September. On 14 December 1939, 12 Wellingtons of the squadron set off for an armed reconnaissance of the Schillig Roads, hoping to attack a force of German warships spotted by a British submarine the previous night. While the formation encountered the German warships, the cloud base was too low to bomb the ships, and five of the bombers were lost over the North Sea, one shot down by anti-aircraft fire, three by German fighters and one lost in a collision. A further Wellington crashed on return to base. The squadron was a part of No. 3 Group RAF, Bomber Command and bombed targets in Norway and Germany, mainly at night. It moved to the newly established base at RAF Waterbeach in March 1941.
In February 1942 the squadron moved to India with the Wellingtons, and resumed operations in November 1942 against Japanese bases in Burma. From September 1944 the squadron re-equipped with Consolidated Liberators which allowed it to reach targets in Thailand and Malaya. During this period, the squadron included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew personnel, attached to it under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The squadron moved to the Cocos Islands in August 1945 to prepare for the planned invasion of Malaya. After the Japanese surrender the squadron disbanded there on 15 November 1945.
The unit continued in the transport rôle from 1949 to 1959 with the Handley Page Hastings, which was normally used as a transport aircraft but, as the squadron also had a tactical support rôle, was also used in 1956 to drop paratroops on Gamil Airfield during the Suez crisis.
From 1959 the squadron flew the Bristol Britannia, initially from Lyneham, then from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, from June 1970. The unit put the new long range turboprop aircraft to use to evacuate citizens from troublespots all over the world such as Congo 1960, Kuwait 1961, Belize 1961 and Aden 1967. The Squadron was disbanded on 6 January 1976, following the 1974 Defence White Paper.
C-17 Globemaster III (2000–present)
The squadron was reformed again in November 2000, to operate the RAF's C-17s. The first of the squadron's four initial C-17s was delivered to the RAF on 17 May 2001, arriving at Brize Norton on 23 May. One of the first high-profile missions of the squadron was the deployment of Lynx helicopters and support equipment to Macedonia as part of a NATO peacekeeping force. This deployment was codenamed Operation Bessemer.
Previously the RAF had to lease commercial heavy lifters such as the Antonov An-124 to return the aircraft to the UK, or launch a major logistical effort to allow a ferry flight. In any case the C-17 has proved invaluable to the RAF and in December 2009, the Ministry of Defence announced its intention to acquire a seventh aircraft. This was received by the RAF at Boeing's Long Beach, California facility on 16 November 2010. The UK announced the purchase of its eighth C-17 in February 2012.
On 13 January 2013, it was announced that two No. 99 Squadron C-17s were to be used to transport French military equipment and troops to Mali. On 15 November 2013, a C-17 of No. 99 Squadron flew to the Philippines to assist with aid efforts there after Typhoon Haiyan.
In August 2021, the C-17 was called upon to assist with Operation Pitting, the evacuation of Kabul. Four aircraft were deployed and the aircraft's normal capacity of 138 people was increased and exceeded almost every day. On 24 August there were 354 persons on board, and by the close of the evacuation, 436 stood as the new record and the greatest number of people ever flown on a single RAF aircraft.
|March 1918||November 1918||de Havilland DH.9||Single-engined biplane bomber|
|August 1918||March 1920||de Havilland DH.9A||Single-engined biplane bomber|
|April 1924||December 1924||Vickers Vimy||Twin-engined biplane bomber|
|August 1924||December 1925||Avro Aldershot||Mk.III||Single-engined heavy bomber|
|December 1925||January 1931||Handley Page Hyderabad||Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber|
|October 1929||December 1933||Handley Page Hinaidi||Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber|
|November 1933||September 1937||Handley Page Heyford||Mk.I||Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber|
|November 1934||August 1938||Handley Page Heyford||Mk.II||Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber|
|December 1935||November 1938||Handley Page Heyford||Mk.III||Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber|
|October 1938||December 1939||Vickers Wellington||Mk.I||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|September 1939||April 1940||Vickers Wellington||Mk.Ia||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|March 1940||February 1942||Vickers Wellington||Mk.Ic||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|July 1941||October 1941||Vickers Wellington||Mk.II||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|October 1942||May 1943||Vickers Wellington||Mk.Ic||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|April 1943||August 1944||Vickers Wellington||Mk.III||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|April 1943||August 1944||Vickers Wellington||Mk.X||Twin-engined medium bomber|
|September 1944||November 1945||Consolidated Liberator||Mk.VI||Four-engined heavy bomber|
|November 1947||September 1949||Avro York||C.1||Four-engined transport|
|August 1949||June 1959||Handley Page Hastings||C.1||Four-engined transport|
|May 1952||June 1959||Handley Page Hastings||C.2||Four-engined transport|
|June 1959||January 1976||Bristol Britannia||C.1 and C.2||Four-engined transport|
|2002||Present Day||Boeing Globemaster||C-17A||Four-engined strategic transport|
|15 August 1917||30 August 1917||RAF Yatesbury, Wiltshire||First formation|
|30 August 1917||25 April 1918||RAF Ford Farm, Wiltshire|
|25 April 1918||3 May 1918||St. Omer, France|
|3 May 1918||5 June 1918||Tantonville, France|
|5 June 1918||16 November 1918||Azelot, France|
|16 November 1918||29 November 1918||Auxi-le-Chateau, France|
|29 November 1918||12 December 1918||St. André-aux-Bois, France|
|12 December 1918||1 May 1919||Aulnoye, France|
|1 May 1919||15 June 1919||en route to British India via SS Magwa and SS Syria|
|15 June 1919||30 September 1919||Ambala, Haryana, British India|
|30 September 1919||2 April 1920||Mianwali, Punjab, British India||Det. at Kohat, North-West Frontier Province|
|1 April 1924||31 May 1924||RAF Netheravon, Wiltshire||Second formation|
|31 May 1924||5 January 1928||RAF Bircham Newton, Norfolk|
|5 January 1928||15 November 1934||RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire|
|15 November 1934||2 September 1939||RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk|
|2 September 1939||8 March 1941||RAF Newmarket, Suffolk||Det. at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland|
on loan to Coastal Command Nov–Dec 1939
Det. at Salon, France, June 1940
|8 March 1941||12 February 1942||RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire|
|12 February 1942||1 June 1942||en route to British India|
|1 June 1942||12 September 1942||Ambala, Haryana, British India||Re-formed here. Dets at Solan, Punjab, British India|
and Pandaveswar, Bengal, British India
|12 September 1942||24 October 1942||Pandaveswar, Bengal, British India|
|24 October 1942||3 April 1943||Digri, Bengal, British India|
|3 April 1943||14 June 1943||Chaklala, Punjab, British India|
|14 June 1943||27 August 1944||Jessore, Bengal, British India||Dets. at Argatala, Twipra Kingdom|
and Kumbhirgram, Assam, British India
|27 August 1944||1 August 1945||RAF Dhubalia, Bengal, British India|
|1 August 1945||15 November 1945||RAF Cocos Islands, Straits Settlements|
|17 November 1947||16 June 1970||RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire||Third formation. Det. at RAF Wunstorf, Germany during Berlin Blockade|
|16 June 1970||7 January 1976||RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire|
|1 January 2002||present||RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire||Fourth formation|
|15 August 1917||11 March 1918||Capt. A.M. Swyny|
|11 March 1918||5 November 1918||Maj. L.A. Pattinson, MC, DFC|
|5 November 1918||2 April 1920||Maj. C.R. Cox, AFC|
|23 April 1924||4 September 1925||S/Ldr. G.R.M. Reid, DSO, MC|
|4 September 1925||1 October 1925||S/Ldr. L.T.N. Gould, MC, DFC|
|1 October 1925||3 April 1927||S/Ldr. W.J. Ryan, CBE|
|3 April 1927||26 July 1929||W/Cdr. B.E. Smithies, DFC|
|26 July 1929||19 November 1929||W/Cdr. W.B. Hargreaves, OBE|
|19 November 1929||19 February 1930||S/Ldr. G.H. Cock|
|19 February 1930||1 August 1932||W/Cdr. H.G. Smart, CBE, DFC, AFC|
|1 August 1932||13 January 1934||W/Cdr. E.D. Johnson, AFC|
|13 January 1934||1 January 1936||W/Cdr. F.J. Linnell, OBE|
|1 January 1936||21 June 1937||W/Cdr. H.N. Drew, OBE, AFC|
|21 June 1937||26 September 1939||W/Cdr. H.E. Walker, MC, DFC|
|26 September 1939||29 June 1940||S/Ldr. J.F. Griffiths, DFC|
|29 June 1940||16 January 1941||W/Cdr. R.J.A. Ford|
|16 January 1941||12 December 1941||W/Cdr. F.W. Dixon-Wright, DFC|
|12 December 1941||14 June 1942||W/Cdr. P. Heath|
|14 June 1942||25 April 1943||W/Cdr. J.B. Black, OBE, DFC|
|25 April 1943||11 June 1943||S/Ldr. C.L.M. Schräder|
|11 June 1943||15 March 1944||S/Ldr. R.G. Maddox, AFC|
|15 March 1944||24 May 1944||S/Ldr. A.S.R. Ennis, DSO, AFC|
|24 May 1944||3 September 1944||S/Ldr. P.R. O'Connor, DFC|
|3 September 1944||23 April 1945||W/Cdr. L.B. Ercolani, DSO, DFC|
|23 April 1945||15 November 1945||W/Cdr. A. Webster, DSO, DFC|
|17 November 1947||6 May 1949||S/Ldr. G.V. Ridpath, DFC|
|6 May 1949||10 June 1950||S/Ldr. S.E. Pattinson, DFC|
|10 June 1950||3 May 1951||S/Ldr. W.G. James|
|3 May 1951||14 September 1952||W/Cdr. B.C. Bennett, AFC|
|14 September 1952||17 July 1954||S/Ldr. K.B. Orr|
|17 July 1954||27 April 1956||S/Ldr. R.F.B. Powell|
|27 April 1956||27 May 1957||S/Ldr. D.R. Ware, DFC, AFC|
|27 May 1957||9 January 1959||S/Ldr. T.M. Stafford|
|9 January 1959||5 October 1959||W/Cdr. J.O. Barnard, OBE|
|5 October 1959||28 September 1961||W/Cdr. W.E.F. Grey, AFC|
|28 September 1961||12 November 1963||W/Cdr. P. Barber, DFC|
|12 November 1963||27 December 1965||W/Cdr. R.M. Jenkins, AFC|
|27 December 1965||1 August 1967||W/Cdr. T.L. Kennedy, AFC|
|1 August 1967||21 June 1969||W/Cdr. F.B. Yetman|
|21 June 1969||25 June 1971||W/Cdr. W.C. Milne|
|25 June 1971||3 September 1973||W/Cdr. F. Appleyard|
|3 September 1973||7 January 1976||W/Cdr. C.E. Bowles|
- Moyes 1976, p. 127.
- Rawlings 1982, p. 97.
- Edgerley 1993, pp. 42–44.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 13.
- Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 52.
- Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, pp. 67–68.
- Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 88.
- Rawlings 1961, p. 339.
- Rennles 2002, pp. 71–73.
- Edgerley 1993, p. 35.
- 99 Squadron Archived 6 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine 99 Squadron Royal Air Force. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
- Rawlings 1961, p. 340.
- Ward and Smith 2008, p. 211.
- Ward and Smith 2008, p. 3.
- Bowyer 1990, p. 161.
- Ward and Smith 2008, p. 5.
- Ward and Smith 2008, p. 7.
- Richards 1953, pp. 44☼45.
- Bowyer 1990, p. 200.
- Bowman, p. 161
- "Handley Page Hastings C1A". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
- "99 Squadron Memorial". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
- 99 Squadron, WWW.raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 30 September 2010
- "Globemaster Aircraft flight to the Republic of Macedonia". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
- "RAF Brize Norton: Gateway Magazine: RAF Receives Seventh C-17". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- Hoyle, Craig. "UK to buy eighth C-17 transport". Flight International, 8 February 2012.
- "Mali: RAF C17 cargo plane to help French operation". BBC News. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "RAF aid plane on way to Philippines in relief effort". BBC News. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- "Biggest Airlift In RAF History On C-17 Evacuation Flight From Kabul". Forces Network. 30 August 2021.
- Wells, David (14 September 2022). "ZZ177 spells LIZZ: Everyone says same thing about number on C-17 plane that flew Queen to London". forces.net. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
- Moyes 1976, pp. 129–130.
- Jefford 2001, p. 56.
- Moyes 1976, pp. 128–129.
- Edgerley 1993, p. 313.
- Bowman, Martin, Bombers Fly East: WWII RAF Operations in the Middle and Far East. Pen & Sword, 2017. ISBN 978-1473863149.
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. Action Stations: 1. Military airfields of East Anglia. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Limited, Second edition, 1990. ISBN 1-85260-377-1.
- Bowyer, Michael J.F. and John D.R. Rawlings. Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.
- Delve, Ken. The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
- Edgerley, Squadron Leader A.G. Each Tenacious: A History of No. 99 Squadron (1917–1976). Worcester, UK: Square One Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-872017-67-3.
- 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: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
- Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W. Burma Liberators: RCAF in SEAC. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Next Level Press, 1991. ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
- 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, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
- 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.
- Rawlings, John D.R. "Squadron Histories: No. 99". Air Pictorial, November 1961, Vol. 23 No. 11. pp. 339–340, 342.
- 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.
- Renneles, Keith. Independent Force: The War Diary of the Daylight Squadrons of the Independent Air Force 6th June –11th December 1918. London: Grub Street, 2002. ISBN 1-902304-90-X.
- Richards, Denis. Royal Air Force 1939–1945: Volume I: The Fight at Odds. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1953.
- Shores, Christopher. Air War For Burma. London: Grun Street, 2005. ISBN 1-904010-95-4.
- Ward, Chris and Steve Smith. 3 Group Bomber Command: An Operational History. Barnsley, UK: Pen and Sword, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84415-796-9.
- Official website
- Barrass, M.B. (2010). "No 96 – 100 Squadron Histories". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. rafweb.org. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
- Bond, Martin (2003). "99 Squadron, Royal Air Force 1939 to 1945". 99 Squadron Association. mainly99.users.btopenworld.com. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
- Quirk, Robert (2009). "99 Squadron RAF". SEAC Liberator Squadrons. rquirk.com. Retrieved 30 September 2010.