No. 11 Group RAF
No. 11 Group is a group in the Royal Air Force for various periods in the 20th century, disbanding in 1996 but reforming in 2018. Its most famous service was during 1940, when it defended London and the south-east from attacks by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. It was reformed in late 2018 as a "multi-domain operations group" to ensure the service thinks and acts in a networked way.
|No. 11 Group RAF|
|Active||1 Apr – 17 May 1918|
22 Aug 1918 – May 1920
1 May 1936 – 31 Dec 1960
1 Jan 1961 – 1 Apr 1963
1 Apr 1968 – 1 Apr 1996
1 Nov 2018 – present
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||RAF Air Command|
|Headquarters||RAF High Wycombe|
|Motto(s)||Tutela cordis (Latin for Guardians of the heart)|
|Air Officer Commanding||Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid OBE|
|Air Vice-Marshal Keith R Park|
|Group badge||Depicts the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster surrounded by an astral crown. The tower indicates London, the heart of the Empire, with whose safety the Group was charged during the Second World War. The hands of the clock are at 11 o'clock to represent the time of the Armistice of the First World War and the number of the Group. Awarded in 1940.|
First World WarEdit
The next incarnation of the Group occurred in 1918, when it formed as part of the North-Western Area on 22 August. On 6 February 1920, Group Captain Ian Bonham-Carter took command. Three months later, in May 1920, 11 Group was reduced in status to No. 11 Wing. The Group was reformed on 1 May 1936 as No. 11 (Fighter) Group by renaming Fighting Area. On 14 July 1936, 11 Group became the first RAF Fighter Command group, responsible for the air-defence of southern England, including London.
Second World WarEdit
No.11 Group was organised with the Dowding System of fighter control. Group Headquarters was at Hillingdon House, located at RAF Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The Group operations room was underground in what is now known as the Battle of Britain Bunker. Commands were passed to the sector airfields, each of which was in charge of several airfields and fighter squadrons. The sector airfields were:
Sector A: 
The most famous period of the Group was during the Battle of Britain when it bore the brunt of the German aerial assault. Pilots posted to squadrons in 11 Group knew that they would be in constant action, while pilots and squadrons transferred from 11 Group knew that they were going to comparatively safer. During the Battle of Britain, the Group was commanded by New Zealander Air Vice Marshal Keith Park. While supported by the commanders (AOCs) of No. 10 Group and No. 13 Group, he received insufficient support from the AOC of 12 Group, Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory, who used the Big Wing controversy to criticise Park's tactics. Leigh-Mallory's lack of support compromised Fighter Command a critical time and the controversy caused problems for Park. When the Battle of Britain was over, Leigh-Mallory, acting with Air Marshal Sholto Douglas, conspired to have Park removed from his position (along with the Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding). Leigh-Mallory then took over command of 11 Group.
In December 1951, after the war, II Group consisted of the Southern and Metropolitan sectors. The Southern Sector included 1 Squadron and No. 29/22 Squadrons at RAF Tangmere and 54 Squadron and 247 Squadron at RAF Odiham. The Metropolitan Sector had 25 Squadron at RAF West Malling, 41/253 Squadron at RAF Biggin Hill, 56/87 Squadron and 63 Squadron at RAF Waterbeach, 64 Squadron and 65 Squadron at RAF Duxford, 72 Squadron at RAF North Weald, 85/145 at RAF West Malling with Gloster Meteor NF.11s, and 257 Squadron and 263 Squadron at RAF Wattisham. Denoted by a '/', a short-lived RAF postwar scheme saw several squadrons linked, where two squadron numbers' heritage was carried on within one single unit.
In 1960 Fighter Command was re-organised and 11 Group was disbanded on 31 December 1960, to reform one day later when 13 Group was renamed 11 Group. On 1 April 1963, the Group was renamed No. 11 (Northern) Sector. This incarnation lasted until Fighter Command was absorbed into the new Strike Command on 30 April 1968 and became 11 Group. Group Headquarters shifted to RAF Bentley Priory in north-west London and took responsibility for the UK Air Defence Region (UK ADR). The English Electric Lightning entered service in 1960 and the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in 1969, with 43 Squadron at RAF Leuchars.
The group was renamed 11 (Air Defence) Group in January 1986. In the early 1990s, the front-line force consisted of 56 Squadron and 74 Squadrons flying Phantoms from RAF Wattisham, 5 Squadron and 29 Squadron flying the Panavia Tornado F3 from RAF Coningsby, 11 Squadron, 23 Squadron, and 25 Squadron flying the Tornado F3 from RAF Leeming and 43 Squadron and 111 Squadron at RAF Leuchars; 8 Squadron flew E-3D Sentry AEW1 from RAF Waddington, 5 Squadron and 11 Squadron had been the last units flying the English Electric Lightning from RAF Binbrook until 1988; 25 Squadron and 85 Squadron had been operating Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles and re-equipped with the Tornado and disbanded in 1989 and on 10 July 1991 respectively. The Wattisham Phantom Wing was disbanded relatively quickly following the end of the Cold War; 23 Squadron was disbanded in March 1994.
On 11 July 2018, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier announced at the Air Power Conference that 11 Group would reform as a "multi-domain operations group", to ensure the RAF thinks and acts in a networked way and combining air, space and cyber-warfare elements to create an integrated force. No increase in the number of senior officers or staff at headquarters was proposed as part of the reformation. The group reformed at a ceremony at RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire on 1 November 2018, when Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid took command.
Role and operationsEdit
No. 11 Group includes the capabilities of the Chief of Staff Operations and the Air Battle Staff, comprising the deployable Joint Force Air Component (JFAC), the National Air & Space Operations Centre (NASOC) and the Executive Team. The group also includes the RAF Battle Management Force. The Group is to ensure that the large amounts of data, intelligence and information contributes to the planning and execution of operations in the domains of air, space and cyber.
- RAF Boulmer, Northumberland – Home of the RAF Battlespace Management Force
- RAF Flyingdales, North Yorkshire – Home of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System and part of the Allied Space Surveillance Network.
- RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire – Home of the No. 1 Air Control Centre, the Mobile Meteorological Unit and to the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.
- RAF Spadedam, Cumbria – Home of the UK's Electronic Warfare Tactics Range.
List of group commandersEdit
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- "Key Battle of Britain Fighter Command group to be reformed". Press Association. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
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- "RAF Uxbridge – Battle of Britain Ops. Room". Subterranea Britannica. 31 October 2001. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
- Bickers, Richard Townshend (1990). Battle of Britain. London: Salamander Books. ISBN 0-86101-477-4.
- Reynolds, John D. R.; et al. (1984). The History of the Royal Air Force. Temple Press Aerospace. p. 204.
- Donald, David, ed. (1999). "RAF Phantoms". Wings of Fame. London: Aerospace. 15: 6. ISBN 1-86184-033-0.
- "No. 23 Squadron". Royal Air Force. 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Air Chief Marshal Sir Anthony Bagnall". Debrett's People of Today. 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Historic 11 Group reforms for multi-domain challenges". Royal Air Force. 5 November 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- "No 11 Group". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- Lancaster, Mark (24 July 2018). "Written Answers to Questions – Air Force" (PDF). UK Parliament. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
- "No. 51001". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 July 1987. p. 9283.
- "No 11 Group, about this group". Retrieved 6 November 2018.