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No. 18 Squadron RAF

No. 18 Squadron RAF
18 Squadron badge
Active 11 May 1915 -,
Role Transportation
Search and rescue
Garrison/HQ RAF Odiham
Motto Animo et fide (With courage and faith)
Equipment Chinook HC.2
Pegasus rampant

No. 18 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Boeing Chinook HC.2 from RAF Odiham. No. 18 Squadron was the first and is currently the largest RAF operator of the Chinook. Owing to its heritage as a bomber squadron, it is also known as No. 18 (B) Squadron.


  • History 1
    • First World War 1.1
    • Reformation 1.2
    • Second World War 1.3
    • Post war 1.4
  • See also 2
  • References 3
    • Notes 3.1
    • Bibliography 3.2
  • External links 4


First World War

The squadron was formed on 11 May 1915 at Northolt as part of the Royal Flying Corps.[1] It arrived in France on 19 November 1915,[2] principally equipped with the Vickers FB5 'Gunbus', supplemented by a few Airco DH.2s and Bristol Scouts, and operating in the Army cooperation role. By April 1916 the squadron had re-equipped with FE2bs.[1] Victor Huston became a flying ace piloting one of these.[3][4] The squadron was heavily deployed during the Battle of the Somme, where it was attached to the Cavalry Corps and trained to assist it in the event on any breakthrough,[1][5] but towards the end of the year and into early 1917, was increasingly deployed on night operations as its F.E.2bs became more vulnerable during daylight operations.[1]

The squadron re-equipped with

  • 18 Squadron - RAF Website
  • RAF Odiham - 18 (B) Sqn
  • 18 (B) Sqn Association
  • RAFWeb
  • Air Scene UK 18 Sqn

External links

  • Ashworth, Chris. Encyclopedia of Modern Royal Air Force Squadrons. Willingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
  • Bowyer, Michael J. F. 2 Group R.A.F.: A Complete History, 1936–1945. London: Faber and Faber, 1974. ISBN 0-571-09491-0.
  • Brookes, Andrew. Valiant Units of the Cold War. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978 1 84908 753 7.
  • Bruce, J. M. The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30084-x.
  • Butterworth, A. With Courage and Faith: the Story of No.18 Squadron Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1989. ISBN 0-85130-173-8.
  • Halley. James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • Jones, H. A. The War in the Air: Being the story of the part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force: Vol. II. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1928.
  • Jones, H. A. The War in the Air: Being the story of the part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force: Vol. IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934.
  • Rawlings, J. D. R. "History of No. 18 Squadron". Air Pictorial, September 1964, Vol. 26, No. 9. pp. 288–290.
  • Thetford, Owen. "By Day and By Night: Part 3". Aeroplane Monthly. August 1992, Vol. 20, No. 8. pp. 16–22. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Richards, Denis. Royal Air Force 1939–1945: Volume I: The Fight At Odds.London: HMSO, 1953.
  • Thetford, Owen. "By Day and By Night: Hawker Hart and Hind". Aeroplane Monthly. August 1995, Vol. 23, No. 8. pp. 34–43. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Yoxall, John. "No. 18 Squadron: A Bomber Command Squadron with a Remarkable History: Part I". Flight, 27 January 1956. Vol. 69, No. 2453. pp. 109–111.
  • Yoxall, John. "No. 18 Squadron: A Bomber Command Squadron with a Remarkable History: Part II". Flight, 10 February 1956. Vol. 69, No. 2455. pp. 164–167.
  • Yoxall, John. "No. 18 Squadron: A Bomber Command Squadron with a Remarkable History: Part III". Flight, 17 February 1956. Vol. 69, No. 2456. pp. 190–193.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rawlings Air Pictorial September 1964, p. 288.
  2. ^ Jones 1928, p. 147.
  3. ^ Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  4. ^ Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b Yoxall Flight 27 January 1956, pp. 109, 111.
  6. ^ Jones 1934, pp. 179–180.
  7. ^ Bruce 1982, p. 55.
  8. ^ Jones 1934, pp. 312, 324–325, 337, 343–344.
  9. ^ Jones 1934, pp. 381–383.
  10. ^ Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  11. ^ Thetford Aeroplane Monthly August 1992, p. 18.
  12. ^ Rawlings Air Pictorial September 1964, pp. 288–289.
  13. ^ a b c d e Halley 1980, pp. 44–45.
  14. ^ Ashworth 1989, p. 68.
  15. ^ Yoxall Flight 27 January 1956, p. 111.
  16. ^ Thetford Aeroplane Monthly August 1995, pp. 36, 38.
  17. ^ Bowyer 1974, p. 479.
  18. ^ Bowyer 1974, p. 55.
  19. ^ a b Yoxall Flight 10 February 1956, p. 164.
  20. ^ Richards 1953, p. 108.
  21. ^ Yoxall Flight 10 February 1956, pp. 164–165.
  22. ^ Halley 1980, pp. 44–45, 202–203.
  23. ^ Brookes 2012, pp. 46–48.
  1. ^ This association later resulted in the Squadron adopting the winged horse Pegasus as part of its badge.[5]



An 18 Sqn Westland Wessex HC2 in 1967

See also

18 Squadron took part in the UK's deployment to the Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 15 HC.2s were sent from No. 7, No. 18, and No. 27 squadrons during Operation Telic.

18 Squadron was the only Chinook squadron that took part in Operation Corporate during the Falklands War in 1982. All the Chinooks were lost, except one, when the Atlantic Conveyor was sunk. The remaining aircraft (Bravo November, ZA718) flew almost continuously until the end of the conflict. The pilot of the aircraft Squadron Leader Richard "Dick" Langworthy AFC RAF was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his part in the air operations.

The squadron received its Chinooks HC.1s in 1981 and today operates 18 of the helicopters. The Chinook HC.2, equivalent to the US Army CH-47D standard, began to enter RAF service in 1993.

The Squadron was next operational in 1964, equipped with the Westland Wessex HC.2 at RAF Odiham, formed when the Wessex Trials unit was divided to form 18 and 72 Sqn. It then moved to RAF Gütersloh, Westphalia in support of the BAOR in Germany from 1965 to 1980. During this time a detachment was operated at RAF Nicosia, Cyprus, in support of the United Nations force.

On 15 December 1958, No. 199 Squadron RAF, operating Canberras and Vickers Valiants in the electronic countermeasures (ECM) role, disbanded, with the Valiant equipped C Flight being redesignated No. 18 Squadron. The squadron's seven Valiants were fitted with an array of powerful jammers to interfere with communications and radar. They were initially employed for training purposes, simulating hostile jamming in Fighter Command exercises (and occasionally inadvertently jamming TV reception over much of the United Kingdom), but later added a bomber support role. The squadron was disbanded on 31 March 1963, as the RAF's Vulcan and Victor bombers were now fitted with effective ECM equipment, while the training role could be performed more economically by smaller aircraft such as the Canberra.[22][23]

18 Squadron was reformed in 1953 at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire and equipped with the Canberra B.2 medium bomber. It was one of the first squadrons to be equipped with jet aircraft in that roll. In 1954 the squadron organised a reunion. The principal guest was the first squadron commander of 18 Sqn from War War 1 era, when the squadron was initially formed. This elderly gentleman was given the experience of a lifetime when he was taken for a flight in a Canberra, flown by the then C.O.

Post war

The Squadron was then assigned to anti-shipping duties, but during one raid over France in August 1941, one aircraft dropped a box over St Omer airfield containing an artificial leg. It was a spare for Wing Commander Douglas Bader. The Squadron then moved to North Africa with the Blenheim V and took up day bombing duties. During an unescorted raid on Chouigui airfield in December 1942 led by Wing Commander Hugh Malcolm, his aircraft was shot down and he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. During 1943–45, No. 18 Squadron supported the allied advance through Italy before moving to Greece in September 1945, disbanding there a year later.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, No. 18 Squadron along with 57 Squadron comprised No. 70 Wing and was still based at Upper Heyford and equipped with Blenheim Is.[18] The wing was allocated for deployment to France as part of the BEF Air Component, with the role of strategic reconnaissance.[19][20] 18 Squadron reached France by the end of September 1939,[13] commencing operations in October and re-equipping with Blenheim IVs in February 1940.[19] When Germany invaded France and the Low Countries, 18 Squadron took part in bombing missions against German troops as well as their envisioned reconnaissance missions. After the squadron was forced to change airfields three times in three days, it was ordered to evacuate back to England on 19 May, moving to RAF Watton in Norfolk.[21]

Second World War

The squadron reformed at RAF Mildenhall in July 1935.[15] In January 1936, the squadron moved to RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk, with part of the squadron being detached to form No. 49 Squadron on 10 February. In April 1936, the squadron's Harts were replaced by the improved Hawker Hind derivative.[13] The squadron joined the newly established No. 1 Group RAF in July 1936, and moved back to Upper Heyford in September 1936.[16] 18 Squadron transferred to 2 Group on 1 January 1939,[17] re-equipping with Bristol Blenheim I monoplane twin-engined bombers in May 1939.[13]


[14][13][12] on 31 December 1919.Weston-on-the-Green and the United Kingdom. The squadron returned to Britain in September 1919 and disbanded at British Army of the Rhine in early 1919, carrying mail between the Occupation of the Rhineland that ended the fighting on the Western Front, 18 Squadron moved into Germany in support of the Armistice of 11 November 1918 Following the [1] By the end of the war, the squadron had claimed 200 air-to-air victories.[11], this process continuing until November that year.Airco DH.9As In September 1918, the squadon began to re-equip with [10]

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