This article is within the scope of WikiProject United Kingdom, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the United Kingdom on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
The Group was initially formed on 1 April 1918 in No 4 Area. It was transferred to North-Eastern Area, 8 May 1918. Disbanded 18 Oct 1919.
Reformed 1 Sep 1938 as No 18 (Reconnaissance) Group in Coastal Command. In October 1946, it was headquartered at Pitreavie Castle and its front-line strength consisted of Nos 120 and No. 203 Squadrons operating from RAF Leuchars flying Lancaster GR.3s.(The History of the Royal Air Force, p.216-217) However by 1954 its strength had grown to six squadrons of Avro Shackletons, Neptunes, and Handley Page Hastings. With the advent of Strike Command the former 18 Group became the Northern Maritime Air Region, and Coastal Command was renamed 18 Group, both changes happening on 28 Nov 1969. Within Strike Command the new group's title was No 18 (Maritime) Group. From that point the Group commander held the NATO post of Commander, Maritime Air, Eastern Atlantic, reporting to CinC, Eastern Atlantic at the Northwood Headquarters in London. The Group commander also held the corresponding post within the NATO Channel Command.
The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod entered service in late 1970 and early 1971, initially with four squadrons of six aircraft, 120, 201, and 206 at Kinloss and 42 at St. Mawgan. Elements also went to Malta; No. 203 Squadron disbanding there at RAF Luqa in 1977 while flying Nimrods. Also part of the force were Sea King helicopters, flying for a long period in the SAR role with No. 22 and 202 Squadrons. Blackburn Buccaneers joined the Group in the mid 1970s, and with the retirement of the final Royal Navy Buccaneers in December 1978, Nos 12, 208, and 216 Squadrons began to operate them at RAF Honington, before shifting north to RAF Lossiemouth from July 1980. No. 216 Squadron however disbanded as a Buccaneer unit in late 1980 due to a shortage of airframes following the discovery of fatigue cracks. In 1985 other units of the Group were Nos 51, 100, and 360 Squadrons at RAF Wyton, as well as No. 236 OCU carrying out Canberra operational conversion at the same station.