RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 103 Squadron

Motto: Nili me tangere (Touch me not)

Formed at Beaulieu as a day bomber unit on 1 September 1917, it was equipped with DH9 and moved to France in May 1918. For the rest of the war it carried out raids against various enemy targets behind the front lines, eventually returning to Shotwick in March 1919 as a cadre and disbanding on 1 October 1919.

It reformed on 10 August 1936 as a light bomber unit at Andover, equipped with Hinds. Moving north to Usworth in February 1938, the squadron received Battles in July and returned south to Abingdon in August. On the outbreak of war, it joined the Advanced Air Striking Force in France, flying reconnaissance missions until May 1940 when it undertook attacks against bridges and the advancing German columns. On 21 May, it took over No 218's aircraft but by the time it returned to Britain in mid June, it only had about eight aircraft left. It continued to operate against the build up of invasion barges in the channel ports at night until October when it re-equipped with Wellingtons.

Operations with Wellingtons began in December 1940 from Newton, but in July 1941, the squadron moved to Elsham Wolds, where it remained until the end of the war. In July 1942 the squadron re-equipped with Halifax IIs, but these were only used for three months and Lancasters arrived in November. It continued to fly as part of Bomber Command's Main Force for the remainder of the war, disbanding on 26 November 1945 by being renumbered No 57 Squadron. One of its aircraft, Lancaster III - ED888 - PM-M2, completed 140 operations between 4 May 1943 and December 1944, although only 75 of these were with No 103 Squadron, the other 65 being with No 576 Squadron, this was a Bomber Command record.

From 1 February 1949 until 30 November 1954, the squadron number was linked to that of No 50 Squadron but on the 30th, the squadron was reformed at Gutersloh as a Canberra unit within No 551 Wing, but disbanded on 1 August 1956. Three years later to the day, No 284 Squadron in Cyprus was renumbered 103 and until disbanding into No's 1563 and 1564 Flights on 31 July 1963, it provided helicopter support, Sycamores, to the security forces on the island. The following day, 1 August, it reformed from 'B' Flight of No 110 Squadron at Seletar. It was again a helicopter unit, but now equipped with Whirlwind HAR Mk 10s, which it used to support ground forces in both Malaya and Borneo as well as carry out search and rescue missions as required. In November 1972, the Whirlwinds were replaced by Wessex HC Mk 2s but on 31 July 1075 the squadron disbanded.


Award of Standard originally announced on 7 Oct 1969, effective from 1 Apr 1969 but presented:-

Battle Honours:

Western Front, 1918: Hindenburg Line: France & Low Countries, 1939-40: Invasion Ports, 1940: Fortress Europe, 1940-44: Biscay Ports, 1941-43: Berlin, 1941-44: German Ports, 1941-45: Baltic, 1941-45: Ruhr, 1941-45: France & Germany, 1944-45:

Squadron Codes used: -

103 Aug 1936 - Apr 1939
GV Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
PM Sep 1939 - Nov 1945

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023