No. 1 Group RAF
No. 1 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two operations groups in RAF Air Command. Today, the group is referred to as the Air Combat Group, as it controls the RAF's combat fast-jet aircraft and has airfields in the UK, as well as RAF Support Unit Goose Bay in Canada. The group headquarters is located alongside Headquarters Air Command at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The other operational group is No. 2 Group RAF.
|No. 1 Group|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Part of||RAF Air Command|
|Garrison/HQ||RAF High Wycombe|
|Motto(s)||"Swift to attack"|
|Air Officer Commanding||Air Vice-Marshal Allan Marshall|
|Group badge||A panther's head, erased, sable.|
The badge was authorised in 1941 and the black panther's head reflected the fact that Panther was the group's callsign in the early part of the Second World War
The following stations and squadrons are under the command of No 1 Group:
- RAF Coningsby
- RAF Leeming
- RAF Lossiemouth
- No. 1 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 2 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 6 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 9 Squadron RAF with Typhoon FGR4
- No. 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) – Moray Flight
- RAF Marham
- RAF Waddington
- No. 5 Squadron RAF (Army Cooperation) with Sentinel R1
- No. 8 Squadron RAF with Sentry AEW1
- No. 13 Squadron RAF with MQ-9 Reaper
- No. 14 Squadron RAF with Shadow R1
- No. 39 Squadron RAF with MQ-9 Reaper
- No. 51 Squadron RAF with RC-135W Airseeker
- No. 54 Squadron RAF ISTAR crews Operational Conversion Unit (OCU)
In April 2019, 1 Group took command of the Army's BN-2 Islander and Defender aircraft from 651 Squadron Army Air Corps. The aircraft will continue to be operated by Army personnel who will gradually be replaced by RAF personnel through attrition. It is as yet unknown which squadron these aircraft are placed under command.
First World WarEdit
The Group was renumbered as No. 6 Group on 19 May 1924 at RAF Kenley, and was reformed on the same day at RAF Kidbrooke. Two years later on 12 April 1926 the Group disappeared from the order of battle by being renumbered as No. 21 Group.
The next year the Group was reformed on 25 August 1927 by the renaming of Air Defence Group. This designation lasted until 1936 when it became No. 6 Group again. As in 1924 the Group was reformed the same day, this time as a bomber formation.
Second World WarEdit
On receipt of orders to move to France in 1939, Headquarters No. 1 Group became Headquarters Advanced Air Striking Force and the station headquarters and associated squadrons became Nos. 71, 72, 74, 75 and 76 Wings respectively. The Group re-emerged a few days later within Bomber Command on 12 September, but only lasted just over three months, being dropped on 22 December 1939.
It was reformed at Hucknall in Nottinghamshire on 22 June 1940. On 20 July the Group Headquarters moved to Bawtry Hall (RAF Bawtry) near Doncaster, where it was based for 44 years, until 1983. During the Second World War, the Group was primarily based at airfields in north Lincolnshire, like RAF Swinderby.
- Vickers Wellington: 166 & 199 Sqns RAF, and 300 Polish, 301 Polish & 305 Polish Sqns.
- Avro Lancaster: 12, 100, 101 & 103 Sqns RAF, and 460 Sqn RAAF.
All of the Wellington squadrons subsequently converted to Lancasters. No. 1 Group was later augmented with other units, including 304 Polish Squadron.
During Bomber Command's Second World War campaign, No. 1 Group dropped a higher tonnage of bombs per aircraft than any other group, this was mainly due to Air Commodore Edward Rice who was determined to maximise bomb loads, though it was a policy which contributed in no small measure to No. 1 Group having higher than average losses. Rice would later be involved in the development of the Rose turret, sometimes known as the "Rose-Rice turret".
Battle of NormandyEdit
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- No. 1 (B) Group HQ, RAF Bawtry, West Yorkshire
- RAF Hemswell
- Station HQ
- No. 1 Lancaster Finishing School (training with Lancaster I/III)
- Night Bomber Tactical School
- RAF Ingham (satellite of RAF Hemswell)
- RAF Sturgate (satellite of RAF Hemswell)
- No. 11 Base
- RAF Lindholme Station HQ
- No. 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF, RAF Lindholme equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 1662 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF, RAF Blyton equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III & Handley Page Halifax II/V
- No. 1667 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF, RAF Sandtoft equipped with Handley Page Halifax V
- No. 1 Group Servicing Section, RAF Lindholme
- No. 12 Base
- RAF Binbrook Station HQ
- No. 100 Squadron RAF, RAF Grimsby equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9100 Servicing Echelon
- No. 460 Squadron RAAF, RAF Binbrook equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9460 Servicing Echelon
- No. 625 Squadron RAF, RAF Kelstern, equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9625 Servicing Echelon
- No. 1 Ground Gunnery School, RAF Binbrook
- No. 13 Base
- RAF Elsham Wolds Station HQ
- No. 103 Squadron RAF, RAF Elsham Wolds equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9103 Servicing Echelon
- No. 166 Squadron RAF, RAF Kirmington equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9166 Servicing Echelon
- No. 550 Squadron RAF, RAF North Killingholme equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9550 Servicing Echelon
- No. 576 Squadron RAF, RAF Elsham Wolds equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9576 Servicing Echelon
- No.14 Base
- RAF Ludford Magna Station HQ
- No. 12 Squadron RAF, RAF Wickenby equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9012 Servicing Echelon
- No. 101 Squadron RAF, RAF Ludford Magna equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9101 Servicing Echelon
- No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron, RAF Faldingworth with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9300 Servicing Echelon
- No. 626 Squadron RAF, RAF Wickenby equipped with Avro Lancaster I/III
- No. 9626 Servicing Echelon
By June 1948, 1 Group consisted of:
- 9 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Avro Lincoln B.2
- 12 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Lincoln B.2
- 101 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Lincoln B.2
- 617 Sqn, RAF Binbrook, Lincoln B.2
- 83 Sqn, RAF Hemswell, Lincoln B.2
- 97 Sqn, RAF Hemswell, Lincoln B.2
- 100 Sqn, RAF Hemswell, Lincoln B.2
- 50 Sqn, RAF Waddington, Lincoln B.2
- 57 Sqn, RAF Waddington, Lincoln B.2
- 61 Sqn, RAF Waddington, Lincoln B.2
- 109 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, de Havilland Mosquito B.35
- 139 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, Mosquito B.35
During the Cold War, No. 1 Group also operated the Thor ballistic missile between 1958 and August 1963 ("Project Emily"), with ten squadrons each with three missiles being equipped with the weapon. 1 Group had two sets of five stations, centred respectively on Hemswell and RAF Driffield. When Bomber Command was subsumed into the new Strike Command on 1 April 1968, No. 1 Group took on the old role of the command, holding the bomber and strike aircraft of Strike Command. It then absorbed the squadrons of No. 38 Group RAF after that group disbanded.
In around 1984, Headquarters No. 1 Group moved from RAF Bawtry in South Yorkshire to RAF Upavon in Wiltshire. No. 207 Squadron RAF, part of 1 Group flying Devons from RAF Northolt alongside No. 32 Squadron RAF, was disbanded on retirement of the remaining Devons on 30 June 1984,
On 1 April 1996 No. 2 Group RAF was disbanded by being absorbed into No. 1 Group.
In January 2000 the RAF was restructured and the Group took on its present role. The Group is responsible for UK air defence operations through QRA North at RAF Lossiemouth and QRA South at RAF Coningsby. However, since the disestablishment of Combined Air Operations Centre 9 at RAF High Wycombe, actual control of the fighters is now carried out from a NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Denmark, CAOC 1 at Finderup. However, High Wycombe retains an air defence direction capability, and the UK Representative there could take back control over QRA South if it was necessary to respond to a terrorist threat from the air. No. 1 Group also has responsibility for the UK's Carrier Strike capability, with the joint RN/RAF Lightning Force, eventually planned to consist of two squadrons from the RAF and two from the Fleet Air Arm, which will be based at RAF Marham when not operating from the UK's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.
Air Officer CommandingEdit
Air Officers Commanding have included:
- 1 April 1918 unknown
- 29 February 1920 Group Captain Hugh Dowding
- 27 February 1922 Group Captain Eugene Gerrard
- 1 January 1923 Air Commodore E L Gerrard
- 21 July 1924 Group Captain Robert Gordon
- 31 December 1924 Group Captain P L W Herbert
- 12 April 1926 – 25 August 1927 group disbanded
- 9 August 1927 Air Commodore E L Gerrard
- 11 November 1929 Air Commodore William Foster
- 2 January 1934 Air Commodore Jack Baldwin
- 12 August 1935 Air Commodore J C Quinnell
- 1 May 1936 Air Commodore Owen Tudor Boyd
- 7 January 1937 Air Commodore S W Smith
- 17 February 1938 Air Vice-Marshal Patrick Playfair
- 24 August 1939 – 12 September 1939 No. 1 Group Renamed Advanced Air Striking Force
- 3 September 1939 Air Vice-Marshal A C Wright
- 22 December 1939 – 22 June 1940 group disbanded
- 27 June 1940 Air Commodore John Breen
- 27 November 1940 Air Vice-Marshal Robert Oxland
- 24 February 1943 Air Vice-Marshal E A B Rice
- 12 February 1945 Air Vice-Marshal Robert Blucke
- 15 January 1947 Air Vice-Marshal Charles Guest
- 24 January 1949 Air Vice-Marshal George Mills
- 8 August 1950 Air Vice-Marshal Edmund Hudleston
- 5 April 1951 Air Vice-Marshal Dermot Boyle
- 27 April 1953 Air Vice-Marshal John Whitley
- 3 October 1956 Air Vice-Marshal Augustus Walker
- 14 June 1959 Air Vice-Marshal John Davis
- 1 December 1961 Air Vice-Marshal Patrick Dunn
- 1 May 1964 Air Vice-Marshal Deryck Stapleton
- 1 June 1966 Air Vice-Marshal M H Le Bas
- 23 December 1968 Air Vice-Marshal Ruthven Wade
- 8 February 1971 Air Vice-Marshal Peter Horsley
- 3 March 1973 Air Vice-Marshal David Evans
- 29 November 1975 Air Vice-Marshal P J Lagesen
- 5 July 1978 Air Vice-Marshal David Craig
- 11 April 1980 Air Vice-Marshal Michael Knight
- 18 December 1982 Air Vice-Marshal David Parry-Evans
- 17 September 1983 Air Commodore H S Carver
- 1 April 1984 Air Vice-Marshal Michael Simmons
- 19 February 1987 Air Vice-Marshal John Thomson
- 24 February 1989 Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Wilson
- 1991–1993 Air Vice-Marshal Richard Johns
- 1993–1994 Air Vice-Marshal Peter Squire
- 1994–1997 Air Vice-Marshal John Day
- 1997–1998 Air Vice-Marshal Jock Stirrup
- 1998–2000 Air Vice-Marshal J H Thompson
- 2000–2001 Air Vice-Marshal P V Harris
- 2001–2003 Air Vice-Marshal Glenn Torpy
- 2003–2005 Air Vice-Marshal Chris Moran
- 2005–2007 Air Vice-Marshal David Walker
- 2007–2009 Air Vice-Marshal Chris Harper
- 2009–2011 Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell
- 2011–2014 Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha
- 2014–2016 Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall
- 2016–2018 Air Vice Marshal Gerry Mayhew
- 2018–2020 Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth
- 2020-Present Air Vice Marshal Allan Marshall 
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Air Commodore A P Marshall OBE to be promoted Air Vice-Marshal and to be Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group in March 2020 in succession to Air Vice-Marshal H Smyth OBE DFC
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- Jennings, Gareth (2 April 2019). "UK transfers Defender and Islander special mission aircraft from AAC to RAF". Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth Air Officer Commanding No. 1 Group [@@HarvSmyth] (2 April 2019). "Handover of Fixed Wing Manned Aerial Surveillance from Army to RAF" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- Rawlings 1985, p. 187.
- Martin Powell, "The Douglas Thor in Royal Air Force Service" Archived 20 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Rossendale Aviation Society – Article, accessed 2 June 2008
- Horseman, Martin, ed. (January 1983). "RAF Groups HQ to Merge". Armed Forces. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 7. ISSN 0142-4696.
- Burney, p411; Isby and Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front, 1985.
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- Wing Commander C. G. Jefford, MBE, RAF Squadrons; A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912.1994: Airlife Publishing Ltd., Shrewsbury, United Kingdom. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.