RAF No 18 Squadron emblem

RAF No 2 Squadron

Motto: Hereward

Formed on 13 May 1912 as one of the original squadrons of the RFC, it was originally based at Farnborough but soon moved north to Montrose in Scotland. When war broke out in 1914, the squadron moved south again and joined the rest of the BEF in France.

No II soon settled into the routine of a Corps reconnaissance squadron initially with BE2's and later FK8's. Returning to the UK in February 1919, it disbanded on 20 January 1920. It reformed a few days later on 1 February 1920 in Ireland equipped with Bristol Fighters. Returning to England in 1922, it was back in Ulster by May 1922 and maintained a detachment there until 1923 even after the squadron HQ had moved to Farnborough late in 1922.

It stayed at Farnborough until April 1927, when it moved to Shanghai as part of RAF China, but returned to the UK at Manston in September 1927. Specialising in Army Co-operation, it successively converted to the Atlas and then the Lysander, which it took to France again in 1939 as part of the Air Component of the BEF.

The squadron retained Lysanders until April 1942, but also used the Tomahawk for tactical reconnaissance, both types being replaced by Mustangs. Having carried out missions in preparation for, during and after D-Day, in support of 21 Army Group, the squadron began to re-equip with Spitfires in November 1944.

Remaining in Germany after the war as part of BAFO, its Spitfires were replaced by Meteors in 1950. Swifts replaced the Meteors in 1956 and these in their turn were replaced by Hunters in 1961. It moved around Germany and at various times was based at Sylt, Celle, Wunsdorf, Lubeck, Wahn, Buckeburg, Gutersloh, Geilenkirchen, Jever before returning to Gutersloh. In December 1970 a new No II Squadron began working up on the Phantom at Bruggen whilst the old No II Squadron continued to operate at Gutersloh. The Phantom unit officially took over the numberplate on 1 Apr 1971 and moved to Laarbruch. Converting to Jaguars in 1976, the squadron remained in Germany until 1991 when it returned to the UK for the first time since 1944 and is now based at Marham equipped with the GR1A/GR4A, dedicated reconnaissance version of the Tornado.

Standards Battle Honours*
Award of Standard originally announced on 7 Sep 1943, effective from 1 Apr 1943 but presented:-
1st - 31 October 1953 ACM Sir Robert Foster
2nd - 30 May 1984 ACM Sir Alasdair Steedman.

Western Front, 1914-1918: Mons: Neuve Chappelle: Ypres, 1915: Loos: Somme, 1916: Arras: Somme, 1918: Lys: France & Low Countries, 1939-1940: Dunkirk: Fortress Europe, 1942-1944: France & Germany, 1944-1945: Normandy, 1944: Arnhem: Walcheren: Rhine: Gulf, 1991: Iraq 2003:

Squadron Codes used: KO Nov 1938 - May 1941; XV May 1941 - 1943; OI Sep 1946 - Apr 1951; B Apr 1951 - 1955; A - Z Used on Tornados

Web Reference: http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn001-5.htm

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023