RAF No. 60 Squadron

Motto: Per ardua ad arthera tendo (I strive through difficulties to the sky)

One of the foremost fighter squadron on the Western Front by the end of the war, this squadron was formed at Gosport on 30 April 1916, departing for France the following month. Equipped with Moranes, which were soon found to be obsolete, it re-equipped with Nieuport 17s in August. These were used by the squadron until July 1917 when they were replaced by SE5s. Amongst the pilots who served with the squadron and later became 'aces', were 'Billy' Bishop (final score 72) and Albert Ball (44), both of whom also received the VC. The squadron returned to Narborough in February 1919 and then Bircham Newton in December, disbanding there on 22 January 1922.

The squadron was reformed on 1 April 1920, when no 97 Squadron at Lahore was re-numbered. It was now equipped with DH10s which it operated in support of ground units along the North-West Frontier of India. DH9As replaced the twin-engined DH10s in April 1923 and these in their turn were replaced by Wapitis in July 1930. Modern equipment arrived in June 1939 when the first Blenheim I arrived, the unit being fully equipped two months later. Coastal patrols became the order of the day from various locations around India, until February 1941 when the squadron moved to Burma. It partly became a fighter squadron again in July, when it received some Buffaloes, but these were transferred to No 67 Squadron in October.

When the Japanese invaded Malaya and Burma, the bulk of the squadron was based in Singapore, and carried out operations against enemy shipping and airfields. At the same time the rest of the squadron returned to India to re-equip with the Blenheim IV, which were used against Japanese targets in Burma until May 1943. Fighters returned to the squadron in August 1943 when the squadron moved to Southern India to re-equip with Hurricanes, which were then used for ground attack and escort duties, flying in support of the 14th Army until May 1945 when it was withdrawn again to re-equip. Its new equipment was the Thunderbolt, but by the time it had completed working up, the war had ended and so it moved to Malaya in September and Java in October.

In December 1946 the squadron returned to Singapore and began converting to Spitfire FR Mk 18s. These were used during the early stages of Operation Firedog, but in December 1950, new equipment arrived in the form of Vampires and then in April 1955, Venoms. In October 1959 the squadron adopted an all-weather fighter role when it received Meteor NF Mk 14s, which in their turn were replaced by Javelins in July 1961 and these were operated until the squadron disbanded at Tengah on 30 April 1968.

Less than a year later on 3 February 1969, the RAF Germany Communications Squadron was redesignated No 60 Squadron at Wildenrath. It was now equipped with Pembroke C Mk 1s and Heron C Mk 4s, with Andover CC Mk 2s arriving in 1971, although these were withdrawn in 1975 and as the Herons had gone in 1972, this left the squadron only operating Pembrokes. Andovers, both C Mk 1s and CC Mk 2s, returned in 1987 and following the retirement of the Pembroke in May 1990, become the units sole types until disbanding on 1 April 1992, its aircraft being absorbed into No 32 Squadron.

A month later on 1 June 1992, the squadron reformed at Benson and Support Helicopter unit equipped with the Wessex HC Mk 2. With the retirement of the Wessex, the squadron disbanded on 31 March 1997. However, on 1 May 1997 the RAF Element of the tri-service Defence Helicopter Flying School at Shawbury was given the designation No 60 Squadron and continued to operate in the advanced training role equipped with the Griffin HT Mk 1.

Standards Battle Honours*
Award of Standard originally announced on 7 Sep 1943, effective from 1 Apr 1943 but presented:-
1st - 6 May 1955 ACM Sir John Baker.
2nd - 18 May 1984 ACM Sir David Lee.

Western Front, 1916-1918: Somme, 1916: Arras: Somme, 1918: Hindenburg Line: Burma, 1941-1942: Malaya, 1941-1942: Arakan, 1942-1944: North Burma, 1944: Manipur, 1944: Burma, 1944-1945:
Waziristan, 1920-1925: Mohmand, 1927: North West Frontier, 1930-1931: Mohmand, 1933: North West Frontier, 1935-1939:

Squadron Codes used: - AD Apr 1939 - Sep 1939; MU Sep 1943 - Feb 1942, Aug 1943 - Oct 1946; A - Z Carried on Wessex

Web References: http://www.rafweb.org/Sqn056-60.htm


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This webpage was updated 25th January 2019