RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron

Motto: We Defy

Formed on 27 September 1918 from No's 439 and 440 Flts at Suda Bay and Syra, its Short 184s provided anti-submarine cover over the Aegean. It disbanded on 1 March 1919.

Reformed on 30 October 1939 as a fighter unit, it was the first squadron to be equipped with the Defiant turret fighter. Lacking any forward firing armament, the squadron soon worked out suitable tactics, which initially proved successful, but losses soon mounted and in August it was transferred to night fighter duties.

The Defiant proved much more suitable in this role and the squadron continued in this role until April 1942, when it was withdrawn from operations . In May it began conversion to the Mosquito II night fighter and from January 1943 it began intruder operations. Re-equipping with various marks of Mosquito, the squadron alternated between offensive intruder operations from bases in the south and defensive operations from bases along the East Coast until the end of the war. From January 1945, the squadron moved onto the continent as part of 2nd Tactical Air Force and disbanded at Twente on 25 August 1945.

The squadron was reformed on 20 November 1945 at Church Fenton, when No 125 Squadron was renumbered. It continued as a Mosquito night fighter unit moving to various bases until December 1951, when Meteor night fighters began to arrive. From 11 February 1949, No 79 Squadron was linked to 264, but this ended on 14 November 1951. The squadron operated all of the Meteor night fighter models, except the Mk 13 which was a tropicalised version for use in the Middle East, until being disbanded by being renumbered No 33 Squadron on 1 October 1957 at Leeming, having been based at Middleton St George between February and September 1957. The squadron experienced one final incarnation, when it was reformed as a Bloodhound surface-to-air- missile unit on 1 December 1958 at North Coates, disbanding there on 30 November 1962.

Squadron Codes used: -

WA Allocated Apr 1939 - Sep 1939
KV Allocated, but not used
PS Mar 1940 - Aug 1945, May 1947 - Feb 1952
VA Nov 1945 - May 1947 (Codes taken over from No 125 Sqn)

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023