RAF No 40 Squadron

Motto: Hostem coelo expellere (To drive the enemy from the sky)

Formed at Gosport on 26 February 1916, it was equipped with FE8 fighters which it took to France in August. When in March 1917 a patrol of nine FE8s was shot down the squadron was immediately re-equipped with Nieuport Scouts. SE5As arrived in October 1917 and it continued to use these until the end of war. Returning to Tangmere in February 1919 the squadron disbanded on 4 July 1919.

When it reformed on 1 April 1931, the squadron adopted the day bomber role equipped with Gordons at Upper Heyford. Harts arrived in November 1935, by which time it was stationed at Abingdon and on 7 January 1936 'C' Flight became No 104 Squadron. Hinds replaced the Harts in March 1936 and Battles arrived in July 1938. On the outbreak of war the squadron became part of the AASF and moved to France but in December it returned to Wyton where it converted to Blenheims continuing to operate over France but from its UK base instead of the continent. In November 1940 the squadron moved over the night bombing role when it received Wellingtons.

From October 1941 it began to send aircraft over to Malta on a rotational basis whilst continuing to operate from the UK, but on 14 February 1942 the detachment in Malta took over the No 40 numberplate when the element in the UK was re-numbered No 156. It then withdrew to Egypt where it was able to re-equip and then operated from the Canal Zone against targets in the rest of North Africa. Following the capture of airfields in Tunisia it moved further forward and in December 1943 moved over to Italy, where it was now able to add the Balkan and Northern Italy to its target list. Liberators arrived in March 1945 and it remained in Italy until October when it returned to Egypt, where the Liberators were replaced by Lancasters in January 1946, the squadron disbanding on 1 April 1947.

No 40 was reformed, this time in the transport role, on 1 December 1947 at Abingdon. It flew its Yorks constantly throughout the Berlin airlift, moved to Bassingbourn in June 1949 but disbanded there on 15 March 1950. Its final incarnation, so far began on 28 December 1953 as a light bomber unit equipped with Canberra B Mk 2 aircraft. It operated these from Coningsby, Wittering (Feb 1954) and finally Upwood (Nov 1956) but on 1 February 1957 it disbanded, although the number was linked to No 50 Squadron which lasted until 1 October 1959, since when the number 40 has not appeared in the RAF's order of Battle.

Known Individual Aircraft loses for this Squadron

  • 14th April 1940 Blenheim L9207 code: BL-?
    Crashed in Thames estuary after unauthorised flight. AC2 J F B Lewis killed.
  • 10th May 1940 Blenheim L8833 code: BL-?
    Attacked by Ju88 but managed to return to England and crash land. Squadron Leader B Paddon ok, Sergeant J A D Beattie ok, Pilot Officer W G Edwards ok.
  • 10th May 1940 Blenheim L8828 code: BL-?
    Crashed into sea off the Dutch coast. Sergeant P J H Rowan killed, Sergeant G Beardwood killed, Corporal T F S Clark killed.
  • 10th May 1940 Blenheim L8831 code: BL-?
    Crashed near The Hague. Sergeant I L Thomas killed, Sergeant V Spurr killed, Leading Aircraftsman H Brison killed.
  • 10th May 1940 Blenheim P6901 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Crashed near Voorburg. Sergeant A J Robertson killed, Sergeant F Checkley killed, AC1 J A Webster taken prisoner.
  • 10th May 1940 Blenheim L8776 Mk.IV code: BL-K
    Shot down near den Haag. Flying Officer R M Burns taken prisoner, Sergeant J R Brooker taken prisoner, Corporal J Hurford taken prisoner.
  • 15th May 1940 Blenheim P4913 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Shot down near Mons. Flying Officer J E Edwards killed, Sergeant C T White killed, Leading Aircraftsman S J Johnson killed.
  • 15th May 1940 Blenheim N6217 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Shot down near Mons. Wing Commander E C Barlow killed, Sergeant E Clarke killed, Leading Aircraftsman A E Millard killed.
  • 23rd May 1940 Blenheim L8834 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Shot down at Miraumont. Flying Officer R H Jacoby taken prisoner, Sergeant P A M Burrell killed, LAC P R Whittle killed.
  • 23rd May 1940 Blenheim P4909 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Shot down by flak and crashed near Bethune. Wing Commander J G Llewelyn killed, Sergeant J A D Beattie ok, Pilot Officer W G Edwards killed.
  • 25th May 1940 Blenheim P4920 Mk.IV code: YH-?
    Shot down near Rety. Sergeant S I Tonks tkane prisoner, Sergeant J L Alexander killed, LAC D Goffe killed.
  • 6th June 1940 Blenheim P4927 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Crashed. Sergeant D J Rice taken prisoner, Sergeant R C Moffatt taken prisoner, Sergeant D E Peters taken prisoner...
  • 6th June 1940 Blenheim P9417 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Damaged in combat and force landed in Allied territory. Pilot Officer P F T Wakeford injured, Sergeant Wallace injured, Sergeant Baker injured.
  • 6th June 1940 Blenheim R3692 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Force landed near St Valery. Pilot Officer V G W Engstrom injured but evaded capture, Sergeant M R Chouler taken prisoner, Sergeant D Liddle taken prisoner.
  • 6th June 1940 Blenheim L9410 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Lost without trace. Pilot Officer B B James killed, Sergeant J E Garcka killed, Sergeant W Furby killed.
  • 6th June 1940 Blenheim L8827 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Lost. Squadron Leader B Paddon taken prisoner, Sergeant V C Salvage taken prisoner, Sergeant T A Foreman taken prisoner.
  • 12th June 1940 Blenheim R3893 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Shot down by flak at Eletot. Sergeant C D W Bartlam taken prisoner, Sergeant D L Dorris killed, Sergeant E Rodgers taken prisoner.
  • 26th July 1940 Blenheim R3763 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Lost. Sergeant P H Steele taken prisoner, Sergeant J Moore taken prisoner, Sergeant R Peacock taken prisoner.
  • 15th August 1940 Blenheim R3609 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Lost. Pilot Officer G Parker taken prisoner, Sergeant G H Easton evaded capture, Sergeant E Watson evaded capture.
  • 15th August 1940 Blenheim P4908 Mk.IV code: BL-?
    Lost. Sergeant K Newton injured, Sergant F M Hotchkiss taken prisoner, Sergeant C A McGreary taken prisoner.


Award of Standard originally announced on 15 Oct 1957, effective from 1 Apr 1957 but was never presented.

Battle Honours:

Whilst the announcement of the award of a standard to the squadron appeared as shown opposite, no battle honours were ever determined owing to the standard never being produced.

Squadron Codes used: -

OX Oct 1938 - Sep 1939
BL Sep 1939 - Apr 1947
LE Jun 1949 - Mar 1950

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This webpage was updated 30th June 2023