No 19 Squadron RAF

Motto: Possunt Quia Posse Videntur (They can because they think they can)

The Squadron remained in the UK after the outbreak of war, and was part of No. 12 Group, Fighter Command, during the Battle of Britain. Later versions of Spitfires were flown until the arrival of Mustangs for close-support duties in early 1944. After D-Day, 19 Squadron briefly went across the Channel before starting long-range escort duties with Coastal Command off the coast of Norway.

No 5 Reserve Squadron provided the nucleus for No 19 when it formed at Castle Bromwich on 1 September 1915. Training was carried on a variety of types until RE7s arrived in December but its proposed move to France was postponed until July 1916. By the time it arrived in France it had been designated a fighter squadron and had been re-equipped with BE12s for this purpose, which it retained until February 1917. However, the unsuitable BEs had begun to be replaced by SPAD S VIIs in December 1916 and it operated these and later SXIIIs, until Sopwith Dolphins were received in January 1918 (The Dolphin is commemorated in the squadron badge - see opposite). Dolphins were flown for the remainder of the war and into 1919 when the squadron returned to the UK in February and disbanded on 31 December 1919.

19 reformed at Duxford on 1 April 1923 within No 2 FTS, its role being to train fighter pilots. In June its sole flight was expanded to full squadron strength and with No 2 FTSs move in December it became an independent unit. It was to remain at Duxford, except for a month at Henlow in 1935 until 1940, successively equipped with Grebes, Siskins IIIs, Bulldogs and Gauntlets until August 1938 when No 19 was the first squadron to receive the Spitfire I.

It operated through 1940 on defensive duties in No 12 Group alternating between Duxford and its satellite, Fowlmere. It became the first squadron to use cannon armed Spitfires, but these early weapons were unreliable and the squadron soon reverted to standard eight-gun Mk Is. The squadron continued to operate in Fighter Command with successive models of Spitfires until it joined 2 TAF in June 1943. February 1944 saw the arrival of Mustangs, which it continued to use for daylight escort missions during the run up to D-Day and for army support missions after the invasion. From September if began long range escort missions for daylight raids, operating from East Anglia and these continued until February 1945 when the squadron moved to Scotland, returning south again with the end of the war.

Spitfires returned in March 1946 but in October the De Havilland Hornet F Mk 1 arrived. This twin engined fighter was used in the escort and intruder role until replaced by Meteors 1951 and Hunters in 1956. Based at Church Fenton from 1947, the squadron moved from West to East Yorkshire in 1959 when it transferred to Leconfield, where it received Lightning F Mk 2s in 1962. From 11 February 1949 until 31 May 1954, No 19 was linked with No 152 Squadron. In September 1965 the squadron left the UK, together with co-located No 92 Squadron, for Gutersloh in Germany.

On 1 October 1976 No 19 (Designate) Squadron began training at Wildenrath as a Phantom FGR Mk 2 fighter unit, as a result the Lightning equipped No 19 disbanded at Gutersloh on 31 December 1976 and the Phantom unit at Wildenrath formally adopted the number the following day. It continued to operated as part of RAF Germany until disbanded on 9 January 1992.

However, on 23 September 1992 No 19 (Reserve) Squadron was formed by re-numbering No 63 (Reserve) Squadron, which was part of No 7 FTS at Chivenor. With the closure of No 7 FTS, the numberplate was re-allocated to the CFS element of No 4 FTS at Valley, from where it still currently operates.

Battle Honours:

Western Front, 1916-1918: Somme, 1916: Arras: Ypres, 1917: Somme, 1918: Amiens: Hindenburg Line:
Dunkirk: Home Defence, 1940-1942: Battle of Britain, 1940: Channel & North Sea, 1941-1942:
Fortress Europe, 1942-1944: Dieppe: Normandy, 1944: Arnhem: France & Germany, 1944-1945:

Squadron Codes used: -
WZ Oct 1938 - Sep 1939
QV Sep 1939 - Nov 1941, Jan 1944 - Apr 1951

Web References:

  • http://s127207177.websitehome.co.uk/index.html
  • http://www.rafweb.org/Menu.htm#Groups
  • http://www.rafweb.org/SqnMark019B.htm
  • http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List of Royal Air Force aircraft squadrons

 

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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019