RAF No 22 Squadron emblem

RAF No 22 Squadron

Motto: Preux et audicieux (French: "Valiant and Brave")

The use of the symbol 'pi' is said to have originated from the fact that during part of WW1, No 22 was part of No 7 Wing and that when taking off in a certain direction aircraft of No 22 flew over the HQ of No 7 Wing. This lead to the use of 'pi' because 'pi' can be expressed mathematically as "22 over 7". No 22 arrived in France equipped with FE2bs on 1 April 1916 having been formed at Gosport on 1 September the previous year. It operated in the Army Reconnaissance role until July 1917 when it converted to the Bristol F2b and the fighter-reconnaissance role. Becoming part of the Army of Occupation it returned to Britain in September 1919, disbanding at Ford on 31 December 1919.

It was reformed on 24 July 1923 as part of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath, where it undertook trials on various types prior to their acceptance or otherwise into service. When it was redesignated the Performance Testing Squadron on 1 May 1934 a new No 22 came into being at Donibristle. It was now in the Torpedo-bomber role, equipped with Vildebeests, which it took with it to Malta in October 1935, during the Abyssinian Crisis. Returning to the UK in August 1936 and moving to Thorney Island in 1938, it was November 1939 before replacements for the Vildebeests began to arrive. These were in the form of the Bristol Beaufort, with which the squadron carried out its first operation on 15 April 1940.

At one point the squadron also trained Maryland crews ('C' Flight) who later joined No 431 Flight in Malta.

Operations continued against coastal targets and shipping until March 1942 when the squadron began its move overseas, arriving in Ceylon on 28 April 1942. After an attempt by the Japanese to attack Ceylon further expected attacks did not materialise and No 22 found itself carrying out escort and anti-submarine patrols. Re-equipment with Beaufighters occurred in June 1944 and from December, that year it moved to Burma and began ground attack and ASR missions, disbanding on 30 September 1945.

It reformed again in the Far East on 1 may 1946 at Seletar when No 89 Squadron was redesignated but on 15 August it disbanded yet again. There then followed a eight and a half year break until 15 February 1955 when it reformed at Thorney Island as a Search and Rescue Helicopter unit, however, during this period (11 December 1949 - 20 December 1954) it was linked to No 29 Squadron as a way of keeping that number alive. As such it has operated detached flights at various locations around the British Isles until the present day and has been equipped with the Sycamore HC Mk 14s (1955), Whirlwind HAR Mk 2 (1955 - 1963), Whirlwind HAR Mk 10 (1962 - 1981), Wessex HAR Mk 2 (1976 - 1997) and Sea King HAR Mk 3/3A (1997 - 2015). In July 2015 the last SAR flight was carried out by 'C' Flight at RAF Valley with UK SAR responsibility being transferred to the Coastguard and Maritime Agency.

Standards Battle
Award of Standard originally announced on 15 Jan 1952, effective from 1 Apr 1951 but presented:-

  • 1st - 20 October 1960 - AM Sir Ralph Sorley.
  • 2nd - 15 March 1978 - ACM Sir David Evans.
  • Battle Honours*

  • Western Front, 1916-1918:
  • Somme, 1916:
  • Ypres, 1917:
  • Cambrai, 1917:
  • Somme, 1918:
  • Lys:
  • Amiens:
  • Hindenburg Line:
  • Channel & North Sea, 1939-1941:
  • France & Low Countries, 1940:
  • Invasion Ports, 1940:
  • Biscay Ports, 1940-1941:
  • Mediterranean, 1942:
  • Eastern Waters, 1942-1945:
  • Burma, 1944-1945:
  • Squadron Codes used: -
    VR Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
    OA Sep 1939 - Nov 1944

    Web References: http://www.rafweb.org/Squadrons/Sqn021-25.htm

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    This webpage was updated 30th June 2023