RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No.1435 Squadron

Motto: None and No Badge Authorised later "Defend the right" while the motto of the Falkland Islands is "Desire the right"

No.1435 Squadron was formed as a defensive fighter squadron on Malta, before becoming a fighter-bomber squadron operating over Italy and the Balkans.

The squadron's unusual designation was originally an unofficial one. A night fighter flight had been operating on Malta as No.1435 Flight. Soon after this was disbanded a new day fighter Spitfire flight began operations (23 July 1942), using pilots and aircraft from No.603 Squadron. The flight soon expanded to squadron size, and was unofficially given the title No.1435 Squadron. Rather unusually this unofficial designation was later approved by the Air Ministry and was used for the rest of the squadron's existence.

During 1942 the squadron served as a defensive fighter squadron helping protect Malta. In January 1943 it became a fighter-bomber squadron, and went onto the offensive, flying sweeps across Sicily.

In October 1943 the squadron moved to the mainland of Italy and joined the Balkan Air Force. The squadron was based in southern Italy and helped provide local air defence as well as flying ground attack missions in Albania and Yugoslavia, supporting local partisans. In September 1944 a detachment even moved onto the island of Vis in the Adriatic, remaining there until April 1945.

In February 1945 the main part of the squadron moved north to Falconara to remain within range of the front line in Italy, and from then until late April took part in the final battles of the Italian campaign. It was withdrawn in April 1945 and disbanded on 9 May 1945.


In November 1988, when 23 Squadron converted to the Tornado, 1435 Flight was revived, equipped with four McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2s. After No. 23 Squadron's disbandment at RAF Mount Pleasant, the mission and equipment were transferred to No. 1435 Flight, flying the Panavia Tornado F.3 and later the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The aircraft are permanently based in the islands, while the aircrew from the UK are cycled through No. 1435 Flight, with the only limitation being the necessary weather flying qualifications. While there they provide a 365 day, 24 hour alert. The Flight has maintained its Maltese connections, with its aircraft sporting the Maltese cross. The practice of naming the four-aircraft presence on the islands has also been maintained: they are called Faith, Hope and Charity, after the legendary three Gloster Sea Gladiators that once defended Malta, and Desperation. Desperation was added to the three traditional names when Phantoms entered service in the Falklands and the flight was revived in 1988. Faith, Hope and Charity fly operationally, with Desperation appropriately in reserve. On their retirement in 1992, one of the Phantoms was placed as the gate guardian at Mount Pleasant. The Phantoms were replaced by four Tornado F.3s. The four Tornados remained in active service until they were replaced in their turn by the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 in September 2009.[6] Although the unit's new aircraft do not have the traditional names applied, the four aircraft have tailcodes that match (F, H, C, D).

No. 1435 Flight is a Eurofighter Typhoon unit of the Royal Air Force, based at RAF Mount Pleasant, providing air defence for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The squadron goes by the motto of "Defend the right" while the motto of the Falkland Islands is "Desire the right".

During the Second World War, No. 1435 Flight was a nightfighter unit on Malta subsequently raised to squadron status becoming the only RAF flying squadron to be given a four digit number.


August 1942-November 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
March 1943-April 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
May-September 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB


August 1942-October 1943: Luqa
October-November 1943: Grottaglie
November 1943-May 1944: Brindisi
May-June 1944: Grottaglie
June-July 1944: Brindisi
July 1944-February 1945: Grottaglie
February-April 1945: Falconara
April-May 1945: Gragnano

Squadron Codes: V


1942: Defence fighter duties, Malta
1943-October 1943: Fighter-bomber squadron, Sicily
October 1943-February 1945: Fighter-bomber squadron Balkan Air Force
February 1945-May 1945: Fighter-bomber squadron, Northern Italy

Part of October 1943-February 1945: Balkan Air Force

From To Aircraft Variant
December 1941 June 1942 Mks.IIb, IIc
August 1942 April 1945 Mk.I
November 1988 1992 McDonnell Phantom II FGR.2
1992 September 2009 Panavia Tornado F.3
September 2009 Present Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4


  • Flintham, Vic and Andrew Thomas. Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.
  • 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, Wing Commander C.G., MBE, BA, RAF(Retd.). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988 (second edition 2001). ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Lake, Alan. Flying Units of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1999. ISBN 1-84037-086-6.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald & Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1969 (2nd edition 1976, reprinted 1978). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.
  • No 671 - 1435 Squadron Histories. RAFWEB Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation.
Email me to book a reading!

This webpage was updated 30th June 2023