Number 45 Squadron is a flying squadron of the Royal Air Force. The squadron, which was established on 1 March 1916 as part of the Royal Flying Corps, currently provides flying training using Embraer Phenom T1s and operates under the command of No. 3 Flying Training School at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire.

No. 45 Squadron RAF
Squadron badge
Active1 March 1916 – 1 April 1918 (RFC)
1 April 1918 – 31 December 1919 (RAF)
1 April 1921 – 17 January 1927
25 April 1927 – 13 January 1970
1 August 1972 – 26 July 1976
1 January 1984 – 1 April 1992
1 July 1992 – present
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Royal Air Force
TypeFlying squadron
RoleMulti-engine pilot and weapons systems operator training
Part ofNo. 3 Flying Training School
Home stationRAF Cranwell
Nickname(s)'Flying Camels'
Motto(s)Per ardua surgo
(Latin for 'Through difficulties I arise')[1]
AircraftEmbraer Phenom T1
Battle honours * Honours marked with an asterisk are those emblazoned on the Squadron Standard
Squadron badge heraldryA winged camel, commemorating the Sopwith Camel used for a large part of the First World War, and the squadron's long association with the Middle East. Approved by King Edward VIII in October 1936.
Squadron roundel

History edit

First World War edit

Formed during World War I at Gosport on 1 March 1916 as Number 45 Squadron, the unit was first equipped with Sopwith 1½ Strutters which it was to fly in the Scout role. Deployed to France in October of that year, the Squadron found itself suffering heavy losses due to the quality of its aircraft. This did not change until it transitioned to the Sopwith Camel in July 1917. Transferred to the Austro-Italian front at the end of 1917, 45 Squadron there engaged in ground attack and offensive patrols until September 1918 when it returned to France and joined the Independent Force.[2]

Istrana, Members of No. 45 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, standing in front of a Sopwith Camel aircraft on the airfield

During the course of the war, some thirty flying aces had served in the squadron's ranks. They included future Air Vice-Marshal Matthew Frew, Cedric Howell, Geoffrey Hornblower Cock, future Air Commodore Raymond Brownell, John C. B. Firth, Kenneth Barbour Montgomery, Mansell Richard James, Norman Macmillan, Peter Carpenter, Richard Jeffries Dawes, Norman Cyril Jones, Ernest Masters, Henry Moody, Thomas F. Williams, William Wright, James Dewhirst, James Belgrave, Edward Clarke, Alfred Haines, Thomas M. Harries, Alan Rice-Oxley, Earl Hand, Arthur Harris, Charles Gray Catto, John Pinder,[3] and future Group Captain Sidney Cottle.[4]

Inter-war period edit

The squadron returned to England in February 1919 and disbanded in December 1919. In April 1921 it reformed at Helwan, Egypt. Assigned Vickers Vernon bomber-transports, the unit provided troop transportation and ground support and mail services throughout the Middle East, notably in support of anti-rebel operations in Iraq and Palestine. The unit transitioned to DH9As in 1927,to Fairey IIIs in 1929 and to Fairey Gordons in 1935. At some point the unit adopted the nickname "The Flying Camels". The Squadron Badge is a winged camel, approved by King Edward VIII in October 1936. The badge and nickname derive from the Sopwith used by the unit in World War I and its long service in the Middle East.[5]

Second World War edit

At the start of World War II, 45 Squadron converted to Bristol Blenheims. From mid-1940 it took part in the North African Campaign and on 11 June, was one of three squadrons that participated in the Allies' first attack on the Regia Aeronautica (Italian air force) base at El Adem: 18 Italian aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground, for the loss of three British aircraft.[6] The following day, the squadron participated in an attack on shipping at Tobruk, damaging the Italian cruiser San Giorgio.[7]

During late 1940 the squadron supported Allied ground forces in the East African Campaign, while based at Gura, in Eritrea. During its time at Gura, the squadron suffered losses – on 2 October two Blenheims were shot down by an Italian ace, sergeant-major Luigi "Gino" Baron; among the aircrew killed was 45 Squadron's CO, Sqn. Ldr. John Dallamore.[8] His successor was acting Sqn Ldr Patrick Troughton-Smith.[9]

In June 1941 to August 1941 the squadron was based at RAF Aqir in Palestine where it was involved in operations against the Vichy French in Lebanon and during an attack on Beirut on 10 July three were shot down in flames by Vichy French D-520 fighters. The crew of one were ordered to bail out but only the pilot, Sgt. Wilton-Jones, survived although badly burned and hospitalized in Tripoli, Lebanon. The mission was a success as a ceasefire was declared at one minute past midnight on 12 July and the allies took over the hospital on 16 July. [10]

From mid-1942 the unit was deployed to Burma and India, for service against the Japanese. Three aircraft from the Squadron participated in the first Allied bombing raid against Bangkok.[11]

Malayan Emergency edit

A 45 Squadron Beaufighter is loaded with rockets for use against communist forces in Malaysia
45 Sqn. Venoms at RAF Butterworth, Malaya, in 1956/57

After the Second World War, No. 45 Squadron served in the Malayan Emergency, flying out of RAF Station Tengah on the island of Singapore. There the unit engaged in ground attacks against pro-independence guerrillas belonging to the Malayan National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Malayan Communist Party. Dubbed Operation Firedog, these operations lasted for 12 years until the successful conclusion of the war. The unit also engaged in operations to quell unrest on the Sarawak coast in British North Borneo during this time period. While operating in Malaya the unit initially flew Bristol Beaufighters.[12] From 1955 the squadron was based at RAF Butterworth in Malaya flying de Havilland Venoms under the command of Squadron Leader Geoffrey Cooper.[13]

1960s to 1980s edit

Photos of 45 Squadron 1961

45 Sqn RAF Tengah 1961
45 Sqn. Canberra B.15s at RAF Tengah, Singapore, in 1963

After re-equipping with English Electric Canberra B.15s in 1962, the squadron became involved in the Brunei Revolution and the subsequent Confrontation with Indonesia until its resolution in 1966. The squadron disbanded on 13 January 1970 after the UK's withdrawal from East of Suez.[2]

On 1 August 1972, the squadron was reformed at RAF West Raynham, equipped with Hawker Hunter FGA.9s, as a ground-attack training unit. The squadron disbanded in July 1976 at RAF Wittering after this role was taken over by the Tactical Weapons Unit.[2]

Hawker Hunter FGA9 XK137 of No. 45 Squadron in 1976 with the "Winged Camel" insignia marked on its nose

In January 1984, the squadron number, as No. 45 (Reserve) Squadron, was assigned to the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit (TWCU) at RAF Honington. As a 'Shadow Squadron' or war reserve, the squadron's war role was as a fully operational unit composed mainly of instructors, and assigned strike and other duties by SACEUR in support of land forces on the Continent resisting a Soviet assault on Western Europe, by striking at targets assigned by SACEUR, beyond the forward edge of the battlefield, deep within enemy-held areas, first with conventional weapons and later with tactical nuclear weapons if a conflict escalated to that level. The squadron's twenty-six Tornado aircraft were allocated thirty-nine WE.177 nuclear bombs.[14]

On 1 April 1992, the unit was disbanded and TWCU title dropped, with its aircraft and personnel becoming No. 15 (Reserve) Squadron, whilst maintaining the same training role.[15]

1992 onwards edit

No. 45 (R) Squadron King Air B200 GT ZK460 parked at La Rochelle Airport in France, 2015 (during Course No. 217's Overseas Training Flight)
Embraer Phenom T1s of No. 45 Squadron at RAF Cranwell, April 2018

On 1 July 1992, the No. 45(R) Squadron identity was resurrected and adopted by the Multi-Engined Training Squadron (METS) at No. 6 FTS, RAF Finningley.[16] The new No. 45(R) Squadron moved to RAF Cranwell in October 1995, and in 2003, replaced its BAe Jetstream T.1s with Beechcraft B200 King Airs serviced by Serco. In 2018, the squadron converted to Embraer Phenom T1s.[17]

Commanding officers edit

1 March 1916 to 31 December 1919 edit

  • 20 to 27 March 1916 Captain C E Ryan
  • 27 March to 24 April 1916 Major L A Strange
  • 24 April 1916 to 24 April 1917 Major W R Read
  • 24 April to 18 August 1917 Major H P Van Ryneveld
  • 18 to 24 August 1917 Captain A T Harris (acting)[18]
  • 24 August 1917 to 16 July 1918 Major A M Vaucour (killed in action on 16 July 1918)
  • 16 to 23 July 1918 Captain R J Dawes
  • 23 to 28 July 1918 Captain N C Jones
  • 28 July to 21 October 1918 Captain J A Crook
  • 21 October 1918 to 3 February 1919 Major A M Miller
  • 3 February to 26 September 1919 Captain J W Pinder
  • List incomplete

1 April 1921 to 18 February 1970 edit

  • List incomplete
  • 1 November to 20 November 1922 Squadron Leader T F Hazell[19]
  • 20 November 1922 to 14 October 1924 Squadron Leader A T Harris[18]
  • 14 October 1924 to 30 November 1925 Squadron Leader R M Hill
  • List incomplete
  • 15 November 1928 to 4 March 1932 Squadron Leader F J Vincent[20]
  • 1932 to 1935 Squadron Leader H W L Saunders[21]
  • 14 September 1935 to 1937 Squadron Leader A R Churchman[22]
  • List incomplete
  • March 1940 to 2 October 1940 Squadron Leader John Walter Dallamore (killed in action)[23]
  • 2 October 1940 – ? Squadron Leader Patrick Phillip Troughton-Smith
  • 1944 to 1945 Squadron Leader George Oswald Leonard Dyke DFC
  • List incomplete
  • 24 November 1947 to 1948 Squadron Leader F L Dodd[24]
  • 23 July 1948 to 1950 Squadron Leader E D Crew[25]
  • List incomplete
  • 27 August 1951 to ? Squadron Leader I S Stockwell[26]
  • 1956 to ? Squadron Leader G S Cooper
  • 1960 to November 1961 Squadron Leader J W Valentine
  • List incomplete

1 August 1972 to present edit

  • List incomplete
  • February 2005 to April 2007 Squadron Leader JDR Bowland
  • List incomplete
  • June 2014 to August 2016 Wing Commander D Catlow
  • August 2016 to September 2020 Wing Commander R Tomala
  • September 2020 to Present Wing Commander J Radley

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 170. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ a b c "No.45 Squadron". Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  3. ^ Shores, Franks & Guest 1990, pp. 34–35
  4. ^ Shores, Franks & Guest 1990, p. 122
  5. ^ "RAF Badges - Nos 1 - 100 Squadrons". Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  6. ^ Playfair, Vol. I, page 112.
  7. ^ Playfair, Vol. I, pages 110, 112.
  8. ^ Håkan Gustavsson, 2015, "Biplane fighter aces, Italy, Sergente Maggiore Luigi 'Gino' Baron", Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War (4 June 2015). (See also the Italian language Wikipedia article on Gino Baron.)
  9. ^ "Patrick Troughton-Smith". Unit Histories. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  10. ^ "No. 45 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War".
  11. ^ Air fighting, Auckland Star, Volume LXXIII, Issue 8, 10 January 1942, Page 7
  12. ^ "Armourers of the Royal Air Force attach rockets to a Bristol Beaufighter aircraft of 45 Squadron prior to its flying a strike operation on a communist terrorist target in the Malayan jungle". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Air Commodore Geoffrey Cooper - obituary". The Telegraph. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  14. ^ "RAF nuclear frontline Order-of-Battle 1984". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  15. ^ March, Peter R. (1998). Brace by Wire to Fly-By-Wire – 80 Years of the Royal Air Force 1918–1998. RAF Fairford: Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund Enterprises. p. 158. ISBN 1-899808-06-X.
  16. ^ "No 45 Squadron". Air of Authority. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  17. ^ "1st Phenom flight under military register for UK military flying training system". Royal Air Force. Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  18. ^ a b "A T Harris". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  19. ^ "Royal Air Force: Appointments". Flight. XIV (731): 791. 28 December 1922. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  20. ^ "F J Vincent". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  21. ^ "H W L Saunders". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  22. ^ "A R Churchman". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  23. ^ J.N. Houterman. "Royal Air Force Officers 1939–1945 – D". Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  24. ^ "F L Dodd". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  25. ^ "E D Crew". Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  26. ^ "I S Stockwell". Retrieved 13 September 2013.

Bibliography edit

  • Ashworth, Chris. Encyclopedia of Modern Royal Air Force Squadrons. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-013-6.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • 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: Airlife Publishing, 1998 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Jefford, C.G.The Flying Camels: The History of No. 45 Squadron, RAF. High Wycombe, UK: Privately Printed, 1995.
  • Lewis, Peter. Squadron Histories: R.F.C., R.N.A.S. and R.A.F. 1912–59. London: Putnam, 1959.
  • 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.
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C.; with Flynn, Captain F.C. (R.N.) & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2009) [1st. pub. HMSO:1954]. Butler, Sir James (ed.). The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume I: The Early Successes Against Italy, to May 1941. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84574-065-8.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (new edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • Shores, Christopher F., Franks, Norman L. R., Guest, Russell. Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915–1920. Grub Street, 1990. ISBN 0-948817-19-4, ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.

External links edit